Plans to put Castleford back on speedway map

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MOVES are afoot to bring speedway back to Castleford.

Pete Hibberd, who was team manager of the Castleford Kings speedway team 32 years ago, is putting together a team to represent the town.

Speedway was staged at the former Whitwood Greyhound Stadium between June, 1979, and July, 1980.

After attracting a bumper opening night crowd, Whitwood speedway was halted by the sport’s governing body subject to improvements being made to the stadium.

Although improvements were carried out, speedway was staged at the stadium for just 12 months.

Mr Hibberd said: “The improvements were complied with and the Kings competed against other teams but the damage had been done.

“Subsequent relationship difficulties between the speedway promoter and stadium owner resulted in the closure of the stadium for speedway racing.

“This was a tragedy for young speedway riders as we also ran a very successful training school at the stadium on Saturdays and Castleford was one of the pioneer towns of what has now turned into the third division of speedway in the United Kingdom.”

Mr Hibberd is now looking to reintroduce speedway in Castleford by reforming the Kings team.

He said: “I am presently at an advanced stage of putting together a team to represent the town on speedway circuits nationwide and raise awareness of the club with a view to finding suitable land for a track and bringing sponsorship on board.

“Being homeless it is envisaged that our “home” fixtures will be at an existing speedway stadium and I do have an offer on the table from a location 30 miles from the town.

“This has already been adopted by other “homeless” clubs as the way forward and a number are presently in existence, including the Halifax Dukes who ride home matches at Buxton.

“I see this as the re-birth of the club with the training of young people by ourselves on all aspects of the sport, racing, mechanical knowledge, psychology and safety.

“Castleford was at the forefront of the early co-ordinated training of young people in all aspects of speedway racing and I aim to put us back on the map.

“Any help in obtaining suitable land so we can return home would be greatly appreciated.

“I am happy to include a highway training school to prepare road riders for the MOT bike test and a cycle speedway track which is an excellent way of introducing children and indeed teenagers to the sport of speedway. Many of our country’s top international speedway riders began on cycle speedway.

“I aim to get as many “joy riders” as possible off the local streets and channel their adrenaline towards a controlled racing environment where they can be encouraged to race as professionals and have the chance of a racing career.

“I would hope we will become an asset to the town as a stadium is built in stages around the training facility therefore moving the club through the three divisions to reach the Elite League, in soccer terms the Premiership. This will put the town on the map and the team would be on weekly Sky Sports televised speedway.”

Anyone who can help Mr Hibberd is asked to contact him on 0161-3459530 or 07729134019.