That Was The Year That Was (Part4)
Tuesday January 05, 2016
Its July 2015 and history is about to be made, not once but twice….

So where were you when........

A phrase often used to record notable moments in history. The first steps on the moon, JFK being assassinated or in the more modern era magic Saturday at London 2012. In my case the answers are, in the front room watching an ancient black and white TV, I was honestly too young to remember, and in the Olympic weightlifting newsroom at the Excel Centre. To that list Rockets fans can add Saturday 25th July 2015! When I first heard the lads had won at Berwick for the first time in 38 years I was standing about 10 yards from the commentary box. “Did you hear that?” I shouted at Camera Ken who looked equally as amazed as I was. For a moment we were both speechless an event that last occurred when the lens dropped out of Camera Ken’s glasses only on that occasion I couldn’t form any words for laughing so much.

Consulting the Big Book of Speedway when I got home assured me of quite how massive the score Berwick 40 Rockets 50 really was. Now 1977 was an interesting summer I’d just left school and hadn’t the faintest idea of what I wanted to do for a living, and Donna Summer was belting out “I Feel Love” in disco’s throughout the land. It was also the last time the Rockets had been successful at Shielfield Park. Whilst coming close again with a 39-39 draw in 1979 what followed were 405 heats of hurt and 17,498 miles in road trips give or take one or two before the glorious night in July. Even Team Manager John who’d travelled a fair few of those miles over the years and is not a man prone to go over the top in his reaction to success or failure said; “They were all superstars tonight,” before munching into a celebratory post meeting Granny Smith.

So there was a KO Cup semi final on the horizon and even another away defeat at Sheffield couldn’t dampen the mood. In fact, little did I know it as I pulled into the car park before the visit of Newcastle but we were in for another ‘where were you when’ evening. This time it was Chris Neath’s track record that was the centre of attention as young master Lambert smashed the previous best at will, finally lowering the mark to 54.7 seconds in the last heat. The fact that Neathy’s record had survived 5 years and 61 days and lived through attempts by the likes of Tai Woffinden was testimony to how special the young masters achievement was. Timekeeper Chris Golding was operating ‘the fastest stopwatch in the west ‘on the night and I swear I saw it still smoking as he emerged from the refs box. A win at Berwick a new track record surely things were finally looking up.........