Career Record with Cradley
[Taken from the Cradley Speedway Riders Database includes all matches]
British League KO Cup winners medal 1986, 1987 (Cradley)
Paul started riding on the grasstrack at the age of 15. He made his Cradley debut in 1984 after time with the junior squad, but his real breakthrough was being named in the starting senior team for the 1986 season. He had been signed by Laurence Rogers in '84 from Exeter, despite never riding for the Falcons, as cover when Steve Collins injured an arm. During the following seasons, 'Fryer' progressed in the Dudley Wood second half events and at the reserve berth of the main team.
It was an inconspicuous first full season in 1986 as the young man scored over 100 points at reserve and achieved a creditable 3.11 average. There were no problems with him agreeing a deal to return again in 1987, and he went on to slightly improve his final average during more than 60 matches for Cradley in that year alone.
|Despite the improvement, the progress was not seen to be enough, and it was thought that Paul would benefit from more time in the lower division. He was sold to Long Eaton in 1989 where he spent two years, before moving on loan to Kings Lynn in 1991 and then down south for a long spell at Exeter between 1992 and 96. He was snapped up in '97 by newly re-opened Newport where the change rejuvinated his form and Fryer's Tigerish style endeared him quickly to the enthusiastic Newport fans. Remaining at Queensway Meadows in 1998 his average dropped slightly to 8.29. He returned to Stoke 1999 but it wasn't a happy move spending most of it out injured with a broken ankle.|
At the start of 2000 it was announced that Paul had signed for Swindon, he went there on a low average and on a track he liked he had a very successful season winning the KO Cup and Young Shield. Paul was a revelation heading the sides averages and a career best at 8.96.
More of this followed in 2001 despite breaking his knuckle in July but still managed an average of 8.17.
He continued his success in 2002 but on 15th June he was involved in a freak accident at Berwick where he crashed awkwardly and sustained a double fracture of the leg.
He came back in 2003 to help the Robins win the Four Team Championship and achieving an average of 7.55.
With Swindon moving up into the Elite League in 2004, he joined Somerset and stayed with the Rebels until 2006 when he broke his leg again in June which ended his season.
On 23rd March Paul was awarded a Testimonial at Somerset (won by Leigh Adams) but in May 2008 while representing IOW he was involved in a terrifying crash with Scott Smith at Berwick, it ended up with both riders clearing the fence and into the crowd and injuring three supporters walking past. He sustained knee ligament damage and two broken toes. The police were called and treated the incident like any Road Traffic Accident and abandoned the meeting.
It looked like he was lost to speedway in 2009 but he was signed by Newport again and doubled up with Poole in May. He showed good form for the Wasps and took over the captaincy when Mark Lemon was axed in July.
At 44 years old he was the second oldest rider competing in British Speedway behind Mark Burrows. He had 26 years in the sport.
There is no happy end to the speedway profile of Paul 'Fryer' Fry. At 45 years old he was found unconscious at a friend's house in Ledbury following an apparent attempt to take his own life.
He died in Hereford County Hospital on 1st April 2010 from hypoxic brain injuries caused by hanging. His wife Elaine said Paul sometimes spoke of suicide and had made attempts to take his own life previously. He had moved out of the family home but she believed it was a cry for help because he was always a happy chappie. His funeral took place on 20th April, with the service at St Pauls Church, Tupsley, Hereford.