American Speedway  

In Memory
R. I. P.

John Edwards

July 7, 1936 - September 9, 2015


It is with considerable regret that I have to announce that John died at around 6 a.m. on Wednesday 9th September 2015. John suffered a devastating stroke some 12 years ago which severely limited his lifestyle thereafter.

In his earlier years John rode in the British League for Wimbledon and Cradley Heath, during the summer, while working as a mechanical engineer in the car racing industry in California during the winter. When he retired from British League Speedway he moved to America and worked for McDonnell Douglas. Around 1990 he started riding Speedway in Southern California. I was introduced to him at Maely's track, by Phil Collins. John became a close friend. He was always enthusiastic, a do-anything, go-anywhere, at a moment's notice kind of a guy. One time, the transmission in my truck gave out, going up the Grapevine. I was coming back with a full truck bed of camping equipment after a week of camping in Yosemite. I called John and with no hesitation he jumped in his truck and drove for 2 hours up from Bellflower to bring me and all my stuff home. Where else do you find a friend like that?

John was extremely quick witted. His humor was second to none. About 4 months after he had triple by-pass surgery (complete with the Black and Decker saw cut to open the rib cage) he called me up and asked if I fancied going up to Victorville for a Speedway practice. I asked him whether he felt up to it and he did. We arrange to meet up there. 30 minutes later he called and asked if I could stop at his house and collect him and ride up together. I agreed. When I arrived I asked him if there was something wrong with his truck. He said the truck was OK, the problem was lifting the bike onto the truck, he heard a cracking noise in his chest. I asked him if he had checked with his doctor on whether he was ready to ride Speedway again. His answer will go with me to my grave. "What does the doctor know about riding a Speedway bike?!!!"

John retired and moved back to England. Back there, he had the time of his life, riding vintage Speedway, very successfully, at Coventry, on his immaculately restored JAP. It was at one of these events that the engine of the rider in front seized and John ran in the back of him, over the handlebars, into the wall. I talked to him the next day and he told me that nothing was broken but he was covered in bruises. It was a couple of days later he had the stroke. John lived alone and it was 5 days before a neighbor grew concerned at not seeing him and went into his house and discovered him on the living room floor. The damage was done and John spent his remaining years in a wheelchair.

The funeral takes place at Aldershot Crematorium on Monday 28th September at 2.15 pm. (14.15 hrs). Any letters or cards can be sent to his sister-in-law Mrs Pat Edwards at 37 Highfield Road, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 0EB UK. E-mail pi.edwards1@ntlworld

- Gary Roberts - groberts@iee.org

John Edwards1997 John Edwards

Rider Number:
Hometown: Bellflower, California - USA
Place of Birth:
Date of Birth: July 7, 1936
Occupation: Retired from pro racing, now an Aeronautical Engineer
Marital Status:
Relatives in Speedway:
Web Site or Facebook Page:
Date Started Speedway: 1996-1997 USA
Reason to Race Speedway:
Goals or Ambitions for Speedway:

Notes: "John is 60 years old and has been competing in the Santa Maria races in 1997, quite successfully, too. He used to ride for Cradley Heath, then Wimbledon. A drinker, a smoker and all round good bloke." - Gary Roberts

Years riding Speedway: UK: 7 (1959 thru 1966)

Thanks to John for all the photos he took for this site. See the photo page from the 1996 US Nationals.

Bike: Godden and GM

Tracks Ridden:
USA: Fairgrounds Raceway, Santa Maria and others listed below.

1996 - Fairgrounds Raceway Santa Maria Events Sep 14, Sep 21, Oct 5, Oct 19, Oct 26

John Edwards

Rode a total of 57 Speedway Tracks
UK 39 USA 15 Europe 3
Aldershot Ascot Speedway Lorient
Belle Vue Ascot 1/2 mile Oldenbergh
Bradford Costa Mesa Seftenbergh
Bristol Glen Helen
Coventry Indian Dunes
Cowdenbeath Ken Maelys
Cradley Heath Lake Elsinore
Eastbourne Lake Perris
Edinburgh Piersonville
Exeter Saddleback
Glasgow San Bernardino
Hackney Santa Maria
Halifax Ventura
Kings Lynn Victorville
Leicester Whiteman
Little California
Long Eaton
New Cross
Rye House
Shelbourne Park
St Austell
West Ham
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