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Cycle Speedway Teams Down the Ages

Lancashire: Heywood Arrows

About the team

Team Formed in the late 70s by John Burston & Pete Charnley.

The first track was on land offered by the Heywood Council, this being sited between the boating lake and the local cricket club, on what looked like a neglected lawn.

The Winter was spent partaking of manual labour on the new track, with intervals spent racing on the frozen lake, things couldn't look better!! Until that is on one particular Sunday a delegation from the cricket club came calling, and it became obvious that they took great exception to the location of the new track, so much so that a meeting was called in the cricket pavilion, where it was stated that in no way could they allow their game to be interupted by the antics of the cycle speedway riders. They also made a claim to ownership of the ground that the new track was sited on!!

Due to these problems, a new location for the track was offered by the Council, this being out of eyeshot of the cricketers, and once again the track building began in earnest, and obviously, due to both sympathy and guilt, the Council chipped in with ten tons of red shale. Most weekends were spent spreading the shale onto the track, plus rolling and grading. In between, practise sessions took place at either Chesham, Blackley or Droylsden, this in preparation for the forthcoming season.

This new track was at The Crimble, Queens Park, Miller Street, Heywood.

Track Dimensions: 75 yards x 15ft, red shale surface.

The name Heywood Arrows was chosen for two reasons, one the close proximity of the forest surroundings, the other(most importantly) being the offer of a set of body colours from someone in Stradbroke(Sheffield), these being the original Stradbroke Arrows.

With the nucleus of the Chesham second team, plus a handful of new recruits, Heywood entered the newly formed National League, plus the Manchester second and third division leagues, as well as the Holy Grail, the Manchester first division. In this league Heywood would compete against Denton, Offerton, Halifax, and the much feared Blackley team.

Their rider strength and quality had increased during this first season, so much so that they dominated the lower regions of the local racing. Every major junior event was won in the Manchester area, with Pete Tymkiw and Steve Jones practically unbeatable. Both Pete Tymkiw and Frank Morris represented the Manchester League at under 21 level, whilst John Burston and Frank Morris represented the National League against Scotland.

John Burston pulled off a major coup towards the middle of the first season by signing the legendary Blackley Flyer "Josh" Gleave. Rumour had it that he had fallen out with his team mates at Blakely over who's round it was at the "Old House at Home". With the team now having three genuine heat leaders, namely Burston, Gleave and Morris, the Arrows became title contenders for the National League plus the Intermediate League second tier in their first season.

During a match at Sheffield, the Arrows were well in control when the skies darkened and the heavens opened. Josh Gleave was at the gate, under starters orders, when a bolt of lightening struck his rear cog, shattering it into pieces(Whether this truly happened is hard to say, but when faced with the truth or legend, then it is always advisable to print the legend).

During the latter part of this season the team were faced with a very small squad of riders, this allowing both National League titles to slip away, as the Arrows could not sustain a serious challenge. Martin Zuk returned to Chesham, and both injuries and holidays had their affect upon the team. New juniors quickly emerged, and with the return to racing of John Burston's elder brother Roy(it was alleged that he was an ex Moston Pirate!!), the team began to gather strength once again, and things looked good for the following season.

New livery was the order of the day at the start of their second season, with made to measure shirts and black tracksuits, with the colour of orange being adopted to enhance the very professional look. During this period the Heywood riders were very prominent in their placings within the Open Invitation events, with Pete Tymkiw and Frank Morris involved in a run-off for first place at the Denton Open, Pete being the victor on this occasion. John Burston could have made it a 1-2-3 if he had not fallen during the run-off for third place. In the 1979 Woolerton Trophy meeting at Chesham, the same three took the first three places, with John Burston being the victor. Steve Jones won the Manchester Junior Title, and together with Pete Tymkiw won the Ashtonhurst Pairs. Frank Morris was also the National League intermediate match race champion, and with Josh Gleave picking up Senior Individual honours, the trophy cabinet was beginning to bulge. As a team, Heywood won the East Manchester 4's, and the same four came within a dodgy decision of reaching the Ashtonhurst 4's when subterfuge conspired to rob them of an historic final.

Unfortunately, from the time of their first meeting, the club was plagued with vandalism. The 3.00pm start time coincided with chuckin' out time at the nearby pubs, with many people wobbling down the hill for extra time at the cricket club bar, this journey being via the Heywood track. Unfortunately some of these people who had been fuelled on too much lager just wanted a confrontation with members of the club, with many fixtures being a re-enactment of "Gunfight at the OK Coral". Together with Horse riders and kids on motorbikes, the track suffered badly, and it was a continued process to repair the damage. 

Eventually a meeting was called by the Manchester League Committee, where it was announced that the Heywood club would not be carrying on for the following season, thus ended the three year career of a very successful club.

Club Colours: Orange/Black shirts, Black track suits with White stripes on arms and legs, Black socks. Alternative Colours: Blue body colours with White Arrows.

Club Secretary/Manager/Treasurer: John Burston, 23 Hillcrest Avenue, Summit Estate, Heywood, Lancs.

Individual Honours:

1978 Pete Tymkiw won the Denton Open Individual, runner-up Frank Morris.

1978 Steve Jones won the Manchester Junior Championship, runner-up Pete Tymkiw.

1978 Steve Jones & Pete Tymkiw won the Ashtonhurst junior Best Pairs.

1979 John Burston won the Wollerton's Trophy at Chesham, runner-up Frank Morris, 3rd Pete Tymkiw.

National League Intermediate Match Race Champion Frank Morris.

First Club Champion Frank Morris,

Track Record Holder John Whiting(Blakley) 38seconds.

Team Honours:

1977 Manchester League Division 3 runners-up.

1978 Manchester League Division 2 Champions.

1978 East Manchester 4's Champions.



  • John Burston
  • Roy Burston
  • Pete Charnley
  • Robert Davis
  • Stuart Davis
  • Sean Gill
  • Graham "Josh" Gleave
  • Dave Hardman
  • Steve Jones
  • Tommy Lynam
  • Frank Morris
  • Vinny Percival
  • Andy Ramsbottom
  • Kevin Slymon
  • Peter Tymkiw
  • Paul Wilson
  • Martin Zuk