Singing Speedway Riders – A Rich Tradition
MOVE over Krzysztof Kasprzak, there is a new speedway singing sensation on the block – those amazing Swedish newlyweds Carolina Jonasdotter and her speedway rider hubby Fredrik Lindgren. Their loved up cover of Lady Gaga’s ‘Shallow’ has already lit up the speedway musical universe (although – yet again confirming never work with animals or children – the show was nearly stolen by their adorable dachshund).
Surely it is time for the already relentlessly promoted “20th anniversary” (whoops, what an error, after ONLY 19 years since the first one in 2001) Cardiff British Speedway Grand Prix rights-holders BSI to really – finally – do something newsworthy? And real/independent media headline deserving by having Lindgren become the first speedway rider to ride in a Grand Prix after delivering the musical prelude beforehand? Dueting beforehand with wife and business manager Carolina in their tribute band (suggested name: Lady Garbled) would definitely sell tickets and, if Fredrik won, achieve something never done before in speedway and unlikely ever to be beaten either. It would definitely close the BSI SGP era memorably and altogether less humiliatingly having just been rejected by the FIM – for their long track record of badly broken expansion promises – for exclusive SGP rights contract for 2022-2031.
Carolina and Fredrik – along with Rapper Krzy – join a rich tradition of speedway riders seizing their moments in the sun to take to the airwaves or lay down some immortal grooves. Mainly onto vinyl but latterly, of course, straight-to-video mp3s. There are just too many wonderful shale-tastic tunes, songs and sounds – that immediately get your body moving, drag you to the dancefloor or get your throttle hand twitching – to recall.
Here are some brief but truly evocative singing speedway rider highlights to be going on with:
Karl Killmeyer: ‘Speedway Fox’ (1950s) (younger brother of pre-war rider Leopold Killmeyer)
Sammy Tanner: ‘The Flying Flea’ (1959)
Eric Chitty: ‘When I Grow Too Old to Dream’
Reg Luckhurst: ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ B-side: ‘Was it Rain?’ (12/03/1971)
Reg Luckhurst: ‘In the Misty Moonlight’ (06/08/1971)
Malcolm Brown (International Speedway Star): ‘No One but You’ (10/1973)
The Rivals*: ‘Speedway’ B-side = ‘Hoskins Still Rides’ (1974)
Aka * Speedway rider Supergroup Bert Harkins, Graeme Stapleton, Peter Collins, Jim McMillan, John Louis, Scott Autrey, Dag Lovaas, Nigel Boocock, Terry Betts, Pete Smith, Martin Ashby, Malcolm Brown & George Hunter
Egon Müller: ‘Rock & Rollin’ Speedway Man’ (03/1977)
Egon Müller & the Speedway Family: ‘Hit Ya Booty’ B-side: ‘Gold Rider’ (12/1977)
John Davis: ‘Speedway Rider’ B-side: ‘Stadium Instrumental’(!!!) (1979)
Peterborough Panthers (with Graham Walker Showband): ‘Aces of the Track’ (70s)
Johny McNeill: ‘I want to be Ivan Mauger’ B-side: ‘No.7, Your Friendly Reserve’ (possibly 1982)
Shawn Moran’s Pit Squad: ‘Motorbikin’’ B-side: ‘Night Circuit’ (12/84)
Rye House Speedway: ‘Blast Off with the Rockets’ (date unknown)
Ego Müller: ‘Ein Leben Am Limit’ 2019
Carolina Jonasdotter and Fredrik Lindgren: ‘Shallow’ (14/02/2020)
Miscellaneous not speedway riders but still, possibly, musical joy
Speedway: ‘My Loves Goes Stronger’ (1971) [with particularly satisfying knobbly back wheel full frontal dominating this album cover]
Phil Clarke: ‘Speedway Rider’ (05/05/1978)
The Pastels*: ‘Speedway Star‘ (1991)
Rockin Ronnie: ‘Belle Vue Aces’ (1984) [dedicated to Alan Wilkinson]
If you want to learn much much more about Speedway Grand Prix headline musical acts – from Right Said Fred (Gelsenkirchen) to The Magoos (Cardiff) (fresh from Chris Morton’s Twenty-Fifth Wedding Anniversary celebrations [controversially not held the year before the actual date] when they played their whole incredible set list TWICE!]) via FIM Race Director Phil Morris (Prestatyn Pontins holiday camp^) and that one who won that singing show whose name escapes me (Cardiff), then this is the book for you!
Also whilst it is not a singing record, back in 1974 Tee Mill Promotions produced an LP (complete with booklet with words by Philip Rising) recording the European final at Wembley and World Final at Ullevi.
…please get in touch via the comments or website contact pages with more speedway sounds (or corrections)
^ sadly since deleted from the Phillip William Morris Wikipedia page. The only existing summary of the missing material reads: “Minimal investigation quickly takes anyone to the Morris Wikipedia page. It reads as if written by his alter ego or a VERY close family member and lists his many achievements as well as his numerous post-speedway racing career television appearances on The Weakest Link and
The Colour of Money plus his speciality pub quiz and intelligence-led popular programmes Brainbox Challenge, Are You Smarter than a 10 Year Old? and Eggheads. Space is also found for his karaoke win in Prestatyn that subsequently saw him appear on Channel 5 with Sinetta. As a keen singer and dancer, Morris has also strutted and crooned his stuff in his key role in the Welsh Boyzone tribute band Boyozone. Popular demand has seen them so acclaimed they headlined the Barry Island festival and even re-formed with a different all-star line-up for a one-off by popular demand gigs in Porthcawl…..It’s always a delight to watch whenever Phil relives the athletics promise of his youth (hat tip: Wikipedia) to foot race almost any and every fallen SGP rider, especially younger ones – Greg rarely falls off, nevermind that he definitely never runs nowadays – from the track or centregreen on
their run back to the pits. Notably “fit for his age and fitter than many younger than him”, Morris generously gives them a head start before inevitably he manages to overtake. Morris generously gives them a head start before inevitably he manages to overtake. Sight of Phil (“fairly tall at six foot”) in magnificent full flight signals to us all that his duties are so important and numerous and well-executed that he has to run to do them all. Overtaken riders (or loudly mentored trackstaff) are just collateral damage for the greater good of any SGP show. Inspiration for men in their 40s everywhere, Phil bests the riders on regular basis despite all their personal training, psychology coaching, exercise and nutritional regimes. Mainly because they wear a steel shoe on one foot and Phil doesn’t or that they don’t know they are always racing whether they are off their bike or on it. Apparently unaware that all this running actually suggests the opposite of managerial effectiveness and control, like a thinking man’s Welsh Forrest Gump, Phil runs everywhere. Of course, as Peter Oakes revealed in his Speedway Star column, Phil was a gifted schoolboy sportsman and used to
run for Welsh Schools.”
[apparently some of the detail in this Wikipedia page entry – according to Phil Morris – was a spoof written by the friend (he had authorised to manage his social media) who went rogue. Like with Ernie Wise’s wig, it is often hard to see the join between fiction and reality.]
* The Pastels used to regularly watch the Glasgow Tigers when they raced at at Shawfield (and sponsored David Walsh).