Cycle Speedway

Tilbury tracks

I have just come across an article about Jack Richards and Cycle Speedway and well remember the late 40’s and early 50’s with Tilbury Hammers and later Thurrock Cycle Speedway which started in 1957 on Charringtons Fields, St Chads Road and moved in 1968 to Blackshots.

I took over control of the club in 1961 and was responsible for it becoming the biggest and best in the Sport. Just to give a few names to go with Jack Richards:-  Bill and Steve Byford, Bert (Bluey” Waterson, Alan Bass, Gerald and Lionel Spooner, Dereck Gray, Garwood ,Alan Wood

these were some of the lads that rode in Old Manor Road track  near the British Rail Loco sheds and the allotments. There were also teams in Grays, Aveley and the Homesteads at Stanford Le Hope in those days.  The track in Tilbury in the late 40’s attracted big crowds and there was a lot of local support. Bert Waterson went on to ride for Longbridge Leopards in Barking Park when the club finished in Tilbury but returned to start up a new club as Thurrock in 1957 in St Chads Road on the site of the recently demolished St Chads School .  I spent the first 50 years of my life in Thurrock and have a good memory of everything Tilbury at the end of the war.

I spent a lot of time with Bert Waterson and well remember his wife Rose and his children when they were small. It was Bert that got me involved in the sport and I went on to the become the most powerful person  in the sport and spent nearly 40 years as an administrator at National Level . I am currently the secretary to the Veteran Cycle Speedway Riders Association.

I’m now living in Holland On Sea.


One of many photos from the Tilbury track taken middle 60’s:-

Back row left to right:-

John Pizzey  Billy Gill Colin Gibbs  Peter Hammond standing above Colin  Robert (Bob) Beadle Alan Rayner Larry Marshall

On Bike  Bernard Gill


Kneeling left to Right:-


unnamed (believe his mum’s name was Burgess  Alan Baker  Dereck Dale.


Wonder where they are now  Bob Beadle lives in North Wales  Bernard Gill in Germany and Coliun Gibbs in Stanford and I live in Holland On Sea

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  • I’ve been looking at Ariel Photo’s of Tilbury from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s and seen that north of the town where he Go-Kart track was, there was an oval track that preceded it. What was this track? I’ve read about a cycle track prior to the St Chads road track – could it have been at this location and I’ve also heard about Greyhound racing at a track in Tilbury too? Anyone any idea what the oval track was used for?

    By Dave Thompson (21/02/2024)
  • Hi William (Billy ) Gill just found this by accident, sorry its taken so long,, the photo above caught my eye as I have got a collection of my late dads Bert Waterson photos, I will have to sort them out, most are with my other sisters Dawn and Jean,, I remember the speedway at the weekends well as my father loved the sport and helped the youth of thurrock find an interest

    By Christine Iveson (30/08/2015)
  • Tony you are correct. It was on Silley Weir’s sports ground ( now covered with houses) after moving from old Manor Road site(also covered with houses Newton Road). Good to see your name and I have noted some of your comments on other pages. Keep them coming

    By William (Billy) Gill (24/04/2015)
  • Hi Bill,

    I do believe that there was a speedway cycle track somewhere near to where the go-kart track is/was, before it was established at Charringtons Field, this was around 1950/5ish, and I think the last you and I spoke face to face was at the ballast diggings East Tilbury way 1980ish

    By Tony Duligal (23/04/2015)
  • Hi Alan, Only you would keep his bikes. If you wish to contact me my details are found as secretary of Veterans Cycle Speedway Riders Association on their website. Hoping to set up club reunion this year

    By William (Billy) Gill (22/04/2015)
  • Guess who has still got the bikes he used to race at Tilbury and Blackshots tracks. Colin Gibbs has just told me about this website.

    By Alan Rayner (20/04/2015)
  • Hi Bill, glad to know ur still kickin, love these memories people throw up, wonderful recollections of my time with Thurrock Racers. Cold Sunday mornings in that old van or your Ford I think it was. You did us proud, your enthusiasm and dedication made for some of the best days of my life, thanks Bill. 

    By Rick Powell (15/03/2014)
  • Nice to read Jamie Tindales comments on the Cycle Speedway and to Dave Thompson you are right in remembering the track in Charringtons field near St.Chads School it was the last of the Tilbury tracks as we opened at Blackshots on March 31st 1968. If Bluey Waterson’s daughter Christine reads these comments I would like to make contact with you . My details can be obtained from the providers of this site

    By william(billy) gill (08/02/2014)
  • Hi Bill, I remember you well & the racing at Thurrock Cycle Speedway. I popped over there the other day whilst visiting mum & dad but there was no sign of where the track was. Shame, I enjoyed the racing & training very much. Still an active cyclist so some things stick eh. Regards Jamie.

    By Jamie Tindale (06/02/2014)
  • Bill, I’m from Tilbury and have a very vague recollection of a oval track north of the Tilbury football ground or was it in the space between St Chads school and the football ground? This is very vague memory – must be from about 1967-68?

    By Dave Thompson (19/01/2014)

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