Rye House Stadium

Rye House Stadium is a former greyhound racing and speedway venue in Rye Road, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. It is situated adjacent to the River Lea Navigation.

Rye House Stadium
LocationRye Road
Hoddesdon
Hertfordshire
EN11 0EH
OwnerRye House Group
Opened27 May 1934

OriginsEdit

The name Rye House originates from a collection of medieval buildings on an area known as the Isle of Rye due to the fact that the land was directly next door to the River Lea/Lee and in particular the Lee Navigation. When the stadium was constructed in 1935 it was put next door to Rye House on a spare plot which is where the name for the stadium came from. Rye House had been the family home for the Parr family that included Catherine in the 16th century and later a workhouse and tourist attraction in the 19th century. All that remains today of the original Rye House is the gatehouse found to the north of the stadium.[1]

The stadium (or circuit as it was then) was first used on 27 May 1934 when it hosted speedway meetings.[2] The stadium was accessed from Rye Road either in an easterly or westerly direction with Hoddesdon to the west and a large sewage works to the east.[3]

The stadium todayEdit

 
Grass greyhound track and speedway track on the inside. (Rye House Stadium c.1980)

The stadium has hosted greyhound racing, speedway and stock car racing. The stadium was taken over by Warren Scott in 2016 and underwent an upgrade. However, Scott was subject to a bankruptcy order in 2018. Next to the stadium is Rye House Kart Circuit which was built on a former site of the speedway track.[4]

In 2019, the stadium was taken over by the Rye House Group, who subsequently submitted plans (in 2021) to the East Hertfordshire District Council for redevelopment of the site. The speedway track was also demolished.[5][6]

SpeedwayEdit

The stadium was the home of the Rye House Rockets but the team folded in 2018. The Rye House Cobras were also based here and competed in the National League until 2012.[7]

Greyhound racingEdit

In 1937, the speedway rider Dicky Case took over the sixty acre estate of Rye House and introduced a training school operating under the name of the Hackney Motor Club.[8][9] The school operated until 1938 when Rye House entered the Sunday Dirt-track League.[10]

The stadium was described as being able to hold 4,000 spectators and it was not until 1960 that Gerry Bailey and Jack Carter took over the lease and immediately began to upgrade the facilities moving the greyhound track to the outside of the speedway track to form a 440-yard circumference. Racing was held on Wednesday and Saturday evenings and an 'Inside Sumner' system and photo finish was installed.[11]

During 1974 six independent tracks (unaffiliated to a governing body) took advantage of the new National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) rule allowing smaller venues to join them in what was called the permit scheme.[12] Hackney Wick Stadium introduced the Lead sponsored by William Hill in 1975 and switched the 1,000 Guineas to a longer distance, consequently Rye House introduced the Sovereign Stakes for sprinters to compensate for the loss of the 1,000 Guineas.[13] The competition attracted some of the sports leading sprinters.[14]

Gin And Jass trained by Dave Drinkwater claimed the Crayford Vase and broke four track records in addition to winning the Pall Mall Stakes in 1976. Salina and Regal Girl (both George Lang) won two consecutive 'Key' competition victories before Dutch Jet became Peterborough Derby champion in 1983 for Jean Talmage.[15]

The management found it difficult to continue racing under NGRC rules due to increased costs and in 1985 reverted to independent racing. However, in March 1988 Eddie Lesley took over the lease and brought the stadium back under NGRC rules once again. The track dimensions were changed to a 389 circumference and distances of 255, 465, 595 and 655m. Gerry Bailey was installed as the Racing Manager who then took over the lease again with Carter in 1990 and they in turn made Ray Spalding the Racing Manager. Spalding was later to become General Manager with Frank Baldwin brought in as Racing Manager.[16]

In 1995 Theo Mentzis won the St Leger with Kens Dilemma and one year later Night Trooper finished runner up in the English Greyhound Derby. Night Trooper a black dog trained by Nikki Adams then went undefeated through the Pall Mall in 1997 and claimed the Reading Masters.[15]

John 'Ginger' McGee had an attachment at the track in 1998 following his return from a 1994 NGRC ban and in 1999 the Sovereign Stakes was revived under new Racing Manager David Quinn. which was won by Night Trooper.[15]

In the summer of 2000 the site was sold to Silversport owned by speedway promoter Len Silver and Hazel Naylor but after a short venture with the greyhound racing they ended the greyhounds in 2004. The greyhounds remained closed until 2005 before re-opening under former Racing Manager Sue Picton and then closing for good on 15 November 2006.[15]

