Stars descend on Blunsdon to remember Kilby
“IF YOU are going to do something, you do it properly.” That was Swindon Robins legend Bob Kilby’s motto.
The showman appeared in more than 500 meetings for his hometown club, and lived up to his own adage as he scored more than 4,000 points and collected 68 maximums for the Robins during a 20-year career which also saw him star for Exeter and Oxford.
Kilby passed away in January 2009 at his home in Stratton St Margaret aged 64, but he has never been forgotten and will once again be remembered tonight at the Abbey Stadium by riders, management, fans, family and friends.
An impressive line-up including three-time world champion Nicki Pedersen and former Grand Prix winners Hans Andersen, Freddie Lindgren, Chris Harris and Bjarne Pedersen has been assembled in his honour, and the legendary rider’s son Lee insisted the Robins have more than lived up to his late father’s old saying in organising tonight’s meeting.
“Obviously this is a memorial meeting and it reminds you the person you love isn’t there anymore, but I love it because it gives me a chance to lord in his greatness,” he said.
“From a family point of view we know we are always going to get the best riders because they all want to get the track time, and all the fans are up for it because we have been starved of speedway for five long months.
“The meeting is a really good reflection on dad as an individual because all the fans come out to watch and the riders come out to race, and it’s a great occasion for all of us.
“As a nipper he always used to say to me, ‘if you do something you do it properly’ and that is what we have always said to Swindon Speedway. To be fair to them, they have put a superb line-up together every year, and he would love the fact all the top boys want to ride.
“None of them will have known him apart from Mads (Korneliussen), or even met him, but the fact they all want to ride and put the effort in is great.”
Lee will be attending tonight’s meeting along with his sister Emma and their partners, and their respective sons Thomas and Max, both five, will be presenting the trophy to the winner on the night.
“Dad always wanted grandchildren, and they were born two weeks apart and dad saw them grow from little babies into toddlers,” he said.
“They were one when he died, and we are both really grateful he saw them grow from little nippers into one-year-olds.
“The two boys are both five now, and will present the trophy to the winner at the end and that is really special for the family.”
Kilby was a born entertainer on the bike, and son Lee likens his father to this evening’s star attraction Pedersen.
“He is bang on Nicki Pedersen, and his style was very very similar,” he said.
“Dad may not have been quite as controversial as Nicki, but the way they attack the track and own the track was similar. When you read back through Speedway Stars the reports always say dad was entertaining, there is no doubt about that, and people like to remember him for that.
“Oxford, Exeter and Swindon fans all contact me at this time of year saying that dad was their favourite rider, and he would never give up and was always committed.
“Nicki is exactly the same, and dad liked watching Nicki a lot because of the way he went about his business.
“I have always wanted a Swindon rider to win it, and they haven’t managed to yet, so I would maybe like to see Hans (Andersen), Troy (Batchelor) or Peter Kildemand win it.
“But to be honest I don’t really care who wins, it’s just nice to see so many top riders racing with our dad’s name on their chest.”
Admission for tonight’s meeting is £20 adults, £15 concessions, children 11-16 £7 and under 11s just £1.