28 March 1961|
|Died||21 May 1986(aged 25)|
British League Riders' Champion
|1983||World Pairs Champion|
Kenneth 'Kenny' Malcolm Carter (28 March 1961 – 21 May 1986), was a world class speedway rider. He rode for Newcastle Diamonds (1978), Halifax Dukes (1979–85) and Bradford Dukes (1986). On Wednesday, May 21, 1986, he shot dead his wife, Pam, and then killed himself, orphaning their two young children in the process.
Carter was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire. He was widely regarded as a future World Champion and become the World Pairs Champion with Peter Collins in 1983. He took on six-time World Champion Ivan Mauger as his manager in 1981 who set him up with a Weslake bike and Carter qualified for the 1981 World Final run in front of 92,500 fans at Wembley Stadium. He finished 5th in 1981 and repeated the result in 1982 in Los Angeles after a controversial Heat 14 exclusion following a coming together with defending champion (and eventual 1982 winner), arch rival Bruce Penhall in which Carter fell and was excluded for being the reason the race had to be stopped (Carter slid through the fence). Amazingly, Kenny finished 5th again in 1983 at Norden in West Germany.
Carter was British Champion in 1984 and 1985, and later that year appeared as a television commentator alongside Dave Lanning for the 1985 World Final at the Odsal Stadium in Bradford for which he had failed to qualify after breaking his leg in the Intercontinental Final in Sweden. Less than one year later, Carter shot dead his wife, Pamela, before turning the gun on himself at their home, Grey Horse Farm, in Bradshaw, West Yorkshire.
Outspoken and not afraid to stand up for himself, Kenny Carter was not universally popular with other riders, even those who were his team mates in the England team. In a television interview during the 1984 British Final (which he won despite a broken right leg) he told that in the change rooms some of his England team mates had been verbally attacking him for his desire to continue riding. Most of the riders frustrations came from the wet track conditions which they felt were not good to ride in.
Carter was also seen often on the pits phone talking to the referee of the meeting either after being excluded from a race or to get his point of view across. His most famous joust with a referee came after his exclusion from Heat 14 of the 1982 World Final. After pleading his case he failed to change Torrie Kittlesen's mind. He then told Kittlesen that his decision had cost him the World Championship. Following this, Carter walked onto the track and stood at the tapes in a vain attempt to stop the re-run heat going ahead without him with most of the 40,000 strong crowd (who were firmly behind home town hero Penhall) booing him. Carter then had to be removed from the track by security and his manager Ivan Mauger. Despite Carter's contention that Penhall had knocked him off his bike, amateur video footage of the incident later vindicated Kittlesen's decision as it showed that although Penhall and Carter had been bumping each other all the way along the front straight, they had not touched in the turn leading up to Carter's fall.
World Final Appearances
Individual World Championship
- 1981 - London, Wembley Stadium - 5th - 11pts
- 1982 - Los Angeles, Memorial Coliseum - 5th - 10pts
- 1983 - Norden, Motodrom Halbemond - 5th - 10pts
World Pairs Championship
- 1982 - Sydney, Liverpool City Raceway (with Peter Collins) - 2nd - 22pts (7)
- 1983 - Göteborg, Ullevi (with Peter Collins) - Winner - 25pts (15)
- 1985 - Rybnik, Rybnik Municipal Stadium (with Kelvin Tatum) - 2nd - 27pts (14)
World Team Cup
- 1981 - Olching, Speedway Stadion Olching (with Dave Jessup / Chris Morton / John Davis / Gordon Kennett) - 2nd - 29pts (9)
- 1983 - Vojens, Speedway Center (with Michael Lee / Dave Jessup / Chris Morton / Peter Collins) - 2nd - 29pts (8)
- Oakes, P.(2004). British Speedway Who's Who. ISBN 0-948882-81-6
- McDonald, Tony (2007-07-04). TRAGEDY: The Kenny Carter Story. Hornchurch: Football World. ISBN 9780955117633.
- Oakes, P & Rising, P (1986). 1986 Speedway Yearbook. ISBN 0-948882-00-X
- MacDonald, T.(2007). The Kenny Carter Story. ISBN 0-9551176-3-1
- 1982 World Final - Carter vs Penhall