The Bradford Panthers

1960 - 1969

In 1960 a mammoth crowd of 83,190 watched the Rugby League Championship Final between Wakefield Trinity and Wigan. However, only three years later a mere 324 souls witnessed Bradford Northern play Barrow. Northern subsequently folded, but a quick reformation was wholeheartedly supported, as 14,500 watched the ‘new’ clubs first match. The Council did their bit, spending £50,000 on new terracing.

One of the many unsung heroes of the hour was the stock car promoter. While Northern fought to survive, the promoter and his staff continued to maintain the stadium. Their actions made Northern’s subsequent revival easier than it might have been. The stock car promoter converted part of the Low Moor end of the ground to house the cars, thus making Odsal virtually three sided.

Even the allure of speedway was fading with the Tudors just about hanging on at Odsal. In 1960 they renamed themselves the Bradford Panthers. They had one disastrous season at Odsal before leaving for Greenfield Stadium at Dudley Hill. Speedway wasn’t to be seen again at Odsal for a decade.

Speedway racing and the Bradford Panthers moved to Greenfield in 1961. The opening meeting was scheduled for 17 July 1961, but due to heavy flooding, construction of the speedway track had been delayed. The contractors commenced work on 18 June, 900 tons of earth was removed and a base of 400 tons of clinker laid, with 240 tons of track dressing finishing the works. It was laid inside the dog track, which made for relatively poor viewing. As the works overran, the Bradford riders were loaned to Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

Greenfield was a neat and compact facility typical of the dog tracks of the time. The stadium was quite small but had held a crowd of 20,000 at one time. Perhaps people were smaller in those days but it looked as if it could only hold about a 5,000 maximum capacity, if that.

The speedway track was laid inside the dog track and was quite short as speedway tracks go, probably about 320 yards. The main speedway stand on the School Street side opposite the starting gate had no seating and was covered terracing only. The back straight on the Cutler Heights side had another area of covered terracing. At one end was a huge tote board with no terracing and at the other end the concourse was built up slightly overlooking the dog track with betting windows and a club house. The pits area and car park were in the corner at this end.

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