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Frank Charles (speedway rider)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frank Charles
Born(1908-03-10)10 March 1908
Died15 July 1939(1939-07-15) (aged 31)
Nationality England
Current club information
Career statusRetired
Career history
1930Manchester White City
1931Leeds Lions
1931-1934Belle Vue Aces
1935-1939Wembley Lions
Individual honours
1935Star Riders' Champion
Team honours
1933, 1934National League Champion
1933, 1934National Trophy Winner
1934A.C.U. Cup Winner

Frank Charles (born 10 March 1908 Barrow-in-Furness, England - died 15 July 1939)[1] was a former international motorcycle speedway rider who won the Star Riders' Championship in 1935 and rode in the first ever World Championship final in 1936.

Career summary

Prior to taking up speedway, Charles worked as a baker and grocer, and performed in music halls with a piano accordion.[2] In 1929 Charles rode for Burnley, in 1930 for Manchester White City and then for Leeds Lions and Belle Vue in 1931 but was badly injured and lost his form, and so retired from the sport.[2] In 1933, the Belle Vue Aces tempted him out of retirement, and looked to have regained his former form when he won the Wembley championship that year, also breaking the track record.[2] In 1934 Charles' father died, so he returned to the family business. In 1935 Wembley Lions paid £1,000 to sign Charles, where he became the club's top scorer and was selected to ride for England against Australia.[1] He went on to win the Star Riders' Championship despite only initially taking part in the competition as a replacement for Ginger Lees.[2] In 1936 he topped the club's scoring again, was top scorer for the England Test team, and qualified for World Championship final, tying for fourth place with Cordy Milne, and broke the track record during the meeting.[2][3] He qualified again for the 1937 final. At the end of the 1938 season he decided to retire to concentrate on his long-term hobby of gliding.[2]

World Final appearances


On 15 June 1939 he made a return to the Wembley Lions team. However, after being excused a test call up on 15 July 1939, Charles was killed whilst taking part in a national gliding competition.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Jacobs, N & Lipscombe, P (2005). Wembley Speedway : The Pre-War Years. Stroud: Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3750-X
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sandys, Leonard (1948) Broadside to Fame! The Drama of the Speedways, Findon, p. 17
  3. ^ a b Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5
This page was last edited on 9 June 2017, at 20:50
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