NEIL MIDDLEDITCH : Wimborne, Dorset.
POOLE PIRATE 1974 – 1984
Began his speedway career at Eastbourne in 1973 and made his debut for Poole, riding three matches for the Pirates during 1974. He continued to double-up during 1975, making 29 league appearances in the Pirates colours with the high spot of his season coming when he won the British U21 Championship title at Canterbury,
Joined the Poole club on a full time basis in 1976 and continued to improve his riding still further in 1977 enjoying an excellent year in league racing, while also making it through to the British Final. He also became the first Poole rider to qualify for the final of the FIM European Junior Championship.
His hard riding style saw him enjoy his best season in 1978, posting a 7.65 league average, but the individual high spot came when he won the bronze medal in the FIM European Junior Championship final at Lonigo.
Neil remained a loyal member of the Dorset side for a further six seasons with his consistent scoring making him the club’s leading bonus point scorer for five seasons, a benchmark of the team’s performances,
He took over as club captain for a short while in 1980 before leaving the Pirate camp when the club went into liquidation in January 1985, however he wasn’t lost to the sport with Arena-Essex reportedly paying a £5,000 fee to secure his contract.
He enjoyed a successful time with the Purfleet club, and rounded off his first season by winning the National League Riders’ Championship at Coventry. He continued to spearhead the Hammers attack for one more year, before hanging up his leathers to take over the family business at the end of the season.
He took over as team manager of the Pirates in 1999, leading the Pirates to eight Elite League championships and five Elite Knockout Cup final victories.
Made 340 League and Knockout Cup appearances for the club and scored 1994.5 points.
Currently ranked the Club’s 12th highest individual points scorer.
Was inducted into the Poole Hall of Fame in 1998.