LETTERS: Mick Aris every bit of “legend” status

Bob Prince has written to us with his own tribute to Mick Aris, who retired from Cycle Speedway after 50 years last week.

The word Legend is banded about quite freely these days. Anyone who has broken a finger nail on some talentless talent show is hailed a Legend. Overpaid football “superstars”, after a couple of seasons of under achieving, are called Legends.

This is my humble tribute to someone who has earned the accolade.

I first met Mick in 1965 racing in a match on a dirt track at Low Hill on the outskirts of Wolverhampton. These were the days when we rode in breast plates, your trousers were tucked into football socks and your hair was long.

Mick had shoulder length hair and he looked a fearsome sight tearing around the track, hence the nickname “Mad Mick”.

In 1967 I joined Tipton Invaders and rode against Mick at Kingstanding in the Birmingham Junior Championship along with Keith Gibbons and Steve Milkamanavicious. The meeting was won by Kike Coburn  who had a chrome frame (he had pasted kitchen foil all over it so that it looked like the real thing!). Remember Mick? Happy days.

During the 1970’s Wednesfield came to prominence with Roger Ellis joining them from Kingstanding after the club folded in 1972. The Wednesfield club had some really good riders in the like of Kieth Gibbons and Mick Pedley and Alan Guest. When Birmingham reformed in 1974 that was the start of some titanic matches between the two clubs and these were always bruising encounters.

Mick was always a great team man. He gave everything every single match.  If you found yourself behind him, that’s where you stayed!

I will always remember the great matches between Wednesfield and the immortal Blackley Flyers. For an impartial spectator of these battles it was Cycle Speedway team racing at its best. Nothing since has matched up to these matches and of course, Mick was an integral part of “his” team.

In recent years we have met up in veteran’s events and as usual Mick was always the guy who gave you the hardest rides. Giving nothing and expecting nothing in return. You won because you deserved it.

Mick’s family are the biggest tribute to him. They are all loyal, polite and genuine Cycle Speedway people.

I’d like to say thanks to Mick for all that he has given to the sport of Cycle Speedway. It will be sadder without him and his enthusiasm spurring on lesser riders will be missed. I wish him well in all that he does in the future and hope that he stays involved in the sport that has been his life.

One word says it all, LEGEND.

Bob Prince