Now, let me recommend to you a good bedtime read, something that will keep you occupied for hours, something to get your teeth into, no, not that sort of thing, now stop sniggering at the back!
But before I give you the full details, let me explain a bit further. You’ll recall that a few weeks ago Rapley went to Kinlochleven for the first British Championship round, something I had not enjoyed for a good number of years. Inevitably I met up with lots of folk that I know, but don’t see regularly and one such person was Julian Wigg, father to Alexz of course.
Now Julian and I have been acquainted with each other for a good many years; we are certainly not well known to each other, but like so many folks in this great sport of ours, we are happy to pass a few minutes in each other’s company on the odd occasions we meet.
Up in Scotland Julian promised to lend me a book. Yawn, thought I; I do read occasionally, but what with working for a living, writing for two magazines and this website, catching up with the local news, national news and F1 news via the local paper, daily paper and Autosport, when do I get time to read a book?
Anyway, Julian was insistent and on the Sunday he loaned me a big green paperback, entitled “Wiggy – Simon Wigg in his own words”. Out of politeness I thanked Julian and promised to give it back to him after I had read it, thinking, I’ll have it for a couple of weeks and return it at the Scottish.
Back at home I chucked it on the bedside table and a couple of nights later began to glance through it, thinking I’ll read a chapter or so to justify Julian’s generosity. But I was hooked within five minutes and rather than read more from the middle, turned to the first page and began reading.
I can’t pretend that I have been quick reading it, I read a few pages every night and only now have I just about finished it, so, Julian, it’ll be back in the post to you pretty soon.
But what’s so special about an autobiography of Simon Wigg? In case you don’t know, Simon, Julian’s younger brother and therefore Alexz’s uncle, was World Longtrack Champion five times and claimed a best place of second in the World Speedway Championship. But tragically Simon died aged just 40 from a brain tumour, though as he had become ill some years earlier, at the very height of his career, who knows how much more success could have gone his way.
The overwhelming appreciation that the reader gains is that Simon was an incredibly driven character, who was not afraid to speak his mind, and who tried to improve his sport at a time when his contemporaries were content to go along with how things were at the time. He was as popular as any one man can be, and there’s no doubt his early passing was a tragedy.
The above paragraph can’t do justice to him, and I certainly don’t intend to expound further, except to say that should you get a chance to read this volume, then do so, because it gives a real insight into how the very best sportsmen drive themselves to the success that they achieve.
Let me explain further. Back in the 'mid-eighties when at TMX, I was the editor of the Grass Track section of the paper that ran for just one season, before it was so unceremoniously pulled by the management – nothing new there! And the one grass tracker who was on the phone to me most weeks was Simon Wigg. Back then I barely knew him, though we had met at Windsor Great Park in 1978 when I went down to the royal town to write a feature about Windsor Comp Shop who were one of his sponsors at the time. He had brought his signwritten van along and I recall taking some pics of the WCS sponsored riders. I don’t recall much about the jobs I did all those years ago, but I do remember Wiggy as being a forceful character.
Anyway, when editing the grass track section it was always Wiggy who was on the blower and in the nicest possible way suggesting this, that and the other we should be doing to help promote his sport. If the section had continued for another season I think we would have gone along with many of his ideas, but of course, it was not to be
So, is young Alexz out of the same mould? He is certainly on the upward slope of the success graph at the moment; he’s driven by his dad and there must be in his genes the determination to succeed that brought so much sporting success to both Simon and of course to Julian who was an outstanding grass track racer. He has a lot to live up to and Alexz knows just how much, and I feel sure that whatever level of success he achieves, he will ultimately have done his best. Just like Uncle Simon. We wish him every success.
Do read the book if you get the chance.