The Plant that grew and grew (by Hawkeye)
If there are any speedway fans reading this article old enough to have watched the sport in the late forties or early fifties, they may remember a number of riders who were overnight sensations.
Riders of that ilk who spring to mind are Australian stars Graham Warren and Jack Young. They both arrived in the UK and reeled off maximum scores galore.
From New Zealand we had the fresh-faced 17 year old Ronnie Moore who may not have taken off as quickly as the aforementioned two, but it didn't take him long to make his presence felt.
There have undoubtedly been others who swiftly made their mark but today, with riders starting their speedway careers at the age of 16 (or even younger) it tends to take them a little longer to become star class.
If a hundred speedway fans (maybe a thousand) were asked to name a rider that burst on to the scene and almost immediately won trophies, I doubt that many would come up with the name Graham Plant. Read on.
Plant was born in Leicester in December 1949 and is the son of former pre-war and post-war rider Wilf Plant. His first experience under power came when he was around 10 years old, when he rode a Monkey bike on his dad's garage forecourt at Ashfordly, near Melton Mowbray. He also competed in go-kart and motor cycle sidecar racing.
His speedway career began in 1967 when his father's old JAP was brought back to life and the young Plant attended Sunday afternoon training sessions at King's Lynn.
He had six or seven spins round Saddlebow Road and then did some laps after meetings at Long Eaton. This almost immediately led to second half rides at the track, where he often raced against Tom Leadbitter and Roger Mills.
Plant's career was halted soon after it had begun when, at Long Eaton, he was unable to avoid the machine of the fallen Mills. He said: "I had nowhere to go; hit the bike and went over the handlebars and sustained a broken leg. I was out for the rest of the season."
Plant didn't let this setback deter him and on his comeback, he made the sport's administrators and fans sit up and take notice of him.
In 1968 he won the Reading Open Championship, where the runner-up was former Hackney rider John Poyser. He followed this up by winning the Reading Stadium Trophy.
However, there was a much bigger and more significant prize to come his way in 1968 and that came on Friday September 27 at Hackney Stadium (Make it a date -- Friday at Eight) when Plant qualified for the final of the inaugural British League Division Two Riders' Championship.
The back page of the programme contained an action photograph of Plant and a caption that described him as The Teesside Terror.
Hawkeye asked him how he got that nickname. He said: "To this day I don't really know. Even as a youngster I was always an aggressive rider, so I guess that is how it came about, but that's an assumption."
Plant was driven to the Waterden Road track in his father's van (Plant junior was a qualified motor bike rider but hadn't passed his driving test for a car) and it was the first time he had seen the place.
At 18 years of age Plant was one of the youngest -- if not the youngest -- riders in the field of 16 riders and wasn't expected to trouble the 'bigger names' such as Mick Handley, Murray Burt, Allan Brown, Graeme Smith, Ken Eyre or Mike Cake. In the match programme, Cake was described as being "the most outstanding rider in Division Two this year".
Plant said he cannot remember a lot about the meeting, but soon realised he was in with a chance after some of the favourites began to drop points.
Heat 1 could be likened to a present-day Grand Prix final, with a line-up of Eyre, Burt, Brown and Handley. Handley was excluded for unfair riding at the first time of asking;, Brown fell and was excluded in the re-run; leaving Burt to beat Eyre in the heat's third start.
Burt fell after a controversial tussle with Plant in his second outing meaning that three of the favourites had all dropped three points.
Plant won his first two races and then got two second places, giving him 10 points after four rides. The leader of the pack at this stage was Eyre with 11 points.
Eyre's last race was in Heat 17 but an engine failure saw him trail in third to give him a total of 12 points. Plant's final outing was in Heat 19 where he was up against the impressive Allan Brown, Poyser, and reserve Barry Duke.
Plant duly beat Brown to win the championship with 13 points and he did it in the fastest time of the night at 69.4 seconds. Eyre was runner up on 12. Smith beat Handley and Burt in a run-off for third place after the three had finished with 11 points.
Plant said: "It was a long while ago and to be honest, I can't remember much about it. I believe the track was slick and I immediately took a liking to it. I made decent starts in all my races and was always in contention.
"I felt sorry for Ken Eyre when he dropped a chain in his last ride, but in speedway as in all other sports, you have to cash in when a bit of luck comes your way, because there would always be times when the boot is on the other foot."
One thing Plant does remember is that he was presented with an impressive shield to mark his success, but soon had to hand it back in exchange for what he described as a "rather tatty wooden plaque".
Plant’s BLRC success at The Wick was, with hindsight, not such a big surprise as many believed it to be because he always performed well at Hackney. He said: “The win gave me confidence; I liked the track and always looked forward to riding there.”
In 1969 Plant won the first staging of the Junior Championship of the British Isles. The meeting was at Wimbledon and was for riders under the age of 21. He told Hawkeye: “I believe I am still the only rider to have held this title and the BLRC at the same time.”
At international level Plant represented both England and Great Britain. Domestically, in addition to Teesside, he rode for Leicester, Newport, Halifax and Milton Keynes. In 1971 his Calculated Match Average for Leicester almost touched the nine point mark. He rode three matches for Milton Keynes in the 1983 before calling it a day.
Plant admits he always knew how to look after himself on the track. He said: "There were certain things I would have done differently. I was a stubborn character and on one occasion missed a test match. This meant I was overlooked for a trip to Australia."
Plant still does a bit of wheeling and dealing in the motor trade, although he is semi-retired. Like many former riders he no longer watches the sport, but he did accept an invitation to attend the reopening of speedway at Leicester in 2011 where he met many of his former rivals.
My recollection of Graham Plant is that he was a rider who was never afraid to mix it; one who always gave it his best shot; and a rider who had the ability to have scaled even greater heights in his speedway career.
Hackney ••• October 25
by MARTIN ROGERS
THE last meeting of this 40th anniversary season was one for the old-timers. Hackney supremo Len Silver, never short of an original idea, or two staged a grand challenge match between two teams of current riders who had to adopt the old leg-trailing style.
Everybody entered into the spirit of the occasion, but sadly, the revived Hackney Wick Wolves were no match for Lea Bridge Saints. Three of the visitors-"Blue Boy" Boocock, Jim "Fireworks" Squibb and "Cyclone" Ray Wilson were unbeaten.
For Hackney, captain "Peashooter" Pratt and "Digger" Biggs(who was introduced as one of the Australians who helped interest British fans in dirt track racing in 1928) found it less easy to forsake the 1968 style.
In a Veterans' Invitation Cup several almost legendary names rode and were given an enthusiastic welcome by the crowd: Benny King won the event and others to feature prominently included Oliver Hart, Phil Bishop, and numerous other old favourites.
HACKNEY WICK WOLVES 14
LEA BRIDGE SAINTS 39
(Old-tyme challenge match)
Hackney Wick Wolves: M. Brown, G. Everett 5, L. McGillivray 2, D. Lukehurst 1 C. Pratt 0, J. Biggs 0.
Lea Bridge Saints: N. Boocock 9, J. Squibb 9, R. Wilson 9, G. Smith 4, L. Etheridge 4, K. McKinlay 4.
Ht 1: Boocock, Brown, Smith Pratt, 71.6.
Ht 2: Squibb, McGillivray, Etheridge, Everett, 74.2.
Ht 3, Wilson. McKinlay. Lukehurst (f), Biggs (exc), 74.6.
Ht 4: Boocock, Everett, Smith, McGillivray, 71.4.
Ht 5: Squibb. Etheridge, Lukehurst, (f.re), Biggs (f). 75.5.
Ht 6: Wilson, Brown, McKinlay, Pratt, 72.0.
Ht 7: Boocock, Smith, Everett, Lukehurst, 71.8.
Ht 8: Squibb, Brown, Etheridge, Pratt, 73.4.
Ht 9, Wilson, Everett, McKinlay, McGillivray, 71.4
Len Silver Talking • • •
The 1968 season draws to its close and 1 look around for the trophies on the team's sideboard and find it empty. At first I feel a little sad, I remember that we slipped out of the KO Cup in the very first round when we lost at West Ham by 3 measly points.
On a filthy wet night a couple of weeks ago, racing with half of our own Hawks absent, our London Cup aspirations were dashed to the ground with our first home defeat this season at the hands of the Dons. The League Championship, so nearly ours, was whisked away at the last hurdle. But if ever a team deserved a medal for confounding all, the critics, for riding together as a TEAM, and for dishing up top entertainment both here and on almost every track in the country, our MAGNIFICENT SEVEN are that team. Colin, once again victorious in the London Riders' Championship, set an example to the rest of the boys that no man could criticise, we have seen him team riding here time after time, far more than in any season previously, and very often dispensing with personal gain and glory so that his team partner could benefit. This totally unselfish attitude has been reflected right through the team, and if any of them have been in trouble, the remainder have been quick and ready with help. I am proud to be associated with them and I know that all of our loyal supporters feel as I do.
Never was I more proud than last Friday. With Gary riding with his ear covered in plaster to protect the infection, and Jack riding in spite of him still suffering heavy pain from his back, they all rode as men possessed and together with our neighbours from Custom House they put on a display of Speedway Racing unequalled on any track this year. Never have I had more fans contact me just to tell me how much they enjoyed the meeting, and the drawn result was a very fitting one, neither side deserved to lose and in those circumstances I was delighted with the score.
After tonight's meeting we start our preparations for the 1969 campaign. Already our opening date has been decided, so make a note of it now, it will be FRIDAY, MARCH 21st, 1969, at 8pm. Of course, I do not yet know the fixture, but I expect that we shall step right into the League battle from the word "Go," just as we did this year. Our Sunday working parties will once more take to the track, and if any of you care for a little pick and shovel work during the winter you will find our little gang hard at it down here at the stadium every Sunday as we knock the track into even better shape for next year. Snowy Beattie and myself look upon this as a wonderful opportunity to keep in touch while at the same time we know that conditions continue to improve because of the efforts put in by us all each Sunday.
