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Your All-time Hero..and Why

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In the next issue of VSM (No.50) we will be including more input from our readers, including a new feature called 'MY HERO'.

 

We're asking you to tell us the name of your all-time favourite rider (must be pre-70s) and why they were so special to you.

 

Perhaps a great performance in a particular race or meeting stands out in your memory; or maybe you actually met and exchanged words with your hero; or there was another reason that made them No.1 in your eyes?

 

The best, most interesting comments may well appear in the next VSM, so please get posting!.....

 

So far we've received comments from a number of readers who put forward the obvious names of Fundin, Craven, Moore, McKinlay. Fair enough. But what about the 'lesser lights' who were favourites not just for their points scoring feats but also for their personality and other attributes?

 

Cheers,

 

Tony Mac

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There were so many!

 

Briggo, Bjorn Knutsson who was just an amazing rider, Rune Sormander - all made a great impression on me.

 

Of the "lesser lights", Chum Taylor was a particular favourite. His riding style and attitude were wonderful. Dick Bradley was my mother's particular favourite rider. However, my all time favourite rider was Ernie Rawlins.

 

Ernie Rawlins was an inspirational captain for the Saints and loved by all fans no matter who they supported. He was a rider who never quite made the big time but put in consistently excellent performances for his team. He was a true gentleman who was respected by all. I, like many fans, was devastated when he was sadly involved in a fatal accident at Banister Court. That terrible night, and the subsequent days when was in a coma, will live in my memory for ever.

 

Other heroes? The entire Southampton team!

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Uncle Ted .........well he did ride pre-70's :wink: reason he's so special because he was my hero then and he's my hero now :approve:

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Nice one, Old Saint...it's good to remember one of the unsung heroes and if this doesn't squeeze into our next issue, it will make it into the one after.

 

There must be lots more riders, not leading points scorers but good, solid characters who gave their all and provided entertainment, worthy of a mention, so come on and get thinking/writing...

 

Shazzybird...Like me, you are clearly too young to take part in any pre-70s debate, but thanks for the (inevitable!) mention of Ted! (though I'm not sure he'd appreciate being mentioned in a pre-70s feature...!

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Seen so many exciting riders since I started trundling along to Exeter as a lad, but

in all the years one rider stands out in my memory and that was the late Chris Blewett.

 

Someone was once quoted as saying it was worth the admission just to watch his antics, and who could argue. Never a star as regards to point scoring maybe, but

certainly a star in many peoples eyes - that's if you were brave enough to keep them open to watch his Do - or - Die style of riding.

 

He was the sort of rider who would never give up, always wore a smile and delighted in a chat with the supporters. Once said at an end of season function, "I would stand on a chair to give my speech - but I'd probably fall off"

 

What I wouldn't give to see someone of his Character in todays sport !!

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I'd nominate the late Chris Julian. He was always a great character, on and off the track. He'd have us in stitches at times, but sometimes the devil in him revealed itself in a firey temper. I remember once looking down on the pits at Exeter after Chris had been excluded. He demanded to talk to the referee and started to shout down the phone, only to then realise he couldn't hear the reply as he hadn't taken his crash helmet off !

 

If only riders were allowed to be colourful characters like back then - P.C. rules in speedway, like everywhere else these days ( no , not Peter Collins ! ).

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Ronnie Genz - he took my hand painted programme board (this was a major work of art, with every team's race jacket lovingly created in Airfix enamels) and personally passed it to every member of the Pirates to sign it....

Tks Ronnie, wherever you may be now..... :D

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TMC I think Unc has had his fair share of mentions and photos in Backtrack already but you can't blame me for trying :lol:

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Charlie Monk, because of his cool non talking exteriour.

I was told that he would heat his R40 and bring it in a flask to put it into his oil tank and therefore gain an advantage in getting his bike going.

I also remember him giving me his autograph and putting an X on the chin of a photo of George Hunter!

If only he had made it to a world final, he had the class to make a rostrum place.

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Guest Carl
Charlie Monk, because of his cool non talking exteriour.

I was told that he would heat his R40 and bring it in a flask to put it into his oil tank and therefore gain an advantage in getting his bike going.

I also remember him giving me his autograph and putting an X on the chin of a photo of George Hunter!

If only he had made it to a world final, he had the class to make a rostrum place.

 

Old Georgie was such a gentleman. When I first met him I was unaware of his glittering past. I knew he had been around for a while but until I bought some sixties Star's I didn't know just how good he was. I agree he could of very well claimed a top three spot if he made a final.

 

Carl

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In spite of the star names we had at West Ham like Sverre Harrfeldt, Olle Nygren, Ken McKinlay, Bjorn Knutsson, Norman Hunter, Christer Lofqvist and so on, my favourite rider was always Stan Stevens. He was never what you would call a star but he was a wholehearted trier who never gave up though there were occasions too when Stan really excelled himself and became a match winner. He had a great understanding with Ken McKinlay in the days when team riding meant something and quite often they would score a 5-1 against the odds.

 

When I later met him in real life (as it were) I also realised what a modest man he was too. Before he rode for West Ham he was a top man in the Provincial League with Rayleigh and New Cross (amongst others) but when I spoke to him about this period of his career, he just said that there was a big gulf between the old National League and the Provincial League and so he didn't consider himself to be a top rider.

 

For me, Stan's the man.

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:) I actually have two!!!

 

Firstly Ivan Mauger. I have put this before but as a young girl I used to hitchhike up to Exeter from Tiverton to watch the Falcons. I always loved his style of riding and some of his off track antics!!

 

Secondly Scott Autry, well what is there to say. Again I was young, he was American, very good looking and the perfect gentleman. He always was so polite and always said hello with a big smile to add. He was another rider that could thrill on the track. I still have one off his visors, which he gave to me!!!

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If it's pre-70s that's tough, but I do remember Nigel Boocock giving a lot of time to fans even when he'd had a bad day. He was always a gentleman, to the extent that Alan Wilkinson once grabbed the centre green mike at Belle Vue to pay tribute to Booey after the Bees skipper had just taken him on the last bend to win a race. Not too many of his type left, sad to say.

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Scott Autrey wasn't over here pre-70s, was he?

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