Michael Lee (speedway rider)

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Michael Lee
Michael Lee.jpg
Personal information
Nationality England England
Date of birth (1958-12-11) December 11, 1958 (age 55)
Place of birth    Cambridge, England
Current club information
Career status Retired
Career history
Boston Barracudas
King's Lynn Stars
Poole Pirates
1975
1975-1982, 1985-1986, 1991
1983-1984
Individual honours
British Champion
Commonwealth Champion
Inter-Continental Champion
World Champion
Long Track World Champion
1977, 1978
1979
1979
1980
1981
Team honours
World Team Cup Winner 1977, 1980

Michael Andrew Lee (born 11 December 1958 in Cambridge, England) is a former international speedway rider who won the Speedway World Championship in 1980.[1] A controversial character, he was banned for allegedly endangering other riders in the early eighties.

Career[edit]

Lee began his professional speedway career in 1975 with Boston in the second division of speedway in the United Kingdom, the National League. In his first season he recorded an impressive average points score of 9.13, he also rode part-time for top division team King's Lynn.[2]

In 1976, Lee moved full-time to British League team King's Lynn and finished the season with an average of 9.22, he was also the British Junior Champion that year.

At the end of the 1977 season, Lee had become the top scorer in the British League with an average of 10.64. He also won the first of his two British Speedway Championship titles. Lee won the World Team Cup with England and he had also made his first appearance in a World Championship Final.[3]

In 1979, Lee finished 3rd in the World Finals, beating Kelly Moran, Billy Sanders and Ole Olsen in a run-off race to claim the bronze medal. The next year, Lee won the World Championship in Gothenburg for the only time, finishing ahead of King's Lynn team mate Dave Jessup. He was also triumphant again with England in the World Team Cup.[3]

Lee opted for a change in clubs in 1983 and moved to the Poole Pirates. He had another successful year, finishing with and average of 10.43. At the start of the 1984 season Lee was involved in an incident that would result in him being banned from speedway for a year. In a cup match against former club King's Lynn, Lee was excluded mid-race for a starting offence in heat 5 and returned to the pits in the wrong direction, allegedly causing the other riders to take evasive action. Despite the three other riders and the home promoter giving evidence that he had posed no danger, the Speedway Control Board fined him and banned him for 5 years, although this was later reduced on appeal.[2] Many people at the time, including Lee himself, felt that the incident and the length of the ban had been used as a pretext to force him out of the sport.

After his ban ended, Lee returned to King's Lynn for two seasons, but he was given another fine after he didn't show up to a match in June 1986 and he seemingly quit the sport. Lee made his come-back to speedway on 16 February 1991, riding in the West End Speedway International at the Wayville Showground in Adelaide, South Australia, before taking up a short-lived stint with King's Lynn.

Lee was convicted of growing cannabis for his own use in 2007 but avoided a jail term.[4] He was subsequently fined for possession of cannabis and amphetamines in July. 2013[5] On October 8th 2013 Lee was charged with rape and other sexual offences[6] but was cleared of the charges at a trial in May 2014.[7]

World Final Appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oakes, P.(2004). British Speedway Who's Who. ISBN 0-948882-81-6
  2. ^ a b Bamford, Robert; Shailes, Glynn (2004). 50 Poole Pirates Greats. Tempus Publishing. pp. 73–75. ISBN 0-7524-3257-5. 
  3. ^ a b Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5
  4. ^ "Drugs downfall of speedway superstar". Eastern Daily Press. 2007-11-16. Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  5. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-23465145
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-24436170
  7. ^ "Speedway champion Michael Lee cleared of rape and sex assaults". BBC News. Retrieved 12 June 2014.