Elsewhere in this programme you will find details of the Supporters' Club winter activities. 1 know that we have obtained some wonderful new premises and although they cannot offer you any racing, at least you can keep up with some behind the scenes news at the Friday evening Club meetings. I hope to see many of you there.
Tonight we welcome to our stadium a band of men who will remain forever young, whatever their age. The members of the Veteran Dirt Track Riders' Association. They are our special guests this evening, and of course many of them will be donning leathers once more and performing some doughty deeds out on the track as they seek to gain. another trophy for their already heavily laden sideboards. In thanking them for their attendance, I must also thank the secretary of the Association, Peter Arnold, for his invaluable assistance in gathering his members together for tonight's event. Peter will be our guest announcer this evening, and when he introduces many of the men who thrilled the millions in days gone by, I am sure that he will have a lump in his throat as he recalls past glories.
But tonight is to be a carefree occasion. A time for rejoicing and fun. The racing is not intended to be taken TOO seriously, although without a doubt everyone present will give of his best. We ask you only to enjoy it and join in the fun with us.
Finally, I want to thank all the people. Without whom our speedway would not operate. From the directors of Hackney Stadium right down to the hard-working track staff. EVERY man a vital cog. Thank you-all for making MY work so easy and pleasant.
I look forward to seeing most of. you through the Winter, and ALL of you on March 21st next year. Until then, look after yourselves, have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year and join us at our opening meeting when once more we'll,
Make it a date ... Friday at Eight!
It's "Back to the Dirt"
says PETER ARNOLD
(Well-known announcer, radio and TV commentator and founder secretary of the Veteran Dirt Track' Riders' Assn.)
I suppose most of us have a streak of sentiment somewhere within our being although not all of us are prone to revealing this in public. It is usually nostalgia that provokes that lump in the throat, that watery eye and the blush to the cheek. I'm a great sentimentalist and I don't care who knows it.
Life can play some funny tricks, and memory is often stirred by the sound or sight of something, a snatch of an old tune, a faded old photograph, a trip to your old schooldays haunts and so on.
I'm not one for saying that everything that has gone is better than similar things are now. Time is progress and progress decrees changes. It's the same with speedway racing or, as it was called in the beginning-DIRT TRACK RACING.
I’m luckier than most I reckon, in that speedway memories can so easily be evoked every time I meet up with a member of our fast rising Association. And it was because of the simple sentimental feelings for old friends and old times that were aroused in the 'veterans' who gathered when we opened the world's first and only speedway museum at Beaulieu that the V.D.T.R.A. came into being. Because they wanted to continue the renewed acquaintances, old-timers responded to my suggestion that we met annually.
Since those 1957 days, our ranks have swelled, our activities increased-and, if anything, so has the enthusiasm for social and sporting functions. So when my old mate Len Silver first chatted to me about his idea for the 1968 Grand Finale, I knew he had hit upon a jackpot winner. As the theme was developed, the enthusiasm from old riders increased.
As most of you know, back in February I organised the 40th Birthday party for British Speedway at High Beech and in fact, Snowy Beattie and many 'Hawks' supporters were of invaluable help to me. Len Silver, whom I regard as one of the most progressive, live-wire thinking promoters in the sport today, took advantage of that occasion to publicise Hackney's opening meeting. And I'm sure that being among so many pioneers set the seed for tonight's grand conception, which, at tile other end of the year, concludes this great 40th anniversary year for our favourite sport of speedway.
To get cinders back on the track again is, to my mind, proof that Len is not a man to do things by halves. For my part, I've rounded up quite a number of interesting old-time 'dirt track' machines, the incomparable horizontal twin cylinder Douglas the bike which still provokes looks of admiration whenever seen and the bike most suited for the leg-trailing styles of the 1928-30 heyday. We'll have three of these. We've also got a couple of the early Rudge machines based on the successful road racing 'Ulster' model, and the bikes that came into their own with the leg forward style and the clutch standing starts. Not many people realise that the famous Norton concern made speedway bikes, but they did, and even fewer will know that Sheffield's bossman Frank Varey (Len knows him well!) actually rode one when at Belle Vue. So did the great Ron Johnson, then at Crystal Palace. Very few survive-but we've got one of the only two known in the line-up. One of the Rudge machines is my own which I bought from West Ham many years ago. I'm hoping, but at the time of writing, it isn't confirmed, that ‘E1 Diablo' will bring his famous Scott machine down. It's in the Birmingham Museum these days, but still sounds sweet-as those at High Beech know.
There will be a couple of early JAP engined machines, not unlike the present descendant to look at. And there should be just one example of the famous AJS ‘big port’ machine, the high framed, versatile all-round machine used in the pre-1928 period in Australia by Cyclone Billy Lamont, whose Adelaide pal Jack Chapman used one until Late in 1932, here in England.
That's some news on the bikes. But what of the men? Well dirt track riders being like speedway riders, they are not the best of letter riders, s I know jolly well, that although I'm expecting somewhere in the region of 30 to turn up, I won't be surprised when we find nearly 60 or 70 here.
And if you ever need convincing that our sport doesn't breed and develop a youthful, vigorous outlook to life, which never leaves them-take a look at the youthful look gathering, few, if any, under 45, some as old as 68. All keen to have a go still and, like swimming or riding a cycle, the art of broadsiding is never forgotten. I’ll never forget the first Veteran's race meeting we held up at Sheffield about five years ago. Alf Medcalf, here tonight, and a winner in that opening meeting at High Beech, hadn't straddled a motorcycle of any kind for over 25 years. Yet in tatty old leathers and helmet, he rode a modern JAP with the verve of a youngster-and he was over 60 then!
The Association's newly elected President 'Squib' Burton, a former Lea Bridge skipper, is coming down from Lutterworth to ride his Duggie, there's Fred Strecker and his life-long buddy George Dykes, both of whom rode here at Hackney pre-war, George Gower, an old Crystal Palace rider-now working for Ron Clarke of post-war Odsal fame. Wilf Plant, whose son Graham won the recent DIVISION II title here, aims to 'have a go' too, as does Geoff Pymar, remembered as a pre-war Wimbledon international.
There'll be the slightly more modern 'greats' like Tommy Price, Bill Kitchen and Freddie Williams. There'll be the bouncing boy 'rubber man' Phil Bishop, without whom no old-time gathering would be complete. There will be many more, but I'd better save a few names to chat to you about when we come to the Old Timers Trophy races. For, at the instigation of Len, I am returning for the one night to chat over the microphones I first used when Hackney re-opened for the first time after the war-in 1963. It will be nice chatting to you again and I sincerely hope that you’re 'nostalgic sentiments will be rekindled by the sight of some of these old speedway favourites.
It's been my pleasure helping Len to organise this grand 'Dirt Track' night-and I wish it every success.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good Evening Supporters,
So we come to the end of another exciting season. It has been the longest one yet, and it seems ages since that first meeting, nevertheless in some ways it has flown by.
I speak for all the members of the Supporters Club in saying "Well done" to our Hawks for finishing in the Runners-Up position in the league. I think that if Jack and Des had not been injured, we would have taken the title. But we’re not downhearted, second out of nineteen when no one gave us any chance at all is a wonderful achievement, and I reckon that next season we can go one better.
May I now thank all those hard working members of the Supporters' Club committee who assisted me throughout the season and helped to make the club so successful.
Also my thanks must go to those other people who helped the club in so many ways.
Now do not forget that we start this Sunday on our weekly working parties here at the stadium. Any volunteers who would like to take part are asked to report at 10am and since we do not have enough tools to go round, if you can bring along a spade or garden fork, it would help! Uncle Len is always present, keeping us up to date with the latest developments and I expect Jackie Biggs will once again keep fit by wielding a shovel alongside us as he did last year.
Tonight is your last chance to buy your ticket for next Saturday's End of Season Dance. They are only 6/- each and can be obtained at any kiosk. The dance takes place at the Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, Stratford, E15, just 5 minute’s walk from Stratford Broadway, and dancing is to the John Philian Trio from 7.30 p.m. until 11.30 p.m. The date is November 2nd. Of course, if you are unable to get your ticket in advance, you will be able to gain admission at the door. I've had a letter from our friends up in Coventry who tell me that they are bringing a coach load of Bees supporters down for the evening, and I know that in addition to our own Hawks, most of the riders who live in or near London will be there. So it should be a really wonderful evening, and I hope that you all make your way there.
The following Saturday we are making one of our regular trips to Ron How's pub and a few seats on the coach are still available. Price of a seat is 6/6 and the coach will leave Maud Rod at 5.30 pm on Saturday, November 9th.
Don't forget that we start our club activities next Friday when we open at our new premises at Mildenhall Road, Clapton, E5. Doors open at 7.30 p.m. and the evenings close is at 10.30 pm. Any supporters are welcome and it is a way of keeping in the news during the Winter. Uncle Len often pops in as do many of our riders and we have a lot of fun. If you have not been before, perhaps you will continue to make your Friday date with us in the winter.
We still plan to have a trip to Paris in January, but as yet we are not able to publish details. Those interested should leave their names and addresses at any kiosk and we will write to you as soon as all the organisation is finalised.
Last week's draw prize winners were as follows:-
1st 15730 S. Norris Aldersbrook Rd, E12
2nd 13333 P. Stone, Old Ford, E3
3rd Miss E. Rusher, Woodford Green, Essex.
Tonight, instead of our usual draw tickets we have on sale our Grand Christmas draw tickets. These are 6d each or 6 for 2/- and prizes valued at over £50 may be won. It is of course, in aid of the Riders Equipment fund, and it is our way of making a real contribution to the team's efforts on the track. We need sellers for the tickets so if any of .you can take some books home and sell them to your pals please call at one of the kiosks tonight,
The winning tickets will be drawn out at our Christmas Dance which will take place at the Pigeons Hotel on Friday, December 13th.
