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"Rick!" a delighted Barry Briggs declared as a familiar face approached him in Napier on Wednesday afternoon.
The four-times World Speedway Champion, a member of the Kiwi trio of world champions who stamped their mark on the sport in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, was in the Bay to sign copies of his book, Wembley and Beyond.
At Paper Plus, he chatted and signed copies for fans who remembered his hard-charging "when in doubt go flat out" riding style, and did a double-take when Fred Timmo quietly walked over to him.
"I thought it was you ... took me a few seconds though ... the old eyesight," Mr Briggs laughed.
They shook hands and began chatting.
"Yeah, there's one or two things to talk about," Mr Timmo said with a smile.
They had raced each other on tracks in England, Europe, and back home in New Zealand.
When Mr Timmo (dubbed 'Rick' rather than Frederick by speedway promoters) went to race in the tough UK league he was approached at one stage by Mr Briggs and asked to ride for his team, Swindon.
But he decided against it, racing for Oxford.
"They were great days," Mr Briggs said. "I still keep an eye on what's happening in the sport, but it's sad, very sad, not to see any Kiwis coming through over there today."
Mr Briggs, who now lives in Los Angeles, was enjoying his return to Kiwi shores and catching up with old mates, such as Mr Timmo, from the fast and furious racing past.