Northern Soul Revival
In our recent article Kevin Little - Northern Soul we made the point that Kevin will become the first rider to turn out for 'Glasgow', 'Edinburgh', 'Berwick', 'Newcastle', 'Workington' and 'Middlesbrough'. We discounted guest bookings, for obvious reasons, and explained that we considered Middlesbrough and Redcar to be one and the same, similarly Coatbridge Tigers and Glasgow Tigers.
That claim hasn't been challenged, so we're now fairly confident that no other rider has appeared for all six of the clubs in question.
We also listed three riders that had ridden for five of the six clubs - David McAllan, David Blackburn and Will Beveridge. Unbelievably, we missed out a rider who appeared regularly for all of the clubs except Middlesbrough. Colin Mackie pointed out that Mick Powell had done the rounds of the northern circuits and had been a Monarch, Tiger, Bandit, Comet and Diamond. Colin also noted that Mickey appeared for the Scottish Monarchs who raced at Shawfield in 1996.
If we widen the scope to include other clubs then there are other candidates for the title of "King of the North".
We noted in the original article that Blair Scott had ridden for Edinburgh, Glasgow, Workington and Berwick. Colin reminds us that Blair was also a member of the Linlithgow Lightning side in 1996. He's also been a Dale Devil and a Scottish Monarch - so that's seven different teams for Blair.
Steve Harland and Bob Ferry both suggested that if we extended the criteria to include Sunderland then Brian Havelock would be a contender. Steve said:
"Just thought you might like to know that you forgot to include one rider who did indeed ride for FIVE of the northern clubs in his time but because it was at least 25 years ago I understand why anyone would forget. Stand up, Redcar Bears new team manager, BRIAN HAVELOCK.
Brian rode second halves at Teesside in 1970 before gaining a team place with Sunderland around 1972/3. Sunderland closed early in 1974 and for the last few weeks of the season Brian appeared for Berwick Bandits, although I don't think the sport's authorities were too happy at the time! There's not many people recollect Brian riding for the Border outfit but he reassures me that he just wanted to earn some money till the end of the season.
He then moved on to Newcastle in 1975 but it was never his favourite track and it wasn't long before he was transferred to Workington. Brian stayed with the Cumbrian outfit until 1979 before transferring to his local club Middesbrough for the 1980 season. After a brief retirement in 1982 he made a comeback with Stoke in the autumn of 1983 and appeared in 12 matches to help them through an injury crisis but once the season was over he called it a day."
Chris Berry widened the discussion further to bring Barrow into the equation. He said:
"Your article about Kevin Little was very interesting but you have missed a northern track. It may have been some years ago, and come and gone, but Barrow had a speedway track in the 1970's and 1980's. Of the riders you listed, Mark Courtney, Terry Kelly, Rob Woffinden and possibly Geoff Powell all appeared in the race jacket at some time."
We can't recall 'Big Leggy' turning out at Barrow, but the others certainly did. Any more contenders?
This article was first published on 27th March 2006
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