It's All About You... Adrian Pavey
Tell us about your introduction to speedway
I grew up very close to Dudley Wood and could hear the noise every saturday evening. My grandparents also lived near to the original Radipole Lane track in Weymouth so I was always begging my Dad to take me but in the end I was taken to Cradley by one of my school friends. That was 1977. I couldn't tell you what match it was or who was riding but I loved the noise, the smell and the speed. The one memory from that match I do have was watching Dave Perks come from last to first in heat 2. I immediately went to the track shop (shack!!) and bought a Dave Perks rosette. The following year I started going to Dudley Wood regularly and the one match that stands out in my memory was against Kings Lynn right at the start of the season. I think it ended in a draw but Terry Betts and Michael Lee were awesome, that match and especially those two riders, had me hooked for life.
Tell us about your favourite meeting of all time
There's so many of them. The '81 World Final at Wembley, Any meeting where Cradley won at Wolves, watching Cradley beat Coventry 26-52 at Brandon!!!!. Since the demise of Cradley Heath I've also been to lots of tracks as a non-partisan fan too and I've seen some classic matches. Wolves at Peterborough about three years ago was fantastic. Jonas Kylmakorpi and Freddie Lindgren rode their hearts out at that match, but I think my all time favourite meeting was seeing Belle Vue win the league at Wolves a few years back. The last few heats were out of this world.
Tell us about your favourite rider of all time
Hmmm. I've seen so many riders who could fall into this category. My boyhood heroes were Steve Bastable, Dave Perks, Alan Grahame, Phil Collins, PC and Mort... all real racers who never gave up and provided real entertainment. In later years I never tired of waching Jan O Pedersen race and I always made sure of seeing Mark Loram, Tomasz Gollob and the Moran brothers race whenever I could. But my favourite rider of all time is Simon Cross. He learnt his skill on the grass and boy could he go fast when he needed too. He wasn't afraid to pass inside or outside and could easily have been top three in a world final if he hadn't have been seriously injured when he was at the top of his game.
Tell us about your favourite track/stadium
Lots of tracks have special memories for me, Hyde Road and Dudley Wood are obvious choices as they hold so many memories. My current local track, Workington, used to be good until the new owners messed up the track and took away all the racing lines!! I always enjoyed going to Leicester and also loved the thrill and sense of speed at Exeter. If I have to choose one it's going to be Halifax. You could stand right by the track and literally feel the bikes flying past you. If you stood in the wrong place you also got covered in black shale too.
What are the best things about speedway?
The sixty second adrenaline rush of a speedway race, the friendly fans, the riders (sports stars who you can talk to!), the smell of methanol, the noise of bikes warming up in the pits, filling in programmes, finding memorabilia on ebay, reading about the old timers, learning the history of the sport and realising nothing ever changes, last heat deciders, tracks with more than one racing line, Swedish start girls, skinny bikes with incredibly powerful engines,
What are the worst things about speedway?
Egotistical promoters who don't promote the sport, too many rules that even the BSPA don't understand or even adhere to, poor track preparation, one line tracks, rain offs, silencers, points limits, rider replacement, the lack of support and facilities for British riders, middle order riders being penalised every year for improving their averages, good British riders being replaced by so-so foreigners.
What one thing would you do to improve speedway?
Invest in dedicated speedway tracks, owned by the clubs and open for training all year round. To do this though we also need to hire planning specialists to get round the red tape that is preventing so many new tracks from opening.
Tell us about a rider you wish you'd seen
That's a hard one. I'm a bit of an anorak and love researching the history of the sport. There's quite a few riders I've read about and seen pictures of that I wished I'd seen ride.. Alan Wilkinson for one, his career ended just as my speedway life began, and I also wish I could have seen Chris Pusey and Peter Craven ride at their peak. From older times, I would love to have witnessed Frank Charles and Bill Kitchen in action and I would also love to have seen Tom Farndon or Sprouts Elder ride, just to see if they were as good as we are led to believe, but the one rider I really would love to travel back in time to see would be George Newton. The photographs I have seen of him of him in action are just spectacular, hanging off the back of his bike, defying all laws of gravity with a huge roost of shale flying from under his back wheel.
What does the future hold for speedway?
More rule changes, more riders left out at the start of the season, more tales of impending doom.... actually I think our biggest worry is from the environmental lobby, those who don't like noise or motorbikes in the neighbourhood and scare the councils/MPs into turning down planning applications. As a product, Speedway has everything going for it and despite the annual closed season negativity, we're always at the tapes come March. I can see indoor tracks becoming popular again, and smaller tracks too, quieter bikes (BOOO!!) to satisfy the neighbours will be a necessity but I still believe we will be watching speedway for many, many years to come.. it's fast, exciting, accessible, and so very marketable in the right hands.
Where would you like to see new tracks being opened?
In all the big cities... Leeds, Preston, London, Liverpool, Cardiff, Swansea, etc...
This article was first published on 3rd June 2010
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