This week, forty years ago in 1972, finally saw the end of Speedway at West Ham, and it was a sad end.
Although the First Division Hammers were no more and their racing Licence had been sold off to Ipswich, speedway had one last fling.
2nd Division Romford had long running problems with complaints from the local residents, about the noise of racing, (which was not helped by the fact that their Brooklands Stadium was in the middle of a Housing estate), also had came to an end.
A final court action had forced them out of the stadium, and they were looking for a new home.
The stadium at Custom House had a stay of execution, so Romford moved in, becoming the 2nd Division`West Ham Bombers`, after their Romford team name.
The stadium was not looking its best, because of the planned closed down, very little work had been done on it during the winter and it was showing its 40 plus years of age.
The track also was in poor condition; Stock car racing was doing a lot of damaged to the one time superior raceway.
West Ham track was renowned for being good, and no less a man the New Zealand’s four times World Speedway Champion (so he must know what he is talking about), Barry Briggs had said that it was Britain’s outstanding racing track, fast and wide with plenty of room to overtake.
The team carried on till May, then after 44 years, it was all over, the rumoured closer finally happened.
The last match was on the 23rd of May against Hull.
It saw a lot of the old Supporters come to show their respects, but the match was more of a wake as Speedway was finally laid to rest.
It was not helped by the fact in the first heat both West Ham riders’ engines failed, giving a 5-1 to Hull, which was nearly a 5-0, but for Kevin Holder pushing his bike for over half a lap.
The Hammers lost 38-40, which really summed up the last year of the sport.
The second half saw the Alf Weedon Farewell Trophy, and Kevin Holden became the last man to win a Race and a Trophy at West Ham.
West Ham had one more match as a team, which was an away match at Workington, but just to finalise it all, the match was rained off!
The team moved off to Barrow, only to disappear completely at the end of the season.
In the end there was yet another delay in the demolition of the Stadium and it turned out they could have completed the season there.
The following Tuesday saw the remains of West Ham Speedway sold off to the highest bidder, Speedway had finally died.
The stadium is long gone and a Housing estate covers the old site.