Cycle speedway legend, Colin Wheeler, has been awarded the Wilkinson Sword for his contribution to the sport spanning more than 60 years.
Colin, who has been an avid member of Southampton’s cycle speedway club for many years, has received the prestigious award for his dedication to the sport as a rider, coach and handyman, helping with the maintenance of the facilities at Southampton's track.
As a rider, Colin won two British national senior titles, 11 Southampton Grand Prix titles in 13 years, won most of the country’s top individual meetings, and led the Saints to three British Team Championship titles. Colin was also part of the team that won the European Club Championships - the only British club to win it to date.
His contribution to ensuring the sport continues in Hampshire for the best part of 30 years is unmatched. Colin has almost single-handedly managed the maintenance and development of the track facilities at the Southampton raceway, including completing a re-surfacing project over the last two winters to provide a much faster race track.
In addition to the off-track work, Colin founded the South and South Wales Development League, aimed at riders aged 16 and under to provide competitive team racing opportunities, which has been a huge success in the area.
Colin still finds the time to nurture, encourage and coach the young Saints riders, resulting in a 2022 British national podium for a Southampton rider for the first time since 2008, as well as podiums in the under-16 and under-8 categories.
The Southampton club celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and is beginning to benefit from a resurgence in the sport, with a return to senior team racing and a group of promising youngsters at its heart. A lot of this has been thanks to Colin’s determined efforts, and he is a very worthy recipient of the Wilkinson Sword Award for services to Cycle Speedway.
Mike Hack, Cycle Speedway Commission Chair, said:
“I am delighted for Colin that his tireless efforts in the sport, for more than 60 years, have been suitably recognised. As a rider, he was one of the sport's all-time greats. He has continued his dedication to the sport, supported by his family, in running the Southampton club, during both successful and lean times, as well as serving on the management side of the Great Britain and England teams. Colin is most definitely a worthy recipient of this prestigious award, for services to cycle speedway.”