Cheerio until next season,
Up the Hawks,
SNOWY BEATTIE (Hon Sec)
THE PETER DOUGLAS PAGE
THE LONG WINTER OF 1968
What to do until 21st March next year? That's the question many speedway fans will be asking themselves over the next few days, as tracks finally close down, the riders hang up their leathers and the start of the 1969 season seems too far ahead.
Well, I've been looking at one or two possibilities to help you get through the winter and here they are.
You can travel to Canterbury tomorrow (26th) and watch the young Rockets have their final match of the season. Graeme will, of course, captain the side as he has all season.
Just a week later, why not join Snowie Beattie for the last waltz, as Hawks fans gather at the Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, Stratford for the End of Season Dance. Tickets are only 6/-, beauty queen Kathleen Stoughton will be there, along with our riders and supporters, and the riders and supporters from many other tracks too. It should be a fantastic evening.
Whilst you're there, check with Snowie or Ken Leadbetter about becoming a member of the Supporters Club. The Club moves into new premises at the SL John Ambulance HQ in Mildenhall Road, Clapton, E.5 and first meeting is on Friday 1st November.
If you've still got some strength left, travel to the Gun Inn, Pitsea on the old Southend Road, the following week for the Rayleigh Supporters Club dance on Saturday 9th.
If you are energetic, working parties to help with track maintenance will be working on Sundays during the off season and you can help there to get the track into shape for 1969. See Len Silver, Ken Leadbetter or Snowie Beattie about this.
For those who live dangerously, Len is running a winter training school at Rayleigh, starting on Saturday, October 26th and every Saturday until the end of February. You will be covered by insurance, but bring your own bike!
Still nothing to do? How about a few sessions with the Hawks football team which plays most Sunday mornings and trains a couple of nights during the week. Announcer Terry Ripo has all the dope here.
Finally, meet a keen enterprising youngster by the name of Mick Halliday 19 Nye Bevan Estate, Glyn Road, Clapton, E5, who runs a branch of the Areil Owners Motorcycle Club .. Activities include films, club runs and you get a 10% discount on spares. Contact Mike at the above address for full info.
Me? I shall have my feet up, the telly on and a double whisky in my hand for the next few Fridays just to get the feel of NOT going to speedway at 8pm
See you all in 1969.
Belle Vue • • • October 19
by FRANK MACLEAN
THEY locked the stadium gates before the British League Riders' Championship at Hyde Road on tonight. And it was agony for hundreds of frustrated fans left outside as 20,000 privileged people thrilled to the highlights and heartbreaks of the most dramatic individual contest seen for many years.
Swindon's golden boy, Barry Briggs, emerged as the ultimate champion, but not before the last race in a memorable night of changing fortunes and tingling suspense. For joint favourite Barry was beaten into second place by power-packed Eric Boocock for his only defeat in Heat 16. The Halifax star completed 12 points and cheering Northern fans sensed a breakthrough of Briggs' three year domination as Boocock came to the tapes just 70-odd seconds away from the title in his last race. Then out of the blue came another chance for Barry as Belle Vue's Soren Sjosten with just 5 points scored, flashed to the front to win and put riders, Briggs and Boocock level with 14 points.
In the run-off, Briggs' experience and flair for the big occasion proved itself again when he left Boocock at the second bend and raced home for his fourth successive title.
It was cold luck for Boocock, particularly after a sensational first-race win when he outpaced Ivan Mauger as he blasted round Belle Vue in a remarkable lime of 70.6 the best time at Hyde Road in the past 10 years. Ivan Mauger suffered another setback in Heat 14, a race that more than underlined Briggs' championship class. Briggs trailed the field in a poor start, but in successive laps overtook Bernie Persson and Torbjorn Harrysson before turning into a spectacular swoop from the pits bend to overhaul Mauger in the last few yards.
And in such a race something had to give. This time it was Harrysson who crashed into the fence for the only fall of the night.
This was a meeting of speed rather than track tactics, and the powerhouse riding produced plenty of wheel-to-wheel struggles and close finishes, but surprisingly few overtakes. Times were seconds up on previous championship meetings, ranging from the 70.6 of Boocock to the 75.4 of the last race.
Probably the most exciting of many good races was Heat 16, when Eric Boocock clashed with Briggs in what most people considered the decider. Boocock was first from the tapes, but Briggs slipped inside on the second turn and held the lead with Boocock challenging up to the last lap. Briggs was rounding the second bend at the scenic-ride end when he pulled a slight locker and Boocock flashed past to lead as the pair entered the back straight. Briggs came up fast round the last bend and gradually whittled Boocock's lead to a couple of yards, but failed by inches by the time of reaching the line.
Small wonder most people at this time were hailing the new champion. Nigel Boocock was in trouble from the start with a faulty carb and used the Belle Vue track spare to collect 5 points.
His best effort was a second place to Norman Hunter in the last race. Another rider with motor worries was Roy Trigg, whose oiled plug caused him to borrow reserve Colin Gooddy's equipment.
Soren Sjosten was a non-starter again an oiled plug left him sitting at the gate in one race, but the Belle Vue rider did little, apart from shattering Yorkshire's hopes in the 19th race.
Belle Vue's management must be congratulated on the perfect state of the track and those fast times. As one promoter put it “It’s is a great pity that we could not stage the World Championship up here. The racing is better by far than anything we have seen elsewhere."
The title of Miss Speedway 1968 was won by Mrs June Jenkins, a secretary representing King's Lynn. Second was Miss Ann Fleming from Poole.
B. Briggs 14, E. Boocock 14, 1. Mauger 13, T. Harrysson 11. M. Abby 11, T. Betts 8, A. Michanek 8, S. Sjosten 8. H. Holmkvist 7, B. Persson 7, N. Hunter 5, C. Monk 5, N. Boocock 5, C. Pratt 2. O. Nygren 2, R. Trigg 0. Reserves Jim McMillan, Geoff Mudge and Colin Gooddy did not ride.
Ht 1: Harrysson, Holmkvist, Pratt, Trigg. 72.4.
Ht 2: E. Boocock. Mauger, Betts, Michanek, 70.6.
Ht 3: Briggs, Monk, Hunter, Nygren, 72.2
Ht 4: Ashby, Sjosten, Persson. N. Boocock (ef), 71.8.
Ht 5: Briggs, Belt, Holmkvist, Sjosten (NF), 71.8.
Ht 6: E. Boocock, Harryson, Nygren, N. Boocock, 72.2.
Ht 7: Mauger. Ashby, Hunter, Trigg (ns), 72.4.
Ht 8: Michenek, Monk, Persson, Pratt (ef), 73.2.
Ht 9: E. Boocock, Persson, Holmkvist. Hunter (ef), 72.6.
Ht 10: Harrysson, Ashby. Betts, Monk, 72.8.
Ht 11: Briggs, N. Boocock, Michanek, Trigg, 72.8.
Ht 12: Mauger, Sjosten, Pratt, Nygren (ef), 74.4.
Ht 13: Mauger, Holmkvist, N. Boocock, Monk, 73.8
Ht 14: Harryson, Michenek, Sjosten, Hunter, 74.2.
Ht 15: Betts, Persson, Nygren, Trigg, 75.0.
Ht 16: E. Boocock. Briggs, Ashby, Pratt. 73.2.
Ht 17 Ashby, Michanek, Holmkvist, Nygren, 74.4.
Ht 18: Briggs, Mauger, Persson, Harrysson (f), 74.8.
Ht 19: Sjosten, E. Boocock, Monk, Trigg. 75.0.
Ht 20: Hunter, N. Boocock. Betts, Pratt 75.4.
Run off for 1st place
Briggs beat Boocock.
SPEEDWAY STAR'S ERIC LINDEN PREVIEWS THE BLD1 RIDERS CHAMPIONSHIP
THEY are at it again. On form it looks as though the British League Riders' Championship Final should another revenge meeting between the big two, Barry Briggs and Ivan Mauger. Looks like. May be.
And neither of them could be in the first three in a field of the like of which hasn't been put together this year for any individual meeting and I include the World Final itself into that reckoning.
The way to the BLRC Final is simple. A man simply has to be the best his club has produced over the year. He has to have the best average in the team over the season.
This cuts out the freak qualifiers, lads who come good at the right time for a particular meeting. It means what I’ve said. A man has to come good and stay good all year round. Not only stay good but stay better than anyone else in his team. Then, and only then, does he get to the final.
Sometimes even then he doesn't make it. As witness Ronnie Genz and Bill Andrews. They qualified but injuries then scythed them down. So it's a tough old road to Belle Vue every year.
Now we've got the qualifiers and what pops up first? The obvious search for the winner narrows down fast to the great on-track feud that's been raging most of the term between the Kiwi best pair, Briggs and Mauger.
Gradually Mauger's consistent brilliance has pulled him clear of Barry practically the whole way. He's overhauled him as the top average man in the country. He took the World title. He jetted to a World Team Cup maximum. He won the British Championship. He top-scored in the British-Nordic World Championship round. He was Britain's best in the European Final.
All the way he has had one over Barry this year although it must be remembered that Briggs has had a miserable season with injuries and illness. Miserable and yet he has still retained a great personal rating and I'll wager there are still more people who regard him as the greatest of the two even today.
That is a battle I will not enter here. Enough to say that while every man jack of the 16 qualifiers will be out to win and beat the daylights out of every other man on the track, I do not think any will be out flatter for victory than Mauger and Briggs when they clash.
Who is the greatest? Look at the records and wonder.
Barry has won the British Riders' Final every time it has been run. Only in one race has he even dropped a point, in 1965. In fact that is the only time he has dropped a point in his last six matches at Belle Vue.
Ivan, on the other hand, has never finished even in the first three in this event and his league record against Belle Vue on the Manchester circuit is far better than his championship haul.
But he can be beaten. Soren Sjosten did it just a few weeks back, to show that while it was difficult it was not impossible.
I'D leave you to figure out the personal battle between these two for the moment. And to think on whether it means that whichever of them wins it, then he will automatically pick up the title.
