Birmingham - Salford Park

Aston Expressway : B6 7TG Birmingham - Salford Park : Map credit Old-Maps.co.uk historic maps Birmingham - Salford Park : Image credit Beacon Roads CC
Salford Stadium was situated in Salford Park, near spaghetti junction. The track was built in 1951 at a cost of £12,000 and was a 440 yards tarmac track, 22 feet wide with 16 degree bankings. Salford Park was the base for Birmingham Cycling Club, which was formed in the 1960's by Tommy Godwin, the 1948 Olympic bronze medal winner, by merging the Wyndeham and Rover clubs.

The track was officially opened on 11th July 1951 as a contribution to the Festival of Britain. In the opening meeting, Tommy Godwin won the 5 miles scratch race in 10 min 41 sec. The first major track meet was on 4th August 1951 with sprinters Cyril Bardsley, Alan Bannister, Jackie Tighe and Lloyd Binch racing for world championship selection.

Salford was in competition with the nearby Coventry Butts stadium and the local press commented that Salford only cost £25 a day to hire, whilst the Butts cost £40.

From 1952, Salford Park held Wednesday night track league meetings which were well supported and Lutz Durlacher became a crowd favourite. Reg Harris competed in the 28th June 1952 meeting against Sid Patterson and Cyril Bardsley. Salford Park held Whit Saturday track meets.

At the end of 1956, the Sports Argus newspaper reported that all the Birmingham tracks had made substantial losses by promoting cycling events and their future could be in doubt. In 1957, the big July Salford Park meeting was transferred to Wolverhampton.

The track surface must have deteriorated as a news report stated that "Repairs to the track should be completed shortly and will certainly mean an improved surface." Racing continued to be held and the Festival of Birmingham meeting in 1958 attracted top competitors and at the August meet, Karl Barton (Empire Games sprint champion) retained the Brooks trophy.

Salford Park continued to hold good quality track events with the 1966 Grand Prix of Birmingham meeting. Graham Webb, the World Amateur road race champion in 1967 was a member of Birmingham CC and Salford Park was his home track. Webb broke the British hour record on 11th July 1966 at Salford Park.

In 1971, conditions at Salford Park were criticised, the seating had been removed and not replaced and the public address system was described as ‘the worst ever'. In spite of this, top cyclists still rode at Salford Park events including Hugh Porter, Gordon Johnson, Ian Hallam and Les West.

At the Salford Park track meeting on 8th July 1971, Reg Harris, five times world sprint champion, made a comeback to sprinting at the age of 51. In the UK professional sprint championships he managed to win a bronze medal behind Gordon Johnson and Reg Barnett. He returned to sprinting in 1974 at Leicester and won the championship aged 54.

Racing activity at Salford Park reduced significantly in the 1980's and the Evening Mail on 6th February 1986 reported that the BCF had declared the track unfit for racing "Plants are breaking through the track, the surface has been gouged, there are broken panels in the safety fence and the fence posts are rotten." In 1988, the training track bikes were stolen from the stadium. The necessary cash was not forthcoming from the local authorities so the repairs were not made and the future of Salford Park was sealed. In 1998 the track league was still running but the track closed the following year and was demolished in 2000 to make way for football pitches

Birmingham - Salford Park : Image credit Beacon Roads CC Birmingham - Salford Park : Image credit John Pearson Birmingham - Salford Park : Image credit Neil Russell Birmingham - Salford Park : Image credit Birmingham Forum
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Photos : Beacon Roads CC, John Pearson, Neil Russell, Birmingham Forum
Maps    : Old-Maps.co.uk historic maps