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What Happened to our "Season"
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Long Eaton v Boston 1973
Part One
By Ian Gill

Back in 1973, at the age of 16, the highlight of my week took place on most Thursday evenings between April and September. It was a chance to leave behind, if only for a few hours, those seemingly endless school essays and revisions for tests as my 'O' levels and beyond loomed large that year.

It occurs to me now, and with the benefit of hindsight, that I might have done considerably better results-wise if I hadn't dedicated such a large number of the fact-retaining cells of my brain to the rider statistics and facts about my speedway team, the Long Eaton Rangers. They are still there now, waiting to be accessed should a Long Eaton quiz question pop up unexpectedly on social media.

1973 eventually turned out to be the most successful ever (up to that point) for a Long Eaton team, ultimately finishing 9th in an 18 strong Division 2. Of course, to be really remembered as 'successful' by the speedway world in general, you have to win something and have silverware to display at some point. And yet - you know what? - winning wasn't the be-all-and-end-all back then. It was more to do with being entertained and to relating to a group of lads who epitomised to me, the word hero. Heck, if winning had meant so much, Long Eaton would never have retained their unbelievably loyal support and would have closed down years before. No, it was about loyally following the lads that wore the orange and black race jacket and supporting them - along with 1500 other fans - both individually and as a team as they took on the big names from the rival tracks. By big names, I mean those that featured endlessly and boringly on the front and back covers of Speedway Star almost every week and who were constantly being featured in interviews and selected for 2nd division test teams and the like. One solitary front cover from 1969 to the end of 1974 was all Long Eaton were afforded. One! There was as much chance of Big Arthur Browning being politely applauded at Station Road than my team featuring, though on my weekly walk to the local paper shop to collect my copy of the Star, my optimism remained, bizarrely, unstifled.

Occasionally, The Rangers would produce an exhilarating performance to surprise us and turn over one of the big name teams of that era. We'd already witnessed one of those occasions early on in that season, when Workington Comets arrived - unbeaten up to that point and top of the League - in May and with the scores tied at 36-all going into the last heat, Roger Mills and Phil Bass pulled off a 5-1 to the elation of the home crowd.

In the grand scheme of things, and to anyone outside the Long Eaton area, it was just a standard second division fixture, just a tight home win, but to us Station Road regulars, it very much epitomised that sense of 'Us against them'.

The real build-up to that meeting had started the previous week with the knowledge that the unbeaten Comets were coming to town and my hope (and that of the other Rangers' fans) was that their record would indeed still be intact in seven days.

I loved those 'David v Goliath' clashes, though more often than not, they would end in disappointment. Still, a bit like waiting for a Speedway Star full-colour front cover or back cover team picture, there was always hope, slim though it may have been.

Aside from team affairs and on an individual front, Roger Mills had also fought a few battles against the odds to both win and then retain the prized silver helmet on four occasions.

On one of those occasions, he had the beating of Hull's Robin Amundson whilst on Phil Bass' popping and banging bike, which looked ready to throw in the towel for three of the four laps. Roger coaxed it round with Robin all over him on every lap to hang on to the silver head-gear. Roger, like any rider with a Rangers race-jacket on, could pull off the totally unexpected and upset the form book in style.

In fact, could there have been a more dramatic example of this than when Roger held on to the helmet at Boston (after Rangers had been drubbed 56-22 in the preceding league fixture)?

Boston had so many maximum men that night they staged a run-off to decide who would be the challenger! Outside the rules and regulations, but Cyril (Crane) didn't let that stop him building up the drama while Roger had to wait!

A few weeks later, Boston, by now establishing themselves as clear title favourites, were at Station Road. There was always tension simmering at past clashes, but the 'Cudas were by now becoming one of those emerging big teams I talked of earlier and, in my eyes, with their 'Champions-elect' publicity-machine, they needed taking down a peg or two,

The events of that night - and there were plenty, believe me - have held their place in Long Eaton folklore for 40-plus years and I saw it all unfold with my own eyes. It struck me that, with all the hype that is now attached to even the dullest of televised meetings, just how would the Sky team - and particularly Nige and Kelv - have coped with the escalating tension and drama if the meeting had been televised back then?

