1974 Season - Disaster
If last season ended on a high, this season didnt, it was a disaster from start to finish. Under the new promotion of Fell
and Chorlton and without Millen and Gatenby, the team were vulnerable from the off, winning only two league meetings
by mid season. Havelock and Wells progressed to heat leaders, but Dent and Barclay were beginning to slip a little in
Only when last years promoter (Liz Taylor) came to the rescue in mid season, did things start to pick up. By then the
crowds had dropped, it was too late, the damage was done and the fate of Sunderland Speedway was sealed. George
Barclay reluctantly called it a day in July, Andy Meldrum and Tim Swales came to the aid of the stricken team, only for
Meldrum to suddenly retire in the August.
Brian Johnston, Vic Harding and John Robson each gave their all at the bottom end of the team, but it was an up hill
battle, one they were destined not to win, and on 13th September they rode their last ever meeting at the Boldon
Stadium. Jim Wells briefly held the track record before Birminghams John Hart broke both the four and three lap
records in August 1974.
The âGladiatorsâ as the were now called, did record their biggest home win when they defeated the Weymouth âWizardsâ
60-18 in July. And in the return meeting at Weymouth, their very last meeting as it turned out, they won their only away
Back Row (L to R) George Barclay, Jim Wells, Colin Armitstead (Manager), Brian Havelock, Russ Dent.
Front Row - Derek Fell, Vic Harding, John Robson
To sum up: Disaster from the very start, by September 13th it was all over for Sunderland Speedway.
Paul Callaghan, George Barclay, Brian Havelock, Vic Harding, Jim Wells, Colin Armitstead and John Robson. On Bike,
Jim Wells, Brian Havelock, Alan Chorlton, John Robson,Dennis Gavros, George Barclay, Colin Armitstead, Russ Dent
and Vic Harding