Stamford - Handson's field
Wothorpe Road : PE9 2JA
Stamford - Handson Bicycle racing was held at Stamford from 1869, but the town never had a purpose built track and bicycle racing was held on grass tracks at various locations for the next fifty years.

The Foresters Order held their gala on 2nd August 1869 at the gala field near the infirmary, 6,000 people were present during the afternoon and 140 members dined in a large tent. Amongst the sports and entertainment, a bicycle race (driving wheel not to exceed 3ft 6in) was the chief feature but the Stamford Mercury reported that the races were "run under difficult circumstances, a rough grass field not being adapted for the display of skill in the use of these slim looking machines, and with no provision having been made to keep a clear course for the participants in the race." This "added greatly to the fun of the spectators, who enjoyed the spills that took place." In addition to the main race for £3 and a cup, won by H Clark of Felton, there was a slow race and a bicycle steeple chase. A dispute arose over the winner of the slow bicycle race and a fight broke out, which the police had to deal with. There were all kinds of entertainments, tight rope walkers, acrobats, burlesque, a shooting gallery, roundabout and itinerant photographers, with dancing in the evening to a band and then a finale of fireworks.

The Great Star Gala Company organised the Stamford Gala on September 6th 1869 which also included bicycle races, entertainment and a fireworks display.

After this early rush of bicycle races, the novelty must have passed and it was a further eleven years before they were seen again at Stamford. The Stamford Athletic Sports, organised by the Burghley Park Cricket Club, were held at Mr Handson's field, Wothorpe Road on August Bank Holiday 1878, the meeting included fifteen events with a three miles bicycle race for a silver cup valued at four guineas. The sports were held the following year with a two miles local bicycle handicap race and then became an annual event, with two bicycle races. In 1894, the sports moved to Burghley Park and attracted 4,000 spectators, which was the last track racing at Stamford for a decade,

Mr Terry of the Victoria Inn, Uffington Road, tried to promote bicycle racing in Stamford by organising a road handicap race on the Tallington Road on 19th June 1888. This prompted the formation of the Stamford Cycling Club in 1889, the club was quite small, but active socially in the 1890s and occasionally promoted club races on the road.

The Stamford Athletic and Cycling Club organised their annual sports with bicycle races from 1906, they were held on grass tracks at various locations including Eversley School Ground, Burghley High Park and Wothorpe Road football ground. At the August 7th 1911 meeting there were 2,000 spectators at the event which included the NCU (Lincolnshire) one mile championship, a half mile open bicycle handicap and a three miles point to point race. This was probably the last track racing to be held in Stamford.

Stamford football club started playing at Mr Handson's field, Wothorpe Road in 1896 and used the ground until 2014, when they moved to the Zeeco stadium. The ground was then developed for housing.

Refs     : [p]
Maps    : National Library of Scotland