The stadium was already 25 years old - none of yer purpose-build splurge in those years of make-do - and while it was being tarted up ready for the Games, the resident speedway team, the Wembley Lions, were turfed out for the whole summer and had to run home matches at the track of bitter rivals, the Wimbledon Dons, way down south on the other side of the river.
But for the 1948 British Riders' Championship final, speedway was back at Wembley and the September meet drew a crowd of getting on for 100,000 be-capped, Woodbine-fuelled spectators to see Australian Vic Duggan, the moustachioed Harringay Racers rider, take the title. Yep, 100,000 at a speedway event in Britain, and it wasn't uncommon. There's some Pythonesque BBC newsreel footage of the event here. MP
|Vic Duggan in action in 1947. Pic: John Chapman/defunctspeedway.co.uk|
|Olympic opening ceremony, Wembley, 1948. Imagine the same sort of crowd for a speedway meet. It happened, and often|