Dream Team : Andy Millward
As a loyal Aces fan since 1971, this is my top team. I don't remember Ivan
Mauger in Aces colours, and missed many of the greats like Peter Craven, but
this is a pretty good seven. For the most part, I've chosen riders who
were/are great characters and entertainers:
PC had everything except the ability to gate consistently. That he won the
world title only once was a tragedy of circumstances (broken leg in 77,
apparent fuel contamination in 78, and serious injuries in later years
conspired to ruin his chances), but PC was the supreme entertainer and
showman - what speedway is all about.
A great servant to the club and alongside PC as a master of track tactics.
It's a shame that Mort suffered the same gating affliction as PC, and never
really achieved the recognition he deserved. True, he won a number of big
meetings like BLRC and Inter-continental finals, plus a World Pairs title
with PC, but never the big one - often because the track conditions rarely
suited his style. Particularly on the wide sweeping bends of Hyde Road,
Mort pulled off many unbelievable manouvres in winning from the back.
When I first saw Joe as a 15-year old, he looked like a world champion in
the making, though he also suffered from the Aces gating disease. While
he's not quite lived up to his potential, Joe proved that he could win from
the back, even on the tight Kirmanshulme Lane track, and wins friends
everywhere with his style.
Never a superstar, but a great captain, team rider, sportsman and
competitor, Wilkie was the original "hard man" who never bore a grudge and
often led the team to victory against the odds. Once beaten twice by Nigel
Boocock at Hyde Road in one evening, Wilkie took the microphone and paid
tribute to his rival on the air - something I've never heard any rider do
before or since. Broke his neck in a freak accident (1977 or 78, I think),
but has never been bitter about the sport.
Jason matches Mort for loyalty and unswerving dedication to the club. Last
year, he often carried the team single-handed, almost never complained, but
usually turned in brilliant performances, home and away. Every team needs a
man like Jason.
While the Moran brothers were great showmen in their own right, Bobby Ott
was "Showtime." Never gave less than 100%, and always helped team-mates.
In particular, Bobby formed a brilliant partnership with Frede Schott which
allowed the Dane to perform well above his average on many occasions.
As a 16-year old, Andy was occasionally wild but often brilliant, and
another rider capable of almost anything from the back, and a potential
world champion handicapped by lack of gating ability and successive
injuries. Andy now looks a shadow of the rider he was then, despite
achieving GP status - great shame.
Honourable mentions also to Carl Stonehewer, Shawn and Kelly Moran, Les and
Neil Collins, Declan Eccles, Russ Hodgson.
This article was first published prior to October 2002
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