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Colin Watson (speedway rider)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colin Watson
Nationality England
Career history
1929White City
1930Harringay Canaries
1930-1938Wembley Lions
1938-1939, 1946West Ham Hammers
Team honours
1932National League Champion
1930, 1931Southern League Champion
1931, 1932National Trophy Winner
1932, 1933London Cup Winner

Colin Watson (born c.1899) was one of the most successful British motorcycle speedway riders from the sport's early years in the late 1920s and 1930s.


Born in Ilford, Essex, Watson was involved from the earliest days on British speedway, taking part in the early meetings held at High Beach in 1928.[1] He joined White City in 1929 and Harringay Canaries and Wembley Lions in 1930, playing a leading role in the team that dominated the sport in the early 1930s.[1] He was a finalist in the Star Riders' Championship five times between 1929 and 1934.[2] He was selected for the England team to face Australia in Test series in 1931, 1932, 1933, and 1934, also captaining the team.[3][4] He suffered a broken leg in 1935 that kept him out of the sport until 1937.[2] In 1938 he moved on to the West Ham Hammers, also spending a period with Sheffield Tigers.

He was allocated back to West Ham after the end of World War II.[1] On 13 July 1946, during a second-half scratch race after a match between the Odsal Boomerangs and West Ham, he was critically injured in a crash when he hit a lighting standard and was dragged along the track by his bike, suffering a fractured skull and a punctured lung. He lay unconscious in a Bradford hospital before recovering consciousness four weeks later.[1] The accident ended his career at the age of 47.[2] Just one week earlier on 6 July, Albert Rosenfeld Jr. had been critically injured at the same track but died 10 days later.[5][6]

After his racing career, Watson ran a successful car hire business in Ilford and in 1963 took on the role of machine examiner at New Cross.[7]

Film appearance

The speedway scenes from the 1933 film Britannia of Billingsgate were shot at Hackney Wick Stadium and featured some of the leading riders in Britain at the time including Colin Watson, Arthur Warwick, Gus Kuhn, Tom Farndon, Claude Rye and Ron Johnson.[8]

Players cigarette cards

Watson is listed as number 47 of 50 in the 1930s Player's cigarette card collection.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Storey, Basil (1947) "Colin Watson Blazed His Way Through" in Speedway Favourites, Sport-in-Print, p. 3
  2. ^ a b c Bamford, Robert (2003) Speedway: The Pre-War Years, Tempus, ISBN 0-7524-2749-0, p. 222
  3. ^ Morgan, Tom (1947) The People Speedway Guide, Odhams Press, p. 73-4
  4. ^ Stenner, Tom & Clymer, Floyd (1947) Thrilling the Millions: The Lure of Speedway, p. 21
  5. ^ "Speedway's biggest 34,000". Bradford Observer. 8 July 1946. Retrieved 11 August 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "Injured speedway rider dies". Hull Daily Mail. 16 July 1946. Retrieved 11 August 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "Colin Watson Makes a Come-Back", Speedway Star, 23 March 1963, p. 2
  8. ^ "Britannia Of Billingsgate (1933)". YouTube. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Speedway Riders". Speedway Museum Online. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
This page was last edited on 9 February 2023, at 20:25
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