Stock car promoter at the Stadium, Barry Watson and Chris Morton, speedway rider, decided that it would be a good idea to bring speedway to the Buxton Stadium and they started work to construct a shale track inside the existing tarmac circuit that was at the time used for stock car racing, They were anxious to avoid accidents and the track that was to be produced would have wide gentle bends. This track was completed and opened on August the 24th 1994 with a meeting called the Peak/Potteries Challenge Trophy, a match between Buxton and Stoke which ended in a 39/39 draw.
The season continued with the Buxton Stadium racers known as the Hi-
And so in 1996 a new speedway track was built, described as follows in the book “Homes of British Speedway”
“With Buxton moving home in 1996, Ken Moss and his son Richard built their new track on land adjacent to the club’s former base. What they created was circuit with a super safety fence design, making it perfect for aspiring youngsters. The straights were constructed with different elevation, with a small drop down around the first and second turns, and a rise through the third and fourth bends”
New track and new promoters for 1996 with Ken Moss, Bernard Loftus and Chris Morton forming the new promotion team awaiting the first meeting of the 1996 season which took place on May 16th, a conference League match in which they beat Mildenhall 47/31.
1997 saw a change in the league arrangements and names, the Premier league being split in two, ten teams becoming the Elite and the rest remained as Premier and the Conference league was, for some reason, renamed the Amateur League (to me this suggests that the riders were not paid, I hope they were). The Buxton Hitmen were in the Amateur League.
1998 and Ken Moss became the sole promoter and the Amateur league reverted to being called the Conference league (seems I was not alone in my misgivings about the name). 1999 Ken Moss stood down due to ill health and the promotion was picked up by Tim Jones and Mark Jenkins.
In 2004 Richard Moss (remember Richard was half of the father/son team that developed the new venue) took over the promotion with his wife Jane. Buxton team continued in the Conference league until another change of name in 2009 this time to the name of the third tier of British league racing reverted to the name used way back, the National League.
2018 was to prove to be the end, at least for the time being of speedway at the Buxton Raceway, the team finished last in the National league that year possible because they had more than their fair share of injury.
Increased costs, reported falling spectator numbers and it was felt that Sheffield who had changed their race day to Sunday may well inflict even more damage to the gate number and so it was with sorrow that the Moss family decided that the only way was to cease league racing.
This is very sad for speedway and the owners who had given so much to the sport but one family can’t continue to support the racing unless it is at least breaking even.
It was said that open meeting may be held in 2019 by sadly they were not – perhaps 2020 will bring better news.
Photos courtesy of John Somerville Collection
Thanks to John Jarvis for permission to use information from his book “Homes of British Speedway.
By Jackie Hodkinson