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Phil Clarke, born in Norwich in 1922 became interested, it is said, in speedway when Max Grosskreutz took over as promoter of his local speedway team the Norwich Stars in 1937.


Taking the opportunity to take amateur rides he began to polish his skills and working towards his aim to become a professional speedway rider however his progress was halted by World War II when he, like so many other, joined up to serve their country, Phil choosing, or being directed to, the RAF.


When the speedway tracks got back to running teams again after the end of hostilities Phil Clarke was offered a trial at the Norwich Club and by 1947 it was deemed that he was now ready to take his place in the Norwich Stars team, because the then team captain Bert Spencer was unable to ride due to a injury, Bert’s loss was Phil’s opportunity because although he was the team reserve he got a place immediately, his debut in the team was the sort you would dream about, as a total newcomer to the professional scene he scored 7 points helping his team to win their match against Newcastle. At the next match he did even better scoring 11 and a little latter in the season he achieved his first maximum.


That may have been his first season but he started the way he intended to continue, his riding ability went from strength to strength, becoming the team Captain in 1951 he supported and encouraged his team to the top of their division and they gained promotion to the Top Division.


Following his retirement he started Autobody in Wymondham, he was, by all accounts an excellent engineer and the frames (Clark Frames) he built were second to none, supplying frames to George Greenwood for his spares business. He was also said to be a wizard at panel beating and for a hobby took an interest in restoring vintage motorcycles and furniture making.


Phil Clarke, a member of the World Speedway Riders’ Association died in 2010 at the age of 88, a loss to his many speedway friends who describe him as a modest gentleman.


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Phil Clarke