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Chris's cycle of life; CYCLE SPEEDWAY: Timms junior shows dad the way to the top.

Byline: By Nick Pullen

CHRIS Timms looks like being a chip off the old block.

At 17 years old, he has been crowned cycle speedway's British Under-19 champion.

He becomes Birmingham Monarchs Cycle Speedway Club's first national champion for 20 years.

Chris, has all the ingredients to enjoy further success, especially as his father, Paul, also competes for the Monarchs - at the ripe old age of 51.

The pair of them often ride together in a demanding sport, which takes no prisoners.

Proud Paul has no doubts about his son's prospects in the sport and said: "I hate to admit it, but he's better than me - although I have beaten him on the odd occasion.

"He's incredibly competitive and a much more aggressive rider than me. I'm too much of a gentleman at times.

"However, we rarely race against each other, even though we're in the same heat." The Great Barr rider added: "It's very much like normal speedway where tactics come into play. Sometimes we have a chat before we go to the line.

Chris might get to the front and then let me go ahead round the outside. Other times I try to shield him from the other riders.

"It does get very physical at times and there can be some spectacular spills.

"I've broken about five bones so far and you can get some very nasty grazes."

Paul took up cycle speedway when he was 17 years old, but then went on to motor-cycle racing for the best part of 20 years and did not get back into cycle speedway until 12 years ago.

He added: "I didn't even know cycle speedway existed until a friend took me down to Perry Hall Playing Fields in Perry Barr, where our home track is situated.

I knew right away it was a sport for me. When Chris was younger he used to come to the meetings with me, so I suppose he was always destined to be a cycle speedway rider. Two wheels have been my life and I couldn't live without it. I think it's in the blood."

That's hardly surprising since Paul's dad, Derek Timms, rode for both Wolverhampton and Cradley at speedway.

And Paul shows no signs of slowing up. He said: "I don't do any special training as such apart from cycling to work and going out on the mountain bike occasionally.

"We train twice a week during the season and that's usually enough.

"I'm thrilled to bits that Chris has become British champion - it's something I would have liked to achieve - but there's always veterans' competitions.

"Believe it or not, there are over-50 races, which are known as super-vets.

"And there's even grand vets as well, which are over 60.

"I've done four veterans' events so far. I won the first one, had two thirds and I also finished third in the British vets."

Paul adds: "Even though I've been involved in cycle speedway for so long, it still gives me a glow when Chris and myself go to the start line together. And when we finish first and second, it's a great feeling."

CAPTION(S):

ON TRACK...Chris Timms is British Under-19 cycle speedway champion. Picture: Jason Skarratt Photo Ref.: JS050808TIMM-6; GENERATION GAME...Chris Timms with dad Paul.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 20, 2008
Words:545
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