Mitch Shirra

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Mitch Shirra
Mitch Shirra.jpg
Personal information
Nationality  New Zealand
Date of birth (1959-09-27) 27 September 1959 (age 54)
Place of birth    Auckland, New Zealand
Current club information
Career status Retired
Career history
Coventry Bees
Coatbridge Tigers
Reading Racers
Swindon Robins
Ipswich Witches
1975-1982
1975
1983-1986, 1988-1989, 1991
1987, 1992
1993
Individual honours
Brandonapolis
New Zealand Champion
Overseas final
1980
1982, 1983, 1984
1987
Team honours
World Team Cup
British League Champion
British League Pairs Champion
1979
1978, 1979
1978

Mitchell Owen (Mitch) Shirra (born 27 September 1958 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a former motorcycle speedway rider who rode with the Coventry Bees, Reading Racers, Swindon Robins and Ipswich Witches in the British League.

Career summary[edit]

Shirra began riding at the Kembla Grange Speedway in New South Wales in 1973 at the age of 14, although he would consider the Liverpool Speedway in Sydney as his home track.[1] In 1975 he joined the Coventry Bees and was loaned out to the Coatbridge Tigers for a year. From 1976-1982 he rode for Coventry then transferred to the Reading Racers. In 1987 he was loaned out to the Swindon Robins but returned to Reading in 1988-1989. In 1990 he was banned from the British League for a season for bringing the sport into disrepute after failing two drug tests. Controversy about the decision soon followed and the ban was lifted by the speedway control board. After 3 months, Mitch returned to racing for the remainder of the 1990 season. [2] He returned to race for Reading in 1991, Swindon in 1992, the Ipswich Witches in 1993 and 1994 he was awarded best club rider that season.

He won the British League Pairs Championship in 1978 with Ole Olsen.[3] That same year Coventry Bees won the british league title with Mitch riding at number 3. Some would argue that the racing during that time was some of the closest ever seen at brandon. In 1979 he was a member of the New Zealand team with Larry Ross, Bruce Cribb, Roger Abel and Ivan Mauger which won the World Team Cup. He won Brandonapolis in 1980, Mitch won the Dutch golden helmet at Veenoord in 1982,He was also on the rostrum at the Golden Helmet of Pardubice where he finished in 3rd place. Mitch competed in his first individual world final in 1983 ( Norden Germany ) and again in 1984 ( Gothenberg Sweden )With a top 5 finish. In 1984 he finished 3rd in the World Pairs Championship with Ivan Mauger. Devastation soon followed his success towards the end of 1984 during an open meeting at western Springs ( New zealand )Mitch sustained a shattered pelvis and femur along with internal injuries, Many feared he would not return to racing but after a lengthy recovery Mitch did, and continued to have much success and countless podium finishes at a british/european and international level. World final appearances followed during 1986, 87, 89, 91 and 92. He won the Overseas Final at Bradford in 1987. In 1992 he finished 2nd in the World Longtrack Championship and was only one point away from victory. During 1991/92 Mitch to date is the only rider to win all three race meetings at the Australaisan longtrack series ( Albion Park, Brisbane, Bathurst NSW, Addington Christchurch NZ )During his time on the track Mitch has also won four New Zealand championship titles.

With the help of American friend John Cook, Shirra rode to victory in the 1988 European Jet Ski championship winning in two classes.[citation needed] The same year he competed in a televised competition called Run The Gauntlet hosted by Martin Shaw, His team finished second.[citation needed]

Shirra won the Morgan mile title held in South Australia ( Morgan SA )on a hybrid fuel injected Longtrack bike in 1996 also taking out the speedway class making it a double at the same event.[citation needed]

After receiving a wild card for the 2003 world long track title held at New Plymouth ( New Zealand ) Mitch had success with a class win in the final. Mitch won the Decade of dirt long track title held at Muswellbrook ( NSW ) in 2006 riding a bike prepared by Mike Farrell Transport.

Mitch Shirra rode at an International/professionail level for 33 years.

Shirra now resides in country New South Wales, Australia. He has one son Jenz Mitchell Shirra (Born in England 11 August 1981).

World final appearances[edit]

Speedway World Pairs Championship[edit]

World Longtrack Championship appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Sydney Morning Herald. - 7 December 1975
  2. ^ "No regret" interview with Steve Magro in Backtrack, issue 22 (Sept./Oct. 2007)
  3. ^ Oakes, P & Rising, P (1986). 1986 Speedway Yearbook. ISBN 0-948882-00-X
  4. ^ Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5