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.