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Over Too Soon - Brian Turner

On Friday 5th May 2000 the short career of Brian Turner came to an end.

Brian's career started at Newcastle but his first break came in 1994 when he landed a place with the Cleveland Bays. The Bays were a Middlesbrough reserve side that made up the numbers in the inaugural Division Three. Brian typified the type of rider the league was designed to assist, he was young, inexperienced and desperate to progress.

He did progress but he was dealt a blow when the Bays withdrew, mid-season, from the 1995 Academy League. Brian soon linked up with Linlithgow Lightning and by the end of the season was turning in some impressive performances.

1996 was a fantastic year for Linlithgow. Their young side recorded a memorable league and cup double and Brian played a big part in it. He led the side from the number one racejacket and mastered the tight Heathersfield circuit. His away performances were not quite as good but he was now firmly established as a rider of great potential. His team mates that memorable year were Peter Scully; Blair Scott; Barry Campbell; Grant MacDonald and the unlucky Neil Hewitt.

1997 saw the introduction of the current two division structure, this provided opportunities for many young Brits and Brian was one of them. Newcastle quickly snapped him and Brian realised a boyhood dream by racing regularly for the Diamonds. The move turned sour as Brian was dropped from the side in mid-season. To rebuild his confidence he returned to Linlithgow and was soon given another Premier chance with Hull.

The following year he found a new home at Glasgow's Shawfield Stadium. He started the season well and formed a strong reserve partnership with former Linlithgow colleague Grant MacDonald. This time he managed to hold his place and he seemed a certainty for the '99 side.

Glasgow moved to Ashfield over the winter and Brian was retained. He started the season as a second string in a weak looking Glasgow side. The side performed badly and Brian dropped to reserve in the first of a number of reshuffles. He found the points easier to come by at reserve and managed to equal the Ashfield track record in perhaps his finest hour. His scoring remained steady but he was replaced by Dean Felton as the season drew to it's conclusion. It was a change that generated little attention but Brian's many fans were upset by the move.

Once again he was quickly back in action as he joined Edinburgh on loan. He started well but soon found himself on the sidelines with an injured wrist. He attempted a comeback but was nowhere near fit enough to return to action.

Over the winter his name was occasionally linked with places at both Edinburgh and Glasgow. This speculation seemed wide of the mark as he was still struggling with his wrist injury. In the lead up to the season he surprisingly decided that he was willing and able to return. Edinburgh, in desperate need of reserve strength, moved in and took him on loan from Glasgow.

His season started in the worst possible way as he was injured in his first race. The crash, which also ruled out Scott Courtney for a number of weeks, damaged Brian's number one machine. Against medical advice he returned to the saddle but his performances were poor. Edinburgh had other riders struggling and were in no position to carry a non-scoring reserve, as a result they asked Brian to stand down.

Brian admitted that he had lost his confidence, the combination of his long standing injury, poor machinery and his sheer bad luck all being contributory factors. His decision to cut his losses and retire was surely the correct one. Perhaps we'll see him back on track in years to come.


  • Brian Turner:

    "I read this article many years ago and it brings back so so many great memories from the years of racing. I took a look at it again just a few weeks ago and have decided to get myself fit and have another blast (just for fun) hopefully in the 2013 season. Business commitments will have to come first but i would love to just have another 4 laps :-) thankyou for a great write up."

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