10 December Update: Minutes of the 10th December Committee Meeting are available. Highlights: - Members of the Committee met with staff of the ACT Government "Direct Sale of Land" Division, to discuss land upon which to build a track. Discussion will be ongoing, but we were pleasantly surprised at the very positive reception to our proposals, and we are quietly optimistic that - at last - we are on the right track. New member, sidecar rider Adam Thompson, broadens our rider base.
10 December Update: Minutes of the 12th November Committee Meeting are available. Highlights: - The Club will be applying to the ACT Government for a "Direct Sale of Land" to obtain land upon which to build a track. Results from Kurri meeting – Patrick Mclaughlin placed 2nd in B Grade final. James Dimmock completed the Jason Crump Training Course held at Kurri.
20 October Update:
The Bulls featured prominently at the opening of the Illabo track, near Junee, NSW. No racing, but plenty of bikes and nostalgia. Photos courtesy of Brian Darby (http://www.vintagespeedway.com/):
Left: - Team Gallagher - Stars of the Past? Right: - Dave tries it the other way around - Star of the Future?
Left: - Wayne Martin riding "SpeedieBull"; Centre: - part of the Grand Parade; Right: - Dave Clifton going anti-clockwise this time.
The Bulls also took the opportunity of the VSRA Annual Dinner to encourage four-times World Champion Barry Briggs - at 78 years of age - to come out of retirement. Barry is seen here with Bulls' talent scouts John Walker and Warren Crapp:
17 September Update: Photos of the new generation of Canberra Bulls:
- James Dimmock - with multi-World Champion Jason Crump:
- Pat Mclaughlin (before - after!):
14 September Update: Minutes of the 10th September Committee Meeting are available. Highlights: - Club involvement at Maitland, Moruya and Illabo shows.
11 September Update: Political Support around Canberra!!
At last night's AGM, all incumbent Committee members were returned. In view of the recent emergence of exciting junior riders from the Canberra region, two new positions were created - Rider Development Officers - to coordinate local riders and provide expert advice. Dave Clifton and Wayne Martin will take on these roles, with the aim of re-establishing the Canberra Bulls as a racing outfit - even if we don't yet have a track of our own.
13 April Update: Minutes of the 9 April Committee Meeting are available. Highlights - Further on Noise tests. Need more members to participate in Committee activities.
Sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but one of the founding members of our club – Peter Devitt – passed away a few days ago. He had been suffering from liver failure and complications for some months, but still managed to attend some of our recent Committee Meetings and provide good advice.
The Club started as an informal group of riders based outside the Sydney metropolitan area and frustrated at the lack of racing opportunities. Peter was one of those who met in the pits at Nepean after a club day in 1980. He was already an accomplished B-grade rider on speedway and dirt track, and was very generous with his extensive mechanical skills. After a few months in which we organised occasional informal practice days at Fairbairn (ACT) and Quamby (Young), we issued a challenge to Sydney’s B-graders for a teams match, to be raced at Quamby as a “Country versus City” challenge. For such a meeting, we of course had to have team race jackets, but those inherited from previous Canberra speedway enthusiasts were in very poor condition, so we decided to make new ones. Peter Devitt came up with the idea of the Bull race jacket design. He based it on the well-known Chicago Bulls basketball logo. We cut out and sewed up a complete set of eight race jackets based on one of Peter's old ones. The original “NSW Country Bulls” became the “Canberra Bulls” when news of our successful meetings at Quamby resulted in offers to re-establish bike racing at Tralee stadium, near Canberra.
Peter was virtually an “ever-present” through the almost decade-long history of the Canberra Bulls, and could always be relied upon for maximum effort, both on the track and in the pits. Speedway in Canberra, as in so many other centres, died in the late 1980s when promoters added clay to the tracks. More recently, the Bulls have re-formed and are hopeful of again bringing speedway back to Canberra, and Peter was excited at the prospect but sadly didn’t live to see it.
In Memory of Peter Devitt – Founding Member
Very sad news I didn’t know he had been crook. We had a lot of great times that I will never forget. Let me know when his funeral is and we will try and come down.
Steve Kurtz (Bulls rider).
