Findon Cycle Speedway

(Home of the Findon Skid Kids)

 Reserve Parade Findon -Adelaide, South Australia-------

Info: mharley@internode.on.net      Phone: 08 83454900

RACING EVERY SUNDAY AT 1PM

 

 

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50 YEAR HISTORY BOOK

 

 

 

 

 Front Cover 50 Year History Book

 

 

 Milton Anderson

This book is dedicated to the memory of the late Milton Anderson

who spent countless hours compiling the majority of the contents.

“A big man with a big heart in the right place.”

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FORWARD 

I am indeed honoured to be given the role of submitting the forward to the 50 year history of the Fin don Skid Kids. 

My 30 year local government involvement with the City of Woodpile, The City of Hindmarsh Woodville and now the City of Charles Sturt and Mayor of the 3 Cities for 21 years gave me the opportunity to witness the ongoing development of the famous Findon Skid Kids. 

We must put in perspective this group which was started by a 15 year old lad named Mick Harley who wanted to race his bike locally, who had the temerity to approach the City of Woodville Council to use a patch of land, received approval and recruited local families to be involved in formalising what has transpired to be a Nationally and International recognised organisation. 

The history has accurately detailed the challenges and successes of the club where I believe many of the riders and former riders, officials, and supporters have received benefits of being associated with this demanding sport for both Male and Female. 

The regimentation of the riders over the years has served good purpose as I have witnessed where they obey the rules and regulations that have been laid down and no doubt will be a benefit in the future lifestyle for many. 

The fact that many senior riders have returned to their “home” of junior years is evidence of those earlier regimented rules. Although it is 50 years since those foundation ideas were promoted there has been a variety of changes structured by the club proving that the management over this time has accepted the “Challenge of Change”. The club is alive and will always be in tune with the membership. 

One of the notable and admirable features of the organisation is its ability to recognise and work in with its neighbours and also support the community charities especially in the early years. 

Today we recognise a successful organisation for our youth and their future and also the founder Mr Mick Harley ably supported by his wife and family who is a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal and a former South Australian of the Year and now a councillor for the City of Charles Sturt.  

 

I believe there is an ongoing future for both of them. 

 

John Dyer O.A.M., S.B.O. St John, J.P

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FINDON SKID KID RIDERS 1958-65 (Apologies to those missed) 

 

 

Amundsen K

Deverson R

King G

Pinchbeck M

Murphy D

Amundsen R

Cox M

Harley M

Meirs G

Sayers J

Baily D

Deverson C

Jenke B

McKay M

Simpson R

Ball C

Deverson G

Jeffries A

Murphy K

Thompson K

Bird J

Davis G

Harrison B

Mates G

Simmonds T

Bowden M

Drage A

K Johns

Parker K

Veitch J

Briggs C

Elsworthy D

Kennedy R

Rowlands M

White L

Bysouth G

Ferguson R

Koch R

O’Dell M

Short D

Clee C

Flynn D

Kearville G

Porter T

White R

Clee D

Harding G

Longman T

Simpson W

Newbury K

Clee R

Harris J

Lambe R

Scanlon P

White T

Corby R

Harris R

Lee J

Stanton W

Starr B

Coutts D

Hogarth R

Mower A

T Murphy

Voumard L



 

 

Colin Deverson

Colin Deverson: Rider, Secretary,1963-64 Aussie Champion

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Message from Allan Staunton (President Findon Skid Kids) 

I became interested in the Findon Skid Kids in the early 80’s when my son Craig took up the sport. I was a spectator for a short while then offered my services to the club. Starting out offering help at working bee’s etc I soon joined the Committee and became interested in maintaining the racing track under the guidance of the experts of that time. When the position of Track Manager became vacant in the late 80’s I accepted and have been in the position since. The track and club became a much bigger part of my life when I retired from work and I am currently Maintaining the area and buildings. I was President from 1998-2002 and then from 2005 to the present. I wish the Findon Skid Kids all the best and hope the next 50 years are as successful as the last 50. 

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THE HISTORY OF THE FINDON SKID KIDS. 

 

The beginning as told by Mick Harley.

Mick Harley

  Mick Harley (age:17) and Graham Kearville 1959

 

I was 6 ½ years old when my family migrated from England on the converted hospital ship, “Dorsetshire”. We arrived at Outer Harbour mid January 1949 after a very troublesome 6 week trip. I had mumps and was in hospital for about 2 weeks and three of the four engines had broken down on the way to Perth.  

After going through Customs in a dirty old shed at Outer Harbour we boarded one of the old railcars and set out for Adelaide . I remember being very disappointed as I did not see any kangaroos bouncing around the streets.   The journey seemed to take hours.

 

On our arrival at the Adelaide Railway Station we were herded around the corner to the Elder Park Hostel. In later years the hostel was demolished to make way for the Festival Theatre. It was a stinking hot day and we had to sit around outside the hostel waiting for them to call our names. I can’t remember much about the hostel as we were only there for a week before transferring to an old hut at the then Springbank Camp opposite the Repatriation Hospital on Daws Road Colonial Light Gardens. We lived at the Springbank Camp for 13 months and then we moved into a newly built Housing trust house in Reserve Parade, Findon. 

 

When I was about 13 years old I met a lad who told me about the Combined Cycle Speedway Club at Woodville North which started in 1954. 

 

I went to the Club with the intention of becoming a member but they informed me that there was a waiting list and I would have to put my name down. I was anxious to get involved in racing so I joined the ‘Flying Aces’ in Croydon where I stayed for nearly 2 years before I decided to start the Findon Club. 

 

I wrote a letter to the then, Woodville Council in 1957, seeking permission to use some land on the corner of Reserve Parade & Judith Avenue for a Skid Kid track. In the letter I also asked them if they would grade the track when their grader was in the area.  

 

The Council was using the land to store gravel for their road repair material as most of the local streets were gravel and not bitumen in those days. It also had lots of dirt mounds where the kids from the eastern end of Reserve Parade used to do battle with the kids from the western end. The battles consisted of ‘dirt bomb’ battles and real slug gun fights.  

 

Woodville Council Letter

Original Letter from Woodville Council

 

Imagine my surprise and delight late in 1957 when I saw a grader doing some work near the site. I asked the grader driver if he was here to make our track. He said he did not know anything about it but graded our track anyway! A few months later a letter dated February 26th 1958 arrived stating that the Council had given approval to use the land. I have kept this letter in my wallet until recent times, and now keep it in a safe place at home. Although we were racing before February 26th we have always regarded this as the birthday of the Club. 

 

The club started out with about 15 boys racing around a dirt track full of three corner jacks and we organised the meetings ourselves. This went on for a while until I decided to approach the parents to form a committee. I had to do a bit of ‘wheeling and dealing’ as most parents would say ‘If so and so is going I will go’. So I told them ‘Mr and Mrs so and so’ is going I then went and told the others the same thing and they all turned up for the first meeting. 

 

The Committee was quite small but hard working people with some great ideas and they organised the soft drinks and cake stalls to raise the finance required to expand. 

From memory I think those present at the first meeting was: Mr and Mrs Robert Deverson, Mr and Mrs Reginald Harley, Mrs Gertude Coutts, Mr and Mrs Lloyd Baily, Mick Harley and Robert Deverson. 

After a short period of time the ‘official committee’ was elected with Bert Hill being awarded the honour of being the first Chairman (President) after the local policeman Frank Mayne declined because he did not think that the Club would last long.  

Mr Mayne did become Chairman later on in the early Sixties. 

 

We were told that we could not use the name Skid Kids, so, as most riders had FSK painted on their bikes we called ourselves the ‘Findon Speed Kings’. This name only lasted for about 6 months when we adopted Findon Skid Kids. 

 

The first Captains of the Teams were:

Sabres               Comets                      Falcons                Scorpions

Des Baily     Robert Deverson              Mick Harley             Ray Lamb

 

 Northern turn (Reserve Parade turn) on original trackNorthern Northern turn (Reserve Parade turn) on original track

 

 

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Reflections advert

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Lykke Sign advert

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The Committee organised some dolomite to lay for our first ‘proper’ track which faced north-south. To stop the spectators from encroaching onto the track during races a three tiered single strand wire ‘safety fence’ was erected.

 

Old Canteen

Original clubroom, canteen and first aid room

 

After the track was completed one of the first jobs was to erect a building that would serve as a broadcasting point, judges box, club room and first aid room.  

 

I remember a small band of men erecting the framework over the weekend only to find it all twisted the following week after a storm.  

 

The building was finally finished and served as the Clubroom until 1961 when a new Clubroom was built. It was used as a canteen for many years until being demolished to make way for the brick clubrooms in 1972. 

 

It was around 1960 when a number of boys who lived in Beverley wanted to transfer from the Combined Cycle Speedway to our club. I was against this at first as were some other members. A special meeting was held in a church at the top of Reserve Parade (no longer there) where a vote was taken and the boys and their parents were accepted into the club. This was, in actual fact, one of the first ‘great decisions’ made by the club as the parents were:  

Mr & Mrs Ken Murphy, Mr & Mrs Ron Clee and Mr & Mrs Fred Johns.  

These parents all joined the committee and made extremely valuable contributions to the club. 

 

In the very early years a church service would be held in the church once a month and all members were expected to attend. 

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Ray Lamb---One of the Originals

Mick, congratulations on the 50th year of the Findon Skid Kids and your loyal involvement.

I would like to thank you for the early years of the Club as I am sure that without some sort of keeping in line through your ‘mothering’ to us out of control, wild youths, that I for one, would have ended up in all sorts of trouble at that age.

From memory I met you in 1957 when the open paddock was the track. I personally remember vividly all the days and nights spent at your house contemplating our lives.

From tangerine and black ladies bikes with welded crossbars to bikes with extended forks. Then on to our too fancy painted and chrome team bikes with hand scroll paint work on the forks to the formation of our own original four teams of Falcons, Comets, Scorpions and Sabres.

 

We did it with a lot of pride Mick, didn’t we….. 50 years ago?

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Grader bogged trying to make new track

A bogged Caterpillar. Ken Murphy operating the grader with members trying to ‘push it clear’ 

                                and a rare photo of Mick Harley on the end of a shovel! 

 

 

In about 1961 the site of the track was changed from facing North-South to the present of East-West this was a major task but it was thought to be a better orientation which would permit more cars to be able to park around the track.

Ken Murphy took charge of a huge Caterpillar grader shaping the new track and its surrounds.

The track was once again made of dolomite but the surface was changed to ‘ICI quarry rubble’ around 1965 due to ruts constantly forming on the corners.

The ICI quarry rubble was delivered damp. It had to be laid quickly before it set hard so working bees were organised for everyone to be there to spread the rubble around the track.

 

I used to ring the then City of Woodville Council to leave one of their motorised vibrator rollers at the track which we then used to roll the track hard. I was down the track with many of the members on many nights under the floodlights rolling the track. Fortunately we had great neighbours who never complained about the noise.

 

In the late 1960’s the track was redone again this time it was Mick’s HD Holden Premier pulling the ‘railway line’ around the track with Michael and Terry Fox and  Brenton Jones taking it in turns sitting on top of the railway to add a bit of weight.

 

Micks HD Holden Premier

 

Mick's HD Holden Premier

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Southport Service Advert

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 Grants Coach Lines

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 Old Clubroom

  Old temporary house converted to Clubroom

 

It was around 1961 when we bought an old Housing Trust Prefabricated house to be used as our clubrooms.  

