Frank Finnigan Dies Aged 68
I am saddened to report that Frank Finnigan passed away on Thursday 12th January 2017, at the age of 68.
Frank was an extremely competitive racer, who began racing in 1963 in the Manchester Winter Satellite League, for CarrsWood. He stayed with CarrsWood, before joining Denton in 1973, racing in three British Team Finals for them, before moving to Stockport in 1978. Frank was very much their kingpin, holding them together through a lean spell, before Stockport became a strong force, up to their demise in 1999. By that time, Frank was living in Congleton and he joined Stoke, who were his nearest club, helping them to win two Premier League titles. In 2003, Frank switched to Astley & Tyldesley, soon followed by his son Chris, who had ridden with him at Stockport and Stoke. A&T were Frank's last club and his final match in the sport was in the Veterans British Club Championship at Hull in 2008, two months before his 60th birthday.
Frank was always a fiercely competitive rider on the track and a friendly man off it, never slow to hand out advice and encouragement to younger riders. After a career as a top senior rider, he moved up a level as a Veteran and he excelled at indoor racing, where he was the undisputed master of the sport. He was British Veterans Indoor Champion on five occasions, as well as finishing 3rd in the Open Final in 2000, at the age of 52. His fifth title in 2003 capped a great family day, with son Chris winning the British Open Indoor title on the same day. Frank also took 2nd place in the outdoor British O-50's Individual Final in 2004.
Frank also put so much back into the sport as an official, not only at club level, but by being Chairman of the Northern League for many years during the 1990's. He was an excellent referee and officiated at many major finals and was a member of the Cycle Speedway Council Executive, as the Referees' Manager, for many years during the 1990's. An extremely articulate, witty and intelligent man, Frank was always forthright in his views and very passionate about the sport.
My thoughts and condolences go to Frank's family and friends.
RIP Frank - you were such a big player in cycle speedway for 45 years and will be sadly missed by so many people who knew you.
Photos attached (courtesy of Len Priestley).
1. Frank Finnigan (A&T) leading Grzegorz Pawlicki (Rybnik), Steve Ward (Tameside) and Paul Dyson (Bury) in the 2004 Astley & Tyldesley Festival meeting.
2. Top three riders in the 2004 British O-50's Individual Final, l-r: Frank Finnigan (A&T) 2nd; Fred Rothwell (Bury) 1st; Chris Riches (Hawbush) 3rd.
3. Frank Finnigan returning to the pits at Astley & Tyldesley.
Obituary written by Mike Hack Astley & Tyldesley Cycling Club