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Honouring the Champions of 1984
By Philip Dalling

The men who brought a brief but never-to-be-forgotten taste of speedway success to Long Eaton's now demolished Station Road stadium were back in town after 30 years to celebrate their moment of glory.

The management and riders behind Long Eaton Invaders double of National League and Anglia Junior League title successes in 1984 reunited at the town's Silver Prize Band Social Club, hardly more than a stone's throw from the scene of their triumphs.

The evening was organised by the Long Eaton Speedway Reunion Group, which stages events designed to reunite the local speedway community and keep the name of Long Eaton speedway alive. Proceeds from events are donated to speedway charities.

A special DVD presentation with the soundtrack of 'We are the Champions' welcomed to the stage 1984 promoter John Turner, Invaders team manager Vic White, National League team captain Dave Perks, junior team manager Geoff Langmaid and riders Graham Drury, John Frankland, Mike May (Anglia League), Chris Pidcock (a local boy), Mark Stevenson and David Tyler.

Former Station Road announcer and BBC local radio man Ken Walker hosted the evening, welcomed more than 120 enthusiastic Invaders fans, and interviewed 'the men of 1984'.

There was a celebration cake and a special souvenir programme edited by journalist Philip Dalling, Reunion Group chairman Peter Wrathall, and press officer Neil Burrows.

In addition to looking back to the double success of 1984, the programme also highlighted the modern day Long Eaton Invaders, racing at Leicester's Beaumont Park stadium until the day that the long-standing ambition of bringing the sport back to a new venue in the Derby/Nottingham area can be achieved.

Peter Wrathall commented: "It was a marvellous evening and the splendid turn-out of riders, officials and fans made worthwhile all the hard work that went into the planning."

BACK TOGETHER 30 years on: Long Eaton Invaders 1984. back row, l-r, Mark Stevenson, John Turner (promoter), Mike May, David Tyler, Geoff Langmaid (junior team manager), Graham Drury, John Frankland, Chris Pidcock. Front, Vic White, Invaders team manager. On bike, Dave Perks, Invaders team captain (Pic: Alan Jones).

Long Eaton Invaders fans have made their own contribution to keeping speedway alive in Derbyshire.

Although Station Road, the home over nearly 70 years of teams bearing the names Archers, Rangers, Outlaws and finally Invaders, is now covered by housing, the sport lives on in the county at Buxton.

During the interval of the event held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Invaders double triumph in the 1984 National League and Anglia Junior League, the Long Eaton Speedway Reunion Group presented a cheque to Buxton promoter Richard Moss towards the cost of installing an air fence at the High Edge Raceway.

The picture shows Reunion Group press officer Neil Burrows presenting the cheque to Richard Moss, Buxton Speedway joint chairman.

Neil said: "It is great to be able to help our Derbyshire neighbours and to know that we can still watch speedway in the county".

Neil Burrows (right), press officer of the Long Eaton Speedway Reunion Group, presents a cheque to Richard Moss of Buxton Speedway, as a contribution to the cost of an air fence at the home of the Hitmen (Pic:Alan Jones).

 

This article was first published on 30th March 2014

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