 

The members of the committee spent many hours placing the new clubrooms into the correct position, levelling and stabilising the building.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Once this was achieved the work was then to modify the inside of the house into one big hall. They had to take out the walls of bedrooms and modify the structure to make it safe. This was difficult work but they did an excellent job and didn’t give up until this was achieved. 

 

I am not sure of the year (possibly 1963) the clubroom was ablaze after a local youth put a firecracker inside a hole in the wall not knowing that it would catch fire.  

The Fire Brigade rushed to our site to find the wall and roof alight. 

 

I had my record collection and the Clubs’ amplifier in the kitchen cupboards so I made 2 trips into the building to retrieve them not thinking how dangerous it was as part of the roof was collapsing. There was a fireman in the clubroom with the fire-hose aimed at the burning ceiling when he noticed me in the kitchen section with some of my records and quickly told me to ‘get out’. 

 

The Fire Brigade done an excellent job saving most of the clubroom and the Committeemen had the roof and walls repaired in no time. We believe that all other club records were lost at this time as now our records only date back to 29th October 1965.

 

 Steve Tonkes---Famous Long Jump

  Steve Tonkes doing the famous Long Jump

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MIKE HACK---ASTLEY & TYLDESLEY ENGLAND

 

My visit to Findon in 1981 changed my outlook on cycle speedway forever. During the previous decade in the UK, I'd seen plenty of teams with basic tracks in cycle speedway, but never a club in the fullest sense as Findon were. What a fantastic set up and one that inspired me and several others to start work on following Findon's example in how a cycle speedway club should be in terms of organisation, facilities, membership levels, competitions etc. When I failed to get other clubs in England to move that way, I decided to start my own club at Astley & Tyldesley in 1990, adopting many of the principles of the Findon club. I'm proud of what we've achieved at Astley, but we're still way behind the excellence of the Findon club, which is, in my opinion, still the World's leading Cycle Speedway Club, by some distance. So, its many congratulations to all the Findon members over the past half century who have contributed to make the club such an outstanding success. Here's to building on that success for the next fifty years.

 

Still have loads of great memories of the 1981 tour - too many to summarise here!

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Steve Tonkes Automotive Advert

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H & H Tours Advert

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At the start of the 1963-64 season we were offered some floodlights which were being used at a bowling or tennis club on Port Road Hindmarsh. We took up the offer and a working bee was organised to erect our floodlights. Although they have been relocated we are using the same floodlight poles today…..’only the ‘tubes’ have been changed to give better light’.

 

Putting up the floodlights

  Working bee to erect the floodlights

                                                                             

From the very beginning of the Club up to the mid 80’s the club held ‘Gala Charity Day’ Race Meetings with all proceeds being donated to various Charities.

The Gala Day was usually on the South Australian Championship day. On the day we would have a ‘Mannequin Parade’ and the male members of the committee dressed up as females, which was a great hit every year.

 

Over these years the Findon Skid Kids donated approx $30,000 by way of Gala Charity Days and Displays. It then became clear that charity had to begin at home if we were to survive the rising costs

 

Mannequin Parade

 

Mannequins

 

Another highlight of the South Australian Championships was ‘Demolition Derby’. Riders would build an old bike for this event and there were no rules…….just bash and crash! Last one standing was the winner……….

 

Demolition Derby

 

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TWO DECADES ON---Pete Barnes-England

 

Having been involved in Cycle Speedway since my early teens it soon became very high onmy agenda to witness the sport in Australia. The fact that fellow members of the Poole Club had visited in 1981 and had again just departed for a further visit in 1985 left me in total envy. I had the “bug” and needed to be there. So with a sense of urgency and after very ‘diplomatic’ negotiations with my family, employer and friendly bank manager I left a very cold and miserable London to arrive some thity hours later in Adelaide on a very hot and humid 40c plus day. I hasten to add that my immediate thoughts would not be appropriate for this article but expletives are wordly. 

On arriving at Findon I was met by Great Britain Captain Roger Ellis proudly sporting his national track suit top who offered me a brief G’day mate which I later realised was “hello” in the British lingo. He in turn pointed me in the direction of the clubroom bar and without making it obvious suggested that it was my shout for a beer. I was then introduced to Mick Harley who offered to buy me a beer, my first reaction was this guy is Okay, but later on discovering his birthplace I realised his protocol was without doubt correct. From that visit the ‘bug’ continued and over the further years I was able to strengthen the links between both nations by arranging annual visits of UK Touring Parties. There is no doubt that Findon was a major partner in these ventures and this article would not be complete without mentioning the co-ordination commitment made by the late Milton Anderson. 

On behalf of all the competitors and members of the Poole Cycle Speedway Club I wish you a very successful weekend and best wishes for the future. 

 

Pete Barnes -----Poole England 

 

 

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DO I LIKE BEING CALLED A "Pom"?—Martin Gamble -England

 

Arriving in February 1981 after a series of flights that took over 30 hours - and I'd never flown in an airliner before - my first impressions of the Findon club was one of awe.Coming from a place where cycle speedway was largely a track in a field attended begrudgingly by a misfit cast once a week, here was the Wembley Stadium of the sport but with one important difference: The fabric of the club was inextricably entwined with the people. It seemed like you'd never see the likes of Mick Harley and Brian Hackworth outside the perimeter fence - they and the club were one.Findon are an example of a family club that everyone should follow.I've been back several times since, both with and without bike, and the plot on Reserve Parade remains a cathedral to the sport and the camaraderie that blossoms from its presence.I recall the heavy evenings after matches raced in the agreeable Australian climate where results were forgotten and friendships were forged. That special atmosphere of the clubroom whose walls serve as everything from autograph book, wardrobe, toilet seat holder and a memorial to those who touched other lives but have now gone to join the growing throng on the other side.The light-hearted banter, sledging and insults are traded by peoples of two nations divided by continents (and about 200 years). But where would we be without it? It was put to British people that we should be offended racially by being called "Poms" by the Australians. Yet all Poms would feel unwanted and ignored if the traditional Antipodean derogation was dropped in favour of something more formal.It's almost a challenge that rivals (or even exceeds) the Maori haka. A call to arms that you should be on your best mettle as the finest two sporting nations on Earth lock horns in battle. It's a cry to do your best - anything less isn't good enough to support a rivalry that has produced more heroes and legends than any other conflict. From the days of dour cricketing adversaries, Douglas Jardine and Sir Donald Bradman to the modern era of Rick Ponting and fellow dee-dar (i.e. "Sheffielder") Michael Vaughan, rarely has such a sporting drama be borne between other nations. And it pleases me that the greatest honour any sportsman can achieve is to enjoy competition against an Australian.Through cycle speedway and the Findon Club (where it all started in Australia 50 years ago), many have enjoyed the privilege of that effort. And THAT is the real joy.....of waiting to tell the grandkids that you were proud to have competed against the Australians! 

 

Best wishes on your 50th-----Martin Gamble Sheffield England 

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Aussie Titles 1961/62

Start of Final 1961/62 Australian Championships

     Grids: 1 Des Baily, 2 Trevor Simmons, 3 Mal Pinchbeck, 4 Jeff Harris 5 Ron Ferguson

                                     6 Bob Jenke, 7 Jim Veitch, 8 Kym Murphy

 

 

Up to approx 1959 the original Skid Kid bikes had a big front wheel (normally 27inch or 28inch) and a small back wheel (24inch).

The bikes were mainly girls bikes with a crossbar welded from the head-stem to half way down the seat column. Riders were very proud of their bikes and would save their money to get a new paint job from Ron Clee’s bike shop. One of the most treasured part of the paint job was the hand painted scroll work that Ron was so famous for.

(No stickers or spray cans in those days)

 

At this time in the early 1960s there were about 7 suburban clubs in existence in Adelaide these being Combined Cycle Speedway, Northfield, Kilburn, Edwardstown, South Adelaide, Glenelg & Findon. There were also 5 country clubs:

Port Pirie, Port Lincoln, Broken Hill , Williamstown and Salisbury (Salisbury was a Country town in those days)

 

These clubs were all associated with the South Australian Skid Kid Association which ran a separate meeting schedule to the clubs. The Association held their first meeting in a hall at North Adelaide and then all the meetings were held in the Findon Clubroom as Findon was the only club with clubrooms. (The old temporary house)

 

It was also the early 60’s when the South Australian Skid Kids Association decided to send an Australian Team of 6 riders to England.

There were 7 Clubs operating at the time and 7 riders from each Club were selected to compete in elimination heats at each track. The top 6 riders would make the Team.

I just made it by finishing 6th. Unfortunately they could not raise the money required and the Tour never eventuated. This was the first of a few attempts to go to England.

 

Up to the mid 60’s the Club used to have a Guy Fawkes’ fireworks night on November the 5th every year.

We used to have a huge bonfire with a ‘Guy Fawkes’ sitting on top at the Judith Street end of the area and Mr Sinclair from Sinclair’s Drapery would to have a great variety of fireworks for sale at the track. It was a great night with practically all residents of Reserve Parade getting involved.

One of our Committee members Frank Mayne was a police officer who lived in Reserve Parade. He was a very nice guy but took his job very seriously and was not overly-loved by the residents, especially the teenagers. He used to give the teenagers a hard time so a favourite past-time of all teenagers was to ‘lob’ a ‘tuppenny-bomb’ in his letter box. Needless to say that every year he would remove his letter box from the fence. We then used to chuck them on his verandah! (great echo).

I wonder if we were the reason the Government banned the sale of fireworks????

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FINDON SKID KIDS CHANGED BY LIFE----Des Pearce 

 

At 9 years of age I joined the Northfield Skid Kids but 3 months later it closed.

In 1972 I was a 24 year old sole parent looking for a sport for my 5 year old son Joffre to join when I heard that the Findon Skid Kids were still operating. We ventured down to the track and Joffre was keen to join. After a few weeks he was loving it and I was approached by Mick Harley to take on the Chief Stewards job. As my son and I were enjoying the atmosphere etc I decided to accept the position. This decision is what changed my life.

Being the State Bantom Weight and at that time the State Featherweight and National Silver Medalist Amateur Boxing champion helped me gain respect from the, dare I say,

a bunch of rough headed teenagers who thought I was a lot older than I was.

I was really proud when I was asked to be the Display Manager and Bike Mechanic.

Being the bike mechanic was like a hobby but evolved into my career when Jennifer Tomlinson and I started one of the current leading bicycle retailers JT Cycles on February 28th 1976.

One of the great pleasures I had at the Findon Skid Kids was being appointed their boxing trainer. This built up a special bond amongst the boys and this is where two of the States best boxers started, the late Brian Goodfellow and the larrikin who currently has his own boxing Gym Terry Fox.

On behalf of JT Cycles congratulations Mick and Shirley on an amazing 50 years of great work helping kids from everywhere, including myself.

 

From one of your biggest knockers and biggest admirers.

 

Des Pearce.

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 Port Victoria Friendly Grocer

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A & T Crash Repairs

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SA Team Early 60's 

 

SA Team: Frank Mayne (Manager) Bull Anderson (Assist Manager).

Riders: Colin Deverson, John Sayers, Ashly Martin, Allan Jeffries, Trevor Boxall, Robert Koch, Kym Newbury, Paul Scanlon, Kevin Schultz, Jeff Harris, R Bertelsmere, David Leech.

