Calling All The Hero's.....
Our abstract pic above features Bradford Northerns 1970-72 free scoring New Zealander Alf Wells at the starting gate with fellow Kiwi John Goodall at Sunderlands East Bolden Raceway
1. Kenny Carter: Bradford Dukes- ( 1986 ) - " I am the 1 and only -nobody I'd rather be-I am the 1 and only- you can't take that away from me"....C Hawkes.
The "Irrepressible Irreplaceable" KC: Pics: Left -Englands No1 salutes the crowd. Above- turn one Carter versus Penhall " Box Office Speedway " England v USA Test Match @ Hyde Road Manchester 1982
...... A TIBS EXCLUSIVE !!! "THE KENNY CARTER STORY by Ray Allen as originally featured in the Bradford Speedway Matchday Magazine 1993.
2. Gary Peterson: Bradford Northern- (1970)
70's Odsal star New Zealander Gary takes a breather in the pits 1974: In action for New Zealand Gary Peterson-in dare devil action
Gary with Wolves - 1973 GRP: "phenominal scorer at Odsal" Gary: an early action shot riding for Wolves
Our picture above far right is a "rare shot" of Garys early days at Wolverhampton. My guess is that it was taken in 1971. When I saw this I had to do a double take ? because it seems somehow "untypical" of Garys riding style see the pic to the left taken in 1970. I might have argued against the shot being of Gary however it featured in Ivan Maugers Speedway Book ( Peter Oakes ) 1972 where the Ivan included Gary in a section on "Thrill Makers" he says " GARY PETERSON"......a devil-may-care young man in his Second Division days but now destined for greater things at Wolverhampton. A blossoming career has been jeopardised by that nasty spill at Crewe ( and personal tradgedy ) and even Gary had his doubts about shaking off the injury bug which seemed to haunt him. But even the greatest of Swedes Ove Fundin so I am told was'nt exactly the steadiest thing on two wheels when he began a career which was to become a legend. Ove persevered and thankfully so has Gary. He's quick and willing to learn and yet our young Kiwi fireball still retains that verve which makes him special to watch "...Ivan Mauger
Gary spent just half a season as a Bradford rider in 1970, when racing resumed at Odsal after a 10 year absence. Yet he left an indelible impression on all those fortunate enough to have witnessed his racing exploits.
No rider captured the imagination of an eager Bradford public,more than this slightly built Kiwi Gladiator.He was for many-my self included-their first true Shale Hero, and those of us still hooked on this great sport today are testimony to the magnetism of Gary Richard Peterson. He was one of the first discoveries of British League Division Two racing and was widely predicted to be a future World Champion. He arrived at Bradford as part of the deal that saw Mike Parker Promotions outfit the Nelson Admirals transfer over the Pennines from the Lancs town,in June 1970. Garys scoring record at Bradford was simply phenominal in his short stay with the club, and would only be seriousley challenged in the 80's & 90's by new Odsal hero's...another Gary-Haveock and Joe Screen.
When Gary left Odsal for Division One Wolverhampton in 1971,there were many heavy hearts,but he had found his rightful place amongst the elite racers of his time. Sadly his potential would never be realised as injury and domestic difficulties in his native New Zealand dogged his career. Tragically Gary would pay with the the greatest price speedway can ask....his life
He was killed racing for Wolverhampton in the 1975 Midland Cup Final..only weeks earlier he had returned to Odsal for the first time.to race in a series of Match Races against the Bradford Barons top three. His 2-1 victory was a reminder and poignant goodbye from a genuinely nice guy. That day also lives long in my memory: I caught sight of him taking the long walk up the hill at the back of the old Grandstand to the clubhouse. I was'nt hanging about and raced from my-then 3rd bend standing position up the embankment to meet him and grab his autograph on my programme. Gary did not disappoint,it meant alot to this 14 year old and I count myself privilaged to be able to say at least I met my Hero.
There is no doubt that Gary Peterson lines up with the finest of our Odsal Hero's and if theres a Speedway in the Sky then Gary's Gonna Glitter !
This tribute to Gary originally featured in the Bradford Speedway Match Magazine on the 24th June 1995 Celebrating 50 Years of Speedway Racing in Bradford.
