Homeward Bound (Has Eddie got odd shoes on?) Why did Neil need so many clothes?
A Massive thanks from the Lions to the brilliant Cox boys!
Following a very privileged phone call from Martyn, I am able to fill you in on some of the finer points from down under.
Yesterday saw record breaking temperatures of 39.5 deg, and even though the test match was at 7pm (Antipodean time) it was still very uncomfortable to be riding in. Martyn rode an impeccable 5 ride maximum, but what we did not know or see on the video is that after his last ride he was hanging over the fence removing his last two meals! Ed was in no better condition after being forced to argue with both the fence and concrete skirt (see pics) and examining the photos of Ed's crashes, I'm surprised he can stand, he must be suffering. Even the local riders were struggling to cope with these conditions, so, to come away with a clean sheet 3-0 win in the test matches was very impressive.
Today was a much needed 'chill out' day, but regardless Martyn was back on a bike at the seafront just to keep the legs operational.
On the plus side they had arranged to meet up with Barry weaver, an ex Lions rider from way back in the 60's, so with Dave Cox (Perc's big bro) and TK (Tom Killick) also out there with our boys, it was a real old boys meet up. No doubt after a half century there was plenty of nostalgic reminiscences going on. At 7.30-- 8.00 pm, all were about to embark on some chilling with a game of Bowls.
Martyn's parting words to me were , "myself and Ed are definitely not just going along for the ride on Sat, but we're not looking forward to racing in 30 degree heat at 2.00 in the afternoon.
Good luck to you both!
And he’s still laughing and racing Saturday - WHAT A GUY!!!!
Still smiling! (But Why?)
The Hellingly Lions Cycle Speedway Club rider and veteran Martyn Hollebon, son of ‘Mr. Hellingly Lions’, George Hollebon, continues to maintain his form and track mastery after so many years in the saddle and still leaving many riders half his age in his slipstream.
The honours he has earned in the past include:-
· British Champion at schoolboy level
· England international at junior level
· England international at senior level
· Runner up in the British championships at senior level
· England international at veteran level
· Runner up in the Eurovets championship
Right now he is representing his country alongside Brother Neil and Eddie Ridley in Australia and has made two appearances so far in the Over 40's Veteran WORLD FINAL.
Martyn is inclined to shrug off personal glory because his real priority is the Hellingly Lions Club, somewhat proven by his record over the years having never missed a single league match. I don’t believe this is a claim that can be made by any other club’s members, nor achieving such honours. The general feeling amongst the Lions club is that Martyn is without doubt a Lions Legend.
While the three Lions musketeers and Lions mentor Tom Killick are languishing in 30 degrees of sunshine, we are here in a wet, cold, boring UK, but still supporting them all hours, due to time differential, via the internet – so come on lads, go get them. We want points brought back not boomerangs and empty Pringles boxes!
Another free day on the racing calendar with everyone left to their own choice of entertainment. Down under the local clubs took the opportunity to give their own riders some racing. With an invitation extended to all the visitors if they wished to participate. Martyn took up the offer and popped along to the Findon track and joined in with the locals to maintain his fitness levels in preparation for the 2nd Vets Test match at LeFevre on Sat.
Sat 25th. Test match day
Our crew were up and about early, after a spot of breakfast they loaded the car and made their way to The Freezer (locals call it). The official name is of course LeFevre, but apparently it is an apt description of the track as it is situated very close to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica of course. This in turn means when the wind blows it comes straight off the sea and Antarctica, (sounds chilly to me?). It was a 12.30pm (Aussie time) start and the weather was not good being overcast and the southerly wind blowing. So on with the racing, but first it has to be said that a moment of history was about to be written. It was to be our Lion Edward Ridley's day, he was selected to make a debut ride in an team international match against the Aussies in the 2nd of a three rubber contest in the Vets test matches officially recognized by HSB British Cycling. What a debut it turned out to be! With the score standing at AUS 16 - GB 24 in Heat 4 it was Ed's turn to take to the track for Heat 5. He was partnered with Mark Winwood and had gate 4 with Mark on 2. At the off, after a clever first turn he secured a third spot which he maintained to the flag earning a 6-4 heat advantage. Aussie 20 - GB 30. In Heat 10, the first race after the interval, it was Ed's second race. With all the first time nerves now over, Ed was on pole position, gate 1 with Norman Venison his team mate on gate 3. Tapes up and Ed was off like a rabbit and after the first lap was 4/5 bike lengths clear which he maintained for an untroubled win. His partner Norman had secured 3rd spot and looked content to maintain the status quo, but after 3 laps a gap appeared which Norman took full advantage of and joined Ed for a maximum 7-3 to bring the match score to Aus 41 - GB 66. Two good races under his belt we move on to ht 15, with captain Craig Marchant (Stumpz) as Ed's partner. Stumpz was off gate 4 and Ed off 2, any doubts about this one were short lived as both made superb starts . On the exit of the first bend with Craig leading on the inside, Ed burst past down the outside to ride on to a perfect 7-3 maximum. With his rides now completed, Ed finished with a very creditable 10pts out of 12 and surely proud of his efforts. It is now time to mention our other rider in the team; of course it's Martyn Hollebon. His story is somewhat similar, but nevertheless impressive. His campaign began in Heat 2 with an easy win from gate 1 and joined in second spot by captain Stumpz to cruise to a maximum 7-3. His second outing was in Heat 8, again partnered by Craig Marchant but this time we had Craig on gate 1 and Martyn on gate 2. All good from the start with Craig 1st and Martyn 2nd, but entering the pit bend Martyn left a gap to which the Aussie Brad Hoppo pounced into. This resulted in Martyn being relegated to last place in the blink of an eye. The next bend Martyn decided to repay the compliment, but this time Brad Hoppo elected to close the door, so to speak. Both riders clashed and fell with the ref stopping the race immediately. Brad hoppo was excluded as being the prime cause of the stoppage. The re-run was a comfortable 7-2 to GB with the match drifting away from the Aussies to 29 to 49 in favour of GB. From here on Martyn remained untroubled winning heats 11 / 14 and 17 going on to complete a 5 ride maximum of 20pts. To record a unbeaten score is always a bit special, but at international level is rarely achieved. The Great Britain team ran out comfortable winners 116pts to 64pts . Both Martyn and Ed can reflect on their performance with real pride.
No racing for the boys today, all the action on track was down to the woman's individual eliminator. It was a day to take in the city of Adelaide browsing local shops then back to the beach trying to keep cool before the ladies took to the track in the evening.
Back to the racing, with the quarter finals of the senior individuals and Neil Hollebon being our only representative.
Neil was drawn at no10 in the program which brought him out in Ht 3 for his first race from gate 1. His first race and prime gate position, Neil was looking for a good start, but sadly it was not to be. Still suffering from injuries from his first round eliminator he could only muster 3rd place with 2pts. Such was the strength of the opposition that further progress in the competition was never going to be easy, and so it proved to be. In his other 4 races he could only manage 3 more 3rd's and a last place to finish on 9pts. This was someway short of the total required, so Neil's journey in the world finals came to end here.
Once again , another day with no racing for the boys as it was test match day. Both seniors and junior GB teams were racing the 3rd and final tests with the juniors completing a 3-0 whitewash and the seniors managing their first victory, although both teams were not at full strength. Australia had already taken a 2-0 lead so elected to promote some of their juniors to give them some experience. All the Hellingly boys were spectators after spending the day visiting Adelaide zoo.
Sat 11th Nov 9:40am, North Terminal Gatwick Airport.
Four members of the Hellingly lions Club are about to embark on a journey to the Antipodes. Martyn and Neil Hollebon, Edward Ridley and non riding icon Thomas Killick are about to endure a flight of some 22hrs which includes a stop at Dubai on their way to Adelaide , South Australia for the Cycle Speedway World Championships. They arrived late on Sun eve and eventually got to their beds around midnight. With the tournament due to begin the next day, and the boys not taking part in the first 2days, they were glad of the time to diminish jet-lag.
Mon 13th World CUP elimination round.
This was a contest between ENGLAND, IRELAND, WALES and AUSTRALIA with the lowest scoring team exiting the competition. Ireland were the unfortunate ones with the other three moving on to join Poland ( current holders ) in the final on Sat 18th.
Tues 14th Test Matches
The Hellingly boys were not racing this day, but next on the list was the first of the Ashes test matches against the Aussies. The juniors were on first and GB ran out comfortable winners by 20pts. This of course didn’t go down to well with the locals and was soon corrected when the seniors took to the track. The Roo's ripped into the GB Lions and after 18 pulsating heats emerged victorious with an eight point win.
