Dream Team : Simon Ashworth
I am a former grasstrack rider, starting in 1973, and finishing in early 2005 after one crash too many. I have followed speedway and grass since the day I was born in 1958, and have supported:
Hull Vikings at the Boulevard and also Craven Park up to the recent closure;
Halifax Dukes at the Shay;
The legendary Belle Vue Aces at the original superb track and now on occasions at Kirky Lane;
Middlesbrough Bears up to closure and Redcar Bears;
the defunct Castleford team (remember them??)
My current team I support regularly is Sheffield Tigers, and the team I liked most (due to the track I might add) was the Bradford Dukes.
Dream team wise, here is my choice, not necessarily from teams supported, but a team of riders that always gave me most enjoyment to watch. Tomorrow I might think different, but after 40 years plus, my number one will always be the best.
Not from a team I have supported, but he's the number one of all time, due to his undoubted professionalism, determination, passing ability second to none, and the ability to always entertain the fans who paid his wages. Gave his best at all times and had the absolute desire to be the best.
Always professional like Rickardsson, same desire to win, and entertain the fans who pay the wages. A huge star among the riders of the time, and a huge star among all sports stars of his era. Just behind Rickardsson in my book, Rickardsson could manufacture a pass out of nothing, on a slick or grippy track.
One of the most spectacular riders I've seen, always lost my voice when the late great rider rode, even though he was in the opposing side, and also a true character. Sometimes dissapointed when he seemed to lose interest.
Who could forget the young Kelly hanging off an upright bike on the bumpy Boulevard track of the Hull Vikings? Will never forget the homecoming meeting after he and Ivan had come first (Ivan's 6th title) and fourth (Kelly's 1st world final) at the Boulevard. Always a 100% rider with incredible balance and charisma.
The Bradford Duke gets this place for one reason only, winning the Coalite Classic individual meeting at Odsal against some of the world's best riders, including Gary Havelock when he was World Champion and on his own track. Remember Glen Doyle was a reserve at Bradford Dukes, so no mean feat. Club wise, he always tried, but that was an amazing highlight.
Guts, determination???? I first knew Sean off the grasstracks, and Bradford Dukes. First good memory is on the grass at Northallerton when Sean would be about 18, he raced handlebar over handlebar for 4 laps with Paul Bentley, one of the best races I've seen, on grass OR speedway. Then all the entertainment he's given at Sheffield, and Bradford over the years. Maybe the brave bit comes after his appalling injuries over the years, especially his broken neck, to come back and win the Premier league riders crown at Sheffield in 2005...........incredible, awesome, call it what you like, but the look on his face when he won it will always be an image I won't forget.
This guy was always a joy to watch, especially when team riding with Joe Owen round the Boulevard in Hull. Great style, and could have gone a lot further if he'd had the desire.
Well, that's my dream team that's given me enjoyment, but there are hundreds of riders both from the past and present who I was tempted to include - those who've slipped my memory today, and those who I could have included easily........Gollob etc etc etc etc...
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This article was first published on 14th June 2007
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