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johnb

Riders Who Never Made It?

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7 hours ago, iainb said:

Andy Hackett, always seemed to be too good at reserve and not quite good enough for second string and this was when the British League was a lot lot stronger than it is these days. From memory he just seemed to be making a bit of a breakthrough at Coventry then broke his ankle and never really recovered... Didn't he end up at Oxford before retiring?

I always thought  at one time both  Andy and David Clark would make heatleader status but it never happened ,what happened to David Clark I cant remember.

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57 minutes ago, chunky said:

There was at least one season where the teams HAD to field a junior at reserve. Never understood that, throwing kids in at the deep end; the only thing that will do is destroy their confidence and probably force them out of the sport.

Funny, but while I mentioned a certain quality of rider earlier in the thread, there was a group at a slightly lower level I was also going to mention. Riders like Andy Hackett, Jon Surman, Chris Mulvihill, Gary Tagg, Richard Pettman etc... Of that crowd, I felt that Hackett had the most potential - and was certainly the most exciting!

Steve

Indeed Hackett was above the level of many of the reserves.

Riders such as David Haynes, Mark Robinson, Jon Bostin, Anthony Boyd, Mark Meredith were way below the level of any rider you see riding now in the EL.. there's a theme there if you look :)

Andy Meredith was another at Coventry, I think David Clarke as well?

Chris Clarence, Bryan Larner, Anthony Hulme, Phil Disney, Darren Pearson, Richard Smith, Darren Grayling, Scott Swain, Max Schofield, Alan Farmer, Craig Hyde, Tom Grinstead, Darren Spicer, Andy Mountain, Robert Ledwith, Jon Surman, Peter Lloyd, Kevin Pitts, Spencer Timmo, Darren Andrews, Roger Horspool, Anthony Barlow, Lance Sealey, Matthew Cross, Martin Willis, Andy Sumner, Lee Edwards, Carl Bodley, Ade Hoole, 

I'm sure there are many more who were no more than decent junior riders.

 This is why the 'myth' of how much better the racing was then to now is not necessarily the case.. you'd often have races with two of the above names against Sam Ermolenko and Jan O Pedersen for example. Of course there was some fantastic racing, but there were also a lot of races where it was a hell of a lot more strung out than recent years.

Of course, the big names and the better crowds meant we didn't care.

Edited by BWitcher

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One thing that i always find slightly irritating is that riders are considered failures if they never make top league and people say  was only a lower  league heat leader ,that IMO is an  achievement in   it's self .There can be many reason why riders don't live up the their potential one thing that was often said was let's see what they are like after having a serious crash/injury ( not that anyone wished such a thing ) because that then brings home the true cost of being a s/way rider.

Edited by FAST GATER
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30 minutes ago, FAST GATER said:

One thing that i always find slightly irritating is that riders are considered failures if they never make top league and people say  was only a lower  league heat leader ,that IMO is an  achievement in   it's self .There can be many reason why riders don't live up the their potential one thing that was often said was let's see what they are like after having a serious crash/injury ( not that anyone wished such a thing ) because that then brings home the true cost of being a s/way rider.

agree FAST GATER. You summarise situations in an excellent way. I also don't like the thread title but offhand concede I cannot think of an alternative that is less harsh.

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18 hours ago, chunky said:

There was at least one season where the teams HAD to field a junior at reserve. Never understood that, throwing kids in at the deep end; the only thing that will do is destroy their confidence and probably force them out of the sport.

Funny, but while I mentioned a certain quality of rider earlier in the thread, there was a group at a slightly lower level I was also going to mention. Riders like Andy Hackett, Jon Surman, Chris Mulvihill, Gary Tagg, Richard Pettman etc... Of that crowd, I felt that Hackett had the most potential - and was certainly the most exciting!

Steve

 As we know compulsory juniors were introduced during the 1986 season when it was decided to scrap the old style second halves (1985) replacing them with junior matches. I guess the theory was that the 'compulsory junior' could test their ability at a higher level before taking part in the junior match after the main meeting in an attempt to develop their expertise. I was never personally convinced although admirable in theory in an atttempt to encourage British talent.

