An Evening with the Champions of Speed
On 10th February Speedway fans from far and wide packed into the Soldiers and Sailors to attend an eagerly awaited and what turned out to be a very entertaining evening, An Evening With The Champions Of Speed with guest speakers Jan Staechmann (former Long Eaton rider), Steve Cook (Long Eaton Team Manager), David Hemsley (Leicester Co-promoter) and Jason Attwood (Leicester Team Manager).
Jan, more affectionately known as 'Stekkers', spoke with real enthusiasm about his speedway career from his racing days through to his team management roles (including winning the World Cup twice with Denmark), linking his days with Long Eaton to his forthcoming role as joint Peterborough Team Manager.
He said: "One thing that I will always remember is that the team at Long Eaton gelled together and there was no one more determined than me to win the league championship but unfortunately it wasn't to be. At Peterborough this season we have a young exciting team that is looking to have the same togetherness that we had at Long Eaton."
With Long Eaton not having raced competitively since the end of the 1997 season, the news that they were to return to track action in 2011 was greeted with great anticipation and when Cook, the current Long Eaton team manager, got up to speak he was greeted with a warm round of applause as the team went onto win the Midland Development League in its inaugural season.
"My job as team manager was made easier because all the lads in the team supported each other, there was no geeing up needed and to win the league was a fantastic achievement. All the teams in the league gelled and now the BSPA [British Speedway Promoters' Association] have fully sanctioned the league which shows how well the amateur Speedway scene is working."
Leicester also had its doors closed to Speedway, for them it had been a long 28 year wait before their re-birth in 2011 at the purposely built stadium at Beaumont Park where they entered the second tier of racing in the Premier League with a promotion led by Hemsley.
He said: "There was a lot of hard work required to meet all the deadlines, such as building the stadium and putting a team together but we got there in the end. I would like to pat Leicester City Council on the back as they were and still are very supportive of what has been achieved in hard economic times." he continues, excitedly revealing: "We are looking to put in an application to join the Elite League next year ."
On team matters, Attwood said: "When David [Hemsley] offered me the chance to lead the team as manager back in July it took me thirty seconds to say yes!" adding, with a smile: "Then I had horrible sleepless nights learning the rulebook and looking at the team. The reserves were only scoring twos or threes and the away teams reserves were scoring sevens and eights and we had to change that."
Alan Jones (Leicester Co-promoter), who exceptionally hosted the evening, revealed: "I too have a close link to Long Eaton Speedway as I was, for those of you that may not know, the Speedway correspondent for Radio Trent covering all the action from Long Eaton."
The fans certainly enjoyed the evening, long time Speedway fan Ian Price enthused: "It was a great night with Jan's stories of his Long Eaton days, to current Long Eaton and Leicester news, thanks to the Reunion Group for organising it."
As with this event and all the events organised by the Long Eaton Speedway Reunion Group all the proceeds go to Speedway related charities and on the evening two special presentations were made and gratefully received, a £270 cheque was presented by Ann Townsend (Committee Secretary) to Karen Pavlou (Senior Physio) on behalf of the spinal unit at the Royal Derby Hospital and a £250 cheque (plus a £20 cheque from Costco) was presented by John Marriott (Committee Member) to Kath Brabson (Provisional Superintendent) and Ian Brabson (Area Staff Officer) on behalf of the St John Ambulance.
Peter Wrathall, Chairman of the Reunion Group concluded: "I would like to thank everyone for making this evening possible, the organising committee, guest speakers, charity representatives and especially the fans for turning out in adverse weather conditions. Once again it shows how much support there is not only for Speedway but for Speedway in Long Eaton. We look forward to seeing you all at the annual reunion in June."
For future event information held by the Long Eaton Speedway Reunion Group please contact Peter Wrathall on 01332 872 187 or 0797 041 9170, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.longeatoninvaders.co.uk
This article was first published on 26th February 2012
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