THE final reunion of the Southampton Saints Speedway team will mark the 80th anniversary of its founding.

Fans, riders and officials from the past will gather at the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum, in New Milton, on July 20.

An event was held in 1998 to mark the club's 70th anniversary, but organiser and supporter Andy Scorey said this would be the final get-together.

"It will be the last event that Southampton Speedway will get together in its purest form," he said. "I can't see us doing a 90th anniversary one.

"It's going to be a fun day, with a chance to see the riders and say some goodbyes.

"It's just a good chance to celebrate Southampton Speedway and British speedway.

The club was founded in 1928 and had the honour of being the first ever club to race a league meeting.

With its home at the Banister Court Stadium, the Saints were one of the most popular and successful speedway teams of their time.

Promoter Charles Knott, who was known as the "Gov'nor," was a long-time backer of the team.

However, when he decided to sell the stadiumin 1963, it effectivelymarked the end of the club's existence.

"Charles Knott said he had achieved everything he wanted to do in life, so he sold the stadium," said Scorey.

"I miss it terribly. If you asked 99 per cent of the people from Southampton that go to Poole for the speedway now, they would come back and support a team here tomorrow if there was one.

"Southampton was a proper, familyrun club, it was the original speedway club and something's got to be done to remember it."

Nearly 3,000 people turned up for the last reunion and Scorey is hoping for a similar turnout this time.

A number of former world champions and Southampton riders, such as Barry Briggs and Sam Ermelenko, will attend.

An Arai crash helmet, filled with signatures of current and past speedway champions, as well as former Southampton riders, will be raffled off.

Proceeds will go towards the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund, with Scorey hoping to raise more than £1,000.

Scorey said he still held out hope that speedway could return to the city.

"Hopefully one day, against all the odds, people will realise we need something more than just football and cricket in Southampton," he said.