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THIS WAS AUGUST
20 Years Ago
World Final Special
IVAN MAUGER THE MAGNIFICENT! That was the feeling of a near capacity crowd in the giant Slaski Stadium after Ivan Mauger had achieved a World Championship record of six wins in Katowice, Poland.
The wily Kiwi campaigner stayed ice cool to take the crown on a track that has held little luck for him in past finals, and once and for all firmly silenced the critics who continued to discount his chances. Mauger celebrates his fortieth birthday in a month's time, and one wonders how many more World Championships the Hull skipper can win after this astonishing success.
The only man to head the mighty Mauger was King's Lynn's Michael Lee, when he held the champion off to win heat 10. Indeed, at that stage it was Lee who looked most likely to take the crown, but his hopes were blown sky high in a crucial heat 15 when up against team mate Dave Jessup, Ole Olsen and Kelly Moran. Both Olsen and Lee seemed so pre-occupied with each other at the gate that they plain forgot the presence of Jessup and Moran, with the result that Lee and Olsen were virtually left standing at the tapes! The sweeping 384 metre Chorzow track was made dusty in the early stages as a result of the fine hot day. But this had no affect on the racing which was always entertaining.
Home man Zenon Plech knows all about coming close to victory on World Final day, and he had to accept runner-up spot this time. He was very warmly greeted by the partisan Polish fans as they got right behind the Hackney rider in a bid to nurture him towards the crowning glory. Plech, sporting a brand new set of leathers for the occasion, started brightly with a win over Lee in his first race, but was caught napping at the start in heat 7 against Mauger and Moran and had to settle for third spot. He was reprieved later on in Heat 13, when his engine began to misfire on the final turn whilst leading. Compatriot Edward Jancarz though, slowed visibly in a bid to throw down the anchors to keep Plech in with a chance of becoming the second Pole to take the title.
(LEFT: Billy Sanders on his way to 11 points and fifth place overall).
The surprise disappointment of the meeting was the below par performance of favourite Peter Collins. He was never really in contention and ended the day with a puncture in heat 17 to cap, what for him, was a very disappointing afternoon. Youngest finalist Kelly Moran was the real revelation. His spectacular style endeared him to the crowd as he finished in a highly creditable fourth place with 11 points - the same as Lee, Sanders and Olsen. Moran battled hard for his points in his usual full throttle manner, and was the subject of a controversial decision by Norwegian referee Tore Kitillsen when he was awarded first place in heat 11, when it appeared that Aussie John Titman had edged in front as both riders crossed the finish line. There can be nothing taken away from the American's performance though, and he is sure to feature in many more finals on the strength of this fine display.
Surprise packets to emerge from the meeting were Billy Sanders and Zdenek Kudrna. Sanders began encouragingly with two wins hut then slipped back with a third and two second placings to find himself in a run-off for the overall third place. Kudrna on the other hand, struggled in his opening two rides before stringing together a couple of wins. He looked to cause an upset in heat three when defending champion Ole Olsen had to pull out all the stops to get past the Czech.
Olsen was disappointing by his own high standards. He was well in contention with eight points from three rides, but faded in the latter stages. There was no consolation for the Great Dane in the third place run-off either, as he retired from the race to finish the meeting in sixth position. England's other hope Dave Jessup battled well and might have had more but for an electrical box disconnection in his first race. Ironic, that it was in the first race at Wembley last year that also ended the King's Lynn rider's hopes of taking the title. Another touch of irony occurred when Hackney's Dane Finn Thomsen pulled up in heat five with a broken pushrod. The same problem Jessup suffered at Wembley. Thomsen was lying second at the time of his misfortune having split the English pair Michael Lee and Peter Collins.
(RIGHT: A jubilant Ivan Mauger and his wife Rae with Michael Lee, Kelly Moran and Zenon Plech on the winners rostrum after the meeting).
