BEATON, BOBBY: Born 14/5/52, Blantyre. The best days in Bobby Beaton’s fine career were
at tracks other than Edinburgh, but he certainly deserves a worthy place in Edinburgh’s
history for his sterling efforts over two troubled years, notably in 1984 when injuries all but
destroyed the club.
Dad Jimmy was for many years a member of the Glasgow promotion, and brothers Jimmy and George also raced regularly. First raced in junior races in May 1968, making his first appearance for the Tigers senior side on 18th September 1968. Stayed with Tigers through the Hampden years and at Coatbridge in 1973, but then moved with Jim McMillan to Hull in 1974.
Continued to prove a worthy opponent for anyone at British League level in some good Hull teams during the seventies. Had a Testimonial in 1978, counting his Glasgow service. Averaged 8.36 as Hull just missed the championship in 1979.
By 1982 he felt he had had enough of the top league and (staying with Ian Thomas) he moved to Newcastle for two successul National League seasons. Diamonds moved up to British League in 1984 and though Bobby went with them, he was quick to accept the chance to drop back to Edinburgh who were struggling. On 6th April 1984 he became a Monarch and he was soon a huge favourite. His form was tremendous just when Edinburgh’s need was greatest, and he showed exciting ability from the back as well as point-scoring consistency.
Perhaps his best performance for the club came at Berwick on 5th May in a cup tie when he polished off all the Bandits could throw at him, coming from the back time and again for an 18 point maximum. In spite of a couple of injuries he continued to excel, and inspired our first away win of the Powderhall era against Glasgow, which must have caused some discussion in the family!
Scored double figures in his first 14 league matches for the club. His form shaded slightly towards the end of the season, and he lost the race for the NLRC place to Mark Fiora. However he did top the averages by the end of the season with a figure of 9.11, and by common consent his spirited and skillful riding, allied to his Glaswegian sense of humour and easy - going friendly manner had saved the club from an even more disastrous year than they would otherwise have had. He was a folk-hero amongst the supporters.
Although he started 1985 well, his appetite for riding seemed to be on the wane. At 33 he was probably thinking of the future, and the strain of propping up one of Edinburghs worst - ever teams seemed to worry him. By the end of the season his average had dropped by almost 2 points, and he picked up a rare injury when he smashed through the fence in his first ride in the Scottish Open. He broke his arm, and the injury never healed completely.
Rider and club failed to agree terms for 1986. He moved to Glasgow as Les Collins and Doug Wyer came to Edinburgh. In the west he did fairly well, without reaching his old level of performance; however just as Tigers moved into Shawfield for their resurrection, Bobby moved out.
His career should not be underestimated; a decade as a BL heat leader and some fine seasons in the NL mark him as one of Scotland’s best ever.