Amaz­ing Airey

Old Bike Australasia - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

As an avid OBA reader, when is­sue 79 came out with the prom­ise that in the next edi­tion Jim Airey would be one of the featured stars, the time seemed to drag along! Fi­nally it popped through my let­ter­box. I couldn’t hide my ea­ger­ness as I ripped num­ber 80 open to page 22/23 – you beaut! While in no way wish­ing to den­i­grate the work by those de­voted peo­ple who put Jim’s story to print, I felt that so much more credit could have been given to prob­a­bly the great­est Aus­tralian speed­way rider that ex­isted through the 1960s and 1970s. The story failed to men­tion that amongst Jim’s in­cred­i­ble ca­reer high­lights, he was fourth in the Bri­tish League Di­vi­sion 1 av­er­ages for 1971 with an av­er­age of 10.66 points per match (out of 12). Only Ivan Mauger, (11.33), Ray Wil­son (11.03), and Ole Olsen (10.99) were bet­ter that year. I well re­mem­ber the visit to Townsville’s Sa­vanna speed­way by Jim in 1971, cer­tainly af­ter Ole Olsen and Howard Cole had set the place alight with a new track record set by Olsen, who was def­i­nitely the man of the mo­ment in­ter­na­tion­ally. Airey showed us his un­doubted class in equalling the time set by Olsen, and I be­lieve this mark still stood when the venue folded, many years later. Airey’s record in Test matches against the old en­emy, the Poms, also will stand up to any scru­tiny, prov­ing in that par­tic­u­lar era we did not pro­duce any finer speed­way rider. Un­doubt­edly Phil and Jason Crump have gone on to much greater re­wards, but that is not my pur­pose in this post, merely be­ing to pay tribute to one who should be re­mem­bered as out­stand­ing in his speed­way rac­ing ca­reer with his mas­tery of the daunt­ing Syd­ney Royale pos­si­bly his defin­ing mo­ment.

Barry Gra­ham Via email

Ed: It would take more space that we have avail­able to list all of Jim’s achieve­ments in a sin­gle story, not just in speed­way but other forms of rac­ing as well as busi­ness. I think Peter Whi­taker did a great job in show­cas­ing the broad­ness of Jim’s tal­ents. Truly an out­stand­ing in­nings. – Ed

Jim Airey with the Peter Craven Me­mo­rial Tro­phy, in mem­ory of the Bri­tish World Cham­pion and Belle Vue star.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.