Dream Team : Duncan Pemberton
I was an ardent Leicester fan and attended my first meeting in July 1968 at the tender age of nine! I was hooked straight away and from then till 1978 very rarely missed a home fixture and probably from about 13 I managed to see most of the Lions away fixtures as well. Moved to Manchester and continued to watch plenty of Speedway with 117 matches being my best season. I was never at home! Unfortunatly I have drifted away from attending for the last 3 years as I just can't get the enthusiasm to go since the tac sub rule has been messed with and stupid double points. If a team is getting a hiding so be it, lets not turn the sport in to some sort of Wrestling entertainment. I have seen some fantastic riders in my time and have chosen the ones who were my boyhood heroes and others whom I admired.
World cup Willie!! Mr Leicester, a great sight seeing him thunder in to the first turn in heat 1 of a match. Many memories of great performances but none better than the 75 British Final, when after a pointless first ride he stormed back to take the last qualifying place for Wembley by beating Martin Ashby in a run off! What a pity that race has never been put on a dvd!!
Never a fan of his but you had to admire his class. Best Dane by far (Sorry Ole!)
Yet another great rider who in my opinion could have been a world Champ if he hadnt been so laid back. Many great meetings for the Lions and used to love seeing him being tac subbed with Ray Wilson to pull a meeting back. Though I am not sure if they ever got on with each other. When JB rode at Leicester for Cradley he had a coming together with Ray on the back straight, and the gossip all round Leicester after was that they had had a big fight in the car park after the meeting!!! Never did find out if it was true! How about telling us guys?
Again never a fan unless he had an England jacket on, but the most natural guy on a speedway bike I have seen, though despised him in 1980!! (see rider 5)
Dave "Deejay" Jessup
My favourite rider! For anyone a bit younger than me who remembers DJ as a trapper and white line guy, I'm talking about the rider especially in the seventies who, yes was the best trapper around, but also could race when he had to! Those were the days when he used to give Morton and Collins a run for their money round the Hyde Road circuit, though sadly in his later years was a white liner round there! Was a pleasure to follow him around the country cheering him on and a nice guy as well, always had time for a chat with me.
1980!! What a year! Seeing him win the British Final was the best one for me, because it was still a prestigous title to win and he was long over due for that one! That should of been THE year if it wasn't for Mr Lee pipping him!! Though could have been a lot different if DJ hadn't let Lee beat him in the Sheffield Semi Final when Lee was having a bad night and needed a win in his last and DJ only needed a 2nd place!! But I suppose they were team mates at Kings Lynn, so could have created a bad team atmosphere if DJ had put him out!!
Lee was a natural on a bike. This guy was a natural racer, with a great racing brain. Was there in Poland in 76 to witness a fantastic performance and it's a travesty that he didnt get another couple of titles! Definatly the best RACER I have ever seen on a speedway track
When I was a kid the best time of the season was when Coventry came to town! There would have been 10,000 or more at Blackbird Road those nights with most of the back straight taken up by Cov fans creating a great atmosphere! Coventry didn't have a really good team then and it seemed to be this little guy in the Blue leathers who would be racing as though his life depended on it to beat Lions!! Remember the night there was a big fight between the teams (68 or 69) and the Coventry team ended up walking out and not taking part in the second half except for Nigel. At the time I thought that was really big of him not letting the fans down, though now I'm older, and also know he is a Yorkshire man, I bet it was about earning the money!!!
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This article was first published on 17th May 2007
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