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Dream Team : Mike Hawkins

I was born in Birminghan and the Brummies were my team in 1949. My hero was Graham Warren. In 1960 I moved to Coventry and lived opposite the Brandon Stadium. In 1985 I moved again and now live near to Poole Stadium.

BriggsOlsen

Barry Briggs
Big in stature and talent, able to overtake on all tracks. I went to West Ham for the British League Riders championship. Barry forgot to turn on his fuel for his first race. Nigel Boocock was on his way to winning the meeting when his chain broke whilst leading in his last race.

Nigel Boocock
The British Bulldog, a wonderful servant to Coventry for so many years. I had 2 sons and when a third arrived I asked the boys for a name and they said NIGEL of course. I have Eric Boocock's autograph in his Autobiography after my Nigel told him the story. Nigel never ever failed to congratulate any rider who had beaten him even if their riding was sometimes unsporting.

Wilbur Lamourex
From my days of supporting the Brummies, Wilbur the American who came third in the World final was the best white liner I ever saw. He was particularly unbeatble on the smaller tracks. A team rider to the core, he used to shepherd his team mates to 5-1 victories.

Ove Fundin
Lean and gritty and all elbows, Barry Briggs' thorn in his side for so many seasons. I saw him ride recently at Poole and the talent was still there! A rider you used to love to hate.

Bruce Penhall
The glamour boy of Speedway. So much natural talent he used to make it look easy, which is maybe why he retired so young. Many thrilling races at Brandon with his overtaking skills.

Peter Craven
I always likened Peter to a jockey on a horse, being so small. He hardly ever seemed to put his foot down. Definitely the best rider this country has produced and such a tragedy when he lost his life.

Ole Olsen
Took over from Nigel Boocock as the hero of Brandon. Used to curse him when he rode for Wolverhampton. Should have won more World championships than he did. I had the honour of driving Ole round Brandon track in the back of a Sherpa pick-up, the firm I worked for sponsored the meeting. He has now put so much back into the sport with the Grand Prix meetings and of course building his own track at Voyens.

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This article was first published on 8th January 2009

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