ARENA ESSEX


  SPEEDWAY
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Once there had been West Ham Hammers, Rayleigh Rockets and Romford Speedway in Essex but in 1984 after having no speedway for 12 years Arena Essex opened. They were nicknamed the Hammers in memory of the West Ham Hammers. Their promoters were Wally Mawdesley an experienced speedway man and Chick Woodruffe a stock car promoter. Chick was already staging banger racing at the Arena Essex Raceway which is located near the disused quarries off the old A13 or A1306 as it is now known at Purfleet. The Arena Essex Raceway was opened in May 1978 for banger racing and Speedway began in 1984 when Arena Essex Hammers under the guidance of Peter Thorogood entered the then National Speedway League. The Arena Speedway track was unusual as unlike most other tracks it had no safety fence. It was felt that as the speedway track was cut inside the tarmac banger raceway this would act as a runoff negating the necessity of a safety fence. Not everyone agreed especially Barry Thomas the Hackney captain who made his views very well known needless to say he was not the flavour of the month at Arena Essex..

Arena signed a sponsor in Essex Radio and their announcer was the colourful Dave Lanning formerly of West Ham.

The first meeting was held on Thursday 5th April 1984 and the response was pleasing. Speedway had always been seen as a family spectator sport and continues to be one at the Arena Essex Raceway.

They finished their first season in 14th spot in a 16 team league which is no minor feat. They have since gone on to perform in front of bigger and bigger crowds and have continued to improve competing with the big boys at the highest level.

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