CompetitionsEdit

Sovereign StakesEdit

Year Winner Breeding Trainer Time SP
1976 Raheen Sam Geriomar – Poor Cathy John Coleman (Wembley) 17.13 4-1
1977 Paddock Boy Nelson Pillar - Diapson Mr Dale-Mills (Private) 17.05 14-1
1978 Knockrour Brandy Bright Lad – Knockrour Last Freda Greenacre (Private) 17.17 3-1
1979 Flying Pursuit Kudas Honour – Faoide Look John Gibbons (Rochester) 16.97 5-4f
1980 Greenfield Chief Rapid Chief – Beyond Clogheen Jerry Fisher (Reading) 17.00 6-1
1981 Skipping Scot Liberty Lad – Lady Armada Bryce Wilson (Shawfield) 17.03 10-11f
1982 Valiant Point Valiant Band - Ashgrove Point Mark Sullivan (Private) 17.17 7-4
1983 Upton Rocket Nameless Star – Knockrour Girl Kenny Linzell (Walthamstow) 16.99 4-6f
1984 Upton Rocket Nameless Star – Knockrour Girl Kenny Linzell (Walthamstow) 16.70 4-5f
1985 Daleys Gold Lindas Champion – Ballinderry Moth Jerry Fisher (Reading) 16.64 4-7f
1987 Lissadell Tiger Bold Work – Cleonas Style Ernie Gaskin Sr. (Private) 16.72 9-1
1988 Office Whisper Whisper Wishes – Plucky Linda 16.32
1989 Lissadell Tiger Bold Work – Cleonas Style Ernie Gaskin Sr. (Private) 15.90
1990 Maireads Sand Manorville Sand – Maireads Ruby George Lang (Crayford) 16.09 6-1
1991 Carrrigeen Zig Whisper Wishes – Carrigeen Lucky Ron Hough (Sheffield) 16.27 5-2
1992 Wheres The Limo Glen Park Dancer – Kingswell Joy Linda Mullins (Walthamstow) 15.82 4-5f
1993 Saucy Child Childrens Champ – Cuofruse Girl Olabode Ayegune (Private) 15.79 7-1
1999 Night Trooper Portrun Flier - Suir Orla Nikki Adams (Rye House) 16.37 3-1

1986, 1994-1998, 2001-2003 (not held)

Track recordsEdit

Extended content
Metres Greyhound Time Date
210 Our Dog Raphael 13.59 29 March 1998
255 Mairead Sand 15.71 1989
255 Strange Dilly 15.66 30 May 1990
265 Mossley Mead 15.87 10 October 1999
270 Fast Kodiak 16.46 29 February 2004
270 Melodys Jo 16.29 26 June 2005
270 Torbal Dante 16.26 3 July 2005
270 Run for Bally 16.20 2 October 2005
270 Ringtown Mojo 16.20 5 November 2006
281 Tiger Jazz 16.91 1978
281 Daleys Gold 16.59 1987
383 Fast Kodiak 23.17 9 May 2004
435 Thats the Bullet 26.50 2 October 2005
435 Davdor Dashing 26.28 13 August 2006
445 Prinz Eugen 26.34 6 September 1998
465 Columbcille Gem 27.85 1989
465 Ring Slippy 27.76 25 October 1989
480 Deejay Scores 29.52 14 September 2003
480 Farview Peek 29.33 21 September 2003
480 Tain Sli 29.26 10 April 2005
480 Tolon Prince 29.16 3 July 2005
484 Outlatwick Kibo 29.88 1976
484 Glamour Hobo 29.25 1987
484 Night Trooper 28.52 1997
600 Run on Terry 37.50 30 July 1988
628 Billysroundabout 38.60 31 July 2005
628 Graigue Robin 38.52 23 October 2005
630 Kens Dilemma 38.75 1996
655 Special Gamble 40.37 20 July 1988
670 Askinvillar King 43.12 1976
670 Go Go Tiger 42.73 3 April 1985
680 Shelbourne Star 42.43 19 October 2003
680 Sooty Sive 42.38 23 January 2005
680 Greenacre Lin 42.33 6 August 2006
680 Greenacre Lin 41.91 13 August 2006
685 Dunmurry Flight 41.75 1 November 1998
845 Yamaha Autumn 54.42 23 January 2005
865 Decoy Madonna 54.69 10 July 1989
865 Bubbly Princess 53.25 4 April 1999
870 Cloonty Lib 57.05 1987
905 Souda Bay 56.58 29 March 1998
485 H Creevy Rover 29.56 20 August 2000

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ British Listed Buildings, Rye House Gatehouse, Stanstead Abbots.
  2. ^ "Rye House 1934" (PDF). Speedway Researcher. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  3. ^ "OS County Series Hertfordshire 1939". old-maps.co.uk.
  4. ^ Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
  5. ^ "Rye House speedway fans fight to save track from closure". BBC News. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Speedway fans devastated by 'huge loss' as iconic Hoddesdon Rye House track is ripped up". Hertfordshire Mercury. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  7. ^ Jacobs, Norman (2007). 70 Years of Rye House Speedway. ISBN 978-0-7524-4162-7
  8. ^ "Cinder Star Plans". Daily Mirror. 14 September 1937. Retrieved 23 January 2022 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ Jacobs, N. (2003) Speedway in the South-East, Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-2725-3
  10. ^ Jacobs, Norman (2007). 70 Years of Rye House Speedway. Stroud: Tempus Publishing ISBN 978-0-7524-4162-7
  11. ^ Furby, R (1968). Independent Greyhound Racing. New Dominion House. p. 38.
  12. ^ "Remember When - June". Greyhound Star.
  13. ^ "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 1975)". Greyhound Star.
  14. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
  15. ^ a b c d Hobbs, Jonathan (2007). Greyhound Annual 2008. Raceform. ISBN 978-1-905153-53-4.
  16. ^ Barnes, Julia (1991). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-61-9.

Coordinates: 51°46′9″N 0°0′33″E / 51.76917°N 0.00917°E / 51.76917; 0.00917