Of course there was Sean Wilson (I don't think that he was Sheffield's  initial nominated 'junior' although certainly a debutant during 1986) who went on to become a more than capable rider at both levels and Paul Fry carved a decent career after starting out at Cradley as their chosen 'junior'.  Later on there were both Joe Screen and Carl Stonehewer ('junior' debutants who forwent the opportunity of testing their abilities at a lower level for whatever the reason...admirable if nothing else and in hindsight proved the correct decision) but they were introduced after the compulsory junior ruling was withdrawn (1988) although by then teams were introducing 'juniors' voluntarily purely to fit around overal team averages and, dare I suggest, for economical reasons. and little to do with potential development. Oxford, for example, introduced Paul Dugard who showed intitial promise but after a confidence shaking injury and a lack of commitment eventually disappeared from the scene despite showing up later at other venues.

There was a fascinating article in an edition of the "Backtrack' magazine covering the question of 'compulsory juniors'  and the demise of Junior matches a couple of years or so back I recall.

Edited by steve roberts

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18 hours ago, iainb said:

Andy Hackett, always seemed to be too good at reserve and not quite good enough for second string and this was when the British League was a lot lot stronger than it is these days. From memory he just seemed to be making a bit of a breakthrough at Coventry then broke his ankle and never really recovered... Didn't he end up at Oxford before retiring?

Yes, he rode half a season at Oxford.

Alun Rossiter 'turned right' on him coming out of the fourth bend during a Oxford v Swindon match, and Hackett had to retire with his subsequent knee injury. 

There was a joint benefit for meeting for Andy Hackett and Andy Meredith at the end of the following year, which saw Hans Nielsen return to Oxford and a huge crowd in attendance.

Meanwhile, the Oxford fans never forgave Rosco, who became Public Enemy No 1 at Cowley.  Even a couple of spells riding for Oxford did little for his popularity.   

 

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21 hours ago, BWitcher said:

Indeed Hackett was above the level of many of the reserves.

Riders such as David Haynes, Mark Robinson, Jon Bostin, Anthony Boyd, Mark Meredith were way below the level of any rider you see riding now in the EL.. there's a theme there if you look :)

Andy Meredith was another at Coventry, I think David Clarke as well?

Chris Clarence, Bryan Larner, Anthony Hulme, Phil Disney, Darren Pearson, Richard Smith, Darren Grayling, Scott Swain, Max Schofield, Alan Farmer, Craig Hyde, Tom Grinstead, Darren Spicer, Andy Mountain, Robert Ledwith, Jon Surman, Peter Lloyd, Kevin Pitts, Spencer Timmo, Darren Andrews, Roger Horspool, Anthony Barlow, Lance Sealey, Matthew Cross, Martin Willis, Andy Sumner, Lee Edwards, Carl Bodley, Ade Hoole, 

I'm sure there are many more who were no more than decent junior riders.

 This is why the 'myth' of how much better the racing was then to now is not necessarily the case.. you'd often have races with two of the above names against Sam Ermolenko and Jan O Pedersen for example. Of course there was some fantastic racing, but there were also a lot of races where it was a hell of a lot more strung out than recent years.

Of course, the big names and the better crowds meant we didn't care.

Illustrated by how many of these struggled once they dropped down to the old National League. With a high conversion rate between BL and NL most ended up riding in the top 5 of a NL team and in reality were no better than decent reserves.  Anthony Hu(l)me struggled to make an impact at Newcastle which might have been more about the difference between Odsal and Brough. David Clarke faired a little better and was (I think) 3rd heat leader at Newcastle, averaging around 6 but ultimately didn't progress ending up at Milton Keynes (I think) before drifting away from the sport. 

I recall Pearson, Schofield and Timmo also showing promise with the Diamonds but never kicking on.  Finances might have contributed to that as much as anything.  And I think Bryan Larner did 6 matches at the end of a season, averaged about 6 and therefore became a victim of the averages.  Fairly sketchy memories of the late 80's early 90's though.

