Olle given stamp of approval

FOR years Olle Nygren was one of Ipswich's speedway's heroes.Now the grandfather of Swedish speedway has been given the stamp of approval by his home country.

Olle Nygren was for years one of Ipswich's speedway heroes.

Now the grandfather of Swedish speedway has been given the stamp of approval by his home country.

Olle had a very successful career riding for Ipswich Witches from 1972 to 1975.

He also had spells with Norwich, Wimbledon and West Ham speedway teams.

Olle's face now adorns the Swedish equivalent of the first class letter stamp and is in demand by stamp collectors and fans throughout Europe.

"I am very pleased and proud to be the face of Sweden's five kronor stamp as I had a lot of success in Sweden. It is good for me and good for the sport itself," said 74-year-old Olle, who now lives in Felixstowe.

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The artwork on the stamp shows him in 1955 on the Isle of Man, where he rode his Matchless G45 500cc racing bike in the famous TT races.

Motorbike racing is much bigger in Sweden than it is in England today and Olle is very famous over there.

He came second or third at the World Championship finals five times and was sad to see speedway leave Wembley Stadium as crowd numbers plummeted.

"We used to draw in 80 to 90,000 people back then," he said. "But now the finals have become the Grand Prix and moved to Cardiff a crowd of 30,000 spectators is big."

Olle's riding career spanned from 1947 to 1979. He believes that speedway was a better sport then than it is today.

He said: "Nowadays teams use the guest rider system, which is wrong. It is like David Beckham playing one game for Manchester United and the next for Ipswich Town.

"There were around 20 teams in a league back then, but there are only around eight today, so it was much more competitive instead of just the same teams meeting every third week."

The new stamp is part of a range which honours Swedish motor racing heroes including last year's speedway world champion Tony Rickardsson and five times world champion Ove Fundin. It was first issued for general use in October.

The Swedish Motorsport Federation contacted the Swedish post office, which asked Olle for his permission to appear on the millions of letters sent throughout Sweden and abroad.



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