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Trackin' Down 2 - Gary O'Hare Extract

In this extract from Ian Gill's Trackin' Down 2 book, Gary O'Hare talks about the events leading up to the end of his career.

"I'll put the record straight! I have never retired! And for that matter, my big mate Les has never retired either. Speedway just finishes with you. As I had a bad season in 1992, possibly through trying to do too much with combining working and riding, I knew something was missing and I think Eric could see it as well. When you are a rider, you always feel you are just one meeting from turning around a slump in form.

"In 1992, I'd had a bad run, including blowing up an engine at Exeter. But I knew myself better than anyone and so many times during my career one good meeting had set me up for a really long successful spell. So, I got the engine done and I was looking forward to riding against Edinburgh. The day before that meeting, I got a call at work from Eric telling me that he dropped me from the team and replaced me with Mark Lemon. I was absolutely shell-shocked.

I said to Eric, "This is me finished, you know."

"To be fair to Eric, he was always the first to spot when the "lights had gone out" in any of his riders and he was probably right, but I didn't want to believe it.

"I really didn't want it to finish like that, so I made a few enquiries and I came very close to joining Edinburgh. I actually got my licence for the year after, though over the winter I hadn't even sat on the bike. I rode in a World Championship Qualifying meeting early on in 1993 at Sheffield. The experience of that meeting suggested to me that I might possibly be finished but I never officially retired.

"I sat out the whole of 1993 before going to a Stoke practice at the beginning of 1994. Stoke were actually going to put a side in the Conference League that year and I got invited to ride for them for �50 a meeting. It was great.

"I was getting some rides and I could pass on my experience and thoughts to the kids in the team. Unfortunately, the guy running the team wanted to strengthen the team by putting riders like Glyn Taylor and Chris Cobby into the 1-7 and as I wasn't top scoring, it looked as though I was going to be replaced.

"We were due at Berwick and I didn't want to travel, so I was dropped having done about eight meetings.

"I did, though, win my last ever race, which was good, but then I left Speedway behind and moved back into grass-tracking.

"I never really had any thoughts about a comeback in Speedway and the phone never rang with further concrete offers.

"Chris Morton and Ken Moss also spoke to me about getting involved with starting up the track at Buxton. That was 1994 and I did get interested when they explained what they were planning and they'd like me to ride. I kept hearing that the track was progressing, but when I went to have a look, there didn't seem to be any signs of things happening. I felt I was being strung along, but nevertheless, I went along to Stoke to have another practice and it was there that I got the invite to ride for the Potters, where I had a reasonable little run before they started to chop and change the team around.

If you would like a copy of "Trackin' Down 2" please send a cheque or postal order (payable to Ian Gill) for �7.00 to:

Ian Gill
35 Humberston Road
NG8 2SU.

All orders will be sent out by 1st class post as soon as possible.

For further details - and the background to the Trackin� Down series - please see Ian�s dedicated website at trackindown.webs.com


This article was first published on 24th June 2010

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