Swaffham Raceway

Coordinates: 52°39′17.38″N 0°37′51.64″E / 52.6548278°N 0.6310111°E / 52.6548278; 0.6310111

Swaffham Raceway, originally Swaffham Stadium,[4] is a stock car and banger racing circuit in Swaffham, Norfolk,[5] which also hosted greyhound racing from 1987 until 2000.[6]

Swaffham Raceway track under floods.jpg
Swaffham Raceway under floodlights, 2016
LocationDereham Road, Swaffham, Norfolk
Coordinates52°39′17.41″N 0°37′51.52″E / 52.6548361°N 0.6309778°E / 52.6548361; 0.6309778
Capacity3000[1]
Opened1975 (1975)[2][3]
Former namesSwaffham Stadium
Length0.205 miles (0.329 km)

Greyhound racingEdit

 
Disused greyhound track at Swaffham, which borders the active oval motorsport track.

Swaffham became a new track on the National Greyhound Racing Club permit scheme in 1987. The 416 circumference circuit was constructed just south of the Dereham Road on the east side of Broom Covert. The track location was remote and relied on the catchment area of the market town of Swaffham to the west and some clientele from the further afield Kings Lynn and Norwich. It ran parallel to the closed Great Eastern Railway Lynn & Dereham line which ran through an area that separated the track from NRM horticulture laboratories.[7]

Maurice and Anne Kirby opened the track to the public on 16 November 1987,[8] with Maurice Kirby acting as the Racing Manager on the race nights of Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Distances were 270, 480, 686 & 896 metres behind an 'Outside Sumner' hare. There was a large car park, 72 kennels and ten on course bookmakers but limited facilities in terms of structures with just one main stand.[9]

Because of a lack of greyhound racing in the area, Swaffham attracted significant trainers such as Kevin Cobbold, John McGee and Ken Peckham.[9]

In 1989 Tom Smith was brought into the track as the new General and Racing Manager and by 1992 he had acquired the lease.[10] Together with his son Gavin they were always looking to improve the mechanical workings of greyhound racing from hare systems to drainage and they produced a new hare that would change the industry. They came up with a hare that was modelled on the older outside 'McKee-Scott' but it had modifications that allowed the hare driver to use a simple turn switch and then an even simpler hare rail at ground level with the wire running on pulleys underneath. Within a ten-year period the popular 'Outside Sumner' and older 'Outside McKee' had all but disappeared within the industry. The hare was known as the 'Swaffham' and this allowed the Smiths to set up a very successful greyhound parts company.[11]

A dispute over security of tenure led to the cessation of greyhound racing at Swaffham on 14 July 2000.[12] Kirby planned to reintroduce greyhounds in 2007 after spending £60,000 on a new greyhound track[1] but Kirby died in 2012.[13]

Track recordsEdit

Distance
metres
Greyhound Time Date
270 Glengiblin Rover 16.77 25.03.1988
270 Surge Home 16.44 12.09.1988
270 Curryhills Mike 16.32 02.12.1991
270 Hot Hot 16.31 14.09.1993
418 Killee Stranger 25.50 31.03.1989
440 Hairy Head 27.02 06.03.2000
440 Dims Favourite 26.85 24.04.1990
480 Hit The Lid 29.32 29.08.1988
620 Tarnwood Emperor 38.37 28.11.1989
686 Denes Mutt 40.59 25.03.1988
686 Allglaze Dixon 43.35 31.10.1988
686 Decoy Cheetah 43.55 22.11.1994
834 Mullawn Rip 54.22 13.02.1990
856 Paradise Ash 55.73 02.12.1991
856 Barefoot Queen 55.50 24.05.1993
1102 Stir About Biddy 74.03 20.06.1992
270 H Ashgrove Gift 16.97 29.10.1991
480 H Run On King 30.24 02.12.1991

TodayEdit

Stock cars still take place today.[5] In 2018 former Rye House Stadium promoter Eddie Lesley announced his plans to revamp the site; one of his companies owns the site outright and there are plans for a schooling track.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Swaffham Raceway is going to the dogs". Lynn News. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Swaffham Raceway season gets underway". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  3. ^ "History". Swaffham Raceway. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  4. ^ Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
  5. ^ a b "Swaffham Raceway Stadium". Norfolk Tourist Information.
  6. ^ "Greyhounds: Swaffham could be back soon". The Racing Post. 11 September 2000. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  7. ^ "OS Plan 1979". old-maps.co.uk.
  8. ^ "Closures and openings over the past 10 years, July 1993, page 18". Greyhound Star. 1993.
  9. ^ a b Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
  10. ^ "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 1992) February edition". Greyhound Star.
  11. ^ Fry, Paul (1995). The Official NGRC Greyhound Racing Yearbook. Ringpress Books. ISBN 186054-010-4.
  12. ^ "Lease blow blamed by boss Smith". The Racing Post. 26 July 2000. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Swaffham Update". Greyhound Star.

External linksEdit