Saturday April 06, 2019
One of the few speedway riders to spend his entire career with the same club, Charlie Barsby, a Leicester Hunters rider passed away peacefully last month at the age of eighty-eight.

Charlie is credited as being the club’s first genuine locally born rider to graduate from the juniors. The year was 1952 and Barsby made his senior debut for Leicester in their win at Edinburgh in April, just three days short of his twenty-second birthday.

He kept his team place for the remainder of the season and the following year Charlie’s scores on away tracks saw his figures improve by nearly three points a match to end the campaign as Leicester’s second highest scorer behind his Captain Len Williams.

Often affectionately referred to as the ‘Hungarton Express’ the next two seasons were a period of consolidation for Charlie whose all-action style won him many points and admiration from Leicester’s fans. His dedication was rewarded in 1956 when he secured the third heat Leader role for the Hunters.

It was a defining moment in his career and on the back of such a productive season Charlie travelled to Australia that winter with fellow teammate Ken McKinlay. The two divided their time between racing at the Maribyrnong track in Melbourne and Rowley Park in Adelaide.

However the tour ended abruptly for Barsby who crashed into the safety fence at Rowley Park after taking avoiding action when a rider’s engine cut out. The outcome was a fractured skull and the legacy of the injury appeared to stall his progress. Nevertheless, sheer determination to keep racing for the Hunters helped him through this difficult period in his career.

In 1961 Charlie missed half of Leicester’s fixtures that year after twice breaking his collarbone in separate incidents. It was to be his tenth and final season in the senior team and after making 340 appearances in all competitions; a figure that places Charlie Barsby fourth highest in the club’s all-time list, and scoring over sixteen hundred team points he retired from racing.

Along with former Leicester riders from the Hunters and Lions eras who raced at the Blackbird Road Stadium, Charlie was a guest of honour at the opening of the new speedway stadium eight years ago in Beaumont Park.

Charlie is survived by his only son, Robert, and his funeral took place at Gilroes Cemetary in Leicester yesterday.

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