From Shropshire Motorsport:

'Golden boy' coup was a shot in the dark

One of the men behind luring Bruce Penhall to Shropshire next year has admitted it was a shot in the dark.

Penhall, America's 'golden boy', is set to race in the indoor ice international at Telford on Sunday, February 15.

And thrilled Telford co-promoter Ian Thomas said: "It was a long shot when I phoned him at his home in California because, as far as I am aware, his only track appearance since he quit racing 21 years ago was in Greg Hancock's testimonial meeting.

"His first reaction was 'I am not coming halfway round the world to make a fool of myself'.

"He said it was always his intention to stick to the decision he made after winning his second world final, when he quit to go to Hollywood and try to break into the movies.

"What he has agreed to do is come over for the Telford weekend, do 'An evening with Bruce Penhall' and then ride six match races - three in the afternoon and three at night - against an as yet unnamed opponent or opponents.

"It took him 24 hours to make up his mind and it was one of the longest days of my life.

"He has only agreed to do the match races provided we give him practice facilities on the ice at Telford and provide him with the right equipment. He is still the consummate professional.

"Bruce was a superstar in speedway. He had the looks and the charisma to go with a natural flair for speedway racing and the hard edge you need to become world champion.

"He won the last-ever world final at Wembley, in 1981, and the first in the USA a year later. And he is coming home to the part of this country where he was hero-worshipped.

"Hopefully, all those Cradley Heath fans who have been starved of speedway for so long, will help to make Telford a day and night of nostalgia on February 15."

Penhall, who rode for Cradley from 1978-82 inclusive, was once described as "fast, fearless and photogenic" and he broke a few thousand hearts when he quit speedway in 1982 to head for Hollywood.

He went on to star in the motor cycle cops show Chips but retained his competitive instincts by turning to powerboat racing and won the world championship with fellow American track ace Dennis Sigalos.

Now Bruce is a TV commentator on powerboat racing and has had to be released from an assignment the weekend of Telford.

The fact is, he is on his way and it has to be the comeback of all comebacks - and not just in speedway.