PROFILE: Peter Ingram
Peter Ingram is our regular coach on Monday evenings; he is a dedicated, modest and unassuming individual who has not only had success as a coach but also as a rider, a founder and a designer.
Resurrection of Kesgrave Panthers and subsequent growth:
When Peter became involved in cycle speedway as a teenager; the Kesgrave club had long since been defunct and the track, which was located at the old community centre (where Ropes Drive is today), was no longer in use.
Peter was instrumental in re-opening the old track in 1989 and supporting the creation of a new track where it is today. The Kesgrave club was reborn with Peter as a founder member. At this point there were eight members who were all seniors.
With the coming of the Grange Farm housing development, and the introduction of Ropes Drive, the old track was only used for one season before relocating to Twelve Acre Approach. Peter rode in the official opening meeting of the new track.
Over the years, Peter’s recruitment policies, drive and enjoyable coaching sessions have contributed to the club membership increasing from the eight in 1989 to the eighty plus riders we have today.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Kesgrave Panthers would not be in its current healthy position without Peter’s involvement and would probably not exist at all.
Peter began riding cycle speedway bikes as a teenager some thirty years ago. Peter rode for Ipswich at the Whitton Sports Centre track, as there was no track at Kesgrave at this point, moving to ride for Woodbridge in 1988.
At the end of the season the Woodbridge team split to allow Kesgrave to re-open and Peter moved to Kesgrave and has been with us ever since. With the new Kesgrave track now open, Peter was riding for both Kesgrave and Ipswich in the early 1990s, winning East Anglian Championships and South East titles.
He was particularly successful indoors, with the huge achievement of making the British Individual final in 1991, and followed this up by twice being runner-up in the British Indoor Team Championships.
In 1992, Peter was a member of a British team which toured Australia for three weeks, defeating the Aussies in the process.
More recently, Peter was runner-up in the 2014 British Over40 Individual Championship and, as part of the Kesgrave Over40 team, was winner of the British Club Championship, again in 2014.
Peter began coaching in the early 1990s, before gaining his first official coaching qualification in 2005.
It is his success as a coach which has elevated Peter’s achievements to new heights.
Under Peter’s guidance, Kesgrave’s youngsters have been particularly successful nationally.
A young Kesgrave team won the British U10 Club Championship for the first time in 2007, a feat repeated for an unprecedented seven years in succession from 2010 through to 2016.
Sadly, due to a government initiative, the 2016 British U10 Club Championship was the last to be held and so the winning Kesgrave team will forever be the reigning champions.
Kesgrave teams also won the British U13 Club Championship in 2015 and 2016.
Peter considers the 2016 British U10 Club Championship victory, along with that of 2007, to be his crowning achievements in cycle speedway to date.
A number of Kesgrave youngsters, who have been coached by Peter, have also won individual British Championships during this time.
Peter is now a Level 2 coach, both general and cycle speedway specific.
Peter had been racing for a few years and, together with good friend Daniel Zagni, thought they could improve on the design of the bikes they had been using. Their vision of an ideal bike incorporated unique features such as a curved seat tube (to enable a shorter wheelbase), a raised bottom bracket (to ensure the pedals were higher off the ground and so allow pedalling to begin earlier after cornering).
They then went one step further, by turning his dream bike into reality and having a frame manufactured in Poland.
Frames are still produced in Poland to this day, fundamentally following the same design as specified by Peter and Daniel. We now know them as Pedal Power bikes.
I asked Peter a few more personal questions and here are his responses:
What made you take up coaching – It was not a conscious decision to take up coaching; it just happened.
What gives you satisfaction – I feel as though I am giving something back to the sport through coaching and that gives a feeling of well being. I also enjoy encouraging the Kesgrave youngsters, seeing them improve in their cycle speedway endeavours, socially and improve in their development and life.
What are your personal ambitions – To see the Kesgrave club continue to thrive and for other clubs to look at our club and take a lead from the Kesgrave model.
Do you enjoy any other sports – Speedway and road cycling.
Who is the most difficult opponent you raced against – Daniel Zagni, he is very skillful and fast and is able to pysche opponents out.
Who is the most memorable competitor you have raced against – Tim Snook, who was British Champion and had a presence around the track.
What has been your most anxious moment – The 2007 and 2016 U10 British Club Championship finals, which both went to run-offs; plus waiting for the British Individual Indoor Championships to start.
What do you particularly like about cycle speedway – The challenge of getting a bike around the bends.
Which (besides Kesgrave) is/was your favourite track – Thurock, which was a well maintained and excellent race track with seating.
Are you a member of any other clubs – The Ipswich Bicycle Club.
Peter is probably the very definition of an unsung hero, but our thriving club would not be in the healthy position it is today, and have been consistently successful at Youth & Junior level, without Peter’s unbounded enthusiasm for coaching, cycle speedway in general and Kesgrave Panthers in particular.
Check out Peter’s Facebook page, lapse 4 2012, which has lots of cycle speedway photographs and videos with some really interesting shots of Peter riding old tracks including the old 1989 Kesgrave track near the Bell pub.