An exciting future is predicted for Buxton speedway starlet Jack Parkinson-Blackburn after he swept all before him to finish top of the pile on his Midland Development League (MDL) debut.
At the age of 14 and the youngest rider in the field, Jack became the youngest-ever MDL champion after he was given special dispensation to compete just two days before his 15th birthday.
He finished ahead on points from King’s Lynn’s Layne Cupitt in a performance that had the manager of Buxton’s National League speedway team, Jason Pipe, drooling.
Pipe labelled Jack “something special” and even suggested that he could be a possible future world champion.
“Before the meeting started, I was very nervous for Jack, but I knew he’d be able to handle himself and cope well with the occasion,” said Pipe.
“He has a very good team of people helping him out in the pits. They know what they are doing, which is a very big help to him.
“His team included Wayne Carter, who is still classed as Mr Scunthorpe Speedway. Having knowng Wayne personally for years, I knew Jack had one of the best with him.
“I’m so pleased for Jack and his grandad Neal, who has put in a lot of time and money for him already, before he’s even made his National League debut. As his Buxton team manager, I’m very proud of him and I’m so looking forward to watching him win more races and trophies in the future.
“He deserves to be MDL champion after the way he’s being riding in MDL meetings. Jack is something special and it’s not too often a rider like him comes along. When they do, they certainly make people sit up and take note and after this, I’m sure Jack will have many more admirers and followers!
“I was lucky to be around in speedway in 1983 when a young Gary Havelock was at the same age of 14. He rode laps regularly around Middlesbrough’s Cleveland Park and believe me when I say this, Jack is much better and quicker than Gary was at this age. I can see a future world champion for certain in him.
“I’m so looking forward to watching his career develop over the years to come. I’m one very happy team-manager and so pleased it was Buxton that Jack was representing.
“I’m so looking forward to having Jack in our Buxton National League team from this coming Sunday when Cradley Heath are the visitors to Hi-Edge.”
Jack went into the MDL final as one of the hot favourites because of the amount of laps he’d already put in around the Eddie Wright Raceway in Scunthorpe. However, things didn’t go right from the start because he wasn’t happy with his clutch.
His pit crew of Carter, Pipe, grandad Neal and Buxton mascot Kean Dicken soon put it right, though, and Jack flew from the gate to win his second race in a fast time, seven seconds quicker than the winner of the previous race.
Two more victories and two more fast times, plus a second place, followed in his next three qualifying heats before he recorded the fastest time of the meeting in winning the second semi-final.
The final had to be stopped after one of his rivals crashed. But Jack had established such a big lead, with only one lap to go, that he was awarded the race, receiving a voucher for £100.