****TIBS EXCLUSIVE**** : WE HOPE TO BE ABLE TO PASS ON THE TRIBUTE BY RAY ALLEN TO GARY TO HIS SURVIVING FAMILY AND INDEED AT THE TIME OF POSTING TIBS HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL THROUGH A CHANCE CONNECTION ON THE BRADFORD CITY AFC WEBSITE IN TRACING GARYS MOTHER IN NEW ZEALAND. TIBS IS HONOURED AND DELIGHTED TO AT LONG LAST BE IN THE POSITION TO DO THIS AND IS ENTERNALLY GRATEFUL TO EFFORTS OF BILL WALSH ( NZ BANTAM ) A SPEEDWAY AND FOOTBALL MAN IN MAKING THIS GESTURE POSSIBLE.
by Ray Allen
3.Robin Adlington: Bradford Northern ( 1970-1973 )
Robin: On Parade at Odsal 1970 Robin Paired with Sid Odsal 1972 Robin: Shows True Colours 1971 #
*Its worth noting that pic two above shows Robin not only in the Bradford body colour but also in Bradfords racing suit ( amber sleeve red/black stripe -black body ) in their time these were a revelation few teams sported their own club identity in those days. Wolverhampton wore racing suits around the same time and this was pretty ground breaking stuff. So there you are Bradford Speedway at least 30 years ahead of its time!- now team racing suits are the norm in the Elite League ( and some Premier/Conference teams ).
In Demand: Robin pictured 1973
Introduced to Speedway at Western Springs in his native New Zealand in the late 1960's Robin came under the wing of mentor Gary Peterson whilst riding in Auckland. Gary and Robin were following the tyre tracks of the Kiwi Greats Moore, Mauger and Briggs who had made their homeland a world power in Speedway. Peterson was making great strides in British Speedway with Division Two outfit Nelson Admirals and Robin was persuaded to try his luck in England. When he arrived he soon linked up with Peterson at the Lancashire track and after showing promise in second half outings was part of the Nelson set up that moved lock stock and barrel to Odsal in June 1970. Whilst Peterson wowed the Bradford crowd, Robin was on the fringe of the team appearing in the novice races-but looking anything but a novice !. When Notherns Veteran reserve Peter Thompson picked up an injury, Robin stepped up and simply got better and better with every ride. He was a huge favourite on the Odsal terraces with his wild sweeping racing style and comparisions with the superlative Peterson were inevitable. Resigned to losing their top man to Division One in 1971 the Bradford Promotion saw the ideal replacement in Robin Adlington.
1971 dawned and with it the expected departure of Peterson. Robin was now a permanent fixture on the team sheet the easy going Kiwi continued his progress adding nearly three points per meeting to his 1970 match average in his first full season. He was a vital cog in Northerns Championship chasing team. Consistency might have been missing but he was a regular in the team and rated one of the Divisions top prospects. 1972 saw Robin handed heat leader responsibility in an unfamiliar looking Bradford team for the off!. He was also gaining valuable experience doubling up with Division One Glasgow Tigers-which would spark a tug-o-war for his services. Although he returned to Odsal in 1973 it was to be his last in a Bradford race jacket as Glasgow now rehoused at Coatbridge won the fight to use the Kiwi in 1974. It was a devastating blow to Bradford Speedway to lose such a popular rider-all the more so as Coatbridge promptly decided to run in Division Two making Robin the opposition!.
Robin proved just as consistent for the Scottish track and also appeared for Coventry Bees in Division One. Suprisingly he missed out on the 1975 season, but reappered in 1976 at Berwick where he rode for two seasons. In 1977 at 29 he prematurely ( in TIBS opinion ) called a halt to a career that had promised so much. New Zealand has produced some of Speedways finest racers, and whilst Robin never quite hit the heights of a Briggs or Mauger-in his time he has to be one of that countrys most exciting exports to these shores. A broad shouldered Kiwi with a big smile and that unmistakeable head forward sweeping racing style. Robin is one of the most popular riders ever to where the Bradford colours.
* the original transcript of this article appeared in the Bradford Race Day Magazine on the 24/07/1993.
Ray Allen TIBS
****TIBS EXCLUSIVE**** THROUGH OUR NEW ZEALAND CONTACT WE HAVE TRACKED DOWN ROBIN AND HOPE TO FEATURE AN INTERVIEW WITH THE 70'S ODSAL RACING LEGEND IN THE NEAR FUTURE. SO KEEP AN EYE ON THIS IS BRADFORD SPEEDWAY " BRINGING THE GREAT TIMES BACK AGAIN"
4. Alan Knapkin Bradford Northern ( 1970-1975 )
Fine study of Knappys " armchair style" ****COMING SOON***** TIBS SALUTES " The Golden Wonder"