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YOUR memories of AUSTRALIANS in Britain (1970-90)

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HERE COMES THE . . . AUSTRALIANS

In the next issue (85) of Backtrack, Martin Rogers will be looking back at the Australian riders who competed in the two British leagues (BL1 and BL2/NL) between 1970 and 1990.in the 70s & 80s...

Alongside the main piece will be a section of supporters' comments about the Aussies who raced in the UK during that era, so please either post your personal recollections, anecdotes, memories or opinions here or email us at: editorial@retro-speedway.com

We look forward to hearing from you ASAP – respond and you might well get your name in Backtrack!

Thanks.
Tony Mac

 

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27 minutes ago, tmc said:

HERE COMES THE . . . AUSTRALIANS

 respond and you might well get your name in Backtrack!

Thanks.
Tony Mac

 

Sore point after the Norwegian issue!!

No hard feelings really though so I'll have another go.

The 70's started with a load of Aussies in the British League yet by the mid -80's they were struggling to get a decent WTC quartet let alone a Test team.

My favourite Aussie of the 70's was (of course as a Heathen) Johnny Boulger. Came to Dudley Wood in 1974 (the year the Swedes were banned) and in 3 seasons for Cradley proved a genuine Number 1, which if I recall was his motivation for moving from Leicester where he was in the shadow of Ray Wilson. I loved Johnny B - I can remember me and my mate spending over an hour on a car journey down to Poole singing "NaNaNa, NaNaNa, Wheyhey, Johnny Boulger" until my Dad threatened to turn back at Devizes! Crucially gave Cradley some respectability after a rotten 1973 season.

Shout out here to Bob Valentine, who just had one season at Cradley before returning back to Aussie but had a super year.

In the 80's as top flight Aussies got rarer I had a soft spot for Billy Sanders. I had a mate who was a Lynn fan and during Billy's year for the Stars we watched him at places like Reading and Hackney where I loved to see him blast off the fourth bend.

Always had hopes that the likes of Steve Baker, Mark Fiora and Rod Hunter would break through to International class, but the latter two at least were big hitters in the National League.

As a Plough Lane regular in the 80's I have to mention Todd "The Fastest Alive over the First 25" Wiltshire who oozed class and also Nathan Simpson who we saw develop so much as a Don.

I always liked the Aussie riders in those days, which is why its sad when you read the negative comments on this Forum about so many of the current crew from Down Under.

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Who could forget Garry 'Cassius' Middleton. A real character and one incident I recall is when he proceeded to argue with one 'Soldier Boy' (whatever happened to him?) after a second half incident at Cowley when he invited him onto the centre green so as to continue the 'debate'!

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I can remember a young man coming out in a set of Bruce Penhall's leathers for second half rides at Cradley. He turned out to be David Cheshire, and although he never really hit the international heights, he was a full on entertainer on and off the track.

John Boulger,  John Titman, Phil Herne and  Phil Crump all impressed, but the classiest Aussie of the time for me was Billy Sanders. I remember the shock when he passed away in such tragic circumstances.

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Phil Crump was the main Aussie for me i was lucky anough to watch him regularly  and the guy was so consistent.I first  see him ride for King's Lynn i never did see him ride for Crewe and then after that he would always pile up huge points for Newport and like at Mildura nearly unbeatable at Somerton Park.Billy Sanders also i was a huge fan of  very classy and before his devastating death had really pushed on  in career he was at that point certainly in the top eight riders in the world. A big regret was only seeing Jim Airey ride once another class act, Leigh Adams what a classy rider to have the pleasure of seeing him and for a short time the amazing Darcy Ward at the Abbey was a huge treat.Swindon have been lucky to have had some great riders ride for them over the years right up until last season with the present World Champ Doyley.

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In my lifetime Glasgow have always had a strong Aussie connection . In the 60's we had one of the best , the one and only Charlie Monk . 

When we dropped down to division 2 in 1973 we had the classy Mick McKeon at Coatbridge and Merv Janke when we moved to Blantyre . 

But the Aussie connection really came into it's own at Shawfield in the early nineties when Shane Bowes , Jason Lyons and Mick Powell all lived in a rented house in Glasgow and starred on the track . 

2004 brought us the Messiah , Shane Parker , so it's been a very successful relationship 

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I always felt the Australians have a bond of togetherness,  not always evident from other countries.  Probably because they are a long way from home  and cant just pop back when they want,  for whatever reason this togetherness stretches back years....

When considering their small population, I am amazed at the number of quality sportspeople they have.  It doesn't matter what sport we talk of  their percentage of high quality far  out weighs other countries.    We at Lynn  have been really fortunate seeing some wonderful talent, first stopping here to further their careers.  Just a pity many only used it as a stop gap before moving on.    To many,  Darcy Ward  stands out of an impressive list,  but to me Phil Crump was head and shoulders above them all.