In fact your own common sense tells you that nothing automatic can be assumed at this meeting. Run through the qualifiers. Do what I did and try to sort them out into groups. Like Favourites to Win; Best Outsiders; Spoilers; Little Hope.
Trouble is you get a massive list of Best Outsiders and Spoilers. There are very few Little Hope merchants. All right so you can put the three reserves there. None of them has appeared in a British Riders' Final before. Even if they do get
a ride it won't be enough to get them near the rostrum. And I'll even go so far as to say that even if they get a full quota of rides I can't see them collecting anything like a sufficiency of points to come out of the blue and surprise us all.
Just two others I'll rule out of the reckoning. Hackney skipper Colin Pratt, who has seldom produced at Belle Vue anything remotely resembling the perfection Pratty can pull out and Cradley's Roy Trigg. Not because Triggy hasn't got the class to win, like Colin he has. It's just that he seldom shows his best when he gets at the big nights. If Triggy would only believe he is as good as he really is there would be far more major pots in his trophy cupboard.
That with a lot of sweat and heartache, rules out two. Mauger and Briggs I've pushed into the favourites' seat. That leaves 14 others who figure either as best outsiders or great spoilers (which is almost the same thing). And separating those 14 is ludicrously difficult.
I'll take out one more, Wimbledon skipper Olle Nygren, who seems to have lost just a bit off the edge of his motoring these past few months. Although when you look at his form on our chart it makes you wonder how he can be kept out of the title running-let alone knocked out of 14 possibles!
Of the remaining 13 let's try to get the spoilers into their grouping. They're the boys I reckon can ruin any man's chances, while not necessarily having a first class chance of the title themselves. Into this select group I’ll put Terry Betts, the King's Lynn
bombshell. Again because he seldom seems to shine on the big nights. It's got to be that reasoning because he's copped an 18-point maximum at Belle Vue in a league match and anybody who hangs around on the circuit doesn't do things like that.
And I'm going to drop Wolves' Hasse Holmkvist into the group, too. This is his first BLRC Final and if it bad been scoring that counted, not averages, then because he'd ridden less than a dozen matches for Wolves, Hasse would have been out and Jim Airey in. The lack of rides and, more particularly, lack of big night rides, means I reckon Hasse can pull a few corkers but not five on this night.
Next for the spoilers Sheffield's Charlie Monk. Displaying great form considering he's had anything but a healthy season. Never yet produced his real form for this meeting. One could also say that of Exeter's Martin Ashby. But that's because he's never before qualified . . . due to the dominance of Barry Briggs at Swindon. Now Marty's in as Falcons' best and while he is having the best year of his life, and still shows signs of producing even more in the years to come, it's the very fact that I doubt that he's at his peak which makes me say this isn't the year for the complete Ashby triumph.
Two more Swedes for the section in Leicester's Anders Michanek and Newport's Torbjorn Harrysson. Of the two I rate Michanek as the most likely although it's Tor's style, so reminiscent of Peter Craven, that will catch the eye and bring the cheers. Michanek is no slouch in that respect either, in fact he was the laddie I almost pushed into the Best Outsiders Section.
Almost but not quite. One who did manage to slip from this group into my Best Outsiders was yet another Swede, Coatbridge King Bernie Persson. One day we are really going to see Bernie boy at his best. He's been running into form at the right time-now. He could spring a surprise, even though it's his first Final. So could his teammate in the Swedish national side, Soren Sjosten. Although as he rides for Belle Vue and so has what track advantage there is, a win for the spectacular king of the Manchester shaleway could hardly be termed surprising.
What is a shock, is to find that Soren has never yet figured in a BLRC final, he seems to have been part of the Aces' scene for so long! His recent form at Belle Vue and that's all that counts, has been impressive. But I still reckon him as just one of a number of very good outsiders not the best of them.
Who is the best? I'd go for Norman Hunter as a lad who could pull off this biggest shock of the night. The West Hammer will be out to rub the Australian tour team selectors' noses even further in the dust. And he can nip around this Hyde Road track extremely fast. May I remind you that he gollopped up the Russians and grabbed an 18- point maximum against them at Manchester this year? He'd be the boyo to come right out of the blue.
The other two outsiders are hardly likely to be called surprises if they do finally win a major pot. The Boocock brothers, Nigel and Eric, can both lap around this track as fast as most. If Eric could reproduce his league form rather than his championship stuff, he could carve his name with pride on one of the toughest trophies to win. Nigel-well if ever a man deserved the cup he does. His virtual one-man campaign kept Coventry knocking at the league title door for months. His great form kept British speedway's prestige high. And his battle against injury, including riding for too long with a broken collar-bone, deserves recognition of the highest order. Only Barry Briggs beat him last year.
So there we have the riders. Now who's going to win? On form at the track and in the event it must be Briggs. On form throughout the season it must be Mauger. I'll take Mauger from Briggs [pictured below] with Norman Hunter as the man most likely to shift either of them out of the winner's or runners up spot!
Hackney • •• October 18
by MICHAEL CHANDLER
WIMBLEDON are the new holders of the London Cup. West Ham needed to win by 63-45 to retain the trophy, but after last week's thrashing by the Dons, Hackney seemed determined to make amends, fighting every inch of the way, a draw being a fair result.
The Hawks hero was undoubtedly Les McGillivray. Les always made his presence felt in his early races. But in his sixth, the nominated riders, he positively excelled. With the scores level with one heat left to go, the Hammers were set for a narrow victory as Norman Hunter led with Ken McKinlay third. But in between was Les and, pulling back a sizeable lead he swept past Hunter, much to the delight of the large crowd.
At one time the Hawks had stretched their lead to 4 points after a 5-1 in Heat 5. But after that there was never more than 2 points in it, climaxing in that exciting final race.
HACKNEY 54 WEST HAM 54
HACKNEY: C Pratt 14, L McGillivray 14, M Brown 9, D Lukehurst 9, G Smith 5, L. Etheridge 2. G. Everett 0, J Biggs 0.
WEST HAM: N. Hunter 15. K. McKinlay 14, T Clarke 7, S Stevens 6, B Crowson 5, B Leonard 5, G Barclay 2, M Holmes 0
Ht 1: Pratt, Hunter, Brown, Barclay, 67.6.
Ht 2: Clarke, McGillivray. Leonard, Everett. 68.6.
Ht 3: McKinlay, Lukehurst, Stevens, Biggs. 67.8.
Ht 4: Smith, Crowson, Etheridge, Holmes, 69.0.
Ht 5: Brown, Pratt, Clarke, Leonard, 68.4.
Ht 6: McKinlay, McGillivray, Stevens, Everett, 68.2.
Ht 7: Hunter, Lukehurst, Barclay, Biggs, 68.8.
Ht 8: Pratt, McKinlay, Brown, Steven, 68.1.
Ht 9: Lukehurst, Clarke, Leonard, Biggs. 69.0.
Ht 10: McGillivray, Hunter, Barclay, Everett (f,re), 68.8.
Ht 11: Pratt, Leonard, Stevens, Everett, 69.2.
Ht 12: McKinlay, McGillivray, Lukehurst, Barclay, 68.8.
Ht 13: Hunter, Brown, Clarke, Biggs (nf), 69.6.
Ht 14: Crowson, Smith, Etheridge, Holmes. 69.8.
Ht 15 Pratt, McKinlay, Everett, Barclay, 67.8.
Ht 16: Hunter, McGillivray. Lukehurst, Clarke, 70.0.
Ht 17: Stevens, Brown, Leonard, Biggs, 69.8.
Ht 18: McGillivray, Hunter, McKinlay, Pratt, 69.0.
Len Silver Talking • • •
It seems incredible that one minute the Hawks can be flying so high that it looks as if we can capture all the glory going, and the next minute we're down in the doldrums and taking a heavy drubbing on our own track. I do not really offer any excuses, I think that you are already aware of the reasons and I would prefer to look on the bright side. Whilst we suffer from injury problems it does at least give us a chance to let our young brigade have a go among the top men, and last week, although not scoring all that many points, I think you must agree that Graeme Smith once more showed his potential. It was a pity that conditions were so atrocious because I think that Laurie would have been able to perform better and maintain his steady improvement. None the less, all the boys put us on a great show and even surprised us all by actually RACING, ignoring mud and water and the added danger. I take my hat off to the riders of BOTH teams for their performances. Let us hope that tonight and next -week the rain keeps away so that we are able to enjoy our last two Friday nights of Speedway this year.
The season once more draws to its close. All over Britain tracks are staging there farewell meetings, most of them later than usual because of the rainy summer causing an abundance of cancelled meetings. I have carefully looked through the remaining fixtures and I can honestly say that the most interesting last meeting at ANY track seems to be our Olde Tyme night here at Hackney next Friday. And can anyone be surprised at that? Look at some of the magic names that will be seen in our programme next week. Bill Kitchen of Wembley, Phil Bishop of West Ham, Squibb Burton of Leicester Geoff Pymar of New Cross, Wilf Plant, father of Graham the latest Division Two star, George Gower, Jack Barnet, Fred Strecker, the old Hackney and Lea Bridge rider, and many others, sixteen altogether in fact, competing for the Veterans Trophy, and riding some wonderful machines with awe inspiring names, the very famous Dirt Dougie, the Dirt Track Rudge which was the fore-runner of the present day JAP, and a AJS, specially converted in 1931 and even a Dirt Track Norton, one of only 100 built by that famous firm. Oh yes, and up in the main Grandstand there will be an autograph hunters' paradise. Among the veteran onlookers, who will be introduced to the fans during the evening will be 'Tiger' Stevenson the famous West Ham and England captain, ex-World Champions Tommy Price and Fred Williams, Hammers star Wally Green, livewire Trevor Redmond, Tommy Bateman the 1936 Hackney star, Bill Gurr of High Beech, Syd Edmunds and countless others. If ever there was an evening of nostalgia, this will be that evening, But modern fans will not be forgotten. Among the present day stars who will be going through their paces in both "leg trailing and foot forward styles will be our own Hawks (re-named "Wolves" for the first part of the evening) plus Nigel Boocock, Ray Wilson and Jimmy Squibb and other popular performers who will be announced during this evening. Of course the Magnificent Seven will be saying their "Farewells" to you during the evening and I have no doubt that they will be getting up to some of their usual tricks which. I feel sure will add to my discomfort if I'm any judge! The younger patrons are not forgotten either because every one of them will receive a stick of our specially made blue and white candy rock with "Hackney Speedway" written right through the middle (How DO they get that name inside?) and the purchaser of every programme will get a free gift. The programme, by the way, will be a real collector's item and may well become sought after in years to come because the cover will he an exact replica of the pre-war Hackney Wick programme. Some hitherto unpublished photos of the pre-war riders will be contained in it to add to its interest. Now I know that you will not want to miss getting your favourite spot in the stadium for this exciting event, so PLEASE come EARLY and help us to avoid the last minute congestion. And if you tell all your mates to join us here I know that they not regret it (neither will I!).
