Charlie Benham




Born in Oxford Charlie, started riding at Exeter in 1962 but never progressed beyond the occasional second half ride. He also rode for non-league Weymouth but retired before the season was over. And he stayed retired for six seasons until he heard that the Bombers were coming into being.

Charlie, a builder off-track, lived with his wife and two children at Stokenchurch, near Oxford. "I wrote to the promoters to ask if they could give me the odd ride or two and they phoned to tell me I was in the team," said Charlie. He is the first to admit that the main reason he was given a place was because at that time there was no-one else .But he repaid the promotion handsomely by the end of the year. In the second meeting at Brooklands, Charlie scored 10 points from 5 rides against Canterbury and, even though he found himself out of the team at the tail end of the year he was happy to be at Romford. It was fitting that when it came to presenting the end of season trophies that there should be a special one for Charlie, the man who earned the undisputable tag of Romford Team-Man, 1969. 

Charlie Benham during his spell at Canterbury, with Ross Gilbertson and Johnnie Hoskins 

During the second season, Benham again scored the points that frequently made the difference between victory and defeat and was joint top-scorer in the meeting against Doncaster at Brooklands, beaten on the night only by the Dragon's George Major, who netted a 15-point maximum that evening.

With new skipper Phil Woodcock moving up to Division 1 racing during 1971, Charlie was rewarded for his loyalty and perseverance by being appointed the Bombers' captain. Ever present throughout the season, Charlie was to top score twice against Rayleigh, in League and Challenge matches and finished the season with a respectable average of 5.22. Charlie moved with the Bombers to West Ham for the 1972 season but was finding it uneconomical to race and announced his retirement after just 6 meetings - a decision that he was quickly to reverse. Benham had the distinction of being the only man to have represented the Bombers under all three titles of Rochester, Romford and West Ham. When Custom House closed, Charlie moved to Canterbury, where he made 11 League appearances.