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The Talented Mr. Lindback
by Chris Seaward

Sometimes in life a momentary look can prove more powerful, significant and insightful than a detailed array of spoken or written words. Amongst the contemporary speedway grand prix circus all the telling glances are free wheeling to one identical location. Not even the most impassive of characters can prevent their eyes from capturing the heart warming and breath taking scenes, scrutinizing and admiring. All of this intense excitement because the circus has got a shiny new attraction, a magnetism that is engaging attention in ever corner of the globe, from hustle of the Rio De Janeiro streets to the serine lakes of Sweden.

Far from the grime and peril of a speedway track sits circus head quarters, a swanky contemporary furnished office in North London. An office that has never sown the seeds or significantly nurtured the development of this lucrative and intriguing new attraction but will ultimately reap the money-spinning rewards of its success.

As the sensationally talented Antonio Lindback was calmly reviewing his gate position for the final of the Wroclaw Grand Prix he was unaware that one influential individual was observing his actions more intently and with closer analysis than most. Secluded to the side of the excitement was speedways slightly more stylish and better dressed version of marmite. John Posstlewhite, chief of the grand prix series, an experienced cut thrust businessman who is simply loved or loathed.

However even his fiercest critics cannot deny Posslewaite is an exceptional professional who seldom removes his smooth, charismatic persona. Yet as Antonio hijacked centre stage for ten seconds on that warm Saturday evening all of Posstlewaite's renowned charisma was rapidly removed from his extensive armoury, it temporarily eluded him and visibly vanished deep into the darkness of Wroclaw city.

The young, but amazingly mature Brazilian Swede briefly stood still, contemplated the remaining gate four position and determinedly brandished his allocated slot to the camera. Then with exceptional composure turned energetically and swiftly marched to his number 15 pit booth, seemingly unaware the entire speedway world was surveying with intense admiration.

Still the engrossed Posstlewaite watched in a gormless uncharacteristic trance. Like a dumbfounded child meeting their hero his smile was abnormally mammoth, its sheer size pushed his cheeks higher which further revealed a pair of dilating pupils in the midst of bulging eyeballs. He jerked his body violently in an attempt to maintain focus on Lindback as he hastily began preparing for the final. The youngster scurried out of view and Posslewhites business persona magically emerged from its temporary seclusion by leaping out of the Wroclaw darkness. The Grand Prix chief serenely made his way elsewhere. Normal service was resumed.

It was the clarity of admiration sketched on that tanned face that made this short period so special. Never have I witnessed John Posstlewaite demonstrate such blatantly vivid admiration and respect towards a speedway rider. Benfield sports are primarily interested in making money and utilizing the speedway grand prix to further their profits. So it was refreshing to watch a pure motorcycling genius rock the core of Posstlewaite and subsequently for him to vividly display admiration towards Lindback, an individual whose on track flair and charisma contribute significantly to the wages of BSI employees.

The problem is hindsight induces scepticism and on reflection I may have been terribly naive, horribly deceived. Was the unusual contorted face I caught sight of really a look of intense admiration? Or instead was it Posstlewaites unconscious business mind working on overdrive, was this Freudian? Was 'Mr Marmite' so intensely engrossed because what he saw standing before him was raw and potent potential to create more revenue?

Speedway Plus readers I have presented the case, now calculate your verdict.


  • Geoff Langley:

    "Let's not get carried away with the implied cynicism of John Postlethwaite's motives or premature praise of Lindback's undoubted talent. Any professional sport needs promoters who in turn need to show a profit . The more profit they make the more valuable the riders become as assets, ensuring safety stays high on the agenda. John Postlethwaite today is basically no different to Johnny Hoskins 80 years ago. Without Hoskins there would be no Speedway. Without Postlethwaite, and one or two like him, there would be no Speedway as we know it today. We would still be stuck in the shambles the sport was in during the mid 1970's to about the late 1980's.

    As for Lindback he is, at the moment, just another very good rider. I can think of a dozen 19-year olds as good as Lindback over the last 45 years who never fulfilled their potential. On the other hand, some riders take longer to mature but reach greater heights when they do. Let's keep in mind that when Ivan Mauger was Lindback's age he had hardly mastered the art of staying on the bike, and it was not until he was in his mid-twenties that he could be called a genuine world class rider.

    For Chris Seaward to refer to use the word 'genius' to describe Lindback is to grotesquely distort a word that should be reserved for only the absolute cream. In my book a Speedway genius is a rider who comes up against the impossible then just kicks the door down and says 'this is how you do it'.

    Let's reserve our judgement on Lindback for a few years and give him a chance to mature in what is probably Speedway's toughest and most exciting era for more than thirty years. In the meantime, I would personally would limit the use of the term 'genius' to Ove Fundin, Barry Biggs and Tony Rickardson, but to pick the best of those three would depend on gate positions! So, Speedway fans who is your Speedway genius?"

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