We are saddened to learn that Lionel Benson has passed away in his native Australia last Thursday at the age of ninety-one. Lionel arrived at Blackbird Road from his home in Sydney, New South Wales at the start of the 1950 season to ride for the Hunters but it was two months into the campaign before he received a chance to ride for the team. When that came Benson never looked back and the Hunters late challenge for the Division 3 title can be attributed to the Australian’s scoring record, which finished with him top of Leicester’s match averages.
Lionel’s ascendancy continued in 1951 and it was only the arrival of Len Williams from Sheffield that prevented him from retaining his number one jersey at the club. Nevertheless Lionel scored over 400 points in all competitions and he was selected to ride for the Overseas’ team against Great Britain in an international series.
Another impressive season followed in 1952 which was recognised by the Australian Test Match Select Committee who picked Benson for three of the meetings against England but with the world at his feet, Benson returned back home and to the disappointment of many Hunters fans he never again returned to Britain to resume his blossoming career.
Leicester’s final Elite League match of the season which was scheduled to take place on Saturday with the visit of the King’s Lynn Stars to Beaumont Park has been cancelled.
The Lions Co-promoter David Darcy said: “It is no secret that the club is in financial difficulty and to stage the meeting will incur additional costs which will only add to the present situation we find ourselves in. After careful consideration of the facts the only sensible option was to cancel the meeting much to our regret. The decision has not been taken lightly and on behalf of the management team I offer our sincere apologies to our fans, sponsors, business partners, riders and staff. Our fans have supported the team brilliantly throughout the season and I am sure that the news will be a huge disappointment to them as much as it is to everyone within the club.”
The team’s last home appearance took place on August Bank Holiday Monday when Leicester completed a win over last season’s Elite League Champions, the Poole Pirates and the final score-line of 52-38 was their highest winning margin.
The fixture has twice been postponed due to rain which affected track conditions and a third attempt was scheduled to take place two weeks ago only to be cancelled due to the unavailability of several of the Lions team.
“I am mindful that fans may still have in their possession admission tickets from the original date when the meeting was first postponed and if this is the case then King’s Lynn fans should write to their club enclosing their ticket for a refund which has been agreed with the Stars Promoter Keith Chapman. Lions fans should retain their re-admission tickets which can be exchanged for a meeting next season at Leicester” added Darcy.
Freddie Lindgren won the Elite League Riders’ Championship at Coventry last night to complete a stellar week for the Wolves captain who led his club to success in the play-off final against Belle Vue on Wednesday.
In the final at Brandon Lindgren came up against three riders who he had previously dropped points to in the qualifying section, Niels-Kristian Iversen, Chris Harris and Edward Kennett but he made no mistake in the final.
Leicester’s two representatives Paul Starke and Patrick Hougaard scored seven and six points respectively. Their scores would have been higher but for exclusions for each rider when in scoring positions.
Elite League Riders Championship Final: 1st Freddie Lindgren, 2nd Niels-Kristian Iversen, 3rd Chris Harris and 4th Edward Kennett.
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