On Sunday this weekend, May 18th, 2020, the Newcastle Diamonds turn 91 after the very first meeting at the same Byker Brough Park track took place in 1929 (some of that first team are pictured below)However, celebrations are not following the usual plan with COVID-19 still devastating all sports on pause, including all UK Speedway.
With the live action suspended, the Diamonds’ management have been running regular lockdown reruns of old matches at the Byker track via YouTube at the traditional start time of 6.30pm, and so far many hundreds of fans have been tuning in to get their fix of the best speedway action Tyneside has to offer.
However with Sunday being the 91st birthday, and the big 90th celebration still being held over from last year, ’till (hopefully) later this year, this Sunday’s Lockdown YouTube premier will present the 2009 Newcastle Speedway 80th Anniversary Celebration meeting originally staged on Sunday May 17th, 11 years ago.
It’s a full individual event with 16 of the best riders battling over 20 heats ahead of a semi final an final with some of the top riders of the day involved. Kenni Larsen takes his rides as well, the rider who is still to this day the Brough Park track record holder.
Danny and Jason King, both riders with extensive Newcastle connections line up. Bjarne Pedersen, who was originally lined up for this year’s re-staging of the 90th, is also in the field from 2009 and sure to liven up the racing, and interestingly newly signed for 2020, when it gets going, is James Wright who was in that competition.
Other riders in the programme for Sunday are Chris Mills, Casper Wortman, Trent Leverington, Kevin Doolan, Leigh Lanham, Derek Sneddon, Rory Schlein, Craig Branney, Australian kingpin Jason Lyons, William Lawson and Travis McGowan with Adam McKinna at reserve, who made it a night to remember, to be revisited at the weekend.
“GEC” Diamonds (In association with Metro Radio) owner and promoter, Rob Grant said: “We saw running these Lockdown Classics on YouTube as an important way of keeping our fans, who are by necessity, stuck inside at 6.30pm on a Sunday, entertained in the manner to which they have become accustomed, and so far the viewing figures have been very impressive indeed, so when we realised Sunday was the club’s 91st birthday, we had to mark the date with a special, and our 80th celebration meeting fitted the bill perfectly.
“When we can show a meeting with Kenni Larsen, Bjarne Pedersen, Leigh Lanham and the King brother to mention just few, then we know its going to be a spectacle, and as usual we have the race-card set to be put out on our Facebook page along with a series of apt Word search, anagram and spot the difference puzzles.
“As a club, we are checking the BSPA, the ACU and the UK Government every day to keep as up to date as we can with a view to planning anything we can of the 2020 season, and as we all sit and wait, we’re ready to mobilise as soon as we get any green lights, our supporters can be assured of that.”