Dream Team : Trevor Gay
I am now 54 and my first memory of Speedway was when my late Dad took me to Norwich in the early 60's. We then saw the very first meeting at King's Lynn in 1965 and I watched the Stars all over the country for the next 8 years until 1973. This was a wonderful time for speedway and I went to at least three world finals at Wembley - Wonderful memories. I still follow speedway from a distance with the occasional visit to a match now and again.
It may come as a surprise that Ian 'Tiddler' Turner was my favourite Stars rider. He never got the praise he deserved. He was tiny and spectacular. I remember seeing Tiddler beat the great Barry Briggs at West Ham with a daring swoop round the fence. I remember seeing him winning the British Junior Championship and if only Ian had been lucky enough to have the equipment of some of his peers like John Louis I am sure he could have become one of England's all time greats. He was the best value for money I ever saw.
All Stars fans would include 'Bettsy' in their all time greats. He was fabulous. I remember him for his sporting attitude and for his popularity even with visiting fans; whenever we went away with the Stars he always seemed popular with home fans too. I remember at Exeter Bettsy refusing to take the Golden Helmet because the Exeter rider Gunnar Malmqvist had engine failure. Bettsy insisted on a re-run and he lost - such was the man. I think he was technically the best rider I ever saw. He deserved to be world champion but was probably too nice.
We Stars fans witnessed the re-birth and growth of 'Coley' at Saddlebow Road. He became world class and in fact was the first Stars rider to reach a world final. How well I remember Howard at Wembley that year - I think it was 1969. I was also at Leicester on the night of the British Final when he was almost killed in a terrible sickening crash. For days we prayed Howard would recover and of course he did. What a gentleman.
With Bettsy as our established number one 'Simmo' was often seen as second best but he was a sensational rider who we all loved to watch. In fact Simmo was almost as popular as the skipper and again we all thought he could become world champion. Simmo was stylish and a great team man.
I remember Crumpy coming to Lynn from second division Crewe and he set the place alight. He
was all action and no respecter of reputations. He became a cult figure with the Stars fans and it was so sad that he never won the world championship. He was braveness personified and I can still see him forcing his way through to take the lead on many occasions even in treacherous conditions.
I remember seeing Michael as a 15 year old after meetings and we all knew this was a special talent. How thrilling it was for us all when he won the world championship. He was the most balanced rider I have ever seen and arguably the most skillful. I often wonder why he didn't win more world titles but such is life.
I remember Christer riding for Stars for three or four years and the hearts of all of us were often in our mouths as he scraped the fence in overtaking. We loved him and it was so sad to hear he died young from cancer. A great tragedy.
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This article was first published on 19th January 2007
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