Belle Vue Ace 1973 - 1990


CHRIS MORTON MBE. 1973 - 1990

Fell, Engine Failure, Substituted. Not the greatest of starts to the career of one of the finest rider’s to ever don the famous Aces race bib!

But that’s just what happened on Tuesday May 15th 1973 in what was to be Chris’ League debut for Ellesmere Port, whilst on loan from Belle Vue. His record did however improve as the season went on, though with little thanks to his slow gating. A trait, that was to stay with “Mighty Mort” throughout his career. Not that you’d hear anyone complain, for they always provided some of the most thrilling and exciting races as he battled to recover lost ground. Chris was also often to be seen in the second half races at Crewe, under the watchful eye of his elder brother Dave.

 

It all started much earlier than that though. Chris’ Mum and Dad took him to his first speedway meeting, ironically, at Belle Vue, way back in 1964. Strangely enough, the very same year that my older brother took me!

Chris loved it and especially the thrilling style of Soren Sjosten. His dream was to be just like him some day, and to ride for the Aces. I wonder what odds you would’ve been given, had you taken a bet on that dream coming true!

So taken by the sport, that as an eight year old, he was to be seen practicing on ancient clapped out machines in a farm field in Partington Manchester. And whose farm was it? None other than the parents, of another famous Belle Vue son, Peter Collins. Yes the secret is out! How the Collins family could, and still do, produce so many fantastic speedway riders. But that’s another story.

With all the comings and goings through rider control, injury and retirements, Chris had to wait until the 1975 season for a full team place with the Aces. From that season on, his average score rarely fell below the 7 point mark. His career average for Belle Vue stands at 9.01. I’m sure there won’t be many riders who can hail such a record! He still holds the record for the most appearances for the club, 703 in all. And for the most points scored for Belle Vue. Hard to believe then, that it wasn’t until 1982 that he was to be a member of a League Championship winning team, just missing out as runners up in 1974, 75, 76 and 78.

Though destined never to win the Individual World Crown, Chris was to become a double WorldChampion. In 1984 he partnered fellow team mate and best friend, Peter Collins to be crowned World Pairs Champions and in 1980 he was also crowned as a member of the World Team Championship, representing England

He also holds the record for the only rider to have won the Peter Craven Memorial Trophy 3 times, and won the British League Riders Championship in1984.

18 unbroken years service to the Aces and in the sport did however make their mark. With the inevitable injuries mounting up and beginning to take their toll, Chris finally called it a day at the end of the 1990 season. as the Aces Commercial Manager.

During this time, he and Chris’ love of the sport and Belle Vue didn’t end there though. He went on to be one of the main people to introduce speedway racing at Buxton, and also the Team Manager with the Berwick Bandits when they won the Gold Cup Championship in 1991. With that experience, he rejoined Belle Vue in 2006 as the Aces Commercial Manager.

During this time, he and close friend David Gordon of Highland Group fame, expressed an interest in buying the Aces. Talks followed with the then owner, Tony Mole throughout the season until in December, Chris and David were able to announce to the press that they were now the new owners. Their first big signing being former manager Eric Boocock. Always a very popular man around Belle Vue both on and off the track. Indeed it was under the management of Eric, that Belle Vue enjoyed much success.

So as these words are typed, we all look forward to a new era for the Aces, under co-ownership of one of the Aces favourite legendary riders. d 1993
British 350cc Grass Track Champion: 1974
British Grass Track Pairs Champion: (with brother Dave Morton) 1975
Peter Craven Memorial Trophy Champion: 1974, 1975 and 1986

England Appearances: 128

 

Club Honours:
League Champions: 1982
Runners – up: 1974,1975,1976, 1978, 1984,1988
Knockout Cup winner: 1973, 1975
Runners – up: 1978, 1980, 1982,1984
League Cup winner: 1983
Runner – up: 1984, 1987
Premiership winner: 1983
Runner – up: 1984
Inter – League Knockout Cup winner: 1975

 


 

 

 

For his services to club, country and the sport,
Chris was awarded the M.B.E by the Queen in 1992

by Kevan P. Platts