Dream Team : Chris Holmes
I followed Leicester Hunters and then the Lions from the mid 1950's until the untimely closure of the Stadium in 1983. Over such a long period of time, many great riders represented Leicester so on this occasion I've focused on the British stars who live most vividly in the memory. If I could choose a guest, it would have to be the great Michael Lee who used to go like a rocket round Blackbird Road.
"Hurri Ken" is the only rider I can remember really well from the Hunters' days. He absolutely stood out as an original "superstar" with immaculate kit and machinery. We used to listen to him singing mildly rude songs in the changing rooms before a meeting and this greatly impressed my mate and I who always went straight to the track on a Friday after school.
Neil will always be remembered as just the type of young rider that Martin Rogers was trying to recruit. Fearless in overtaking, he is revered for being instrumental in the Lions beating Coventry Bees in both of their last two British League encounters at Blackbird Road.
"World Cup Willie" was "Mr Leicester" for 8 seasons and never knew when he was beaten. Ray was denied top league and Individual World Championship medals but won most everything else. A great man and rider to have in any side.
Ian never fulfilled the great potential he showed at Peterborough but he was always spectacular and seemed to score those vital points that swung a meeting in the Lions favour.
Les was just as much of a talisman as "Hurri Ken" and Ray Wilson before him. So important to the team was Les that I can still see Martin Rogers sprinting half the length of the Stadium to check on his health after he took a rare tumble. Incidentally, Martin raced passed the Lions second string (who had also fallen) without a second glance! Les was runner up to Bruce Penhall in the 1982 Los Angeles World Final and was unlucky not to win the title.
DJ was very fast but always in control. A double figure score was almost guaranteed and he was the youngest Leicester rider to gain full international honours.
"Cookie" was "Mr Spectacular" and because he always gave 100%, he was always a fans' favourite and great for team morale.
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This article was first published on 31st January 2008
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