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The Top 20 in '69

As long as speedway riders have been turning left, people have been compiling lists of the greatest ever riders. One such list, compiled by Ron Hoare, appeared in the 3rd January 1969 edition of Speedway Star magazine.

Given that our perspective on history is always changing, we thought it would be interesting to view this list from 40 years ago.

Ron didn't attempt to order the list, so here are his top 20 in alphabetical order.

Barry Briggs
Frank Charles
Peter Craven
Vic Duggan
Tom Farndon
Ove Fundin
Max Grosskreutz
Vic Huxley
Ron Johnson
Bill Kitchen
Bjorn Knutsson
Wilbur Lamoreaux
Eric Langton
Cordy Milne
Jack Milne
Ronnie Moore
Jack Parker
Lionel Van Praag
Bluey Wilkinson
Jack Young

Of course, producing a list of this nature is always highly subjective. When it was first published there was surprise that Graham Warren had been omitted, Ron apparently feeling that Warren's time at the top had been too short to merit inclusion.

Clearly a list produced today would be significantly different from this one. It's not too difficult to come up with a number of names that would have to be included in any top 20.

So, who should come in and which of Ron's list have now fallen out of the top 20? Drop us an email with your thoughts.


This article was first published on 8th January 2009


  • Geoff Langley:

    "Having looked at this top 20 in 1969, then seen Tracy Holmes suggested supplementary list and read the obituary to Bob Kilby it made me realise that although speedway is a so-called minority sport we have been blessed with some fantastic stars down the years, most of them showing a standard of class and sportsmanship that would be a credit to any sport. Bob Kilby was never quite world class but that does not diminish the priviledge of having seen him compete. "Awesome" is an over-worked adjective these days but it is the only word that genuinely describes Bob off the starting gate.

    For a long time now I have been getting tired of the moaners and groaners (probably "armchair" spectators who rarely see a live match ) who want to complain that some detail about points or tatical rides or some other triviality has upset them. For my it has been its been a such a pleasure to have seen Bob Kilby and many of the others mentioned, plus so many that still keep up the sports best tradtions, like Adam Sheilds, Dave Watt, Bjarne Pedersen and many others. So come on Speedway fans, lets look at the positives and put the complaints to one side for a while. Roll on next season !"

  • Tracy Holmes:

    "I would only drop 2, Grosskruetz and Kitchen. These 2 would join the 2nd list that would be Freddie Williams, Igor Plechanov, Nigel Boocock, Andrzej Wyglenda, Sir Ole Olsen, Anders Michanek, Peter Collins, Malcolm Simmons, Mike Lee, Bruce Penhall, Erik Gundersen, Jan O Pedersen, Sam Ermolenko, Per Jonsson, Tony Rickardsson, Leigh Adams, Jason Crump and Nicki Pedersen. The 2 that would take their place? Ivan Mauger and Hans Nielsen. "

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