Cycle Speedway in Benfleet

Who, When and Where?

In the 1950s and 60s cycle speedway was a popular sport in south-east Essex.

One of our contributors, Bob Barber, has supplied a list of teams from the past:

Benfleet Bees (plus an all women Bees team)

Benfleet Bowmen

Benfleet Buccaneers

Daws Heath Devils

Hadleigh Heathens

Thundersley Cobras

Thundersley Phantoms

Thundersley Thunderbolts

Thundersley Tigers

Thundersley Vultures

Rayleigh Rockets

We have found very little information about these and would be very pleased to hear from anyone that has any memories of cycle speedway in the local area.

If you have any information about the photo or newspaper cuttings below, please let us know by adding a comment at the bottom of this page.

Some of the images used on this page are courtesy of the following website :
Cycle Speedway Teams Down The Ages

The photo below is of the Rayleigh Rockets Cycle Speedway Team (not to be confused with the motorcycle speedway team of the same name) c. 1966.

Rayleigh Rockets Back Row (L to R) Bill Garner, Ray Palmer, Barry Hill, Colin Binfield, Barry Chalk Front Row (L to R) Tony Callis, Mark Anthony, Eddie Callis (who supplied this photo) Can anybody tell us where this track is? 
Eddie Callis
Echo - Thursday, 27th August, 2009
© Echo Newspapers
Southend Standard 15th December 1966
© Echo Newspapers
Southend Standard 15th December 1966
© Echo Newspapers
Do you recognise the rider or location?
'Cycle Speedway Teams Down The Ages'
Do you recognise the rider or location?
'Cycle Speedway Teams Down The Ages'
Do you recognise the rider or location?
'Cycle Speedway Teams Down The Ages'

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  • In about 1963 I was very briefly a member of Benfleet Buccaneers.
    We used to race our stripped-down cycles on an oval dirt track cut/worn into the grass of Benfleet Recreation Ground. The track was located at the top of the Recreation Ground in the left hand corner, near to the 90 degree bend in Richmond Avenue, probably just about where the care home car park now is.

    At the start of the race we used to line up our front wheels on the start line that was scratched into or painted onto the mud track, with our brakes on and foot straining hard on the pedal. A line of knotted-together bicycle inner tubes, tied to a vertical post or piece of angle iron banged into the ground on one side of the track, was then stretched tight across the track in front of us over the start line.
    To start the race, the starter would then let go of the end of the taut inner tube and it flew back very quickly out of the way and off we pedaled to the cheers and encouragement from onlookers (It would have been very painful if anyone had got in the way of that flying inner tube).
    I forget now how many laps we used to do in a race but chubby me on my far-too-heavy old 24″ bike that I had made up from bike bits found over Benfleet Dump and a few accessories from Fosters Cycles in the High Road, would soon be lapped by most riders and most would finish well before I gave up. Don’t believe what they tell you about the hare and the tortoise, it never worked for me.
    I remember that it was great fun though in the short time that I was involved . . . perhaps I should have taken it a bit more seriously?

    By David Jiggens (25/05/2023)
  • To Alec Kinch,
    Do you remember the Drain Brothers, they rode for the Buccaneers as did I a few times. I’m also trying to locate Bob Heuer, any ideas?

    By Peter Smith (24/05/2021)
  • I remember as a little lad in the 1940s early 1950s walking to a track up Thundersley Chase near Thundersley Lodge with my Dad and Mr Hobbs, landlord of the White Hart pub, to watch the speed way, it was before the Caravan Park was built.

    By Pete Robbins (10/11/2020)
  • To Bob Barber
    Re. cycle speedway in Benfleet, I was one of the two founder members of the Benfleet
    Buccaneers the other being John Wyatt. Our track was at the bottom of Benfleet
    recreation ground behind Richmond Avenue. We raced in the Southend and District
    League. My memory has faded so recall snippets only. I will try and remember more
    when I look at old photos and send more facts as they come to light.
    Benfleet Bees’ track was by Benfleet Creek behind the railway station.

    Best wishes for now, Alec Kinch

    By Alec Kinch (09/11/2020)
  • The team at the Chase were Thundersley phantoms.

    By Roger Rolph (06/08/2018)
  • Photo 6 Mick Webb Rayleigh &Roland Mann Sutton Saints. Photo 7 both photos taken at Progress Park Leigh . Dave Withers leading Robin Rose both Rayleigh Rockets with Dave Banbury & Dennis Baines at the rear. Thundersley Vultures.

    By Roger Rolph (19/07/2018)
  • There was some sort of track in the Chase, Thundersley in the early to mid 50s and I believe a Thundersley team rode there but I do not know who they were.

    By Brian Bellamy (16/08/2017)
  • There is a map of Basildon c 1948 which shows a motor cycle track close to the A127 at Laindon. Does anyone know if was a speedway track or some other kind of racing and does anyone have any information or photos of it?

    By Jo Cullen (14/08/2017)

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