OBITUARY: Roger Farrell
The sport of Cycle Speedway will be saddened and shocked to learn of the untimely death of my wife’s brother-in-law, Roger Farrell (pictured right), after a short but brave and painful battle with cancer.
In the boom years of the 70s, 80s and early 90s , riders came and riders went, but Roger was one of the leading lights in the powerhouse Northern teams of Gorton, Carrs Wood and Denton/Tameside for the best part of a quarter of a century. Roger also represented England and Great Britain in Australia in 1988.
Arguably one of the greatest riders never to reach a British Final from several attempts (in an era when qualification was far more arduous), he came closest when only a totally uncharacteristic gate exclusion on Gate 1 denied him a place in the final.
Roger started his career in the early 70’s and finished 4th in the British Junior Final in only his second season. At the other end of his career he finished runner-up in the 1995 British Over 40’s final. And in between, he picked up countless trophies in regional individual events and invitation events, and was always near the top of the league averages.
He signed off on his international career at the age of 40 with 11 points from three completed rides as England won the Home International at his home track Tameside in 1995.
WATCH: Martyn Hepworth’s tribute to Roger Farrell
Once described by his long-time manager the late Dave Blinston as a quiet, thoughtful rider who relies on finesse rather than sheer brute force, he largely relied on his trademark powerful outside passes to score many of his points, and many a rider was beaten by Roger’s superior fitness in this way.
Indeed, I recall it was rare to see Roger try an inside rather than outside pass, and he seemed to reserve inside passes for those rare occasions when his superior fitness and speed temporarily deserted him.
Roger was 61 and leaves a devoted wife Elaine, two children and three grandchildren.
Words by Patrick Beacock.