Isle of Man - Onchan Stadium
The Park : IM3 1HT
Isle of Man - Onchan Stadium : Map credit historic maps Isle of Man - Onchan Stadium : Image credit Onchan District Commissioners The Onchan Stadium was opened on June 19th 1951 during Cycling Festival week. The concrete track was 440 yards long, 22 feet wide with 22 degree bankings. The opening meeting organised by the Manx Viking Wheelers attracted 130 competitors and the main event was sprint racing with Reg Harris, Arie van Vliet and Jan Derksen.

The Isle of Man Cycling Festival week was a regular holiday feature which took place in June each year and attracted cyclists from the whole of the UK. There was a large amount of racing which included time trials, road racing and track racing at Onchan. The Manx International professional road race attracted top continental riders such as Tom Simpson, Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil and Fausto Coppi.

The Festval week was the main use of the stadium but other events also took place. On August 8th 1951 Cyril Bardsley appeared at a track meeting. Reg Harris returned to Onchan several times in the following year and won the sprint, point to point and devil events. In his 1955 appearance Reg won the sprint event from Anton Maspes, the current world sprint champion. Lloyd Binch and Eric Thompson competed for the amateur sprint.

The UCI inspected the facilities at the Isle of Man with a view to holding world championship races there in 1961. Following their approval, the Onchan Commissioners spent £17,000 improving the stadium.

In 1961 Festival track racing, Barry Hoban won the men's pursuit and Beryl Burton the women's. Beryl then cycled over to Castletown and won the women's road race from Shield Holmes, Barry's wife. Onchan stadium hosted the Women's World track Championships in August 1961. Beryl Burton won silver in the pursuit and Jean Dunn bronze in the sprint.

The Cycling Festival continued to be popular with Gordon Johnson and Daryl Perkins racing in 1967.

The Liverpool Echo of January 10th 1970 reported that the Onchan track had failed the BCF safety check because it would be impractical and too expensive to temporarily remove the safety barriers that had been erected for stock car racing on the track. After this, the stadium was used for stock car racing, midget cars, gokarts and football. No cycle racing took place at Onchan after 1970.

The stadium is now known as the Onchan Park stadium, which contains the Onchan Raceway, a popular stock car racing venue.

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Photos : Onchan District Commissioners
Maps    : historic maps