Track action for our boys, and first up was Ed in his senior elimination round. After 5 rides he amassed 9pts, falling 1point short of qualifying which ended his campaign in this section, but he still had the vets eliminators and the GB test matches against the Aussies to look forward to.
Martyn's turn next and again after scoring 10pts in his eliminator, he was 1pt short of automatic qualification but will have to endure a further set of races in a run-off with 8 other riders. Now it was time for Neil to take to the track, but wished he hadn't. In his very first race he suffered a heavy fall incurring some nasty injuries which the photo's show but still finished the meeting on 12pts, so qualifying comfortably for the quarter finals. It remains to be seen as to whether he will be fit enough to take his place on Tues 21st.
Fri 17th The first official Vets test match
Martyn had the honour of being named No.1 in the team for this one, (not too sure if he was happy about that) but no place for Ed this time. He had a superb debut to have three race wins, a second and paid second to finish with a score of 17 +1 pts. Martyn was beaten only twice by Brad Hoppo in heats 1 and 3, but did lead both races at some stage. The team ran out comfortable winners after 18heats with the scores being 80 Aus 97 GB. No less than six members of the GB team scored double figures with Norman Venison top of the tree scoring 18+1 being beaten again only by Brad Hoppo in ht 7. Top scorer for the Aussies was Brad with 17+2, his only defeat was in ht 12 to GB's Mark Whitehead.
Not much racing for the boys today , Martyn the only one with some track action having to negotiate a series of run offs in the senior individual followed by the vets eliminator. He strolled through both sections and now has three days with no racing. The rest of the day was taken up as a spectator at the woman's first test against the Aussies which GB won with ease. This was followed by the Junior World cup contested by England, Australia and Poland to where the England team ran out easy winners. The final meeting of the day was the Senior World cup with England, Australia, Wales and Poland racing for honours. There is a video recording of this meeting and is well worth a look with the best riders in the world on show. The meeting produced some of the best racing you will ever likely to see with the winners not confirmed until the last race was completed. All I will say is Australia won the trophy, but watch the video. Now our boys elected not to watch the World Cup meetings (can see the video's) but to pay a visit to the nearby Gillmans Park speedway stadium to take in some solo and sidecar speedway Australian style.
No racing for the boys today, so after breakfast cooked by Neil it was a 50+ mile drive out in to the dessert to Murray Bridge. The temp had soared to 36 degrees, so they were happy not to be racing just watching. The meetings taking place today was three test matches against the Aussies. The first one was the woman's 2nd test match won by GB to take a 2-0 lead. Match 2 was the Juniors (u18) who also won taking a 2-0 lead in the series. The days racing finished with the seniors taking to the track with the temp well in to the high 30's. The Roo's were on fire in this one, and took the GB team to the cleaners to win this one with ease to take a 2-0 lead in the series with one match to go. Racing done it was back to HQ for some grub and try and get out of the heat.
Sightseeing for the boys today. Off to the National Motor Museum, (think it’s in Adelaide ) they met up with the Cox boys (David and Jason) nice to be joining them most days at times. On to the racing –
Ed was the only one on a bike today (apart from Neil). It was his vets qualifier or series of run off’s to be accurate. His first race was off gate 3, and it appeared that he was using this one as a warm up and finished 3rd. His second race was again off of gate3 but this time it was an entirely different ball game. Tapes went up and Ed was straight onto the shoulder of some Aussie (name unimportant) at the first bend. He stayed like a shadow for 3 and 3/4 laps but on exiting the final bend with the finishing line in sight Ed switched on his afterburner, left the Aussie in his vapour trail and took the race. That was the end of his racing for the day as the win earned him his place in the semi-finals. Official stuff done and dusted it was chill out time taking in the test match which followed. This was between Poland and ‘The Rest of the World’ with the makeup of the teams unavailable as yet. The result has filtered through as a win for Poland, but no more than that. Back to our boys, with all the racing now over for the day the draw for the Vets semi-finals took place. Both Martyn and Ed were drawn at the same track, this being LeFevre on SAT 25th. Hopefully this meeting will be filmed on Periscope live in which case will be seen at 11.30pm Fri 24th over here. After scrutinising both semi finals they look to have the slightly easier route, but in saying that no international meeting is going to be easy. Martyn should cruise through and Ed, if he can fire up his after burners once again, then we can look forward to two " LIONS " in the final.
To be continued…….
The LIONS IN AUSTRALIA.
