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Ode to Brough Park
By Nigel McMurray


Veil Newcastle Speedway?

Ode to Brough Park.

Ivan the greatest
Kenni the fastest.
Matthew the wiliest.
Mark the smoothest.
David the quietist.
Mike the gangliest.
Wee Georgie the stylist.
Alec Grant the wildest.
Kenny the saddest.
"Pommy" World Finalist.
The Owens unbeatable.
Champions so often
at Brough.

Ivan remembered to this day in our dreams.
Lost by pettiness with a promoter it seems.
"That's a long time ago" the cynics say and smile but in vain.
If you lived in the Toon in the sixties, you still know his name.

Smiling Scouser Brian of the crouching style.
Rene who reeled them in with ease and guile.
Great Dane Jesper who knew not the meaning of second.
Slim Rod of lightning starts as the first bend beckoned.
Committed Ludvig would kick the pits around
if he missed his line and let the team down!
Pepe, Czech of infinite worth
for us the great friend of the north.
Heroes of Brough.

Back in the day top reserve was good old "Winko" Jack.
Ages ago he had his fans on the first bend pack
of which I was one
at Brough.

We've had goldfinches, blackadders, knapkins, hunters, lemons, kings and dents
of which most were loyal one track men, but some just took experience and went
from Brough

Diamonds, Magpies, Specials, Sapphires and Gems.
All racing to that first tight bend
at Brough.

We remember them all whom we made great from new -
Ivan, Ole, Nicki, Bjarne, the Worralls and "Ruthless" to name but a few.
Though some forgot us
at Brough.

All the greats raced there but some were found wanting.
Long straights and tight bends took some careful thinking.
A full throttle was never enough
at Brough.

Sixty years I've followed them on
by motorcycling from early dawn
from wherever I've lived though mainly in London town.
To the home of the Dons, Rockets and Highwaymen,
Pirates, Monarchs, Teesiders, Hawks you name them.
On two wheels I'd cross dales, London, fens and Sussex Downs
places a Geordie would never expect to frequent
but the men of Brough demanded I went.

My motorcycle rides through night and rain
sometimes to victory sometimes in vain.
Say my first visit to Swindon so long ago
through Avebury's Stone Circle I'd go.
To where were strange accents and big skies
but do they now face their own housing lies?
At "the Abbey".

Silence now on race night by the Fossway.
No roar of bikes or lure of the speedway.
I still listen to my EP of Jet and Tony beating out their "Diamonds" hit
which always preceded the tension, the tapes and men in black and white kit.
No Barry Wallace dulcet tones as we settled into the groove
of the perceptive crowd that analysed every single move
at Brough

From The Firs to Brough the gamblers and housebuilders sought their prey.
For them it is just land where money is made, and heroes are but gainsay.
Sparks of faint hopes still linger for another heyday at Brough.
But is that enough?

On a Monday in the mists of the pits can be seen outlines in dim light
of Byers, Lloyd, Evans, Close, Hodgson, LeBreton and Jay drifting through the night.
Their heads lowered Pepper says in sadness;
"Where are they and what is this madness?"
Ghosts of Brough.

So many memories of riders of renown
sliding the shale of my home town.
Strutting their stuff


Nigel McMurray. 08/22.


This article was first published on 4th September 2022

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