Last stop for special bus service
THE race is over for a special bus service that has operated to Foxhall Stadium for speedway supporters for over 30 years.Pat Haseman, 64, the proprietor of Gilpatricks Coaches, will not be carrying on when the Ipswich Evening Star Witches 2009 speedway season revs up again next March.
THE race is over for a special bus service that has operated to Foxhall Stadium for speedway supporters for over 30 years.
Pat Haseman, 64, the proprietor of Gilpatricks Coaches, will not be carrying on when the Ipswich Evening Star Witches 2009 speedway season revs up again next March.
Pat originally drove for Eastern Counties when they operated the service, but took over on behalf of his own Walton-based company in 1988.
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“There have been up and down years,” he said. “And ironically enough the best years we had were in 1988 and 1989 when the Witches were operating in the National League.
“We had 30 regular customers in those days with many of them youngsters. At other times we have carried only three passengers.”
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During the Witches heyday Eastern Counties were known to run two double-decker vehicles from the Old Cattle Market, and a bus from Felixstowe was later added.
Pat has been running his coach from Felixstowe, calling at the Old Cattle Market on its way to Foxhall heath.
Two of his regular passengers have been Peter and Ivy Flatman, the Felixstowe-based parents of former Witches rider Nigel, who now resides in Perth, Australia.
Witches fan Terry Adams has been catching the coach from Ipswich for many years. He said: “Pat provided a reliable and friendly service and the regulars got to know one another.
“He will be missed, but hopefully another carrier will take over.”
Pat's enjoyment of speedway led to him taking over the service, and he intends to carry on watching from the terraces.
However, he wants to see changes in the way the shale sport is run. “I'm sure we have to go down the road of meetings once a week - home one Wednesday and away the next,” he said.
“We could then have an Ipswich Conference League side riding at Foxhall in the week when the 'first team' was away.
“This is the only way I can see of bringing young British riders through.
“My daughter Sara is married now with two youngsters, but there are still signed photographs around the house of Dean Standing, who was her hero in Ipswich's National League days.
“My favourite Ipswich riders are Tony Rickardsson, who I predicted would be world champion the first time I saw him, and Dennis Sigalos, who would have been world champion but for injury.
“The best years for me were the John Louis, Billy Sanders and Tony Davey days and I loved watching Mike Lanham pull in his shoulders and roar between two opponents team riding in front.
“The year Ipswich won the treble in 1998 bored me stiff - going to Foxhall and already knowing the result was not my idea of fun.”
Pat, who performs around the Felixstowe area with the 'Has Beens' group and wrote songs on their CD, is talking to other coach companies about taking over the service.