Simon Cross

Biography..

Full name: Simon James Cross
Birthplace: Hereford, Worcestershire.
Birthdate: 31st May, 1965.
Family: Wife Andrea, Son Daniel
Sister Julie & Brother Paul

 

Crossi Action


Statistics..
 
Year Mat Rid Poi Bon Total Aver
1982
8
30
20
4
24
3.20
1983
20
64
62
18
80
5.00
1984
44
176
287
39
326
7.41
1985
55
207
296
41
337
6.51
1986
57
220
347
53
400
7.27
1987
64
271
601
30
631
9.31
1988
52
238
437
56
493
8.29
1989
46
204
398
50
448
6.20
1990
29
152
322
23
345
9.08
1991
8
33
38
3
41
4.97
1992
54
244
390
45
435
7.13
1993
33
164
231
29
260
6.34
1994
59
292
484
70
554
7.59
1995
57
284
586
45
631
8.89

[Taken from the Cradley Speedway database includes ALL matches]

   

Overseas Champion 1988
British Masters Grasstrack Champion 1986, 1994
British 350 Grasstrack Champion 1987
European Grasstrack Champion 1986
WA State Champion (Australia)

World Team Cup winners medal 1989
National League Pairs Champion 1983
British League KO Cup winners medal -
1983,1986,1987,1988,1989
British League Fours winners medal 1995
Midland Cup winners medal 1983,1984,1987
League Cup Winners medal 1984, 1986
Premiership winners medal 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990
 


Profile...

Written for the web site by Simon Priest

Simon started his career at Oxford in 1982 when he was signed by former Cradley Manager Bob Wasley. Oxford were Cradley's sister track so it would be inevitable Simon would become a Cradley asset if he was to show promise. Due to behind the scenes wrangling at the club, Simon only stayed there for a short period. He was then signed by Weymouth as a replacement for Simon Wigg, who had moved to Cradley. Simon made a big impression, while being the Cradley number 8 and during his time spent at Weymouth including winning the best pairs event in 1983 with Martin Yeates.

At Cradley, due to the points limit, the "Great" team of 1983 had to be split up at the end of the season. This we thought was going to be Crossi's big chance. However the authorities refused to allow Simon to ride because the overall team average was 0.01 over the limit. Crossi bided his time and after some dubious results Cradley had lowered their overall team average enough to allow Simon a place in the side. At the end of that season, Simon and Colin Pratt had proved to the world and the authorities that the points system was a farce stopping a young promising English rider their big chance.

 
In 1985, Simon was to gain his first England cap along with his first British Final appearance where he scored six points. His progress was not as great in this season where he struggled at times with the pace of the British League. In 1986 Simon's grass track exploits were to come into fruition, when he became the European Grass track champion, he was also becoming an England regular and his reputation was beginning to make people sit up and take notice. At the end of that long hard season, Simon was at a crossroads and he was undecided what route he was to take for the forthcoming campaign.

After racing for two months in Australia, Simon decided to concentrate more on speedway and re-signed for Cradley much to the delight of the Cradley fans. Simon was now establishing himself as the third major heat leader giving Cradley an embarrassment of riches in this particular department. The top three were almost unbeatable around the best racing track in the country. The entertainment was top class even the great Hans Nielsen could not stop Simon from coming from behind to beat him in the British Trophy match at Dudley Wood. Simon reached his first World Final, which was raced over two days in Amsterdam but was won by a certain Hans Nielsen.

Many Cradley fans knew Simon had the determination to get to the very top but due to the misfortune of injury, mainly caused by the fact Simon never knew when he was beaten, slowed his progress but in 1988 much of that was to change. He had his best season to date. He was awesome around the Wood, unfailing at away tracks and consistent for England.

At a rain soaked Brandon stadium on a Tuesday night Crossi was to achieve his best ever sporting triumph winning the Overseas Final after a three man run off, giving me one of my greatest memories and pride in being a Heathen. The jubilation however was not to last as Crossi only qualified as a reserve from Vetlanda for the World Final in Vojens. Crossi did not finish the season empty handed though as Cradley won the KO Cup and the Premiership Trophy. This was the final year I can really say Cradley had a successful season, as the years to come were to have more highs and lows than you could possibly imagine.
At the World team Cup Final, in 1989, three riders employed by Cradley and one whom was to help out the club a few weeks later, were involved in a speedway accident, which was to shape the future of the Heathens to date. Crossi had already been injured himself earlier that year along with Jan O. From then on the nerve of the team was going to be tested to the full. Simon was made captain of Cradley in this difficult time suffering knocks along the way, but true to his dedication to the club, he perhaps rode when he was not fully fit. Cradley could ill afford to be without his services, as the fans needed someone or something to show them strength in this difficult time. At one point it even seemed that anyone who was to accept the captaincy was to be struck down by ill fortune.
 
Simon was the rider who bought home the KO Cup for the Heathens in Heat 12 and was just the tonic his teammate Erik Gundersen needed to help him recover from his injuries. Only Simon and his close friends and family will know how much those few months took out of him and what effect this was to have in his future.

Simon was named as the Heathens captain for the 1990 season. A season that was going to be difficult for all connected with Cradley. No Erik in the team for the first time in over a decade. However by the time July had appeared, Cradley were doing well, still in with a chance of winning the league and most riders doing well on the individual front until August.
Simon had a great July almost unbeatable around the Wood. He scored seventeen points at Wolverhampton (a track he did not rate amongst his favourites), and beat Hans Nielsen in The Golden Hammer. This however was his final meeting before representing his country in Germany in the World Pairs Final with Kelvin Tatum. This meeting saw Simon involved in a crash, that many thought would end his career, he had broken his back but in true Crossi tradition he would not be beaten. Just twelve months later, he made his return for second division Middlesbrough. Although not at his best he definitely made an impression in the Northeast, so much so he was recalled to the Cradley side in the October of that season. He also celebrated his testimonial in August 1991 aged just 26 giving testimony to his dedication to the Club.
Psycho returned in 1992 as captain for the Heathens but in the early part of that season suffered a knee injury, this kept him out of the side for a few matches. The following twelve months, he rode without injury. It was not until the May of 1993 that his next test would come as the injury jinx struck again, this time sidelining him for three months.
Simon planned to retire at the end of the season mainly due to the amount of injuries he had sustained during his career, but in true Frank Sinatra style he was persuaded to return as heat leader for the Heathens in 1994. Although not his best season, Simon did manage to help the club reach the finals of the 4-team tournament at Peterborough where he was the best Cradley rider on view.

With a very dark cloud hanging over the club for the 1995 season due to the impending closure, Simon did his best to help ease the fears of the fans. His best scores for the heathens came in 1995 against Exeter at the County Ground scoring an 18-point maximum. He also scored 16+2 (paid Maximum) at home against them.

The club reached the Finals of the Four team Tournament and Simon had to win the penultimate heat to give the club its first chance of silverware. Billy Hamill won the final and the Cradley fans went wild with delight. Simon's final rides for Cradley came at the end of that year on the 21.10.95 in a three team tournament against Long Eaton and those people from Monmore. Simon went on to race for Coventry the following season but could never reproduce the form for them like he had whilst riding for the Heathens.

In conclusion Simon probably was not the same rider after his accident in 1990, albeit aged only 25 we will never know what might have been if this had not have happened. Simon was a Cradley Heathen through and through, he never knew when he was beaten and always gave 110 % for the Club. He was perhaps overshadowed by some of his teamates throughout his career but still became a true Cradley Legend.

 


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