What follows is my take on the (hopefully, occasionally humorous) transcript of that imaginary broadcast from July 5th 1973 and your appreciation will (again, hopefully) be enhanced if you can 'hear the voices' and 'see the faces' of Nigel, Kelvin, Chris and Charlie describing the events of that night in your mind as you read on.

Compared to the spartan 1960's BBC coverage of speedway (before ITV took an interest), which was limited basically to the Internationale from Wimbledon each season with Alan Weeks describing the grainy action, Sky's coverage of our sport 50 years on is exceptional and way beyond what any fan (including me) could have dreamed of years ago. My attempt at light-heartedly recreating that evening in thoughts and words is just a bit of fun and hopefully will be read with that mindset.

Most of the events that feature are based loosely on an eye-witness account of how the evening evolved.

Mine!

I know because I was there, but spending the meeting stood on the first bend near the iconic Tote building, some imagination has been necessary as to what was happening elsewhere within the rest of the stadium.

That's just about it. So, remembering it's July 5th 1973 and if Sky Sports had been covering the meeting, it may, repeat MAY, have gone something like this.

I'll see you in a couple of hours.......................

(Dramatic opening music - possibly Elgar - over a shot of a burning coal fire before a deep and dramatic voice-over - possibly Peter Ustinov - cuts in..........)

"We've just had flamin' June and now the temperature soars even higher as two east midland rivals - and old track adversaries - go head-to-head.

It's a Derbyshire versus Lincolnshire 'Clash of the Heavyweights'.

Could it be an early.....

(Drumroll)

....Championship......

(Another drumroll)

.......decider?

(In the background, the fire looks to be going out)

Who will triumph in the white-hot battle for those precious League points?

(We see a hand pouring a gallon of methanol onto the fire which suddenly erupts and the screen goes white - and then up comes the voice of Ustinov again........)

"Tonight the Rangers go big fish hunting as the 'Cudas ride into their town. Who has had their chips?"

(The camera zooms in on tonight's commentary team, Nigel and Kelvin, who are perched precariously on what looks like a couple of planks balanced on a pair of step-ladders overlooking the 4th bend at Station Road.

Nigel opens the show........)

"Evening folks and a big welcome to a sunny Station Road."

(Kelvin looks up from rolling his programme and nods - sagely - to camera).

"Evening."

"A lovely warm night here at Station Road for tonight's Division 2 clash between the Long Eaton Rangers and the Boston Barracudas and....

(looking upwards to the blue sky)

......no sign of any storm clouds, apart from those that will hopefully be occurring on the track this evening. Did I hear someone ask just exactly where is Long Eaton?"

(Kelvin nods to camera, then, realising that this would imply it was him, changes his expression to one of totally aghast. Holds his hands to the heavens and tuts a few times whilst shaking his head vigorously).

"Well, it wasn't me, Nigel!"

(Thumbs up and grin to camera from Kelv)

"Well, someone did! But hey, folks at home, a little bit about Long Eaton. The town and the track are actually in Derbyshire, but if you send a letter to the stadium, you have to put a Nottinghamshire post-code!"

(Camera shot shows Kelv is listening intently, nodding appreciatively and still finding time to roll his programme up. He butts in......)

"What a nightmare for the postman!"

"Yeah, right! Thank you, Kelvin.

(Sighs, deeply - he knows it's going to be a long night).

Probably is. But hey, it's a great little town with shops and electricity, all those sorts of 1970's things and it's just off the new M1 motorway and they absolutely love their speedway here. They've had some great riders in past seasons too - Ray 'Willie' Wilson.......

(The 'World Cup Willie' tag would arrive a few months later)

........the legendary Ove Fundin, Anders Michanek, Johnny Boulger, Charlie Monk."

"Whoa, for sure there's some talented motorbike riders in that line-up, Nigel."

"There certainly is and that's without mentioning men like Kid Bodie, Piccolo Peter Moore, Slant Payling and Rim Malskaitis!"

(The last name has Kelv deep in thought)

"That would be worth a few points at Scrabble, Nige!"