Back in 1972, there wasn't the influx of top riders as there are these day,   Maury Littlechild, who  was also in charge of Crewe as well as Lynn , introduced  Phil into the Stars line up to compliment the Betts, Simmo and Cole  heat leader partnership.  in a hope of bringing that long awaited league success .    The effect was immediate.  he was outscoring the more established stars from the oft.   In only his first or second meeting he score a 15pt max  his talent was there for all to see.  Unfortunately he didn't stay very long,   Neil Street, helped by his daughter, persuaded him to join Newport the following year.   

Out of sight probably, but never out of mind.  He had a tremendous talent that was complimented by the relationship of future 'father-in-law'  Neil Street, Crumpy went from strength to strength.   I  know he didn't win that world Championship, but he was always there or there abouts.    When Jason came on the scene it was only fitting that he continued the Crump and Street  upbringing,   to bring home the big one.     Seeing Jason riding them boards was so remmonissant of his dad all them years ago....  

Remembering these wonderful times,  really does gives me a warm feeling 

 

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At Ipswich we have a long line of Aussies from my time of starting to go in the early 80's starting with Billy Sanders.

We had a few characters none more so then Craig Hyde and Steve Widt. I remember Ipswich riding at Lakeside and Craig Hyde did a full circuit of the M25 before finding his way back!

Shane Parker coming over and scoring 19 points in an away match at Rye House in his first season was pretty special.

Then you had the Langdon brothers at Poole who werent exactly quiet either

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At Rayleigh Peter Moore, what a wily old character who could really gate and was the only rider I can recall with slightly raised left hand side of the handle bars. The other was Bob Young. Another cracking rider who in style rode a bit like Batchelor does now. Those were the days.

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Further to my earlier post I have to mention Dave Shields. Returned to Cradley for the 1981 season after 2 years away from Britain. After a slowish start to the campaign he became a key component of our Championship winning team ending with a League average of 6.12 from reserve, bringing the house down against Hull when beating Mauger and Drury? from the back.

Never returned to these shores, but a key signing to help bring that title to Cradley for the first time.

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21 hours ago, salty said:

Further to my earlier post I have to mention Dave Shields. Returned to Cradley for the 1981 season after 2 years away from Britain. After a slowish start to the campaign he became a key component of our Championship winning team ending with a League average of 6.12 from reserve, bringing the house down against Hull when beating Mauger and Drury? from the back.

Never returned to these shores, but a key signing to help bring that title to Cradley for the first time.

Going back before that Salty   Gordon Guasco,Geoff Curtis, both sadly killed were very good riders  Les Sharpe, Dennis Gavros,Bob Jameson,Greg Kentwell ,Paul Oneill all   very popular at Halifax.Favourites of mine later on were Ron Henderson, Rod Hunter,Stan Bear,Steve Baker,Rob Ashton  the Aussies have really unearthed some real talent at all levels over the years who i  have really enjoyed watching.

Edited by Sidney the robin

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21 hours ago, salty said:

Further to my earlier post I have to mention Dave Shields. Returned to Cradley for the 1981 season after 2 years away from Britain. After a slowish start to the campaign he became a key component of our Championship winning team ending with a League average of 6.12 from reserve, bringing the house down against Hull when beating Mauger and Drury? from the back.

Never returned to these shores, but a key signing to help bring that title to Cradley for the first time.

Wonder what happened to Dave and where is he now? He is one we would like to interview for Backtrack...

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On ‎05‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 11:05 AM, g13webb said:

 

Back in 1972, there wasn't the influx of top riders as there are these day,   Maury Littlechild, who  was also in charge of Crewe as well as Lynn , introduced  Phil into the Stars line up to compliment the Betts, Simmo and Cole  heat leader partnership.  in a hope of bringing that long awaited league success .    The effect was immediate.  he was outscoring the more established stars from the oft.   In only his first or second meeting he score a 15pt max  his talent was there for all to see.  Unfortunately he didn't stay very long,   Neil Street, helped by his daughter, persuaded him to join Newport the following year.   

Out of sight probably, but never out of mind.  He had a tremendous talent that was complimented by the relationship of future 'father-in-law'  Neil Street, Crumpy went from strength to strength.   I  know he didn't win that world Championship, but he was always there or there abouts.    When Jason came on the scene it was only fitting that he continued the Crump and Street  upbringing,   to bring home the big one.     Seeing Jason riding them boards was so remmonissant of his dad all them years ago....  

Remembering these wonderful times,  really does gives me a warm feeling 

 

Phil rode for Lynn in 1973,but it was a very short season as I think he was out injured as early as April for the rest of the year?

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3 hours ago, tmc said:

Wonder what happened to Dave and where is he now? He is one we would like to interview for Backtrack...

Remember his sensational debut season riding for the "Cheetahs' in 1978. Shame he gave Britain a miss returning some years later at Cradley...could have achieved a lot more in the sport. I'm sure his son, Ben, had a spell over here at the same time as Adam but never really made it.

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19 minutes ago, iris123 said:

Phil rode for Lynn in 1973,but it was a very short season as I think he was out injured as early as April for the rest of the year?

If I recall he broke his scaphoid when attempting to replace a wheel on his car when the jack gave way.

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