Maurice (“pronounced More-reece”) Gordon RIP

The shock news that kindly dedicated speedway enthusiast Maurice Gordon has sadly passed away (aged only 62) is difficult to comprehend. With an accent almost as exotic – to English ears – as the pronunciation of his name, Maurice could regularly be seen in his natural habitat at a speedway meeting (whether at his beloved Edinburgh or each and every track within notional driving distance of Peebles). Affable and gentle are words that spring to mind as does knowledgeable. Maurice wasn’t one of those to flourish the depths of his knowledge or passion – he preferred understated and human. Maurice clearly saw the foibles of the sport he loved but let it wash over him with equanimity lest it spoil the pleasure he took in its beauty and camaraderie. Also a man of many speedway anoraks, Maurice could regularly be seen with his umbrella, small cigar, programme board and, of course, his trademark cricket jumper. You hardly had to be mastermind to realise that his easy modesty hid other personal and sporting hinterlands away from the shale that his untimely death has thrown into much sharper relief (here, here and here). Never lost for a word – invariably of the kind and/or insightful variety – (though I only know him from chance encounters), over and above his passion for speedway it’s Maurice’s basic decency, real care for and interest in other people that will continue to linger.

From Bouquet of Shale

Thirty minutes before the scheduled start time, Edinburgh fan Maurice arrives in a disguise that wouldn’t trouble the least-observant wannabe detective. Given his love of the Monarchs, it’s nevertheless a shock to see Maurice resplendent in his Newcastle anorak! This surely is speedway’s equivalent of cross-dressing? Maurice professes no embarrassment but [initially] refuses to have his picture taken. While the bowser slowly circles under dark skies, Maurice chats amiably about his personal speedway allegiances. “This is my 52nd meeting of the season. Last year, I only got to 74. I must get a Berwick jacket soon as I’m a Berwick season ticket holder. I don’t go on holiday, I go to speedway. Last night’s meeting at Workington – if I was writing a report – I’d say it was better than the scoreline suggests.” Some things about speedway defy explanation, even to the initiated but especially to the casual uninformed. “I tried to explain to a non-speedway friend of mine how Newcastle and Birmingham could race in the Premier Trophy final when Glasgow and Edinburgh are racing a Premier Trophy qualifier this afternoon. Technically, as Ray the gateman pointed out, that qualifying group will be finished before this one starts as it starts at 4 p.m. It’s already 43-23 after 11 heats. Nonetheless, it’s still like playing the FA Cup Final and a third round match on the same day! By the way I started reading your book [Shale Trek] last night and I’m sure it’s David Nimmo not Derek Nimmo. Have you ever chatted to the first-aiders? David wasn’t there at the meeting on Friday and there were lots of fallers so he missed out! A pal of mine once said ‘paracetamol for Danny Bird’ – Ha! Ha! – when he was up for his drugs test!”

Tonight’s meeting definitely catches the imagination of the Newcastle public. With five minutes to go before the scheduled start time, there’s still a substantial queue on the wrong side of the entrance turnstiles. It impresses Peebles-based Maurice, “That IS quite a big queue!”

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From Shale Trek

Edinburgh fan Maurice (“pronounced More-reece”) Gordon reports in to say “I didn’t read any of your book last night I was watching the cricket highlights.”

[Jim Brykajlo] “Australia is 300 ahead and England 80 for 4.”

[Maurice] “80 for 5!” [both laugh]

[Jim] “The crowds have been up here all season.”

[Matthew Platten] “The local derby always gets four figure crowds.”

[Maurice] “Who’s going to win the battle of the German’s tonight?”

[Jim] [shrugs] “Lawson went to Glasgow for more money! He got a two grand signing-on fee.”

Dick Barrie announces over the tannoy that a “silver Peugeot is blocking a nearby driveway”.

[Maurice] “I know how mad I would be if I came out to find my driveway blocked!”

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From Bouquet of Shale

Edinburgh Monarchs fan Maurice enjoys the action they serve up at the STMP that it’s already his third 280-mile round trip this season so far. “That’s how a meeting should be run. No falls and no reruns. No faffing about! John Campbell was fined once for telling the ref to get a move on. Sky should come and see it too!”

Maurice is enamoured by the calibre of entertainment offered at the STMP, “Even if you don’t get passing, you always get close racing on a small track.”

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One Response to Maurice (“pronounced More-reece”) Gordon RIP

  1. October 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    A great character, who always remembered to switch his newcastle anorak for his edinburgh one, when the monarchs were visiting!
    Perhaps each northern track ought to hold a memorial trophy meeting in his memory.

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