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Andy Downes

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    55

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  • Team
    Crayford/Hackney Kestrels

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  1. I remember Billy Lellmann riding a challenge match at Hackney and he looked pretty decent - I heard he left as he was homesick
  2. Andy Downes

    Winter Meetings

    There was a meeting at the London Arena in winter 1990 (or 91, can't remember the exact date) - another former London Speedway venue that's bitten the dust. Seem to remember there was a problem halfway through - could have been a leaking roof but the memory is too hazy - hopefully someone out there can remind us more about that day
  3. I think Toni Kasper Jr would have achieved more if he had had more than 1 1/2 seasons in the British League
  4. Andy Downes

    Your Worst Rain-off Experiences

    England F ..........!
  5. Andy Downes

    Your Worst Rain-off Experiences

    About 15 years ago I was working in Saudi Arabia and I was asked if I wanted to go back to the UK for a Thursday/Friday seminar at the Sandbanks Hotel in Poole. Now almost every flight from the Gulf to the UK leaves in the middle of the night and arrives in London about 7:00 a.m. so for a Thursday course, i thought aha! you have to be in Poole on a Wednesday for that and what happens in Poole on a Wednesday? Speedway!I I'll do it! Disaster struck though as for possibly the only time in their history, Poole decided to shift the meeting to Thursday for some reason - think it was a big championship meeting in Scandinavia on the Wednesday so they shifted the meeting back 24 hours so they'd get a full side out, or something similar So not a rain off (although after being stuck in Saudi you tended to view rain as something of a novelty) but definitely a case of travelling in the hope of seeing some action - of course Thursday was out as the after seminar dinner was compulsory. Flew home Friday night so no chance of seeing anything anywhere else.
  6. Andy Downes

    Ipswich 2023

    I remember Vladimir Kalina at Hackney - didn't look too bad (although not much to judge against that year ...) a little surprised he didn't get picked up somewhere after Hackney folded.
  7. Andy Downes

    All Time Favourite Tracks?

    Crayford - you never forget your first love/track Hackney Cradley Heath Only went to Ashby Ville Scunthorpe a couple of times but seem to remember saw two cracking meetings there Never liked Wimbledon although to be fair, most times I went were in the latter NL days when the track was as slick as hell
  8. Andy Downes

    SPEEDWAY IN PENGE

    I think that access could have been the problem - I remember trying to get away from the stadium used to be chaos after the athletics - i used to ride a motorbike in those days and it was difficult getting out on that. Seemed to remember they used a one way traffic flow so it was into the park one way and out another. Not a impossible task to fix though you'd think
  9. Andy Downes

    SPEEDWAY IN PENGE

    Went to a few Friday Night Athletic meetings - most memorable was one where we arrived at 7:15pm and the Pole Vault had started. By the end of the night's schedule (around 10:00pm) the pole vault was not only still going on but the 'star' hadn't even taken his first jump! Anyway, after about 15 minutes all the other competitors had finished their attempts so enter the last man, the bar was immediately set to a new world record height, out came the athlete and his one jump that night was a new WR - his name Sergai Bubka
  10. Andy Downes

    Arena Essex fan on BBC

    Think you'll find Ru Paul is an updated version of Danny La Rue - has DLR been seen on mainstream television since the 1970's? - a bit like Speedway itself
  11. Andy Downes

    SPEEDWAY IN SPAIN

    Wasn't the rider who tried to get a track running in Spain in the 80's/90's Lee Paine? - I'm sure it was an ex-Arena Essex Junior/Reserve who was trying to get one started but was defeated by Spanish building laws? Happy to be proved wrong if someone has more accurate information
  12. Andy Downes

    Why does everybody hate Poole?

    I am not a Poole fan - I bear no ill feeling to any of their regular contributors (unless they are responsible for reason 2 below!) but 2 incidents many years annoyed me and they have not won me over since Reason 1 - Mervyn Stewkesbury. - Remember his grand plan for saving speedway in 1991? Poole had won the NL for the previous 2 seasons and wanted to move back up to the BL. Nothing wrong with that but I suspect he looked at Hackney's attempt in 1987 and the lack of help from the existing BL promotions so he came up with a cunning plan where 3 other clubs would also move up thus increasing the numbers in the BL and forcing some movement of heat leaders, the problem Hackney never overcame. Fine - and you may say yes it worked BUT at the cost of the teams deemed not big or sexy enough to move up - 1991 saw Eastbourne close (at first), a substandard team at Wimbledon with only 1 heat leader before closing and moving to Eastie, a sub standard Hackney with a new promoter who proved to be out of his depth and the team closing halfway thru the season, both Mildenhall and Milton Keynes would not survive 2 seasons, with Canterbury closing in '87 and Rye House only having a couple more years, only Arena Essex (who would soon be a BL team) were left. NL speedway was all but wiped out in the south east thanks to Mr S - as a Hackney fan, I went from a 50/60 matches a season to a few weekend run outs on the M/C - which comes to reason 2 Reason 2 - Some un-names F***** at Poole 1994 I went to the occasional mid-summer match at Poole, it was a nice run out from London on the bike, especially if you avoided the M3 going down. I cannot remember the date or the opposition but I do remember coming out of the stadium to find my bike on the floor in the carpark, obviously it had been hit by a car, fairing was smashed, paintwork scratched as if it had been dragged and worst of all the front forks had been damaged. I called out the breakdown people who took one look at it and told me the front wheel was cracked so there was no way it could be ridden back to Kent as it could potentially collapse at any moment. Things got worse as the garage who had insured me had made a mistake on the insurance and insured it pre customisation which meant I ended up spending a fortune getting the bike resprayed in Embassy Blue. OK my fault on that one for not double checking but whoever knocked the bike over just drove off - no exchange of numbers/note left, nothing. So that's my reasons - I realise it's a long time ago and my feelings for Poole have mellowed through the years from pathological hatred to a smug smile when things don't quite go right - I bear no malice to any Poole bloggers, indeed I find them quite entertaining in their own way when they are defending their team Rant over -feel better for that
  13. Andy Downes

    THE FIRST RACE I SAW

    Thanks for checking that out MR - pretty close as I'm sure Laurie was out with a back injury so Sagey would have been the first RR of the evening
  14. Andy Downes

    THE FIRST RACE I SAW

    Think it was April 14th 1980 Crayford verses Young Sweden at London Road Tommy Nilsson won the heat I believe - not sure of second swede, think the Kestrels pairing was Alan Johns and R/R Laurie Etheridge but that's a guess Certainly remember the riders from the second meeting more - verses Nottingham Outlaws - Mike Sampson went thru the card for a 15 point full max Looking at the date, if correct, it was 42 years ago yesterday - off for a large G&T to get over the shock of that date ....
  15. Andy Downes

    Potential stadiums

    Back to tracks that you couldn't use from the original list: - Crayford. The old stadium was knocked down and a 'micro stadium' about half the size of the old one built - the rest of the land and the large car parks are now Sainsbury's The replacement dog track was heavily criticised by the dog owning community with complaints that it was too small with the bends being too sharp (resulting in too many dogs colliding and getting injured). Any speedway track laid inside would be around 150 - 180m maximum if it could be laid - and as the dog track has sharp bends, the bends would be somewhat pointed As the last dog track inside the M25, it is a busy track so cannot see the owners wanting the bikes interfering anyway
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