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Split Waterman obituary
#790969 11/22/19 6:23 pm
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 10,449
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Squire Francis Waterman (27 July 1923 – 8 October 2019) [1], better known as Split Waterman, was an English speedway rider who twice finished second in the Speedway World Championship final.[2] Waterman took up speedway while serving in the British Army in Italy and went on to become one of the top riders of the post-war era. He made the headlines again in the late 1960s when he was convicted of gold smuggling and firearms offences.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_Waterman

The wiki version is toned down, but the more detailed one is in the Times behind a paywall but here's a sample.

On a visit from Spain for the annual dinner-dance of the Veteran (now World) Speedway Riders’ Association in Coventry in 2002, The Guardian found Waterman “second in the toasts only to the Queen” and noted that “his charisma at 79, in tinted aviators and royal-blue cummerbund, was still enough to send multitudes of septuagenarians sprinting to the top table, autograph books in hand”. His racing prowess was not the only topic of conversation. “I smuggled gold! I smuggled guns! Zambia, Rhodesia, the jungle,” he declared.

Waterman reflected that when his speedway career faded, so did his prospects of escaping the attention of the police. “The people who worked at Wembley were ex-Old Bill,” he said in a book, Speedway: The Greatest Moments. “And that’s how I used to get out of trouble. What sort of trouble? You name it, I’ve done it.”

Split Waterman, speedway racer and smuggler, was born on July 27, 1923. He died on October 8, 2019, aged 96

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Re: Split Waterman obituary
kommando #791174 11/24/19 5:12 pm
Joined: Nov 2009
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Wasn't he lapped up with the Krays ? A dubious character if ever there was one !

Re: Split Waterman obituary
kommando #791230 11/25/19 2:51 am
Joined: Feb 2008
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Reminds me when in my late teens a group of us used to go to speedway meetings at Coventry Speedway.
They were known as the "Brandon Bees" because the stadium was in the village of Brandon rather than Coventry proper.
There were plenty of "offs" and this frequrently lead to fights on the track between riders.
I think I remember Split Waterman riding there although it must have been right at the end of his career.
The captain of the Bees was a guy named Nigel Boocock. He pioneered colored leathers in speedway in England by wearing bright blue leathers.
This must have been the early 1960s.


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