LEG­END OF THE TRACK PART OF HALL OF FAME

Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE - Lach­lan Mcivor lach­lan.mcivor@gat­ton­star.com.au

MO­TOR­SPORT: Af­ter win­ning his fourth con­sec­u­tive New Zealand Side­car Cham­pi­onship in the mid-1980s, Bruce Turner called it a day on a ca­reer filled with records and ac­co­lades.

But some two decades af­ter he re­tired, he got the itch to re­turn to the track and al­most car­ried on right where he had left off, nar­rowly fin­ish­ing third in the na­tional ti­tles.

“I wanted to win it so I could say to the kids ‘what have you been do­ing the last 20 years?’... I should have stayed and won 23 or 24 in a row,” Turner laughed.

At the end of Septem­ber, Turner was hon­oured for his ac­com­plish­ments with a place in the New Zealand Speed­way Hall of Fame.

“But it’s been re­ally good to me, it’s given me a life, I got to see so much of the world,” he said.

“I got to meet so many peo­ple, so many com­peti­tors… I’ve got a lot of life time friends.”

On top of his four na­tional cham­pi­onships, he was a six time South Is­land cham­pion, one time North Is­land cham­pion and three time New Zealand Grand Prix Cham­pion.

He started rac­ing so­los as a 21-year-old and af­ter two years do­ing that, he asked his brother Wayne to join him as his pas­sen­ger to make the switch to side­car com­pe­ti­tion.

He would of started ear­lier if his fa­ther had agreed to sign the pa­pers, but his dad didn’t want to sign his son’s “death war­rant.”

“Speed­way side rac­ing is the most danger­ous out of all the speed­way sports be­cause there’s two of you on a bike and we don’t have brakes,” he said.

Trav­el­ling at an av­er­age speed of 150km/h down the straight and at a top speed of 200km/h, there is bound to be the odd ac­ci­dent.

Turner es­ti­mated he had bro­ken 50 bones, some sev­eral times over, has had had both of his knees re­built and he still suf­fers from pain long af­ter farewelling the track.

He won the first of his two New Zealand cham­pi­onships along­side Bruce Heglin in 1979 and 1980 and then teamed up with ex-wife Norma to take out the crown in the fol­low­ing two years.

In 1983 he took part in the first un­of­fi­cial side­car world ti­tles, which gath­ered to­gether the best rac­ers from around the globe.

Even af­ter crash­ing into the fence in the fi­nal race, his win in each of the first five got him the tro­phy af­ter a ri­val, still in with a shot, ran out of fuel and failed to cross the fin­ish line.

Turner, who moved to Re­gency Downs in 2006, said it was a nice feel­ing to be recog­nised for his ded­i­ca­tion to the sport.

“Get­ting this in­duc­tion is the high­light, be­ing re­spected for the years I’ve done... it was a life­time of bloody hard work,” he said.

“Now I’m up there with the New Zealand world cham­pi­ons... I’m on the board, I used to look up to them now I’m sit­ting there with them.”

PHOTO: LACH­LAN MCIVOR

ROUGH RIDER: Bruce Turner of Re­gency Downs, stand­ing along­side part­ner Bobby, was re­cently hon­oured with a place in the New Zealand Speed­way Hall of Fame for his dec­o­rated ca­reer as a side­car driver.

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