Castleford Speedway opened its gates to paying spectators at their small, 202 yard, Whitwood
Stadium circuit for the first time on
12th June 1979 with the Daily Mirror-sponsored Kings Cavalcade individual meeting before embarking
on their first competitive fixture the following week against Middlesborough.
Leading the Kings was England international Dave Baugh, who was supported by Ray Watkins, who
was tempted out of retirement. One of the reserve spots was filled by local lad Kevin Clapham.
The side were structured to run at the same level as National League sides and all matches were
run on the same thirteen heat format used in the National League at that time.
Sadly the ambitions of promoter Jim Streets to join the league set-up failed to materialise and
after beginning their first season late and being restricted to running on an open licence restricted
to just twelve meetings in their first year and, after failing in their application to join the National
League the following year, the club closed for the final time in July 1980.
It took over thirty years for the name of Castleford to reappear in Speedway circles once again.
In 2013 former Kings team manager Pete Hibberd enterered a team in the recently-formed Midland
Development League, a set-up for young up-and-coming amateur riders to contest mini-matches run over
six heats with two teams, each comprising four riders.
The intention was to use the competition to give spectators more value for money by revitalising
second halves. Some of the member clubs, including Castleford, did not have their own tracks and were
forced into hosting their home meetings at other venues amenable to entertaining these newly-christened
For their initial foray into the ranks of the MDL the Kings meetings were hosted by Scunthorpe and
the team gave opportunities to a variety of riders throughout the campaign, though mainly built around
and relying on the consistency of regular points provided by their Captain, Danny Phillips.
The season following their bow in the MDL boss Pete Hibberd widened his horizons by entering a second
side, the Castles, in the Northern Junior League.
Similar to their midland counterparts, the NJL also ran six heat matches between two sides of
four man teams. However, unlike the MDL, where all riders raced against each other on 500cc
equipment, the NJL formula incorporated junior riders, under-15, mounted on either 125cc or
150cc-powered bikes and each team comprised of a senior pairing and numbers one and two,
whilst the three and four berths were occupied by juniors. Each pair raced only against their opposite
numbers, but, like the MDL, all riders had the opportunity of three programmed rides.
Pete Hibberd's intention to allow younger riders to also get involved in competitive team racing was
a great success. Although the primary function of his teams was to enable riders gain experience and make
progress, you cannot deny that when glory appears on the horizon you are going to be quietly pleased with
that achievement! - And that came in no small measure to the Castles squad, which comprised a regular
quartet of reigning NJL Riders' Champion Danny Phillips, who was partnered by Sam Darroch, and a dynamic
junior pairing of Harry McGurk and Kean Dicken. The squad was bolstered by Harry McGurk's younger sibling,
With their home meetings hosted by Redcar, who also had their 'Cubs' side entered into the competition,
Phillips, transferring allegiance from the host club to its new tennants after spending the previous season
'doubling-up' with the Cubs by leading Castleford Kings in the MDL, needed no time to aclimatise to
the familiar surroundings of his local track, and the whole team settled immediately into a comfortable
pattern that saw them claim the title undefeated with two fixtures still remaining.
They rounded off a tremendous season for themselves when they also lifted the 'Media Prima' NJL Fours
title at their adopted home to give them a debut year double.
Unfortunately, whilst the Castles were going from strength to strength, the Kings fortunes were not so
rosy, and after just a few completed fixtures they withdrew from the MDL due to a conflict with the BSPA.
The following year, with Redcar adding a series of Junior Grand Prix meetings to its second half
calendar, the Castles moved across the country to Cumbria, where Workington training track Northside
graciously allowed them to host their home meetings for the 2015 campaign.
Although the ultimate goal of providing young riders with important track time was fulfilled, there
was to be no glory for the Castles that year and they settled for a respectable mid-table position in the
league as newcomers Halifax swept all before them.
Unsuccessful at finding a home venue the following year, or since, Castleford's speedway
activities have been restricted to a few challenge fixtures and an annual appearance in Redcar's
prestigious NJL 4's event.
With Pete Hibberd still unable to resolve his issues with the BSPA and reluctance to become embroiled in
their politics, he resolved to find a way of continuing his ambition of providing a platform from which
aspiring young stars of the future could learn the basic skills and then hone their talents in an
environment unencumbered by the bureaucracy and red tape of the BSPA and became involved with a scheme
that led to the formation of the British Amateur Riders League.
In 2018 six teams, representing Lincoln, Oxford, Sittingbourne, Southampton, Wimbledon and Pete
Hibberd's Castleford took to the track to contest the inaugural season of this new, completely
independent league. Castleford's only involvement with mainstream speedway coming in October when they
accepted an invitation from Redcar to continue their record as 'ever-presents' in the NJL 4's, where
they acquitted themselves very well by finishing third in the final.