Dream Team : Jay Reed
I used to ride for Long Eaton, Stoke & Buxton in the early 1990s. Now hand-paint scale model speedway bikes. visit www.freewebs.com/nobrakesuk for more info. My team consists entirely of entertainers.
Cowboy Cook was a character and a true entertainer in every sense of the word. His exploits in the 1985 World Games at Wimbledon in particular stand out in my mind. A one-off.
Ever since I first saw Joe at the age of 15 doing a mile-long wheelie (yes, he clocked it!) on Southport beach in 1988 I have been an admirer of the guy's raw natural talent on a bike. Although he didn't quite make it as a World Class performer on a regular basis, he surely would've been World Champion had it been awarded on entertainment. He did at least achieve World No.6 status at one stage, but could've been so much more.
Had he not broken his ankle so badly in 1984, when he was hitting the peak of his form, Siggy could arguably have been World Champion in the following 2 or 3 years. Another great entertainer and an absolute class act.
2000 World Champion Mark has been one of the most successful Brits of modern time speedway, and when he misses the start, you can almost see people rubbing their hands together in anticipation. A unique talent, and sorely missed in the Grand Prix.
A speedway legend, I almost bowed "unworthiness" at seeing his Cardiff Grand Prix "wall of death" final in 2005.
Another raw talent which seemed to defy gravity in the early days but sadly defied belief in the end. Nevertheless, an amazing rider to watch.
"Googy" was my hero as a 13 year old, but unfortunately this was very short lived, as, less than a year after I discovered Speedway, he received a 5 year ban for alleged drug related offences in 1984. His end of season speech that year sounded like a farewell, and it proved to be. No doubt he knew what lay ahead when he made that speech. An all round great team man, a tough, tough rider who always seemed to be snapping at his opponents heels, switching inside and out. I remember one quote from a rider about Googy; "You never know where he is, you hear him on the outside, you look round and he's gone to the inside!"
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This article was first published on 8th February 2007
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