Martyn Hollebon and Eddie Ridley both members of Hellingly Lions cycle speedway team in Australia.
Both riders wearing the Great Britain uniform racing strip. Martyn and Eddie have been selected to represent Great Britain in the very first international match against Australia in the veteran category (over 40's). The test match takes place at LeFevre, Adelaide South Australia on Fri 17th @ 8pm Australia time (10am our time). If you can receive Periscope on an IPad or a Tablet the meeting will be streamed live.
Else, for results go to www.hellinglylions.org
A shot of team Hollebon in AUS . Neil Hollebon and brother Martyn ready to race at Adelaide in the CYCLE SPEEDWAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS along with riders mentor Tommy Killick. Both were riding in the first qualifying rounds. Neil qualified for the quarter- finals scoring 12pts despite a first race fall injuring his thumb. After first aid treatment he was advised to withdraw from the meeting, but ignored the advice carrying on and qualifying. Brother Martyn made a total of 10pts meaning he will have to contest extra races in a series of run offs to qualify at a later date to be arranged. The quarter finals take place on Wed 22nd NOV.
All of the Lions and the distant supporters in the UK hope Neil will be fit enough to fill his well earned place.
Leon Mower with 11 pts gets one place. The following nine riders from all rounds will have to contest a runoff as they all are equal on 10pts. Haldeby (Aus) - MARTYN (ENG) - Fleming (Aus ) - Wojeichowski (Pol ) - Mick Knowles (Eng ) - Hurley (Aus ) - Binkowski ( Pol ) - Walters and Clarke (Aus ), will all fight for the three remaining places. We await the confirmation of gleaned info and as to where and when this will take place as the quarter finals are at two tracks, Salisbury and Findon. The two meetings are both on Wednesday 22nd Nov.
Lions World Championships Australia
Met this morning at TK Metals headquarters at 4:30am. The taxi will take us to Gatwick North Terminal. Flight leaves 9:40am heading to Dubai on Airbus 380 for a 6hrs 50mins flight. There will be a 5 hour wait in Dubai then boarding a Boeing 770 to Adelaide for a 13 hr flight. Landing scheduled for 9pm Adelaide time - 10:30am UK time Sunday. Then we head to our base camp in Adelaide Discovery Park. Equipment has been all taken apart and cleaned due to strict Oz Quarantine Rules. Had problems packing as veteran Edward Ridley was 4.5kilo over weight (equipment not Ed) but after shuffling around gear in other equipment bags that we are taking to Adelaide, all should be ok to go.
Parked and ready to roll
Myself NHR aka Neil Hollebon is entered in the Senior Individual. Martyn Hollebon and Edward Ridley senior and veterans and are also in GB veteran squad taking part in a 3 test series against Ozzies starting Friday at Le Fevre. Tom Killick is also making the trip as chief mentor and motivator. He has pretty much been influential in all 3 of our racing careers at some point, so to have him going is big plus. This is my 2nd world champs tour in Australia, for the other three’s first time experiencing racing outside Europe. When the sun sets and the lights come on, racing in the southern hemisphere is the nuts. Everything has been very last minute.com re organising due to late call ups to the vets GB squads for the boys. The rest GB touring party are all half way there.
Can you spot which one can’t stand without the wall support?
Sat 30th Sept at 1pm Hellingly Lions Cycle Speedway Club are proud to be hosting Round 7 of the ‘Eurovets’ competition for over 40's/50's and 60's. It promises to be a classic event as leading riders will be here at Hellingly from Newcastle, Manchester, Norwich, Birmingham, Leicester and as far afield as Glasgow are all competing. The Series joint leaders Craig Marchant and Kevin Burns, along with Dave Hemsley ( 5x British Champ 3x World Champ ) all from Leicester. Chick Mackie at an unbelievable 78yrs young is making the trip down from Glasgow. Martyn, Eddie and myself will be representing Hellingly's colours. The series also raises money for the ‘Orchid’ charity with all proceeds going this charity in aid of male cancer.
A word from the Editor:-
Cycle Speedway in sports categorisation, is described as ‘Sprint cycling’. Sprint cycling is classed as one of the most physically demanding of all sport as it requires 110% of all available energy in a two minute or so burst that really hurts - every race. So, in this ‘vets’ competition, I find it incomprehensible that there are guys competing in this event whose kid brothers are probably drawing pensions and riding to the pub on mobility scooters! (I personally use taxis). Not only will you be watching Hellingly Lions, you will be watching ‘British’ Lions! You should be there.
