Scotland - State of the Nation
This article was first published at the end of the 2001 season
Ken McKinlay, Jim McMillan, Bobby Beaton, George Hunter and Bert Harkins - all Scottish riders who made their mark on World Speedway in the sixties and seventies. Since those heady days the small nation has failed to produce replacements of a similar quality. In the past twenty years only Kenny McKinna came close to emulating their achievements. We look now at the current crop of 'Bravehearts' with particular emphasis on their performances in the season just past.
Found his best form in the second half of the season when he seemed to display a hunger for racing that had perhaps been lacking. Definitely the country's top rider and, when on form, one of the best riders in the Premier League. Enjoyed tremendous success early in his career by winning league titles with both Glasgow and Wolverhampton. Remains an asset of the Wolverhampton promotion but seems to be happiest racing in the Premier League.
The 29 year old took a while to fully establish himself at senior level but has developed into a good quality Premier league rider. Kevin played a major role in Newcastle's 2001 title success and has already agreed terms for another season. Unlikely to improve much further but always likely to be a valuable asset to any side.
Now the 'Grand Old Man' of Scottish Speedway with a career stretching back some twenty seasons. Scott was left on the shelf at the start of 2001 and it seemed that his career might have been over. He eventually received a call up from Berwick and, after a slow start, he began to find his best form. Still of heatleader calibre at Premier level but it's unclear what the future holds for him.
Started 2001 with King's Lynn but an early season fall out led to him moving on to Hull. The move injected fresh impetus into a career that looked to have stalled. Still an Edinburgh asset but Hull are considering an offer. Probably the Scot with the most untapped potential.
Has ridden both for and against Scotland over the years. Always an impressive performer around Berwick but less so away from home. Has reached the point in his career where a move is imperative if he's ever going to be anything more than a solid Premier League rider.
Once considered a hot prospect and always seemed likely to make a real mark on the sport. His progress has been disappointing in the extreme and with the experience of five years racing behind him he should be further ahead than he is. His performances around Armadale are generally good and it's away from home that he must raise his game. Likely to link up with a southern circuit next season and the move can only do him good.
A contemporary of Blair Scott and he must be similarly disappointed with his progress to date. Serious injuries have curtailed each of his last two seasons and can't have done a great deal for his confidence. Workington have ruled him out of their 2002 plans and it remains to be seen if another club will take a chance on him. Could still achieve a great deal in the sport but must concentrate initially on maintaining fitness.
Linlithgow product who turned his back on a life of crime to become a Speedway rider. Was handed an Edinburgh racejacket at the start of the season but lost his place, rather unfairly, when the Monarchs re-introduced Ben Shields. He was immediately snapped up on a one month loan by Glasgow and did well enough for the loan to be extended until the season's end. A bright prospect but hasn't yet been handed a 2002 team berth.
Managed an injury-free campaign for the first time in a while. Started the season with Berwick but lost his place when the Bandits made their predictable team changes. Later secured a team place at Workington and seldom let the Comets down. Moving on to Glasgow in 2002 on the back of some impressive guest appearances in Tigers' colours.
Expected to challenge for a place in the Glasgow side but managed only a handful of appearances. Had to content himself with Conference League action at Buxton.
This article was first published prior to October 2002
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