                     (Racing bibs worn are SASK-South Australian Skid Kids )                        

 

A team of South Australians (mostly Findon riders) competed against Western Australia December 26th 1962 to

January 9th 1963.

The riders had to pay their own way and travelled to Perth by train.

Both Test Teams consisted of 8 riders. There were 3 Test Matches which were all won convincingly by South Australia.

 

WA Track

  The track in Western Australia where the Test Matches were held

 

 

The Association organised the displays in the early days and co-ordinated riders from all clubs to do displays at the Royal Adelaide Show and The Festival of Arts in 1960.

At this time Findon riders rode regularly at other clubs (as well as their own) and were participating in the displays performed by the Association.

 

The Racing Season was from September 1st to June 30th the following year with July and August (winter) being the ‘break months’. There was no break during the Christmas period although we did not race on Christmas Day or New Years day if it fell on a Sunday. At Easter time we would hold a special race meeting on Good Friday for the Channel 7 Easter Appeal and then we had the Easter Cup on Easter Sunday.

 

It was around the late 70’s that we changed to racing all year round, then in 90’s we changed the season from February to December.

 

The 12 hour fund raising marathon was very popular and used to be on the 3rd Saturday of January every year. Riders would get sponsorship for completing the 12 hours and after the Marathon would crash in the Clubrooms for the night.

 

During the 60s we were up and down with attendances but stayed afloat because of a dedicated committee. This was not so for the other clubs as they faded out one by one and by 1962 Findon was the only survivor until 1972 when Salisbury re-started.

Findon’s Display Team had performed at the Salisbury Australia Day Carnival and were approached by the then Mayor of Salisbury Mr Harry Bowie to get a Club operating in the Salisbury area. A past member of Findon and Salisbury Bob Jenke took the reigns and got the club going again.

 

When the State Association disbanded around 1962 the Findon Skid Kids took over the function of performing trick riding displays and added many more stunts to its repertoire.

 

Early Pyramid

 5 bike pyramid----regular practices were held during race meetings 

 

 The Display Team was in great demand for nearly 35 years performing at various Country and Interstate Shows until the 20th September 1997 when it was decided to disband the Display Team due to lack of interest and enthusiasm  from riders. It was a different era, times have changed….Kids now had BMX, Skate Parks, Mountain Bikes and of course, electronic games machines to keep themselves glued to their chairs for hours.  

 

Backward Pyramid

Backward Pyramid at the Royal Adelaide Show

 

In 1965 the Woodville Council was approached to build a toilet block on our area. They agreed and it was soon erected just inside our fence. 

 In future years the Council would argue that it is a Public Toilet and therefore should

be on the playground area so that it could be open during the daytime for all to use .

They relocated our fence so that the toilet was on the playground site.

 

Old Toilet Bloack

Old Toilet Block 

 

racing shot on old track

  Ray Snider leading Claus Maluszczak with Wayne Stanton 3rd

 

Bird Aviary 

Mal O’Dell in 1963-64 in front of  ‘old bird aviary’ 

                        A very young Michael Clee with Chris Blythe behind him on the right.

 

 

In the early 60’s Lloyd Baily donated his old bird aviary to be used as a Judges Box   Commentary area. This was used for a few years before we upgraded to a ‘toolshed’.

 

Cottees Canteen

 

 The Cottees Canteen suffered badly from storms. Quite often we would find it in places that it should not have been. On one occasion it ended up being blown over the fence onto the baseball oval.

 

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Congratulations Findon. 50 Years Not Out. 

 

The many times that I have been to Findon, I have met some incredible people I will not mention names but through them, I had many a good laugh and had cause to raise an eyebrow now and again. Although over the years there were a few improvements, to me it seemed to remain a bit 'Brigadoon' especially through out the race meetings Mick would always play the 'Golden Oldies'. He must have a vast back catalogue of old records.

Keep it up Mick, I am sure that they will be good for another 50 years.

 

All The Very Best---Dave Baxter(Scotland) 

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Ferguson and Murphy racing shot

Ron Ferguson in front of Kym Murphy

 

tool shed

  Mick Harley (on mike)--Darryl Tonkes---Rob Ferguson---Ken Tuckey---

  Rider on far right is George Spear (Father of Jack & Mitchell Spear)

 

In September 1966 the Woodville Council gave permission to build a new judge’s box. We

borrowed $200.00 to purchase a new tool shed.  

Over a couple of weekends the tool shed was converted into a Judges Box. 

 

tool shed 

 

Andrew Grant---John Jesson----Mick Harley

in the Judges Box (Tool Shed) 

 



 

In December 1966 that the committee decided that if the temperature was predicted to be  95°f  (35 c) before 12 noon the race meeting would be cancelled.

This decision did not last long as on most occasions after we had already cancelled the Meeting a cool change would blow through. In the summer we were losing members fast due to this ruling so we changed the ruling so that no race meeting would be cancelled due to heat.

 

If it was very hot we would finish the race meeting early and everyone would head of to the Weir on the River Torrens for a swim.  Trying doing that now-a-days!!!!

 

 

Many Skid Kids would climb to the top of the Weir and jump off.  There were signs forbidding this of course but keeping up the Skid Kid tradition no-one took any notice.

 

 In the mid to late 60’s it was Steve Tonkes, Alan Godden, Brenton Jones,

John Zivanovic, Michael Duffy and Gene Spear who were among the ‘top’ riders.

 

 

 Steve Tonkes and Allan Godden

Steve Tonkes and Allan Godden

 

 

 

Laurie Godden (Alan’s dad), was the club photographer and took some great shots  

during the 60’s.

  

It was around the mid 60’s when we made a decision to change the name of the club to Findon Cycle Speedway.

We kept the name for a ‘couple of years’ before reverting back to Findon Skid Kids as this was the most popular and well known name.

 

In April 1967 the Committee introduced a total ban on smoking by riders, this was strictly enforced. (For a few months anyway)

 

 In June 1967 we had some working bees and completely repainted the clubrooms.

Working bee’s were a necessity and held fairly regular with great roll-ups from the riders.

 

In February 1968 the constitution needed to be redrawn this was done and approved by the committee.

 

In same month Channel 10 came to the club to film footage of the racing and a display to include in their programming.

In the coming years the Skid Kids would be in great demand to appear on TV in kids programs, TV commercials and

current affair programs.

 

In the early years the racing programme was printed via a Fordigraph duplicator with the programme having

to be typed out every week.

In the 1980’s I bought a 2nd hand computer for $2,200 which made life easier.

It was one of the most powerful around with a massive 20 megabytes and DOS! (later upgraded to 30mb)    

 

 Fordigraph duplicated programme

 

  Copy of 1974 ‘Fordigraph’ duplicator programme

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

My Memories------Tammy Clarke

 

Skid Kids for me is like an additional sibling. Your fight with it, love it, hate it and leaves you with lots of memories…So for all that have been involved in the following memories, thanks for them and for all those in a team other than the best team in the sport, Scorpions..too bad for you! 

 

I have some great memories from those display trips. I remember being one of the youngest riders at the Royal Adelaide Show and being both excited and frightened by the fireworks.”Blue, blue.” I had  my little chrome bike and riding over the long jump and listening to all the moaning ‘big lads’ and falling off on the spongiest person closest to the middle of the pack. 

 

I remember the flying foxes and jumping into the Murray and John Kempen throwing up after a long night in the back of the car and of course Wayne Neil laughing hysterically at him whilst he did it. 

 

The earliest road trip I remember was the 1977 trip to Sydney. I was too young (and too female) to go on the tour bus. I was travelling by car with John and Maureen Grant and when we passed the bus all the windows were smothered by bums squished on the bus windows! 

 

Sunday afternoons in the 80’s were fantastic. We used to ride around the track for hours and make up tricks for the display team. The tables lined up in the clubrooms after race meetings and the parents would chat for hours over a beer or two(or four). 

 

I remember the fund raisers; raffles, ladies cakes, phone books, 12 hour marathons, lucky numbers and then there were the cabarets.. 

 

One evening that I can remember quite well was the ‘come in bad taste’ party. We had pregnant nun, baby Azaria and Peter Lowry messing around with a bedsheet and music. Would we expect anything different?? 

 

When the BMX track was built around the Skid Kid track a load of opportunities came my way thanks to the wonderful support of fellow Skid Kid families, namely Des Pearce and Bob Shepard. I was able to travel Australia and then the world. 

 

I have been extremely proud to see that some of our riders have made it internationally and I think that is fantastic. It is especially pleasing to know these riders are fantastic, genuine and down to earth as most Skid Kids are. 

 

The 1987 Cycle Speedway tour to England was brilliant. Memories such as the devil bus and the Ipswich Police station will be fond memories forever. 

 

Fellow Skid Kids would appreciate the lessons learnt from our peers. We were clipped around the ear by the bigger boys when we were out of line and naturally our grade followed on the tradition.  

 

I have to recognise the support and dedication of my mum. She has to be acknowledged for helping to making the Skid Kids a success. She happily took in Skid Kids under her roof for years, isn’t the saying behind every great man there’s a great woman?? 

 

I have made some fantastic friends as a result from Skid Kids both in Australia and in the UK which I would do anything for and appreciate that if I was in trouble I could call these friends and they would be there to help me. How many of these kinds of people do we meet in our lives??? – Once a Skid Kid always a Skid Kid… 

 

Tammy Clarke (Harley) 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 Fire Jump

 

 

In October 1970 it was decided to mix some Kero with the petrol for the fire-jump.

After a couple of jumps the idea was abandoned as riders were being being burnt due to the extreme heat that the kero produced.

 

In 1968 the Display Team went to Edenhope Victoria and it was decided that if any girls were to go they would have to travel in a committee persons car to curtail any disturbance on the bus. After the trip the committee decided that no girls would be allowed to go on display trips any more as there was some trouble at Edenhope.

  

We went on many Country and Interstate Display Trips by coach.

In the very early years we always hired Bulls Buses and later on it was Lewis Brothers Coach Service

 

 

Sydney Display Trip Coach

 

  Sydney Royal Easter Show Display Coach 1973

 

 

Riders would sleep on the floor, in the luggage racks and virtually anywhere where there was a small space.

 

 The older riders would sit down the back of the bus with the eskies and the inevitable ‘initiation’ was carried out with riders being stripped to their jocks and ice poured down the front to ‘preserve’ what they had!  Once a rider was initiated their attitude ‘changed’ and they carried on as though they had been a member of the Club for years!  There was nothing rude about the ceremony as no rider was stripped naked. If a rider insisted that they did not want to take part they were left alone.  But deep down they really wanted to be involved as within 2 trips they would gingerly make their way to the back of the bus to give some cheek to the older riders knowing what the consequence was

 

Riders at the backof the coach

 

                                        Riders at the back of the coach

4 riders at the back: Greg Kittel, Shane Julian, Graham McDonald, Brian Morris

3 front: Greg Moore, Brenton Clarke, Craig Couzner

 

 

Old Clubroom fire

 

Back and side view Photo of the Old Clubroom---(The fire in the foreground is the remains of the 

original canteen which was being demolished to make way for the new brick clubroom.) 

 

In April 1970 the Woodville Council visited all clubs and then decided what repairs needed to be carried out. 

The list for our Clubroom was extensive and expensive so it was moved by  

Mick Harley seconded Mr John Stanton that we approach the Council to borrow money to build new brick clubrooms.  

We were looking at borrowing $6,000 for the new clubroom building. 

Committee Member Bram Pascoe was in constant communication with the Council and in December 1970 plans were submitted to Council for approval. 

We next heard from the Council when a letter arrived in February 1971 stating that whoever is going to erect the building needed to send in new plans to Council ASAP. 

 

The Findon committee decided that a special committee  be set up to concentrate on the new building. the committee were: Jim Bowe, Mick Harley, Allan Taylor,  

Mr. Miles & Ron Jones. 

 

In April the building committee lodged a formal application to the Woodville Council for a $6,000 loan which was approved. The loan was to be repaid over a 10 year period. 

 

In May 1971 the building committee decided to accept the quote from Bram Pascoe to erect the new brick clubrooms

and canteen.  

 

The new clubrooms were opened in November 1972 by Local Member of Parliament, Mr Glenn Broomhill MHR

who was always a great supporter of the club.

 

New Clubroom being built

                                   New clubroom being built

 

 

 

The clubrooms were in constant use with Film Evenings, Bingo, Games Evenings, Boxing etc.

 

The club purchased a 16mm sound projector with a cinemascope lense so that we could have movie nights.

 

We had a huge Cinemascope screen as we painted the whole of the back wall white for use as the screen.

 (A white ‘Holland Blind’ was also purchased to cover the back doors)

 

The projector was placed on the kitchen sink which allowed the picture to fill the whole back wall. It made a

magnificent cinema and we always had the latest movies to show.  

 

In May 1971 The name ‘Findon Skid Kids Display Team’ was registered so that

no-one else could use our name.

 

In June 1971 Deck McLeod recommended that Mick Harley be voted in as permanent “Manager” with duties

to include Handicapping-Announcing-Program management and day to day running of the Club.

This was passed by the Committee.

 

At this time we were performing around 8 Displays per year and the fire jump equipment was in a sad

state of repair and needed attention. The cost of materials to repair the fire jump was $13.20.  

 

In August 71 a special meeting was called to discuss the Constitution and Life Membership.  

Deck McLeod, Mick Harley & John Goodfellow were nominated to redraw the constitution which was

accepted in July 1972.

 

In 1972 it was decided that Life Membership should be governed by length of service and that the period

will be 5 years in total. A rider could leave the club and then return without ‘loss of service’.

 

 



 

 

 Pit Building

 

 

  The first Pit Building which is now fully enclosed



 

 

In 1971 we were successful in obtaining a grant of $3,500 from the State Government to build the much needed Pit Building-Storeroom-Judge’s Box.  

 

 

Not long after the new clubrooms were built Committee member Des Pearce (who was involved with boxing during his youth) suggested that the club join the SA Amateur Boxing Association and have boxing as an adjunct to the racing and Displays.

We were successful in obtaining a Government Grant for $500 to set up the boxing.

 

 



 

 JT Cycles Ad

 

 

 



 

 

We had to get a boxing ring made (which is now the grandstand alongside the clubrooms), drill holes in the new concrete floor for the boxing ring poles and purchase all the boxing gear required. 

 

 

It was very popular for a couple of years with a few Tournaments being held in the Clubrooms and our ‘boxing team’ competing at other clubs.

 

The State Boxing Titles were held under floodlights in the middle of the track. A full size professional boxing ring was hired and chairs put all around the track. It was a very popular boxing meet.

The Skid Kids had a few boxing champions, Terry Fox, Brian Goodfellow, Robert Young, Brian Morris just to name a few.

 

 

Robert Young---Boxing Champion

 

 

Robert Young being congratulated by Allan Taylor (President)

 



 

 Brian Morris--Boxing Champion

 

 

 Brian Morris (on right) --- Boxing Champion (In the clubroom)

 



 

Hobby-Tex tops


 

  Left to right: Graham McDonald, Robert Young, Robert Harley (In the Hobby-Tex tops

 

In the early 1970’s the racing uniform was changed from the long sleeve satin shirts (which were also the Display tops)

to T-Shirts which had the team logo put on the front by Shirley Harley with ‘Hobbytex’

 

It was in 1973 when the 5th team called ‘Firebirds’ was added to the programme.

There were now 5 teams: Falcons, Comets, Sabres, Scorpions and Firebirds.

 

WA Team

 

On the 23rd  January 72 the Australian Skid Kid Titles were held at the Findon track with quite a number of riders

from the Western Australian Skid Kids competing.

 

The Findon Skid Kids were a major force in Wheelchair Basketball from the 1970’s to the 1990’s.

 It all started out ‘making up the numbers’ for the Paraplegic Association.

For a number of years we had two teams competing and won our fair share of Premierships.

 

1973 Aussie Title Winners

1973 Australian    Championships      

                                        Graham McDonald (Open), Joffre Pearce (Midgets) Michael Sims (Junior) 

                                                                     Note WA rider in background 

 

 

The 1973 Australian Championships had four riders from Western Australia return and also 2 expats from

England competing.

 

It was in June 1972 that it was suggested that we have a medal count like the

Magarey Medal with points being allocated to riders as 1-2-3-4, these would be voted on by the Secretary,

Manager and the starter for the Lallyette Watch (now the Harley Medal

 

 

1973 SYDNEY ROYAL EASTER SHOW

 

It was around June in 1972 that we were informed that we had been chosen to appear at the

Sydney Royal Easter Show from 11th to 18th April 1973. This was a great honour and boost to our club.

This was all our dreams coming true.

This was all through the efforts of Club Secretary Deck McLeod and his daughter Mrs Sherry Chapman.

However this meant many long hours of planning for the trip as well as the show performances.

A Sub-Committee was formed to organise the transport to and from the showgrounds as well as where

we were going to stay bearing in mind that the costs had to be kept to a minimum.

Mick Harley was flown to Sydney with his Super 8mm movie camera to film the ‘Baden Powell Scout Centre’

so that our sub-committee had a better idea on accommodation and kitchen set-up etc.

 

 

The NSW Government was contacted and all permits needed were obtained.

Raffles were started to raise spending money for the riders while they were away.

We had a monthly raffle and riders spent every Saturday afternoon going to all the Pubs to sell the tickets.

 

Many Cabarets were also held to raise money.

Everyone in the club worked as a fantastic team to raise the enormous finance needed as the

Sydney Show only covered the huge cost of the Coach for 2 weeks.

The sub committee also arranged for educational trips for the riders.

 

Whilst all this organising and planning was going on the club still functioned as usual.

 

We left for the Sydney Show on 4th April in a Lewis Brothers coach with 5 cars taking the

women and the other committee members.

We were billeted at the Baden Powell Scout Camp some 20 miles out of Sydney.

The accommodation was excellent with 5 separate rooms and good cooking facilities for the

ladies to prepare all the meals (which was no mean feat in itself).

The ladies not only cooked all the meals but also done all the washing and ironing for everyone.  

Just imagine 40 pairs of jeans, 40 Display shirts, 40 T-Shirts etc everyday……and that was just the riders!

 

We had our first Display practice on the arena and all went very well.

We then performed our first Display for the show crowd.  The display was an incredible buzz for all

involved as the crowd of over 40,000 were whistling and cheering the boys on…the noise was incredible.                   

 

It was about 9.30am the next morning when a phone call was received at the camp stating that the riders

could not perform again as they were under age and not allowed by New South Wales law to entertain in public.

This was a terrible shock and required some urgent action as we had all the licences that we needed.

 (So we were told earlier).

Mick spent all day ringing the Prime Minister’s Office and the Premier of NSW to sort this out and just

before they were due to perform at 8pm received clearance to do so. It was very difficult to sort out as there

were no Mobile phones in those days.

 

 In total we performed 8 displays for the captive crowds of an estimated 330,000.  

Every Display was ‘sold out’ and the capacity at the Sydney Showgrounds was around 43,000.

 

 



 

 

Sydney Show Event Board

  Part of Sydney Show crowd with Event Board showing Findon Skid Kids in background

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

Pyramid on HMAS Sydney

  7 Bike Pyramid on the flight deck of HMAS Sydney

 

 

 All members of the Display Team were brilliant whilst on Display. 

They were true circus performers lapping up every minute of the accolades.   

 

Whilst we were in Sydney we also performed a display for the Royal Australian Navy on the Flight Deck of  the

Aircraft Carrier H.M.A.S. Sydney just before it was due to be de-commissioned and sent to the scrap heap. 

 

It was on the 27th August 1973 that the committee decided that there needed to be an Executive Committee

 formed to be a ‘safety net’ to approve/disapprove Committee decisions, this meant that the constitution

would need to be altered to reflect the Executive and its powers.

 

Christmas 1973 saw female riders accepted into the club for the first time and Karen Schoumack

was the first girl to race, she was followed by 11 more in a very short time.

Since then there has always been a very large number of girls competing in the same grades as the boys.

Everyone is equal at Findon.

 

There was great anticipation within the club as once again it was talked about sending a team to England,

but once again a lot of money had to be raised first.

It was1973 and the Committee decided to send a team to England in 1975.

February 1974 was the closing date set for riders that wanted to go.

 

The Club would try and raise as much money as possible to help the riders but

most of the finance would have to be provided by the riders themselves as the club still had to raise finance

to pay off the clubroom.

Meetings were held with riders and their parents to discuss all the aspects of the tour.

Training was held every Thursday evening on an unused dirt area at Smith Motors Port Adelaide.

 

We knew that the British tracks were more of a dirt or clay track as it was often mentioned in

their ‘Spokesman’ magazine. To give our riders a better chance of competing on the same level as the

British for the up-coming tour it was decided to redesign our track to resemble a British one. 

Due to lack of finance this was not carried out.

 

Cabarets and a 12 Hour Marathon were held to raise money for the tour but

in May 1975 the England tour was deferred for 12 months as the needed funds were not raised.

In June 1975 the Tour to England was abandoned and the money in the touring account was used to make

the payment to the local Council on the clubrooms.

 

In April 1974 the club decided to close down the boxing section as interest amongst the members

had declined and not many members were using the equipment or training.

 

It was early 1974 when many discussions took place at Committee Meetings re opening up a

second hand store to raise finances for the club. It was discussed regularly but never carried out.

Like all amateur clubs finances were always very low and new ways to raise money were always

being checked out.

 

 



 

 

Display Trailer

   Robert Young inspecting the bikes on the DisplayTrailer

                                                       (Note the outdoor dunny on the right)

 

The Display Team was increasing its popularity in the 1970’s with many local and Country Displays.

Due to the popularity of the Display Team it was decided to get a large trailer built to transport all the bikes

and fire jump gear etc.

It was a very huge, heavy trailer that used to sway if you went over a certain speed, never-the-less it was very

handy and did a great job.   

 

 

 

Backward pyramid

    Backward Pyramid performing at the Royal Adelaide Show

 

 

 

From the mid 70’s to the early 80’s Brian Hackworth would take his speedboat

on most of the trips that were near the River Murray.  Brian was a very patient person teaching the riders how to ski.

 

 

 

Fie Jump---in he 1960's

  Fire Jump 'Old style' in the 1960's

  Wearing: Jeans, leather jacket, goggles, gloves and scarf

 

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

GENE SPEAR

Being a Skid Kid in the 60’s was fun. The bike you rode to school or around the streets was the same bike you raced

 and also done Displays on. That bike you aquired only required a few modifications and you were ready to race.

Tyres were Dunlop 90’s and the gearing was 46 or 48 on the front with a 22 sprocket on the back. 

Cranks had cotter pins in those days which had to be bashed in tight to hold the pedals on. 

