Former Lakeside Hammers Co-Promoter Jon Cook has passed away suddenly, at the age of 55.
All at the Hammers send our thoughts and deepest condolences to Jon’s family and friends.
Cook joined Arena Essex from The Eastbourne Eagles in 2007, when Stuart Douglas took over at the Raceway. The pair oversaw the re-branding of the team as The Lakeside Hammers before reaching the Elite League Play-offs in 2008 and winning the Knockout Cup in 2009.
On the closure of the club with the re-development of the Raceway in 2018, Cook return to The Eastbourne Eagles, initially as director of Speedway before taking over the tenancy at Arlington with Martin Dugard.
Hammers Director Ian Smalley commented
All at the Hammers, and indeed all those in speedway will be shocked and saddened at the loss of Jon. He was a unique character who wore both his passion for speedway and his beliefs on his sleeve. The ten years or so I worked with Jon gave me a real insight into every single aspect of speedway, and during which time there was hardly ever a dull moment, such was his passion for the club and the sport. He was a unique person. RIP Cookie.
Mark Sexton commented:
One day someone will write a book about Jon’s immense contribution to speedway racing in the UK. I worked for, with and alongside Jon for over a decade and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities he gave me, for the faith he showed in many of my ideas and for all the enjoyment & fun he allowed me to have from inside my favourite sport… RIP Jon.
Russell Keetch commented:
I have no other words that will make sense at this time other than to share one incredibly personal moment I had with Jon
On the very last meeting at Arena Jon completed his own 4 laps of the track with Adams Shields race bib on. Afterwards he got changed called me over and said
“Your love for this club is unconditional and I want to give you this bib as I know it will be well looked after”
I, as I am now typing this up this memory to you, welled up and the one tear rolled down my cheek
“See that’s why I’ve given it to you Russ” he said
Once the meeting over I was standing with the riders in front of the main stand, amazed I was keeping it together if honest and Jon walked towards me knowing how I was feeling inside and as I looked at him and in front of all those people in the stadium that night, I balled my eyes out and he hugged me so tightly and starting crying himself and said it’s ok mate
A moment I will never forget for the rest of my life and for a few seconds it was deadly silent in that stadium which made it an even more poignant memory for me.
Thanks Jon ⚒⚒
Former Hammers Presenter Andy Young added:
Absolutely shocked and deeply deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Cookie.
When Stuart first introduced me to Jon on a press and practice day many years ago, Cookie gave me that look, like he gave many people over the years of ‘sorry, why am I meeting this guy?’
From that moment we became friends and although we hadn’t spoken for a couple of years, due to my non-involvement with speedway, I know now and as ever he would have been pleased to hear from me just as much as I would have been to hear from him.
He had an amazing way to empower those within his close quarters, watching him work with riders was something that a lot of us could learn from, charismatic, cheeky, deeply driven, a man that has had much success in speedway throughout his life. Speedway needed a Jon Cook, just as much as Jon Cook needed speedway!
Hated by away fans but always well respected. My immediate thoughts are with Jon’s family and the love he had for his boys. I will deeply miss you mate. surf on, surf on the place where you truly loved.