Many of you may be wondering why Nigel Boocock is not in our line-up tonight in place of Bengt Jansson. As you know I told last week that he would be here and in fact when I told you that, he had been booked and the booking accepted. When I was able to inform Mr Lanning that I was including Nigel in our team (Mr Lanning had been out of the country on journalistic business) I at the same time told him that I would agree to his using any replacement he wished for the injured Sverre Harrfeldt. I did this to prove to Mr Lanning that I was not trying to gam unfair advantage by including a man of higher point’s average than Jansson. And bare in mind, of course, that we also had Des Lukehurst injured and that both Jackie Biggs and Gary Everett were returning after injury and sickness. My motivation was purely on the basis of providing the best entertainment possible for the public; after all, although naturally I wanted to win the match, I did not lose sight of the fact that in the London Cup Competition, Hackney can only finish third whatever happens this evening. I therefore had no reason to try to gain advantage. Mr Lanning, however, thought differently and would not agree to the use of guest riders. He said, quite rightly I might add, that Jansson and Harrfeldt cancelled each other out as it were, and that if the London Cup WAS a fully official match and not semi-official as it is, we would not be allowed a guest rider or any other help for the missing Lukehurst since he is not a heat leader. My personal view was that we should not make ourselves hidebound by the stringent regulations which govern League matches, and the history of the London Cup proves that Mr Greene of Wimbledon shares that view since he also has used guest riders in this competition previously. In fact, West Ham loaned him Tony Clarke only a few short weeks ago when we raced at Plough Lane, and I did not hear Mr Lanning complain then! But all my pleas to Mr Lanning were in vain, and since both promoters must agree in these matters, I was forced to cancel the booking to Nigel Boocock and he then was able to accept a previously refused booking to ride at Kings Lynn tonight.
Since Mr Lanning insisted that we ride strictly according to regulations as if this were a League match, then I had to insist that West Ham adhered to the same rules. Therefore I asked Mr Lanning to attend with eight fully signed West Ham contract
riders, and at the time I asked him to do that (last Sunday) he was only able to name seven, the man he had planned to use at the No. 8 spot, Martyn Piddock, not being under contract to West Ham. After his action over MY pleas to him concerning our mutual use of guests, you can imagine my reaction to HIS pleas over the use of Piddock!
It may well be that Mr Lanning has been able during the last few days to gain the signature of Piddock, or perhaps some other rider. But I shall most certainly insist that whoever fills the No. 8 spot in the West Ham team MUST be under contract to them. Of course, if they are unable to find anyone, then I shall be pleased to loan them one of my many Second Division lads for the evening, just to show how generous we can be!
To close my notes this evening I want to stress that whatever disagreements Mr Lanning and myself have (and they seem to get more and more numerous), my admiration for the riders and the other members of the management of West Ham is not impaired in any way. Although they are our greatest rivals, I hope that all our sporting instincts are great enough to admit that West Ham do deserve our admiration and congratulations for full effort under sometimes adverse conditions.
Anyway, I'm sure that Mr Lanning and I make no difference at all to the riders, and they will all thrill us to the core once more this evening as they have done so often in the past. Let us hope that our hearts stop fluttering in time for next week's jolly
jaunt in Olde Tyme Night see you all then when once more we'll,
Make it a date ... Friday at Eight,
The Peter Douglas Page
END OF SEASON
With only one more Friday night fixture after tonight-and what a meeting Len has lined up for next week and I and many other speedway fans will be faced with the problem of what to do with our Friday evenings. Although I've only coming to Speedway for one season, 1 can't seem to remember the time when Friday night at 8.00 didn't mean a trip to the Wick. So what's it like for fans like Robbie and Snowie and Ken, who've been speedway mad since they were in short pants.
There's a great couple of dances coming up in the calendar, too, that you shouldn't miss-our own at the Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, Stratford, on 2nd November and the Rayleigh dance the following Saturday, 9th, at the Gun Inn, Pitsea. The Rayleigh dance has been put back to this date, as the Rockets have a last minute trip to Canterbury on 26th October, the date originally planned for the dance.
White slavery in E15? I could not help noticing the announcement posted up above the platform where last Friday Len was lining up our would-be beauty queens, announcing forthcoming "Irish Bloodstock Sales." Congratulations anyway to the very charming winner, Kathleen Stoughton, who no doubt will be having her first outing at our end of season dance.
Continuing Douglas's weekly guide to better viewing: Well, don't say I didn't warn you if your eyes are still bleary with taking in the Olympics till 2 in the morning. And did you see that enthralling little piece on the problems of Britain's pole vaulters. It seems that our pole vaulters, all 120 of them, haven't enough places in which to practice their sport, to say nothing of the acute shortage apparently of poles. Believe me, this dire question was discussed and investigated with all the seriousness of a probe into student politics or the state of the national debt on "Magpie" last week.
THIS ‘N’ THAT
Almost every Friday at Hackney, you can see a full field of Rayleigh Rockets demonstrating their attachment to Hackney and last week was something of a record-with Laurie, Graeme and Dingle riding for the Hawks, and at least Terry Stone and Geoff Maloney doing duty in the bar.. . .
Here's hoping Gary Everett soon fighting fit and back racing soon after being dogged with a flu bug....
Did you read Len'sm letter in the "Speedway Post" last week: I wrote to the editor on the same lines, so I’m glad one of us made it. ...
You will have read that the teeny boppers magazine "Jackie" is doing a feature on speedway riders which could attract more younger fans: congratulations to Peter Oakes, for setting this in motion for two Rayleigh boys, Geoff and Dennis Mannion.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS NEST
Good evening, Supporters,
Well, I guess that Lady Luck deserted our boys when they needed her most, and we lost our chance to become League Champions for the first time in our history, Colin and the rest of the team were most upset. They had really set their hearts on winning this year and after leading the field for so long I know how disappointed they must have felt. None the less, WE must admit that to finish so high in the table is a wonderful achievement in itself. Well done, Hawks.
Our Beauty Queen Competition was run last week in the main bar because of the inclement weather. Clear winner was Miss Kathleen Stoughton of Loughton, and she received a five pound note from "Uncle" Len and a free ride on the coach to Belle Vue from us. So we shall have two people to cheer tomorrow night in Manchester. Colin and Kathleen, What a feat if they both won! The coach to Belle Vue will leave Maud Road at 8.30 am SHARP.
Our coach trip to Ron How's pub is due to take place on November 9th and all seats are almost full. We have a great time there and for the fare of 6/6 you can join in the fun too. Ask at any kiosk. While you are there get your ticket for our End of Season Dance. This is on November 2nd at the Pigeons Hotel, just 5 minute’s walk from Stratford Broadway in Romford Road. Tickets are 6/- each and Malcolm Brown says that the group we have booked to dance to is one of the best he has heard. All our riders will be there plus some Rayleigh, West Ham and Wimbledon boys. A coach load of Coventry supporters are coming down for the evening, so I think we shall have a lot of fun.
The new Winter Club will be opening on Friday, November 1st. It is in Mildenhall Road, Clapton, E5, and is owned by the St. John's Ambulance Brigade. In thanks for their kind assistance in allowing us the use of their premises we shall be holding a collection for them next week. Please give generously as I know you always do.
Only two people claimed their prizes in last week's Equipment Fund Draw, the details of which are as under:
2nd 12543-A. Allen, Homerton.
3rd 161320-D Huxter, Waltham Abbey.
Get your lucky tickets tonight from the sellers, 6d. each, 3 for 1/-, 7 for 2/-.
See you next week.
Up the Hawks!
SNOWY BEATTIE (Hon. Sec.)
Hackney . . . October 11
by MICHAEL CHANDLER
WIMBLEDON chose the perfect psychological moment to inflict upon Hackney their first home defeat of the season, for the Hawks must surely still have been feeling the effects of having the British League snatched away from them last week.
Without Bengt Jansson, Des Lukehurst and Jack Biggs, they called upon the in-form pairing of Exeter's Martin Ashby and Oxford's Leo McAuliffe, but it was the way in which the Dons applied themselves to the saturated track that saw them through.
Often-unsung heroes like Alan Cowland, Jim Tebby, Garry Middleton and Hawks Junior Graeme Smith set good examples in a meeting that, considering the pouring rain, provided racing of a remarkable calibre.
Although the treacherous surface prevented fast times the constant passing and re-passing displayed by two gutsy teams enabled one to forget the weather and revel in the entertainment.
It's also worth noting that after two consecutive 4-2s in Heats 2 and 3, Hackney won only one of the remaining 15 heats a 4-2 in the 10th.
Hackney: L. McGillivray 10, M. Ashby 9, L. McAuliffe 9, C. Pratt 8. G. Smith 3, M Brown 1, L. Etheridge 1, D. Brown 1.
Wimbledon: O. Nygren 16. A. Cowland 14, J. Tebby 10. R. Luckhurst 8, T. Hedge 8, G. Middleton 5, P. Murray 4, B. Dugard 1.
Ht 1: (re-run) Nygren, Pratt, M Brown, Dugard (f.exc), 74.8.
