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Soundbites: Best of 2004


"Right now, Mr Andersen is right up there in my estimation with the man who stole my testimonial money at Poole Speedway 20 years ago!"
Neil Middleditch on Hans Andersen's antics at the World Cup

"The referee's decision was just unbelievable. I'm convinced that had the match been on television it would have gone ahead but the referee was not even prepared to see how it went for a couple of races. It's a financial disaster for the club and has cost us more than £3,000 in stadium rental, travel expenses for the riders, some of whom flew in from abroad, printing programmes, paying medical staff and so on. As far as I am concerned David Peet will never referee another meeting at Belle Vue while I am the promoter and the only way he will be welcome back here is if he pays his £13 admission at the turnstiles to watch as a spectator."
John Perrin on Dave Peet. In 2005 Peet will be a promoter and Perrin won't

I didn't fancy another trip to the Isle of Wight at this time of the year. Who wants to get seasick going to a speedway meeting? Besides, the track's rougher than a bear's backside."
Eric Boocock explains why he opted to face Workington in the Young Shield semi-finals

"We have nothing to prove to people. We should be booed when we don't ride well, but we should be loved when we win. That is the nature of speedway. You have your ups and downs."
Poole skipper Zorro

"The lad has proved everybody wrong. He is just so determined. Eight weeks ago he was in intensive care, now he is about to go back on the track."
Graham Drury on James Brundle

"I really am sick to death of the Thursday night weather this year. It's so frustrating because until about 6pm we were on - and then the rain returned with a vengeance."
Alun Rossiter

"We'll stick by Rory because it's such a stupid, unfair rule. I can't see why it was brought in. What difference does it make?"
John Perrin on Rory Schlein missing out on the World Under 21 championships

"People assume that because of my dad and uncles I've been on a motor bike since I was out of nappies and doing speedway for years. In my case that didn't happen. I went to meetings to watch dad ride but to be honest I hated speedway and I wasn't interested."
Aidan Collins

"Staechmann even visited the referee's box to suggest the fog was so bad he couldn't see the first bend from the start. When the referee visited the pits to discuss the matter he could see Inverness from there, so it must be old age catching up with Jan's eyesight. "
Edinburgh promoter John Campbell

"No-one was really tipping us to do particularly well, but I knew from the beginning of the season that the title was on the cards from the word go. It's been good all year, the title has not been won overnight, it's been won from the outset."
Hull's Garry Stead

"From the day he walked into the pits at Wimborne Road last year and scored a 21-point paid maximum on his debut against Exeter we all stood open-mouthed and knew that this kid was a bit special. What is impressive about him is his natural ability, whether it's skiing, skateboarding or riding a bike he has that exceptional balance that seems to set him aside from the others."
Neil Middleditch on Antonio Lindback

"If you buy trousers that do not fit, you change them."
Colin Pratt's take on prospective team changes

"Actually, I'm quite amiable, although some reckon I'm a real bastard, but I'm not bothered what people think. When I'm out trials biking, I'm the life and soul of the party. But when I'm running the job, I'm from an old-fashioned background. If a job's worth doing it's worth doing well or not at all. I don't suffer fools gladly."
Title winning boss Eric Boocock

"We had three choices last September, shutting down, dropping down to the Premier League or taking a huge gamble and staying in the top flight. It was a close thing and we knew we dare not get it wrong after failing our public in 2003."
Magda Louis of Ipswich

"The people who at the beginning of the season didn't turn up because they thought we had a rubbish side missed some good speedway."
Buster Chapman of King's Lynn

"If Theo continues with his shocking away performances and he maintains an average home performance, there is no possibility he will be in the team next year. I've already spoken to him about his away scores and it produced almost no improvement. Enough is enough."
John Campbell on Theo Pijper

"I don't know why he suggested he would score points round Sheffield. Anyone who has followed him would know he is a guaranteed non-scorer there. You have got to build yourself up mentally to do well. While publicly Gary gave the impression he would achieve something, privately he knew he had no chance of scoring. And now with each match that passes he has no chance of picking up any points. His confidence is at rock bottom."
John Campbell on Gary Phelps

"There are so few speedway riders over the years that have an aura about them, but Tony has a presence. I look across the pits and see him preparing and I observe the rest of the Poole team sensing they have a very special rider alongside them. Visiting riders are immediately aware that they are in opposition to a giant."
Neil Middleditch on Tony Rickardsson

"Hull Vikings have been something of a surprise package, leading the way in the opening months of the season, but I still think their wheels might come off. For a team who haven't got an obvious number one they have done remarkably well to open up such an advantage in the early stages. I just have a feeling that they won't stay the course."
Carl Stonehewer - Ultimately proved wrong!

"We did ask the school time and time again to give Matt time off for his speedway, without a lot of success. The staff did allow him to take Fridays off to ride in the under-15s competition, but there were so many different speedway meetings he needed to attend. We have a van which we travel in everywhere with a desk in the back so he can still do his work when we're on the road."
Jill Bates - who has taken her 14 year old son Matthew out of school so he can progress his riding career

"We were aware he had an erratic lifestyle. He was at his best if he'd had a drink the night before. I say that tongue in cheek. He is also rarely seen without a cigarette - he is not a role model for youngsters. However, when it comes to delivering the goods on the track no one is better. If he saw something he could make better, he didn't hang around, he'd do it."
Alex Harkess pays tribute to testimonial man Frede Schott

"I don't like it at all. Always it is badly prepared, at least all the times I have been there."
Magnus Karlsson on Newport

"I turned 21 last Tuesday, and they say when you turn 21 you become a man, but I'm still a kid at heart and I'm still going to go out and enjoy my racing."
Jamie Smith


This article was first published on 23rd December 2004

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