Belle Vue Ace 1930 - 1936


MAX GROSSKREUTZ BELLE VUE & AUSTRALIA 1930-1936

Max was born on the 25th April 1906 on the family farm in Prosperpine, North Queensland. To be a speedway rider, Max had to have strength. He gained this by working on his fathers farm cutting sugar cane; a back breaking job.

His racing career began in the mid 20’s at Townsville Speedway, his local circuit. Max took to racing like a natural and was the local track champion within weeks of starting. Moving on to the famous Davis Park Speedway in Brisbane, saw Max pitting his skills against the best, but motor troubles hampered his progress. Nevertheless, along with Frank Arthur, Max made his way to England and was quickly fixed up with a base at Lea Bridge. Grosskreutz was far ahead of most English riders at the time, although it was not too long before the gap closed. The trip to Argentina, furthered his riding.

By the 1930 season, Max had moved north to join the White City track at Old Trafford, Manchester. At that time, the track was under the guidance of E.O.Spence, who promoted the Belle Vue track. He may have been a man who oozed skill, but the crowds at the White City dwindled, with the track eventually closing in early July. Realising the potential of the Australian, Spence took him to Belle Vue, where he blossomed into one of the early super-stars of the sport. 

By 1931, Belle Vue had an array of talent they opted to run a second team in the Southern League, when Harringay and then Hall Green withdrew. Max, was an integral part of that team, that Spence used to measure the strength of the southern teams. A nasty fall at Sheffield could have put Max on the side-lines for a few weeks, but the gallant Australian rode on through the pain barrier. Another injury later in the season rather stunted his form and gave him a spell of inactivity.

In 1932, we saw the first signs of the dominance that was to come. Belle Vue finished in third place in the league, but reached the Daily Mail Trophy Final, only to lose against Wembley. Once again, it was Max who was relied on for the big scores and he rarely let the club down. Grosskreutz and Eric Langton were chosen to represent Belle Vue in the British Individual Speedway Championship. Max beat his ex team mate Arthur Jervis over two legs in the first round, despite the handicap of that broken jaw. In the second round, he was drawn to race Langton, therefore, all the races took place in Manchester, where Eric triumphed 2-1 over his team-mate and rival.

Grosskreutz was the backbone of the great Belle Vue teams from 1933-1936, his machinery impeccable, as was his riding. Perhaps the greatest tragedy was that Max could not ride in the first official World’s Championship Final at Wembley Stadium. Injuries had prevented him from entering the qualifying rounds, although he tried his best to be fit. During that period, Max was at the peak of his form and winning with consummate ease. Had he ridden in the final, it would have been a brave man to have bet against him winning.

He did have a short break away from the club in 1933, when he preferred to ride in Hamburg, Germany. However, after the intended tour of English tracks fell through, it came as no surprise to see Max returning to his beloved Belle Vue; a move that was the final piece in the Belle Vue championship jigsaw.

However, after the successes from 1933-1936, Grosskreutz dropped a bombshell when announcing that he was quitting Belle Vue and opening his own speedway at Norwich. The fans favourite did make an emotional return to Manchester in 1938, for the First Test Match, between England and Australia; which certainly helped ticket sales.

The retirement of Max Grosskreutz left a massive hole in the Aces ranks and was never adequately filled; testimony to Max’s stature, as a true speedway icon.

 by Trevor James