Mike Vernam



Mike Vernam in action for Reading Racers

Born in Winchester on 5th January 1944, Mike Vernam featured in the 1968 Weymouth Eagles team that competed in the first year of the British League Division 2. On loan from Division 1 side Poole, Mike was a consistent high scorer in what was to be the Eagle's only season in Division 2. The following season, the Weymouth license was transferred to Rochester - later to become Romford - and Poole loaned Vernam to Reading, where he enjoyed two successful seasons.

During the 1969 season, Vernam earned himself selection for Young England in the series against Young Czechoslovakia and, on his second visit of the season to Romford with the Racers, Mike showed that he knew the quickest way around Brooklands by equalling the track record. Vernam was appointed captain of the Racers for the 1970 season and continued to feature amongst the top scorers in Division 2.

Mike Vernam during his spell at Eastbourne
(Photo courtesy Ken Burnett) 

With Reading moving up to Division 1 for the 1971 season, Poole recalled Vernam and sought to loan him out to another Division 2 outfit. He duly signed for Romford and made a rather inauspicious debut against Ipswich at Brooklands in the first meeting of the season, scoring just one point! Mike soon got into his stride and the points began to flow, including back-to-back maximums -  "paid" 15 at home to Canterbury in the Johnnie Hoskins Trophy match, followed by a 12-point maximum at Rayleigh in a challenge match. However, as the season progressed, Vernam's form began to slip and, with the arrival of Bob Coles and the improving form of Brian Foote, Mike stared the home match against Sunderland in July from the reserve berth. Worse was to follow as Vernam found himself out of the side for the visit of Rochdale in August. Despite getting back into the team for the trip to Rochdale, three races without scoring in the home leg of the Ken-Ess 4-team tournament led a despondent Vernam to announce his retirement for the remainder of the season.

Vernam began 1972 with Canterbury, where he struggled to regain his form and made just 8 League appearances for the Crusaders. Mike also tried his luck at Eastbourne and Hull but again was unable to recapture the form that he had shown earlier in his career. Vernam was again associated with the sport in 2004 when he took on the role of team manager with the Conference League team Weymouth Wildcats until business commitments forced him to stand down.