Shocking and numbing: Speedway in mourning after death of Jon Cook

Former Eastbourne Speedway co-promoter Jon Cook has died

Jon Cook
Jon Cook

He passed away on on Bank Holiday Monday at the age of 55.

Director of Eastbourne Speedway Ian Jordan, said news of Jon’s death was “shocking and frankly numbing” for everyone involved at Eastbourne Speedway, both from the past right up to the present day. Obviously, our thoughts are with Jon’s sons and his ex-wife and current partner; and all of his extended family and close friends and associates,” Ian said.

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“I’m sure that everyone involved with Eastbourne as riders, sponsors, officials, supporters, staff and management who have worked with or for Jon, or supported teams he was involved with, including some halcyon days, will hear this news with great sadness on a personal level and want to remember Jon fondly for his commitment and work for both our Club and also Lakeside/Thurrock and for the Sport in general.”

Jon Cook was always busy at Arlington Stadium - he is seen here with rider Richard Lawson

Margaret Dugard said on behalf of the Dugard family: "We were all shocked and saddened to hear the terrible news about Jon. He had been a very good friend of our family and has been involved in the Sport for many years. Our condolences go to his two sons family and friends."

Jordan said Jon was a passionate and colourful character who live this life to the full adding: “It will be a much duller and less colourful without him.”

Jon first became co-promoter at Eastbourne Speedway in 1993 when he joined Len Silver. He went on to hold the same role for a number of different companies which ran the speedway at Arlington Stadium.

Jon rode in just a few meetings for Eastbourne but he proved to be a far better manager than rider. He led the Eagles to their first successes in the top flight of British Speedway. They were Premier League Champions in 1995 (the year of ‘one big league’) and became Elite League Millennium Champions in 2000.

Jon Cook at Arlington

In 2002, they topped the Elite League but were not crowned Champions, losing to Wolverhampton in the first ever Play Off Grand Final. Jon also piloted the Eagles to cup success, winning the British League Cup in 1994 and the Elite League KO Cup in 1997 and 2002.

He left his role at Eastbourne in 2007 to take up a similar position with Lakeside. He returned to Arlington in 2019 after the closure of Lakeside and became Head of Speedway as the Eastbourne Eagles moved up to the Championship.

At the same time, he became leaseholder of Arlington Stadium, with Martin Dugard, but stepped back from his speedway role because of a potential conflict of interests. Jon lived in Shoreham and for many years was a keen surfer.

He was also involved with youth football in the Brighton area when one of his sons was younger.