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potty5

Details On The Deaths Of Geoff Curtis & Jack Millen

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Reading heat-leader Geoff Curtis is tragically killed in a track crash at Sydney Showground. Curtis clashed with Phil Herne and was thrown into the concrete safety fence

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I only see Geoff ride a few times he was a very classy rider  and he was a real top class rider in the making.Jack what a character he was i see him ride a few times at division 2 level and funny anough once at Swindon riding for Reading.With Jack he had a fearsome reputation yet he was a terrific team man great with the young riders and would help anyone.How speedway could do with characters like Jack now ( i.e.) like Nicki Pedersen. Jack reminded me so much like Steve Gresham he was really feared yet i met Steve once after a meeting and you could not wish to meet a nicer guy.

Edited by Sidney the robin
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49 minutes ago, Sidney the robin said:

I only see Geoff ride a few times he was a very classy rider  and he was a real top class rider in the making.Jack what a character he was i see him ride a few times at division 2 level and funny anough once at Swindon riding for Reading.With Jack he had a fearsome reputation yet he was a terrific team man great with the young riders and would help anyone.How speedway could do with characters like Jack now ( i.e.) like Nicki Pedersen. Jack reminded me so much like Steve Gresham he was really feared yet i met Steve once after a meeting and you could not wish to meet a nicer guy.

Rumours were that Geoff was going to join 'The Rebels' in 1974 (he lived close to the stadium) and was always a classy act round Cowley. We should have had Jack in 1976 when the Stoke promotion moved in but he had fallen out with the promoters (Bastable and Allsopp) and remained at Stoke under a new promotion. Shame as I would have enjoyed the exploits of "The Villain" for one season!

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I'll tell you a little snippet on Crazy Jack Millen. I was stood on the then second bend at Odsal in 1973, Sunderland were the visitors.

Jack separated from his machine and was stricken on the track. The St John's man long black coat; white bag strapped across his chest; rushes to his aid.

Millen is down on the track; but contrary to all medical advice these days; St Johns man tries immediately to raise Jack to his feet !. Wrong !!!

Jack clearly in some pain and distress at being moved; began to lash out with his boot at the St John's guy and a tussle ensued on track.

I think he was aided off the track; but certainly the worse for wear  the St John's man I mean !

Hard as nails was Crazy Jack; what a character he was on and off the track.

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As a child I used to live next door to Geoff in Oxford. He would also spend time with my family. I used to tell him he wasn't as good as Anders Michanek and every time he beat him in the second halves he would come round to tell me. As a 4 year old I wouldn't have it. Geoff used to talk to my father ( argue/debate they had opposed views on safety) about his preference for solid safety fences rather than the chain link, " because you can bounce off them, rather than getting dragged in".  I remember the day that we were made aware of his passing and the recalling of the "safety fence" discussions. Very sad, great guy.

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On 3/18/2020 at 10:35 AM, RedOx69 said:

As a child I used to live next door to Geoff in Oxford. He would also spend time with my family. I used to tell him he wasn't as good as Anders Michanek and every time he beat him in the second halves he would come round to tell me. As a 4 year old I wouldn't have it. Geoff used to talk to my father ( argue/debate they had opposed views on safety) about his preference for solid safety fences rather than the chain link, " because you can bounce off them, rather than getting dragged in".  I remember the day that we were made aware of his passing and the recalling of the "safety fence" discussions. Very sad, great guy.

I seem to remember that Geoff lodged with the guy that used to drive the tractor at Cowley? Can't recall his name. I think that Rickard Hellsen also stayed there when at Oxford?

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On 9/13/2008 at 4:02 PM, potty5 said:

Dear forum members, I am currently compiling the book WHEN THEY WERE KINGS - THE CREWE SPEEDWAY STORY. I have researched the deaths of two ex-Crewe riders but keep getting different explanations on the deaths of Geoff Curtis and Jack Millen. Does any members have the exact details on when and how Curtis and Millen met their deaths. Thanks alot, Mark Potts

 A good source of information with regards Jack would be Tim Nunan, last time I heard he was a club official of Mildura speedway. They use to travel together when both rode for Stoke a tale or two to be told if Tim is willing!!!!! 

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18 minutes ago, Ghosty said:

 A good source of information with regards Jack would be Tim Nunan, last time I heard he was a club official of Mildura speedway. They use to travel together when both rode for Stoke a tale or two to be told if Tim is willing!!!!! 

I remember a story told by Steve Bastable(?) who was knocked off by an opponent and both Jack and Tim ran past the stricken Bastable lying on the track and laid into the other rider involved!

However, on second thoughts, I maybe confusing one of the riders involved with Mick Handley?

Edited by steve roberts

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Two recollections...

I was in the pits at Bradford in the 70's when the Olympiad was being run. It was when the corners were much squarer than later years.  As the riders were going up to the tapes, I heard the medic tell the ambulance driver to start the ambulance engine up. He said if four riders go into the bend together then perhaps three might come out.... oh, and Jack Millen is on the inside !!!

 

I went to a Jim Wells / Jack Millen Training School at Chesterton. Jim showed me how to cup my hand over the throttle and balance my arm when entering the corner.... I got round okay. 

Later in the day Jack told me another throttle grip and arm control option... I hit the fence !!!

 

Definitely one of the great guys I ever met and watched on a speedway bike. Sadly missed.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, steve roberts said:

I seem to remember that Geoff lodged with the guy that used to drive the tractor at Cowley? Can't recall his name. I think that Rickard Hellsen also stayed there when at Oxford?

That's right, Geoff lived in a couple of places in Oxford and Bill was his spanner man. I seem to recall Bill driving round in Geoffs old car for years and years after, a black Ford. I also recall Bill spannered for Richard Hellsen, Wayne Muddle and Klaus Lausch at various times. Richard stayed for a while after his spell at Oxford and was still there when riding for Kings Lynn.

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John Davis tells the story that when at Peterborough Jack was excluded for knocking off Richard Greer and while Richard was being stretchered off Jack shook him saying  "Tell the ref that I didn't knock you off" or words to that effect. However John did go on to say that Jack was a terribly nice guy and explained that when his father ran Weymouth Jack once turned up with no money and Harry Davis gave him £20 (?) to which Jack was very grateful.

Edited by steve roberts

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On 3/19/2020 at 4:19 PM, steve roberts said:

I seem to remember that Geoff lodged with the guy that used to drive the tractor at Cowley? Can't recall his name. I think that Rickard Hellsen also stayed there when at Oxford?

If you took a punt Steve, just how good could  Geoff of become ??? i can remember him as a very classy smooth rider in the mould of Crump ( snr) / Sanders.I think a move to Oxford would of worked well for him i could see him being a true no 1 and a future world finalist in the future.He had already reached one British Final in 1971 scoring 6 points in a golden era that meeting had top class quality in it.

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1 hour ago, Sidney the robin said:

If you took a punt Steve, just how good could  Geoff of become ??? i can remember him as a very classy smooth rider in the mould of Crump ( snr) / Sanders.I think a move to Oxford would of worked well for him i could see him being a true no 1 and a future world finalist in the future.He had already reached one British Final in 1971 scoring 6 points in a golden era that meeting had top class quality in it.

Personally I think that he would have excelled at Cowley Sid. Although overshadowed by Michanek and Lovaas he always looked a class act at Oxford. Greatly underated in my view.

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