Dream Team : Graham Morris
Graham is a Swindon fan currently living in Sheffield.
In the first ever race I saw at Swindon Speedway, Martin Ashby beat Ole Olsen and broke the track record. Quite an achievement, I later discovered. He was my early speedway hero, often carrying an otherwise useless team with many superb one-man-team efforts.
Villain turned hero ! Initially he used to infuriate me by coming to Swindon and beating the Robins out of sight as a Newport rider. When he joined Swindon, however, I quickly came to realise that he was, in fact, God. Carried Swindon for many years in a similar way to Martin Ashby - although he was an even better rider than Ashby, and the rest of the team were probably even worse than before! Swindon 29 Cradley 49 - Phil Crump 15 point maximum. Ah yes, I remember it well.
The most fun I ever had watching speedway was when Shawn McConnell joined Swindon. He was always entertaining and generally good for a second or third place. Also, the only rider I ever saw do a celebration wheelie on the final straight and get overtaken in the process !
The best team rider in the history of the world. Although he was a bit inconsistent, when on top form he was sensational. I've never seen someone slow a race to get his partner through as often and as competently as he did. Even today, whenever I see a lack of team riding from the rider in front, I think....now, if that had been Andrew Silver. Looked cool on and off a bike too. Very important.
A bit of a grudging inclusion, due to the fact he rode for Reading, but Per was a phenomenon and his injury was a tragedy for the sport as well as himself. Racers fans used to actually cheer if he missed the gate, safe in the knowledge he was going to storm past whoever was in the lead on the final bend.
J.C. - son of God. Probably even better than his father. Showed his promise as a youngster at Swindon when he broke the Barry Briggs (he was before my time) team record for consecutive maximums. World champ within the next 2 years.
I drifted away from speedway for a bit towards the end of the 90s. My work recently found me in Sheffield quite often on a Thursday night, so I thought I'd pay a visit to Owlerton. This man was responsible for rekindling my interest in the sport. Looks every inch a future top rider. The way he sits on a bike, coupled with his spectacular overtaking, remind me very much of Per Jonsson.
That's my dream team, with an honorable mention for Bob 'oops, there go the tapes again' Kilby. If ever we need rider replacement, we'll use him as a number 8. (Do they still do that?)
This article was first published prior to October 2002
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