Join us on the forum by clicking this logo !

Facebook logo

Hullbridge Village History

The History of Hullbridge Pirates



Between 1940-1950 Hullbridge had its own cycle speedway team Hullbridge Pirates managed by Fred.... and later by Stan Collis. The secretary was F J Harrison of Windermere Ave., (COMMENT:This information extracted from The team raced on the piece of ground that the infants school was built on.
There is records of another team called Hullbridge Vampires.
The sport was extremely popular and attracted crowds of over 100. Villagers would go by coach loads to matches. The bikes had no gears or brakes and there were lots of skulduggery.

What is Cycle Speedway ?

The following has been extracted from
"Cycle speedway is raced by individuals, pairs or teams. Each race is contested by up to four riders, and a match normally consists of eight to 24 races. Points are awarded for placings in each race. A race day fixture might take in up to two, three or more matches. In a team event, the winning team is the one with most points at the end of the day.
Races involve up to four riders racing anticlockwise round four laps of the track, the winner being the first across the line. The number of laps varies with the age of the riders but is usually 4 laps for a single race. Competitors use a lightweight single-speed bicycle equipped with a freewheel but without brakes, often a stripped-down mountain bike frame is adequate for beginners although specialist machines are used by the top racers. Riders slide their left foot along the track as they race round turns. Physical contact is legal and often necessary; clothing usually covers the whole body from the neck down, with padding for knees, elbows and hips; helmets are also required since their introduction in 1999, there has never been an accident in cycle speedway resulting in serious injury or death."

The poularity of cycle speedway grew after the war mainly as there were loads of "Bombed Sites" which were quickly and easily turned into cycle tracks, towards the late Fifties when these same sites needed to be built on the sport started to dwindle.

The Riders and teams.

Known riders for the village are :-Mike "Mac" Atkins (1940's).
Known riders in the village today but not part of the pirates are:- Doug Boreham, Reg Saward, Mr Denton.
The following is a list of the Pirates opponents:- Hawkwell Hammers, Rayleigh Rovers, Prittlewell Pirates, Homestead Tigers, Thundersley Phantoms.

The Tactics

Doug Boreham recalls "It was so important to be on the inside and ahead by the first corner so I used to practice the start, it was not just about pushing down on the pedal as hard as you can, you had to make sure you got the best traction on your back wheel, not like todays racing where standing up on the pedals is the preferred method. Once I got the lead I just went hell for leather keeping tight to the inside for as long as possible and if someone came up to your shoulder I would cycle with my knee out or lean over towards them but better still go a little wider as you approach a corner, mindful of someone coming up the inside."

Can anyone name any other Hullbridge riders or are the any Cycle speedway riders not mentioned here who are in the village.

Here is a selection of photos of Messrs Boreham, Denton:-

A photo courtesy of Doug Boreham showing a typical start of a race. The fourth rider is not in shot.
A photo courtesy of Doug Boreham. This is possibly at Hullbridge as a river can be seen in the background.Here he is riding for Hawkwell Hammers.
A photo courtesy of Doug Boreham. This is possibly at Rayleigh, Progress Road and suddenly its's a one man race.From this photo you can get an idea of the size of the track.
Photo courtesy of Doug Boreham. Doug is in the middle with parting in the middle. His partner Albie is on the left. They have just beaten Romford Rockets.
Photo courtesy of Mr "Chubb" Denton.
Photo courtesy of Mr "Chubb" Denton.
Photo courtesy of Mr "Chubb" Denton.
Photo courtesy of Mr "Chubb" Denton.
Photo courtesy of Mr "Chubb" Denton.
Photo courtesy of Mr "Chubb" Denton.
Photo courtesy of Mr "Chubb" Denton.
Under construction