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Sometimes You Can't Take the Boy out of the Man!
By Tom Marriott

Sometimes there are speedway stories that need to be shared. This one falls into the "Never too Young" category of speedway.

As a Speedway rider of 54 years young I contemplate retirement every year but due to friends like Graham Wale I always keep coming back. This is a story of never say never. A definite Peter Pan attitude. Maybe there is something in the water over here in Canada. While he will never be a top rider he has earned the respect of his peers by being voted the "Riders Choice Award" voted on by riders only.

Is Graham riding again in 2006 well you be the judge, He has purchased a Weslake bike and new speedway boots and a new steel shoe so it looks as if he has the green light. We all admire his wife Dulce who stand by him every week and through the odd ambulance ride off the track! Only in Canada you say? Well I hope not, but where else could you see a Divisional final with a 62, 58, 54 and a 14 year old! (No fairy tale ending the 14 year old won!) And another trip off the track to the ambulance by Graham who was knocked off by a rider-less bike!!!!

The article is reproduced from the Paris Speedway programme the week after his crash!

Many years ago a young English boy of nine had a dream to become a speedway rider. Over the years that dream faded to a memory as he emigrated over the pond to Canada.

Many years later that boy of nine turned 60 years old and he found that his favorite sport was alive and well in Canada and he could get his fix at Paris Speedway.

It wasn't long before he realized that all the riders were not young boys and young men but several were older and close to his age. The dream of all the years ago returned and Graham made the decision to buy a bike and have a go.

He diligently turned out at practice and got used to the bike and in 2003 he decided it was time to race. At the first meeting Graham's magneto let him down and he had to withdraw. The next week saw him return with a different magneto and a bike that was running smooth.

In his first two races he tried hard and managed to clip the fence trying too hard. Graham was given some tips on what to do and out he went for his third race. At the start his adrenaline was running high and he gated first out of the tapes. Unfortunately for Graham he was carrying too much speed into turn one and he crashed right through the fence with both bike and rider going through the air.

Fearing the worst all the track staff went running to his aid. He was found propped up against the second safety fence dazed but unhurt. After being looked at by the medical staff it was clear that he was uninjured except for some bumps and bruises and he had a wide grin on his face.

After the meeting Graham went to the fence and had his picture taken and if you looked real close you could see that nine-year-old boy living out his dream.


Graham 'Pirate' Wale in action at Paris


Graham posing by the boards at nights end, they had been put back up so racing could continue! Note Graham's back wheel marks!


Voted 'Riders Choice' award in 2004 by his peers!


No prize for guessing Graham's favourite British League Team!

Visit Graham Wale's Website

 

This article was first published on 22nd May 2006

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