(Nigel's look - to camera - is withering and clearly, he's wondering how he's going to cope for the next two hours. "It was certainly much better last year when I ran the show myself," you can see him thinking).

"Erm, yes! Thank you for that. But, back to tonight and the current team-members are just as popular with the fans as those former stars at this track.

(We see a shot of the Bass brothers in the midst of a group of young fans, smiling and signing autographs)

And one of the most popular is their capture from the Scunthorpe Saints, Phil Bass. It's his 21st birthday today and it's nice to see we've got a huge crowd in tonight to help him celebrate.......

(Camera pans a full 360 degrees showing folks all around the perimeter of the circuit)

......let's hope they don't all stay for the party! At least they are enjoying the sunshine and I know that both sets of fans will certainly want to have the local bragging rights at the end of the evening."

"Yeah, certainly, that's right, Nige and for sure I'm looking forward to it immensely. Everyone is so passionate about this meeting. It's the Division Two equivalent of I think, er, um, Wimbledon against er, um, Newport in Division One. There's a real local passion in the air. I love it."

"It's a big meeting alright. And talking of big meetings, our next two televised Sky matches, in glorious 625 lines, are exactly that. B. I. G. BIG!"

"Yeah, very much so, Nige!

(Kelv shows us just how big he is thinking by spreading his arms wide, as though he is holding a huge - invisible - fish)

Certainly, and I'm looking forward to them both. Next Wednesday it's a good old South Coast derby between Poole and Swindon. That should be a good one and, of course, it will be our first visit to Wimborne Road in nearly three seasons. Who'd have thought that? For sure, it'll be the Pirates' Pete Smith up against the Robins' Norman Hunter. Whoa!"

"The following week, we go International with the Brits taking on our old friends from across the North Sea......"

(Kelvin interjects - smugly)

"Australia!"

(Nigel, caught off guard carries on.....)

"Yes, that's right..........Erm, no it's not! It's actually Sweden - The Mighty Swedes - the Blue and Yellow colossus - Swe-DEN, in a test match from the Monma, sorry Mon-MORE Green Stadium in Wolverhampton."

"Yeah, absolutely, it should be a fantastic night for sure and it's very difficult to predict a winner."

"I've heard the Brits are bringing in Ivan Mauger, Ronnie Moore and Ole Olsen to replace Ray Wilson, Terry Betts and Eric Boocock who are riding at Hull that night in an officially sanctioned testimonial for one of the turnstile operators."

"Wow! Sounds, er um, good to me. I'm sure Ole will put in a little extra wearing the cross of St George race jacket."

(Nigel is taken aback at Kelv's heraldic knowledge which shows in his 'surprised' facial expression).

"OK, folks onto tonight's fixture and, if you are new to speedway......"

(Kelv joins in, and not for the first time, unexpectedly)

".......or just like me, need a refresher!"

(Kelv smiles to camera as yet another programme is passed to him to roll up.

Nigel carries on......)

".....let's go through how the League points are awarded. At the winter conference, the promoters of both divisions of the British League decided to make no changes at all to the rules and regulations, well apart from the one which states that the referee's name MUST now be displayed in bold type in the programme and that action photos of riders no longer riding in Britain cannot, under any circumstances, be used on programme covers. Of course, the 'no changes' included the proven system of awarding the league points and I think that's a good thing.

(Kelvin nods very dramatically, signifying his full and unequivocal agreement).

In fact since way before the start-up of the good old British League way back in 1965, the points system has remained unchanged."

"Absolutely, the fans know where they stand and so do the riders, which I believe is good for the sport and helps it to progress. It's just like soccer where winning a meeting is rewarded.

(pause)

............And Rugby League..........

(There's another slightly longer delay while Kelv thinks of another suitable sport)

.............

......And Rugby Union.

Oh, and another one, curling.

Oh, nearly forgot Ice........"

(It's Nige's turn to interject)

"Yes, yes, YEEEEEES! Thank you very much, Kelv. But if we could, just for a minute, get back to tonight and speedway. OK, let's have a look at how the British League points system works.

(Nigel has prepared a flip chart and Kelvin is in charge of turning the pages, but he has to wait for Nigel's signal (a nod of the head) each time).

