The Story of Grass-Track, 1975-82

Grasstrack historian Dave Stallworthy has brought out a fourth edition of the sport through the ages, this time covering 1975 to 82. Open the pages and you can almost smell the Castrol R...

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THE glory days of a spectacular sport with deep roots in Gloucestershire have been brought back to life in a glossy new book.

Grass-track commentator and historian Dave Stallworthy's fourth volume of "The Story of Grass-Track Racing, 1975 -1982" covers a golden period when the county produced world beaters, and five figure crowds flocked to see the best in the world do battle on their doorstep.

"I wanted to keep the history of grass-track alive and no-one else seemed to be doing it," said Dave, a professional commentator and toast master, and former fundraiser for the Spring Centre in Quedgeley.

"The history of the sport was being lost and I wanted to make sure there was something there that tells its story."

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West German Egon Muller, Australian Phil Crump, and Kiwis Ivan Mauger and Barry Briggs all competed in front of 20,000-plus crowds at the Hereford Grand Prix in the 1970s, and Dave relives those greatest of days of grass-track in Britain.

The cover photograph of Dymock cousins Simon Cross and Clayton Williams locked in a tight battle for the lead at another event sums up what hooked so many on the sport. Both are haring in to the corner, spinning the back wheel to generate a slide to get them around the bend. Simon went on to fulfil a very successful career on speedway's world stage, while Clayton took his all-action riding style to the big long-tracks of Europe.

"I had a brilliant time, and I wouldn't change a thing apart from the injuries," said Clayton, who lives in Redmarley and runs engine performance firm Willpower Racing. "It's nice to be recognised in this way - in the picture I think I'm about to overtake Simon," he laughed. Both won European grass-track titles, as did Tewkesbury's Gerald Short, who is still racing today.

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British international figures of the day including Jeremy Doncaster, Martin Hagon, Simon Wigg, Steve Schofield, Trevor Banks and Neil Farnish all feature, including a special look at the late Wigg's glittering career.

Gloucestershire figures strongly too, with events run by Cheltenham Home Guard MCC and Gloucester and Cotswold MCC and riders Adrian Moss from Stroud, Keith Millard, Tig, Selwyn and David Perry from Newent, and John Husband from Gloucester all carefully documented by Dave, who for many years managed supermarkets in Nailsworth and Stroud.

"I think it's a great sport," said Dave, who relied largely on former Motorcycle News correspondent Bob Light's stunning black and white photographs to bring another dimension to the book. "It's fast, furious, and makes for shoulder to shoulder racing."

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Copies of the book are available from Dave on 01454 321 694 or reach him on his website. They are expected to be on sale at Ledbury MCC's British Championship for upright machines on Sunday, September 23, to be held at Orlham Farm, Ledbury.

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