Full Name: Michael Handley
Birthplace: Dudley, Worcestershire
Birthdate: 29th December 1946
[Taken from the Cradley Speedway Riders Database includes all matches]
Mick started racing speedway after buying his first bike from ex Cradley
Junior Norman Moore for £70. He started riding at Dudley Wood and with no
transport had to push his bike across the canal towpath from his Black
Country home in Netherton. Mick was always interested in sport competing at
school in cross country and football.
In 1966 Wolves started running training schools at Monmore Green and Mick
decided to try his luck along with his friend Chris Hawkins. He caught the
eye of promoter Bill Bridgett and his partner Mike Parker who at the time
were trying to get together a troupe of riders to do a trip to Italy to try
and establish the sport there. Mick took this with open arms. He was glad to
be racing speedway on a regular basis and spent 7 weeks there riding at
least twice a week and beating some of the more experienced riders on a
regular basis. When this venture ended he returned to Britain to be
the centre of an argument on who he belonged to, Wolves or Cradley. The
Control Board decided that he was a Wolves rider and he began riding at
Monmore in the second half.
1967 saw him riding for Wolves but was disappointed that this was at the expense
of Pete Jarman who had helped him so much during the previous year.
1968 came and with Division two tailor made for riders like Mick, Bill Bridgett
used him at Crayford where he won the track trophy as top scorer, he would have
probably have won the League Riders Final but for an exclusion for 'hard
In 1969 he was back at Wolves full time but with all his friends supporting the
Heathens he dearly wanted to get to Dudley Wood but Bill Bridgett was having
none of it and told him he could have a transfer but definitely not to Cradley!
He eventually ended up at West Ham but couldn't settle and Mick decided he
didn't want to ride outside the Midlands, at this time Barry Duke was having a
tough time at Dudley Wood and they got their head's together to try for a swap.
Everyone was in agreement except for Bill Bridgett who rode under protest in the
Dudley - Wolves match who said he would never had allowed the move.
So Mick got his dream move to Dudley Wood, at last he was a Heathen!
He started with 5+1 points from the Dudley-Wolves Trophy and rose to a
score of 11 points against Poole a couple of weeks later.
His only full campaign for the Heathens was in 1972 which was was marred by the
death of his brother at the start of the season, nevertheless he had achieved
his boyhood dream to become a 'Heathen', he said " the supporters were great
with me at Cradley - most of them knew me already!
Following his time at Cradley Mick went on to ride for several
other clubs including Stoke, Long Eaton, Oxford and Scunthorpe before retiring,
he suffered his fair share of injuries - broken legs and collar bone on numerous
A bricklayer by trade Mick went on to be a Master builder he still 'keeps
his hand in' now, still living in walking distance from Dudley Wood he took up
body building for a while also keeping his interest in boxing and football.
His latest interest is clocking up the miles on the mountain bike every weekend
to keep fit. He never misses the speedway on TV and recently came to the
Heathens social event.
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