We raced for points on a Sunday and Thursday night and spectator races were very popular to encourage new riders

to come and join. I remember Mick having to take home all the confectionery home as the buildings were not that secure.

He also had to take home all the vinyl records or else they would buckle in the heat of the tin toolshed that was used as a Judges Box.

 If was too hot we would all go to the Weir for a swim and jump off the top of the gates---that was all the rage! I

 have fond memories of the visit from the WA Skid Kids, metal flake paint jobs, hand painted scroll work by Ron Clee, fun races,

12 hour marathons, sidecar racing and shining our spokes with steel wool to look great on Display. 

Displays at the Royal Adelaide Show, Port Lincoln Tunarama, Edenhope Vic just to name a few were more unforgettable memories.   

 We were household names back then 

The Demolitions Derbies were a cracker and to top it off we would do the fire jump in a leather jacket, jeans, goggles and

scarf and no brains. 

Very few trophies in those days, we loved the sashes that were lovingly screen printed by a past Combined Cycle Speedway

rider Max Francis and then Shirley Harley would sew the ‘frilly bits’ on the end. 

The Captains were privileged and had pink sashes presented to them. 

I remember Laurie Godden taking all the photo’s and helping kids out whenever possible. 

Those were the days my friend………….. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

In June 1975 John Grant suggested that we do a ‘Tunnel of Fire’ which would be more spectacular than the Fire Jump. 

The Committee discussed this for a long time before they agreed to trial it. 

It was considered too dangerous as the riders could not see where they were going and there was a very good chance of it blowing up with the containment of the petrol fumes in the tunnel.

 

Tunnel of Fire

The Tunnel of Fire was only perform ed twice (at the track). Robert Harley & Don Morris were the 2 riders

 

 

 

The Findon Skid Kids has become a family over the years, this was evident by the way that the Team Captains and senior riders

looked after the junior riders.  

Bearing in mind that there was no ‘going overboard’ when you were mucking around  or else you got a clip under the ear, not a hard clip,

but enough to make you do what you’re told. Good old fashioned discipline. 

 

In 1975 it was decided that in the interest of safety the rear axle threads must be no longer than 3 threads. 

 

In October 1975  four riders made the trip from Perth to take part in the Australian Championships. The event went off very well

with Craig Couzner being the Australian Champion that year. 

 

Towards the end of 1975  Mick Harley imported the first Swedish ‘knobbly tyres’ (Vanarmo) from England for the riders to try and

these proved very successful. 

Des Pearce who was the owner of Speedway Cycles (Now JT Cycles) decided to import 1,000 tyres and sold them to various

cycle shops. 

 

 

Raising money was still one of the very difficult jobs within the club. We had raffles, movie nights, fashion parades and

 anything else that was thought profitable. 

 

We heard via Solo riders at the old Rowley Park Speedway that Skid Kids were operating in New Zealand.

We gained a contact name and address and agreed to have a tour of New Zealnd. 

November 1976 the tour of New Zealand was bought forward by 12 months and every thing was put into motion to accommodate this.

Parents meetings were arranged, raffles were set up to raise funds as the air fares were $500.00 via Qantas going over &

 Air New Zealand on the return trip. 

Suggestions were made to use the building fund money for the tour but this was over-ruled and once again the

 Tour never eventuated. 

 

 



 

Concreting around the clubroom

Whilst the New Zealand discussion was going on members were completing the laying of concrete around the Clubrooms

 

 

In the 1970’s Jack Pleass was the club’s first ‘Maintenance man’. Jack was there on Mondays cleaning up after the race meeting. 

Towards the end of the 1970’s Jack missed the Sunday meeting due to not feeling well and was on the phone to another

Committee member asking how the meeting went. He was informed that it went well. He said ‘that’s great’

and then died of a heart attack. 

Larry Couzner took over the roll of Maintenance man and continued the roll until the late 80’s when Allan Staunton took over.

Allan is a brilliant handyman and has spent most of his ‘retirement’ days down at the track making improvements to the

buildings and track surrounds. 

 

The club has always been well known for ‘trying new ideas’ and in the mid to late 1970’s purchased a U-Mat

semi-professional video system. (This was before VHS and Beta was released to the consumer market).

All the races were recorded and then replayed at the Chief Stewards request if there was an incident.

Unfortunately, it added at least another 1-2 hours onto the programme as most were not happy with decisions

made and always had requested replay after replay of their incident. 

I think we used this for about 2-3 years before selling it. 

 

 In Sept 1977 the Display Team once again performed at the Royal Adelaide Show doing performances on 3 nights. 

 

A month later we had a display at Waikerie on the long weekend in October and this proved to be excellent weekend

and a great time was had by all. On this first trip to Waikerie we had to sleep in a very large old Bird Hut. 

 It didn’t worry anyone as Skid Kids are used to sleeping on concrete floors etc.  On one trip to Kapunda we slept in a Pig Pen. 

We had to wait until the Show finished and after the pigs moved out we moved in! (Nobody noticed the difference!) 

 

Once again the Display Team was again invited to the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1978.  Unfortunately, due to the

consistent wet weather, we could only put on a couple of Displays as the organisers were running out of time trying to

re-schedule the horse events etc.  The Showground was totally thick with mud with a little horse dung thrown in for good measure! 

We made the best of it and still had a great time once again staying at the Baden Powell Scout Centre. 

 

 



 

  In October 1978 we were successful in obtaining a Government Grant for the ‘new’ Pit Building which was from the back of the clubroom joining up with the ‘old’ Pit Building                                                                            

 

 

New Pit Building

 

                                                     ‘New’ pit building top right of photo

 

 

At this stage the club was in some financial difficulties when Mick and Shirley Harley went guarantors (with their house as collateral)

for a bank loan to tide the club over during this difficult time. 

 

A new track surface was laid with ICI rubble supplied by Quarry Industries.  

Again, the Woodville Council would leave a vibrator roller on the street and Mick Harley would go down each night to soak and

roll the new track under floodlights. 

 

It was in the early 1970’s when the Findon Skid Kids became internationally famous by having a photo of the Pyramid in

Thailand’s ‘Bangkok World’ newspaper. 

 

 



 

 

Bangkok World News Item

 

Thailand’s ‘Bangkok World’ Newspaper clipping

 

 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Memories of the Findon Skid Kids 

Dave Murphy – Welsh Rider and Team Manager 

My own memories of the Findon Skid Kids date back to 1988, when I arrived at eserve Parade as part of the Great Britain and Wales squads for a tour which include the first World Cup to be staged in South Australia. 

My earliest recollections were the close racing, on a superb track, and the friendly atmosphere made possible by the social environment created by the famous Findon clubroom and bar. 

Another clear memory was the impact of seeing so many young riders racing, from tiny tots through to teenagers, which back in 1988 was unseen of in the UK. In fact it was these early visits to South Australia that created the awareness, within our clubs and officials, to pave the way for the now thriving junior race scene in Britain. 

Some very large characters caught my attention in those days, such as the ‘supremo’ Mick Harley, ‘renowned referee’ Trevor Cryer, the ‘larger than life’ Milton Anderson and riders such as Steve ‘Denno’ Denison, crazy man Wayne Neale and the legend that is Neil Toye. 

One other immortal character, who sadly lost his life only weeks after that first visit, was Peter Lowry who entertained us all the way from the track with is regular visits and original ‘performances’ at the camp site. 

I have been privileged to visit South Australia, and the Findon Skid Kids regularly since that first tour (about 11 times in total) and it has been a joy to see the club and the facilities grow in stature during that time thanks to the efforts of Mick and Allan Staunton among others. 

I would like to congratulate everyone at Reserve Parade, on this anniversary, and wish tham all the very best in the future…..when I hope to visit again and sample the very atmosphere that is ‘The Findon Skid Kids’. 

 

Have a good one! - Dave 

 

 

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 



 

 

AUSTRALIA versus GREAT BRITAIN 

                                                                                                               A letter from Rod Witham 

 

The first ever Australia versus Great Britain test match at Reserve Parade, Findon on 28 February 1981 was a milestone in cycle speedway history.  After years of planning, the dream of test matches between two of the world’s greatest sporting nations became a reality and international cycle speedway truly was born. 

 

In this special feature, one of the men involved in that historic 1981 Tour Down Under, Rod Witham, reflects on this momentous occasion – and what is still  the biggest event on the international calendar – 

 

When I first took up the sport in the early Sixties, I was vaguely aware that cycle speedway existed in Australia.  For some reason, Australia has always fascinated me.  I can recall I did a project on Australia at school.  Perhaps it was that research that kindled a fondness; perhaps it was the exotic wildlife and plants, perhaps it was the furthest flung place on earth – or perhaps it was simply that my schoolboy hero, Aub Lawson, the tough, uncompromising captain of Norwich Stars speedway was Australian.  Whatever it was, Australia always fascinated me. 

 

I enjoyed my racing days but the older I got, the more weary my legs became and, after most matches, my digestive system was reversing with increasingly regularity – so I became more and more involved in the sport’s administration.  In 1975, I was elected to serve on the then Cycle Speedway Council at the tender age of 27. 

 

On 13 September 1978 I wrote a speculative letter to one Mick Harley asking if cycle speedway still existed in Australia, optimistically suggesting that if it did, we could send a team Down Under.  To my amazement, several weeks later I received a reply. 

 

Mick and I became kindred spirits.  Here was someone 10,000 miles away who I had never met but someone who shared my passion for cycle speedway, someone who shared the dream of an Australia versus Great Britain series. 

 

Mick and I talked constantly on the phone.  Luckily, in those days, he worked for Australia Telecom and the calls were, well, let’s say - cheap!  Eventually a video tape, virtually unheard of in those days, arrived.  Unfortunately it was in unusual format and we had great difficulty finding a compatible machine that would play the tape. 

 

I can still feel the excitement of seeing that grainy black and white film for the very first time.   What a shock!   Aussie cycle speedway was so different!  The bikes had old-fashioned cow-horn handlebars, riders wore helmets (unheard of in this country in those days) and sleeveless t-shirts - and horror upon horror, they started races from some metal contraption that collapsed into the ground. 

 

Some colleagues on the Cycle Speedway Council were not impressed.  To say their reaction was lukewarm is an under-statement.  In some instances, it was downright hostile.  Suddenly Australia versus Great Britain seemed as far away as ever.  But thankfully some, including Mike Hack and Graham Sutton, saw the potential.  (Graham in particular was very supportive and was to become key to the preparation and the Tour itself). Undeterred by the sceptics we pressed on. 

 

With the help of Len Unwin at British Cycling, the Cycle Speedway Council applied to the Sports Council for an international grant.  To everyone’s great surprise, the grants award body liked the idea and Graham and I were invited to go to London to present our case.  It was nerve racking but it went well.  We had a good feeling in our stomachs.  Suddenly Australia v Great Britain might be, just might be, back on track. 

 

Imagine my surprise and excitement when a few days later a letter arrived advising that the Sports Council was willing to meet three-quarters of the cost to a maximum of £10,000 - a fortune in those days. 

 

But there was still much to do.  These were not affluent times.  Despite the grant, riders and officials would still have to make a significant contribution to their air fares, accommodation costs and living expenses.  Could people afford it, would riders volunteer, how would we pick the team, how would we fund transporting the bikes halfway round the World, how would we clothe and equip the teams, where would we stay, how would we travel in Australia?  There were endless questions and few answers. 

