Some of you may have read in an earlier edition my best pal, former Belle Vue Speedway star Alan Wilkinson, who featured on this page just a few weeks ago, passed under the chequered flag for the last time.

He died in Furness General Hospital last Friday after a short illness, with his wife Jean at his bedside, at the age of 71.

Alan captained the Belle Vue speedway team to numerous victories in the mid-70s until a heavy fall at the stadium in July 1978 left him with life-changing injuries, bringing an end to an amazing career.

His true potential will never be known, but I and many others have no doubt he would have gone on to world champion status.

'Wilkie,' as he was known to the thousands of fans who packed the Hyde Road stadium on Saturday nights was born near Penrith but came to Barrow when his father found employment here.

He soon became a force to be reckoned with on the local scrambles tracks armed with a factory supplied Greeves, winning countless races.

The established stars breathed a sigh of relief when he left the scrambles scene and took up speedway in the early 1970s.

He started with Rochdale, whose promoter Dent Oliver also ran the Belle Vue Aces.

Recognising Wilkie`s potential, he soon drafted him into the Belle Vue squad and his career rocketed. He was soon elevated to skipper and his 'take no prisoners' riding style endeared him to the fans.

He led the squad to win the British League Championship in 1971 and again to win the prestigious Knock Out Cup series in1973.

He also represented Great Britain, touring Australia with the British Lions team.

His Autobiography sold out within weeks , and he counted many world champions and TV stars from the nearby Granada studios as his friends.

His funeral will take place at Barrow crematorium at 12:15pm next Tuesday. but due to current restrictions it is family and invited guests only inside the chapel.

* The Route 44 Motocross track at Haverigg attracted a double world champion last weekend.

Billy Bolt, the current Super Enduro World champion, a title he held in 2018, contested the Adult A class events.

Reigning British MX1 champ Tommy Searle turned up too and dominated the Adult A races, winning all his six events with Bolt not far behind in runner-up spots.

Askam brothers Gavin and Ben Southward were out again in the Over-30 C class, with Ben increasing his championship points tally with six second places over the weekend.

They are pictured here at a previous meeting with Ben (No.381) being pressured by Gavin (No.233).

Unfortunately, on last week’s page I incorrectly credited the photo to Eric Kitchen who supplies me with some superb trials photos, but it was of course Eddie Pullin who took this one. My apologies Eddie.

* Minimoto racer Travis Shaw from Barrow, six-year-old son of local road racer Danny Shaw. made the long trip down to the Lydden circuit in Kent recently to contest the first rounds of the FAB Racing Minibike Championships.

Racing in the air-cooled 40cc class, he did take a couple of tumbles during qualifying, fortunately without injury.

The plucky youngster soon dusted himself down and was quickly back on the grid after dad Danny had checked over the bike.

At the close of racing on the Saturday, he'd finished a creditable sixth overall. His times improved as he gained more circuit knowledge and he came away in fifth place after Sunday's racing.

Dad Danny now faces some long hauls as most of the remaining rounds are in Dorset and Sussex, with only one round up here at Rowrah Stadium near Workington on September 12/13.

* Missing the craic with no Pennington Bike Nights taking place this year, due to the Covid-19 restrictions?

If you fancy a run up the coast to meet up for coffee and a snack with like-minded motorcyclists, former Manx Grand Prix winner Dave Milling opens up his showroom every Tuesday evening for motorcycle gatherings from 6pm onwards.

The obligatory burger van is in attendance nearby to provide refreshments.

Prior to the Covid situation, Dave regularly organised bands and local groups in his showroom.

If you prefer to stay a bit nearer home, I notice many of the Pennington Bike Night regulars meet up at organiser Neil Mc Dougal`s catering unit, which is temporarily situated near Bigrigg on the A5087 coast road.

He`s open every weekend. He has no plans to reinstate the Pennington gatherings this year unless Covid restrictions are completely lifted.