Sad news indeed. Peter was the guy who was always there and the one whom a lot of us turned to for advice on anything speedway as most of us were very “Green”. From making the team jackets to advise on gearing, clutch set up or making our steel shoes, Peter was a gentleman and always forthcoming with helpful advice. I think his enthusiasm paved the way for the great camaraderie, racing and good friendships that developed though that era of our lives. Could you please pass on my condolences to Peter's family and friends.
Scott McClean (Bulls rider)
Peter was my best friend in Primary School at Carlton South in Sydney and we would go to the Sydney Showground together. We raced billy carts and speedway push bikes together as well. Could you please convey my sadness in Peter's passing to his sister Sue and the family. (Bob Baker, Sydney rider)
Cynthia Boocock, Ove Fundin, Karan Walker, Nigel Boocock and John Walker.
L-R: Exeter Falcons, Neil Street (left) and Martin Ashby, leading Geoff Mudge (Poole Pirates) in 1968; in Swindon Robins colours in 1966; More recently - still actively working for speedway. He will be very much missed.
10 September Update: Minutes of the 16th August Club Meeting are available. Highlights from the Minutes: - meeting with consultant Brendan Lynch, decided to hold a display of bikes, photos etc at the 6th November Markets at Hall Showgrounds. Next meeting 7pm 13 September at the Weston Club.
18 August Update: The first meeting with consultant Brendan Lynch, who we have contracted to help us draw up a Strategic Plan for the Club and for bringing Speedway back to Canberra, was held on 16th August, and we outlined the current state of the club, our ambitions, and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This consultancy is funded by the ACT Government's Community Motorsport Development Programme. We also decided to hold a display of bikes, photos etc at the 6th November Markets at Hall Showgrounds. This will be a good opportunity to recruit new members and get local people revved up about the idea of bringing speedway back to the Canberra region.
7 August Update: The Officials Course, run by Motorcycling NSW on Friday 5th August, was well attended, with seven current Bulls members and a number of other local motorcyclists participating. It is good to see such enthusiasm for officiating! Our next Committee Meeting will be on Tuesday 16th August at the Weston Club, 7pm start. All members are invited to attend. The main agenda item will be our first meeting with consultant Brendan Lynch, who we have contracted to help us draw up a Strategic Plan for the Club and for bringing Speedway back to Canberra. This consultancy is funded by the ACT Government's Community Motorsport Development Programme.
23 July Update: We held a short AGM on Tuesday 19th July, in which all serving Committee members were returned. This was followed by a General Meeting, attended by Daniel Gatt and Mark Louis from Motorcycling NSW. We explained the objectives of the Club, and the difficulties we face, and were pleased to hear of a number of ways inn which MNSW can help.
30 June Update: Minutes of the 21st June Club Meeting are available. Highlight from the Minutes: - ACT Government Grant Application re. Business Plan – has been approved. Planning to write to both the Moruya and Bega Clubs seeking their operational intentions. AGM – will be held on 19 July 2011 at the Weston Club, 1 Liardet Street, Weston ACT. Letters will be sent to all members notifying them of the meeting. Nominations open for CBSC Official positions. MNSW Seminars – Applications completed and will be forwarded. CBSC Spring Promotion – The Austrian Club is to be contacted re. possible venue for display and promotion day.
7th June Update: We have been informed that our application for funding to employ a consultant to help us develop a strategic plan for speedway in the ACT has been successful!!! Any support, or ideas that might go into this strategic plan would be very welcome.
11th May Update: Minutes of the 11 May Club Meeting are available. Highlights from the Minutes: - We are now affiliated to MNSW. Submission to the ACT Motorsports Development Program, if successful, would result in funding to develop a strategic plan for the sport in the ACT, and speedway's future participation in the ACT Motorsports Funding Program. Proposal to Surfair Speedway regarding the running of this year's Jack Hogg meeting at Moruya in August.
26th April Update: Minutes of the 20th April Club Meeting are available. Highlight from the Minutes: - Committee members will meet consultants after Easter to put together a submission to the ACT Motorsports Development Program. The Canberra Times printed the following article in its local news pages on Sunday 24th April:
14th April Update: Dave Clifton's trip to Broadford to fly the Bulls' colours at the SSRAV Club day and Classic Meeting didn't turn out the best. See the photo sequence 40, and 43-47 at Martin Creely's website: - click here. Martin is a regular photographer at Broadford and you can see plenty of his work at www.ssrav.org.au. Fortunately, latest word from Dave is that he has some broken ribs but otherwise not too bad.
