Freddie Williams (speedway rider)

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Freddie Williams
Born (1926-03-12)12 March 1926
Port Talbot, Wales
Died 20 January 2013 (aged 86)
Swindon, England
Nationality British
Career history
1947-1956 Wembley Lions
Individual honours
1950, 1953 World Champion
Team honours
1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, National League Champion
1948, 1954 National Trophy winner
1949, 1950, 1951 London Cup

Freddie Williams (12 March 1926 – 20 January 2013) was a motorcycle speedway rider from Wales who was World Champion on two occasions. He was the winner of the Speedway World Championship in 1950 and 1953 and runner-up in 1952.[1]

Career[edit]

Williams grew up in Port Talbot, where he was a classmate of Richard Burton, and they played together in the school rugby team.[2] In 1941 he moved to Portsmouth where he started an apprenticeship in the dockyards as an engineer-fitter.[2][3] He was a despatch rider in World War II, and began his speedway career as the war ended, after initially competing in grasstrack.[2] After attending training sessions at Rye House, he was signed by Alec Jackson for the Wembley Lions, and in 1948 got a regular place in the team after injuries to George Wilks and Bill Kitchen.[4]

Williams rode for the Wembley Lions for his entire career, from 1947 until 1956.[5] Williams became the first British rider to win two World titles (in 1950 and 1953), a feat only matched by Peter Craven a decade later.

Williams represented England in test match series, gaining his first cap in 1949.[3][6]

In 1952 he married Olympic skater Pat Devries.[2] His two younger brothers, Ian and Eric, were also speedway riders, and Freddie acted as Eric's mechanic at the 1957 World Final.[4][7]

Williams presented the winner's trophy to Australian rider Chris Holder at the 2012 Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.[4] Like Williams, Holder would go on to become the World Champion at the end of the 2012 Speedway Grand Prix season. Williams finished second behind (Jack Young in the 1952 World Final at Wembley Stadium.

Williams died on 20 January 2013, aged 86, in the Great Western Hospital in Swindon following a stroke the previous day.[4][8][9]

As of the 2014 World Championship, Williams is one of only seven British riders, and the only Welshman, to win speedway's ultimate individual prize.

World Final appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5
  2. ^ a b c d Rhys, Steffan (2011) "Richard Burton's school days recalled by speedway star", Western Mail, 25 June 2011, retrieved 2011-11-27
  3. ^ a b Morgan, Tom (1949) Who's Who in Speedway, Sport-in-Print, p. 74
  4. ^ a b c d Chaplin, John (2013) "Freddie Williams", Speedway Star, 26 January 2013, pp. 3-5
  5. ^ Jacobs, Norman (2001). Speedway in London. ISBN 0-7524-2221-9
  6. ^ Foster, P. (2005) History of the Speedway Ashes, The History Press Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-3468-3
  7. ^ "Zmarł dwukrotny mistrz świata Freddie Williams" (in Polish). sportowefakty.pl. 20 Jan 2013. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013. 
  8. ^ "RIP Freddie Williams". speedwaygp.com. 20 Jan 2013. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013. 
  9. ^ "Freddie Williams". swindonrobins.co. 20 Jan 2013. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013. 

External links[edit]