As expected, Pole Robert Slabon, West Germans Christoph Betzl and Alois Wiesbock, and Russian Mikhail Starostin proved to be the also rans. Generally being outclassed in this company. The day belonged to Ivan Mauger though. He had the task of going out in heats 16 and 17 to regain the crown, and he did just this. He won heat 16 from Sanders and won the next race from his great adversary Olsen to clinch his record sixth title win. Ivan, the oldest rider in the field, put together five good rides and gated consistently well throughout the meeting. He has always maintained that as long as he is winning races then he will continue to ride. On Sunday at Katowice he was superb. The question now is, who can stop him making it seven championship wins?
KATOWICE FINAL SCORECARDIVAN MAUGER .................3 3 2 3 3 (14) ZENON PLECH .................3 1 3 3 3 (13) MICHAEL LEE .................2 3 3 0 3 (11) KELLY MORAN .................1 2 3 2 3 (11) BILLY SANDERS................3 3 1 2 2 (11) OLE OLSEN ...................3 3 2 1 2 (11) ZDENEK KUDRNA................2 0 3 3 0 (8) DAVE JESSUP .................R 1 2 3 2 (8) EDWARD JANCARZ...............1 2 1 2 1 (7) PETER COLLINS ...............2 2 1 1 R (6) FINN THOMSEN ................2 R 0 2 2 (6) JOHN TITMAN .................1 2 2 0 1 (6) MIKHAIL STAROSTIN ...........0 1 0 1 1 (3) CHRISTOPH BETZL .............1 0 0 1 0 (2) ROBERT SLABON ...............0 0 1 0 1 (2) ALOIS WIESBOCK ..............0 1 0 0 0 (1)
Left: Heat five action as Alois Wiesbock, Michael Lee, Peter Collins and Finn Thomsen strive for that first bend supremacy, but it was Lee who took the win from Collins
Center: The race that effectively ended Michael Lee and Ole Olsen's World Title aspirations as Jessup leads to win the race.
Right: Kelly Moran raises his leg to avoid Pole Robert Slabon on his way to a vital Heat 11 win.
Nigel Wasley Dies
24 YEAR OLD Wolverhampton born Nigel Wasley lost the fight for his life during the early hours of last Friday morning. Nigel Brian Wasley had raced for several clubs before accepting midland promoter, Dan McCormick's invitation to return to the sport this season as a member of the newly formed Nottingham side.
Young Wasley had an average of just under 5 points and, in fact, made a useful contribution of 6 points to his team's 48-30 win on Wednesday, 29th of August. During this meeting Nigel fell awkwardly and fractured his hip, femur, tibia and fibula. Treatment at a Nottingham hospital for his serious injuries was followed by a pulmonary embolism and a blood disorder. After lapsing into unconsciousness his condition became critical and did not change up to the time of his death.
Nigel Wasley married just over a year ago and his wife, Jane, is expecting their first child in December. Yet another promising young British rider has been lost to our sport in a season that has claimed more than a usual number of casualties.
Sjosten Goes Aground
POOLE'S Swedish international Christer Sjosten turned out in a British League match against Hull using a complete set of borrowed equipment. This was because his bike, Leathers and car were on the North Sea ferry "Winston Churchill" which went aground off Gothenburg, Sweden. Sjosten though is optimistic that everything will eventually be returned to him and the ferry's owners have hinted that all passengers can expect things left on board to be returned to them. Against Hull, Sjosten used a bike belonging to Leicester rider Mike Farrell, borrowed leathers from another rider, while he also managed to find a spare crash helmet which fitted.
While Sjosten struggled to take his place, Poole had to track against Hull without Polish international Andy Tkocz, who his national body had retained in Poland until Monday of this week because of the World Final. Compensating for Tkocz's absence was skipper Malcolm Simmons reporting fit to face the Lada Vikings after suffering a foot injury. English international Simmons has also intimated his availability for this season's classic grass track meeting, the Wimborne "Woppa" in Dorset on Sunday, October 7. He tackles a strong field in a bid to regain the championship he last held in I977 - and one of his big rivals is Dave Jessup, the King's Lynn star.
Stars Turn Out For Weatherley
A LARGE crowd attended Eastbourne last Friday in inclement weather conditions to see a Weslake side race to a resounding victory against Jawa in the Daily Mirror sponsored event for the Steve Weatherley benefit fund.
