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Noel Clark Obituary by Tony Webb

Noel Clark who passed away last week after a short illness at the age of 69 was regarded by his peers as the leading authority on speedway and grass track machines worldwide. The Kidderminster enthusiast had a back ground in the garage and car business.  His family ran the local garage in the village of Chaddesley Corbett along with a car breaking yard. One of the regulars for the MOT was the sister of England star Jack Parker. Noel served time as an engineer and built his own Clarkcraft frames when he started grass tracking in the Midland centre meetings in the sixties.

When the garage closed Noel started his collection on the same site inheriting his father's collection of garage  antiques and vintage armour .Noel's engineering skills enabled him to build replicas and manufacture any parts  he needed coupled with his vast knowledge gained by being an avid reader and collector of speedway publications.

I first contacted him about 15 years ago,  through my brother Jack a former grass track rider. I found Noel a friendly person who would happily pass on his knowledge, but he was always keen to be open minded to the views of others.

I discovered his dream was to publish his handwritten notes into a publication, but he lacked the computers skills to do so. Noel was never able to get to grips with the world of internet, therefore contact with his ever increasing band of restorers was by letter or phone calls. The A-Z of Speedway Bikes grew from his well researched notes and photo copies, then we embarked on the 24 quarterly publications of Speedway Workshop magazine. Copy was compiled from monthly late night phone calls from my Australian base.

Visitors to his speedway wonderland included Ivan Mauger, Barry Briggs, Alf Hagon, Huck Fynn ,Harry Bastable,  Brian Maxted, Peter Collins all seeking and respecting his knowledge.  One had only to mention  the name of an obscure, forgotten name and Noel was onto it. If it was Australian based he would ask me to track down further information. The world of speedway has lost a great man. It is hoped that his lifetime work of notes and details will find a home in a safe haven, these items have as much value as his actual collection.

My last chat with him was on Christmas Eve. We spoke about plans for  a 2019 Speedway Restorers Annual to replace the speedway workshop. Although he told me that he was not the best I never thought that it would be the last time I heard that Midlands accent that always ended with 'Rev up mate'.

When I received the sad news from another Australian friend Rod Dunn, my reaction was that this is the end, we have lost a legend and a mentor.

After a few days I came round and thought Noel would want his work to carry on and maybe we should try to perpetuate  not only his writings but the attitude of helpfulness he displayed throughout his life with never a bad word about anyone,

Rev up Noel.

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