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THIRD TIME UNLUCKY THERE’S an old saying that luck, good or distressingly bad, always comes in threes.

And you certainly won’t find Mildenhall’s octogenarian team manager Malcom Vasey arguing about that.

He’d missed the road trip to Kent on Sunday, August 21 and then been taken ill for the following weekend’s crucial home match against Oxford.

Those gremlin struck again before the first race of the match against Berwick when he accidentally tripped over a restraining rope on the centregreen and needed urgent treatment from the Fen Tigers’ medical team after badly gashing his left hand.

They wanted Malcom to go to hospital for further examination and treatment but he insisted he wanted to stay at West Row. He saw out both the match against the Bullets and then the meeting against Plymouth with his hand heavily bandaged.

Fortunately, he was able to keep score, revealing: “While I boxed southpaw and I could play snooker with my left hand, I have always used my right hand for writing.”

Another concern with the medics was that Malcolm, who has been working this season with Jason Gardner alongside him in team management duties, is on the blood thinner warfarin and promised that if he did feel any major ill-effects, he would drive himself to hospital.

He said: “The cut was right across the palm of my hand but it looked as if the bandage had stopped it bleeding. It’s not the way I want to go out as this is definitely my last year as team manager, I will be handing over to Jason at the end of the season.”

Vasey is hoping to go out on a high, rather than a low, as Mildenhall’s double header victories took them to the top of the National Development League table going into the title play-offs.

CLAIRE’S TV DREAM YOU will probably remember some of the stories I have brought you about journalist Claire Hannah’s love of speedway.

It all began with her doing a radio report about Liverpool’s most famous rider, the twotime World Champion Peter Craven.

She really threw herself into a project to have Peter’s achievements recognised by the civic authorities in both Liverpool, where he was born, and Manchester, where he spent the bulk of his career with Belle Vue.

Claire was so captivated by the sport that she went on to book herself into not one, but two, sessions of the ‘Ride & Skid It’ speedway experience days at Buxton, under the tutorship of former rider Aidan Collins and his father Les, world number two 40 years ago at America’s Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Now the good news is that, working for Granada TV in Manchester, Claire was seconded (on a temporary basis) to the sports department and presented her first on-air sports bulletins.

She admitted: “As a girl who grew up watching Granada Reports, this means the world to me.”

True to form, Claire managed to get a mention of the Aces’ Bank Holiday double against Wolverhampton and it’s great to have someone as keen on speedway as Claire at the sharp end of regional ITV sports coverage.

After her two-week shift ended she went back to news but said: “I loved it. Fingers crossed the sports team will have me back in the future.”

With Natalie Quirk firmly established at BT Sport and now covering the MotoGP series via her stint as presenter of their speedway coverage, the girls have certainly done speedway proud in recent times.

MYSTERY OIL DEATH OVER the years, the logo of Russian energy company Lukoil was prominently displayed on speedway race-jackets.

They sponsored the Oktyabrsky club, the national touring team and have been longtime backers of the FIM Ice Gladiators, ice racing’s World Championship.

Over the years, they have pumped a lot of money into the various disciplines of the sport, much of it while 67-year-old Ravil Maganov had been the Lukoil chairman.

Maganov died instantly earlier this month after falling from a sixth floor window of the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow.

The 67-year-old had been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and is the latest Russian businessman to die in mysterious circumstances.

MEDIA WATCH CREDIT to the small team who bring out what has been a monthly magazine at Oxford.

The latest and sixth issue of The Cheetahs Chronicle is now available and editor Mark Dean and his number two Rob Peasley are to be congratulated on their efforts as it seems to get better and better with each edition.

It’s also to their credit that they have majored on the club’s National Development League side in what will be the last of this season’s series.

There are informative profiles on Sam Hagon, Henry Atkins, Arran Butcher, Jordan Jenkins, Jody Scott and Jacob Clouting as well as features on two defunct tracks, Ellesmere Port and Boston, plus an interview with former Cheetah Lawrence Hare.

There is plenty of variety – a three-page spread on Women In Speedway and a piece from long-time Oxford fan Ann Booker in which she describes how she went from watching and serving on the Supporters’ Club to making rolls and tea for the riders, painting the white line, watering the Cowley track with a hosepipe and keeping the kickboards bright and visible!

All profits from the 32-page magazine (£2) are funnelled into the Chargers so it seems an appropriate way to finish off its revival season, having been popular among fans a few years ago before the track’s enforced closure.

But perhaps the piece that will attract the most comments this time around is assistant editor Rob’s excoriating verdict on Cardiff 2022.

He compares the British Grand Prix staging with Oxford’s own big night, the Championship Pairs on the Friday, and it’s safe to say that the FIM event doesn’t come out well!

The usually affable and mild-mannered Peasley must have almost been frothing at the mouth when he sat down in front of his red-hot keyboard.

Here’s a brief sample: “If our meeting was a success, then Cardiff 2022 was a dismal failure.

“While the racing at Cardiff was its main downfall, it didn’t excel in other areas either. I texted my mate on Saturday because he’d disappeared 45 minutes earlier to get something to eat and had yet to reappear and Heat 1 wasn’t far away. At that point, he reappeared, it had taken him that long to queue up to buy a hot dog and get us drinks.

“For some reason, nowhere near enough food and drink outlets were open around the Principality Stadium.”

And then he adds: “Organisation levels at Cardiff reached a new Monty Python level of absurdity on the Sunday. In short, the Cardiff weekend showed what a well-oiled machine Oxford Speedway has become, even in the first season back. It also showed, after 20 stagings and very considerable resources, the organisers of the British Grand Prix still can’t get it right!”

Ouch! GOOD OLD DAYS HAPPINESS is 40-38 – it’s a phrase that means everything to those fans who were around when the league formula was 13 heats and a second-half.

And there is an opportunity for supporters who remember those days to get together for a good cause, especially if they were, or still are, Cradley Heath fans.

The town’s High Street Wetherspoon’s pub The Moon Under Water will host a charity

34 speedway star September 17, 2022

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