29th May Update: Support from local businesses: - the brochure that we have produced to explain our plans has been very well received by the local businesses, to the extent that almost all the advertising spaces were sold out within a week. This brochure will be distributed to local and national politicians (and anyone else in a position of influence!!) in an attempt to advance our case. Advertisers include HDL Projects Pty Ltd, Empire Management Services, Ocean Fresh Seafoods, MJM Speedway Spares, Plonk beer and wine specialists, Ziggy's Garden Fresh, and the Climate Doctor.
Notice of Annual General Meeting: The first AGM of the Club will be held on Thursday 3rd June at the Serbian Club, Heard St, Mawson, ACT 2607. Start 7:00pm. The meeting will be followed by a general committee meeting. Nominations are now due for the following positions: Club President; Vice-President; Secretary; Treasurer; Public Officer (must be a resident of the ACT); Webmaster; General Committee Members. Nominations can be made in writing by email, letter or fax, indicating the proposer and seconder, who must both be current club members.
7th May Update: Two club members looking to buy speedway bikes:  Wanted - upright speedway bike - all considered - contact 0409 663 979;  For sale or swap for speedway bike - YZ250 motocrosser plus heaps of extras, spares and tyres, very good condition, $3,500 ono - contact 0458 181 787. Round 3 of the Nepean winter series kicks off again on Sunday 16th May, with junior and senior short track, senior solo, 350 solo, s/cars, junior and senior; Please nominate asap if you are riding on the day. Meeting starts 10am; scrutineering 9-am till 9.45am; rider briefing 9.50am; start practice 10am; any queries or nominations call Mick Holder on 0400 304 900.
31st March Update: Club shirts are now available - $50 each plus postage and packing. Men's sizes are Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL, XXXL; women's sizes are 12, 14, 16, 18, 20. The shirts are black, 100% polyester, with the Bulls' logo embroidered in red above the pocket. The shirts are a "fitted" style, so if in doubt, order a size up. The men's version is pictured here on the left, the women's version on the right:
3rd January Update: Canberra Times article supports Bulls approach to Greyhound Club:
21st December Update: The Canberra Bulls now have a Facebook entry. Check it out and become a fan of the club.
18th December Update: Minutes of the 17th December Committee Meeting are available. The Serbian Club Expo was a great success, with a steady stream of visitors - most of whom added their names to our supporters' roll. Photos below:
19th November Update
Posters to be distributed around Canberra to generate interest in the Club.
9th November Update
The Gillman Classic provided the expected tough opposition for Dave Clifton, who got a number of thirds and didn’t make the final. The 4 riders that made the final were all ex British league riders, Mitch Shirra having made the world final 5 times, and the class was won by Nigel Saddler. Kenny Carratt made the final in the JAP/Eso class & came a well deserved 3rd. Steve Mesics came late because of mechanical problems on the road & missed his first heat then had problems with his bike. Everyone was impressed with the Gillman venue - obviously the place we need to emulate......
4th October Update: - Bulls Roar Again!
The Canberra Bulls' race jacket appeared in a race for the first time in two decades at Nepean Speedway on 26 September 2009, when Club Treasurer, Dave Clifton, raced in the last of the Winter Series.
Posing for the camera with Bulls' enthusiastic Scottish supporter, Jim Smith, and looking nervous before his first heat.
Away to a good start, and in great-looking action during the meeting. It wasn't quite a fairy tale finish - a lost chain robbed him of the series victory, but the race jacket never got dirty! We look forward to more Bulls' race appearances.
3rd September Update:
We have a number of former riders keen to buy speedway solos, uprights and laydowns, if you have one unused in your shed.
23 August 2009 Update:
1. The Club has received a letter from the Canberra Greyhound Club declining our proposal to build a speedway track at their stadium in Symonston, Canberra, on the grounds of possible damage to the upgraded surface of the greyhound race track. However, we have responded, providing some compelling reasons for them to change their mind (see below). We await their response. I recommend the links (all clickable) in this letter to anyone who is trying to establish new speedway tracks around Australia. That connection with the greyhound racing fraternity has never been strong in Australia, but they are far potentially better track partners than the four-wheelers have proven to be! You could not get a better endorsement than a greyhound racing website saying that "Speedway provided the perfect partner to greyhound racing"!