If the home team win by a margin of, let's say, four points........

(Nigel nods, Kelvin nods back to acknowledge the instruction and then moves to turn over a sheet of the flip chart to reveal a large number 4 within the hand-drawn outline of a race-jacket)

........they are awarded........

(turns to camera, smiling)

.......two league points.

(Nigel nods again. Kelv nods back. A further flip chart page is revealed with a large number 2, but this time without the race-jacket. It's possible Nigel ran out of preparation time pre-broadcast).

If they win by more than four, let's say ten, they still get two league points.

(More two-way nodding. Another page revealed. Another hand-drawn number 2).

It's the same right through all the possible score-line combinations from 40-38 right up to 65-13.

(Kelvin nods authoritatively to camera as he turns over yet another sheet which shows every one of the possible score combinations, including half-points and the ones where only two riders have finished in a heat. The text, unsurprisingly, is very small and despite Kelvin using his rolled-up programme to point to various randomly selected scores, the cameraman can't zoom in close enough to focus. The constant prodding of the flip-chart by Kelvin, however, results in the flip-chart and frame falling off the back of their platform, to ironic cheers from the home fans close by. Fortunately, the moment wasn't wasted and did appear on 'It'll be Alright on the Night 1' later that year).

Two points, then, for the home team. So, to clarify, if Long Eaton win by, let's say, 45-33, they know they will get two points, and a very valuable two points it has to be said, as the race for the end-of-season play-offs intensifies right here with us on Sky Sports."

(Kelv looks bemused. Well, more than usual.......)

"Er, um, yeah, Nigel. But it's not called the race for the, er, um, play-offs is it.........

(Turns to camera, with a stern teacher-like look, whilst rapidly rolling his sixth programme of the night into an even tighter tube).

........as all the teams are going straight for the Championship, like it's always been? There isn't a better way of deciding which team are the season's Champions. Yet!

But what about the away team? The Barracudas. What would they get for winning here tonight on away soil, Nige?"

"Well, I'm sure Ivor Brown, the promoter here at Long Eaton and, of course a former Heathens idol of mine.....

(wink to camera from Nige)

......as, in fact, anyone who pulled on the green and white race jacket was, and who was the master of Dudley Wood for many years, won't thank us for talking about a potential Barracudas' win tonight. However, if they did manage to pull it off, well, they would get two big league points."

"Really? What if they won by more than six?"

(Nigel tries to stifle a laugh)

"Still two points! It's the win, not the margin of the win that ultimately counts in the awarding of the league points. They could win by, let's say, ooh, 50-28 and they'd still get......"

(Kelvin is really getting into this now and shows it by confidently moving his rolled up programme from left hand to right and back again before looking directly into the camera, eyes at their piercing best)

".........two Sky Sports league points. Ha, ha! I get it now!"

(The camera focus draws back from the guffawing Kelvin and we catch sight of Nigel handing out autographed colour photos of himself to the Long Eaton fans around the platform who've been giving him an undeserved hard time)

".......and, yes, the very same to you mate! With nobs on!

(The consummate pro, Nigel quickly regains composure)

So, Kelv, how do you see this battle between two teams who are both clearly ambitious and who are looking to build on their exciting early season form, developing?"

"For sure, I knew you were going to ask me that, but I'm still going throw in a few er, um, wells, as it gives me a bit more thinking time.

(Smiles to camera, rolls this, his seventh programme of the night even tighter and puts it in his bulging back pocket).

Yeah, well, er um, I like the look of Long Eaton, the Rangers. They are the home side tonight, as they are every time they ride here. It's a side with a lot of potential and, of course, as they ride here every Thursday, that should help them to score some big points. I drew them in the office pre-season sweep-stake so, and I know I shouldn't be saying this, but I want them to do well as I could win £4.50 if they finish the season at the top of the table.

(Pulls one of seven programmes from his back pocket and tries to take a glance at the teams on the centre-pages whilst struggling to unfurl it.........)

They've got a three-pronged-attack of Bouchard, Mills and, of course, the Bass Brothers......

