Tony Rickardsson was certainly the most successful rider of his generation and arguably the greatest of all time. Having won the last ever one off World Final, at Vojens in 1994, the charismatic Swede went on to become a dominant force in the Speedway Grand Prix over the next decade. In 2004 Rickardsson formed an unlikely partnership with Penske Cars, the UK manufacturing subsidiary of Roger Penske's huge American racing team. Penske UK were based on the south coast of England in Poole, which also happened to be the home of the Pirates (the speedway team, as opposed to the Somalian variety...) for whom Rickardsson raced.

Although the world of motorcycle speedway is a million miles away from Indycar and Nascar, beyond the obvious connection of going fast and turning left, racing is racing and staff at Penske UK applied some of their analysis and manufacturing expertise to a speedway chassis. The new frames helped Rickardsson to win his sixth world title in 2005, which included a stunning win at the British GP at Cardiff.

The final of this meeting is memorable for Rickardsson's audacious "wall of death" second corner sweep around his competitors, where he rode off the air-fence, finding extra drive to surge clear of the field. It could so easily have ended in disaster, but his skill and bravery, combined with a bit of luck won the day. Whether the Penske frames made any difference, we will never know, but they certainly helped give him the confidence to attempt the move.



Top Tunage

Johnny Marr - Upstarts


Tapes Up

Peter Collins and Ivan Mauger blast away from the Wembley start gate, in a run off to decide the 1976 Intercontinental Final. Collins won that night and subsequently went on to win the World Final in Katowice later that year.


Lego Speedway

Many of us who love tinkering with bikes or cars in sheds and garages the world over, cut our engineering teeth building Lego vehicles when we were kids. Now for big kids of all ages there is an official Lego Technic speedway bike available to buy. The speedway bike is an alternative model that can be made from the new motocross bike kit. Also pictured is a convincing street tracker V twin and a purposeful looking streetfighter which were found at: http://legotechnicmotorcycles.blogspot.co.uk/

Enter Sandbahn

This rather obscure artwork depicts a certain happy go lucky pop group about to ride off into the apocalypse on er...speedway bikes. Well obviously...

The somewhat unlikely scenario was dreamt up by concept artist Calum Alexander Watt back in 2003 for a proposed Playstation driving / riding / shoot-em-up game, complete with suitably heavy soundtrack. The game never made it to market, but the band made a film which documented how utterly dysfunctional they had become and spent the rest of the time suing just about anyone they could think of (hence the reason why I can't quite remember their name.) The only possible clue to the speedway bike connection could be the fact that the drummer was Danish...

Check out more of Mr Watt's awesome artwork on his blog: