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The Speedway Bike
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45 Years a Racer
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Ronnie's Newcastle Nightmare
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Steve Langton Strikes Gold
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Irish Eyes Were Smiling
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Speedway in Germany 1933
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A Matter of Opinion....Frank Thomas....05/06/2002

Frank has been a Coventry Bees fan for longer than he cares to remember.


The Bees faced a straight choice between Hamill and Hancock - was the right decision made?

As much as I like Billy, I'd have to say no. Billy just hasn't got going at all this year. In previous years I was always fairly confident that Billy would win the races that mattered, this year I'm never quite as sure. In truth both Andreas and Lee have probably been more effective this season. Hopefully the old Billy will emerge before the season is much older.


What do you think of the presentation of the sport at Brandon?

I would say that it's generally quite good. Peter York does a good job on the roving mike and they always keep the show moving. However I must say that playing the national anthem before each meeting is a bit archaic and doesn't really fit in with the sport's new sexy image. Some of the second half events, such as quads and sidecars, also hold limited appeal for most fans - bring back the junior league!


Who are your favourite riders of all-time?

Number one would have to be 'little boy blue' - Nigel Boocock. He was brilliant for many years and I don't think he ever gets the credit he deserves. In my view only Peter Craven can challenge him as England's best post war rider. Ole Olsen was also a fantastic rider and started a Danish legacy that lasted for many years. I also had a soft spot for David Bargh. We shared a mutual friend and I got to know him quite well. He was rather harshly treated after he left the Bees.


The British Grand Prix is just around the corner - predict the top four.

I think that Mikael Karlsson has fully got to grips with the GP and I'll take him to win it. Tony Rickardsson will be second with Jason Crump just behind him. I'll stick my neck out on the last one and predict that Andreas Jonsson will be fourth. The lad has got tremendous talent and will relish the big-time atmosphere.


Is the Elite League boring?

The racing certainly isn't but we do need a few more teams to add variety. If the league expands we must ensure that the standards are maintained and that's the difficult aspect of it. When the leagues last amalgamated the overall standard fell dramatically and some of the teams coming to Brandon were awful. I'm all for expansion but we must not drop standards.

 

This article was first published prior to October 2002

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