Tom Farndon remembered

A special ceremony to remember 1934-35 British Champion
Tom Farndon attracted almost 100 fans and family to his Coventry graveside on August Bank Holiday Monday, the 75th anniversary of his death.

Five generations of the family included the youngest, four-weeks-old Beth, and among the Farndon fans was 92-years-old Winifred Simpson who said:
'He was my hero when I was 17.'

The event was conducted by the Rev Mike Whawell, honorary chaplain to the World Speedway Riders Association and organised by the authors of the new book on Tom Farndon's life, John Chaplin and Norman Jacobs.

Chaplin said:
'The turnout exceeded all our expectations. It was magnificent considering it is three quarters of a century after the tragedy that cut short Tom's outstanding career. He was a huge star - historically one of England's best - in his day, and the occasion was highly emotional, especially for the family.'

Farndon, 24, at the time the undefeated British Champion, was fatally injured in a crash at New Cross on the eve of the 1935 Star Championship Final - then the equivalent of a world final - for which he was favourite.
Ex-riders Col Smith and Mike Lawrence provided bikes - a Langton Excelsior and 1928 Dirt-Track Douglas (see attached photos).
Tom Farndon (born 11 September 1910 Coventry, England died 30 August 1935) was a Speedway rider who won the Star Riders' Championship in 1933. He set out on the road to speedway stardom in 1928 and within five years had reached celebrity status. His good looks and sheer charisma brought him a huge fan following, particularly among young women, and his incredible talent took him to the pinnacle of the speedway world.
Tom was the British Individual Match Race Champion and was undefeated from 1934 until his death in 1935. Farndon was killed after a crash on 28 August 1935 whilst racing at New Cross Rangers Stadium in a second half scratch race final. He was involved in a collision with team-mate Ron Johnson which hurled him through the air and saw him land head first on the track. Tom died two days later in Miller General Hospital, Greenwich, without regaining consciousness.