SPECIAL FEATURE: Cycle Speedway Remembers Dave and Harry

Words by Rod Witham

The word ‘legend’ is liberally over-used these days but surely there can be no better word to describe two of the all-time greats of our sport, Dave Blinston and Harry Glover.

Amazingly it’s 15 years to the day since these two giants of cycle speedway passed away. Both deaths came as a huge shock especially as they happened within 24 hours of each other, Harry on 4 May 2005 and Dave a day later on 5 May 2005, leading to the suggestion that this was indeed cycle speedway’s darkest 24 hours.

The careers of both men shared amazing parallels. Both were dedicated club officials whose loyalty and commitment to their respective clubs was beyond doubt. Both managed Great Britain teams in Australia. Both were national-grade referees. Both served for many years on cycle speedway’s national executive – but more importantly both Dave and Harry were simply two of the nicest men you could ever wish to meet.

There was and still is today, a great outpouring of love and respect for both men which was reflected in the tributes at the time.

Few knew Dave better than his long-term friend Ian Wilson who described Dave with great affection and blunt honesty as being:

“Catankerous, belligerent, irrating and at times downright annoying with a knack of saying the wrong thing at the same time. On the other side of the coin Dave was undoubtedly one of the warmest, kindest, most generous and giving people I have encountered. His generosity was not only with material things. He gave so freely of his time and himself. He was unique. There will never be another Blinner!

Harry too was held in the highest esteem. Alan Jones said of Harry:

“Harry was a very fair, honest and sensible man with a wealth of experience. Never one to take centre stage, he was always there for people when they needed his support and advice. Under Harry’s guidance the Leicester club has grown into a professionally organised set up that is a real credit to the sport. Harry carried out many tasks behind the scenes often without any fuss. That was his way of going about things. Harry was that kind of person.”

Many younger readers of 33/18 News may not have heard of Dave and Harry but for those of us who were lucky and honoured to have known them, Dave and Harry were truly cycle speedway legends.

Long may they both stay in our memories – and long may they Rest In Peace.