Pratt pictured in 1967
|Date of birth||10 October 1938|
|Place of birth||Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, England|
|Current club information|
|Promoter||Coventry Bees (co-promoter)|
Cradley Heath Heathens
|London Riders Champion||1967, 1968|
Born in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, Pratt lived near to Mike Broadbank from whom he bought his first speedway bike at the age of nineteen, and practiced at the nearby Rye House track. After his National Service, he returned to the Rye House training track in 1960 and had his first competitive rides, reaching the final of the Whitsun Trophy. He was signed by the Southampton Saints, where he made his National League debut against Oxford. A broken wrist sustained at Swindon brought his debut season to an early end. He had only second-half rides for Southampton in 1961, and was loaned to Poole Pirates for whom he rode in three matches, Ipswich Witches (two matches), and then Stoke Potters where he started to score well, with paid 15 points against Wolverhampton and a 12-point maximum against Cradley Heath. In 1962 he scored 177 points from 34 matches for the Potters, and improved further in 1963, scoring 141 points in his first 12 matches and winning all five races to win the Gerry Hussey Memorial Trophy at Rye House, breaking the track record during the meeting. He moved on to the Swindon Robins before joining the Hackney Hawks in 1964. He rode for the Hawks for six years until the 1970 season when he moved to the Cradley Heath Heathens. However, he was forced to retire after he was involved in a road crash near Lokeren in Belgium. Five riders and officials died. Pratt was riding as a guest for the West Ham Hammers against a Danish select side in the Netherlands (in which he gained a five ride maximum). He sustained three broken bones in his neck and was warned by doctors that if he rode again and broke it he would be paralysed. After deciding the risk was too great he retired.
Pratt was also a full England international and rode in two World Team Cup finals. He also qualified for the final of the Speedway World Championship in 1967. It was as a Hackney rider that he won the London Riders' Championship in 1967 and again in 1968.
Promoter and team manager
Pratt became co-promoter at the Rye House Rockets with former boss Len Silver in 1979. In 1983, he spent a season as team manager at King's Lynn Stars before becoming promoter at Cradley Heath in 1984. He stayed at Cradley until 1996 where he became co-promoter of the ill-fated London Lions, based at the Hawks' previous stadium, Hackney Wick. By now it had been redeveloped and renamed the London Stadium.
The promotion closed after one season so Pratt moved to the Bradford Dukes as team manager. In 1998, the opportunity arose to join the Coventry Bees as promoter and Pratt has been there ever since in promoter/co-promoter and team manager roles.
He also had an eight year spell as the Great Britain team manager (with Eric Boocock). He has won sixteen major trophies as a manager or promoter. He has served several terms on the British Speedway Promoters' Association management committee.
World Final Appearances
- Oakes, P.(2006). Speedway Star Almanac. ISBN 0-9552376-1-0
- Oakes, Peter (1963) "A Peter Oakes Speedtale on Colin Pratt: Saints Must Regret Their Decision", Speedway Star, 27 July 1963, p. 16
- Belton, Brian (2003). Hammerin' Round. ISBN 0-7524-2438-6
- Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5