Biscuits Bike Build
The story starts back in the close season 2016. At this time Martyn and Eddie made the decision to purchase a new Polish frame commonly known as a Szymanski. The reason for this is that ex world champion Marcin Szymanski (Polish) is the sole distributer of this particular frame. Both guys bought, assembled and turned up to a training session beaming like Cheshire cats with their bikes. Of course, what followed was not a quick inspection, more like full on scrutinising of them.
Track time next, with both looking comfortable although not yet at racing pace. A few laps passed and not being offered a test run, I requested (demanded) one from Martyn.
Off I went taking a couple of laps to get the feel before unleashing it - so to speak. Was I impressed? It was so smooth and comfortable to ride that I immediately felt at one with the bike - I was sold! From that moment on I knew I had to have one. I must add, that this decision was made while hanging over the fence on the exit of bends 1 & 2! Possibly due to the structure of the bike, but more likely due to over exuberance on my part I shook hands with the fence. No damage to the bike, (thankfully) but some minor damage to my ego and finger plus a shedload of embarrassment.
My analysis of the mishap was due to the bottom bracket being a good inch higher than that on an Archie frame, enabling ‘picking up’ a good half a metre earlier and thus generating more speed unexpectedly (my story an stickin to it).
Now having been totally smitten, the order was placed in Nov 2016 (approx.) with delivery late Jan 2017 (approx), unfortunately this was not to be. For reasons unknown, the frames didn’t arrive in England until mid August 2017. On arrival I was offered a choice of the 2016 version, or the latest one with ultra thin tubing and double butted joints. Of course I went for the latest version at a cost of £220 complete with a set of forks both items unpainted and in a raw aluminium finish.
I also ordered a new set of handlebars, slightly wider than the ones most UK riders are using at the moment but are popular in Poland. These came in a metallic black finish (£20).
It was time now to gather the rest of the bikes components, some of which were to come from Archie Wilkinson Cycles (Wolverhampton) via assistance from Neil Hollebon.
First on the list were the wheels; as there are many choices I could have made, I went for the recommended top of the range DP17 Alexrims with Miche Technology hubs, both in matt black, size 26 x 195 (£99) via Archie Wilkinson.
Tyres next; again there are several different versions used in cycle speedway, but far and away the best tyre is the Larsen Maxxis TT 26 x 195. These tyres are difficult to obtain and are not cheap, mine came from Triple Butted Cycles in Bude Devon (£46.48) for the pair.
Inner tubes were Conti MTB 26 also from Triple Butted Cycles (£12 for 2) and rubber rim tapes (£6 for 2) were sourced locally.
Wheels now almost complete except the freewheel cog, the choice of which, depends on which gear ratio you elect to use. Most riders at the moment are using 33/34 front chain-ring with 18 tooth rear freewheel, *but for reasons I will explain later, I am using 30/32 front chain-ring with 16/17 rear freewheel cogs. The 16t cog is the chosen by BMX riders as its very robust (£24) sourced from the local Halfords store.
The 17t cog is a completely different spec. and top of the range is the Halo ‘Clickster’, not cheap from Evans Cycles.
On now to the engine room so to speak, by which I am referring to the chain-set or cranks if you prefer. Once again there are many variations available at very indifferent prices, with most riders going for mid range pedal arms that have a length of 175mm as standard. I myself went for top of the range gear, namely Shimano XT Deorre Hollowtech but with 180mm arms. *This chain-set was extremely difficult to obtain and also did not come cheap (£99.99). It also created problems regarding the gearing (hence me using 30/32t chain-rings). The BCD (bolt centre diameter) for this particular set of arms is 96, whereas the normal for 33/34 chain-rings is 104 BCD. That is a quick explanation as to why I am using 30/16 or 32/17, plus I do have a 33tooth 104BCD chain-ring which is no use to me at all which (£15) .
Then there is still the bearing for the axle to run on. This is a Shimano Deorre BB52 Hollowtech II sealed bearing type (£9.99). Not quite top of the range but certainly does the job very well. The chain is a KMC - Z510S silver wide 1/8 designed for use on a BMX, unsure of the price but around £12 I think?
The pedals are designed for cycle speedway so are smaller in width and covered in an emery cloth as slippage reduction (£18 per pr.), both items purchased from Archie Wilkinson.
That completes the engine room, now the comfort zone. The seat post is again not a standard size because of the tubing used on the frame. It is 3.9cm aluminium painted matt black (£14.99) from Chainreaction.
The post fixing is a Nukeproof Seat Post Clamp also from Chainreaction (£9.99). Advice! Don't buy one of these as they are rubbish, far better products out there (lesson learned). My saddle was sourced on E-bay (£5.99) from China free p/p, comfortable and does the job.
Nearly there now, just the headset to be fitted which did prove a bit of a problem, primarily due to my ignorance. I managed to fit the top bearing cup to the bottom vice versa which resulted in my being unable to tighten the headset down properly. Eventually fixed it though and like all other components the price range can be vast. Once again, acquired from Archie Wilkinson (£9), but as with all things you only get what you pay for! The handle bar clamp also came from Archie, not the best, but it does the job (£9.00). The handle bar grips, are again not the best in the world, but suffice at the moment (£6.99). They’re made by Clarke's and were bought from Chainreaction.
Well that completed the assembly of the bike, but have forgotten to cover the decor which was naturally completed before fitting anything to the frame, I’m talking about the paint job. This was done by a local powder-coating company. The colour is of course true to the lion’s scheme of things (a deep red/burgundy) and once again, not cheap (£70.00).
I hope that this has given you a small insight as to what ‘can’ be spent on a good cycle speedway machine. Please note though, these are my own personal preferences, and as always it will be your choice on how much you want you spend. Please take a look at the picture and pass on your thoughts for all to view on messenger.
On the road again
That is our very own Martyn and Eddie. Both on their way to Coventry (Sat 11th June) to compete in round 4 of the Eurovets. The weather forecast is not brilliant, but a little bit of rain would not go amiss as on previous visits to Coventry although they have access to a hose pipe, it appears no one has used it. Let’s hope for better racing conditions this year guys.
As this is round 3, surely the hand of fate cannot deal another blow to them both. For those who are not aware, in the first 2 rounds Martyn was dealt the cruellest of blows by being drawn at no; 9. That gave him two gate 4's and with the quality of the opposition this year being very high that's the last thing he needs. Ed also didn't have the best of times either, but of late his racing form has improved considerably. Take a look at the match report from the league match at Norwich last week. Would be great for them to both make a Final at least.
Also on the road we have Neil Hollebon on his way down west to Swindon. He is making his debut in the HSBC Elite Grand Prix. This is round 2 of four in the competition with rounds at different tracks and the riders have the option to miss one round as only three will count towards the total score. Rumour has it that there will be a big turnout for this round which means that Neil will have to negotiate a semi-final round first, unless he is lucky enough to get seeded to the final. The Swindon track is big and fast, but can be a bit deep in the corners. Nevertheless we wish him the very best of luck and get to the final at least.
Time to dish out a bit of recognition and acknowledgement! This time it goes to "Heavy Roller" - AKA Perce - AKA Les Cox. This is dedication to the fore! Not only does this guy turn up at the track at 08.30am on Saturday 3rd June to help get ready for the Grand Prix event, he stayed all day doing whatever needed to be done till the meeting was over. Time to go home!!!! Not bloody likely , he’s still there helping to put everything away and tidy up (after all, let us all remember the track is on a public recreation ground). So home now? Noooooooo!!!!!! Off he went to pick up the minibus from Eastbourne ready for the trip to Norwich on Sunday. It's now 08.30 Sun morning when I clamber in the team bus and off we go to load the bikes and pick up the team before we set off for Norwich for the league match. Racing over it was a case of doing it all again for the trip back home. Once back in Sussex it was a case of empty everything out of the bus, make sure it is clean inside and return it to the hire company in Eastbourne. He eventually returned home at 10.10 pm Sunday evening, (I know this for a fact because I was there). The point is, all this was done without any complaint (a few expletives and groans granted) because he is passionate about the club. They say respect has to be earned, you have done that big time Perce and I salute you my friend - as do we all.
Sat 20th May 2017 - Eurovets - Stoke
DOES LIGHTNING STRIKE TWICE?
Well for Martyn and Eddie apparently it does. Both the boys made the trip to Stoke with Tommy Killick, myself and Eddie's eldest son Harry tagging along to keep them company. As we arrived, the predicted weather forecast came alive. The rain that is, so the usual track inspection was a little brief. A cup of tea was the next order of the day as there was still an hour to go before the start at 1pm.
