A Personal Memory - (Tribute to Jack Millen, By Dick Barrie in 1978)
We First met in 1972, and straight away I liked the man. He was clearly nobodys fool and
made his speedway career easier, more profitable and presumably more enjoyable by his
method of Playing to the Gallery when required.
Since meeting, our paths crossed and last year - when he raced for Edinburgh - we
became for the first time, friends rather than merely cheerful acquaintances. My first
impression of Jack, that he was nobodys fool, was totally confirmed as we grew closer in
the past year or so.
His Professional image, of being a scowling rogue, never carried itself beyond his âstage
appearanacesâ on the track. Jack Millen could talk more sense in ten minutes than many
of his rivals could in two days. His carefully guarded winks to me as he began another
public tirade at officialdom told me that, as always he was fully in command of himself and
the situation and that he was merely adding yet another story to the massive portfolio of
Jacks escapades that we love to quote and will continue to quote wherever people who are
involved in this Sport of ours gather.
Off-track, Jack pulled no punches. His life was for living and Jack surely lived while he was among us. One of natures
good-tempered hell-raisers, he lived, loved and laughed a great deal in his all too short life. He also worked very, very
In the early weeks of this season, Jack Millen revitalised speedway here in Berwick as few others could have done. He
worked tirelessly at the Stadium, and elsewhere performed many public relations tasks far beyond his brief, showing his
intelligence and interest in the job at hand. In these few weeks he became a recognised and respected man in this
town. As one who has been involved with Speedway at Shielfield Park for several years. I can see the results of his
work very clearly indeed.
I can only speak of Jack as I knew him. Others reading these words will have known him even better, despite our
friendship. Others will have known him longer, perhaps as a young man. I write these words about him as i knew him
and as speedway racing, the sport he graced in so many guises, knew him. He told me less than a month ago that he
could earn a great deal more money a great deal more easily by working as an engineer on the Continent - yet he
preferrd to race. His many crashes, his often frightful injuries never deterred him. Speedway was what he liked to do and
Speedway was what he did well. Never a racing champion, Jack was perhaps fully aware that champions are not
Jack Millen was in many, many ways a winner. In the eyes of his followers he could do little or no wrong and even those
who loved to boo when he appeared must always have totally respected his courage. I know that Jack was not a
relgious man. He laughed a lot, as I have said i feel that wherever he is now, he is still laughing. Long may he do so.
Speedway racing has lost a man who will never be replaced, and his loved ones too must learn to live without his
laughter around them. When we attempt to help these loved ones this evening, let us remember Jack Millen with
respect, for he was truly a man among men.
I do not expect to meet another such man in my lifetime.
Extract taken from the Speedway Yearbook Memorial page covering several riders and speedway people
who died in 1978.
Quote from Samuel Johnson.
"It matters not how a man dies but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts such a short time."
One of the sports greatest characters was Jack Millen
(b: 21.10. 1942 - d: 29.04.1978).
Jack lived by the creed : I am an entertainer - I entertain.
During the late sixties and early seventies he was one of the most colourful riders in the Second Division and probably
that Divisions biggest crowd-pleaser. Jack was returning from Edinburgh, when, in the early hours of Saturday April
29th, his white Jaguar was involved in a collision with an articulated lorry on the A1 at Grantshouse. His car burst into
flames and a passenger in the car a young lad from Millens home track at Berwick, also died in the accident.