THE message on the giant flag that was draped over the fence by jubilant Bears fans to mark Gary Havelock’s magnificent maximum summed it up perfectly: Havvy – one of our own.
Havvy’s a rare breed in sport – a hometown hero still very much in touch with his roots even after making it to the very top.
Remembering that glorious night in Wroclaw 18 years ago as a dreadlocked Havvy stood on the podium clutching the biggest prize in speedway while God Save The Queen rang out through the Olympic Stadium still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
And it was pretty damn special when The Master – as he’s more commonly known at South Tees Motorsports Park – completed a faultless full house against Stoke on Thursday too..
OK so the occasion and surroundings weren’t quite the same – but after a quarter of a century in the sport he proved beyond doubt he still has the same hunger, drive and pride.
What’s more, he’s doing it for his local team. A passionate Boro fan, a lover of our national dish the parmo and proud resident of Marton, Gary Havelock has all the credentials to be declared president should the People’s Republic of Teesside ever gain independence. . . even if you could be mistaken for thinking he was Vietnamese.
Go on, have a look at that flag. Red, with a yellow star in the middle? It could certainly strike a chord or two in downtown Hanoi.
So, if Havvy is “one of our own” – he must be Vietnamese!
Proud citizens of the Socialist Republic – salute the Great Master Gaz Hav Lok!
A swift look at his team-mates adds further weight to the theory: Ben Wil Son, Pee Ta Jool, Soo Cha Nek.
It’s only when you get to Em Ee Li Ar No San Chez that it starts to fall down…
Seriously though, Havvy really is a credit to Teesside – the pride and passion shown by his fans shows the esteem he’s rightly held in.
And the flag, along with the other banners seen regularly on a race night at STMP is a colourful and committed way of celebrating a speedway legend.
All together now: He’s one of our own, he’s one of our own – Gary Havelock is one of our own!”