(Checks unfurled programme again and points to those individual names, whilst quietly counting to himself......)

.........yeah, for sure, make that a four-pronged-attack and, of course, with young Molyneux shaping up nicely on the motorbike, it's almost a five-pronged-attack. In fact, you have to ask why, with all that strength from one to seven, Long Eaton have not applied to move up to the top division already?"

"I agree they look strong but I still don't think they would beat my Cradley heroes............!"

"Absolutely. Yeah, er, um but they are terrific riders and I suggest to you that on paper and on their day and if everyone rides to his average and if they don't have any falls, engine failures or other mishaps, oh yes, and the team-manager keeps everyone gee-ed up, for sure they can probably beat anyone. I like the look of young Molyneux too. A hard-charging rider on his motorbike who may just ruffle a few Barracuda feathers tonight."

(We catch sight of Nigel pulling a face to camera that suggests he is grateful to finally get a word in.............)

"Yes, young Molyneux is a great prospect and I think, a possible future World Champion.

(Kelv again nods sagely, showing his appreciation of his colleague's prediction)

And what about those Barracudas? Just to remind you, they annihilated Long Eaton 56-22 in May on their home track, so what does that tell you?"

"For sure, it tells me they are a terrific team with some very quick bikes. They've got talent all the way from 1 to 7 and even beyond that and Cyril Crane has put together a good blend of youth and er, um, some youths who are just a bit older, almost men. If they click, Boston could well be in the mix at the end of the season, with those other super teams, Workington and Eastbourne. I like the look of young Carl Glover. He's another hard-charger who can also ride a motorbike. He should do well tonight as this track suits the younger, taller riders who ride Jawas and have spiky hair."

"Ah, young Glover. Also a possible future World Champion, I think.

(Kelv nods sagely, but with slightly less enthusiasm than when Alan Molyneux was mentioned.......)

So, come on, Kelv, who's heading home with the league points?"

"Absolutely! Very much so. That's a hard one. Er um. It's difficult to call."

(Nigel butts in)

"You say that every week! Only joking, but you do you know!"

"Absolutely, certainly and, ultimately, it could be close either way. They are so evenly balanced, you could toss a coin."

(Nigel smiles and hands him a 10p coin (a fortune back then) in what is a routine they have clearly rehearsed beforehand. Kelvin tosses the coin high in the air, and then - very unfortunately - misses the return trajectory and the coin lands beyond their platform and in the grass. He says a bad word but whatever it was, fortunately it's drowned out by the bikes being warmed up, so, for once, there's no need for one of the team's regular 'professionally sincere apologies'. The boys need help at this moment as it's live TV and there is no way down off the platform, so Nigel has to ask the nearest Long Eaton fan, the same one he exchanged heated words with earlier, whether it's heads or tails?).

"Yow'll nivver belayve it, bur it landed on't bloody edge, yewth," is the very-directly-put response caught by the microphone and heard by the watching hundreds on TV.

"Whoa! Sorry about the 'bad' word which you may have heard from our Mr Local there! Now Kelv, our friend here says it landed on its edge!"

(Kelvin gives an 'amazed' look to camera (not seen by viewers since he, and they, witnessed Barry Briggs score his one and only British League bonus point from 153 rides in a televised Sky meeting back in 1971. It's the 'look' which inspired Jim Henson (watching the meeting at home on TV) to create the character of Beaker in his successful show 'The Muppets' a few years later....... (Google it, you'll see what I mean))

"Well, that must class as another speedway miracle.......

(takes a moment to recall that Briggo ride in his mind)

.....and I'm certainly going to have to say, you know what, I absolutely fancy a draw. For sure, it's simply too close to call."

"Thanks, Kelvin. A draw.........

(Nigel turns to camera, with that look which suggests he knows something the viewers don't - a view still seen all too regularly on televised speedway over the years)

That would of course, mean a..........

(raised voice and double 'thumbs-up' to camera)

..........LAST HEAT DECIDER, whoa, so hold on to your hats folks, this one is going the distance. And so, to clarify, if it is a draw, each team will get, I think........

