Ken McKinlay, Speedway Racer


Speedway racer from Blantyre who featured in a few World finals. Born on 7th June 1928 Blantyre, Scotland and died 9th February 2003 Leicester, England. He was an international speedway rider, captaining Scotland, England, Great Britain and Europe teams. He also finished on the rostrum of the British Speedway Championship finals twice, second in 1964 and third in 1965. His nickname Hurri-Ken was given to him by famous speedway promoter Johnnie Hoskins.. Before his fame, he delivered grociers from Number 5 Co-op (bakery in Auchinraith). He lived at Parkville Drive in the last timber house. He had a brother, Jim.

Career summary: McKinlay took up speedway while serving with the British Army in Germany, riding for the Neuminster forces team. He went on to captain the team and finished in joint sixth place in the 1948 Combined Services Speedway Championship. On his return to Britain, he started his career with the Glasgow Tigers in 1949 and had five successful seasons there. However in 1954 the track closed and Ken transferred to the Leicester Hunters for a club record fee.

He spent eight seasons with the Hunters, moving up with them into the First Division in 1957, and averaging close to 11 points in the 1958 and 1959 seasons. A spell with the Coventry Bees followed after Leicester dropped down to the Provincial League. When the British League was formed in 1965 Ken was allocated to the West Ham Hammers, and as captain led them to winning the 1965 treble of League Championship, KO Cup and London KO Cup trophies. He was renowned for his team-riding with younger riders and his contribution throughout his five season with the Hammers was immeasurable. 1970 saw him return to the Coventry Bees for one season before he moved to the Oxford Cheetahs for a further two seasons. Ken considered retirement but in 1973 he was approached by the management of the Scunthorpe Saints to become rider/coach of the second division side.

He stayed with the Saints for three seasons before retiring in 1975 aged forty-seven. While still a Second Division rider with Leicester he rode for England in the 1955 Test series against Australasia, top scoring for England in the third test with 11 points, and going on to represent England regularly until the early 1970s. Ken McKinlay was also a success when he ventured to Australia to race in the late 1950s and through the 1960s, winning the Australian Individual Speedway Championship in 1964 at the 509m Sydney Showground Speedway. He placed third in 1967 at Adelaide’s Rowley Park Speedway and tied for second in 1969, again at the Sydney Showground. Mckinlay was also successful in various Australian state championships. He won the South Australian Championship in 1957 at Rowley Park, the Victorian Championship in 1959 and again in 1961 as well as the NSW championship at the Showground in 1960.

He also traveled to Brisbane to win the Queensland championship in 1964 at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground and in 1966 he traveled to Australia’s west coast where he won the Western Australian championship at Perth’s 550m Claremont Speedway.

Ken had two short spells as team managers of Scunthorpe and Long Eaton. Ken died in 2003 aged seventy-five.

Source of this article: Wikipedia.

You can watch an interview with Ken, shortly before his death in 2003, here:

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On social media:

Moyra Lindsay He had a lot of brothers and sisters. Ask Ishbel McKinlay-Wilkie. He was my aunt Jeans first boyfriend and his name was John known as Jock in that time.

Ishbel McKinlay-Wilkie Brilliantly written. Ken had 3 brothers Robert, Jim and Billy, he also had 8 sisters, Mary,Betty, Grace, Jean, Nan, Joan Irene and myself being the youngest girl, Ishbel. And yes Moira we could have ended up being family….xxxx

Moyra Lindsay I think when Jean threw the ink well at him in no5 cooperative all hope of us being family disappeared! He did so well. I can remember being taken to see the Tigers on a Friday night, we got the bus at High Blantyre cross, a supporters bus I think. I wSee more

Ishbel McKinlay-Wilkie Memories Moyra..I think it could have been Beaton’s bus….ring a bell ?xxx
Gerry Kelly Lived on Tournai path for years beside Robert and Marion . Lovely people

Ishbel McKinlay-Wilkie Thank you for the lovely comment yes they sure were a lovely couple I have wonderful memories spent with my husband Don and brother Robert and Marion both as a kid growing up and then as adults. Treasured memories. Ishbel xx. R.I.P.

The Blantyre Project Ishbel McKinlay-Wilkie Thank you Ishbel.

Gerry Kelly Ishbel McKinlay-Wilkie there was a daughter Karen is she still in Blantyre

Anne Ellis He used to park his bikes in our garage when he came to visit his mum and dad who lived in the steel houses across the road from us in Hunthill x

Margaret Lappin Mike Wilding thought of you when seeing this xx

Jim Cochrane John McKinley was born at Calderside Row and was great pals when he was young with Bobby Marshall who shared a common interest in moterbikes when they were young.

James Dunn What about Tommy mlller and GBeaton brothers

Billy Mckinlay Ken had three brother’s Robert Jim and billy and eight sisters

Margaret Nimmo Lehmann I remember seeing him when Big Brother Jim used to take me to the Glasgow Tigers – I still have my 1964, 65 Badge from there.

Margaret Elma Griffin New him well my uncle was Tommy Miller

Margaret Elma Griffin That should be knew keep making that mistake

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