- Cradley Heath Heathens
Cradley Heath Heathens Club information Track address Dudley Wood Stadium
Country England Founded 1947 Closed 1995 Website Supporters website Club facts Colours Green, white and red Major team honours British League Champions
British League KO Cup Winners
British League Pairs Champions
1979, 1980, 1982, 1983,
1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
- 1 History
- 2 Future plans
- 3 Club honours list
- 4 Individual Champions
- 5 Notable riders
- 6 External links
- 7 References
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. 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 then operated continuously, - at top flight level from 1965 - , until 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.
The team name is taken from the 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 Heath Heathens, which was retained through to their final days in 1996 but for the brief period of 1973-76 when they raced as Cradley United and 1996 when they became 'Cradley and Stoke' and raced in Stoke
YEAR LEAGUE POS'N / Nos. ADD'L TROPHIES 1947 Nat.Lge Div'n 3 Runner-Up / 8 1948 Nat.Lge Div'n 3 Runner-Up / 13 1949 Nat.Lge Div'n 2 4th / 12 1950 Nat.Lge Div'n 2 3rd / 15 Midland Cup 1951 Nat.Lge Div'n 2 15th / 16 Central Shield 1952 Nat.Lge Div'n 2 4th / 12 - - closure - - - 1959 Open (1 mtg, unlicensed) 1960 Provincial Lge. 6th / 10 1961 Provincial Lge. 4th / 11 KO Cup 1962 Provincial Lge. 8th / 13 1963 Provincial Lge. 9th / 13 KO Cup; Midland Lge 1964 Provincial Lge. 10th / 12 (all 12 tracks unlicensed by ACU) 1965 British Lge. 16th / 18 (senior league racing hereonafter) 1966 British Lge. 19th / 19 Wooden Spoon 1967 British Lge. 18th / 19 1968 British Lge. 14th / 19 1969 British Lge. 7th / 19 1970 British Lge. 15th / 19 1971 British Lge. 18th / 19 1972 British Lge. 16th / 18 1973 British Lge. 18th / 18 Wooden Spoon 1974 British Lge. 13th / 17 1975 British Lge. 11th / 18 1976 British Lge. 9th / 19 1977 British Lge. 7th / 19 1978 British Lge. 5th / 19 1979 British Lge. 3rd / 18 KO Cup; Inter-Lge Cup 1980 British Lge. 5th / 17 Midland Cup 1981 British Lge. Winner / 16 1982 British Lge. Runner-Up /15 KO Cup; Lge Cup; Premiership 1983 British Lge. Winner / 15 KO Cup; Midland Cup 1984 British Lge. 3rd / 16 Lge.Cup; Midland Cup; Prem'ship 1985 British Lge. 7th / 11 Premiership 1986 British Lge. Runner-Up / 11 Lge.Cup 1987 British Lge. Runner-Up / 12 KO Cup;Midland Cup;Brit.Trophy 1988 British Lge. 3rd / 11 KO Cup; Premiership 1989 British Lge. 3rd / 9 KO Cup; Premiership 1990 British Lge. 7th / 9 Premiership 1991 British Lge. 3rd / 13 1992 British Lge. 4th / 13 1993 British Lge. 11th / 11 Wooden Spoon 1994 British Lge. 9th / 11 1995 British Premier Lge. 3rd / 21 Prem.Lge Fours 1996 British Premier Lge. 5th / 19 (operating from Chesterton, Stoke)
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.
Supporters of the club have continued a campaign to resurrect speedway in the local area. Plans have been 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) are leading the planning application and it is hoped that the team will return to racing in 2009. There is an online petition to show support for the application which is linked from the Cradley Heath Speedway website.
In 2010 the Heathens will be back riding but with a changed name. The Cradley name will be changed to Dudley Heathens temporarily until a new stadium can be found to call their own. They will take part in the National League and their home meetings will be shared between two stadiums – Monmore Green (home track of the Wolverhampton Wolves) and the Perry Bar Stadium (home track of the Birmingham Brummies). The team manager is Will Pottinger, and the club will be promoted by Sky Sports speedway presenter Nigel Pearson.
Club honours list
Champions: 1981, 1983
Winners: 1961, 1963, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
Winners: 1982, 1984, 1986 (shared with Oxford)
Winners: 1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990
British League Four Team Tournament
Winners: 1980, 1995
Winners: 1950, 1951, 1963, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1987
League Trophy Winners (Dudley Heathens) 2010 - (Lost Play Off for Overall Champions)
- Bruce Penhall 1981, 1982
- Erik Gundersen 1984, 1985, 1988
- Jan O. Pedersen 1991
- Billy Hamill 1996
- Greg Hancock 1997
- Gert Handberg 1989
- Scott Smith 1992
British League Riders Champion
National League Riders Champion
- Lee Smart 2010
- ^ "Cradley bid lodged". British Speedway Promoters' Association. 1 November 2007. http://www.british-speedway.co.uk/news.php?extend.1030. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- ^ "Heathens plans given boost". BBC Sport. 10 August 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/motorbikes/speedway/6940220.stm. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
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