Chance to pay tribute to legend John

IPSWICH Speedway folk tonight have the opportunity to pay tribute to former promoter John Berry.

IPSWICH Speedway folk tonight have the opportunity to pay tribute to former promoter John Berry.

The 67-year-old died at his home in Australia almost three weeks ago from a suspected heart attack and this evening the John Berry Tribute Meeting takes place with a challenge match between Ipswich and Rye House, plus a full second half programme.

Berry was – and remains – a legend among speedway fans at Foxhall.

For 16 years he oversaw the most successful period in Ipswich Witches history, as the Suffolk side swept all before them on numerous occasions, including two double-winning years, 1976 and 1984.


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He brought many local lads through the ranks, John Louis, Tony Davey, Mike Lanham and Kevin Jolly – to name just a few.

And Jolly feels the sport would have benefited if Berry had taken over ultimate control after his club promoting days were over.

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“British speedway missed out big time when John was not persuaded to carry on after initially taking up a post running the sport for the BSPA,” Jolly said.

“It would not be in the mess it is now if John had been given the go-ahead to have a free role and take it on.

“He would have driven it and put the sport back on track - I have no doubt about that.”

Jolly, currently helping manage at Mildenhall Fen Tigers, enjoyed some of his finest nights in a Witches race jacket under the guise of Berry, including international appearances for England.

“He knew when to use the stick approach and when to use the carrot approach,” said Jolly.

“This knack of motivating every rider worked wonders in the pits. There will never be a promoter as good as John.

“I’d like to become half as good. If I am I will think that I have done well.”

Kevin Doolan was hoping to return to race against the club who bombed him out a few weeks ago, but he broke his nose in a workshop accident – Aaron Summers replaces him.

Tonight a souvenir programme is being produced and a long list of ex-riders and track officials are being invited along.

Normal admission prices apply, with season tickets and the ‘Kids go Free’ offer eligible.

Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches: 1. Taylor Poole 6.90, 2. Dakota North 6.60, 3. Leigh Lanham 7.50, 4. Mathieu Tresarrieu 6.29, 5. Rohan Tungate 6.51, 6. Staefan Nielsen (G), 7. Morten Risager 6.36

Rye House Rockets: 1. Nicolai Klindt (G), 2. R/R, 3. Aaron Summers, 4. Simon Lambert, 5. Kasper Lykke Nielsen 7.00, 6. Ben Morley 4.26, 7. Jason Bunyan (C) 5.15

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