 

 

 

 

But gradually it all came together.  We approached British Airways who came up with one of cycle speedway’s biggest ever sponsorship packages.  Not only did Britain’s favourite airline equip the squad with those familiar red, white and blue race jerseys and track suits but they came up with special transit arrangements (in effect giving us all an increased weight allowance) which meant that every rider could take his own bike and a couple of spare wheels. 

 

Meanwhile, 12,000 miles away, the Aussies were busy organising accommodation at Sempahore Van Park, arranging a fleet of mini-buses, pleading with local businesses to supply food and rations, organising sponsors, arranging television coverage.  It was a mammoth effort. 

 

Back in the UK controversy was brewing.  Conscious that this was as much a diplomatic mission as it was a competitive tour, the British selectors gave priority to social responsibility in preference to racing ability.  As a consequence some household cycle speedway names were left out – a difficult and for some disappointing decision that still rankles over 25 years later. 

 

Team building was important.  We got together several times pre-tour including training at Turbary Park near Bournemouth and a uniform fitting session at a hotel in West Bromwich.  The Turbary preparation was particularly important as few of us had raced on tarmac before and with three of the seven test matches planned for the Salisbury bitumen, we had to be prepared. 

 

After what seemed months of preparation, we excitedly gathered at Heathrow Airport on 22 February 1981.  Cycle speedway’s biggest ever adventure was about to begin. 

 

Over 30 hours later we finally arrived in Adelaide via Melbourne – and what a greeting awaited us.  There were scores of Aussies waiting to meet us on the tarmac.  It was an historic occasion.  It was an emotional occasion.  I shook Mick Harley’s hand for the first time. 

 

Gabby Cua, Findon’s bubbly public relations officer, who Graham and I had also communicated with in the weeks leading up to the tour, was also there to greet us and in true Aussie style uttered welcoming six words that will live with me forever. 

 

“Stiff shit – you made it then!” 

 

After a period of acclimatisation, Sunday 28 February arrived – the day of the first test at the Findon raceway on Reserve Parade.  It was a tense affair.  I can remember so clearly standing on the centre green, alongside Roger Ellis, for the pre-match parade, marvelling at the occasion in awe and almost disbelief. 

 

As the national anthems rang out, Roger turned and whispered to me - “I feel sick.  I’ve never been so nervous in my life” he confided. 

 

It was quite a statement coming from a hard man who had been British champion and had competed in and won countless individual and team finals in his glittering career. 

 

The match was a cracker.  The Lions won 87-90 in a last heat decider but somehow, years on, the result was almost incidental.  Dreams had become reality.  Australia versus Great Britain had become a reality.  More importantly friendships had been forged that would last a lifetime.   

 

The memories of 1981 will never leave me.  The reception, hospitality and warmth of the Aussie people will never be forgotten.   

 

To all my friends at Findon and those I have yet to meet, congratulations on a wonderful achievement and 50 glorious years.  Thoroughly enjoy your Golden Jubilee – I’ll be thinking of you all. 

 

Rod Witham 

 

 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 



 

 

Rod Witham's Letter

 

 

A letter dated 13th September 1978 was received by Mick Harley from Rod Witham of the British Cycle Speedway to see

if the sport was operating in Australia. 

What a surprise this was!  

It was suggested by Rod that they would try and organise a Tour Down Under for a  British Lions v   Australia Test Matches.

After all these years of trying to organise an International competition it looks like it might come true.      

                                     

 

England were insisting on no more than four on the gate which was different to our usual 8 on the gate but it was decided to

agree with the Brits.

 

As they were competing under the Australian rules of racing we posted to them a copy of the Australian rules and surprisingly

they were practically identical. 

 

Gabrielle Cua was the Club PR person and achieved the impossible…… 

we were very lucky to obtain sponsorship from City Mazda. They sponsored the event for $1,500.

The Gold Rose-bowl for first place was approx $900 and it was won by Phil Pilbrow from the Norwich club in England. 

Gabrielle also secured Channel 9 to film the World Masters (now the World Individual) and this was shown on

 Ken Cunningham’s very popular one hour sport special “KG’s Sport Show” 

 

Pip Serbert from Halifax in England was selected in that first British team and decided, along with Josh Gleave,

to come to Australia in 1980 to see what it is like. 

 

On 24th February 1981, the English Team arrived at Adelaide Airport via Melbourne.  

The team consisted of 11 Riders and two officials plus others.  

The main party of the Great Britain Team stayed at the Fort Glanville Caravan Park. 

Gabrielle done a magnificent job organising the Findon Committee to pick up the riders and baggage from the

airport and stock their caravans up with food to get them started. 

There were 7 Test Matches and the World Masters Individual plus other ‘smaller events’. 

Findon’s President Brian Hackworth had the unenviable job of Refereeing all the Test Matches and World Masters

but all agreed that he’d done a magnificent job. 

Australia’s first Team Manager was Dean Miller who also done an exceptional job. 

 Great Britain Team

 

 

1981 GREAT BRITAIN 

Left to right: (back Row) Graham Sutton, Alan Coz, John Vallis, Roger Ellis,

Phil Pilbrow, Pip Serbert, Martin Gamble, Dave Blinston.

Front Row: Mike Hack, Colin Sutton, Geoff Patman, Ian Gill, Rod Witham

 

 

Australian Team

 

1981 AUSTRALIA  

Back Row: Joffre Pearce, Gavin Nugent, John Navarro, Peter Lowry

Middle: Dean Miller, Ian Taylor, Craig Couzner, John Palmieri, Garry Carruthers, Neil Toye

Front: Des Pearce, Trevor Shepard

 

 

 



 

 

Although Australia lost the ‘Ashes’, the Tour was a great success with many lasting friendships forged.

In appreciation the Great Britain Team organised and presented Mick Harley with personalised South Australian

Car registration plates “ FSK-001” which is now on the clubroom wall as part of our history.

 

There were many ‘after race meeting’ parties held in the clubrooms with a few tables buckling under the weight

of Roger Ellis and the British Team who was showing everyone how to do the ‘Table-Dance’ followed by his

 now famous rendition of   Oggi-Oggi-Oggi. (Australia have now changed this to Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!)

 

Dancing on tables during tour

                             Great Britain riders at one of the many Tour Farewell Nights (possibly 1985)

 

It was during this 1981 Tour that the International Cycle Speedway Federation was formed. It was decided to hold the Internationals every two years alternating between Australia and England so the next International was set for England in 1983. 

 

A lot was learned from the 1981 Tour and after the tourists left our shores it was decided to build a new International Track to give our riders the best opportunity  of winning in 1983 on their tour of England. It would also help our Team be more competitive in the 1985 Test Series back in Adelaide.

 

In September 1981 a League competition was set up with the following teams: Rams, Lions, Panthers and Foxes. League racing started out on Sundays but was unpopular so it was moved to Wednesday nights. The league was wound up due to lack of interest in July 1982.

 

In November 1981 Rod Witham advised the tentative dates for the 1983 tour and in December we received a proposed itinerary for the tour. Air fare prices were checked and all preparation was made to send a 10 man team.

 

A ‘Woolshed’ shindig was held at Adelaide Wool Company and this turned out to be one of the best events of its type ever held by the club.

 

The sport of BMX was becoming increasingly popular and in April of the Skid Kid track. The idea was to try and recruit some of the BMX’ers to race Cycle Speedway as well.

 

The opening day for the Findon Skid Kids BMX was set for July 10th 1982

and the new International size Skid Kid track was also built in this year.

 

Some of the BMX’ers raced both BMX and Cycle Speedway.

The newly formed Findon BMX Committee put forward for the Skid Kids to race on Friday nights and for BMX to race on Sundays. This request was rejected as Sunday has always been ‘Skid Kid’ day. The Official Race Day for the BMX was set at Friday nights.

 

It was an eye opener for the Skid Kid people in the way that BMX operated.  

Very few BMXers would compete if there were no trophies or ribbons to be won.

Many phone calls were received every week asking how big the trophies were!

The annual income from BMX was the same as the annual expenditure.

 

There was conflict between the Skid Kid faction and the BMX faction regarding the 1983 tour to England with the BMXers saying that there are only 3 riders going and 4 were needed to make a team. Neil Toye, Ian Taylor and Steve Denison had already confirmed that they would be going so Mick Harley approached Wayne Neale to go and offered to pay half of his airfare. Wayne agreed and the Team was set.1982 the club decided to build a track around the outside

 

 



 

 

Australian Team 1983

 

                                       Wayne Neale, Neil Toye, Ian Taylor, Steve Denison, Mick Harley (front)

 

 

The first Australian Team that left for England was Stephen Dennison, Neil Toye,

Ian Taylor, Wayne Neale and Mick Harley as Team Manager.

They left Australia 18th July 1983, arrived in England and toured the country for 3 weeks,

 racing and socialising with the English riders and host clubs.

Mick Harley phoned Barbara and Gabriel Cua to see if they could freight his ‘very heavy’ video camera to England.  

Surprise, surprise….they both caught the first plane to England and brought the camera with them!!

Rod Witham was brilliant organising transport and accommodation for the Aussies and the

late Dave Blinston drove them all over England to the various clubs.

 

In the very first World Cup the team proudly represented Australia and rode well.

Stephen Denison could not participate as he had a badly sprained ankle from a nasty fall during a

race meeting at Newport in Wales. Wayne Neale had a broken thumb.

As 4 riders were required to make a team Ian Taylor, Neil Toye and Wayne Neale had to double up on races.

(Wayne cut the plaster off his thumb so that he could race)

The tour was a great success and England stated they would tour Australia again in 1985.   

After all the attempts to get a team to England and a lot of hard work the International’s were

 now firmly on the calendar every two years.

 

It was around this time that the committee received a letter from the Woodville Council recommending

that we start making monthly payments of $75 towards the Clubroom Building loan.  

The loan (with interest) had blown out considerably.

It was suggested that the Club make enquiries about delivering the white and yellow pages (phone books)

as we had heard that a lot of money could be made although it would be very hard work.

  

On the 1st Jan 1984 it was announced that the 1983 Australian Team that toured England had been

awarded the British Cycle Speedway’s ‘Wilkinson Sword’ Award,

This coveted award is presented to the person or persons doing the most for the sport in English Cycle Speedway.

 

 



 

 

Neil Toye

 

 



 

                                           The ‘Legend’ Neil Toye 

The name Neil Toye would be one of the most recognisable names throughout 

the World of Cycle Speedway. He has been a member of practically all the Australian Teams and has Captained the Australian Team on most occasions. He has been a member of the Findon club since 1973 and was one of the main stays of the Display Team.  

 

 

 



 

 

In March 1984 a working bee was held to repair the track drainage. New drainage pipes were laid on the corners and straights and are still working great today. Even with a heavy downpour it does not take long for the track to dry out.

(Unlike many riders after a Cabaret)

 

June saw the club submit a tender to deliver the phone books, if we get the tender this will prove to be a challenge for the club to get the deliveries out on time.

 

The BMX part of the Club was not working out as expected.  Neighbours were constantly complaining about the noise and dust from the track.

The Club was not making any money from the BMX as all the riders fees went back to the riders in trophies and ribbons etc. It was also dividing the Club and a hard decision had to be made.

 

After a heated debate at the committee meeting on the 24th July 1984 Committee Members voted (by the narrow margin of 7-6) to cease BMX racing.  

