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Dream Team : Keith Lewis

First attended Oxford Speedway aged 10 (now aged 68) The enthusiasm of the crowds back then was something to behold. Great times indeed! My brother Ken recently demobbed from National Service took me there in my Dad's old BSA saloon (top speed) 50 mph. We thrilled to the pit bend overtakes of Ronnie Genz and commiserated with Bill Thatcher who always seemed to get filled in at the back.Loved "The Champ" Howdy Byford.

We used to stand on the bleachers just after the start and inhale the smell of hot dogs and onions mixed with the aroma of sewage from the nearby works at Blackbird Leys. I remain impressed by the way the officials marched on to the track to the tune of "Imperial Echoes" An evening out to remember.

In 1954 we had the Courtnell brothers Terry and Maury. I remember the last meeting of that season when the track was half hidden in fog and the riders all stepped up to the mike to say their goodbyes. Terry Courtnell finished by saying "Goodnight from your man in black Ha Ha Ha Terry Courtnell" We never saw him again as he died in a crash in South Africa.

Howdy Byford

Hans Nielsen
In all my time as a fan, I never saw anyone so good. Simply The Best. Also remember the way he nursed Marvyn Cox.

Simon Wigg
Loved this man, so popular and remember him throwing sweets to the kids at Sandy Lane. His technique was fantatic and the way he rode the white line almost on the grass sticks in my memory.

Ronnie Genz
A faithful servant to the Cheetahs for many years. Totally consistent in his scoring and a credit to the team. His last bend overtakes were legendary. A good looking hero into the bargain. I got his photo off the man who came round with a big board with all the riders photos and waited at the pit gate for about 4 meetings before I got his autograph. In his day Ronnie was one of the greats.

George White
Although he rode for the "Enemy" he was a great little all rounder and a credit to (spit) The Robins.

Howdy Byford
A great joker and remembered for once beating Ove Fundin and being christened "The Champ". He could put in a fine performance on his day.

Peter Craven
One of the greatest I have ever seen. He was cheered by the home crowd at Sandy Lane whenever he appeared there.

Alistair Stevens
Saw this rider practice after meeting. You could see that he had it in him to go places.

Submit Your Own Dream Team

 

This article was first published on 17th March 2013


 

  • Pitch:

    "One rider missed - Arne Pander."

  • Ian Graham:

    "Interesting that Keith included Alastair Stevens. I remember him from Rye House, where he rode in the last meeting of 1984 and you could see he was special. Len Silver offered him a place in the 1985 Rockets team there and then, and he grew steadily through that season. By the end he was riding as a heat leader and beating the likes of Gordon Kennett at Eastbourne (Kennett didn't like it one bit). I think he finished with an average just over 7. Len Silver then sold Rye House to Ronnie Russell, but Stevens was retained for 1986 with big hopes. It never really happened though, as during that winter Stevens fell through a roof at work and broke wrists, ribs, you name it... I think brain damage was feared too. He did get back by the start of the 1986 season, but just wasn't the same - rather than the natural style he had on the bike, he seemed to be fighting it all the time. He averaged about the same (7 or so), but just wasn't the same. Without that accident, he would have gone on to be every bit as good as other Rye House 'products' Marvyn Cox and Andrew Silver."

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