King's Lynn Stars chief picks his ultimate Lynn one-to-seven
King’s Lynn Stars team manager Peter Schroeck has been associated with the sport for more than 40 years.
And as a boy, he witnessed first-hand some of the finest speedway riders to don a Lynn race jacket.
Here, Schroeck picks his ultimate King’s Lynn one-to-seven dream team.
1. Terry Betts.
First in the all-time club appearance list and a shoe-in for Stars fans of a certain vintage.
The year 1972 was a golden one for the Harlow-born ace: he became World Pairs Champion with Ray Wilson and was a member of the Great Britain team that won the World Team Cup.
Schroeck said: “My time coincided with Terry Betts and Malcolm Simmons being the number one riders.”
2. Michael Lee.
No doubt one of the most talented two-wheel experts to ever come out of East Anglia, 40 years ago Cambridge-born Lee memorably lifted the world title trophy in Sweden, making it a Lynn one-two with Dave Jessup.
Schroeck said: “When I was watching he was one of the up-and-coming riders. Michael was a very flamboyant character. With one thing or another his life didn’t really go the way people thought it would.
“What happened in his life is not for me to judge but the way he kept coming back, you have to respect that. From a speedway point of view, he was phenomenal. He’s still in engine tuning and things like that. He now lives in Newmarket, I think, still doing engines for youngsters.”
3. Richard Hellsen.
The Swede - finalist of the World Cup pairs in Krško, 1980 - is one of the most popular overseas riders to venture into West Norfolk.
Schroeck said: “I used to love watching Richard. I think you could call him and the others King’s Lynn legends. I think they deserved that title.”
4. Ian Turner.
‘Tiddler’ was a diminutive, long-standing and reliable member of the 1970s middle-order who backed up the likes of Betts and Simmons during a memorable spell seen by many as a golden age of Lynn speedway.
Schroeck said: “You could throw Ian in there and he would do the business for you.”
5. Richard Knight.
Member of a speedway dynasty (his son Jake has also ridden for Lynn), who captained the side and represented Great Britain.
Schroeck said: “I remember watching Richard and he is still with us now, behind the scenes. He’s a smashing guy.
“He’s a local guy and I think he deserves to be in that line-up, that’s for sure.”
6. Malcolm Simmons.
Another successful import from ‘down south’, man of Kent Simmons was four times a World Team Cup winner and his most memorable Lynn spell was between 1968-1974, before joining Poole.
The former Rye House manager Schroeck was lucky to be able to attend meetings during a special period for the shale sport with Lynn riders like Simmons, Betts and Lee regularly competing for their country and going for domestic, international and world honours, and said: “They’re all big names in King’s Lynn history.
“I used to come when I was 12 years old to King’s Lynn for a speedway school, that’s when my dad first brought me over from Germany.
“We used to watch the meetings, and those sort of names easily popped up in my head, and they have been very popular up there, I know that.”
7. Tom Topinka.
Only Terry Betts (see above) has turned out more times in a Lynn helmet than this Czech Republic stalwart of the 1990s and 2000s who led the Saddlebow Road outfit to Premier League trophy successes.
He also has two FIM Speedway Grand Prix race wins to his name.
Schroeck said: “One of the youngsters and a really nice guy! Tom came onto the scene a little bit later than all the others and is a modern Lynn legend, especially with the injuries he had.
“I’ve seen him do stuff when he was on fire around King’s Lynn that were unbelievable. He did it over here for many years and you’ve got to have respect for people like that.”