“The Russians are coming!” Entangled peripheries and the emergence of a Communist challenge in Cold War Motorcycle Speedway

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In its heyday, motorcycle speedway packed stadiums on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Via archival research, oral history, and fieldwork in multiple states this essay argues that speedway is uniquely placed to complicate tired Cold War binaries. Regardless of prevailing political systems, it thrived in provincial settings, as tours, itinerant riders, and machinery ensured regular interactions between speedway’s ‘entangled peripheries’. When small-town Swedes and aspirant Soviets challenged the British Commonwealth’s on-track dominance, this sport born at the imperial margins thrust Muslim riders from the Russian step into the limelight, and Australasian world champions harnessed superior Czechoslovak engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149–173
Number of pages25
JournalHistory Workshop Journal
Early online date24 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

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