The Odsal Floodlights, 1951
Name: The Odsal Floodlights, 1951
Description: A view of a training night prior to the official switch on of the Odsal floodlights, 1st January 1951
Collection:
Location: www.rugbyleagueheritageproject.com
Reference:
Contributor: Courtesy of Bradford Bulls Community Foundation
Rights: Robert Gate, Bradford Bulls Community Foundation
Hosting its first race in 1954, the same year as the sport's birth in Britain, Odsal Stadium was a centre for stock car racing up until 1997.

Extracts taken from interview with Phillip Walker, June 2011:

With it being a new sport in this country, it actually started while 1954, which was in a place called New Cross in London. And then from New Cross in London, the second place they ever raced was Odsal, Bradford. Coming from London in 1954 to 1954 racing at Bradford. It was perhaps one of the biggest stadiums in the country apart from Coventry. The second biggest stadium, it was Bradford, then the other big stadium was Coventry down in the Midlands.

In them days it was a tarmac racetrack round the rugby pitch. It was very fast, very colourful and very, very noisy. In the crowd there must have been eighteen thousand spectators that Friday night when the Daily Mirror sponsored that meeting. They had a big stand on one side and then they had a big stand on the other side. It was sponsored by John Smiths Brewery was the other stand, which is no longer there now. That was pulled down years ago for health and safety regulations. On a normal Friday night, there’d be at least seventy to eighty cars booked in that one night’s racing.

In 1985 Odsal changed it from tarmac to shale – the reason being ‘cause in 1985 Odsal held the speedway motorbike world championships so obviously the speedway motorbikes can’t race on tarmac. They have to race on a loose shale surface, so they took it from tarmac to 1985 to shale. Then in 1990 it went back to tarmac ‘cause the speedway bikes, they’d finished for some reason.

The last stock car racing stopped at Odsal on Sunday 12th October 1997. That was when they finished. I think it was a big disaster when they stopped but it was part due to the costs of the promoters. With the police and health and safety and other things, it was costing a heck of a lot of money for a promoter to promote the sport there. Then when it went from Bradford Northern rugby to the Bradford Bulls rugby, they didn’t like the stock cars running onto the pitch ‘cause the cars tended to dig the rugby pitch up. But around the outside of the rugby pitch, they had big wood sleepers so the cars couldn’t run onto the pitch. But there was the odd time that the cars went over the top of the sleeps onto the pitch and I don’t think the rugby people was quite happy about that – the hallowed turf, as we say, being chewed up by race cars.


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Name: Clip of interview with Phillip Walker, 29th June 2011
Description: Clip of interview with Phillip Walker, 29th June 2011
Collection: Phillip Walker
Location: Nowthen
Reference:
Contributor: Phillip Walker
Rights: Phillip Walker, West Yorkshire Archive Service