|Name: Bob Mark
Place: Edinburgh, Scotland
British Clubs: Edinburgh (1949-1954), Coventry (1954-1957, 1962)
The following Bio is from the Monarchs website
Perhaps surprisingly, few top riders have been born in Edinburgh. Bob Mark was one of the best.
He had been educated at Leith Academy and served in the Royal Artillery during the war, spending some time as a prisoner of war in Italy.
So he was a late starter in Speedway, making his first appearance in the Monarchs' programme on 3rd September 1949 and recording his first win on 1st October.
His progress was meteoric because he made his debut in the team at Norwich on 15th October! They obviously hadn't heard of him in Norfolk because he was listed as Roland Mark in the programme.
It was back to second halves though for the early part of 1950, until he was called up for a trip to Halifax in May. He held his place other than for a short spell in July when Harold Booth and Tommy Allott were signed. Neither was a success and Mark was soon back, finishing with an average of 4.5 for the season.
His first Monarchs' maximum came against Fleetwood on 19th May 1951, and made such excellent progress that his average jumped to 7.39, finishing the league campaign with another maximum, against Cradley. He also scored 10 in the Scottish Riders' Championship and rode 3 times for Scotland, which in those days was a "Scottish Select" featuring Scottish-based riders.
Of course Jack Young left the club at this point, but Monarchs did have a hard core of good club men in Campbell, Cuppleditch, Fairhurst and Lack as well as Mark, and it was a measure of how highly he was regarded that the local boy took over the captaincy for 1952.
He responded brilliantly to the challenge and was no. 1 Monarch in the early part of 1952, dropping just 3 points in the 7 home North Shield matches. Unusually he was drawn to ride at Munich in the World Championship so after a home meeting one week he traveled to London, then Northolt for the flight. He didn't qualify, scoring 7 on a bumpy track.
One of the greatest days in Scottish Speedway history was the fifth Scotland v England match of 1952, with 35,000 in attendance at Milton Street, Motherwell. It was the series decider, and over the first nine heats seemed likely to result in an England win. Mark was reserve, and his introduction swung the match. He rode three times and finished second to his partner each time, bringing victory to Scotland.
During 1952 he also rode in four of the Britain v Overseas series, totaling 37 with a highest score of 15 at Stoke.
After a slight slump in scoring following a crash at Ashfield which left him concussed, he finished the year in style with paid maximums at Stoke and Liverpool as well as 5 unbeaten home matches out of the final 6. His final average for 1952 was 9.16.
He didn't have such a good year in 1953, dropping to a 7.62 average, though he did take equal second (with Cuppleditch) in the Scottish Championship.
Unfortunately Bob's 1954 season with Monarchs ended in injury. He fell at Rayleigh on 17th June, struggled with a shoulder injury at Leicester the next day then took some time off. By the time he returned it was all over, Old Meadowbank had closed for Speedway.
He headed south and joined Coventry where he eventually became an important part of the organization. Tommy Miller also joined the Bees but Bob had more success there, top scoring in 1955 and 1956. By 1957 though his career was petering out and he moved on to the managerial side, taking over from Vic Emms.
Having completed four seasons as team manager he emigrated to Canada with his wife Rita and son Alan. Attempts to track Bob down over there recently suggest that he has probably died within the last few years.