Stars of old still shine

STARS of yesteryear were out in force to celebrate the official opening of Ipswich's new and improved Cycle Speedway Centre.They dusted off the cobwebs to take part in the Grand Past Masters under the floodlights at Whitton Sports Centre, demonstrating that the advancing years had done nothing to diminish their enthusiasm.

STARS of yesteryear were out in force to celebrate the official opening of Ipswich's new and improved Cycle Speedway Centre.

They dusted off the cobwebs to take part in the Grand Past Masters under the floodlights at Whitton Sports Centre, demonstrating that the advancing years had done nothing to diminish their enthusiasm.

But three-times Suffolk champion Dave Hunting, now 61, had to admit defeat when he suffered a stitch in his first race and severe cramp in his next two.

He laughed: "From now on I shall stick to my Zimmer frame, with a pair of cycle speedway handlebars welded to the top for good measure!"

No such problems for Danny Zagni and Tim Snook, both of whom were a revelation, and they were ably backed up by Kevin Sutton, John Goodyear and the Smith brothers, Rob and Dick.

The Sparrow brothers, Mick and Ted, along with Ivan Pike, found the going tough, but still provided their usual 100 per cent entertainment value.

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The event involved two former British champions, seven ex-England internationals and six former Suffolk champions, who between them had won this title a total of ten times.

Several of them had represented their country in places like Sweden, Holland and Australia, so there is plenty of scope for youngsters taking up a sport that is also gaining in popularity in the USA and Russia.

The Ipswich youths and juniors had an opportunity to show what they could do in an afternoon event that preceded the Grand Masters.

Tonight sees another cycle speedway spectacular with the CBL Plant East Anglian Grand Prix for the youth of the sport and, aimed at the connoisseurs, the mouth-watering Forwarding Partners/Hunting Hire Classic.

Top riders, including current European champion Karol Syzmanski and British champion Gavin Wheeler, will be taking part.

The field will be even stronger than the European Championships held in this country early in the season. Racing gets under way at 7.30pm.

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