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losing and nor do I. Now Danny has come in and done a brilliant job. He’s similar in lots of ways but I’m so happy for him that he’s come in and won the double.

“It’s not easy to follow in your dad’s footsteps. You get a lot of stick and doubters. But he has quietly gone about the job really well considering the difficulty of the pandemic and the stadium.

“Middlo and I are like polar opposites. He paces up and down and gets nervous. I’ve been remarkably laid back this season, I don’t know why but I’ve always believed in that side.

“All year the boys have been phenomenal. The spirit was good. In the final against Glasgow I could see it in their eyes, the belief. After the first leg, to a man, they all said ‘we have got this’.

“Sometimes the mix is just right. There is a massive drive at Poole, they are the Manchester United of speedway. Matt eight times out of 10 builds a strong side, Middlo knows how to get the best out of riders.

“There’s huge expectation that success brings but I think that’s a good thing. Pressure is good. You either fall apart or it makes you fight for more. I absolutely love that spirit at Wimborne Road.

“I think I saw some key moments when I knew this was a good side. The wins at Leicester and Edinburgh were huge. That’s when I saw the mettle to fight right the way through the side.

“I remember at Edinburgh that Benjamin Basso had just been signed. He came in and was bouncing off the fence at Armadale. He was furious in the pits that he couldn’t get the hang of the place. He also thought I was going to take him out of his last rides.

• Gary congratulates Danyon Hume

“But I sat him down, told him to figure it out, and fair play to him he did. I think he won his last ride. Then when we went back in the KO Cup final he scored paid 16. That epitomises a winning mentality.

chance to re-invent his managerial career.

He added: “Life’s not been easy, not at all. Trust me it’s tough at times. So it was a good feeling when Matt rang me in late 2019.

“I just remember him chatting away and saying that Middlo (Neil Middleditch) had more commitments at Baillie House and travelling was a problem for him. Matt hadn’t even finished what he was saying and I just said ‘yes I’ll do it’.

“He hadn’t even asked what he wanted me to do. But I would have done anything for Poole, Matt and Middlo. It was frustrating when the pandemic came along and I couldn’t wait for the season to finally start this year.”

Havelock’s stand-out ability over his trophy-laden career, has been attention to detail. His tactical awareness of how gates, tracks and bikes change and perform during a meeting is quite sensational. That’s what made him a World Champion. And his quite ferocious will-to-win.

“I think at Glasgow in the final they needed a bigger lead from the first leg. A big moment was us taking gates two and four. I knew that had been their choice for a while but we took it. They didn’t get an early lead because gate three was dreadful.

“It felt like the final was always under our control. They pulled out a bit of a lead but none of us felt 10 would be enough for them.

“I was obviously just meant to be the away manager but for the last month I did home and away. It was awesome to be back at Wimborne Road. I love the place.

“The staff there are out of this world. You talk about the management and team. But every person in that stadium oozes class. They all know what the expectation is, every rider, every official. It’s about winning and that’s why they do. They all deserve huge credit, not just the riders.”

Havelock admits the taste of champagne had rarely been sweeter. But there will be no trip to the States to celebrate.

He added: “I still know everything about the sport. I study it, I know about riders, tracks, bikes. I watch the Grand Prix series, Poland and British leagues.

“I see some of these top riders with huge teams of people making mistakes during big meetings. That’s frustrating because I know I have a lot of knowledge and a lot to offer.

“But the Poole set-up works perfectly. Matt doesn’t like

He added: “I seem to remember Matt promising us a holiday in Vegas if we won the league. I think he’s probably happy that the pandemic has put paid to that. Maybe we will get out to his Chateau La Briance again instead!

“He sent me a really nice text the other day about winning the double. He also ended by saying ‘same again next year mate’. Too right, bring it on.”


November 20, 2021 speedway star 25

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