Speedway club completes 1,263 miles in 24 hours

Harley Hamill and Nigel Longlands from Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club.

Harley Hamill and Nigel Longlands from Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club. - Credit: Jenny Melvin

A Norfolk sports club set out to ride 381 miles to Paris without leaving its village and ended up pedalling an additional 882 miles.

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club was looking to ride 12,000 laps of its track on the Memorial Playing Field in a 24-hour marathon.

But they actually completed 25,259 laps and have raised between £3,000 and £4,000 for improvements to the club’s track and facilities.

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club completed 25,259 laps of its track on the Memorial Playing Field in a 24 hour marathon.

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club completed 25,259 laps of its track on the Memorial Playing Field in a 24 hour marathon. - Credit: Peter Steward

A total of 87 riders and residents took part – many of them pedalling through the night.

Club members Harley Hamill and Nigel Longlands each rode over 2,300 laps whilst Leigh Cossey and Paul Delaiche completed 1,000 laps.


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Two of the stars of the event were Under-10s rider Louis Marling who completed 1,410 laps (about 70 miles) and 10-year-old Matthew Sidell who got out of bed at 2am on Sunday to brave the rain

Matthew Sidell from Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club.

Matthew Sidell from Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club. - Credit: Karen Stradling

Matthew completed 120 laps and raised £200 in sponsorship, just hours after being given the go-ahead to take part following a period of enforced isolation as a year seven pupil at Hethersett Academy.

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The year group was sent home following an outbreak of Covid at the school.

Proud grandmother and life-long Hethersett resident Karen Stradling said: “Matthew’s devotion to his club is quite something. We set our alarm and turned out to cheer him on. Covid-19 won’t stop this community from doing its thing.”

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club chairman Mel Perkins and life president John Nelson.

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club chairman Mel Perkins and life president John Nelson. - Credit: Jenny Melvin

Club chairman Mel Perkins said the club had been overwhelmed by the support it had received.

“The key objective was to raise funds and it looks like, once all pledges have been called in, between £3,000 and £4,000 has been raised," he said.

"Apart from the funds raised, the event showed the tremendous family spirit within the club with an age range of four to 83 taking part and there may be some new recruits from family members and the community.

"The event was also a major achievement for the fundraising sub-committee led by Russ Marling and which was only formed in February."

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club completed 25,259 laps of its track on the Memorial Playing Field in a 24 hour marathon.

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club completed 25,259 laps of its track on the Memorial Playing Field in a 24 hour marathon. - Credit: Jenny Melvin

It was a big day for former long-standing chairman John Nelson, who was officially made the club’s honorary life president.

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club completed 25,259 laps of its track on the Memorial Playing Field in a 24 hour marathon.

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club completed 25,259 laps of its track on the Memorial Playing Field in a 24 hour marathon. - Credit: Peter Steward

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club completed 25,259 laps of its track on the Memorial Playing Field in a 24 hour marathon.

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club completed 25,259 laps of its track on the Memorial Playing Field in a 24 hour marathon. - Credit: Peter Steward


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