NEWS: Rob Mawhood awarded Wilkinson Sword

Article and photos sent in by Emily Morton

Rob Mawhood, Sheffield Stars Cycle Speedway Club’s chair and head coach, has been awarded the Wilkinson Sword for his outstanding contribution to developing grass roots cycle speedway over the last 50 years. Rob, who started his cycle speedway career riding for Parkwood Aces in Sheffield, was instrumental in bringing the Cookson Park cycle speedway track back into use in the noughties and has continued its development ever since. As Covid restrictions eased last year he was active in working with other clubs within Yorkshire to make sure that there was meaningful racing for riders during the 2021 season.

Rob works closely with Sheffield schools introducing pupils to the sport of cycle speedway and running an annual school’s competition, providing a continuous stream of new riders for the Sheffield club. An advocate of clean fast racing, he instils these values into the members of the club, something those riders demonstrate round the country. He has been chair of the Sheffield club for a number of years quietly working in the background to support its development and provides one of the best racing surfaces in the country at Cookson Park.

A club spokesperson said “Being awarded the Wilkinson Sword is a worthy honour for Rob, who’s the glue that holds the Sheffield club together. We are really proud that all the work that Rob does to support and develop the club has been recognised nationally. Our thanks go out to Rob for the time and effort he invests in our riders and the sport.”

Martin Gamble, an ex-Stars rider and himself a former recipient of the Wilkinson sword, commented “Robert Mawhood has been the beating heart of cycling in Sheffield for several decades. Starting in the late 1970s, Robert has been the Mr Reliable in terms of managing the club and providing inspiration not just in younger riders but his contemporaries and likeminded volunteers … Several years ago, before the development of the Graves, it was stated by an officer of the local council that “all sports clubs in Sheffield should be run like Sheffield Stars”. The only greater accolade is to be recognised by his peers across the sport by receiving the well-earned Wilkinson Sword award.”

The Wilkinson Sword is awarded for exceptional contributions to the sport of cycle speedway, recognising those individuals who have contributed to the success and development of the sport and continue to inspire others.