KEN MIDDLEDITCH : Camberley, Surrey.
POOLE PIRATE 1950 – 1962
A product of the Eastbourne training schools, Ken was a regular with the Hastings Saxons until their closure at the end of 1949. Poole manage to win the scramble for his signature in time for the start of the 1950 campaign, paying the princely sum of £ 800 to bring him to Wimborne Road.
He quickly started to repay this by capturing the Poole track record and becoming the club’s leading scorer by the end of his first season. It was at this time that his legendary team riding partnership with Tony Lewis, considered by many to be the best ever, started to make people sit up and take notice.
The 1951 campaign saw him take over the club captaincy, and lead the Pirates to the success in the Festival of Britain Trophy competition, before adding the Third Division title to the club’s honours board. He showed his mastery of the Poole circuit by lowering the Poole track record on four separate occasions.
Success followed success in 1952, with Ken inspiring his Pirate crew into winning the Second Division championship at their first attempt He continued to take on the responsibility as the club’s number one scorer in 1953 and again in 1954, when he also won the Second Division Riders Championship crown with a great display at the old Belle Vue circuit, before leading the Pirates to the Second Division title once again in 1955.
1956 saw the Pirates promoted to the top tier of racing which Ken took in his stride, finishing second in the club’s scoring stakes, but petrol rationing and falling attendance saw the club fail to come to the tapes in time for the 1957 league season.
He returned to the Pirates colours in 1958 but his opening ride ended in disaster when he ran into a dog that had strayed on to the raceway. Fortunately Ken escaped without injury while the dog made off none the worse for wear. With the sport seemingly in decline, Ken decided to retire to spend more time pursuing his successful business interests.
Was tempted to make a racing comeback in 1960 and helped the Pirates to back-to-back Provincial League championship titles in 1961 and 1962 before once again hanging up his leathers, this time for good. He did make another comeback in 1966, acting as team manager during the year that Ron Hart was serving as Mayor of Poole
Was the club’s highest point scorer on five occasions – 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, and 1955, – and a three time holder -1950, 1951 and 1953, – of the Supporters Club Trophy, which was awarded to the Poole rider who recorded the fastest winning race time of the season around the Wimborne Road circuit
Made 303 League, National Trophy and Knockout Cup appearances for the club and scored 3195.5 points
Was inducted into the Poole Hall of Fame in 1994.