West Ham Hammers
|West Ham Hammers|
West Ham Speedway Badge circa 1938
|Track address||West Ham Stadium
Prince Regent Lane
|Website||West Ham website|
|Colours||Claret and Blue with white crossed hammers|
|Track size||440 yards (400 m) (1929-1964)
415 yards (379 m) (1964-1971)
|Track record time||0:17.6 (one lap), 1:10.2 (four laps)|
|Track record date||1967 (one lap), Easter Monday 1969 (four laps)|
|Track record holder||Ken McKinlay / Sverre Harrfeldt (one lap), Ray Wilson (four laps)|
|Major team honours|
The West Ham Hammers were a speedway team, first promoted by Jimmy Baxter in 1929. They operated from the West Ham Stadium until the outbreak of World War II under several different promotions, most successfully under the control of Johnnie Hoskins.
The track opened in 1928 and staged a few meetings during the early war years.
Meetings were staged in 1945 but the Hammers re-opened in 1946 and ran until 1955. However dwindling crowds saw the promotion close. It did not re-open until 1964, with Dave Lanning becoming promoter in 1966, and ran a further eight seasons until 1971 when they were informed that the stadium was being sold by the Greyhound Racing Association to make way for building development. The Romford Bombers moved into the stadium for the 1972 season, racing under the name West Ham Bombers.
As the original West Ham team folded in the speedway British League Division One, at the end of the 1971 season, the prospect of racing at the famous Custom House Stadium, albeit with a "nomad" team, delighted the local populace, and attendances at Custom House for the Bombers were very healthy. However, uncertainty dogged the promotion, with always the prospect of the stadium being sold from underneath them at short notice, and after just 6 home meetings (with the Bombers maintaining a healthy league position), the plug was pulled and the last ever speedway meeting at West Ham Stadium was held on 23 May 1972, with West Ham .v. Hull. The West Ham Bombers lost the match 38-40, with the last ever league race (heat 13) won by Hull's Tony Childs, to finally complete a long and sad disintegration of the sport at one of the world's most famous venues.
Top 20 West Ham Riders
The top twenty West Ham riders as voted in Speedway '72 magazine published in 1972.
- Bluey Wilkinson *
- Jack Young *
- Tiger Stevenson
- Tommy Croombes
- Björn Knutsson
- Arthur Atkinson
- Sverre Harrfeldt
- Eric Chitty
- Aub Lawson
- Ken McKinlay
- Christer Löfqvist
- Wally Green
- Malcolm Craven
- Gerry Hussey
- Norman Hunter
- Colin Watson
- Jimmy Gibb
- Bob Harrison
- Charlie Spinks
* Denotes Speedway World Champion