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A statue for a Norwich idol

PUBLISHED: 14:22 09 May 2012

Statue of former Norwich speedway star Ove Fundin being made in Sweden.

Statue of former Norwich speedway star Ove Fundin being made in Sweden.

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The Swedish are honouring The Flying Fox - the greatest Norwich Star of all time. Ove Fundin.

Across the seas there is a statue being completed – to honour one of the greatest sporting idols ever to represent Norwich.

His name was Ove Fundin – one of the best speedway riders the world has ever seen and a man who regards the Fine City as his second home.

Ove, now in his 70s, is a hero in Norwich where he was made a Freeman a few years ago, but he belongs to Tranas in Sweden – and the people have every right to be proud of him.

The statue of the five times world champion they called the “Flying Fox” shows him in action on his bike, the Norwich “track spare” – and the official unveiling ceremony will take place in the summer.

You can see it gives a real sense of the man in action – when he rode with such flair and passion with the Norwich Star across his chest.

Thousands of men, women and children would raise the rooftops as Ove raced around The Firs stadium where he ruled the roost – on his day nobody could catch him. He was our very own world champion. Simply the best.

Ove came from a family of furriers in Tranas, central Sweden, and first caught the eye during a tour of England in 1953.

A couple of years on, Aub Lawson, the Aussie who rode for Norwich, invited him to ride for the Stars.

A quiet and shy man off the track, he turned into a ruthless and fearless rider once he climbed aboard his bike. He went hell for leather to win every race he was in. No one got in his way.

“I hated losing and I could be very selfish,” said Ove.

He stood on the World Final rostrum, for 10 consecutive years following his first win in 1956. He was five times world champion and five times European champion.

On his day, all the other riders saw of Ove was a flash – as he flew past them. Wearing the Norwich Star.

Ove rode for Norwich for 10 glorious years. “I will always love the city and its people. They were good to me and my family. Norwich is my second home.”

After retiring, he built up a large haulage business.

He now lives in the South of France, but his heart is in Tranas and Norwich, two places where he will never be forgotten.

It’s a shame we don’t have a statue in Norwich honouring Ove and remembering the fabulous Firs which finally closed in 1964.

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