'Ginger' Lees
Page updated 23-Dec-2010
Harry Riley (Ginger) Lees (born 1905 Bury, England) raced in the first recognised speedway meeting held in Manchester on 3 March 1928. That same year he competed in the Junior TT on a New Imperial, finishing 19th, which probably wasn't bad as this was his only race on the Island and 60% of the field DNF. He also rode in trials and 'rough riding'.

When league competitions started he joined Burnley and then went on to Liverpool Chads in 1930. In 1931 Lees moved to Preston and was selected to ride for England against Australia in the third test match at Wembley. He impressed so much that he was signed up to ride for the Wembley Lions in 1932 where he remained until he retired at the end of 1937.

Lees was a regular England rider until 1934, the year he finished third in the Star Riders' Championship, the forerunner of the Speedway World Championship. He also qualified for the finals of the World Championship in 1936 and 1937.

Ginger had a good sense of fun, which showed in his small role in the 1933 British film 'Money for Speed'. It starred John Loder, Ida Lupino, Cyril McLaglen and Moore Marriott and featured Lionel van Praag, Frank Varey and speedway promoter Johnnie Hoskins. The film was a reasonable success and was even released in America (re-titled 'Daredevils of the Earth').

Ginger was a very self-confident rider and was always one of the top six riders from 1932, until a bad accident ruined his career as a superstar in 1935. However, despite still scoring heavily in 1936 and 1937, he retired having dropped out of the higher echelons of the sport.