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Off The Kickboard

Talking of off the fence?! Here's former Odsal junior Barry Fitzgerald attempting to go up it!, Sid Sheldrick tries to take avoiding action on the deck !

70mph!,No Brakes!...its just gotta be Mad!

28 Years Ago,brother Phil and I penned a poem to salute our Northern Hero's. It appeared in the Bradford Speedway programme on the 23rd May 1973-priced 7d! which is about 2-3p decimal !. It was a 8 page affair printed by E Hough & Co Wilton Street Bradford 5, and makes the 90's Bradford Programme seem like Grattans Catologue in comparison. Then Co-Promoter Les Whaley welcomed everyone in his Les Say's..... column. Scunthorpe Saints were the visitor and included veteran former World Finalist Scotsman Ken McKinlay in their number. This was the Saints second season in league competition and invariabley they got battered home or away!.

Just one month into the season Bradford had new Aussies Brenton Langlois-what colour that name conjures up,and Robert Maxfield, with  Kiwi Mike Fullerton making up the new Australsian contingent. All three were getting to grips with there new surroundings with Langlois looking a real capture in the early weeks. Established Kiwi Robin Adlington-seen very much as the successor to Gary Petersons mantle was away on World Championship Qualifying Round duty in Glasgow so Bradford tracked Maxfield ( who had temporarily ) lost his team spot to Wolverhampton junior Tony Freegard. Hard riding Dave Baugh led the side at No1 with Colin Meredith in second string-another Wolves loanee and the side was skippered by the armchair stylist Alan Knapkin.

Bradford quickly raced into a 17-7 lead after suprisingly losing the 1st race 2-4 when Baughs machine ground to a halt when lying second. But successive 5-1's in heats 2,3 and 4 sent Northern on their way. Saints were well served by second string Rex Garrod who rattled up 10pts, but with McKinlay struggling and only Ian Hindle providing any back up, Northern won with 10pts to spare 44-34 ( still a tad closer than the betting would have forecast ).Mike Fullerton registered his highest score todate and Bradford maintained their 100% home record.

BRADFORD  NORTHERN 44: Knapkin 11, Fullerton 10, Meredith 7, Baugh 6, Langlois 6, Freegard 2 ,Maxfield     SCUNTHORPE SAINTS   34: Garrod 10, Hindle 8, Bywater 7,McKinlay 4,Stafford 3, Haynes 2 & Emery 0

Anyhow on the inside back page of the programme appeared our poem- A Poem For The Northern Fan. Its has always niggled me that the printers left out possibley the key line of the ditty which should have read " The skipper of this great crew you know- HE LEADS US THROUGH THE THICK AND THIN !- Yes you've guessed its Alan Knapkin !. So to set the record straight and exercise the demons on this here is the poem in its entirity.

A Poem For The Northern Fan  by P & R Allen                                                                                                                   

The Nothern they come out to ride,  In Red Dave Baugh how well he tried, In Blue there's Rod who's keen to try, His scores are poor but he gets by.

Its now Heat two,they're out again, But Robert Maxfield has made it plain, It's the visitors he's out to tame! , In Blue there's Brenton,a keen lad,In dashing leathers he is clad.

Gee whizz! we're off again, It's now Heat three and pouring rain, But Robin will be sure to gain, And following home for another 5-1, There's bright young Col, "Yes! he has won"!

And just to wet your appetites more,  The skipper of this great crew you know * HE LEADS US THROUGH THE THICK AND THIN, Yes you've guessed its Alan Knapkin! 

But don't stop reading, we're not finished yet There's Mike and Tony they'll be Champs I bet. Mike clad in red and white you know Is the Kiwi kid who really can go.

Signed from the Wolves,yes that great crew, Looks like this poems becoming a Who's Who ?,  But young Wolf Tony I'm sure you'll agree Is eager to win and as busy as a Bee,   So all put together and what do we get ? 


I thank you......  

Enjoy- Ray

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