Speedway of Acton Reappears in West London

Here at ScooterNova magazine, we’re not the only ones to have spent time during lockdown out riding our scooters, exploring places new and old. A friend on social media, Debbie Harris from the band Bootleg Blondie (as seen at Warmwell and Woolacombe scooter rallies among others) and Andy have been out exploring London by Vespa. On one occasion they were in my old stomping ground to the west where they discovered Speedway of Acton had reappeared…

A while back Debbie posted a photo on social media of a their discovery, courtesy of a shop in Acton that was being refurbished. A former travel agent, with that sign removed a previous one was revealed to be underneath, which prompted a photo opportunity not available for many years now – their beautiful Vespa GS outside Speedway of Acton.


Who were Speedway?

Speedway of Acton was a well-known scooter shop back in the 50s and 60s. They were a Lambretta dealer and also sold cars of both the three and four wheeled variety. Small and affordable these were perfect for a scooter rider who wanted to move on from two-wheeled transport.

Speedway was local distributor and stockist of spares for both Lambretta and Vespa scooters as well. In fact, I still trip over a few of them in my shed, having bought some NOS parts from AJ Sutton in nearby Ealing many years ago. ‘Gus’ Sutton had in turn purchased a load of stock from Speedway when they closed down.
Speedway owner Jack Hornsby was a scooter enthusiast who took part in events such as the Isle of Man Scooter Week.

What Else?

Jack also famously piloted the special Lambretta J-Range Amphi-scooter up the River Thames. But as well as ‘sailing’ a Lambretta J125 up the Thames, he also had a few other promotional events up his sleeve.

These included getting ‘Ireland’s Strongest Man’ Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue (who owned the Wellington Arms pub further along the Uxbridge Road in Shepherds Bush) to use his teeth to pull him with a rope on a Lambretta SX200. Apparently Butty managed to hold the revving SX200 stationary too!

Speedway also produced a ‘dealer special’ scooter, the lesser known ‘Super Leggere’. Based on Lambretta SX200 there is very little historical evidence of the scooter apart from a picture of it in a Speedway advert. There are also a few words accompanying that advert in a scooter magazine at the time.

One ‘Super Leggere’ is known to have survived however. We featured it in edition 18 of ScooterNova magazine alongside a dealer special from the other side of London, an Eddy Grimstead Vespa GS Hurricane. Both original condition 1960s scooters that have survived the ravages of time.

So thanks again to Debbie from Bootleg Blondie (above) for sharing the photos of the old spares department shopfront (number 324) of Speedway of Acton (310-324) on the Uxbridge Road in Acton, West London.

And if you want to read more about the Speedway Lambretta ‘Super Leggere’ along with other 1960s dealer specials and the Grimstead Vespa GS it was photographed with by Paul Hart of the Veteran Vespa Club, then  you can buy a copy of ScooterNova magazine edition from our online shop by clicking here.

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