Ht 2: McGillivray, Luckhurst, Smith, Middleton (f,rem), 75.4
Ht 3: Ashby, Cowland. McAuliffe, Hedge, 71.4.
Ht 4: Tebby, Murray. D. Brown, Etheridge (f,rem), 74.8.
Ht 5: Pratt, Luckhurst, Middleton, M. Brown. 74.4.
Ht 6: Hedge, Cowland, McGillivray, Smith, 73.2.
Ht 7: McAuliffe, Nygren, Tebby, Ashby (ef), 72.0.
Ht 8: Cowland, Hedge, Pratt, M. Brown 73.6.
Ht 9: Middleton, Luckhurst, McAuliffe, Ashby. 71.8.
Ht 10: Nygren, McGillivray, Dugard, Smith, 73.1.
Ht 11: Cowland, Smith, Luckhurst, Pratt, 72.6.
Ht 12: McAuliffe, Hedge, McGillivray, Dugard (f) 73.0.
Ht 13: Ashby, Nygren, Middleton, Brown, 71.2.
Ht 14, Tebby, Murray, Etheridge, D. Brown (f,rem) 74.8.
Ht 15: Tebby, Pratt, Hedge, Smith, 74.6.
Ht 16: Nygren, McGillivray, McAuliffe, Middleton, 76.2.
Ht 17: Ashby, Cowland, Luckhurst, M. Brown (f,rem). 73.6.
Ht 18: Nygren. Cowland, McGillivray, Ashby, 76.0.
Len Silver Talking • •
I know that you all feel as sad as I do about being pipped on the post in the League Championship campaign. When I see that only 15 race points separate us from victory, in other words less than a point per match, I feel really robbed. We can quote all the ''IF'' occasions such as the engine failure in the last race at Poole robbing us of a guaranteed League point extra, or the Swedish authorities taking "Banger" from us for that oh so vital match at Wolverhampton, and many other similar instances that COULD have made us Champions. But that is all history, the hard luck story that EVERY team can quote if they want to, but we must admit that one team had all the hard luck going but still rose to the occasion when the chips were really down and sneaked ahead of us to become the 1968 Champions. I salute COVENTRY. IF we had to lose it couldn't be to a better side. From their astute leader, Charles Ochiltree, right down to their fourth reserve, sportsmen one and all, and I know that you will all want to join with me in congratulating them on their fine victory. We must not feel bitter, even though we have had the most bitter of pills to swallow. We must buckle too and prepare now for the 1969 battle. I would remind you that Coventry were second in 1967 and victors in 1968, perhaps history will repeat itself ... time will tell.
I hope that I do not congratulate Coventry too soon, for two teams can theoretically overtake them, Sheffield and Newcastle. Both have matches in hand and both are capable of winning those matches. If they do then we could even slip down to fourth position and Coventry to third. Frankly, I feel that this is unlikely, hence my congratulations to Coventry ... but this is Speedway, the unexpected can and does happen, so we might yet see a last minute change,
Of course, the injuries to Jackie Biggs and Des Lukehurst in the final stages of the competition did not help us one little bit, but what it did do was to throw us up two stars for the future. In Laurie Etheridge and Graerne Smith I think we have two of the most promising young starlets I have ever seen. Both are real triers from start to finish and I do not hesitate to predict big things for both of them in the future. Their year's experience in Division Two has had a marked effect on both of them. Graeme in particular earned the cheers of the Hackney fans at Cradley Heath last Saturday when he scored some valuable points on his first ever visit there. On the way home from Cradley I was waylaid by a group of Hawks' Supporters. Naturally, they were most upset at losing the League battle and they said to me that they laid the blame at the feet of Bengt Jansson. Now I hope that this was said on the heat of the moment because I can tell you that "Banger" is a wholehearted team member who wanted to win the League just as much as anyone else. It is not his fault if the Swedish authorities recall him at a moment's notice. He is compelled to do as they wish or forfeit his racing licence. But I must admit that it is very frustrating to have a star man whipped away from us when we need him most and I know that our Management Committee are in the midst of discussions with the Swedes about 1969 on this very point, for just as we suffer, so do many other teams. My own view is quite frankly, that unless we can have a guarantee that the Swedish riders can remain in England for the whole of our season, only returning for International fixtures to Sweden, thus reducing our travel bill, which is now astronomical, and making more sense of our internal competitions, I would rather do without them. And I say this with the knowledge that we might lose a team member whom I admire greatly as a rider, and whom I look upon as a fine friend, so I do not speak lightly.
Tonight is a good example of the method of the Swedish Motorcycle Federation. We are once again minus our Continental star because they chose to alter the date of a rained-off fixture. So frustrated did I feel about this that I told Bengt that I was not prepared to pay his fare back to England on any more occasions this year. I felt that I had paid my full share and more. This means that we shall be using "Guest" riders to fill his place for our two remaining London Cup matches. I hope that you do not feel too harshly about me for this action, and that you understand my feelings. There comes a time when one must cry "Halt," this, I felt was such a time. So this evening we welcome English international Martin Ashby to our side as we do battle with Wimbledon and next week when the 'Orrible 'Ammers come a-calling we shall be calling on our old friend, England's skipper, Nigel Boocock, to fill the vacant spot. I hope my choice of riders meets with your approval.
Now, the League campaign over, let us do our darndest to lift the London Cup. Race points are most vital in this competition so we need as many 5-1 wins as we can muster! Anyway, the end of the page is in sight, so remember to bring your mates to see us battle with West Ham next week when once more we,
Make it a date ... Friday at Eight!
WE'LL TURN THE CLOCK BACK!!
THE FINAL GALA MEETING OF 1968'
AT THIS STADIUM
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25th. 1968 at 8.00pm
LOOK AT THESE ATTRACTIONS! ! !
OlDE TYME DIRT TRACK RACING - Hackney Wick v Lea Bridge
(Modern Stars leg Trailing)
VETERENS CHAMPIONSHIP - See the stars of yesteryear
FINALE K.O. CUP - Modern Stars, Modern Styles
FREE stick of specially made HACKNEY ROCK for every child
FREE gift with every programme
Make it a Date - Friday at Eight
The Peter Douglas Page
A LONG SHOT?
I got a lot of stick from my journalist friends and members of the public over a piece that appeared in the "Evening Standard" on the evening of the Division II Riders' Championship, when I predicted a win for Kiwi tearaway Graeme Smith. As it happens, I wasn't all that far out for as you know Graeme got third place. And look at the points he's been scoring in the last few days. The new affluence has not gone to Smifly's head, except to the extent of investing in a smart two-tone Consul that touched 85 on the motorway earlier this week. Last Monday at Reading, Graeme also narrowly missed third place in the Reading Open (sounds like a horse race) after a run-off with Alan Brown. Talking of Reading, nice to see another win for pint-sized Teesider Graham Plant.
OWE TYME NIGHT
Great preparations in hand for Len's "Olde Thyme" night on Friday, 25th October. Super-organiser Peter Arnold is lining up members of his Veteran Dirt Track Riders' Association and will be our guest announcer for the night. Peter, as you will know, organised the celebrations at High Beech earlier in the year and is one of the most experienced commentators in the business.
Best wishes to the lucky winner of tonight's competition, and I hope the poor thing does not freeze to death, covered in goose pimples if we have a cold night. I had a few amusing calls during the weeks from Press men asking how the winner was picked and why by the team! I won't reproduce my answers here.
THIS 'N' THAT
Comment on my notes last week-great for a football programme. Okay, sorry, Len having difficulty keeping track of my firm's many partners, when this week we are joined by a sixth, Steve Alberry a speedway fan, who has been to a few meetings at Hackney this season ... I thought Dave Lanning fairly generous to us in Monday's Sketch but Len disagrees' . . . Seen any of our posters lately-a joint effort with Advance Travel Services, our official travel agents, showing a speedway man dashing On to a plane (from Sweden) to catch a Friday date at Hackney.
In the next few weeks, whether we like it or not as members of the public, we are going to be fed a diet of Olympics, beamed by satellite direct from Mexico at vast expense by both channels. Whoever started this bonanza, what one channel does the other tries to do better, and we the viewer’s suffer. Pubs have been granted licences till 2am, so that bleary eyed and drunk, we can gaze at our colour sets. One question I wonder if anyone has asked, does anyone want to watch the Olympics for breakfast, lunch AND tea.
Lately journalists have been questioning the amount of research done by the telly boys on what their viewers want!
Cradley Heath • October 5
by PETER MORRISH
JUST when they needed every point Hackney had to ride here without Biggs and Lukehurst. The handicap was too great and only Pratt did anything of note, McGillivray gave moderate support, but apart from these two the Hawks had nothing.
Jansson riding various machines only beat one Cradley rider and by then it was far too late.
Hackney looked set for a quick break, but Brown was pushed back to last place and it was Cradley Who took the lead in Heat 2. Trigg won with Wakefield third and from then on the Heathens never looked in danger. Andrews and Lars Jansson then beat Bengt Jansson with unexpected ease and Len Silver could see that his team was not going to win this one.
He played his one ace, Colin Pratt, in Heat 5 and the skipper and McGillivray took a heat win after Lars Jansson had been excluded.
Pratt was out again in Heat 6 and he out gated Trigg and then managed to hold out against constant pressure. Hackney were losing by 16 points to 20, but Pratt was responsible for nine of their total. Everett tried hard in a good Heat 7 but could not keep out Coombes and Julian, and Hackney were almost finished. Again Pratt tried to revive his team by winning Heat 9, but it was a lone battle and the all-round strength of Cradley won the day. Just to set the seal on a good meeting for home supporters Trigg finally ended the Hackney skipper's winning run in Heat 12
CRADLEY HEATH 46
Cradley Heath: R. Trigg 11, B. Andrews 10, C. Julian 8, K. Wakefield 7, G. Coombes 6, L Jansson 3, C. Hawkins 1.
