Dream Team : Karl Bainbridge
I first went to watch speedway in 1978 at Ipswich and have been going there nearly every week since around 1980/81 (except for 1989-1993 when I chose to continue supporting top flight speedway at Reading). I also had a spell of riding, doing Southern Track Riders meetings from about 1995, some meetings for Sittingbourne and Reading before a season with the M4 Raven Sprockets (Reading/Swindon).
The first rider I really supported at events other than Ipswich meetings after I saw him in a local grastrack meeting before his debut, where he was much faster than all the others! Really committed team man who put Ipswich meeting first and was always well prepared, he carried the team on many an occasion and was awesome at the 1989 WTC, as well as for Reading 89-93.
Ultimate professional - he would always be well prepared and was able to race on all types of surface. Loved the real grippy deep tracks that Reading could provide and was fantastic to watch when overtaking, could ride the outside or inside and was superb around the white line where others (except Chris Louis) weren't.
What a showman, fantastic control of a bike of any description and also went on to be a really hot jet skier. Could probably still do a good job in the Elite League! I remember him being great at wrong-way speedway (clockwise) and making me enjoy the meetings.
Followed his career from the beginning and indeed raced against him a couple of times. Always gives 100% for his British club and puts them first, excellent team rider and one of, if not the best, fair racers in modern speedway. Always exciting to watch and would love to see him back at Ipswich one day.
Hard rider and good team man. Remember him at the end of season meetings riding a big road trail bike and doing wheelies on it and other machines.
Despite others' views about his personality off track, he was always fun on it. Very fast quality rider. I remember he used to pull out other riders' cut-outs up at the start line just for a laugh! Very unlucky not too be crowned World Champ.
Hard riding racer who always battled through from the back when behind. Was never fazed by any track surface and was not afraid to speak his mind. Was taken down in the 1982 World final, as is clear from the video, but really earned my respect when becoming British Champion with a broken leg on a dodgy surface.
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This article was first published on 16th September 2007
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