Thank you for your letter regarding our proposal for speedway racing in your infield. As you may imagine, we are extremely disappointed that your committee has turned down the proposal, on the grounds of possible damage to the upgraded surface of the greyhound race track.
We made a considerable effort to demonstrate that there is, in fact, no likelihood of damage, noting that there are tracks in the UK where the two sports have co-existed happily for many decades. Should any of your committee members wish to undertake a study tour to ascertain the facts, we would be pleased to provide you with an extensive itinerary of these stadiums, so that they can see for themselves.
I attach some excerpts from a UK greyhound racing website www.greyhoundderby.com/, which was initially designed “to chart the history of greyhound racing in England, with particular emphasis on the English Greyhound Derby”. This website includes as one of its links “A Brief History of British Speedway”. If you follow that link, you will find the following statements, together with many others telling similar stories:
“As the public’s interest in greyhound racing grew there became a need to make greater use of the tracks and stadia for them to become financially viable. Speedway provided the perfect partner to greyhound racing”.
Following the link to Wembley Lions:
“The first greyhound meeting took place at Wembley on 10th December 1927, the first winner starting from Trap 4 was a dog called Spin. It has hosted some of the major events of the sport, including the Coronation Stakes over 490 metres, first won by Bearded Biddy in 1928, the Gold Cup over 655 metres, first won in 1929 by Chain Mail, and the Trafalgar Cup over 490 metres”.
“Speedway racing first came to the World Famous Wembley Stadium on 16th May 1929. It is recorded that a gate of 19,456 witnessed this first meeting, which was to prove successful for Roger Frogley in the Empire Stadium Shield”.
Following the link to Belle Vue Aces:
“The first greyhound track to open in England was at Belle Vue, situated in the Gorton area of Manchester, when racing took place on 24th July 1926. Whilst the first meeting was well attended by a crowd in excess of 1700 people, interest quickly grew and crowds could be numbered in the thousands. The very first race to be run in England was won by Trap 1 Mistley”.
“Belle Vue is steeped in history and opened its doors to dirt track speedway for the first time on 28th July 1928 in the Gorton area of Manchester. The Golden Helmet in that initial meeting was won by Frank Arthur”.
Following the link to Coventry Bees:
“Greyhound racing has taken place on a number of different tracks within the Coventry area, initially in Lythalls Lane and more recently at Brandon, with the first meeting taking place on 7th April 1928. The most prestigious race of the year is the Eclipse Stakes which was first run in 1938 when it resulted in a dead heat between Demotic Mick (of Greyhound Derby fame) and Catherine of Waterhall. To this day the club plays a prominent role in British speedway”.
Following the link to Oxford Cheetahs:
“Greyhound racing first took place at Oxford on the 397 metre circuit on 7th April 1939 and has witnessed some outstanding greyhounds throughout its history. One of the most famous is the bitch Narrogar Ann who had her first race at Oxford on 27th March 1948 and later went on to win the 1949 English Greyhound Derby. The most prestigious race that was run at the circuit was the Oxfordshire Stakes over 450 metres.
Speedway racing first took place at the Oxford Stadium, on Sandy Lane, in 1939. That first meeting, on the sandy surface, took place on 8th April of that year and proved a success for Roy Duke. The team enjoyed Open racing in the period 1939-41, including a number of wartime meetings, which was rare. At the end of the War the team competed in the National Leagues third tier from 1949-50 and in the second tier the next year. Gradually gaining in experience, the team rose in the league structure and finally made the Premier League in 1995, and ultimately the Elite League in 1998”.
So you can see that the British greyhound racing community has welcomed speedway to its stadiums for over eighty years. It is worth repeating the quote “Speedway provided the perfect partner to greyhound racing”. I recommend the website to your committee members.
If, at some stage, your committee would like to resume dialogue on the proposal, we would be delighted to hear from you, as we remain convinced that it would be a mutually beneficial project.
President, Canberra Bulls Speedway Club.
2. We have discussed other possible locations in the Canberra region with staff of the ACT Government's Territory Venues and Events branch. Some promising ideas, but nothing concrete yet.
3. Terry Poole and John Walker recently visited the Albury Wodonga motorcycle complex, where a very usable speedway track has been built. It needs very little work to make it licencible for speedway, and we suggest that Canberra Bulls members might be interested in racing there in the forthcoming season.