WHERE'S VESPRINI? Is That Really.........
Saturday March 04, 2017
Bobby Garrad all time Rockets appearance holder and points scorer?

Indeed it was and a first class gent he turned out to be as he gave me an interview which will be seen when the new Rockets media page debuts on the Speedway Portal. Paradise Park in February has been the site of the annual gathering of the ‘how many days until the season starts?’ crew for a few years now. Whilst it is a celebration of our great sport its also a big sign there is light at the end of the winter tunnel. As I left home with a spring in my step Mrs H gave me one of those ‘here we go again’ looks she’s given me since I first discovered the terrace at Rye House in 1985. She knew that coming into sight was seven months of constantly checking the weather forecast and regularly coming out with comments like ‘ can we talk about that when I’ve stopped watching updates the boys are at (insert name of away opponents) tonight?’

To return to the man himself, who to my shame I only really caught towards the end of his career, in fact I’m looking at his testimonial programme from 1986 as I write this. I was interested to learn that he wasn’t a regular speedway follower these days apart from catching a bit on Sky. But then again after 421appearances spread over 11 seasons for the Rockets everyone deserves a rest I guess. Bob was though genuinely excited by the prospect of seeing the team in the top division and I hope we’ll be seeing him in Hoddesdon next season. Co-commentary with Bobby G now that would definitely be something else off the bucket list!

As for the rest of the day it was good to catch up with some familiar faces and congratulations to Steve and the team are in order for the display tent. Although at one stage it did look like the Rockets inaugural season in the big league was set to take off in a way nobody expected. Publicity from the air is one thing but a display flying over Sainsbury’s that would definitely have stopped the traffic! It was though sad to learn of the demise of Coventry. People outside speedway I talk to find it totally bemusing that once powerful and successful clubs can fall by the wayside so quickly. Yes football teams get relegated and fall on hard times but no team that has won the top division in that sport has ever gone out of business. All that is a debate for another day but it does highlight the temporary nature of speedway so lets celebrate what we’ve got to look forward to starting on April 1st!

Up The Rockets!


"Where's Vesprini" is an exclusive, light-hearted blog from Rye House's Speedway Star reporter and guest website and programme contributor Pete Hill.