Glasgow - Ibrox Park

Broomloan Road : G51 2XD Glasgow - Ibrox Park : Map credit Old-Maps.co.uk historic maps Glasgow - Ibrox Park : Image credit Scottish Cycling History
Ibrox Stadium was the home of Rangers FC, who moved there in 1887. The cinder bicycle racing track was opened in 1888 and was 440 yards around and 24 feet wide. The first meeting on the track was the Glasgow Rangers and Clydesdale Harriers sports on July 7th 1888 which incorporated the one mile bicycle and five miles tricycle of championships of the NCU.

Bicycle racing became very popular at Ibrox with regular meetings. In 1890, the Glasgow Local Centre held evening race meetings at Ibrox. The SCU championships were held there in 1891. The Scottish Racing Cyclists League held a Thursday evening meeting on May 14th 1891 which was the first track race under the new SCU rules. The Clydesdale Harriers meeting on 4th July 1891 included ½, 2 and 5 miles races for pneumatics and 1 and 3 miles races for solid or cushion tyres.

In 1895 the stadium was upgraded, the cycle track was re-laid, banked up to seven feet and adjusted to give eighteen laps to five miles. When completed it was described as "the finest track in Scotland."

In 1899, Rangers moved into the new stadium that they had built, adjacent to the previous ground, raising the money by forming a limited company. The new stadium had an oval bicycle track around the pitch.

Celtic Park, Ibrox and Hampden Park all competed with each other to host lucrative football matches. To increase crowd capacity, Rangers built large areas of timber terracing, but one section of terracing collapsed at a Scotland v England match on 5th April 1902 and 25 people were killed and 517 injured.

In 1904 Scotland's three best cycling tracks were at Ibrox, Hampden and Celtic, but even though Ibrox lost out to Celtic Park for crowds, it continued to hold regular meetings up to the First World War. Peter Bilsborough [ref. 60] described very clearly the demise of cycle track racing in Glasgow and his comments apply equally to the rest of the UK.

"Glaswegians flocked to the various annual cycling and athletic promotions. In 1893, 7,000 watched the Rangers P.C. sports at Ibrox while 15,000 attended Hampden Park for the Queen's Park F.C. Sports. By 1897 interest at some events was measured in tens of thousands. Within five years interest in cycling had declined quite significantly however. After the turn of the century riders disappeared from the tracks and thousands of spectators left the stadia. By 1910 only Celtic attracted crowds of over 10,000 to watch cycling events. The advent of professional cycling in 1897 had heralded the start of the decline. Fair play and enjoyment were replaced by an overwhelming concern for profit. Cycling became the property of market forces, dominated by material considerations which were alien to traditional amateur ideals. More significantly, riders increasingly broke the rules and adopted tactics which spectators found unattractive to watch. Such local interest as might have been generated by watching contests between local amateur riders disappeared as sports promoters increasingly resorted to British and foreign cracks who dominated the events and led to the withdrawal of the local amateur."

In the 1920's athletics meetings at Ibrox drew large crowds but only occasionally were bicycle races included in the program. There were a few cycle race meetings after 1930. At the Rangers Athletic sports meeting on 5th August 1950 there were two bicycle events, a half mile and a one mile race.

The 1955 NCU Racing Handbook listed the Ibrox track as 440 yards with an ash surface, 30 feet wide and banked to 4ft 6in.

Ibrox is, of course, a football stadium, but it has been used for athletics competitions, the Empire Games and for concerts, including performances by Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart and Elton John. Ibrox has hosted world championship boxing and rugby sevens at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Glasgow - Ibrox Park : Image credit Wiki Commons
Refs     : [60] [105] [p]
Photos : Scottish Cycling History, Wiki Commons
Maps    : Old-Maps.co.uk historic maps