By now the rest of the competitors were starting to arrive. With the likes of no less than an ex World and British champ, the current World and British champ, 2 former winners of this event ', the previous winner from Newcastle and a handful of others capable of winning the meeting, life was going to be very tough for all of them. It was now 10mins to the start and the draw was about to be made when the powers that be received a message that the five boys from Newcastle had been held up in traffic on the notorious M6 but just minutes away. Sportsmanship prevailed amongst all those involved and they were entered in the draw even though they had not as yet signed in.
Here comes that bolt of lightning, the draw made and would you believe it we had Ed at 8, and Martyn at 9. Very similar to the Newcastle meeting! Credit to both of them, their reply was , we can't change it let’s get on with it.
Ed was the first to take to the track in heat 2 and managed a second place; surprisingly beaten by Jim Collier from Horspath. A further 2 seconds and a third place gave him 11points with one race remaining. Ed was having a good meeting and a spot in the "B" final looked on the cards. Sadly this was not to be. With the cut and thrust and no quarter asked for or given, Ed was deemed to be the cause of the stoppage in heat 17. The explanation given was 'forcing his opponent on to the centre green' resulting in Ed being excluded. To me, this seemed a little harsh as previously in the meeting at least two other riders moved at the tape whilst under orders, but got away with it (no names). Ed took it on the chin with no complaint, but there went his dream of making the "B" final.
On to Martyn. Not easy to get him motivated as his head was in a different place due to personal reasons. Nevertheless, heat 3, gate 3, a second place was a good start. On to heat 5, the first of his two rides from gate 4. Another creditable second place and with 6 out of 8 pts in the bag, things were looking good. Heat 11 gate 1, possible win here we thought. Afraid not, with ex world champ Steve Harris in the race he knew he could not hang about. So it turned out, after leading the race for 2 laps Steve picked Martyn off with a clever inside pass. After 3 races and 3 second places giving him 9pts, going into Heat 16 from his second gate 4. With Kev Burns (leic) on gate 1, Jason Keith on 2, anything more than a third would be a bonus and so it proved; third spot and 2pts took him to 11 with a gate 2 to come in heat 18. Unfortunately for Martyn on gate 1 was Craig Marchant, the current World, British and Eurovets champion. That ill fated No.9 draw spot comes to the fore. He grabbed second spot earning him a total of 14 pts and gate 2 in the "B" final.
On to the finals! The "A" FINAL was Steve Harris on gate 1, Kev Burns - gate 2, Mark Whitehead - gate 3 and Craig Marchant on gate 4. This was also the finishing order as even though they were four quality riders, no one was willing to do anything silly.
The "B" final. Jason keith (New) on gate 1, Martyn - gate 2, Mark Winwood (Birm, an ex Eurovet champ) - gate 3 and Andy Johnson (Horspath) on gate 4. Tapes up and riders away, Martyn elected to gate round Jason. He didn't quite make it and got pushed wide with Mark Winwood on his outside. With Jason Keith way into the distance it became a sprint race for Martyn with Mark. It has to be said that Mark found another gear from somewhere as he burst round the outside of Martyn on lap 2. That was how it finished with Jason Keith 1st, Mark Winwood 2nd, Martyn 3rd Andy Johnson 4th.
With the meeting over and just the trophies to be presented we had Ed's son Harry (just 7yrs old) chomping at the bit. Why you may ask? Well Ed had built a new bike for Harry which we took with us, and of course Harry wanted to get out there as soon as he could. To sum up the day, all things considered, the weather, the quality field of riders we came away reasonably satisfied with the result. Harry was for sure, with just two minutes on the road to home - he fell asleep.
A Pride of Lions are ON THE ROAD AGAIN.
That is, the two boys from Hellingly Lions, Martyn Hollebon and Eddie Ridley.
On Sat 22nd they head north to Stoke to take part in the second round of the Eurovets programme. Two weeks ago both made the long haul to Newcastle for Round 1, followed by a league match at Ipswich the following day. That in total was close to 1,000 miles on the road. This time, with a relatively short hop of around 500mls round trip and no meeting on Sunday, it should be a breeze for them.
The weather forecast is looking good, Simon Balkauls and Avon Allcock are working hard preparing the track and once again the field looks very competitive. All from Hellingly Lions Cycle Speedway Club wish them both the best of luck, safe journey and of course "Be proud”.
