Cradley Heathens

(Redirected from Cradley Heath Heathens)

Cradley Heathens was a motorcycle speedway team from Dudley, England. The team was founded in 1947 and competed at the top level of British speedway until its closure in 1995. It was revived as Dudley Heathens in 2010, competing in the National League, reverting to the Cradley Heathens name in 2013. It ceased operating after the 2019 season.[1]

Cradley Heathens
CH emblem.png
Club information
Track addressMonmore Green Stadium
Wolverhampton
CountryEngland
Founded1947, 2010
Closed1995, 2019[1]
Team managerWill Pottinger
Team captainMax Clegg
LeagueNational League
Websitewww.cradleyheathens.co
Club facts
ColoursGreen, white and red
Major team honours
League Champions1981, 1983
Knockout Cup Winners1979, 1980, 1982, 1983,1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
British League Cup1982
British League Pairs Champions1978
Premier League Four-Team Champions1995
Provincial Lge KO Cup1961, 1963
Provincial Midland League1963
Inter League KO Cup1979
Inter League Fours1980
Midland Cup1980
National Shield2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
National League Fours2011, 2013, 2014
National League Pairs2013
National League2013, 2014
National Lge Knockout Cup2013, 2014

HistoryEdit

Cradley Heath speedway team was formed in 1947 and first raced at Dudley Wood Stadium on 21 June 1947 after a number of away appearances prior to the opening of the newly built stadium. They raced in the 1947 Speedway National League Division Three and took the name Cradley Heath Cubs for the first two seasons.[2]

After closure at the end of the 1952 season the track reopened in 1959 for one unlicensed meeting and in 1960 the Heathens entered the newly formed Provincial League. The club won their first silverware after winning the 1961 and 1963 Provincial League Knockout Cup (the second division cup).[3] From 1973 to 1976 they rode under the name Cradley United.[4]

The golden years of Cradley speedway arrived during the 1980s, the club won two league titles (1981 and 1983) and eight Knockout Cups from 1979 to 1989. During the period some of the world's leading riders rode for Cradley, including Bruce Penhall, Erik Gundersen and Jan O. Pedersen.

The club operated continuously at top flight level from 1965 to 1995, when they were evicted by the new landlords who had bought the stadium to redevelop into housing. The team survived for one additional year, competing at the Loomer Road Stadium in Stoke in 1996 under the name 'Cradley and Stoke' Heathens. The club was one of the most successful in the sport throughout the 1980s, winning the British League in 1981 and 1983 and eight Knockout Cup competitions. Seven Speedway World Championships were won by Cradley riders between 1981 and 1996.

RevivalEdit

Supporters of the club campaigned to resurrect speedway in the local area. Plans were submitted to Dudley Council for a new site. The Birmingham Brummies promoter, Tony Mole and Bob Edwards (on behalf of supporters group, CRASH – Cradley Raising Aid Saving Heathens) led the planning application and it was hoped that the team would return to racing in 2009.[5] There was an online petition to show support for the application which was linked from the Cradley Heath Speedway website.[6]

The Heathens returned in 2010 but with a changed name. The Cradley name was changed to Dudley Heathens temporarily until a new stadium could be found to call their own. They joined the National League and their home meetings were initially shared between two stadiums – Monmore Green (home track of the Wolverhampton Wolves) and the Perry Bar Stadium (home track of the Birmingham Brummies).[7] The team manager was Will Pottinger, and the club was promoted by Sky Sports Speedway presenter Nigel Pearson, and now by Chris Van Straaten & Gary Patchett. Between 2011 and 2014 home matches were solely at Monmore Green,[8] however at the end of the 2014 season it was announced they would be unable to continue racing at Monmore Green and a deal was quickly agreed to go back to the Perry Barr Stadium in Birmingham for the 2015 season.[9] This proved short lived and at the end of the 2015 season, an agreement was reached for Wolverhampton Wolves and Cradley Heathens to ride on alternate Monday's at Monmore Green. On July 4, 2017 "Heathens Speedway Supporters Trust" lodged an Outline Planning Application with Sandwell MBC for a Sports & Recreation Village to include Speedway as a small part of the whole project on land at Lion Farm Playing Fields which already has a covenant on it for Recreation & Sport.

NameEdit

The team name is taken from the Dudley Wood stadium's proximity to Cradley Heath town centre, though it lies in the borough of Dudley, centred about 3 miles (4.8 km) away. At the time of formation the two towns were in different counties - Staffordshire and Worcestershire, but both towns are now part of the county of West Midlands. The Cradley team initially took the nickname "Cubs" but during the 1949 season, having gained promotion from the National League Division Three to the National League Division Two, they adopted the name of Cradley Heathens, which was retained through to their final days in 1996 but for the period of 1973-76 when they raced as Cradley United and 1996 when they became 'Cradley and Stoke' and raced in Stoke. The club was revived as Dudley Heathens in 2010, reverting to Cradley Heathens after the 2013 season.[10]

