Speedway race meet will pay tribute to Great Yarmouth death crash rider
PUBLISHED: 16:10 17 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:46 17 March 2018
It was an accident that rocked the speedway world when a Great Yarmouth rider died at the age of 37 after racing for a team from the town 70 years ago.
Reg Craven, 37, lost his life with a team called the Bloaters, who were the first ever away side to race in the south coast town of Poole’s stadium in April 1948.
Mr Craven was involved in an accident with two Poole Pirates riders and died eight days later in hospital from a fractured skull following the crash on April 26.
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He was making his first appearance for the Yarmouth side and crashed on the first bend.
And now to mark the platinum anniversary of the track, home to the Poole Pirates, an event will be held there on April 26 to pay tribute to Mr Craven and his Great Yarmouth team mates.
The Poole club’s owner Matt Ford has invited some of today’s speedway stars to ride in the Bloaters colours and the death of Mr Craven will be remembered before the first speedway race.
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Mr Ford said: “Speedway racing has been a big draw card in the town ever since the opening meeting when a Great Yarmouth side lined up against the pioneering Pirates.”
“I really can’t think of any better way of celebrating our platinum anniversary by putting a representative Yarmouth side back on the Poole track to help us celebrate this important occasion.
“I shall be inviting some of today’s stars to ride in the Bloaters colours for what will be a momentous occasion in the Poole club’s long and successful history.”
“We shall be respectfully marking Reg Craven’s passing before the opening race of the night.
“Our sport can be very cruel at times and we must never forget the risks the riders take every time they go out to race.”
The race from 1948 for the Daily Mail National Trophy was attended by 6,000 people and saw the Pirates win 74-32.
Speedway racing came to an end in Great Yarmouth in 1961 but since that night seventy years ago, the Poole Pirates have risen to become one of Europe’s top sides, so successful that they have been called the Manchester United of speedway by some of the sport’s top pundits.
The record book shows that they have won the league championship on no less than 16 occasions.