DEREK GARNETT: More tributes

Following on from Alan Taylor’s tribute to Derek Garnett, here are a few more tributes to one of cycle speedway’s greatest riders:

From John Murphy:
“R.I.P. Derek My Cycle Speedway Idol From Way Back. This Is A Photo Of Derek And I In Happier Times. A True Gentleman On And Off The Track, Will Always Miss You Derek, But We Made Many Golden Memories And I Always Admired Your Racing Skills. Keep A Place In The Team For Me Up There Then We Can Start All Over Again”

From Andy James:

“True gent on and off the track, one of if not the greatest rider I’ve had the privilege to race alongside . RIP Derek…. Legend !!”

From Vic Hinchliffe, 1961 & 1964 British Champion:

“Thanks Derek for all you have done for Cycle Speedway, You have helped so many riders, including myself, nothing was too much trouble for you. There has been no one else like you in the sport. RIP


From Les Gustafson:

“In 1967 I was fortunate to meet in one place two of the giants of the sport. It was at the Warwick track (in a corner of the town’s horse-racing track) where a NACSA Quarter-Final was taking place at a neutral venue between Galley Pirates, for whom Rod Witham was at Number One (Rod was later known more for his administrative skill in promoting the sport, but he was no mean rider – there was a photo in the 1966 Cycle Speedway Annual of a fresh-faced Rod as Norwich Junior Champion) and Offerton Devils. Derek was kind enough to take time out to chat to me – he said he’d heard about our modest activities up on Tyneside from Mike Cockroft – and agreed to my cheeky request to send me copies of the Manchester scene magazine – being editor of which was just one of his off-track tasks – which he must have done as soon as he got home.

“Many people will have a favourite on-track Derek Garnett moment. The one which comes first to mind is later in the same year at the England v Scotland Test at Horley Green, Halifax, where Derek turned a 3-3 into an England 5-1, by a sublime piece of skill in the middle of a straight to bring his partner Tony Hardy through from the back. Derek was rightly known for his individual ability but his team-riding skills were a lesson to anyone watching.

“First we lost Rod, and now, sadly, Derek too.”

From Jim Varnish:

“Back in 1980 Senior Finals weekend at Stoke. One of many races with Derek. Always fair and encouraging to the younger riders. A powerhouse in the mighty Blackley CSC. Will miss seeing him around.”

From Tony Bowen:

“Sorry to hear about the passing of Derek Garnett. One of the true greats not only a great individual champion but a great team rider as I imagine most of his old Blakeley team mates will agree. Derek was cycle speedways best and will always be. He was inspirational.”

From Pete Barnes:

“Regardless of my gaining years I still have fond memories of the annual August Bank Holiday Weekend of racing events in Hungerford during the 60s with the regular North v South lively encounters !
“However I hasten too add that unfortunately many of us who resided below the Watford Gap in the main followed Derek at the Chequered flag. His vast achievements and success over the years are well chronicled and in total admiration I trust he will be long remembered as a rider who richly deserves the upmost respect as a true great and legend of our sport.

“Rest in Peace Derek.”

From Brian Buck:

“I can only add my own tribute to Derek Garnett. He was a great rider, probably the best I ever saw, but he was also modest and unassuming and always prepared to do anything he could in the interests of cycle speedway – the sport he loved for so many years. Along with his family, I mourn his passing and hope he is now at peace”