(Nige looks sideways for inspiration to Kelvin who is putting the finishing touches to his origami 1/20th scale model of the famous winged-wheel World Championship trophy made entirely from his back-pocket stock of the evening's match programme)

.........one league point each to add to their total, as they race - in just a few weeks - to the end of season drama that is the award of the Division Two Championship......

(Kelvin nods four times to camera to emphasise the importance of the League title and does it with his 'extremely serious event happening' face on)

.......but I'll get Chris Louis to confirm just how the points for a draw will be divided, for us during the meeting. Just remember we will be bringing you all the drama as it unfolds here on Sky Sports 625 lines and remember also, it's much easier to follow this great sport of speedway in colour, so treat yourself to a new TV like me............

(smug grin to camera from Nigel, but Kelvin's look (raised eyebrows and that by now famous frown) suggests he hasn't got one yet).

........If you are still having to watch in black and white........

(looks Kelvin's way, with hand over mouth clearly masking a guffaw)

........the away team will have a white helmet colour and another one that is divided up into black/grey quarters on your screen. We know it's not perfect, but bear with us folks. We are working on a few suggestions to put to the Promoters' conference next winter. Mind you, if we were at Belle Vue or Exeter tonight, it would be easier for you to identify the away riders as they would generally be in third and fourth positions and at least half a lap behind.

However, this Long Eaton track is not like that, as it's got a superb shape and a unique surface mix with red shale on the straights and red shale sort of resting on concrete on parts of the corners.

It encourages racing of the highest order and all the boys can have a go. Chris Louis or Charlie Webster will give us his, or her, track rating shortly.

And remember, no matter what the weather, the meeting WILL go ahead and WE WILL get to the end of heat 13 even if we are still here at 4 o'clock tomorrow morning. Coverage of the World Championship boxing can wait, if necessary.

Yes, even if the track resembles the deep end of a swimming pool filled with mud, ALL riders from ALL British League tracks are committed to putting on a show for you, the watching public. Well, when I say all, I mean apart from five who aren't!

(Kelvin tuts and rolls his eyes (presumably at the 'bad five'), but nevertheless hands over an A4 size paper 'tube' (which started the evening as a delicately crafted signed agreement between the SCB, the BSPA, the SRA, the Speedway Star and Sky) which he has been fiddling with sporadically - in between sessions of programme furling and passing his pen from one hand to the other - since the show started.

Nigel gives him 'that look' which suggests Kelv may well be back on 'track walk' duties, (plus possibly having to collect all the dirty electrical cabling in post-meeting) before the team roll up at the next fixture).

This is it folks.

(Nigel resembles former Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain for a brief moment as he waves the sheet of paper, in a seriously dignified manner, to camera).

This is THE agreement between the big four players and of course, our old friends Speedway Star, which says, simply; Fans, don't worry about the weather. If there's a meeting scheduled to be shown on Sky Sports, it'll definitely go ahead. No 'ifs' or 'buts'. We've got great British League sponsors on board this year in the form of the new Wickes Building Supplies Limited and they have already chopped down an area of pine forest the size of Chelmsford somewhere in the Scottish Borders to generate enough sawdust for both the remainder of this season and next!

And what a bonus for the riders! Even those that finish last will be able to collect enough sawdust on the front of their leathers to keep their Mini pick-up or Ford Zodiac gearboxes running smoothly for months. And, of course, it encourages the boys to race for the win as none of them want to be cleaning a four-inch layer of mud and sawdust off their leathers at two o'clock the following morning.

Let's hope that commendable attitude never changes in years to come!"

(Kelvin, who has just about stayed awake during this long-winded explanation, joins in.....)

"I've been thinking, what the riders need..........

(stern look to camera, with some arm waving and gesticulating.....)

.......is a sort of mud-flap fitted to the back wheel to deflect the mud and dirt back onto the track, so the boys at the back don't get filled-in at all. We could call it 'Kelv's Magical Shale and Shit Deflector rider aid thingy. Sorry about the bad word there folks. I know you will understand!"

(Kelv passes his first hand-drawn tentative design to Nige.........)

"Thank you for those not-so-wise words, particularly the one beginning with 'S', Kelv, or should I say, Clive Sinclair, but it'll never catch on. Imagine, expecting riders to pay what exactly....?"

