ADAMS, Kenneth Peter (Ken)
Born: 28th August 1924, Kensal Green, London Died: 1st May 1998.
Think what struck me first when I started looking into the speedway career of Ken Adams was just how long he was holding down a successful speedway team place, 20 years and apart from the final year he was returning very respectable average points totals. You just do not expect someone starting his team career in 1948 with a points average of 6.9 to still be riding in 1965 and still have a score of 5.19.
Ken was employed as a young man in office work although I don’t know of what kind and during that time he took part in cycle road racing and cycle speedway he progressed to participating in speedway and by 1948 he was racing as a member of the Stoke Potters so one assumes that this may well have been his main source of income. He continued taking part in and winning at Cycle Speedway events and in the early 1960s he was still involved riding for Leicester.
During his first season with Stoke he took part in 50 matches, scored 276 points for them returning an average of 6.9 he was 23 years old when he started his relationship with the Potters and was to ride for them for a total of 10 seasons split into two sessions the first being from 1948 until 1953. Stoke was in the National League 3 from ’48 and ’49 when the team won the league and moved up to National League 2 in 1950, it was in this year he took over as Team Captain from Dave Anderson.
Throughout this early period of his racing career it would seem he undertook travelling abroad during the winter, off season, period and took part in related activities such as Ice Racing. On one of these trips in the 1950/51 whilst Ice Racing in Sweden he received a life threatening injury, a ruptured liver, he seems to have recovered both his health and confidence as his scoring just kept improving.
For some reason he requested a transfer in 1952, I think perhaps things were not running too smoothly because Stoke closed the following year, it is suggested low spectator numbers being the reason, as things turned out Ken remained with the club until its closure.
For Ken Adams settling at a club following the closure of Stoke seemed difficult, he raced at Southampton in 1954, National League 2, Weymouth in 1955, National League 2 & Wembley in 1955, National League 1 he did one match for Wembley in 1956 before moving to Ipswich, National League 2 and racing in 17 matches for them.
And so it continued, 1957 Rayleigh – 1958 Poole – 1959 & 1960 Oxford and all the while his points average was dropping. When I see this sort of thing I start to wonder why, did he have a partner and family still based in or near Stoke and was not being home much eating away at his spirit and confidence, I don’t know but he obviously could not settle and his averages dropped from over 8 in his last year with Stoke in 1953 to 4.12 at Oxford in 1959.
Return to Stoke was imminent, the club reopened in 1960 and Ken returned to the Potters for 3 matches in that year and although it was only 3 matches his averages shot up to 9.14. He was to remain with Stoke until they closed again at the end of 1963 he was achieving over 8 points a match.
He was left with no choice if he wanted to continue as a speedway rider to join a new club for the 1964 season and that club was to be Long Eaton where he stayed for the following year before joining Kings Lynn for the 1966 at the end of that season he decided to hang up his leathers aged 42.
Still interested in the sport he took on the role of team manager for Crewe in the late 1960s before, as far as I know, retiring from the sport.
Our thanks to John Somerville Collection for permission to use these photos