A look at 80 years of speedway stars

Monmore Green celebrates 80 years of speedway with a very special meeting tonight with some big names of days past, explains Dave Goddard.

speedway-2406.jpegMonmore Green celebrates 80 years of speedway with a very special meeting tonight with some big names of days past, explains Dave Goddard.

Here is a look at just some of the stars of Monmore Green's past who will be in attendance.

Eric Irons: The oldest surviving rider to have competed for Wolves, Eric, now 90, was signed from Oxford way back in 1952 when the team were still known as the Wasps.

He played a big part in the side's first ever away win at Southampton, scoring paid eleven, continuing to show flashes of brilliance throughout this and the next season.

Cyril Francis: Welshman Cyril joined the Wolves as a junior in 1961, the year the club re-opened for Provincial league action.

He impressed during his debut season, and was a mainstay of the Wolves side throughout the mid-Sixties, including the title-winning side of 1963.

Derek Timms: One of only two riders to have appeared for both the Wasps and the Wolves at Monmore, Birmingham-born Timms was signed in 195.

His form was one of the few bright spots of a poor debut season. He was retained for 1952 but his form stagnated slightly.and the following season,

When the Wasps and Cradley unthinkably merged, he was transfer-listed. Surprisingly, he rode again for the club – now known as the Wolves – as late as 1968.

Rick France: Rick's signing on loan from Coventry by promoter Bill Bridgett in 1963 caused huge controversy for the club.

Such a move had been forbidden by the Rider Control committee. Two months later the Promoters' Association expelled Wolves from the Provincial League, with the move suspended until the end of the season.

Terry Betts: One of King's Lynn's finest riders down the years, Betts was signed by Wolves as a 17-year old on loan from Norwich in 1961. The teenager averaged seven points a match in his first full season, and certainly had bags of potential.

Terry Stone: Another star of the early Sixties, Terry made his debut for the Wolves at Plymouth in 1961 as a junior. His first season was interrupted by shoulder injuries, and in 1962 he struggled to find a first-team place in the side. His last Wolves appearance came in 1964.

James Bond: "007" was one of the side's main players throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, the Sutton Coldfield-born rider first appearing for the club in the Provincial League-winning 1963 side, two years after starting out as a junior.

Norman Hunter: Fate sadly ensured that this talented rider, who joined Wolves from West Ham in 1969, never realised his potential. He displayed some sensational formin his debut season at Monmore, but disaster struck at Prestatyn.

A crash left Norman with a broken leg and serious hand injuries and he had to retire.

Finn Thomsen: A protégé of the legendary Ole Olsen, Finn was European Junior Champion in 1973 and was signed by Wolves the following year after some good training school performances in the UK.

Dave Morton: Dave began his career at Crewe in the early 70s, and was yet another rider whose Wolves career was bedevilled by injuries. The brother of Belle Vue and England legend Chris, Dave left the club to join Sheffield in 1981, and later raced in the National League.

Rob Hollingworth: Many speedway fans remember Rob for his years at National League side Boston, but he was a popular figure at Monmore in the late 1970s. Rob was signed for a club record £4,000 in 1977 and "doubled up" with the Barracudas for a couple of seasons.

Peter Ravn: A wild and often unpredictable rider, no one could argue that Peter was anything less than spectacular. He was loaned to the club by Belle Vue in 1984 and spent three years with Wolves, but sadly seemed to spend as much time on crutches as he did on his bike.

Preben Eriksen: Preben made his Wolves debut as a youngster in 1977, although he was banned from racing by the Danish Motor Union for riding in the fixture against Belle Vue. He did not reappear at Monmore until 1984, when Peter Adams signed him from Ipswich on the club's re-opening.

Stewart McDonald: A member of the famous double-winning side of 1996, Stewart was a former Edinburgh and Glasgow man who would play an integral part in Wolves' finest season – despite believing that the club's initial approach to sign him was a wind-up!

Ole Olsen: One of Wolves' greatest ever riders, and one of the finest in the whole history of speedway. Ole arrived in the Midlands from Newcastle in 1970 when maverick promoter Mike Parker allocated him to Monmore, and scored a 15-point maximum on his debut against Cradley Heath.

The first half of the 1970s were justifiably known as "The Olsen Era" at the club, as Ole swept all before him both home and away. In 1971 he became the first Wolf to win the World Championship with a 15-point maximum in Gothenburg.

He won a second World crown at Wembley in 1975, before moving to Coventry the following year.

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