LETTERS: Dave always the best to ask

Steve Copping has written in his tribute to the late, great, Dave Hunting.

I was shocked to hear of Dave Hunting’s death. He always found the time to chat with me whenever our paths crossed at cycle speedway or at Foxhall Stadium, home of the Ipswich Witches Speedway team, which he sponsored in 1989 via his business Hunting Hire, who were also sponsors of Ipswich Cycle Speedway during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

I knew that he did race, but I never actually saw him race, as he had long since hung up his wheels by the time I started racing at the end of 1988. I did see plenty of his refereeing and I always found him to be firm but fair when he was on the whistle, even in the few matches I raced and he happened to be the referee.

Having refereed 8 British Finals, amongst all the other major events he was on the whistle, I felt he was the best person to ask how to approach refereeing a British Final of any description. As prior to the 2007 British Under 16 Final at Ipswich, I had never refereed an event of that type and I will always be grateful to him for that, especially as I have since refereed a further 3 British Individual Finals (the 2009 & 2010 Over 40’s as well as the 2011 Under 10’s), 3 British Club Championship Finals(the 2008 Under 16, 2009 Open & 2014 Women) not to mention the Veterans & Junior World Finals in 2011 and the small matter of an Australia v Great Britain Women’s test match also.

The 2009 Open Club Championship is another event I will remember Dave for as he was due to referee the 1st semi-final and the final but following his criticisms of the governing body those appointments were taken away from him and given to me which, prior to the 2 World Finals I refereed, were the biggest matches I had refereed. We had a chat after the event and I asked him about the exclusions I had made and he said that having saw all of them he would have made all of them himself apart from one.

I am sure I speak for virtually everyone in cycle speedway when I say that the sport thanks him for his immense contribution and may he rest in peace. The next major refereeing appointment I receive will be dedicated to him.

Thanks Steve, if anyone else has tributes they’d like to send in for Dave, please email: newsroom@3318news.co.uk.