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9 hours ago, enotian said:

Illustrated by how many of these struggled once they dropped down to the old National League. With a high conversion rate between BL and NL most ended up riding in the top 5 of a NL team and in reality were no better than decent reserves.  Anthony Hu(l)me struggled to make an impact at Newcastle which might have been more about the difference between Odsal and Brough. David Clarke faired a little better and was (I think) 3rd heat leader at Newcastle, averaging around 6 but ultimately didn't progress ending up at Milton Keynes (I think) before drifting away from the sport. 

I recall Pearson, Schofield and Timmo also showing promise with the Diamonds but never kicking on.  Finances might have contributed to that as much as anything.  And I think Bryan Larner did 6 matches at the end of a season, averaged about 6 and therefore became a victim of the averages.  Fairly sketchy memories of the late 80's early 90's though.

Glenn Cunningham was a junior introduced to the Oxford line-up in 1992 together with forementioned Spencer Timmo (I remember his dad riding) and took turns riding as a reserve. Glenn generally struggled but he did develop into a good rider when he dropped down into the Premier League with Reading & Peterborough in particular winning the Riders Championship I seem to recall. However I will agree that most appeared to struggle for numerous reasons and as you say the dreaded converted/assesed averages would have had an influence in some instances but I'm guessing that the lack of finances was a major contributing factor to which I think Oxford & Eastbourne's Kevin Pitts was a classic example. A rider who showed potential and good track craft.

Interesting but Ipswich's Alan Farmer was often a thorn when appearing at Cowley and generally gave our reserves the run around!

Edited by steve roberts

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I think the thread title Riders Who Never Made It? is too harsh and should be amended to something more considerate - although currently I have no ideas in regard to a revised title.

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1 minute ago, gustix said:

I think the thread title Riders Who Never Made It? is too harsh and should be amended to something more considerate - although currently I have no ideas in regard to a revised title.

I guess 'potential' maybe a better title? At least some of the juniors who graced our sport are getting a mention and who may normally have been forgotten.

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13 hours ago, enotian said:

 David Clarke faired a little better and was (I think) 3rd heat leader at Newcastle, averaging around 6 but ultimately didn't progress ending up at Milton Keynes (I think) before drifting away from the sport. 

Clarke rode for Stoke for a time, claimed he'd hit a 10 average and in reality struggled to get much past 5.00.

Seem to recall he had a flawed style with a habit of locking the bike up mid-bend on a wide line and virtually stopping.

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On 1/10/2019 at 3:55 PM, steve roberts said:

...Yes he ended up at Oxford and despite an earlier observation regarding white line riding I thought Andy's approach was just to wind it on and take a blast around the outside which wasn't often the best approach around Cowley where trackcraft was more the necessary way.

Hackett busted his hip at Wolverhampton  never really recovered either physically or mentally . the last season with Oxford he just went through the motions  but was pretty much scared to get involved , in his time at Coventry he would go from reserve to world beater and then get injured ,only to start the process again . terrific rider on his day,  I well remember him and Deanne  Clarke getting the bumps at Oxford  after beating the Oxford pairing and winning the match , securing the league title for Coventry .

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45 minutes ago, adonis said:

Hackett busted his hip at Wolverhampton  never really recovered either physically or mentally . the last season with Oxford he just went through the motions  but was pretty much scared to get involved , in his time at Coventry he would go from reserve to world beater and then get injured ,only to start the process again . terrific rider on his day,  I well remember him and Deanne  Clarke getting the bumps at Oxford  after beating the Oxford pairing and winning the match , securing the league title for Coventry .

...Don't remind me however they were useful reserves and certainly worthy team members backing up a strong 1-5 in 1987 & 1988.

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On 1/10/2019 at 11:20 PM, naffer said:

I always thought  at one time both  Andy and David Clark would make heatleader status but it never happened ,what happened to David Clark I cant remember.

David Clarke famously fell out with Mrs Ochiltree and that was the end of him at Coventry , even though he apologised and begged there was no way back in ,he rode a few times in Germany but then retired , he's now Post op  transgender and is a woman called Deanne

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P'raps change the thread title to 'Rider Who Didn't Reach Their Potential'.....

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