Exeter Speedway History

Today in Motorcycle History

Nobby Key Speedway Rider 1920s-30s


Apologies for the dropsheets, paint tins and scattered detritus. More information...

Who Was "Nobby" Key ?.

Recently, Sam So visited these pages, and emailed to inform that he'd unearthed an early Long Beach ticket for various events including speedway. He then kindly posted the ticket onto me which I have enlarged and put onto this page.

As Wal Philips was riding as part of a "Test" Team, I'm assuming it is of early 1930's vintage, but the other star rider is a mystery to me. Sam wrote:

I recently purchase a home in Long Beach California. This home is from the early 1920's and while digging around the house I came upon an old admission ticket to Moto-Speedway. I believe this speedway was part of Long Beach and I've only been in this area for 15 years. So lack of history about the surrounding is evident.

The ticket is for International Match Motorcycle Races also T. T. Road Race and on the back of the ticket "Featuring The Famous English Racing Team Riders of Wal Phillips and "Nobby" Key of London England. Also, on the ticket "These members of the British Test team are en route home from Australia. First and Only Appearance in America."

So there you have it - but the Question is - who was "Nobby" Key ?. So far I've not come across this name, but no doubt someone out there will have and will kindly put our minds at rest.

The Solution

Well, it certainly didn't take very long for some of our "Eagle Eyed" visitors to these Pages to come up with the answer.

Robert Andrews came in to mention that it looked as if he rode for Crystal Palace and New Cross between 1929-36.

And as if to confirm this fact, Keith Hulme wrote to say that "Nobby" rode for the Crystal Palace "Glaziers" in 1929 and that later he rode for New Cross. Keith also mentions that "Nobby" was one of the pioneering riders in Britain.

And Keith was also to one step further and sent in a picture he came across of "Nobby" Key in his Crystal Palace colours. Many thanks indeed for the rapid responses to the Mystery - but what is the betting that more will soon follow.