Season summaryEdit

Extended content
YEAR LEAGUE POSITION ADDITIONAL TROPHIES NOTES
1947 1947 Speedway National League Division Three Runner-Up rode as Cubs
1948 1948 Speedway National League Division Three Runner-Up rode as Cubs
1949 1949 Speedway National League Division Two 4th
1950 1950 Speedway National League Division Two 3rd Midland Cup
1951 1951 Speedway National League Division Two 15th Central Shield
1952 1952 Speedway National League Division Two 4th
- - closure - - - -
1960 Provincial League. 6th
1961 1960 Provincial Speedway League 4th Provincial League KO Cup
1962 1962 Provincial Speedway League 8th
1963 1963 Provincial Speedway League 9th Provincial League KO Cup, Midland League
1964 1964 Provincial Speedway League 10th All 12 tracks unlicensed by ACU
1965 1965 British League season 16th Senior league racing hereonafter
1966 1966 British League season 19th Wooden Spoon
1967 1967 British League season 18th
1968 1968 British League season 14th
1969 1969 British League season 7th
1970 1970 British League season 15th
1971 1971 British League season 18th
1972 1972 British League season 16th
1973 1973 British League season 18th Wooden Spoon, rode as United
1974 1974 British League season 13th rode as United
1975 1975 British League season 11th rode as United
1976 1976 British League season 9th rode as United
1977 1977 British League season 7th
1978 1978 British League season 5th
1979 1979 British League season 3rd Knockout Cup, Inter-League Cup
1980 1980 British League season 5th Knockout Cup, Midland Cup
1981 1981 British League season Winner
1982 1982 British League season Runner-Up Knockout Cup, League Cup, Premiership
1983 1983 British League season Winner Knockout Cup, Midland Cup
1984 1984 British League season 3rd League Cup, Midland Cup, Premiership
1985 1985 British League season 7th Premiership
1986 1986 British League season Runner-Up Knockout Cup, League Cup
1987 1987 British League season Runner-Up Knockout Cup, Midland Cup, Brit Trophy
1988 1988 British League season 3rd Knockout Cup, Premiership
1989 1989 British League season 3rd Knockout Cup, Premiership
1990 1990 British League season 7th Premiership
1991 1991 British League season 3rd
1992 1992 British League season 4th
1993 1993 British League season 11th Wooden Spoon
1994 1994 British League season 9th
1995 1995 Premier League speedway season 3rd Premier League Fours
1996 1996 Premier League speedway season 5th Operating from Chesterton, Stoke, rode as Cradley & Stoke Heathens
- - closure - - - -
2010 2010 National League speedway season 3rd Operating from Perry Barr and Monmore Green
2011 2011 National League speedway season 7th National Shield, National League Fours Operating from Monmore Green
2012 2012 National League speedway season 2nd National Shield Operating from Monmore Green, finished 1st in regular season table
2013 2013 National League speedway season 1st National Shield, National League Pairs & Fours, National League Knockout Cup Operating from Monmore Green
2014 2014 National League speedway season 1st National League Fours, National League Knockout Cup Operating from Monmore Green

The club also operated a junior team in the British Junior League in the years 1986 to 1992 inclusive,

being Runners-Up in 1986 and Winners in 1991.

Club honoursEdit

British League
Champions: 1981, 1983

Knockout Cup (Div 1)
Winners: 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986+, 1987, 1988, 1989 (+shared with Oxford)

Knockout Cup (Div 2)
Winners: 1961, 1963

League Cup
Winners: 1982, 1984, 1986+ (+shared with Oxford)

Inter-League Cup
Winners: 1979

Premiership
A season-opening challenge match, held over two legs, between the previous year's League and KO Cup winners (similar to English football's Charity Shield).[11]

Winners: 1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990

Inter-League Four Team Tournament
Winners: 1980

Premier League Four Team Tournament
Winners: 1995

Midland Cup/Lge/Shield
Winners: 1950, 1951, 1963, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1987

National League

  • National Shield - 2011, 2012 and 2013[12]
  • National League Fours Winners - 2011, 2013 and 2014[13]
  • National League Pairs Winners - 2013[13]
  • National League Champions - 2013 and 2014[13]
  • National League Knock Out Cup - 2013 and 2014[13]

Individual ChampionsEdit

World Champion

Under-21 World Champion

Long Track World Champion

British Under-21 Champion

Intercontinental Champion

Overseas Champion

British League Riders Champion

National League Riders Champion

American Champion

Danish Champion

Swedish Champion

Scottish Open Champion

Australasian Champion

South Australian Champion

Western Australian Champion

Victorian Champion (Aust)

Notable ridersEdit

See alsoEdit

List of defunct motorcycle speedway teams in the United Kingdom

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "NO GO FOR HEATHENS - British Speedway Official Website". speedwaygb.co.uk. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2019-12-23.
  2. ^ "BRITISH LEAGUE TABLES - POST-WAR ERA (1946-1964)". Official British Speedway website. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Year by Year". Speedway Researcher. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  4. ^ Rogers, Martin (1978). The Illustrated History of Speedway. Studio Publications (Ipswich) Ltd. p. 129. ISBN 0-904584-45-3.
  5. ^ "Cradley bid lodged". British Speedway Promoters' Association. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
  6. ^ "Heathens plans given boost". BBC Sport. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
  7. ^ "Dudley Heathens given National League speedway go-ahead", BBC, 28 January 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2013
  8. ^ "Dudley Heathens choose to race at Wolverhampton", BBC, 27 January 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2013
  9. ^ "Cradley Heathens Speedway: HEATHENS AT THE BARR!". www.cradleyheathens.co. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29.
  10. ^ "National League Statement", speedwaygb.co, 10 December 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2013
  11. ^ Foster, Peter (2003). Heathens: Cradley Heath Speedway 1977-1996. Tempus Publishing Ltd. p. 58. ISBN 07524-2738-5.
  12. ^ "Mildenhall Speedway: Fen Tigers miss out on National Shield.", worldspeedway.com, 1 May 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013
  13. ^ a b c d "British Speedway Roll of Honour 2013", speedwaygb.co, 31 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013

Further readingEdit

  • Foster, Peter (2002). Heathens: Cradley Heath Speedway 1947-1976. Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 07524-2704-0.

External linksEdit