Happy reunion! Barracudas speedway ace Jim left emotional on his return to Boston

Fans and riders gathered for the speedway reunion.
Fans and riders gathered for the speedway reunion.

A record breaking attendance recalled memories of a golden era at the fifth annual Boston Barracudas speedway reunion.

This increasingly popular event was held at the Poachers Country Hotel, where the main focus of attention was the appearance of Australian Jim Ryman, a valued member of the best-ever Barracudas side, which completed the British League Division Two double in 1973.

Jim was totally overwhelmed by the respect and affection received from more than 200 people and was very emotional.

“From the moment I got back to Boston it just felt like home “ he said.

Many of his former teammates travelled long distances to link up with Jimbo again, including Russell Osbourne, Tony Featherstone, Ray Bales, Carl Glover, Dave Piddock, Vic Cross and Geoff Carnell, as well as promotor Cyril Crane.

Reflecting on the double-winning achievement, Jim recalled the Cudas had the best team spirit, track, promotor and supporters at the time.

“I came over as a speedway pioneer with no money, but the supporters took me to their hearts, often bringing food parcels and always buying me a pint - they really were special.”

Interviewed by Graham Brown, Jim recalled: “This affection supporters shared with all the team was really reflected when I broke my leg badly.

“I was on traction for four months in Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital but not once did supporters miss a visiting session and they really lifted my spirits.

Jim, 72, currently lives in Queensland, Australia, and is recovering from a double knee replacement operation.

The evening began with a tribute to Jack Bywater, who lost his fight against cancer last year. Jack was one of the original Barracudas and will always have a place in Boston speedway folklaw after winning the first ever race at New Hammond Beck Road.

Ten members of Jack’s family, including his wife June, were present and, during the tribute, Jack’s granddaughter Sarah read out a poem in his memory, which was written by George Morton and originally appeared in a 1972 Boston program.

As always, Mo Brader’s old video clips were a hit with the crowd, as was Steve Lomas’ track record-breaking machine.

During the evening Neil Watson produced a 180 picture photo album which will be available for purchase.

The album costs £8 and the DVD costs £12 - or £16 for the pair plus £2 postage.

Included in the DVD are many interviews with the double-winning team, featuring some controversial comments which were recorded during the afternoon as well as every one on stage during the evening.

These can be purchased by contacting Neil Watson on 01205 360385 .

The evening proved a hit with those present, with Jim adding: “I cannot tell you how I feel, I have been so emotional, but rest assured I will do everything I can to come back next year.”