St Austell Gulls
|St Austell Gulls|
Clay Country Moto Parc
|Colours||Blue and White|
|Track size||360 yards (330 m) 1949-1964
230 metres (250 yd) 1997–2000
|Major team honours|
The St Austell Gulls were a speedway team which operated from 1949 until their closure in 1964 at the Cornish Stadium at Par, St Austell in Cornwall. In 1997 the team rode at the Clay Country Moto Parc until the club finally closed in 2000.
In 1949 the track operated under an open licence but ran a series of meetings under the team names, the St Austell Pixies and St Austell Badgers before finally settling on the Gulls nickname.
In 1950 the Gulls entered National League Division Three and competed again in 1951. In 1952 they entered the Southern League, finishing bottom and again the following season but rising just the one place. Former West Ham Hammers and Harringay Racers star George Newton managed the team, having ridden for the Gulls in 1951. In 1954 the Southern League was disbanded. Without a league to race in, the Gulls applied to join the National League Division Two. However, the Speedway Control Board decided against giving the club a licence and the riders were reallocated.
League racing was not seen again at the stadium until 1963 when the Gulls entered the Provincial League, although the Neath Dragons did finish off their 1962 Provincial League fixtures at the stadium under promoter Trevor Redmond. Redmond promoted the Gulls in 1963 but it turned out to be their only season of league racing until 1997.
In 1997 permission was give to build a track in a disused china clay pit. A small track was built with very basic facilities, the referee's control room was a converted caravan, which was replaced eventually by a double decker bus. The Gulls entered the Amateur League, which became the Conference League.
The track was rather rutted as it bedded in but by the start of the 1998 season, the team of mainly local riders started to become a solid outfit. Future 2007 British Speedway Grand Prix winner Chris Harris made his League debut at just fifteen years of age. By then end of the season the team had completed the League Championship and Knockout Cup double.
In 1999 the Gulls retained the Knockout Cup. The Gulls final season came in 2000 when it was becoming obvious the club was ready to join the Premier League. The current owners of the club felt that they could not take the club further and the track lease was handed over to another consortium who opened up in 2001 as the Trelawny Tigers.
- Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
- Jackson, J. (2006) St Austell Speedway, Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-3789-5
- Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2003) Bristol Bulldogs: 50 Greats, Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2865-9
- Bamford, R. & Stallworthy, D. (2002) Clay Country Speedway, Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2727-X