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Ex-Heathens hero Colin Pratt dies aged 82

Tributes have been paid to former Cradley Heathens rider, manager and promoter Colin Pratt who has died aged 82.

Greg Hancock and Colin Pratt
Greg Hancock and Colin Pratt

A true speedway legend, Pratt first joined Cradley as a rider in 1970 following a hugely successful spell with Hackney Hawks.

Sadly he rode just 20 times for the club after being involved in the Lokeren disaster that saw five people killed in a van crash on the way back from a meeting in Amsterdam.

Pratt endured a lengthy stay in hospital with a broken neck and was never able to ride again.

He returned to the sport as co-promoter of Rye House before then becoming team manager at Kings Lynn.

Following that spell, he succeed Peter Adams as Cradley promoter in 1984.

His first job was to dismantle the successful 1983 title winning team.

But he then went on to enjoy 12 seasons in the role at Dudley Wood, capturing many cup victories and developing a host of young riders.

Earlier this year, Pratt became the first inductee in the British Speedway Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements in the sport. During his riding career he raced in the 1967 World Final at Wembley and two World Team Cups.

He was also joint manager of England when they won the World Team Cup in 1989.

Cradley Heathens fans took to social media following the news Pratt had died following a battle with illness.

Simon Priest wrote: “Such sad news. Colin was Cradley Speedway from 1984.

“A true legend and someone that I hold in the highest regard. Thank you Colin RIP, condolences to the family.”

Michael Hack said: “A real giant of speedway, RIP Colin.”

John Hingley added: “Thanks for loads of great memories Colin. Rest in peace x.”

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