GARY Havelock admitted there was “no better place” than Poole to bring down the curtain on his glittering 30-year speedway career ahead of tonight’s farewell meeting.
Fans’ favourite Havvy will be joined by shale sport legend Greg Hancock, Poole talisman Darcy Ward, former Pirate and world champion Chris Holder as well as a host of other big names in recognition of his stellar service at Wimborne Road.
But while the current Coventry Bees boss is delighted by the list of household names, which also includes team managers Mark Loram and Tony Rickardsson, he says the fact his night is in front of an adoring Dorset crowd is his biggest reward.
Havelock told the Daily Echo: “Poole is really special to me, it’s almost like a second home and I always enjoy coming back here, it just brings so many brilliant memories to mind as soon as I walk in. I love the place. Having ridden here for nearly five seasons and Matt Ford always promis- ed me a farewell here no matter which other clubs I went to.
“I would like to think in some small way that contributed to Poole’s revival. When I came here midway through the 1998 season, Poole were bottom of the league and running in front of 700 people every week. It was in a bit of a state to be honest.
“Matt Ford and Mike Golding came in and worked hard on promoting the club over the next four years and really built it up. It was a great time to be involved and I am still proud to this day to have played my part in that.
“Now, Poole are like the Manchester United of speedway and that is down to Matt. There is no better place to hold my meeting because the buzz here is like no other. I can’t wait.”
Meanwhile, Havelock was unsure as to how he would feel to officially say goodbye to his on- track career but was bullish about his future in the sport.
Asked whether his final fling would be tempered by a tinge of sadness, Havelock added: “I really don’t know, a lot of people have been asking me whether I will feel emotional on the night and it’s difficult to say.
“To be honest, I have mixed feelings at the moment and have no idea how I will find it all, it still doesn’t feel like the end.
“When one door closes another one tends to open, so while it is the end of my racing career it certainly won’t be the end of my involvement with speedway and I still feel excited by what the future holds for me.”
Confirmed riders: Antonio Lind- back, Chris Holder, Darcy Ward, Greg Hancock, Freddie Lindgren, Scott Nicholls, Maciej Janowski, Chris Harris, Bjarne Pedersen, Craig Cook, Davey Watt, Vaclav Milik, Ty Proctor, Richie Worrall. Team managers: Mark Loram and Tony Rickardsson.