SPEEDWAY was once a big spectator sport in Barrow and the town produced some of its star names.

Today's pictures look back to the 1973 visit of a West German team to the speedway track at the Holker Street soccer ground and we also celebrate the career of Furness rider Frank Charles who died 80 years ago yesterday in a glider crash.

Frank Charles, who is buried at Rampside churchyard,  began speedway racing in 1928 and became a national star with Wembley.

He moved there for a record £1,000 fee and won the national speedway championship, winning all his five races.

Frank also rode for Burnley, Preston, Belle Vue and Leeds.

His death came on July 15 in 1939, aged just 32, while taking part in a national gliding contest held at Great Hucklow, Derbyshire.

The Mail used to produce a speedway special edition on Tuesdays and on August 14 in 1973 it looked toward to the arrival of a touring German team which was to visit Barrow and two other British League Division II tracks.

It was noted: "The main object of the tour is to show that they are on their way to being good enough to take part in the World Team Cup in the not too distant future.

"So they want this tour to be a big success - and consequently they field what is virtually their national side."

The West Germans - led by captain Josef Angermuller - came to Barrow after events against the Poles, Czechs and East Germans.

Barrow's team riders were drawn from the squad of Mike Sampson, Sid Sheldrick, Terry Kelly, Joe Owen, Tom Owen, Keith Evans, Chris Roynon and Craig Pendlebury.

A report the following day noted: "In the most exciting exhibition at the Barrow track since speedway came to the town, the West Germans snatched two points from the last heat for a narrow 40 to 38 points victory.

"From heat 1 right through to heat 13 it was one long exciting parade of skill, spills and top class riding that kept a capacity crowd on its toes."

You can find out more about the career of Frank Charles, and many other notable Furness people, on the website of Rod White at https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/-hFhCD1OOirRLjAFWXkin