This bought about some committee members resigning on the spot but the club survived. It was decided to close the BMX club down in 4 weeks time, but, at the following BMX race Meeting the BMX committee cut the race meeting short so that a ‘riders meeting’ could be held to inform them that this would be the last night.

 

It as was around this time that the club was informed that they had won the tender to deliver the phone books at 20c per book for the White Pages and then Yellow pages earns the club a total of $8,800.

Without the BMX members it was going to put a strain on the Skid Kids to deliver over 22,000 White Pages in July followed by the same number of Yellow Pages in September.  If the books were delivered within 7 days the Club would get a bonus.

 In July the 22,000 white pages arrived and were very kindly stored by Phil Cua in his factory at Flinders Park. Needless to say that his factory was ‘chockers’ with pallets of phone books. Everyone put their heart and soul into delivering the books. They knew that this was an excellent opportunity to get the Club back on it’s feet financially. 

 

Teams were organised and given their rounds to do. Each round had approx 2,000 delivery points. Some members took a week off from work. Once a team completed their round it was ‘all in’ to help someone else finish their round.

 

The books were all delivered with the 7 days to get the bonus.  September came around too quickly and it was time to do the Yellow Pages…….The teams got stuck into it again and finished within the 7 days.

 

Mick Harley had a meeting with the Woodville Council and an agreement was made to pay $8000-00 to finalise the payment of the Clubroom.  

The Clubroom was finally ours!

The Club delivered the phone books for a ‘few’ years which raised a considerable amount of money.

 

 

 



 

Trevor Cryer and Des Pearce

 

 



 

Trevor Cryer presenting Des Pearce with his Life Membership

 

 



 

 

Barbara and Milton Hoppo


 

 Barbara and Milton Hoppo at Fancy Dress Fundraiser

 

 



 

 

Peter Lowry

  Peter Lowry Hamming it up at Cabaret

 

 



 

 

Throughout the 1970’s into the 1980’s regular Cabarets were held with various themes which included bad taste, fancy dress and country & western just to name a few.

They were great nights and well attended with the function finishing around 3am and then some of the patrons would sleep in their car before heading off home in the morning (or afternoon).

 

 



 

 

Wrestling in Clubroom

 

 Wrestlemania in the clubroom

 

 

Another fundraising highlight was the two Wrestlemania nights that were held in the 1980’s. All the senior riders were involved and had many practice nights prior to the main event. To what I am told more beer was bought at the practice nights than on the actual Wrestlemania nights!

 

It is now August 1984 and the preparations for the 1985 British Tour of Australia in February were progressing.

 After a race meeting a rider stated that we needed a safety fence around the track like the English Tracks have.  After some discussion enquires were made and a price of $1,700-00  was obtained for the complete fence .  Trevor Spencer suggested that we try to sell the individual panels to pay for the fence.

Committee members bought panels, riders bought panels and members went out and sold panels. In fact, the panels were oversold before the fence was to be erected.

 

In October 1984 Trevor Cryer and Mick Harley approached the Woodville Council to see about getting them to remove the BMX track as the British arrival date was just over 3 months away and we were hoping to have the area looking like a Cycle Speedway complex.

The Council was receptive but needed to put it to one of their committees for approval.

Council approved the landscaping of the area and they hoped to have it started before Christmas but unfortunately this did not happen.

 

 

In January 1985 a working bee commenced to remove the railway sleepers from the starting area of the BMX track. Milton Anderson had to stop as he was unwell and the other members finished shifting all the sleepers. On the Monday he was admitted to the QEH with a heart attack...

Roger Lewis had to go to the QEH Emergency after the chain saw he was using to cut through the railway sleepers slipped and went straight into his thigh.  It took many stitches to sew him back together again.

 

Late in January 1985 the local Council came in and bulldozed the area, and, at our request, built the viewing mound on the first bend. They did an excellent job reshaping the area.

Lights were no longer needed for the BMX so we had to relocate all the floodlight poles around the new Cycle Speedway track. (except for the one next to the clubrooms and the one that goes through the Judges Box eaves.)

 

A team of ‘trench diggers’ was organised so that Neil Toye could lay underground cabling for the rewiring of the lights, public Address system and starting gates.

As soon as the rewiring was completed we were asked by the Council Supervisor to get in touch with Ann Rodden who was the head gardener for the Council.

 

Arrangements were made for Milton Anderson to meet Ann where he outlined what we needed to be done. Final levelling and ground preparation for lawn coverage of the whole area and other smaller things had to be done.

Ann replied that there was no way we would get anything like that done especially in the time span stated.

Milton told her to go and see John. Anne said “John who?”  “John Dyer the Mayor” was the reply. Ann got back to Milton the next day and said that John Dyer said to get it all done.

 

When the grass laying started things moved slowly, so we asked Ann if it would hurry things up if her people removed the turf and our people layed it, she replied that she might get it all done in time then.  

 

The turf  was coming from the Adelaide Oval straight after a One Day Match between Australia and the West Indies. We now have ‘pedigree’ grass!

 

The committee arranged for members to come in to lay the turf which came in all shapes and sizes and was pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. The whole spectator area was to be done!

Members came in before work, after work, and at night to get the turf laid.  

Late on the Friday afternoon 3 truck loads of turf arrived and we had no way of getting it into place on the Friday.  When Mick had the riders on Parade on the Sunday afternoon instead of dispersing the parade he told them to jump the safety fence and start laying the grass. This was done under the supervision of Steve Denison who had been coming in at 8am after working nightshift each day to lay sod.

 

 

 

 

Milton asked the Supervisor if the track could be graded and the road from the footpath to the clubrooms be upgraded.  In a couple of hours we had a grader-truck- front end loader and road roller with 6 men to get the job done. While the grader was here the track was also graded as requested.

 

The Committee  decided that we could bitumen this area.  It was organised that some members would pick up the bitumen in trailers with other members at the track to spread it but this did not eventuate.

Two committee members arrived back to the track with the first load only to find nobody there and no 2nd load . At this time the Council Supervisor arrived.  Seeing the situation and knowing Milton’s heart condition he arranges for a gang of men and a heavy roller to finish the job. The finished job looked great.

 

In early February 85 the Fencing was being erected around track, some difficulty was experienced until Alan Staunton and Wayne Neale came to our aid. They erected three quarters of the fence in the same time we had taken to do a quarter.

The clubrooms were painted inside and out and when the Great Britain team arrived for the Internationals mid February it was all nice and green around the track, very impressive indeed.

The final result of the series was Great Britain 6 Australia 0. Test Match No4 was held at Saddleworth where we had the ‘Pig Pen Corner’.

Jimmy Varnish from Great Britain took out the World Masters and the tourists went home declaring that they would be back as Australia was such a wonderful place.

 

The Tour was a great success but the club lost out financially with Mick and Shirley Harley taking out a $4,000 loan to cover the existing debts. Their house was the collateral.

 

In 1985 we were contacted and advised that the Gosnells Skid Kids in Perth were having internal troubles with Rules etc. Findon decided to pay $700-00 for

Trevor Cryer to go to Perth to assist them and go through the rules and so on in the hope that the club would survive and expand the sport in Western Australia.

Trevor made the weekend trip and reported that 56 riders and 60 parents were present at the meeting. Unfortunately the club never reached any great heights before closing.

 

Back at Findon families were continuing the tradition of staying back for a drink after the race meeting. To further encourage this our ladies would prepare Tea which was for sale at a very cheap price.  

The meals were varied with fish, steak, snags etc being served along with mashed potato and other goodies just the same as a hotel meal. Remember that these ladies also ran the Canteen/kitchen during the race meeting prior to tea time!

 

In 1986 the Display Team performed at the very first Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

Riders were given special passes which they used to gain entry into the Pits and mix with the world renowned drivers such as Ayrton Senna. They got to touch the cars and get autographs from their hero’s.

Neil Toye performed the Long Jump for the Guiness Book of Records and cleared 19feet 4 ½ inches on Bartells Road. It was also the only time that we put up a 9 bike Pyramid

In May 1986 Dino’s Dial a Pizza sponsored the Display Team and provided them with a ghastly coloured uniform. This only lasted for a short while.

 

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s ‘Life Be In It’ used to hold ‘Come and Try’ weekends at Bonython Park and they paid the Skid Kids to do the Security for the weekend.

We had a caravan on site and a ‘few’ people would take it in turns sleeping there and patrolling the area each hour keeping their eye on the various marquees that were erected in readiness for the Sunday ‘Come and Try’ day.

A week before the ‘Come and try’ in 1989 I was seriously burnt (40%) carrying burning fat out of my house so it would not catch fire. I was rushed to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where I stayed for a ‘few weeks’. On the Saturday of the ‘Come and Try’ weekend I jokingly said to the Dr that I had to be there the next day, to my surprise he said that it would be okay for a couple of hours so there I was bandaged up like a Mummy at Bonython Park for 2 hours.

 

In the 1984 it was decided to reduce the teams from 5 to 3.  The Firebirds had existed for only the past 10 years so it was easy to let go of that name.  Not so easy to get rid of the Falcons, Scorpions, Sabres or Comets which were the original teams so the only way out was to have 3 new teams…..Rams, Panthers and Lions.  

Five years later in 1989 it was decided that we should revert back to the original teams: Falcons, Sabres and Scorpions and use the name Comets for the League and Interclub team.

 

Mrs Ethel (Nanna) Harley was constantly working in the Canteen up until she was about 80 years old and was ‘nanna’ to many of the youngsters who loved her dearly.

She was passionate about the club and lived in Reserve Parade until she passed away in 2002.

 

In 1987 about 42 Aussies made the trip to England for the International Series. The team was all Findon except for Darren Ross of Salisbury.

The group toured all over England and whilst in Lowestoft were invited to be shown over England’s 1988 Bi-Centennial gift to Australia “The Young Endeavour” sailing ship which was being built there. We were the first Aussies on the ship except for some of the original crew!

 

We had a junior team lead by Team Manager Brenton Fraser who were the first to compete against Great Britain in a Junior Test Series. The team didn’t win any of the Test Matches but were extremely competitive and everyone was very proud of their effort.

The Team members made some great British friends and the Australian Team had its first female International rider Megan Rufus who showed the Young England team that it wasn’t just the boys who could ‘kick butt’! The youngsters came back to Australia with new skills, manoeuvres and plenty of lasting memories.

Due to the small number of Senior riders they only competed in the World Cup.

 

The Internationals returned to Adelaide in November 1988 instead of Feb 1989 to celebrate Australia’s Bi-Centennial. Once again the ‘Poms’ were victorious but the Aussies are learning and closing the points gap with every International.   

 

In 1990 Mick Harley and Milton Anderson joined an organisation that was applying for a Community Television Licence. After a few years the licence was granted and the Skid Kids & Cycle Speedway 1 hour TV show was on the air every Thursday and Sunday nights.  The show ran for a number of years and was the most popular TV show on the Community Channel.  

 

In 1990 we installed an electronic timer to replace the old stop watch timing.

 

In 1990 Pete Barnes from the Poole club in England started organising unofficial tours to Adelaide. (We called  them “Rebel Tours’ after the World Series Cricket competition of the 1970’s.)

These ‘Tours’ were not only a great opportunity for the ‘Poms’ to come to Australia for a holiday but also presented a great opportunity for the Aussie riders to gain more experience. It also gave us a great opportunity to have a party!

