Riders to Remember: Dick Harris
Dick Harris was a much loved rider for the Wimbledon team immediately after the war. He was initially paired with "Cowboy" Lloyd Goffe", which was a good match because the two riders were temperamentally opposites. If he was behind in a race, Lloyd would give up and pull off the track before the finish - a trait which the crowd (usually around 60,000) hated, and they frequently booed Lloyd until he eventually moved to Harringay.
Dickie, on the other hand, was a real trier from start to finish of every race, and he never gave up until the chequered flag had dropped. As a result of this he was adored by the Wimbledon fans. Dickie had a fairly unique style of riding, going into the bend with his foot well forward and then switching to leg-trail (influenced by Oliver Hart, I wonder?) halfway round.
The memory I cherish of Dickie was in heat 4 of a match against Harringay when he and Reg Trott were riding against the virtually invincible Vic Duggan. Somehow Reg and Dick got into the first bend in the lead, and for the entire four laps Dickie nursed the slow-moving Trott, defying every move that Duggan made to get past, and produced an incredible and almost unbelievable 5-1 win for the Dons in that heat.
A few weeks later, in the return match at Harringay, Dick and Reg (it may have been Arch Windmill, who was equally slow) again had to face Vic Duggan, and unbelievably Wimbledon again scored a 5-1 win as Dickie held Duggan at bay to nurse his reserve rider round the whole four laps of the race.
I was fortunate enough to meet Dickie in about 1949 when he came along to present the prizes in a cycle-speedway championship at Morden. He was such a lovely kind and gentle man with a high-pitched voice (a bit like footballer Alan Ball).
This article was first published on 15th January 2009
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