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Before the Return of the Tigers
Trevor Redmond came to Britain in 1950 and signed for Third Division Aldershot. By the following season he was the teams top scorer and also the Third Division match race champion. He subsequently signed for Wembley and made his World Final in 1954 along with fellow debutantes Ove Fundin, Peter Craven and Barry Briggs who would go on to win the championship no less than eleven times between them. Trevor was also the legal guardian of the seventeen year old Barry Briggs when he first came to Britain. While an accomplished rider, he was a great entrepreneur and organiser. He was famed for arranging trips to Sweden and South Africa.
In 1960 Trevor was captain and top scorer for Bristol in the newly formed Provincial League and rounded off a successful season by winning the Provincial League Riders Championship with a fifteen point maximum at Harringay. Unfortunately Bristol’s Knowle Stadium was sold for redevelopment and Trevor was snapped up by Wolverhampton. As well as leading Wolves, he reopened St Austell and also promoted at Shelbourne Park in Dublin. He certainly got around that year! –as did Wayne Briggs who had open bookings at both venues despite being none too handily located just outside Edinburgh!
He opened Neath in South Wales in 1962 and had quite a stroke of luck in signing Charlie Monk who had been unable to break into a strong Poole side. Along with Redmond, Monk was to prove the mainstay of the Welsh Dragons who finished runners up in the Provincial League. The venture was not blessed with great fortune. An outbreak of foot and mouth disease meant fixtures were cancelled while others were staged at St Austell at fairly short notice. It was no great surprise that the Dragons relocated to St Austell for the 1963 season. With Plymouth folding during the winter, Chris Julians, Chris Blewett and Ray Wickett joined up along with Ray Cresp. Charlie Monk was allowed to go to Long Eaton on loan. The Gulls gave a good account of themselves on track but crowds were poor and once again Trevor was on the look out for a new home track
Up in Scotland, Ian Hoskins’ Edinburgh Monarchs were doing good business at Old Meadowbank. They were founder members of the Provincial League and their side was gradually maturing and improving. Hoskins lived in Glasgow and still harboured the ambition to reopen the White City where he had first promoted more than ten years previously. He had staged stock car racing there since 1962 and was now considering bringing speedway back. There was considerable doubt over the future of Old Meadowbank during the winter of 1963/64 and there was speculation that Hoskins would have moved the Monarchs over to Glasgow had the Edinburgh council not agreed to renew the lease. Whether this was the plan is unknown but when the Monarchs were given the “ok” for Old Meadowbank, Hoskins had a track but no team while Redmond had a team but no track! Unsurprisingly they got together and the Tigers would be back!
Maury Mattingly, the 1963 Scottish Open champion was signed to captain the Tigers. He would fly up from London each week. It is possible that Ray Cresp was offered to Wolverhampton in a swap deal for Mattingly. The Speedway Star certainly suggested that Ray Cresp was Wolverhampton bound. However Cresp, based in London, opted to sign for the newly opened West Ham in the National League. Charlie Monk was recalled from Long Eaton and would be based in Winchburgh with Wayne Briggs. Redmond’s remaining riders at St Austell were Chris Julians, Ray Wickett and Chris Blewett, although the latter was still on the injured list following a late season crash and was unlikely to ride before the summer. Neither Wickett nor Julians were keen to travel the length of the country each week. Wickett had secured a place on a government sponsored training course and would not be able to get enough time off to drive to Glasgow. He did agree, however, to turn out for Tigers in the early fixtures. Julians had hoped to sign for either Exeter or Newport but when these hopes were dashed, he wholeheartedly signed for Glasgow.
Bill McMillan and Red Monteith had made occasional appearances for Edinburgh in 1963 and both were offered team places. McMillan was a nephew of the Templeton brothers and had had his first second half outing at Old Meadowbank in 1961 although bizarrely his ACU licence had been revoked for a short period when it was discovered that he did not hold a driving licence! Monteith had first ridden at the White City in the early 1950s and had ridden in the short open licence seasons at White City in 1956 and Motherwell in 1958. He had returned to the sport in 1963 and had ridden a handful of times for the Monarchs before sustaining an ankle injury which kept him out of the saddle for a few weeks
Bruce Ovenden, (pictured below in preseason practice) had ridden at New Plymouth in New Zealand and had been encouraged to travel to Britain. He had been told Glasgow were on the look out for riders and both he and pal Joe Hicks were offered a trial.
With Trevor Redmond hanging up his leathers to concentrate on the promotion side the Tigers line up would be
Maury Mattingly (captain)
The Provincial League had broken with Control Board and was declared ”black” and all riders had had their ACU licences suspended. The Provincial League was to be contested by fourteen teams with the league competition being preceded by Northern and Southern League events. The northern section would be made up of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesboro and Sheffield, while the southern league would see Long Eaton, Cradley, Wolverhampton, Newport, Hackney, Poole and Exeter.
Northern and Southern league meetings would award one point to the winner with a bonus point being awarded for home and away aggregate win. The KO Cup competition would also be run with only the final being on a home and away basis.
The program cover used for the initial season was the same design as that used in the 1950s featuring a cartoon type Tiger holding a photo frame in one paw while pushing a motorcyclist who looked nothing like a speedway rider with the other. The program featured Trevor Redmond’s lively editorial page, a Supporters Club page including letters, and a double page layout for the meeting heat details and scorers. The second half heats and an advert for the following meeting took up the following page and were followed by a fixtures page and the Tigers Tail news page. The program sold for sixpence and was considered good value and amongst the better in the Provincial League.
Admission prices were five shillings (25p) for the Stand and three shillings (15p) for the Ground, juveniles being admitted for half these prices. At this time the Speedway Star cost one shilling (5p)