Dream Team : Steve Metcalf
First taken to the Shay, Halifax by my girlfriend in 1969 and was hooked immediately (by the racing not the girlfriend) followed the Dukes to Bradford until the sad demise. I tried Sheffield after moving down there to live, but it was not the same. Tend to watch on Sky now, but I am still tempted to return one day.
who else could it be? Got to know him briefly when I tried to get the company I worked for to sponsor him, and everything everybody else has said about him is true. Could be arrogant and self centred, but could also be great company. At his peak he was a genius, I will never forget going to Hyde Road when Chris Morton was red hot, and Kenny just destroyed him. Sadly missed.
Came to us probably past his peak, but seeing him beat the best in the world from the gate was worth the admission money (unfortunately he was just as likely to be last going into turn 3 after a lightning gate, until he got his equipment sorted out). Always entertaining and on his day could save a meeting for us.
I've included Per in my team, not just because he was a fantastic rider, but for the memory of seeing him take Gary Havelock and Joe Screen from the back at Odsal when they were trying to team ride him out. Havvy and Screeny were at the peak of their form and were "Kings" of Odsal but Per went high on the banking on turn 3, picked up tremendous speed and went through a gap that just wasn't there. Everybody just held their breath, then gave him a standing ovation.
Another great rider who gave me an unforgettable memory. this time at the Shay (guesting for the Dukes at a track it was rumoured he didn't particularly like). Eric Monaghan made one of his rare decent gates and hit the front. Simmo tucked in behind him and proceeded for 4 laps to shepherd him home, switching from one line to another to thwart the 2 cradley riders (who were obviously faster than Eric). Simmo seemed to know where they were going to attack next and blocked every move. Tremendous skill.
An under-rated rider who could beat the best on his day, but was worth having in your team just for his personality and enthusiasm. Brightened up many a Saturday night in the bar at Odsal after the meeting. will never forget the punch up with Per Jonsson after a particularly spicy race at Bradford. Sean could just about reach Per's belly button.
Was my favourite rider when the Dukes re-opened at Odsal (from Nelson Admirals). Could beat anybody round Bradford and was also very impressive at the bigger tracks away from home. I remember going to Crewe when Phil Crump was king and alan clocked a time round the big banked circuit that the locals just couldn't believe.
Only had the priveledge of seeing him ride for Bradford for a few months before he went to Wolves, but made a big impression on everybody at the time. In one meeting he was beaten by Eric Broadbelt round Odsal and he was so upset he challenged Eric to a match race during the interval. Eric duly obliged (he was quite a rider himself in them days). Unfortunately Eric fell off after gating to spoil the fun. We will never know how good Gary could have been, because of his fatal accident, but we all believed he was a future World Champion.
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This article was first published on 23rd August 2007
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