Hackney’s big speedway hero Thomas has plenty of stories to tell in upcoming biography

PUBLISHED: 11:00 07 December 2017

Barry Thomas racing 2012 Veteran Speedway Riders Open Championship (Pic: Chris Fenn)

Barry Thomas racing 2012 Veteran Speedway Riders Open Championship (Pic: Chris Fenn)


A biography of much-loved Hackney speedway rider Barry Thomas is set to be released early in February.

Barry Thomas racing 2012 Veteran Speedway Riders Open Championship (Pic: Chris Fenn)Barry Thomas racing 2012 Veteran Speedway Riders Open Championship (Pic: Chris Fenn)

Author and speedway fanatic Chris Fenn has decided to follow up his Hackney history book that was released in 2003 with a new book about an all-time favourite of his and the club’s.

The former London Riders’ and British under-21 champion rode for the east London club for 20 years and Fenn said: “There have been a number of books about some of the world champion riders and that’s all very well, but they’re all about big meetings.

“I wanted to tell a story from a rider’s point of view that concentrates on riding domestically instead of all about championship races and big Polish meetings.

“As a kid he was my favourite. When you’re young you just took to one rider and that was it.”

The book will be released at the sport’s 90th anniversary event at the speedway museum at Paradise Wildlife Park on February, 18, and Thomas believes it was a good idea to do it.

“I thought it was a fantastic idea and it brought back a lot of memories for me,” he said.

“All the riders that helped with the book thought they wouldn’t remember a lot of it, but once we were prompted it all came back.

“There have been so many memories, but winning the London Riders’ Championship twice is the one for me, no one has ever done it three times and I actually came close to doing that.”

Thomas is also remembered for his last-bend heroics when he roared around one of the sport’s greats Ivan Mauger and his American partner Scott Autrey to win the meeting for Hackney and deny Exeter the British league title 40 years ago.

“That didn’t happen very often and that’s what made Ivan such a good rider,” added Thomas.

“I’d have to go a long way to try beating that one, but I had quite a few good races with good riders over the years and never worried about coming second, as long as it was a good race.”

The 66-year-old, now living in the Isle of Sheppey, revealed how special it was to race for the club.

“It was fantastic and it was quite an honour to ride for Hackney as it was a really special place to race. The supporters were brilliant and although I had bad meetings when I was there, they took the rough with the smooth.”

You can pre-order the book and get a signed copy on release day.

Latest Hackney Stories

The experienced winger, who will turn 30 on Wednesday, suffered a knee injury during the 1-0 loss at Boreham Wood

33 minutes ago

Fresh plans to redevelop the dilapidated Stoke Newington mansion St Mary’s Lodge are to be displayed this weekend so the public can have their say on them.

A man has thanked the optician who saved his life, after an eye test led to a diagnosis of chronic myeloid leukaemia.


A Homerton tech entrepreneur has been named one of London’s “25 under 25” as voted for by an industry network.

Yesterday, 19:15

An entrepreneur is braving temperatures of minus 40°C and high speed winds to climb the highest peak in Antarctica to raise funds for the charity he founded to combat gun and knife crime.

Yesterday, 17:00

The former professional development phase lead coach moved to Barnet earlier this month

Yesterday, 15:00

The 31-year-old will be expected to play a crucial role for Spurs at the Camp Nou on Tuesday

Yesterday, 14:18

An inventive production of John Masefield’s 30s fantasy children’s novel needs more brutal editing to truly shine


Former teacher Steve shares his experiences as a foster carer for teenagers, from dealing with some of their more challenging behaviour, to the rewards of seeing a child develop into a happy and healthy adult

Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists