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Wimbledon Memories

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Reading the current Backtrack and the review of Plough Lane made me both happy and sad. There was so much more to say about the place, but undoubtedly not the space to write it. What were your memories of Wimbledon and the Dons in general?

 

My favourite memories are: Seeing Trevor Hedge made Captain, beating Wolverhampton and Halifax away from home during the remarkable 1978 season, travelling on the Supporters Club coaches with "Tufty" Graham at the wheel, singing with the Pit bend Loonies, the fun slanging matches with "Soldier Boy" at Belle Vue, the intense rivalry with Hackney and the joy when we beat them, the chats with Maido at the Watford Gap about our (slim) chances of winning away from home, the team-riding of Ronnie Moore and finally, the feeling of "family" there was at Plough Lane.

 

Worst memories? Tommy Jansson's death - there are certain records that were in the charts in May 1976 that I still cannot listen to without welling up; Silly Love Songs (Wings) and Fool to Cry (Stones). Rudy Muts breaking his neck and the Cradley rider responsible not being excluded, but needing an escort out of the stadium. Being at the 4TT at Hackney when Vic Harding and Steve Weatherley crashed - and finally, the last top-flight meeting in 1991.

 

Overall, many more happy memories than sad - and I still miss the place and those days.

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What were your memories of Wimbledon and the Dons in general?

 

Where do you want me to start???

 

...singing with the Pit bend Loonies...

 

Do I know you? I was a Pit Bend Loony!

 

the intense rivalry with Hackney and the joy when we beat them

 

Doesn't get any better than that, does it?

 

the chats with Maido at the Watford Gap about our (slim) chances of winning away from home

 

Watford Gap...sigh... What about the night we spent at Watford Gap on the way home from Belle Vue? We thought there was something wrong with the coach, but Steve Hickmott had picked up an old road sign and put it under one of the seats. We never gave it a thought that it was the sign that was making the noise! By the time we got back, it was time to jump on the coach down to Eastbourne for a 4-Team Tournament!

 

Worst memories? Tommy Jansson's death

 

Strangely enough, it was Tommy's tragic death that got me going again.

 

Rudy Muts breaking his neck and the Cradley rider responsible not being excluded, but needing an escort out of the stadium.

 

Who was or wasn't responsible doesn't matter; poor Rudy was never the same after that. Saw him at Peterborough a few years back, with the Hines boys.

 

Being at the 4TT at Hackney when Vic Harding and Steve Weatherley crashed

 

Fortunately, I wasn't there, but I had been talking to Vic in the Wimbledon pits the night before.

 

...and I still miss the place and those days.

 

My wife doesn't really understand, but she knows when I start getting all sentimental and teary-eyed!

 

OK, what are my memories?

 

Let's look at the 60's (when I were a nipper), and some of my earliest memories were of Olle "white-boots" and Mike 'Zoomber' Coomber! I also have some very fond memories of the 1969 season, when Ronnie and Maido came back.

 

On to 1970, and I can remember us winning the KOCup at a very wet Belle Vue!

 

The last time I saw Tommy was when he won the 1975 laurels with a 15-point maximum. My memories of 1976 are very strong, if a little mixed, obviously.

 

Then, it was wonderful when Roger beat PC twice in one night, and from the back at that! Oh, and the last heat 5-1 Roger and Eddie got over Olsen and Shirra to get us the draw... Yeah, Mick Hines beating Penhall in heat 13... Oops, I missed Colin winning the NLRC in '77... Simmo and Anders getting a last heat 5-1 to get a draw at Hull on Royal Wedding Day.

 

Of course, the NL days were good, like when we won up at Glasgow, or when we drew the KOCup semi at home to Poole after losing the first four heats 5-1... Abusing Andy Galvin and/or Craig Boyce!

 

Worst memories? Tony Briggs and Todd Wiltshire's almost identical crashes on the back straight... Obviously Tommy, but also losing Gary Everett in at Lokeren.

 

Now look, you've got me started...

 

Steve

Edited by chunky

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The 8-man team being led by Leo McAuliffe and featuring Sverre Harrfeldt. Gote Nordin's first race for the team when he fell on the first bend but nearly got placed at the end of the race. The night Ernie Baker scored EIGHT points. The team with Olle, Trevor Hedge, Reg Luckhurst and Bobby Dugard. Garry Middleton kicking lumps out of his bike on the centre green. Ronnie Moore's return to the team.

Bed time nurse.

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Always remember the team of '67...Dugard , Hedge , Luckhurst , Nygren etc., and Briggo easily winning either a British final or semi-final that year ?

Edited by keef

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The night Ernie Baker scored EIGHT points.

 

WOW!!! Hey, what about the night Paul Dowdall beat Eric Boocock?

 

Kelvin Mullarkey decking the starting marshall...

 

Terry Mussett demolishing the fence from the pit gate to the back straight...

 

Maido coming off on the third bend...any given week...

 

Our juniors, Rocky Coutts, Roland Duke, Martyn Charles, Keith Yorke etc...

 

Second halves, often with a guest "star"...

 

Neil Cameron completing four laps...

 

Steve

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My favourite memory of Plough Lane is the night West Ham beat Wimbledon in the Knock Out Cup Quarter Final Replay on 14 August 1965. It was the greatest match I ever saw and still stands out vividly in my memory...but then I was a West Ham supporter. :)

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Always remember the team of '67...Dugard , Hedge , Luckhurst , Nygren etc., and Briggo  easily winning either a British final or semi-final that year ?

 

That would most likely be the British Semi-Final on July 13 1967. Briggs won with 15. Trevor Hedge came second with 11.

 

My own main memory of Wimbledon is playing a Sade tape all the way there. I don't even particularly like Sade, so Lord knows why I was playing it, but Sade always reminds me of Wimbledon Speedway now.

 

When I arrived, John Davis was in the car-park putting a wheel on his bike, although that could have been a different time to the Sade time.

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Funny things come back to me mainly,like standing outside the bar halfway up the grandstand after meetings trying to get riders autographs.Always seem to recall Cyril Maidment was there by the door having a great time.It looked so plush inside.

 

Or the old lady who stood on the second bend and used to wave to Trevor Hedge and he would wave back at her.

 

And the burgers in the grandstand(70s) used to taste fantastic,which for a sporting stadium is unheard of in my subsequent experiences.

 

Getting to the stadium hours before the start of the Will's Internationale and still being way back in the queue.

 

Sideburns,bobblehats(even the riders wore them :D),sawdust,one bike on the back of a car

 

And the parade out on track to Blazeaway,the smart starting marshall and TRACK RAKERS :P I very,very rarely see a track raker here on the continent

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And the burgers in the grandstand(70s) used to taste fantastic,which for a sporting stadium is unheard of in my subsequent experiences.

 

The food was expensive, but you know, they were damn good! Hey, do you remember the little kiosks under the bends that sold sweets? I used to love the rolls of "bitter cherry" and "bitter orange" they used to sell. Made by Trebor, I seem to recall.

 

Getting to the stadium hours before the start of the Will's Internationale and still being way back in the queue.

 

They used to put seats on the dog track. You remember seeing everyone walking down Blackshaw Road?

 

Sideburns,bobblehats(even the riders wore them :D),sawdust,one bike on the back of a car

 

For some reason, those single bike racks seemed wonderful to me, especially when the riders used to zip past us on the motorways! Oh, and Iris, you forgot rattles and rosettes...

 

And the parade out on track to Blazeaway,the smart starting marshall and TRACK RAKERS :P I very,very rarely see a track raker here on the continent

 

Rakers...Blaze Away... You remember the torchlight parades? Badges with year bars...

 

Steve

Edited by chunky

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  You remember seeing everyone walking down Blackshaw Road?

Of course i do.I was one of them.For big meetings like the Internationale the cars used to be parked right up to the Cemetery gates and beyond.Sometimes though i used to walk down the alleyway from Colliers Wood past the sewage farm and the back of the Cemetery.Came out almost opposite the gate.Going back that way in the dark was SCARY!!!!!!! :D

For some reason, those single bike racks seemed wonderful to me, especially when the riders used to zip past us on the motorways!  Oh, and Iris, you forgot rattles and rosettes...

...

 

Steve

For some reason it was great to see a speedway rider going down Colliers Wood High St on their way to the track.And i do have about 30 or 40 rosettes in the cellar still

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Funny things come back to me mainly,like standing outside the bar halfway up the grandstand after meetings trying to get riders autographs.Always seem to recall Cyril Maidment was there by the door having a great time.It looked so plush inside.

 

Do you know, funny things come back to you when you read people's memories. The first time I ever saw a man's "plumbing" was aged about 8 or 9 standing outside the changing rooms waiting for autographs and I saw Jimmy Squibb in the nude when the door opened. :oops:

 

Or the old lady who stood on the second bend and used to wave to Trevor Hedge and he would wave back at her.

 

I remember that! We used to sit on the second bend - although I always wanted to stand on the pits bend where it looked more fun - and as I got older, where it seemed all the talent was..... Jimmy Squibb must have had an effect!!

 

And the burgers in the grandstand(70s) used to taste fantastic,which for a sporting stadium is unheard of in my subsequent experiences.

 

I remember the burgers - with proper onions! The chips were fantastic too!

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Watford Gap...sigh... What about the night we spent at Watford Gap on the way home from Belle Vue? We thought there was something wrong with the coach, but Steve Hickmott had picked up an old road sign and put it under one of the seats. We never gave it a thought that it was the sign that was making the noise! By the time we got back, it was time to jump on the coach down to Eastbourne for a 4-Team Tournament!

 

Steve Hickmott - now there's a blast from the past! Called every female under 30 "babes" and wore a black jumper in the winter and a yellow T shirt in the summer - and I was never too sure if either saw the insides of a washing machine in the meantime. For all that, I had a soft spot for Steve - wonder where he is now?

 

Do you also remember....Johnnie Savile, Olaf, big Russ, Columbo, Jesus, Gert and Daisy, Terry and Lee, old Dick the cabbie, Gary Williamson, Paul Theobalds and Mick the Gut?

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Steve Hickmott - now there's a blast from the past! Called every female under 30 "babes" and wore a black jumper in the winter and a yellow T shirt in the summer - and I was never too sure if either saw the insides of a washing machine in the meantime. For all that, I had a soft spot for Steve - wonder where he is now?

 

Do you also remember....Johnnie Savile, Olaf, big Russ, Columbo, Jesus, Gert and Daisy, Terry and Lee, old Dick the cabbie, Gary Williamson, Paul Theobalds and Mick the Gut?

 

As I asked before, WHO ARE YOU???

 

I got an email from Johnnie this morning. We stay in constant touch.

Olaf is now living in Oregon, or somewhere out west, I believe. COME ON VACLAV!!!

Jesus just seemed to disappear, but that was WAY back.

Mick the Gut is living down in Hackbridge. Don't know if you know, but he married Barbara Upson, and they now have a bunch of littl'uns.

 

The others, no idea what happened to them. You mentioned Paul; I'd forgotten about him and the lovely Angie.

 

Then, there was Mick's mate Steve Brewer, Ian 'Mini' Cooper, Gareth Mays, Jock, the Umneys, Linda Bell, the Bond family, Alan, Margaret, and Gary Hammocks (Steve Hone used to hang out with them), Larry Rose...

 

Steve

Edited by chunky

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Of course i do.I was one of them.For big meetings like the Internationale the cars used to be parked right up to the Cemetery gates and beyond.Sometimes though i used to walk down the alleyway from Colliers Wood past the sewage farm and the back of the Cemetery.Came out almost opposite the gate.Going back that way in the dark was SCARY!!!!!!! :D

 

Rather you than me! certainly wouldn't want to try that these days - if it's even still there, of course...

 

Yeah, long time since we've seen crowds like that. So, tell me Iris, when did you start going to Wimbledon? My parents actually met there! My mum started going in 1950, and my dad in 1958. I was three weeks old (1962) when I first went, and it has stayed with me ever since.

 

Steve

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