Riders to Remember....Gil Goldfinch
Gil Goldfinch, was in my view the first "proper" speedway rider, in terms of his appearance on the track and the standard of equipment he rode. I say this in regards to the 1961 season at Brough Park, when the newly formed Diamonds, who had been late entries to the Provincial League, were very ill equipped to take part in it.
On his debut, as he slowly moved down the back straight, it was only too obvious to the home crowd, that this bloke really looked the part.
Gil's tremendous team riding and his "Rob Grant act", with his long leg sticking out on the first bend as he hugged the white line, was a pleasure to see and he was also someone who had time for everyone.
He was instrumental in encouraging local rider, Mike Watkin, to become very skilled, around the smaller size tracks, and was a real "team man". Such riders are the life blood of the sport, and if anyone has not seen photographs of Gil in action, they can be found on the Newcastle Diamonds History web site, most being the work of the well known photographer The Late Spencer Oliver.
This article was first published on 23rd June 2011
"I believe that Gil Goldfinch MAY have died in tragic circumstances towards the end of the 1960s. This was often a matter of discussion in the 2000s Conference League days at Wimbledon without ever being clarified or denied. On another note, Gil's cousin John Goldfinch was a 1950s speedway photographer for the 'Speedway Star'. Then he just faded from the sport."
"I am Gils eldest son. Sadly my father did die in tragic circumstances taking his own life. I have very little in the way of memorabilia of his riding history, so if you or anybody else could help in pointing me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated. "
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