 

It’s 1991 and once again it’s time to get a team to England. It’s a small party with 3 Junior riders and 3 Seniors. As the World Cup is a 4 man team event the Juniors were allowed to ‘double up’ on their rides. (No longer allowed in International competition).

One Junior was also required to race in the Senior World Cup to make up the numbers.

 

In 1993 The Internationals were back in Adelaide and Australia won a Test Match for the first time against Great Britain.

 

It was in the early 1990’s that Findon started a Division 1 League in which riders from all clubs were invited to join.

The riders were put into teams to make the teams even so that the competition would be exciting and interesting.  The racing was very spectacular and aggressive with many a rider being ‘put into’ or ‘put over the fence’. Quite a ‘few’ of these incidents appearing on the ‘Pile-Ups and Prangs’ video that was shown on ACE TV.

The Teams were the Aces, Coca-Cola Comets and the Mars Injectors. They did not represent any club.

The League was very successful and after a few years control of the League was transferred to the Cycle Speedway Council.

 

The Junior Tour of Great Britain and Poland in 1995 was made up riders from Findon, Salisbury and Le Fevre.

The riders were determined to win and trained together for about 18 months prior to departure.  All riders would be involved in fundraising events that were organised by a special subcommittee of parents.

By being together for a lengthy period of time the riders got to know each other better and new friendships were forged.

 

 



 

 

1995 Junior Team

 

1995 Australian Junior Team 

Back Row: David Cowburn (Salisbury), Ray Menadue (Findon) Mick Harley (Team Manager) 

                   Robert Dutton (Salisbury), Matt Smith (Le Fevre), Damien Villadsen (Findon) 

Front Row: Aaron Sweetman (Capt. Findon), Matt Gentle (Findon) Paul Remphrey (Le Fevre) 

                   Lincoln Till (Findon), David Dissel (Salisbury) 

 

 



 

 

The Juniors won the Junior World Cup for the first time and also won the

Great Britain v Australia Junior Test Match Series 4-1

It was a very hectic tour and the team became a close family. They were all magnificent and you couldn’t help being very proud of them.

The team kept up the Aussie tradition when they went to two swimming pools (Ipswich and Poole) and was evicted from both. At the Ipswich outdoor pool it was Team Captain Aaron Sweetman who gained all the attention with a great ‘Soo-ie’ from the top tower, needless to say that in no time flat we were all on the footpath trying to get changed!

After the racing in England the majority of the team came home leaving four riders who went on to race in Poland. That was an eye opener with the Polish riders racing on very strange bikes. The racing was extremely competitive and the Aussies gained a great deal of respect and admiration from everyone for their aggressive but fair racing style. On our return many Aussies were asking the question Why go to Poland?

 

The next year (1996) the senior team went to England and then on to Poland and they had a ball (and plenty of vodka) at Rawicz with Andre (Rawicz Manager) and the Poms. Poland is now firmly on the agenda for every overseas trip.

 

The success of the 1995 Junior Team in England was the start of a new and exciting International era for the Aussies.

 

 



 

 Toilet block new

 

 



 

 

It was about 1995 when it was suggested that we approach Council for a new change room/toilet facility which they agreed to finance.

They incorporated the old toilet block into the new design which has all the amenities that you could wish for. 

The old female toilet block became part of the gents toilet and a new section featuring the new female toilets, a disabled persons toilet with shower, and the large change rooms/showers was added onto the building.

It was officially opened in 1997 by Mayor John Dyer who was a very staunch supporter of the club.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the club was fortunate to have local Councillors Tolley Wasylenko and Julie Duncan who organised Council to erect the Clubroom verandah and Pit Pergola.

 

 



 

 

Little League Pemiers

 

 



 

 The late 1990’s saw the start of Findon’s Little League which is for riders on 20inch wheels and pitches

the Falcons, Sabres and Scorpions against each other.The Little League is still very popular today. 

 

 

 



 

 

Matt Gentle

 

 



 

 

Matt Gentle is another rider who has been loyal to Findon for 20 years. 

He has represented Australia in many Internationals at both Junior and Senior level 

and was a member of the 1995 Junior Team that Toured England. 

Matt was also a member of the Junior team that retained the 

World Cup in 1997 held in Adelaide  . 

 

 

 



 

 

History was made in 1997 when the Internationals came back to Adelaide.

The Senior Australian Team under the guidance of John Palmieri won the

Test Match ‘Ashes’ Series against Great Britain for the first time.

The Aussies won the first three Matches, No4 was a draw and the British Lions

won Match No5. By 1 point. It was a great Series for the Aussies.

The team finished second in the World Cup going down by only 1 point.

The Aussie Juniors retained the Junior World Cup but lost the Test Match Series

 

 

 



 

 

1997 Senior Team

 

The victorious 1997 Senior Test Team 

Back Row: Lincoln Till (Findon), Brad Hoppo (Salisbury), Mark Fraser (Findon) 

John Palmieri (Team Manager), Tony Herd (Salisbury), Craig Staunton (Findon) Neil Toye (Findon) 

Front Row: Aaron Sweetman (Findon), Paul Remphrey (Le Fevre), Adrian Hammer(Findon) 

                     Matt Gentle (Findon), David Dissel (Salisbury), Jason Hicks (Findon) 

                          (not in photo: Jason Jesson & Ray Menadue both Findon) 

 

 

 



 

 

1997 Junior World Cup Team

 

 



 

 

1997 Aussie Junior World Cup Champions: 

Back Row:  Bradd Harris (Findon)  Brian Herd (Team Manager)  Paul Remphrey (Le Fevre) 

Front Row:  Peter Athans (Sponsor) David Dissel (Salisbury) Matt Gentle (Capt. Findon) Jason Jesson (Findon

 

 

 

The older members of the club all got together in 1998 to organise a Full Monty fundraising ‘Ladies Night’ in the clubrooms.

The clubroom was full and no barman could make the drinks fast enough.

The only males allowed were the performers and waiters. The waiters were the senior riders ‘dressed’ only in a loin cloth. The performers were also senior riders and a couple of ‘past’ members.

 

 



 

Full Monty

 

 



 

The 1999 Findon Skid Kids Full Monty Team

 

The night was so successful they done it again in 1999.

 

In 1999 only a small Senior team made it to England and Poland for the Internationals.

 

John Palmieri and his Senior Team retained the Ashes in a great Series at the Adelaide 2001 Internationals.

Australia and Great Britain were tied up on 2 wins each going into the 5th and final Test

which the Aussies won by 10 points retaining the Ashes by winning the Series 3-2

Once again the World Cup eludes the unlucky Aussies.

 

In 2003 it was once again only a small team of Aussies that could afford to make the trip to England and Poland for the Internationals.

Two of the Aussies, Joe Clarke (Findon Junior) and Daniel Pudney (Le Fevre Senior) were going great guns in the World Individuals and were unlucky not to be on the podium for the presentations.

 

 



 

 

At the 2005 World Championships held in Adelaide Great Britain Won both the Senior and Junior Test Series with England winning the Senior World Cup.

The Australian Junior Team won the World Cup for the third time.

Australians took out the World Individual double with Joe Clarke (Findon) winning the Junior World Championship and Daniel Pudney (Le Fevre) taking out the Senior World Individual

 

 

2005 Junior World Cup Champions

 

 

2005 Aussie Junior World Cup Champions:

Back Row: Mitchell Spear (Findon) Mick Harley (Team Manager) Ryan Edson (Salisbury) 

Front Row: Lennon Spear (Findon) Josh Ison (Capt. Salisbury) Peter Savage (Salisbury) 

 

 



 

 

Joe Clarke & Daniel Pudney World Champions

   Joe Clarke (Under 18)  & Daniel Pudney (Senior) World Individual Champions

 

 

 

 



 

In 2007 Australia had a Junior and Senior team competing in England and Poland and although they didn’t win,15 year old Ross Priest (Findon) finished 3rd in the Junior (Under 18) World Individual held at Poole England.

 

 

Ross Priest

 

                     Ross Priest 3rd in the 2005 Under 18 World Individuals

 

 

Test Match Action

 

 

 

   Test Matches are aggressive and exciting

 

 

 

 The next Internationals are in Adelaide 2009 and it is hoped that the Seniors will break that spell and win the Senior World Cup.

 

 

Findon Skid Kids Track

       Our Club in 2009

 

 

Over the years the original pit building has been modified a few times.  

First it was for the bikes, then as a spectator area with the grandstand.

In the 1980’s Roger McMillan converted it into a sponsor lounge and then

in the 1990’s was used as a TV studio for the ‘Skid Kid and Cycle Speedway’

program which went to air on ACE TV Channel 31.

 

The Sponsor Lounge was converted to a gym for the training of the 2005 Aussie Teams.

 

In 2008 half of the Clubroom was turned into a gym for the training of the Senior & Junior Australian Teams.  

The teams won everything at the 2009 World Championships:  Senior and Junior Test Matches against Great Britain, Senior & Junior World Cups and Daniel Pudney (LeFevre) won the Senior World Individual with Cody Chadwick (Salisbury) 2nd.

Findon's Ross Priest took out the Under 18 World Individual Championship. 

 

 

Ross Priest Under 18 World Champion

 

Ross Priest Under 18 World Champion

 

Junior World Individual 2009

2009 Under 18 World Individual

1st: Ross Priest 2nd: Robert Fitzpatrick 3rd: Farren wills 4th:  Joel Chadwick

 

 

 

 Aussie Junior Team 2009

 2009 Australian Junior Team

Back Row left to right: Ross Priest, Ty Geertsen, Joel Chadwick, Robert Fitzpatrick Mick Harley

Middle row: Jay Walters, Daniel Bax, Farren Wills, Tony Bax

Front row: Bobby McMillan, Dean Jolly, Cody Chadwick, Matt Mathews

 

 

Australian Senior Team 2009

 

2009 Australian Senior Team

Back Row left to right: Rob Fleming, Ross priest, Cameron Crisp, Ty Geertsen, Daniel Pudney, Ryan Edson, Paul White

Front row: Cody Chadwick, Robert Fitzpatrick, Daniel Thompson, Brad Hoppo

 

 

 Senior World Champion 2009

 2009 Senior World Individual

1st: Daniel Pudney 2nd: Cody Chadwick 3rd : Lukasz Nowacki

 

 

 I have included the Internationals as the riders from the other clubs deserve the recognition for their achievements.

 

 

 

 The success of the Findon Skid Kids is its past and present members who have all worked tirelessly to think of and implement new ideas that would improve the club’s facilities and those who have the knack of organising great fundraising events.

 

Times change and we as a club must change with them or be left behind .  

The club has always tried to think of what the youth wanted and changed accordingly, although all past members would be pleasantly surprised to come and see that the race meetings are run exactly the same as they were 50 years ago.  

It is a formula that still works today.

 

Past members will be glad to know that we still ‘torture’ the riders with a ‘Riders Meeting’ at the end of each day!

 

The only thing that has changed are the faces,

 and there has been over 2000 of them since 1958.

 

 

 Shane Weinert sleeping during Riders Meeting

   Shane Weinert at Riders Meeting

 

 

 

  “Once a Skid Kid, always a Skid Kid”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Businesses:

Please contact us re sponsoring a rider to the 2015 World Championships in the UK 

 

Web updated: 

DIARY updated SEPT 22nd

 

LATEST NEWS 

SEPT 29th

 

 Re-Union Championship on the last Sunday in February every Year (Clubs birthday)---Hope to see heaps of past members there

 

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