Yarmouth Stadium

Yarmouth Stadium

Yarmouth Stadium in 2015
Location Yarmouth Road, Caister, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR30 5TE
Date opened 1940
Race type greyhound racing
Official website

Yarmouth Stadium is a greyhound racing track located at West Caister in the Borough of Great Yarmouth and English county of Norfolk. It is licensed by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.[1]

Greyhound Racing takes place every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evening. Facilities include a modern designed 'Raceview Restaurant' seating 240, several executive suites, fast food facilities and a number of bars.[2]

Greyhound Racing

Origins & Opening

In 1928 Len Franklin a professional gambler in pre-war London and Ernie Wedon visited the newly built Clapton Stadium. Franklin became a regular at Harringay Stadium, Stamford Bridge and White City Stadium and after investing in stocks and shares he invested in a new venture at Yarmouth. He purchased a field on the west side of the Yarmouth Road that contained a 'flapping' track; this track had opened on Good Friday 25 March 1932 with grass track speedway also held there after starting on 14 July. It was devoid of structures and on the opposite side of the road to the horse racing course.[3]

Franklin also leased the adjacent field to enable better access and applied for planning permission for a new stadium. Although the initial planning was refused a subsequent appeal to the ministry saw the decision overturned. Work began in 1939 and the stadium was ready for business by the spring of 1940.[3]

The opening date for the new stadium was set for 11 May 1940 but on that same day the Germans invaded the Netherlands and Belgium resulting in the evacuation of Yarmouth. The opening afternoon meeting still went ahead, as did several other meetings on a weekly basis until Franklin and most of the staff were called up to serve in the war. The stadium closed and it was taken over by the fire service.[3]

Post-war history

After the war Franklin went into partnership with Ernie Wedon and Clifford Yaxley forming the Norfolk Greyhound Racing Company and they were able to take advantage of the post war boom opening on Saturday 7 December 1946. The racing was over 500 yards and facilities included a restaurant in the main stand. Franklin was a steward and judge and when Wedon sold his share to buy Ipswich Stadium he became Racing Manager. [4]

The East Anglian Derby was inaugurated at the track but this was an independent race (unlicensed) at the time because the track raced with no National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) affiliation from 1939 until 1975. [5]

The original field where the flapping track stood was sold and in 1958 would form part of the North Denes Airport, which later became a heliport serving as a private base for helicopters to the gas platforms in the North Sea. After the sudden death of Yaxley the Franklin family took sole control of the stadium, Len was the Racing Manager, his son Stephen was the Kennel Manager and M J Franklin was the General Manager. Race days varied from Tuesday & Friday evenings to Monday, Wednesday & Saturday evenings over distances of 300, 500, 710 & 910 yards.[3]

In 1975 Yarmouth joined the NGRC permit scheme and in 1985 Dick Keable the Racing Manager celebrated forty years at the track (Keable had been a kennel lad at the track back in 1945). [6] Two years later in 1987 Yarmouth became the first permit track to register a totalisator turnover of £1 million. Stephen Franklin became General Manager taking over from Len Franklin. In addition to the racing there was a Sunday market, stock car racing three times per week, bingo nights and an amusement arcade. Stephen Franklin's wife Pamela and children Simon and Justin all joined the business. [7]

Recent History

Simon Franklin was appointed Racing Manager and then General Manager after Nigel Long became Racing Manager. Simon & Justin Franklin then brought in Nigel Bray as General Manager whilst they took control of other duties. One of which was overseeing the new £2.5 million grandstand built in 2006, the state of the art 250-seater restaurant and three executive boxes included a plaque naming the building the Len Franklin Grandstand in memory of the founder of the stadium. [8] The track hosted the TV Trophy in 2007 & 2013 and the Trainers Championship in 2013. Trainers Mark Wallis and John Mullins joined Yarmouth after the closure of Walthamstow Stadium via Harlow.

Track improvements costing £190,000 were completed in 2012 and Mark Wallis became Champion Trainer 2012 to 2014 as a Yarmouth handler. His 2012 English Greyhound Derby triumph with Blonde Snapper brought the ultimate prize to the track. Yarmouth also runs on the BAGS service overseen by Racing Manager Marcus Westgate who took over in 2012.


East Anglian Derby

Track records


Distance Greyhound Time Date
277m Skate On 16.18 18.09.2014
462m Fear Zafonic 27.17 11.09.2010
659m Centurion Enry 40.25 16.09.2010
843m Musical Gaga 52.86 26.08.2013
1041m Some Moth 68.81 08.12.1990


Speedway arrived in 1948 running until 1961; Ernie Wedon became the manager of the speedway team called 'Yarmouth Bloaters' throughout this period.

Stock Car Racing

The stadium has continually run Stock Car racing since the 1960s and boasted its own team in the 1966 and 1971/2 team leagues. The 1966 team were nicknamed the Bloaters whilst the later outfit were known as the Greyhounds.


  1. "Track Search". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  2. "Yarmouth Stadium". yarmouthstadium.co.uk.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Barnes, Julia (1991). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File, pages 161-165. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-61-9.
  4. "Official racecard, Saturday 7 December". Yarmouth Stadium. 1946.
  5. Furby, R (1968). Independent Greyhound Racing, page 53. New Dominion House.
  6. Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing, page 95. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  7. Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing, pages 60-61. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
  8. Hobbs, Jonathan (2007). Greyhound Annual 2008, page 211. Raceform. ISBN 978-1-905153-53-4.
  9. "Track records". Greyhound Data.

Coordinates: 52°38′14″N 1°43′37″E / 52.6372°N 1.727°E / 52.6372; 1.727

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