I originally described this photo as

Wester Hailes Cycle Track

But see the comments below.  In fact this photo is of

Sighthill Cycle Track

1960s

Sighthill Cycle Track, Edinburgh

   Reproduced with acknowledgement to Thomas Lee, Edinburgh

 

Cycle Track

Location

Thomas Lee, who sent me the photograph above writes:

"This is a picture, taken in the 1960s, of the Sighthill Hammers riding against the Leicester Monarchs. 

We reckon it's from an area that now looks like a community centre or Doctors surgery or the like - which nowadays would be considered Wester Hailes."

Wester Hailes lies about five miles to the SW of the centre of Edinburgh.  It was on the outskirts of Edinburgh when this photo was taken, but is now a large suburb close to the Edinburgh By-Pass.

 

Reply

1

Joanne Riach

Thank you to Joanne Riach who wrote:

Location?

"I have just come across this photo of cycling at Wester Hailes:"

Cycle Track at Wester Hailes, Edinburgh

I think this may be the location of the Catholic Church at the end of Sighthill Drive.  That was waste ground for many years. 

Certainly the houses look like Sighthill houses.  If that's the case, then it is technically not Wester Hailes.   Wester Hailes is further up the hill."

I used to live in Calder Road, so I'm familiar with the area."

Joanne Riach:  August 22, 2011

 Recollections

2.

Brian Alexander

Prestonfield, Edinburgh

Thank you to Brian Alexander for responding to Joanne's comments above.  Brian  wrote:

Sighthill Cycle Tracks

"Yes, this photo is of Sighthill Cycle Speedway track.

Cycle Track at Wester Hailes, Edinburgh

It was in what is now the car park behind St John Ogilvie Catholic Church on Sighthill Drive.  I remember it well. 

I don't remember what the single story building with the corrugated roof was.  Perhaps it was a community centre or similar.

There was another track at Sighthill in the mid to late '60's, in what became the car park of the Sighthill Inn on Calder Road."

Other Cycle Tracks

"Cycle Speedway was a popular sport in Edinburgh during the 1960's.  There were tracks at:

Moredun (at the junction of Moredun Park Road and Fernieside Drive)

Pilrig Park

Davidson's Mains

Harrison Park

 and no doubt others I have forgotten. 

Bruce Alexander, Prestonfield, Edinburgh:  August 27, 2011

 Recollections

3.

Don Moir

Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland

Thank you to Don Moir for confirming which cycle track this was, and for also identifying the two Sighthill riders in this photo.

Sighthill Hammers CSC

"I can definitely say that this photo is of the track that was the home of Sighthill Hammers CSC until 1967.

Cycle Track at Wester Hailes, Edinburgh

At that time we moved to a new track built at Whinhill Park, on Saughton Road where there are now houses.

The hut with the corrugated roof was "the scout hut" which was sometimes used for hospitality for big matches.

The two Sighthill riders are Tam Daly in the lead and John Tait on the outside looking for a way past."   (See also  'Riders' below)

Results

"Sighthill won the Edinburgh League every year from 1963 to 1969 inclusive, except 1968.  In 1966 they won the National Championship in Southampton, beating Offerton from Manchester by 50 points to 46 after losing in 1965 by the same score when the final was held in Manchester.

I know all this as I was team captain."

Riders

"Tam Daly now lives in New Zealand and has a gas fitting business there.

John Tait went on to race in Glasgow for Shields Racers after Sighthill folded in 1970 and became the only Scottish rider to win the National championship twice with two separate clubs.

Shields won in 1971 in Uxbridge, beating Wednesfield."

Reunion

"We had a reunion in 2006 to mark the 40th anniversary of winning the championship and almost everybody was there,  including Tam Daly.

None of us had changed a bit !"

Don Moir, Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland:  October 21, 2011

 Recollections

4

Don Moir

Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland

Thank you to Don Moir for writing again.

Don wrote:

Cycle Speedway in Edinburgh

"Cycle Speedway is still going on in Edinburgh, but on a vastly reduced scale.  In the 1960s there were 3 divisions and dozens of tracks. Now there is just one at Redbraes Park and I don't think they have all that many matches in a year.

It's certainly nothing like we had before.  We would race at least twice a week from March to November, and would travel down south for national matches several time during the year.

It kept us all out of trouble - and pretty fit too!

Don Moir, Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland:  October 29, 2011

Cycle Speedway in Edinburgh

Reply

I agree, Don.  The cycling speedway seems to be on nothing like on the same scale as it used to be.  I think that's probably true throughout Britain, not just in Edinburgh.

I still receive regular reports from Thomas Lee, letting me know the progress of the Edinburgh Cycle Speedway Club that races at Redbraes Park near Powderhall.

Their members still travel down south for races several times a year, but the competition against other Edinbrugh clubs seems to have vanished.

The club is now becoming more involved with schools, so perhaps that might result in a revival of interest in the sport.

Peter Stubbs, October 30, 2011

 Recollections

5

Gordon Graham

Inch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Thank you to Gordon Graham who wrote:

Cycle Track at Sighthill

The Track

"I recall the hours we spent building the track at Sighthill,  behind the old scout hut.  We raked and rolled the shale for hours, day after day to get it perfectly flat.  It was  one of the best tracks in Edinburgh."

The Bikes

"I was just a wee boy who could never afford to buy new bits to make a good bike.  I used to go down the quarry in search of old bikes.

 I used to strip them to get bits and sometimes sold cranks and forks at Carrickvale school.  Handlebars which had the old lever brakes were sought after. They were good for getting pressure on the pedals for starting."

Sighthill Hammers

and

Redhall Tigers

"I was never able to get into Sighthill Hammers, but did race for Redhall Tigers.  I was delighted when I got a spoke allowance for any damaged spokes."

Don

"I think I remember Don, if he was a tall skinny bloke back then."

Memories

"They were great days, travelling on the bus with the bike as previously mentioned, and it demanded so much time that it kept us off the streets.  A great bunch of guys and great memories!  I enjoyed all the comments."

Gordon Graham, Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland:  January 17, 2014

 Recollections

6

Gordon Graham

Inch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Thank you to Gordon Graham who added:

Cycle Track at Sighthill

The Starting Tape

"Here's one thing that I forgot to mention in my comments above. 

I was at Sighthill cycle track when the knicker elastic starting tape was replaced with a proper metal starting gate.

As you can imagine there were a few teething problems with the new starting gate, but that was high tech in these days, and once we had the new gate, no more did the elastic catch in your spokes."

Gordon Graham, Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland:  January 25, 2014

Move from Edinburgh

Gordon tells me that he moved, in 1972, from Edinburgh to the village of Insch in Aberdeenshire, ten miles from Aviemore, and is still living there.

 Insch is one of the villages that I remember visiting in the 1990s as part of my project to photograph all the Scottish railway stations.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  January 25, 2014

 

 

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