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Nightmare Team : Mick Ibbotson

I have based my dream team on the riders who have been less than successful whilst wearing Sheffield race colours in recent years...in no particular order and nicknamed Neil Machin's Services to British Speedway are:

Bobby Heddon
Came highly recommended by Sam Ermolenko - I think he was having a laugh.

Thierry Hilaire
French speedway superstar , said it all.

Derrol Keats
The man was a danger to all around him, he should never have been allowed near a speedway track let alone on a bike.

Tommy Palmer
Came as a heat leader , struggled to make it in the reserve berth. Why Sheffield kept him in the side is a mystery to everyone including the management team.

Sergi Kuzin
Never arrived in the Uk but we were given a guest facility for him for 1/2 a season. Allowed us to use the likes of Billy Hamill etc instead, which probably explains why he was kept in the side so long.

Alan Fog
Top class equipment, not a clue how to use any of it.

Rob Stemen
Dutch and probably bottom of the barrel, scared stiff of the bends, kept stopping and restarting. Last heard of doing a stretch for drug offences, probably wasn't very good at that either...


This article was first published prior to October 2002


  • Matt:

    "Both Thierry and Derrol started to come good at MK Knights until injury and mechanical finances scuppered their development which was a shame because both had the guts, grit and determination to challenge even the greatest track specialists. If they was that reckless careers would of been ended fella!"

  • Mike Wilson:

    "Thierry Hilaire was a rider who gave 110% every where he rode. I raced him many times at Milton Keynes and I was about the only rider who would go out after a meeting and do starts with him. Thierry's problem was he always seemed to be looking right when turning left and this caused him to usually make 3 corners out of one. I can remember a time when he beat Wiggy at Oxford in a challenge match of some sort and I said to Simon you were quicker why didn't you go round him to which Wiggy replied '' Would you have!!!! ''...Fair comment. Thierry was a friend as well as someone who gave great entertainment and he rode one of my bikes over here in NZ for a summer winning our NZ Grand Prix meeting in 1989."

  • Kev Foster:

    "Derrol Keats was total bonkers. I saw him jump onto a training bike at Sheffield training track with only a pair of jeans and a no sleeves vest kind of top and no helmet on, all this was in front of youg lads who wanted to learn speedway , HA HA guesssss what HE FELL OFF big style in a big heap on the third bend and took off a load of skin right down his left shoulder and arm, the dafty was near the point of crying with pain."

  • Tom Marriott:

    "Only saw Derrol Keats ride once on a trip back to the UK at Sheffield. Rode wider every lap until he tried to ride bend two on the race track. Sadly there was a fence in the way. Unbelievable. Kinda like his namesake Derrol Spider Melbin back in the early 60's. Worth the cost of admission though!!!!!! "

  • Karen Keats:

    "Being Derrol's sister and him being nearly 50, he still hasn't changed when he gets his leg over an a bike......Dangerous Derrol to the end."

  • Jim Henry:

    "Derrol Keats. Remember the night he came a cropper at Armadale and it was a fabulous introduction to speedway for our new lady doctor who was an A & E specialist. Limping off the track Derrol was asked by our medic if he was OK. "I've hurt nothing but me a..e love" he grimaced. Needless to say her face was a picture too but she took it all in good part. "

  • Anthony Williamson:

    "Never heard of any of your team, but very funny."

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