Name your “Cult” Eagle

Eastbourne Speedway cult heroes is one of the features planned for the 90th anniversary commemorative edition of our Flying High magazine.

And, I need your help.

Who is YOUR Eastbourne Eagles cult hero(es)?

Who is the rider that has had a cult following. He might not be the high-scoring No 1, nor necessarily a fabulous heatleader.

The men we are looking for may have been a ‘lesser light’ but a rider who really touched people’s hearts, or at least the hearts of a section of the crowd.

These are the riders who attract fierce loyalty.

What made them special to you? Were they renegades…we need to know.

I won’t give you any names of who I think were Eastbourne ‘cult’ heroes, as I do not wish to influence your nominations.

However, I will pick some from other teams through the last 50 years who tick the box, in my view.

There was probably no bigger cult rider than Jack Millen. Dubbed Crazy Jack, Millen the Villain, as some labelled him, was controversial wherever he went.

Millen was the Marmite rider. You either loved him or hated him.

Regular readers will know that I have watched a lot of Speedway at King’s Lynn so I will dip into my memories to give you an illustration of the sort of rider I am looking for.

In 1986 and 1987, the Stars tracked Norwegian, Einar Kyllingstad who had an awkward habit on the first corner of sometimes failing to turn left. He had his own following for his sometimes eccentric riding habits and unpredictable form.

From an earlier era of the King’s Lynn Starlets and Boston Barracudas there was local farmer Jack Bywater who forever was introduced as Jolly Jack Bywater – never a star but a rider who seemed to attract a loyal band of supporters.

And what about the Cornfield Kid, Kelvin Mullarkey. Tough as teak, controversial, a great guy if he rode for you but very much the enemy if he was on the opposing side of the pits.

In the 2000s, King’s Lynn went on the rampage in the second division.

One member of the winning team was Chris ‘milk it’ Mills.

He was built up by the then announcer Mike Bennett and “Millsy” really did milk the applause from the crowd when he won a race.

Mr Bennett also dubbed the seated grandstand next to the pits as the ‘royal box’ from where Mills did milk the cheers.

From an earlier era at Peterborough, all the riders had a ‘theme’ tune which was played if they won a race.

Jamie Habbin was not a great star but he certainly had a following, especially as his theme tune was the music of the Pink Panther.

So now it’s your turn.

Which Eastbourne riders would fall in this category of being cult heroes at Arlington.

Let me know by emailing or via Twitter where I am @sonofshaleman.

This appeal will also be on the club’s social media so you can respond from there.

Flying High was published throughout last winter and into the spring online.

On this occasion, the plan is for the magazine to come in the form of a limited edition printed magazine, which will make a great souvenir of Eastbourne Speedway’s belated 90th birthday.

Get your names to me as soon as you can. Thanks.

Paul Watson

Image Credit: Ken Burnett