AS POOLE Speedway’s 70th anniversary year draws to a close, former Pirates captain Allan Kidd has died aged 89, writes GORDON DAY.

Allan was a loyal team member, riding only for Poole throughout a 12-year career that began at Wimborne Road in 1950. Like many before him, Allan started racing in second half scratch races before making his first-team debut at the end of May in the Pirates side that pulled off a 45-38 victory at Tamworth.

He became a regular member of the side in 1951, helping the club to win the Festival of Britain Shield, the Third Division championship, and promotion to the Second Division of the National League. Retained for the 1952 campaign he was a member of the Poole side that steam-rollered its way to the Second Division title at the first attempt.

An ever-present member throughout the next three seasons, Allan finished the 1955 campaign by setting a record of 157 consecutive league appearances for the club, while helping the Pirates to clinch another Second Division championship and promotion to the First Division. He was also a member of the Poole side that made historic tours of Sweden and Denmark in 1953 and 1955.

Although finding life a little harder in the top tier, Allan retained his place throughout the 1956 campaign, but when Poole withdrew from league racing in 1957, he and his wife Valerie emigrated to Canada. He continued to race on the Canadian circuits and was ranked as the country’s number one rider in 1959.

Promoter Charles Knott tempted him back to Poole in 1960 and as captain he led the Pirates through an exciting season that saw them just miss out on another league title. He then led the Pirates to the league championship in 1961 and was gearing himself up for another championship bid in 1962 when he sustained a back injury at work which put an end to his racing career.

Former team-mate Brian Crutcher said: “ Allan and I started out at about the same time. He would get very nervous before a meeting but was a hard man to beat when racing began. He was a fast starter and a hard man to beat once he hit the front.”

Fellow rider Norman Strachan added: “ Allan was a good rider and always wanted the team to do well. An excellent captain, and a good man to have on your side of the pits.”

One of the few riders to have raced in all three divisions of the National League, and the Provincial League, Allan was also the first winner of the coveted Johnny Thomson Memorial Shield.

On retiring, Allan returned to Toronto, Canada, where he spent the rest of his life with his wife and family, making several return visits to Poole to see his friends and visit the Wimborne Road stadium where he used to thrill the crowds with his on-track heroics.