King's Lynn Stars rider talks about early stages of his career in speedway
King’s Lynn Stars offered a view through the eyes of a local speedway rider when the club hosted An Evening With Lewis Kerr on Monday.
The popular West Norfolk racer took fans through his early career, which included football, motocross and a trip Stateside, as well as focusing on his shale surface exploits.
He grew up in a sporting household, with the 29-year-old’s father Robbie having trials for Aston Villa and Norwich. Kerr himself also flirted with a Canaries career, taking in youth trials as well as playing for clubs around his Snettisham home.
Football perhaps was not his destiny as the Dersingham ace commented: “I had too short a temper and dad sent me off once! I wrote to clubs for trials but they were too far away.”
After receiving a helmet for Christmas, bikes beckoned and an early motocross meeting resulted in a crash.
“I was in the ambulance and a fight broke out in the pits outside,” remembered Kerr.
When he was 18 years old, Kerr went on a trip to America in a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for a year, but on returning more niggling injuries prompted a switch to speedway for the teenager.
“Motocross was a big part of my life. I remember selling my final motocross bike. I still love the sport now,” he added.
An introduction to the shale sport came via a go on former Mildenhall, Lynn, Ipswich and Swindon rider Andy Mountain’s bike.
“I was instantly hooked,” the Lynn-born rider remarked. “I could slide it by the end of the day. We found a cheap bike and we’d just GO to Scunthorpe for second halves of meetings, and down here.
“Originally I was going to sign for Peterborough Thundercats academy but then a friend of mine called Buster (Keith Chapman, Lynn boss).
“They got me down for a second half and signed me that night as an asset.”
He made his King’s Lynn Young Stars debut in the National League in June 2010 and registered a paid-10 haul: “I remember that night: it was here against Isle of Wight and it was unbelievable, really,” added Kerr. “I still can’t believe it, myself.”
He progressed up that third tier into the second-tier Premier League/Championship with numerous clubs and then in 2014 came his chance at the top-level Elite League (now Premiership) with his hometown club as a Fast Track reserve rider.
One of many stories Kerr told was when competing at Poole, whose rider Paul Starke crashed into him.
“Paul took me out, then my dad was told he had to apologise because dad had slapped Bjarne (Pedersen) around the head.
“He’d slapped the wrong rider! Bjarne has got no hair; Paul has got lots of hair! I was close to getting thrown out of the meeting.”
Kerr now hopes he can help bring the good times back to King’s Lynn in 2020 after the club endured one of their toughest campaigns last season.