William Robert Sanders was a teenage sensation who was just 16 when he was signed to first division British League speedway.
This was 1972, just one year after the Sydney rider had made his racing debut at Liverpool City Raceway.
A larrikin who loved a laugh, Sander’s precocious talent quickly transitioned him into a speedway superstar in Australia and Europe — hugely popular with both fans and rivals.
In the world’s most competitive speedway competition, Sanders was just 20 when the won the British League Riders championships in 1975 and then again in 1976.
That performance made him an automatic selection in the Australian team that won the 1976 FIM World Team Cup at White City in London.
No surprise that by 1977 Sanders made the first of five World Speedway Final appearances with a stellar performance coming in 1983 to finish runner-up to German star Egon Muller.
In Australia Sanders commanded speedway for more than a dozen seasons claiming six national titles, the last in early 1985 shortly before his untimely passing aged just 29.
His close friend, America’s double world champion Bruce Penhall, led the tributes at the funeral service.
When at home for the summer season, Sanders was a dominant force at both the Sydney Showground and Liverpool tracks winning a record eight New South Wales Championships.
Billy Sanders, a timely addition to the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame.