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hawks 1975

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    From Hackney to Lakeside to Rye House to now Kent!

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  1. hawks 1975

    YOUR Hackney

    Other fond memories of Friday nights at Waterden Road: Approaching from Carpenters Road, the smell! I don't know what they produced in some of those factories, but the perfume I remember thinking was mixture of cabbage boiled to death and marmite! Then as you got the the stadium entrance, it was replaced by that most delightful of aromas - Castrol R. Right up there with the smell of new mown grass and sizzling bacon! The teams marching out behind Len to The Magnificent Seven. So evocative, I remember it being played at Rye House in 2005 when Keith White, Bengt and Finn had a match race prior the Re-union and I don't mind admitting, it brought a tear to my eyes. The dulcet tones of Ted Sear Was it Len who christened him RED Ott?! I so wanted him to be star! I guess a lot of clubs had a similar chant - the fans got involved so in those day - so missed today. 2 4 6 8. Who do we apprec - ee - ate? H - A - C - K- N - E - Y Hackney - with Len always leaping into the air on the centre green with the final response. Hawkeye's often controversially one-eyed programme column, and his love of the Dons down the road, (sic). The nearest pub was the Carpenters Arms. Last time I looked it was still there, somewhat incongruously alongside the Olympic Park. We used to stop off there afterwards occasionally, and I will always remember being shocked after one meeting to find myself queuing up at the bar behind two great Swedes. Anders Michanek and Bengt Janssen had somehow beaten us to it!
  2. hawks 1975

    YOUR Hackney

    More Memorable Hackney heroes: The late Vic Harding was never going to be world champion, but in many ways he was a typical Hackney recruit - a wholehearted, gutsy little rider with a huge heart, who the fans took to for his cheerfulness and determination. He came in at reserve after three years at Weymouth and soon afterwards got 8 from 3 starts against Swindon, including a win over top Swede Jan Andersson - who he then beat in the Rider of the Night final! Seeing him crash right in front of us, in his fifth outing as he raced for a point that would have seen us pull back a 16 point deficit to win a meaningless 4TT match, was my worst moment in 50 odd years of spectating. The hush that suddenly descended on Waterden Road said it all. And then of course, Barry Thomas. Mr Hackney for so many, and so often worth the price of admission alone for his dashes from the back. He never took it too seriously, and never seemed to have the most reliable of machinery, and in some ways summed up what Hackney was about - we might not win too many trophies but we had plenty of fun racing. His beating the great Ivan Mauger on the final bend when the World Champion was team riding his partner toward the league title is still one of the most memorable races I have seen in over 50 years. Thommo of course was the link between the Hawks and the Kestrels. A new Kestrel was the long blonde haired Andy Galvin - one of Thommo’s Iwade lads. A legend, fast and not to be messed with! Entered Hackney folk lore when the story goes that, told we needed a 5-0 in the last heat to win the meeting, he obliged by knocking off both his opponents! Remembered for team-riding his rookie partner Chris Louis to many a 5-1 in 1988. Mark Loram went from Hackney mascot to World Champion, with an all too brief period at Waterden Road. Right from day one, the lad was so exciting, a natural. After starting out as a 16 year old in Hackney’s less than successful sojourn in the top flight in 1987, he developed into a top National League performer as the Kestrels swept all before them to win the National League. After Mark and Moggo sadly departed as the promoters took on Ipswich, we signed Steve Schofield. When the pocket marvel arrived from Poole, he admitted Waterden Road wasn’t one of his favourite tracks. Within weeks he was well nigh unbeatable around it, ending his first campaign with eight successive home full maximums. A superb little racer, a delight to watch as, when he did miss the gate, the opposition didn’t know whether he would dive up their inside or roar around the outside. Hackney may not have won much silverware, but they certainly had some entertainers.
  3. hawks 1975

    YOUR Hackney

    Of course it’s all about the racing, and the riders. Bengt Jansson - ‘Benga’ or ‘Banger’ - was pure class and to think that a Hackney rider was within a ride-off of becoming World Champion frankly beggars belief! He once finished with an end-of-season average of 10.26 - a cool Swede in his yellow leathers. Garry Middleton, a one-off, who never rode harder than the night he won the Golden Helmet at Hackney. Can’t remember who he was against, but he was the underdog, and the fans loved it! Slender little Zenon Plech, a real full-throttle merchant, crazy, mad, frustrating, spectacular, the original Polish wonder kid, who at his best was just amazing round Waterden Road. We enjoyed that he didn’t gate consistently - he would square off the corners, especially the last bend, and ‘find’ his way through on the inside at great speed. Little Davy Morton and his chequered leathers. Loved gate four at Waterden Road as he would blast round the first and second bend banking and come out in the lead going down the home straight. Our No 8 from Crewe, he came into the side in May at reserve, and by July was beating the Great Dane Ole Olsen not once but twice! Bo Peep - the immaculate and exciting tall Dane Bo Petersen. He could pass at The Wick up the inside, or hanging spectacularly off the side of the bike roaring round the outside - great balance. Unusually for us, he always had the best of equipment thanks to his sponsor Ivan Henry, and one season actually topped the league averages for a long while - I cannot think of any other Hawk to manage that. He once had to be physically restrained from attacking Danish captain Olsen after Ole had purposely run the young whippersnapper up into the first bend fence! Then there were a few youngsters who had their moments: Un-sung Steve Lomas, resplendent in his green leathers, coming third in the final of a star studded end of season Champions Chase in 1974 and relegating the great Swede Anders Michanek into last place! He had beaten the likes of Terry Betts, Martin Ashby and Simmo in the heats. Dave Kennett, known by the Plough Lane followers as ‘Killer Kennett’, but 'Davy Crockett' to the Hawks faithful, who hugged the white line and woe betide anyone in his way. He had the most scary of crashes early in 1973 when he and the promising Allan Emmett roared through the third bend fence together whilst team riding. Did they lock handlebars? It was a terrifying high speed crash, his bike, which was write-off, flying over the fence, sparks and all. Although he walked away reportedly with just cuts and bruises, many felt that he was never quite the same rider after that. The Fireman Geoff Maloney in his black leathers was promoted up from Rayleigh and had a grin as wide as the Blackwall tunnel. Especially the night when he beat Peter Collins, guesting for Wolves, twice on his way to his one and only Hackney maximum.
  4. hawks 1975

    YOUR Hackney

    A fond memory of Friday nights at Waterden Road: Coming out after the meeting through the gates from the main stand, every week there would be the two sellers. “Get your Speedway Star here!” That was immediately followed by ‘Big Arthur’: “ Speedway Mail here!” And straight away, in amongst the throng making their way out, somebody would shout out “Get your female here”! Those were the days….
  5. hawks 1975

    YOUR Hackney

    Something I wrote a few years back: I was introduced to speedway at Plough Lane. Wimbledon Speedway were the red and yellow glamour team in London.They had the ‘proper’ stadium – uniformly enclosed cover all around, with a big glass fronted grandstand down the finishing line straight. They also had these unusual wooden cubicles/desks on the third/fourth bends, out in the open, which if you got there early enough, you could sit behind and then have no excuse if your programme wasn’t filled in neatly. They even had a posh centre-green, with cut grass and even plants or flowers sometimes! They also had Ronnie Moore, Briggo, Trevor Hedge, plus Reg Luckhurst and Cyril Maidment. Not to mention Jim Tebby!! Additionally, it played host to some big individual meetings, like ‘The Laurels’ and ‘The Internationale’, and later ‘The Daily Express Spring Classic’, all of which drew bumper crowds from all over the country, with each club from Glasgow to Leicester to Exeter having their usually vociferous and colourfully attired supporters all in their little clumps, supporting their star man. SW17 had the Dons – the Belle Vue of the South. So why did we try this, and reject it in favour of E15 and the Hackney Hawks? Perhaps the answer lies in a slogan that Len Silver used for awhile as almost a ‘strapline’ in his advertising for his team: TRAXCITEMENT! Wimbledon may have had the stadium, but Hackney had the race track! Who wants to sit in relative comfort, but be bored, when you can go along the (Waterden) road and be excited? MAKE IT A DATE – FRIDAY AT EIGHT……..and we did from 1971, for twenty years.
  6. hawks 1975

    NL Fantasy Team for Fun 2024

    Hopefully I'll complete it this time! Luke Killeen 7.73 Oxford Freddie Hodder 6.44 Belle Vue Max James 5.70 Leicester Jody Scott 5.31 Oxford Mickie Simpson 4.23 Sheffield/Scunny Luke Crang 3.61 Leicester Harry McGurk 3.00 Belle Vue total 36.02 Many thanks once again for running this - let's hope for a safe season for all the lads.
  7. hawks 1975

    NL Fantasy Team for Fun 2024

    Try again! Connor Coles 7.79 Edinburgh Like Killeen 7.73 Oxford Freddie Hodder 6.44 Belle Vue Max James 5.70 Leicester Luke Crang
  8. hawks 1975

    NL Fantasy Team for Fun 2024

    It won't be the same this year without my team in the NHL, but here goes: Connor Coles
  9. hawks 1975

    Kent Speedway

    Last season I was led to believe that the promoter was only allowed to hold two meetings per month where paying spectators were allowed in at Iwade. Given that Crayford have already announced that they are riding out of Iwade in 2024, perhaps that might explain why Kent Kings, sadly, look to only have one meeting per month?
  10. hawks 1975

    Kent Speedway

    Crying shame that Iwade will not be in the NDL next year - Si has confirmed that nobody has expressed an interest in running it. A solid, loyal group of fans now have no club. After an impressive first season, Si had only bad luck this year - allied to family health issues - and the powers that be seemingly went out of their way to make things more difficult. Now Iwade is no longer a SCB track. I believe the plan was to operate under the Nora banner and involve some 'nomad' tracks like Lakeside and Eastbourne, utilising three existing tracks, but with Mildenhall now under new ownership, I wonder whether Iwade and the Isle of Wight can still go it alone. I had hoped that a six team league, with say Lakeside riding with Iwade out of Iwade; Rye House at Mildenhall and an Eastbourne side on the island might have worked. Now it appears there will be no venue for speedway in a huge catchment area between Oxford and Poole where once there were so many. Finally, a huge thank you to Si Kellow for the last two years. There was always a friendly vibe at Sunshine Speedway on Sunday afternoons at little old Iwade and that was down to Si - a promoter who was always in amongst the patrons and regularly welcomed the visiting fans.
  11. hawks 1975

    Kent Royals license revoked!

    Where is the official announcement?!! No mention of this on the British Speedway web site! Do we know how much they have fined Si Kellow? Absolutely ridiculous. The guy doesn't deserve this extra hassle - without him there would be no speedway at all round here.
  12. I forgot - we love the 4TT handicap option! Team mangers - in discussion with their riders - picking an opposition rider to be handicapped - brilliant! Rhys was ecstatic to be selected!!
  13. Brayden came over from his base in Denmark for the day and certainly showed his class as befits a 22 year old rider competing in Poland - well done to Barry to get him over at such short notice to replace Henry Atkins. It's always great to see new riders. The other late substitute was Luke Harris who replaced Jake Turner, and he ended up topping the Plymouth scoresheet! Not bad for a lad who I believe mainly rides on the grass nowadays. I've always loved the fours format and congratulations to Barry Bishop and his team for overcoming all the obstacles to get his show up and running. Hopefully he can grow this concept from this beginning. One issue he has is that team speedway depends on fans getting behind their team, and that can only grow in time - especially where yesterdays teams largely had no connection. One question to Barry - are the same riders likely to ride in every meeting? Well done to all those volunteers who got yesterday meeting on. A special mention to the track staff - on such a sunny, windy day, it could have been a dust bowl - it wasn't.
  14. Thankfully the fixture is listed in the Star, and there is even a column announcing the launch of the league. Hopefully the two replacements for King and Turner are of similar ability and we get an afternoon of close racing. Good luck to all those involved in this new venture .
  15. An Amateur League? With Bowtell, Morley, Atkins etc riding? I think not.......!
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