The founding father of Belle Vue Racers, Eddie Cheetham, was a sporting legend across a number of different sporting disciplines. From his early days as a winger for rugby league gods The Saints, to competing in the 1947 Forces Olympics held in the Berlin Olympics Stadium (attended by 50,000 spectators), Eddie ran and cycled, as well as excelling in throwing events such as the javelin, hammer and shot.
With knee injuries forcing the end of his rugby playing career, Eddie used his skills in a new role as fitness conditioner for the Saints in the 1970s. Much to the despair of the competition, fitness levels of the players were unsurpassed, with the team becoming legendary champions. Later Eddie was to hold national age groups records in a number of throwing events.
Eddie founded Belle Vue Racers in 1989. Originally based at Pink Bank Lane in Longsight, we were forced to vacate the track to make way for the 2002 Commonwealth Games hockey facility. Eddie was even selected to carry the Queen’s Jubilee baton as it left Buckingham Palace during the first stages of its journey around the Commonwealth (a welcome return down memory lane as he was based at the Palace as a Grenadier Guard).
For two long years BVR was effectively homeless, although in the summer months we did make the most of local traffic-free facilities such as Debdale Park and Reddish Vale, whilst the depths of winter saw us pounding the streets of Gorton and Longsight. Despite best efforts, attendances slumped during these dark days and only the dedication of men’s captain Malc Mooney and a handful of like-minded members kept the club from folding.
Finally light appeared at the end of the tunnel: in 2003 we were given a new home at the fantastic Sportcity complex in East Manchester. Membership is rising, there are lots of new faces and we love every second of it! Sadly Eddie died in the winter of 2003, but his enthusiasm, training methods and his dreams for the future of the club live on.
In 2014, we celebrated the 25 years since Eddie founded Belle Vue Racers. The future is looking good for BVR and we hope you’ll be part of it.