An interview with....Julian Parr
How did you first get involved with Speedway?
I first got involved at the age of 11 when my step father Mick took me to Halifax on a Saturday night. I went every Saturday night for years, even when I was riding.
You seemed to make good, steady progress through your first couple of years in the Stags team. How difficult did you find it to make an impact in the sport?
When I started riding, I think it was easier to get noticed because there were proper second halves with junior races along with the pro's. I was noticed fairly soon by the Scunthorpe promotion, it was the closest track that had a regular training night to my Huddersfield home, and when they offered me a contract I signed for them in 1981. I then progressed to being number one in 1984.
The best form in your career was in the first half of 1984. You then picked up an injury and missed the rest of the season. What was the injury and how do you feel it affected your career?
I was enjoying the season until I broke my ankle badly at Sheffield whilst being on loan. Big blow to 'Scunny' losing their number one. I spent 3 weeks in hospital in Sheffield. After leaving I went up to see Carlo Biagi in Scotland. He sorted me out although I didn't ride again that season. It affected my career quite badly. We had a bad winter and so not much practice available, so when the new season started I hadn't ridden since the crash. My good form was gone, and after a few weeks Scunny closed down.
Your team mates at 'Scunny' included characters like Rob Woffinden and Nigel Crabtree. You must have happy memories of those times?
My years at Scunny were great, we had great team spirit and were all good mates. 'Wuffy', what a man, he lives in Perth now but comes over every two years. Last time he was here we went to the Czech GP in Prague. We drove there in my car, 'Wuffy', Darren Boocock and two others.
When Scunthorpe closed down you moved onto Birmingham but you moved on again before the season was out, why didn't you settle at Birmingham?
I did go to 'Brum', but the track didn't suit me and after a run of poor results I decided to quit. After about 3 weeks 'Wuffy' called me and asked if I wanted to ride at Rye House because Len Silver was looking to strengthen the team. I went down there. It was a track I really liked and was looking forward to riding there all the time.
You spent three seasons with Rye House, what do you recall of those times?
I spent 3 seasons there, they were good times to, apart from many hours on motorways.I was the northern monkey in a team of Southerners, but we always had a laugh. I used to stay down there sometimes, going out with people like Paul Woods and Kevin Brice then get to the stadium early and go in the cafe with Ronnie Russell. I have seen Ronnie a few times when Arena are at Sheffield as I go most Thursdays.
I seem to recall you made a brief comeback in the mid-nineties. Tell us about that.
This was a bad idea really. I still had some bikes and equipment and fancied a go in the new conference league. It was short lived though. I didn't get going and stopped after a couple of months.
What are you up to these days?
In 1994 I rode in a rally raid over the Sahara coming 5th out of 36 bikes and one winter I went to Sweden and rode an ice bike on a frozen lake with Shane Hearty and Graham Halsall. I go to Assen every March to see the ice GP. If you've never been it's a must for all speedway fans. My profession now is in the building trade, working as a plasterer, dirty dusty job, a bit like my old job!
Julian would love to hear from friends and colleagues from his riding days. He can be contacted at julian.parr @ ntlworld.com
This article was first published on 26th March 2005
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