Bothwell Farm was owned by a James Gibson who decided he had a spare field that could be set aside and a cinder tack and safety fence built, the track was egg shaped and lay between a railway line and a huge spoil tip from the local coal mine. The circuit was constructed by volunteer labour the red shale conveniently available from an adjacent pit, the master minds of this scheme Allan Roberson, Ken McKinlay and Alf McIntosh and the venue was to be known as Bothwell Park Training School, the training instructors were Ken Le Breton, Will Lowther and Joe Crowther.
The first match took place in November 1949 when the appropriately named Bothwell Bulls defeated Will Lowther’s Select but only by one point, still a victory is a victory no matter the margin. Following this match the 4th bend was christened the Devil’s Elbow apparently because of the large number of fallers at that point.
Peter “Gundy” Harris arrived in Britain from Australia in 1950 and was using the training facilities at Bothwell Park however the track was not kind to this visitor as he looped his bike and severely damaged his machine. In April of that year a report was published that stated “By the way, Bothwell is a pukka track with starting gate, red shale surface, refreshments, grandstand, music, bikes and riders. Also it is the only track where they use a warning flag on the back railway straight, which is one of the safest factors yet devised”. Sadly I have no idea what happened to inspire this rather strange report or if it was independent or put out by the owners of the track, reading between the lines it would seem that perhaps the Bothwell track may have be the recipient of a number of unkind or critical reports and this was an attempt to set matters straight. Anyone know?
The Bothwell folks and riders lost the use of their track during the winter of 1950/51 and the final speedway seen at the venue were training sessions and even these stopped by February of 1951. Ian Hoskins proposed the reopening of the track in 1968 but in fact nothing more was heard about it and another track was lost.
There are two images of the Bothwell Park programs shown here, let’s face it they do look very amateur, although the lower one was free and you were not charged to spectate as this was a practise only.