"John the Bike"
John was, and still is, a local lad, living just five minutes from the Boldon track. He made his
first appearance for the "Stars" in 1972, remaining with them until closure in 1974.
Whilst never setting the place alight, John was, to quote his Team Manager Colin Armitstead,
"a hell of a trier." If effort counted for success, John would have been a World Champion! His
longest run in the team was in the '74 season when he rode in 21 league and cup matches
John got the nickname of "John the Bike" because when any of his team mates had problems,
John's bike was wheeled out as a replacement. At one away meeting at Stoke, John and Brian
Havelock shared his bike for the entire meeting, if nothing else it was reliable. It was also, according to his manager,
"the most noisy bike on the track."
John rode for all three of the North East teams - Sunderland, Newcastle and Teesside, before retiring from the sport. But
not lost to Speedway altogether, John's two sons, Scott and Stuart, have both had successful careers in the Sport,
riding in the top league at Coventry. I've no doubt that John had a lot of input towards their Speedway life!
John can still be found working on Speedway engines in his garage, still keen as ever and always happy to meet up
with his old Racing pals.