Heavy Roller at it again! He really knows his way around toilets eh! Probably the best loos in the cycle speedway league! What a star.
What about this for dedication? Martyn and Eddie are today (Sat 6th May) heading for Cramlington (NEWCASTLE) to ride in the first round of the EUROVETS event. The meeting is scheduled to start at 1pm lasting roughly 4hrs, then return home, a round trip of 700mls and 12hrs on the road minimum. Next day, Sun 7th 10am the pair, along with the rest of the LIONS team, will be off again to IPSWICH this time, to race in a South East and Eastern league match, (probably the toughest meeting of the season). Start time for this meeting is 2pm, lasting approx 3hrs then the return home. That is another 230 mls and 5hrs on the road. Good luck to Martyn and Ed tomorrow and to the rest of the squad on Sunday.
New Pit Boundary Fencing
Big thanks to Neil and ’Heavy Roller’ (Les Cox) for renewing the pit boundary fencing. Nice job.
(one of mine blew down last week in gales - Price please)!
Lifetime Award for George
George Hollebon, a lifetime member of Hellingly Lions Cycle Speedway Club, on Saturday 6th August 2016 was awarded a lifetime achievement award for his services to Cycle Speedway by Secretary of the Veterans Cycle Speedway Association at Hellingly’s staging of the Eurovets grand prix series.
George, known to most in the sport as simply “Mr Hellingly”, was lost for words as he was called up alongside his wife, Gill, who also received a bouquet of flowers for her services to the club, to be presented with the award in front of their three proud and equally hard working children.
A member of the club for 69 years, George first rode for the club at the age of 12 in 1947. By the mid-fifties, he had become the man at the helm of the club and over the years holding every position available.
Running any sports club for any amount of time can be stressful at times, but 69 years in, George is still to be found at the club on every club night and matchday with a rake in his hand helping out on the track. It is only through his dedication that the club, which is the oldest surviving club in the world, is still operational today.
Club member Brian Davidson, who has returned to the saddle this year at the age of 65, has known George for over 40 years, he said: “Younger members probably don’t comprehend or understand what all the fuss is about, but to have a few ex-riders and others turn up to pay tribute to George for what he has done for the sport speaks volumes for the respect they have for the man. “Take this afternoon, who else at 81 would pick up a broom and promptly get on with grading the track, no one wanted him out there but no one was going to stop him either, that is love for the sport and passion for his club.
“When he was asked to say a few words on the microphone, he replied saying he was speechless, before paying tribute to his wife Gill, that was touching. I have the greatest respect for them both and always will have”.
Current riders were all there to award George and Gill three big cheers (a tradition from team to team after a match) and it was probably the loudest cheers that the club have ever heard.
Current Chairman Barry Carpenter added: “I have no other words to say than before us today stands two legends of the club, the awards they have received are more than deserved and I am so proud that the association have done this. The club owes the whole Hollebon family a massive debt, the hours that George has and still spends over here is amazing for someone of his age, I may be chairman of the club but George is and always will be number 1.”
Lions Get Grant
Hellingly Lions have recently been awarded a £4,000 grant from Wealden District Council community grants scheme.
This coincides with a number of off-track changes including the formation of a committee that has seen “Mr Hellingly” himself, George Hollebon, step down from the main roles at the club after 65 years involvement in the world’s oldest surviving cycle speedway club. The grant will enable the club to purchase a number of new bikes and equipment.
Team manager and rider of over 30 years, Martyn Hollebon said: “The club is in the process of purchasing up to twelve new bikes, these will range from junior to senior sizes, this will enable age ranges from 7 upwards to come and try the sport”.
Club Chairman, Barry Carpenter added: “We will very soon be in a position to offer our range of club activities to a larger number of participants. If there are any groups, youth clubs, cubs and scouts, brownies and guides or any other groups that are interested in coming and trying cycle speedway, we would welcome them over please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I would like to thank Michelle Gray and the team at Wealden for their help and assistance in securing this grant.”
More good news to be coming shortly, as the club is in the process of securing a long term (25 year) lease of our home track in conjunction with Hellingly Parish Council.
This provides the club the security of our home since 1951 and we have a number of projects that we will be working on in the near future to enhance our proud club.
A Recently painted watercolour of a roadside view of the Lions track by local artist Steve Stonestreet. Incredibly detailed which is cannot be appreciated in this image.