Dream Team : Norman Pell
Have been involved in speedway since 1971 in various capacities including junior team manager at Peterborough. Ran training sessions at Mildenhall and Kings Lynn and travelled the country in the name of speedway. sadly M.E. stopped me in my tracks and now go only very occasionally to see meetings as a spectator. Still support Peterborough Panthers.
One of the first truly great professional riders who you either loved or hated! Set the scene for some great professional riders since his retirement and the sport owes him such a lot. The greatest ever.
Included purely for his unique style of riding. Looked at times as if he were resting his shoulder on the track like a sidecar rider! Great to watch but very tempermental at times. I was spanner man for him a few times at Kings Lynn.
Lionel Van Praag
Being the first world champion, he set a standard for others to follow. I never actually saw him ride but have heard many great stories about him. In modern times he would not have been world champion because the qualifying round points were added to the final scores so on the big night our own Eric Langton should have been champ.
Not a world class rider but dedicated and would help anyone in his team. Mr nice guy, would probably have been a top rider if he could have had that extra bit of forceful riding. However, he gets into my team simply because he is a nice guy and very helpful. Captain of my dream team.
Never had a lot to do with Colin but his presence in any pits made you stand in awe of him. Great rider whose career was ended at Lokeren but continued his speedway life as a promoter and team manager. No nonsense speedway guru who made people sit up and listen. Gets my vote because of pure dedication to the sport.
Very much under rated rider. Frank lived with us for a while whilst at Peterborough and I spannered for him and drove him around the country to meetings. Great sense of humour but totally dedicated to the sport and his machinery was always immaculate. Was plagued with injuries but thrilled the crowds wherever he rode. I remember his first trip to Arena Essex where in his first ride on the track he did a 180 degree turn in the middle of the first bend!
Just had to include my own son in the side. He was never going to be a world champion, but his dedication was second to none. Was on the verge of the number 7 race jacket at Peterborough when he had a bad crash at Kings Lynn and never fully recovered. Rode for Arena Essex and Mildenhall then retired due to lack of funds.
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This article was first published on 4th October 2007
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