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TAPES-UP: Middleditch fond of his time at Robins
SWINDON legend Ken Middleditch has nothing but fond memories from his one and only season as a Robins rider.
The 87-year-old was the guest of honour at Thursday’s meeting against Poole, and became the latest Robins legend to be inducted into the club’s Legends Lounge in a ceremony conducted before the start of heat one.
Middleditch only season at Blunsdon came in 1957, but in that one year he was able to lead the club to its first ever senior title alongside fellow legends Neil Street, Ian Williams and Mike Broadbank.
The former rider still remembers the passion of the Swindon crowd as well as the exceptional team spirit which played such a vital role in everything the team were able to achieve.
“When I first started I rode for Hastings and I used to come to Swindon now and again as a guest, and I loved the place and track,” he said.
“The supporters were wonderful and I will always remember that.
“It was a great team and everyone in the town supported the club, with Neil Street, Ian Williams, Mike Broadbank and others, and they are lovely fellas.
“The biggest memory I have about Swindon is the team spirit we had, because every rider gelled and was always happy to help out if anyone was ever in any trouble.
“The crowd was brilliant too and they were brilliant every time, and they’re exactly the same now.”
Middleditch’s son is current Poole and Great Britain boss Neil, and even though his son ended up on the losing side on Thursday the Swindon legend still enjoyed his return to the Abbey Stadium.
“It was a brilliant meeting against Poole and I really enjoyed it, and the atmosphere was a great one too and everyone was really enjoying themselves,” he said.
“Obviously Neil’s team lost but these things happen and you can’t win them all, and they lost to a great team manager in Alun (Rossiter, Robins team manager).”
After serving in the RAF as a rear gunner in World War Two Middleditch became interested in forces speedway while based in Egypt, and after training at Eastbourne he began his career with Hastings in 1948.
After the Saxons’ track was forced to close due to noise in 1949 the Robins made a failed bid to sign him before he eventually ended up at Poole, and while on the south coast he managed four league titles during a successful spell.
Swindon finally got their man in 1957 when Poole didn’t re-open for the new season, and the Pirates’ loss was the Robins’ gain as Middleditch played a vital role in the club’s first title victory.
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