(Kelv has already done the maths (and factored in enough margin to be able to afford a static caravan in Weymouth by the end of the season))

"They'd cost £3."

"What?.........

(looking at the drawing)

.........£3 for a bit of metal tubing with a quarter of a rubber car mat attached? Speedway is expensive enough as it is without you adding more cost with your hair-brained ideas. You'll be suggesting we get rid of track-rakers next!

And, folks, talking of tracks, don't forget to go along to YOUR local track and watch this great sport live. Wherever you live, you won't be more than 15 minutes from a speedway circuit; always assuming you own a 2 litre Ford Capri and drive it at 90mph! Ha, ha!

And this great sport of ours happens EVERY night of the week, so there's no excuse for not watching seven meetings a week which is why it's far better than football!

Only playing on Saturdays; they've got a lot to learn from speedway.

Anyway, back to tonight's action.

So, let's have a look at the teams with Chris and Charlie. Chris is in the Long Eaton pits."

(Chris takes a deep breath, which is captured on camera. He knows he has got to introduce each rider individually together with their associated biographical information and stats before the next rider picture comes up on screen. It literally is a race against time. This problem will still not be resolved in 2014, some 41 years later...........!)

"Thanks, Nigel.

(Photo of Geoff Bouchard appears on screen)

Well, Riding at No. 1 is Geoff Bouchard. He is the captain of the Rangers and is fast round here and he is.....

(photo flips to show......)

Riding at 2 is Alan Witt. Also fast at Station Road. A former rider with........

(the photos keep coming.....)

at No. 3 is Roger Mills. A 'spec'-tacular rider - as he wears glasses. Kelvin told me that one! Roger is an England International and should........

oooh, riding at No. 4 is Steve Bass. He's a fast 'gater' and an Aussie who, surprisingly, doesn't come from the yet-to-be discovered speedway hot-bed of Kurri-Kurri. Has a brother who also rides for.............

and riding at No. 5 is Phil Bass - he joined from Scunthorpe. He also has a brother who rides whose name is...............

No. 6 is Alan Molyneux - a new, young, local find who came through the training schools and is tipped for the top by...............

and, finally, riding at No. 7 is Ian Teale - another young man and reserve, who lives locally, quite close to Long Eaton.

And that's the Rangers' line-up tonight.

(Chris is bright red, (but still smiling) and as he finishes the 'ordeal', he gulps in a much needed deep breath which is seen by the viewers).

Now over to Charlie who's going to go through the Boston line-up."

"Thanks, Chris. And, yes, I am going to go through them in riding order, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more! Ha!

Well, here I am in the Barracudas' side of the pits. Incidentally, their nickname was inspired by Promoter Cyril Crane's car, which I think is either an Opel Manta or a Ford Mustang but I could be......

(A photo of Arthur Price pops up on screen)

.......whoa!!!!! Riding at No. 1 is Arthur Price. He's averaging over 8 and is nicknamed........

(Photos keep rolling......)

at 2 is Ray Bales. A youngster with a famous speedway dad who has the same surname and who....

at 3 is Carl Glover. An International and very tall who has ridden here before. He says he wishes..........

and riding at 4 it's Russell Osborne. The only rider here tonight with a beard, apart from Alan Witt, that is. He's averaging over........

and at 5 it's Jim Ryman. Big scoring Australian who has been linked with a move to..........

riding at 6 is David Gagen. A local find with big potential who has scored points everywhere apart from.............

and, finally at 7 is Les Glover. He's the younger brother of Carl Glover and his promoter says that he finds it difficult to tell them apart, which is why Les is no. 7."

(We go instantly to an advert break while Charlie gets her breath back.)

 

Continue to Part Two.

 

This article was first published on 2nd November 2014


 

  • Roger Mills:

    "Very good I could tell you the finish but that would spoil the fun!Plenty of sparks in this meeting."

  • Steve Metcalf:

    "Brilliant stuff, had me in stitches! More please. Seeing all the old names again brought back many wonderful memories, not just of Long Eaton, but the sport in general."

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