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1982, Monkey Masks and Raleigh Burners

This is an email from Sideburn reader and our mate, Russ that I've turned into a blog post. You'll see why. GI

I got my stack of Sideburn back issues. It's been a long day but I've just sat down for a read of the mags. For some atmosphere I've put on my DVD of the 1982 World Individual Speedway championship. Did you ever watch it? I think I mentioned it years ago, it's great. If you didn't see it let me know and I'll tell you why you should.

In fact I'll tell you anyway! Early '80s speedway is a big part of why I love bikes. It's why I love Bell Moto 3 helmets (the first thing I ever searched for when I was shown the internet). It's why I love monkey masks, metalflake, leathers with stars on and the smell of dope. Not that dope. It's why I've wanted to go fast and turn left for the best part of 40 years.

This is a monkey mask. It's being modelled by Ian 'Tiddler' Turner who we profiled in Sideburn 20.

Dad used to take me to watch all the Barracudas home meetings at Boston Speedway. I can still remember a load of the riders (David Gagen, Robert Hollingsworth, Steve Lomas and more). Lomas had super stylish leathers and a Kangol helmet, not a Bell though, and I was the only kid at school with a Bell Helmets baseball cap.

Steve Lomas leading the pack for the Boson Barracudas. The same Steve Lomas who still races (and dominates) at Mablethorpe Beach

Robert Hollingsworth inside line against the Lada-sponsored Newcastle Diamonds.

David Gagen, in what look like Honda leathers. Fella in the crowd just took a shale bullet to to the cornea. Did every Northern bloke in the the 1980s look like Peter Sutcliffe ?

In the early '80s I was at primary school, was speedway mad, racing BMX bikes (number 454NE) and I'd been 100 miles an hour on the back of my neighbour's 250 Gamma (wearing my Stadium Project 7 open-face helmet and a blue vest if I remember correctly. Trousers too, I might add).

The most Lada references in any Sideblog post ever. That's one of the Russian built family wagons in the background - a 1600 / VAZ 2106.

Russ's BMX race licence

Anyway - it's part of why I love it, but it's beside the point. The race meet is all about the competition between Bruce Penhall (USA) and Kenny Carter (GB).

Penhall is the poster boy, defending champion who'd caused controversy by throwing a race in one of the qualification meetings to get more Americans to the final, and who retired after the season to go star in the TV series, CHiPs. Really! I'm not sure if his number 13 was anything to do with Aldana. [We had a feature on Penhall in Sideburn 4. GI].

Kenny Carter was the challenger, a 21 year old from Halifax, Yorkshire. He was racing while still recovering from a punctured lung (or another lung injury). Then there's the controversy, did Penhall take him out in their heat race?  It's made more poignant as Carter never did win the world title and went on to kill his wife and himself in 1986, orphaning their kids. [Carter's brother, Alan, was a Grand Prix road racer, from 1983 to 1990, and is most well known for his one and only GP win, the French 250 GP, only his second ever grand prix race. GI].

Barry Briggs is commentating, Les Collins, Dave Jessup and Peter Collins all from the UK are racing. Was it only me at the short track racing saying, 'Look - that's Les Collins!' [Les is the father and mechanic of multiple UK flat track champ Aidan Collins - who we interviewed in Sideburn 23.]

Give it a whirl - you know it makes sense. It's a good way to spend an hour or so of social distancing. 

Er, sorry - that's more than I sat down to write.  I'll have a beer and get on with my reading.  You all take care out there.

Russ Holland

This is Russ racing at Mablethorpe a few years ago.

1 Comment

Apr 17, 2020

Thanks for this, it filled an hour nicely. Proper drama! I was about 12 around then, and only a little aware of speedway. But only 4 years on I'd be sporting a monkey mask ragging around on my jacked up AE50! Thanks again

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