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Margam speedway star Freddie Williams has died, aged 86

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

  • Freddie Williams in action (in front)

  • Freddie Williams

  • Speedway legend Freddie Williams

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A PORT Talbot Speedway star who raced to the top of the world has passed away.

Racer Freddie Williams, 86, was twice crowned world champion in the 1950s and was the star rider for the Wembley Lions team.

Born in Margam, he was a classmate of acting legend Richard Burton.

He would go on to have great success on the track and was the first British rider to win two world titles — in 1950 and 1953.

Because of his success, Freddie was honoured at last year's British Grand Prix meet, held at the Millennium Stadium, where he was guest of honour.

Speaking to the Post before the event, Mr Williams reminisced about his biking past, and said: "They were great times.

"My father Fred always had a motorbike, and from an early age we would be out on them in the fields and I was a member of the Neath and Port Talbot Motorcycle Club as well.

"I was very fortunate, I got to travel around the continent and then later places like Australia and New Zealand."

He awarded the winner of the race the trophy at the Grand Prix an said he was touched to have been invited to the race.

"I am very proud to have been asked, I am very, very pleased," he added.

Speedway was a huge draw in the 1950s and Mr Williams would regularly race in front of 50,000 spectators.

Sport was a strong attraction for his family as his wife of 59 years, Pat, represented Great Britain at the Oslo Winter Olympics in 1952 as a figure skater, and their three children, Jayne, Sarah and David all had success as show jumpers and a golfer respectively.

His funeral will be held in Welford, near Newbury, tomorrow.

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