The track was built in 1971 by Barry and Ivor Thomas for training purposes and measured 250 yards, later being extended to 315 yards from 1971 - 1993.
During 1971, Barry was riding for Canterbury and Hackney. No safety fence was installed - straw bales sufficed - which didn't hurt so much.
The site chosen for the track was a disused Ministry of Defence anti aircraft gun site vacated by the MOD in the late fifties. Aircraft historians tell the tale that aviator Amy Johnson was shot down over the Thames Estuary from the Marshbank farm site, which we now call the Old Gun Site. After all- whereabouts is Marshbank Farm ?? The gun turrets still exist to this day and have seen duty as changing rooms and workshops etc. Even today, with the water table so high, the underground bunkers provide ample fresh water for track preparation ! Even the referees box is set atop of a turret giving excellent views of the Isle of Sheppey, the Thames Estuary and even Southend, let alone the Speedway track !
Just three riders turned up on the first Sunday training session, fifteen for the second week and twenty one for the third. Use of the track for trainees - ï¿½1.50 !!! Hire of a JAP / Hagon machine was extra. Iwade Speedway was born and continued to be known as Iwade until the start of the 1995 season.
One name who held the track record in 1975 was a certain Michael Lee at 67.5.
The next owners after the Thomas's were Terry Waller and the late Chris Galvin who also promoted at Canterbury until the closure of Kingsmead in 1987.
From 1971 to 1993 the track continued as a training venue when in 1994, when under the guidance of promoter Terry Whiberley, the circuit became the home of the Kent Crusaders in the ill fated Division three of the British League. In order to enter the league the track was extended to 352 yards. Unfortunately the season petered out very early on with only five meetings being run. However, all was not lost.
1995 and Sittingbourne Speedway Club is born, home of the Crusaders in the British Academy league under promoters Graham Arnold and Peter Mason.
The name was changed from Iwade to Sittingbourne as Iwade had always been recognised as a training track and as they were competing during 1995 in a nationwide league, a more recognised location name was required, thus the nearby town of Sittingbourne was duly chosen. It also severed any links with the previous seasons unhappy ending. Sittingbourne finished fourth in the Academy league in 95 and bottom in the Conference league in 96. With temporary planning permission ending - 1997 saw the Marshbank Farm circuit once again a training track, complete with a refurbished 110 metre junior track adjacent to the main circuit. Graham Arnold continues as Club Chaiman.
Late in 1997, early 1998, the main track is altered again and reduced to 285 metres. Look over the fence on the 3rd and 4th corners and you can see the old track where the fence has been taken in.
2001 - and the residents of Chetney Cottages (Ian Cook) and Bedlams Bottom (Elizabeth Mouland) have attempted to ensure that the 30 year existence of this unique track is hanging on a thread as we awaited the outcome of the public enquiry held by the planning inspectorate. The last Environmental Health officer visited in 1999 ! Bearing in mind that these residents did not move in until 1991 - the sport of Speedway was threatened everywhere in Britain should our appeal of enforcement fail.
September 2001 - The Planning Inspectorate gives Sittingbourne Speedway Club permission to continue training and practice on the main track as prior to August 1995, with occasional competitive events. So in effect we can run Speedway training and practice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
August 2002 - Colin Meredith from the Speedway Control Board carries out his three year track inspection and the measurement of the racing line reveals the main track to be 251 metres in length whilst the mini track is now officially 109 metres.