How many readers are aware we once had not one but two Furness speedway stars representing their country in the hectic world of Speedway.

It`s still not uncommon for a speedway rider to be racing at Poole in Dorset on a Friday night, drive overnight to race in Glasgow the next day, then rush back to race at Kings Lynn in Norfolk on a Sunday afternoon before returning home to prepare their bikes for the next meeting.

In the thirties, Barrow`s Frankie Charles was at the pinnacle of his career. He rode for Sheffield, Leeds and the famous Belle Vue Aces.

In 1933, whilst riding for Belle Vue at Wembley as a reserve, he smashed the lap record and won the Wembley Championship.

Wembley signed him in 1935 where he became virtually unbeatable, winning the League Riders championship.

He represented England in the 1936 Test series against Australia, winning every one of his 18 heats, and finished fourth in the World Championship.

He died in 1939 while competing in a national gliding competition, and is buried in Rampside churchyard.

Four decades later, another star emerged from Barrow, Alan Wilkinson, or 'Wilkie' as he became known to his thousands of fans.

After a short term with Rochdale in1970, Belle Vue Aces signed him and his career and fanbase went from strength to strength.

He raced with the British League-winning team in 1971 and 1972 and was a Knockout Cup winner with them in 1973, and was soon elevated to team captain.

His hard riding style and no-nonsense approach gained him a huge fanbase.

He'd often be seen 'discussing' things with a referee whose decision he wasn't happy with.

He too represented England in the British Lions team which toured Australia.

Sadly, a life-changing accident at Belle Vue in July 1978 brought it all to an abrupt end when he suffered a spinal injury that confined him to a wheelchair.

He`s not been in the best of health recently, but still maintains his interest in the sport and on his better days regularly attends Belle Vue meetings.

* Askam’s Darren and Cloe Hudson, who are the main organisers of the Acerbis National Motocross Championships, have been awaiting the latest ruling on motorsport activities along with many others.

Boris recently decreed motorsport can resume but only with a limited number of riders competing, no overnight camping, no two-day events, riders to be accompanied by only one person, no food vans, and no spectators.

Four rounds are still in abeyance: Landrake on July 25/26, Farleigh Castle on August 15/16, Culham Park on September 5/6 and Fatcats on October 3/4.

Darren’s team are keeping the dates and venues in case restrictions are eased and hope to run four Open meetings with registered riders having priority, but they have to consider overseas competitors travel restrictions.

Registered riders are assured their registration will hold good for 2021. For any queries, contact Darren or Cloe on 07774 894534 or 07887 407590.

* It's official, superbike racing returns later this month, sadly not on the mainland circuits but on the Jurby circuit in the Isle of Man.

The Manx government recently lifted most restrictions as Isle of Man residents have complied with lockdown rulings and no further Covid-19 cases have been reported.

Pubs and shops etc have reopened but the island is still in lockdown mode with no visitors permitted just yet .

To this end, Mike Bibby from MBR Racing here in Barrow has just finished preparing Graham Wilcock`s 1000cc BMW Superbike, which is soon to be shipped over for Graham's Manx rider Mikey Evans to race in the forthcoming Jurby Championships.

Unfortunately, neither Mike or Graham will be able to accompany the machine but Manx resident John Holt, a staunch supporter of the Wilcock racing team, has been appointed temporary team manager to look after things.

* The Motorcycle Action Group are pressing the government hard to implement a three-point action plan to include motorcycles in the current COVID-19 exit plan.

1. Specifically recognise and encourage the role of motorcycles and scooters as a socially distanced, congestion busting and sustainable transport mode for post-COVID transport in all Government transport messaging.

2. Mandate all local authorities to immediately allow motorcycle and scooter access in all combined bus and cycle routes.

3. Mandate all local authorities to immediately provide emergency secure two-wheeler parking facilities that can be used by motorcyclists and cyclists.

The plan compliments a recent statement the Secretary of State made in the House of Commons when he recommended the use of motorcycles as an alternative method of transport to ease parking and congestion problems. On the subject of parking, Barrow town centre car parks are now free until July 6.