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Bristol Speedway Knowle Stadium 1946-1960

The longed for end to World War II came and speedway at Bristol’s Knowle Stadium restarted after the six years of enforced inactivity.

1946 and on 7 July the venue reopened running on an Open Licence under the guidance of Reg Witcomb and Bob Steel, the first meeting being a Junior Best Pairs event.

The Bulldogs re-joining the National League Division Two in 1947, the next year the team was under the sole promotion of Reg Witcomb and in 1949 the promotion transferred to George Allen following Mr Witcomb wish to devote his time to the opening of the new track for Swindon at Blundon. The Bulldogs soon settled back to the job in hand achieving promotion at the end of 1949 enabling them to join Division One in 1950, only to be demoted back to Division Two in 1954 before resigning in 1955 the last league meeting being held in June of that year.

Re-opening for Open meetings in 1959, going full circle by rejoining the Provincial League in 1960, speedway came to the end in September of that year and was followed at the end of January 1961 by the closing of the greyhound racing. The stadium site was sold and is now a housing estate.

Our thanks go to John Jarvis for allowing the use of the book “ Homes of British Speedway” for information and to Richard Austin & John Somerville for the images of the programme cover

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Bristol Speedway Knowle Stadium 1928 - 1930

First opened in July of 1927 with the staging of a greyhound meeting.

The venue became a ‘Speedway Track’ in 1928 when on August 25th the first dirt-track meeting was held, opened by the Deputy Lord Mayor Alderman Frank Moore, the rider winning the Bristol Gold Helmet at that first meeting was Len Parker. At this time the promotion was in the hands of the British Dirt-Track Racing Association Ltd who continued the responsibility for this period of speedway, the last meeting at this venue that was staged on the 23rd September 1930 when the Evening Times Track Championship was also won by Len Parker.

Surprised to see that this 1930 program, image on the left, was priced at 4p as that seems a lot for 1930 if you look at the image below you will note that the price then, 1937, for a professionally printed program was only 3p.

Bristol Speedway Knowle Stadium 1936 - 1930

Re-opening on the 8th May 1936 being under the promotion of Knowle Greyhound Stadium and managed locally by Ronnie Greene, this meeting was to see a Bristol team performing in the Provincial League and by August of that year the team had acquire the name of ‘Bulldogs’ at the suggestion of a member of the supporters. In 1937 Ronnie Greene was joined by Fred Mockford and the pair took over as promoters on behalf of The Bristol Motor Sports Ltd.

The Bulldogs joined the National League in 1938 taking over the licence from Hackney, this permitted them to move from the Provincial League to League One, this change however did not work out for them at all and following a year of disastrous results swapped their League One licence with Southampton allowing Bristol Bulldogs to ride in the Division Two for the 1939 season during which they also participated in the southern section of the Union Cup until all league racing stopped in August at the start of World War II .

(Left) We are grateful to Richard Austin for the programme cover from 1937, a meeting that Bristol won 58/25 the team members were.

Bristol... Orange & Black

Harry  Shepherd (Capt.)

Geo. Saunders

Roy Dook

Rol Stobart

Bill Rogers

Fred Leavis

others riders Reg Gore, Fred Lewis Reg Lambourne all Bristol

Liverpool Red & Blue

Eric Blain (Capt.)

Stan Hart

Oliver Hart

Jack Hargreaves

Tommy Price

Ernie Price

Alan Butler & Eric Butler Reserves