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George Barclay

George Barclay known, in his riding years as Gentleman George, I was only talking  to someone the other day who asked to be remembered to Gentleman George, so I guess he still is known to supporters by his riding nick name. 

Born in London in 1937 he first rode a speedway bike in 1966 at the Rye House Training Track, (another rider who learned his craft at the Rye House track) following that he rode second half at Hackney.

Then as a contracted rider at West Ham 1967-1969 moving to Kings Lynn before the 1969 season ended. George Barclay seemed to have been very busy during 1970 being credited with rides at Rayleigh Rockets, Wembley Lions and Exeter Falcons before settling with Sunderland Stars from 1971 to 1974, moving back to the Rye House Rockets in 1974 and on to Crayford Kestrels in 1975.

He includes amongst his achievements being Secretary to the Speedway Riders’ Association, indeed it is an honour to be chosen by your fellow riders to act as the secretary of their organization. Alongside that he lists being Manager at Crayford for one season.

Can't say I was surprised when I asked George what he was most proud of when the reply was "Being part of the great Speedway Family, particularly the friendship between all sections, especially the supporters".

His worst memory was witnessing, as Secretary to the S.R.A., the accident involving Vic Harding and Steve Weatherley and sitting in the hospital alone waiting for news.

During the time George was riding for Sunderland 1971/72/73 and 74, he achieved over that 4 year period a riding average of over 6.6 peaking at 7.21 and before having to retire from the 1974 season he had, over the 4 years, totted up for League matches only a notable total of 74 bonus points, no wonder he has been described a perfect team man.

Whilst at Sunderland he also found himself on the same team as his elder son Terry, he and Terry won the Best Pairs meeting in 1973 and George was also part of the team that in 1972 won the Four Team Tournament. 

Think George may have had it in mind to produce a Speedway dynasty and apart from his Eldest Son Terry his Second son David rode at the Hackney Training school and his 3rd John rode regularly and was a Young England International at Leicester.

George finally decided to hang up his leathers, or more likely pass them on, in 1975 but his involvement in Speedway did not end there because apart from serving on the World Speedway Riders’ Association committee he and his partner Linda were instrumental in overseeing the museum funding and very successful there were to as anyone visiting the National Speedway Museum at Paradise Park in Broxbourn, Hertfordshire will know.

In the last few years I hear that George and Linda have been running Speedway Schools at Rye House and later at Lakeside and is as far as I know still going strong.

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