Nightmare Team : Steve Harland
Steve nominates his Middlesbrough Nightmare team.
Poor Mick lasted a handful of matches at the beginning of the
1978 season. An Aussie with connections at Leicester through promoter Ron
Wilson. He could gate but couldn't handle the tight bands at Cleveland Park
and by the time the riders had exited the second bend he was stone last. He
left Teesside and moved to Weymouth where he was equally unsuccessful.
In 1976 promoter Ron Wilson announced Teesside had signed a
World Champion. His name was Mike Beaumont. He came from Thirsk, North
Yorkshire and was a haulage contractor by day and a grasstrack champion on his
bike. Shame was that Mike spent a season and a half trying to fathom out how
to ride Cleveland Park. Being used to the wide open spaces of the grasstrack
was entirely different to riding a track where you had to think twice before
negotiating the bends. His one claim to fame came against Edinburgh Monarchs
in 1977 when the notorious Jack Millen elbowed him off his bike exiting the
fourth bend at Cleveland Park as Millen came round again Beaumont ran over and
punched him. The two riders had to be seperated and the commotion continued
in the pits as several hundred Teesside supporters went to sort Millen out! In
1977 he soon lost his place at reserve and moved on to Scunthorpe's wide open
spaces of Quibell Park. He was no good there either!!
In 1970 promoter Ron Wilson announced a major signing. His
name was Brian Whaley. The son of ex-Glasgow promoter Les Whaley he had
ridden to a five ride 15-point maximum for Berwick Bandits against
Middlesbrough in the first meeting of the new era in 1968. Whaley had left
Berwick to work on the US Apollo. Teesside fans wished he had stayed there.
His comeback was dismal barely scoring a point in the few meetings he rode in
and he was allowed to leave and join neighbours Sunderland in 1971 where he
maintained a four point average in a mediocre side.
Kev had ridden for mainly southern teams when he was signed as
a stop gap signing in a season (I think it was 1991) when rider after rider
was getting injured. His signing was seen as a coup as Steve Wilcock had
remembered him from his one season at Rye House, a useful second string.
Unfortunately for Kev the team at the time could not afford to carry any
passengers and after two maybe three last places on his debut he was replaced
never to be seen again.
Desperate times call for desperate situations. The leagues
had amalgamated in 1995 and Middlesbrough were woefully weak. Ipswich's Shane
Parker the only signing of any note until former Glasgow rider Robert Nagy was
signed. To make up the averages a Slovenian Champion called Martin Peterca
was signed on an assessed average in which he had no hope in attaining. The
fans were told he had good equipment and was well turned out, which was a
shame really because he couldn't race a speedway bike. Even when he got in
front of an opposing rider he would shut off well before entering the bends
and it wasn't long before he was getting tailed off at the back. Nothing has
been heard of him since.
How Edinburgh supporters must have laughed when they heard
we had signed this Danish rider. Not that Lars couldn't ride a bike but if he
didn't make the gate and was last he would tootle round way behind showing no
interest in challenging for third place. A total enigma.
Great on the grasstracks but 'Tebbsy' was a big lad and
speedway didn't come easy to him, though he talked a good game! He didn't
have a bad 1985 season at reserve but then Brian Havelock was team manager and
you took notice of what he said. 'Tebbsy' lost his place at Middlesbrough and
joined neighbours Newcastle in 1987 but didn't find speedway any easier.
This article was first published prior to October 2002
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