Derby - Municipal Sports Ground

Osmaston Road : DE24 9HY Derby - Municipal Sports Ground : Map credit Old-Maps.co.uk historic maps Derby - Municipal Sports Ground : Image credit Wiki Commons
Osmaston Park was set up on 40 acres of land bought by Derby City in 1912 for £7,300. The park was not built until after WWI, opening in 1922. The Municipal Sports Ground was in Osmaston Park and there was a concrete track one third of a mile in length which cost £37,550, financed by a loan over 60 years. The banking gradually increased in steepness until it was near vertical at the outer edge. The Derby Daily Telegraph of August 20th 1923 reported that "the Derby Municipal Sports Ground in Osmaston Park Road is now open for the free use of the concrete track". Motor cycles were also allowed on the track. The following month, a motorcyclist went over the barrier and was killed.

The Nottingham Evening Post of July 26th 1924 reported that the track was not suitable for bicycle racing or motorcycle racing. Modifications costing £100,000 would be needed for motorcycle racing or £22,000 for bicycle racing to take place. In addition, the expectation that the County Football Club would become tenants, was not realised. In 1926, newspapers described the ground as a white elephant. The problem was probably the banking angles of the track. As can be seen from the photograph, the banking angle varies, being fairly flat, low down on the track, then increasing very sharply further up the banking. The steepness was probably because Derby wanted motorcycle racing with speeds of up to 80 mph on the track.

Bill Bailey lobbied for the track to be used for distance racing and in 1928, the NCU allowed the 25 mile championship to be held there, as the usual venue, Long Eaton, was now a greyhound track. The event formed part of a ‘Meeting of Champions' with top class riders including the Wyld brothers and a pursuit challenge match against Manchester Wheelers watched by 15,000 people. There was a further track meet in August and Percy Wyld won the NCU (Notts district) 10 miles championship.

The NCU 25 mile championship event became a regular feature at Derby with a June meeting. The other big meeting was the sports at the annual Derbyshire show in August. The NCU championship event made a profit of £79 in 1929. The top riders of the day, Jack Sibbitt, Dennis Horn and the Wyld brothers were competing at Derby.

In 1937, the Notts and Derby Cycling league held midweek track league meetings but unfortunately cancelled the final meetings due to poor attendance.

During the war, the concrete Derby track was covered in hawthorn bushes to disguise it. Derby Mercury members helped to clear it after the war so that racing could start again. Cycle racing resumed after the war. The holding of the NCU meeting in 1948 at Derby was narrowly accepted by the Derby Parks Committee by a single vote, because the meeting was to be held on a Sunday.

The Broad Oak RC organised Good Friday meetings at Derby. Syd Patterson, the Australian world amateur sprint champion appeared and was beaten by Lloyd Binch in an 880 yards handicap race. Binch had 66 yards, Patterson was on scratch.

Cycle racing at Derby Municipal Sports Ground petered out in the 1950's.

Derby - Municipal Sports Ground : Image credit picturethepast.org.uk
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Photos : Wiki Commons, picturethepast.org.uk
Maps    : Old-Maps.co.uk historic maps