A former Workington Comets star who thrilled crowds at Derwent Park in the early eighties has been remembered by the speedway community.

Wayne Jackson was born in Manchester but made a name for himself with Workington Comets from 1980 to 1981. He was a young star of the track at the time aged 17. Fans of speedway and those who knew Wayne have shared pictures and memories following his passing aged 57 on Friday June 12.

Tony Jackson, who managed the Comets before the team folded in 2018, was a fan in the early eighties. He said: “It was great to watch him get better every week.”

The team closed in 1981 and Jackson moved on to compete for Cradley, Oxford and Barrow.

Tony said: “If we had carried on with that team, in a couple of years to come a some of them would have done really well.”

Born in Manchester, Jackson started out at the Belle Vue Speedway track but he was invited to join Workington’s team by then promoter Eddie Thornborrow. He would make the trip from Manchester every Friday to compete.

And he was a welcome addition for the fans, working his way up to the main team from the reserves.

In 1980 he rode in 35 matches, averaging 4.43 points per meeting but by 1981 he had hit his stride with the Comets, averaging 6.22 points per meeting, competing in 38 matches.

Tony said: “He was very popular and he was quite exciting to watch.

“He even had his own fan club.”

His teammate at Belle Vue, Darren Hartley of Manchester said: “There was a group of us that all came up through the junior ranks, I always kept in touch with him.”

Hartley, who is now team manager at Newcastle saw Jackson develop into a skilled rider.

“He went from your average junior, on to Castleford and Workington Comets with Kevin Clapham.”

Clapham was also a member of the Workington Comets side from 1980 to 1981.

Hartley added that riding for Workington Comets elevated Jackson’s game: “It was the making of Wayne.”

He was briefly joined at Workington Comets by another Manchester rider, Dean Zaman in 1981.

Jackson retired after competing for Barrow in 1985.

Tony said: “The thing that is most shocking is that he was only a young lad in the 1980s and he has passed away aged 57.”

The speedway fan favourite suffered from years of ill health.

He leaves behind his wife Lynne, daughter Nikola Bardsley and son Dan.