Dream Team : Gavin Jackson
Was first taken to Arlington to watch Eastbourne vs Poole in May 1981 and even though it was rained off after about 6/7 heats, was mesmorized!!! Watched Eastbourne until around 1989 and also travelled to many away tracks during that time and regularly watched Milton Keynes at the Groveway but this is my Eastbourne all time 7.
Kelly Moran was the big hero for most but during 1982, Preston was the better rider in my opinion. He started ok but as the season went on, he became super hard to beat around Eastbourne. Excellent gater and his upright style wasn't as exciting as Kelly's but an awesome rider. Devastating that he didn't come back in 83.
Couldn't leave Gordon out as he was fantastic in 81 and 82 and then when we went back into the National League in 85 we re-signed him and he was amazing for a number of years, leading us to the double double in 86/87. You could put your mortgage on him winning heat 1!!
Guested often during our disasterous season in 83 and couldn't believe it when we signed him for 84 as we knew he'd score bucketloads of points. He never let the team down, was amazing around Arlington, shame the rest of the team wasn't..........
I remember watching him trundle around the track in the early 80's and he looked like a midget! Showed superb potential in 85, improved greatly in 86 and then was arguably best rider in the National League in 87. Can't believe he didn't go on to be World Champion.
Has there ever been a more ungainly rider? Doubt it! Has there ever been a rider that could come from the back at Eastbourne against ANY opposing riders? Never. Andy couldn't ride the inside line and don't expect him to gate either but when he was chasing people down, it's like someone had written a script on the last bend overtaking manouevere!
He deserves his place for the nightmare team he was lumbered with during 1983. He was average in 82 but put nearly 3 points on his average and became a number one the next season.
My favourite rider in my first meeting (due to crowd chants of Olli, Olli, Olli, Oi, Oi Oi!!!). Not the best rider in 81 but came back in 84 and did better and I believe he came back again after that (as a rider) - I know he was a successful team manager down at Arlington.
This article was first published on 24th April 2008
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