Steve surprised everyone, including Eagles boss Bob Dugard, by putting in an appearance. He was brought to Arlington by his father, and watched racing in a wheelchair from the pits before taking an ovation from the fans in the interval when he thanked everyone over the microphone for their help and encouragement since the terrible injuries he suffered at Hackney in June.
Although Steve had to return to Stoke Mandeville the next day, it is expected that he will be able to spend Christmas with his family at home. All the competing riders in the meeting autographed the body colours worn, and these will be available for purchase by fans, with all proceeds going to boost the funds for Steve and the dependants of the late Vic Harding.
Swindon Sign Ondrasik
SWINDON promoter Wally Mawdsley has once again turned his attention to Czechoslovakia by signing World Final reserve Petr Ondrasik for Swindon as a replacement for the injured Geoff Bouchard at the recent World Final in Poland.
Ondrasik, (Left): 28 next month, arrives in England this weekend to take his place as reserve for the Czechs in the World Team Cup Final on Sunday at London White City. Subject to approval from the Czech government, Swindon officials were hoping that he would be able to make his debut at Blunsdon on Saturday September 15 in the Hirst Garages Pairs event.
If this is not possible, then he is expected to stay on in the country after the World Team Cup Final when he would line-up for the Robins in a league match at Sheffield next Thursday. The injuries sustained by Bouchard at Leicester included broken ribs and a punctured lung. This forced Mr.Mawdsley to reinforce the Robins side by signing the Czech for the remainder of this season. Ondrasik made his World Final debut at Wembley last year and failed to score. He rides for crack Czech side Red Star Prague in his homeland, and is expected to stay with his compatriots Zdenek Kudrna, Ales Dryml, and the Verner brothers while he is based in Britain.
TWO WEEKS after his record breaking sixth world title win in Poland, Ivan Mauger crowned a triumphant season when he led New Zealand to victory in their debut World Team Cup Final appearance at London White City.
A poor crowd saw Mighty Mauger put his team ahead in heat five, from there on the Kiwis never looked back. As expected, Denmark posed a threat, and it looked in the early heats as if the defending champions were going to retain the title they won so convincingly in West Germany last year.
Ole Olsen and Hans Nielsen won the opening two races to put the Danes three points ahead of New Zealand. But the Kiwi spearhead of Mauger and Larry Ross quickly leveled the scores with a couple of wins apiece before Mauger finally put them ahead in heat five. The meeting itself did not lack spectacular action as riders fought to control their machines on a very inconsistent track. The drama began in heat three when Mauger and Zdenek Kudrna collided on the first turn and crashed. West German referee Gunter Sorber ordered a re-start without the Czech, much to the disgust of Kudrna.
Mauger was taken from the track in an ambulance, but after reserve Roger Abel had prepared himself to take his place, Mauger stood up in the ambulance and declared himself fit to take part in the re-run, which he won in fine fashion.
(Right): Ivan Mauger, on the outside of Mike Lohmann (centre) and Zdnek Kudrna, seconds before falling in Heat 3.
The influence the World Champion had on the New Zealand side was very apparent as he worked frantically between heats to ensure that his bikes, which were loaned to the entire team, were in top class order. This was significant of his determination to win the meeting, and the team responded accordingly. Offering encouragement throughout were the great Barry Briggs and Team manager Trevor Redmond.
New Zealand held a two point advantage at the interval stage and maintained that until Heat 11 when more incident occurred. Danish team manager Oluf Pedersen brought in reserve Bo Petersen to replace the out of form Finn Thomsen, and for three laps the move looked to have the desired effect. Petersen made a terrible start but went around Mitch Shirra and Pole Piotr Pyszny on the first bend in pursuit of race leader Kudrna. Petersen, seemingly going twice as fast as the Czech, made his bid to pass as the two riders entered the home straight on the third lap. The Dane drove hard under Kudrna and the pair collided, crashing to the ground, in what looked a very nasty smash.
That effectively killed off Denmark's hopes as Petersen was excluded and taken from the track with a suspected broken nose.
