It's All About You... Steve Metcalf
Tell us about your introduction to speedway
Saw my first meeting at "The Shay" Halifax around 1969. I was a very impressionable 18 year old with a BSA bantam motorbike which I regularly fell off, so speedway was an instant hit for me.
Tell us about your favourite meeting of all time
It would have to be 1981 world final at Wembley. My mate and me took it in as part of a "southern tour", we did Sheffield on Thursday, Hackney on Friday, Wembley on Saturday and Boston on Sunday on the way home. It was the first time I had been to Wembley and the atmosphere and noise was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Despite our hero Kenny Carter not winning the title, we had seen enough to believe it was just a matter of time. Sadly, as history shows we were wrong.
Tell us about your favourite rider of all time
Kenny Carter. Looking back I can understand why away fans did not like him, there were quite a few riders who I just loved to see beaten (Tommy Knudsen, Hans Neilsen, Ole Olsen) so I can see why his "arrogance" could ruffle a few feathers, but he was exactly what British speedway needed, somebody who brought people through the turnstiles.
Tell us about your favourite track/stadium
Odsal stadium on a Saturday night with a pint of beer (bought from the bar of course) with my mates around me. Happy days. The track always seemed to encourage racing with more than one line, even when we did not have the strongest team it was always entertaining. Owlerton (Sheffield) was always good too, the panorama room was quite spectacular,good on a cold wet night.
What are the best things about speedway?
The banter between home and away fans was always great without any hint of trouble (well I never saw any). I always loved it when a reserve went out and beat the top man from the away team. Well prepared tracks, that gave all riders a chance to overtake.
What are the worst things about speedway?
One sided meetings which can happen at tracks that are difficult to ride (favour the home team too much). Rain! Slick tracks (hang your head in shame Ole Olsen). Bad injuries (thank god for air fences).
What one thing would you do to improve speedway?
Bring back the one off world final. The grand prix system has its advantages but nothing can match the drama of world final night. I dont pretend that the old system was perfect but I feel it could have been tweaked rather than totally changed.
Tell us about a rider you wish you'd seen
Max Grosskreutz - my dad told me he was his hero when he went to speedway in the early fifties. Apparently he took me to Odsal when I was a baby, but obviously I have no memory of it.
What does the future hold for speedway?
Hard to say, as we all know that speedway has always had its boom times and also times when it nearly died out. I just bemoan the lack of real "characters" in the sport. Even the riders that I used to hate, would make me pay to see them, just to see them get beaten. I also can't believe that there are so few tracks in my part of the world (Yorkshire).
"Have to agree that 1981 was one of the best world finals ever. I also went to Boston on sunday, seem to recall it was Edinburgh, vaguely remember Rob Hollingsworth and Tony Featherstone riding, did you see two tipsy scotsmen? We drove up to Scunthorpe for a meeting on monday, that was against Edinburgh."
"John Potter was absolutely right, it was Edinburgh at Boston after the 1981 world final. I still have the original programme. The teams were ----- Boston ---- Dave Gagen 8 (points); Steve Regeling 9; Steve Lomas 7; Michael Holding 7; Rob Hollingworth 9; Dennis Mallett; 3 Chris Cole 4 ---- Edinburgh ---- Neil Collins 8; George Hunter 1; Ivan Blacka 3; Chris Turner 10; Dave Trownson 5; Ian Westwell 2; Roger Lambert 1. I don't remember the 2 drunken scotsmen, but me and my mate were feeling pretty hung over from the night before and just lay on the grass watching the racing (it was a lovely sunny afternoon and we didn't really fancy going home that much) I've scanned a couple of photos from the meeting to see if they can be posted on the website."
"Steve thanks for the pictures brought back the memories, David Gagen what ever happened to him? Remember he was very good at Boston. There was a pub quite near the ground we spent a bit of time there ( and money ) weekend millionaires, pauper house on Tuesday, enjoyed the craic with the locals, all very friendly."
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