Former World Champion Gary Havelock recently announced his retirement from racing, following an accident last season which caused serious nerve damage to his arm. The Teesside legend who started out as a junior at Middlesbrough and ended his career with Redcar has also become the team manager of the Coventry Bee's in the Sky Sports Elite League.
Without doubt Havelock's greatest achievement in the sport was lifting the World title at Wroclaw, Poland in 1992. Battling through injury and atrocious track conditions, the plucky Brit secured an unlikely win in the World Final to give a much needed boost to British speedway at the time.
Havelock brought some much needed colour and attitude to the sport. With his trademark dreadlocks and day-glow leathers (complete with smiley acid knee pads) he stood out on and off the track. The fact that he wound up some of the establishment in the process was a bonus. He was featured in the August 1993 edition of GQ, alongside Hollywood superstar of the day, Sharon Stone and a certain ambitious young politician by the name of Blair... Makes you feel old doesn't it...
If there was one thing that always stood out with Havelock, it was his obvious pride to represent his country in competition. With Britain seemingly slipping further behind the major speedway nations in terms of Grand Prix and World Cup success, it would be nice to think that he could play a major part in inspiring a new generation of British racers who would aim to emulate his success at the highest level.
Posted by KTL at 18:28
Although the world of motorcycle speedway is a million miles away from Indycar and Nascar, beyond the obvious connection of going fast and turning left, racing is racing and staff at Penske UK applied some of their analysis and manufacturing expertise to a speedway chassis. The new frames helped Rickardsson to win his sixth world title in 2005, which included a stunning win at the British GP at Cardiff.
The final of this meeting is memorable for Rickardsson's audacious "wall of death" second corner sweep around his competitors, where he rode off the air-fence, finding extra drive to surge clear of the field. It could so easily have ended in disaster, but his skill and bravery, combined with a bit of luck won the day. Whether the Penske frames made any difference, we will never know, but they certainly helped give him the confidence to attempt the move.
Posted by KTL at 01:15