‘Part of a big family’ - King’s Lynn Stars legends return to track

Speedway

 Tom it's Terry Betts & Ian 'Turner
Speedway Tom it's Terry Betts & Ian 'Turner

Former King’s Lynn Stars legends Terry Betts and Howard Cole visited the Adrian Flux Arena track last week.

Betts bestrode the fondly-remembered years 1965 to 1978 at Saddlebow Road, and remains the Norfolk outfit’s all-time points scoring and appearance record holder, while Cole overlapped half of that period.

Although those times were not particularly successful in terms of trophies − the club’s first piece of silverware was the KO Cup in 1977 − they are much cherised by older fans.

Betts, who rode a total of 649 Stars meetings, said: “They were good memories for sure, they were great days. We were all a lot younger − we were 50 years younger, actually.

“In those days King’s Lynn was all new, we were all youngsters. For most of the supporters it was their first time. They had all come over from Norwich and nearby. The whole club grew up together.

“It was all part of a big family, you see, because so many we knew personally.

“They used to come week after week and they all virtually stood on the same spot. You could sort of know exactly where they were. There were a lot of friends. I loved it.”

He admits he still wants to climb back on the bike: “You still think so, up here.

“You feel as though you could do it, but physically it’s such a physical sport you just don’t realise the effort you put into it and how draining it is.

“But mentally you still think you’re 18; your body tells you something else!

“We were living in Essex in those days and people came in from Essex. The thing was virtually the whole team was based within a few miles of the stadium.”

Cole, who rode for the Stars between 1966 and 1972 and has since emigrated with his wife to Australia, joked about the rain which ended up curtailing the second half of Lynn’s double-header: “It was a beautiful day. We went to Southwold earlier, I had my shorts and T-shirt on.

“I recognised the road as soon as we turned into it even though the factories are all new and were never here before. Somehow I knew it was Saddlebow Road and everything else is different.

“There was no concrete in the middle where we’re standing now, it was all grass in those days. The stands are all different, the rain is about the same!”

The racing has also changed, he added: “Terry and myself have been talking, it was so much different in our day, it’s unbelievable. Inside (on the centre green) it’s a lot quicker than when you stand on the outside. It’s completely changed.

“I don’t know whether we would’ve been able to hang on to these bikes. They all seem to have trouble keeping the front end down.”