(Left): New Zealander Bruce Cribb in pursuit of Poland's Piotr Pyszny in the first race of the afternoon.
Team manager Pedersen made a vain attempt to persuade the referee that Kudrna was to blame but Gunter Sorber remained adamant that Petersen was the cause of the stoppage. Mitch Shirra and Ross delivered the final blows by winning heats 14 and 15 to clinch the title for New Zealand. A delighted Mauger came out onto the track to congratulate Ross but minutes later was to take his second ambulance ride of the afternoon after crashing heavily in the final race. Ivan returned to the pits shortly after the fall, but was clearly quite shaken as he sat glassy-eyed on a chair completely unaware of what had happened to him moments earlier.
FINAL SCORECARDNEW ZEALAND (35) Larry Ross 3 3 2 3 (11) Mitch Shirra 2 2 3 3 (10) Ivan Mauger 3 3 3 Fx (9) Bruce Cribb 1 1 1 2 (5) DENMARK (31) Ole Olsen 3 3 3 3 (12) Hans Nfelsen 3 3 2 1 (9) Mike Lohmann 2 1 2 1 (6) Finn Thomsen 1 0 N 3 (4) Bo Petersen (res) Fx (0) CZECHOSLOVAKIA (19) Jiri Stancl 0 1 3 2 (6) Ales Dryml 1 2 1 1 (5) Zdenek Kudrna Ex 2 2 0 (4) Vaclav Verner 0 1 1 2 (4) POLAND (11) Zenon Plech R 2 0 2 (4) Piotr Pyszny 2 0 1 1 (4) Robert Slabon 2 F F N (2) Marek Cieslak 1 R N F (1) Andrzej Tkocz (res) 0 0 (0)
Other Stories This Month....
MARK BALDWIN ... the young Mildenhall rider was looking forward to making his debut as an American when the Californians tackled and beat a Hawks Select at Hackney, but at the last minute had to call off. It left the six man American squad making up their team with chunky Rhodesian rider Mike Ferreira
A SOCIAL EVENT ... of the London speedway season, the annual Wimbledon Dinner & Dance at the famous "Dog and Fox", goes on this year on Tuesday, October 2. Warns organiser Mrs Dorothy Charles-Batson, "I hope Terry Betts and Trevor Hedge are not late this year.
BIRMINGHAM'S.... American newcomer, 23-year old Steve Columbo was recommended by another former Brummie Yank, Mark Cherry.
ROB MAXFIELD ... the South Australian Champion attached to Belle Vue, has joined Scunthorpe on loan. He was with Workington last season after switching from Newcastle. Maxfield made his debut against Oxford.
VETERAN .... New Zealander Roger Wright soon showed he had fully recovered from an eye injury that nearly blinded him in one match, when a flying stone pierced his goggles. A week later he scored a paid maximum for Berwick.
A SPELL ... on loan to Boston has boosted the confidence of Dave Gagen, the King's Lynn rider. As a result, in double up missions in both BL and NL, Gagen's scores have been creditably high. Latest King's Lynn rider to go on loan to Boston is first season youngster Phil Vance.
SHEFFIELD .... are expecting injured Dutchman Henny Kroeze back at any time, but could be 1980 before he recaptures the pace which made him the sport's original "Flying Dutchman".
DEREK WILSON .... has replaced Des Wilson at Workington. But it's a case of the same guy. Derek after preferring to be known as Des now prefers to be known as Derek. Life can get confusing, eh!
THE RETURN ..... of Andy Grahame has delighted Birmingham who nevertheless are struggling through Billy Sanders shock decision to return to Ipswich.
DAVE COLES .... the young Australian who Leicester loaned to Workington in 1978, is now among aspirants fighting for a place in luckless Scunthorpe's squad.A NEW .... development from the Weslake factory is a 250cc engine, primarily for use on grass tracks. Former Wimbledon star Reg Luckhurst has played a big part in its development.
CONFIDENT .... Speedway in West CONFIDENT smile from Wimbledon team boss Cyril Maidment when the subject of consistent riders crops up. His Polish star Ed Jancarz heads Dons averages again this month - for a fourth consecutive month.
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