Hackney: C. Pratt 14 L. McGillivray 7, B. Jansson 4, M. Brown 3, G. Smith 3, G. Everett 1, L. Etheridge 0.
Ht 1: Pratt. Coombes, Julian, Brown. 70.6.
Ht 2: Trigg, McGillivray, Wakefield, Etheridge, 69.0.
Ht 3: Andrews, L Jansson, B Jansson, Everett, 71.0.
Ht 4: Julian, Brown, Smith, Hawkins, 71.4.
Ht 5: Pratt, Andrews, McGillivray, L. Jansson, 70.0
Ht 6: Pratt, Trigg, Wakefield, Brown, 69.4.
Ht 7: Coombes, Julian, Everett, B. Jansson 71.8
Ht 8: Wakefield, Smith, Hawkins, Etheridge, 73.2.
Ht 9: Pratt, Andrews, Brown, L Jansson 71.2.
Ht 10: Trigg, Wakefield, B. Jansson, Everett. 71.0.
Ht 11: McGillivray. Julian, Coombes, Smith, 71.4.
Ht 12: Trigg, Pratt, L. Jansson, Everett, 70.6.
Ht 13: Andrews, B. Jansson, McGillivray, Coombes, 73.0.
tipped Plant for victory
Story by Peter Oakes, Photo’s Alf Weedon and Trevor Meeks
IF anything proved the success of Division Two it was the Riders Final. For here the unpredictability of the junior grade racing was exemplified • • • with the results.
I know of only one man who thought that 18-year-old Leicestershire boy Graham Plant would lift the trophy. I know of only one man who thought Belle Vue's Ken Eyre would finish in the first three. And I know of only one man who gave Kiwi Graeme Smith a chance of a tractor ride.
It was Leicester-Middlesbrough promoter Ron Wilson who came up to me before the meeting and said: "Plant will win it. He's the coolest rider I've seen on a big occasion he's got no nerves at all"
It was Speedway Star editor Paul Parish who passed on his tip: “If Ken Eyre has a good first ride he could surprise everyone."
And it was Hackney chief Len Silver who had his money on Smith a young trier who could well be called Len's first Second Division protégé. The fact that Smith was extremely fortunate to be riding and that it was on his home track (in a manner of speaking) takes nothing away from his shock display. In fact the former customs officer has always looked a far better prospect away from Waterden Road where he has rarely impressed in the second half.
I feel that my choice for the title-Reading skipper John Poyser-lost all his chances in a four-hour traffic crawl. He didn't arrive at Hackney until 10 minutes after the meeting had started. He missed the parade and only just got changed in time for his first ride in Heat 3.
He sorrowfully explained: "I left home and gave myself four hours. It usually takes just over the hour. But there was a crash on the M4 and traffic was at a standstill. I've never known traffic like it." Poyser's hopes faded completely in his second ride when the carburettor bowl sheared off and caused him to drop from first place to fourth. He was never happy after that and the old Hackney race jacket that he wore under his Reading colours didn't bring him the luck he hoped.
Action man Mick Handley, too, saw his hopes dashed early. One of the drawbacks of an all-action crowd-pleasing style is that it sometimes incurs the wrath of the referee. What a pity that Mike should find himself excluded in his first ride. He proved his worth with his win over champion Plant.
But was there anyone more unlucky than Nelson's Murray Burt? He came off when he and Plant drifted into the fence on the last bend of their clash and lost two points, if not three. It must have been a hard decision for the referee to make-because there could have been very few complaints if he had excluded Plant for putting Burt into the fence. As it was he agreed to let it go-and there be few complaints at that either. It was of those unfortunate clashes that occasionally happen. Given points in this would have been Burt who was the new holder.
If Burt was unlucky you wouldn't have an unhappier man in the stadium than Canterbury skipper Ken Vale who had to drop out at the last moment.
Ken had a second half spill at Canterbury that left him in hospital with six broken ribs and a punctured liver. He was in hospital for four days and told me “I was really looking forward to riding. I've never had a season without being injured-but I'll keep going. There's no other sport like speedway is I'll be back next year."
Other injuries, a cracked wrist that Gary Peterson sustained looping at the gate at Newcastle and Dennis Mannion damaged leg, gave Barry Crowson, Chris Bailey, Barry Duke and Mike Vernam the chance of an appearance.
Blue-booted Crowson looked a likely hunter until he was carried off to hospital what at first was a suspected broken thigh after tussling with Belle Vue's Chris Bailey. Crowson's injury was not as serious thought and it is Bailey who is likely to of the saddle longer with a broken arm. Red jerseyed Bailey whipped everyone in his ride and then trailed in last in his second. His third race ended his challenge.
I was immensely impressed with Ken Eyre's smooth style and level headed judgment. He has shown remarkable improvement in such a short time and told me: "I try to use my head a bit now. When I started I'd just turn everything on and did not think. Now I try and plan what I'm going to do."
He looks a gild-edged prospect for the Hyde Road outfit who had their boss Dent Oliver keeping a careful eye on them.
Berwick's challenge ended when Williams picked up two third places. He had to use Gary Peterson's engine as he had blown his a few days before the meeting. Taffy Owen just couldn't get to grips with the circuit and pre-meeting favourite Mike Cake went like a whirlwind in his first ride but had engine troubles later on.
As Ron Wilson had said-Graham Plant was one of the coolest customers on show. After his last ride I asked him how he felt. He siad "Well, it hasn't seemed any different to any other meeting. It doesn't seem like a meeting to me. I suppose it will eventually sink in"
Shock for Second Division fans is that it highly unlikely that young Graham will be able to defend the title next year. He is almost certain to be sampling First Division racing. How many others will be? I'd hazard a guess you won't see much more of Mick Handley, Mike Cake, Ken Eyre, Tony Lomas, Allan Brown and Graeme Smith in the second grade.
Talking of Allan Brown his most hectic moments came when the meeting was over as he tried to find somewhere in London spend the night. He succeeded in the end!
Before I finish praise must be passed to the promoters who helped stage the meeting. It superbly presented and certainly provided the finest night's racing at Waterden Road for many a meeting. There was only one minor criticism, the colours. But there was a good for that. It was originally planned to have a special set of body colours, in the colours of the qualifier's team, numbered 1 to 18.
But because of injuries and doubtful starters the promoters were unable to guarantee that the set they ordered would be suitable. For it would have been silly for Chris Bailey (a Belle Vue Colt) to have ridden in Gary Peterson's Nelson colours. So instead it was agreed that all riders bring their own colours and the numbers would be applied once it was found out exactly who was riding.
On other than this VERY small point it was a meeting to be proud of. It may have slipped your notice but EVERY rider was given a medal for qualifying. A nice touch this.
Many Second Division faces in the pits too. Mike Cake had West Country team mates Dave Whitaker and Keith Marks helping him. Rayleigh's Geoff Maloney and disappointed Dennis Mannion were there. So, too, were colleagues Colin Tucker and Dingle Brown.
New recruit Vic White gave John Poyser a helping hand as did Ted Spittles. Former riders Wilf Plant and Len Eyre were guiding their respective young 'uns (what a happy night it was for these two latter day riders!) and I even spotted First Division international Roy Trigg nattily attired in blue overalls wielding the spanners for Allan Brown.
Finally a story that has nothing to do with the final-but is worth repeating all the same. Nelson's Dave Beacon had a clash with the law recently and was stopped and asked for identification. He didn't have his driving licence or insurance. So he produced-a recent copy of the Speedway Star and showed the lawmen his photograph and a caption. They accepted it as identification!
Belle Vue Colt Chris Bailey getting some assistance back to the pitts with a member of the St John's Ambulance Brigade.
Hackney ••• October 4
by MICHAEL CHANDLER
FOR their last home league fixture Hackney were without Jack Biggs and Des Lukehurst, both injured.
But the Wasps, using the rider replacement rule in Jimmy Gooch's absence, provided scant opposition.
Torbjorn Harrysson raced only twice before withdrawing. The tiny Swede was suffering from a heavy cold, but stayed long enough to co-star in a truly memorable Heat 5 clash with Bengt Jansson. It took all the latter's home-track knowledge to finally overcome him.
British League debutant Graeme Smith delighted everyone when he shot from fourth to second in heat 4. So watch for Smithy next season. Malcolm Brown, his first-ever, and partner Colin Pratt, including 4 bonus points, were paid for maximum s and were impressive figures in the Hawks victory march. Jansson, too, would have achieved likewise but for machine trouble in the penultimate heat.
HACKNEY 48 NEWPORT 30
Hackney: M. Brown 12, L. McGillivray 9, B. Jansson 9, C. Pratt 8, G. Everett 6, L. Etheridge 2, G. Smith 2.
Newport: J. Erskine 11, B. Hughes 10, A. Golden 4, T. Harrysson 3 N Strachan 3, C. Francis 0, T. Shearer 0.
Ht 1: Brown, Pratt, Strachan, Francis. 69.6.
Ht 2: Hughes, McGillivray, Harrysson, Etheridge. 67.8.
Ht 3: Jansson. Erskine, Everett, Strachan (f). 67.1.
Ht 4: Brown, Smith, Golden. Francis. 69.8.
Ht 5: Jansson, Harryson, Everett, Hughes. 67.4.
Ht 6: Hughes, McGillivray. Etheridge. Francis, 69.0.
Ht 7: Brown, Pratt, Erskine, Strachan. 68.6.
Ht 8: Hughes, Golden. Etheridge, Smith, 70.0.
Ht 9: Jansson, Erskine, Everett. Francis. 67.6.
Ht 10: Erskine, McGillivray, Hughes, Etheridge. 69.0.
Ht 11: Brown, Pratt, Golden. Hughes, 69.1.
Ht 11: McGillivray. Erskine. Strachan. Jansson (ef), 69.8.
Ht 13: Everett, Pratt, Erskine, Shearer, 70.6
Len Silver Talking • • •
If any of you missed last week's Division Two Championship meeting here, you must be kicking yourselves now. Without any doubt at all these bright young starlets put on a display of racing that would not have disgraced the hallowed arena at Wembley. Every man jack of them deserves the highest praise for the manner in which each went about his business. There were no delays because the riders were slow in leaving the pits, their leathers were spick and span, and their never-give up racing left us all gasping for breath. Who could ask for more? My congratulations to the three top men, winner Graham Plant, the nineteen-year-old Teessider, Belle Vue's first year man, Ken Eyre, and to our own loanee to Rayleigh, New Zealander Graeme Smith. In the whole field these three lads were probably the most INEXPERIENCED, which says volumes for their ability to learn in a short space of time. After all, this is Division Two’s initial season, and it did not start until Whitsun, so a few weeks were cut off anyway. In this short time these three have overtaken riders with considerably more years of Speedway behind them.... Well done, lads!
The chairman of the Control Board, Mr Nelson Mills-Baldwin, and the other members of the official party were really enthralled with their evening at our stadium.
It was, of course, their very first view of Second Division racing and I'm sure that they were completely surprised at the skill of the young men in action. I hope that it will be the first of many visits to see the lower league men racing by the men in charge of the sport.
Whilst we were busy watching the Championship, our Magnificent Seven were doing their darndest to win us some League points up at Wolverhampton. Without "Banger," who was over in Sweden completing his fixtures there for the year, we drafted Laurie Etheridge into the side. Poor Jackie Biggs fell whilst leading in his first ride and injured his hand. This forced team manager, Dave Erskine, to thrust Laurie in for two extra races, and what was the result? Laurie shook them all by scoring 8 points plus two bonus points from four rides, second only to skipper Colin! The fact that we lost by only two points was undoubtedly due to Laurie's ability to rise to the occasion. Now we can begin to see the benefits that Hackney can derive from being associated with Rayleigh. No one now can have any doubts about the future members of the Magnificent Seven. As time goes by, more and more of the young hopefuls of Division Two will be drafted into the First Division teams, and what is more, they are all British and thus able to keep the Union Jack flying high for many years to come.
At Halifax, alas, we had a sorry evening. On the large steeply-banked track we went down to our biggest defeat of the season. Not really surprising, mind you. We had no "Banger ," Colin had motor trouble and was forced to use Malcolm's bike, Des hit the fence and hurt his right foot thus forcing him to withdraw from the meeting after only two rides, and Jack was still suffering from the injury to his hand which he sustained the previous evening at Wolverhampton. In any case, I do not regard it as pure coincidence that our three heaviest losses this year have been at the three tracks that are steeply banked, Exeter, Coatbridge and Halifax, there were other contributory causes for the low points totals, I am sure that the vast difference between the "Wick" and these three circuits MUST be a big handicap to our men. I do not pretend to know the solution to this problem, but solution I MUST find if Hackney are to keep on adding to their reputation of putting up a fighting display on ALL tracks. Maybe I should raise the banking here even higher, but I fear that if I do, the track will become much too fast for its size and create so much home advantage that the meetings here become too predictable. I'm sure that you, the people we all want to please, would soon stop coming if that were to happen. I’ll have to have a good think about it during the winter!
Well, tonight we are in the middle of a swift three day, three match, and end to our League campaign. Last night the team were at Oxford, tonight we take on Newport and tomorrow we visit Cradley Heath. Can. we keep up the hot pace? Coventry have eased us out of the top spot in the table, but we have matches in hand over them. Whilst we are at Cradley, they go to Kings Lynn and it may well be that if we lost last night at Oxford, the results of tomorrow evening's matches might decide the home of the Championship for 1968. Keep your fingers crossed, folks! Anyway, we MUST beat the Wasps this evening, so whilst welcoming the Welsh boys I must warn them not to expect any quarter tonight!
Next Friday we go back into our battle for the coveted London Cup in the re-run of our rained-off match against Wimbledon. Recently the Dons have shown a marked improvement in form and have reached the Final of the K.O. Cup. They must be anxious to take the London title as well because of their low position this year in the League, so I reckon it's going to be a real rip-snorter, don't miss it, and bring your next door neighbour too and I'll see you all then, when once more we .
Make it a date - Friday at Eight.
The Peter Douglas Page
IS ULTRA-PROFESSIONALISM THE ANSWER?Some days ago I travelled on the coach with a second division football team to an away fixture. Sharp at 10 a.m. the luxury coach pulled up in front of the club's office and twelve neatly suited young men filed aboard, accompanied by the manager, the coach, the trainer and one of the directors. At 12.30 we pulled into the forecourt of a five star hotel and in the dining room, specially grilled fillet steaks appeared as if by magic, to the accompaniment of hot toast and weak tea. A helping of rice completed the diet, whilst the manager and his party (including myself) tucked into soup and all the trimmings! After twenty minutes relaxation in the lounge the twelve healthy young men boarded the coach and were delivered safely to the ground 45 minutes before kick-off. The return journey went as smoothly-a packed meal and drinks was handed round, and the players were whisked back to the club ground and their line of sleek parked cars within a couple of hours.
I could not help comparing this with the hectic hudy burly lives that Speedway riders lead, racing sometimes four or even five nights a week at tracks spread the length and breadth of the country. No easy coach rides for them! And what do they do when they go to the tracks? Risk life and limb every time they race, get plastered with mud or stung with shale chippings, and sometimes blow up an engine and instead of earning a profit for their night's work, come out well on the losing side. And yet, I am tempted to suggest that in Speedway there is more real sportsmanship than in other sports. The recent clash between Manchester United and Estudiantes has brought out the ugliness in football, when one team sets out to win by undermining the morale of their opponents through a deliberate smear campaign against Nobby Stiles, or by picking off their opponents one by one until someone retaliates, tempers flare, and another player is set off. And the much publicised D'Oliveira affair has shown us politics coming into cricket, with complete mishandling of the African tour proposal by the MCC.
Recently I criticised certain football clubs over their treatment of players, which gave rise to the "healthy young animals" quotation that appeared in several nationals.
Whilst I am a great lover of football, I would not like to see the day when professionalism is carried to a ridiculous extent in Speedway. The atmosphere at a Rayleigh or Hackney meeting is something it would be sad to lose-a spirit of friendliness in the pits with bikes and spare parts changing hands, and everyone mucking in and helping out.
Politics almost crept into recent international speedway fixtures, and I was sorry to hear part of the Wembley crowd two weeks ago booing the Polish contingent.
One of the first things Jimmy Hill said to me when he attended our Press open day back in March was that he felt until professionalism and high wages came into speedway, the sport would never get off the ground. Now Jimmy as you know was responsible for introducing the new deal for footballers and the abolition of the maximum wage, and it's thanks to him that many top players are earning nearly a hundred pounds a week. But speedway has survived nearly half a century, and whilst I am all for improvements in the riders' pay and conditions, many of our riders earn well over a hundred pounds a week without going through all the strife that footballers went through to get their high pay, and Speedway Racing has avoided the unsportsmanlike abuses that have crept into many other sports. And not only professional sport either, even the Olympic Games look like being in danger because of political upheavals, and our riders will NEVER have to suffer the indignities of sex tests before they can ride! At least, not the kind that women athletes have to undergo!
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good evening, Supporters,
Well, we certainly enjoyed our bout of Second Division racing here last week, and I think that all the young men put on a really good show. I hope that Hackney are allocated this meeting again in 1969, I think it will prove to be one of our most popular fixtures.
What a shame that we lost by a measly two points at Wolverhampton. Still never mind, it showed us at least that in Laurie Etheridge we have a young man who will do big things for us in the future.
A few seats are still available on the coach to Cradley tomorrow, as it may be a very vital match I am expecting a last minute rush to book seats. It will be "first come, first served," so hurry and book your seat NOW. Fare is 19/6 and the coach leaves Maud Road at 1.30 pm.
The Supporters' Outing to Southend Lights is proving popular as usual. The date will be October 12th and the fare is only 8/-, so pop along to any kiosk and book without delay.
While you are there you can also buy your ticket for the British League Riders' Championship (Division 1). This is at Belle Vue on Saturday, October 19th. Tickets are 20/-, 15/-, 12/6 and 7/6 with standing at 6/6. A seat on the coach will cost you 27/6, please book early to avoid disappointment.
Our End-of-Season Dance tickets are now available at 6/- each. It looks like being a sell out and it takes place on Saturday, November 2nd, at the Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, Stratford. In addition to our own Hawks and Rockets I hear that a coach load of Coventry supporters and maybe even riders will be coming too, so it should be a real plum evening.
Poor Alan Jackson was just about to resume racing after recovering from his broken collar bone when he was involved in a bad car accident, breaking the bone again. So we shall be holding a collection for young Alan tonight to help him over this difficult period. We shall also be presenting Les and Gary with cheques towards the new leathers they had to buy after theirs were stolen at Glasgow.
In January we are thinking of arranging a Supporters' Club outing to Paris. If you are interested, it will be a day trip, place your name on the list at the kiosk and we will write to you about it during the winter.
Riders' Equipment Fund tickets are on sale as usual and last week's winners were:
1st 12016-B. J. White, E.17.
2nd12055-R. Cox, Hadleigh. Essex.
3rd 9523-R. Arnold, Middleton Road, E.8.
The supporters' club football team opened its league programme at Hackney Marshes on Sunday, September 22nd, with a four goals to one victory over Forest Sports 'A.' Our opponents had ready played three matches and won them all, so this was a very promising start to the season for our boys. Goal scorers were Brian Jones, Dave Porter, Les Cole and David Lye. Team was: L. Porter, P. Cole, D. Turner, R. Turner, L. Edwards, M. Glynn (Captain), B. Jones, A. Derry, D. Lye, L. Cole, D. Porter.
T. Ripo (Substitute).
Next match is away to Druids at Chingford. If you would like to come along and cheer the team, or feel you could help in any way, contact football secretary Stan Jones after this evening's meeting, or telephone him at 985 5911.
The tenpin bowling winter leagues at Leytonstone have begun again, and two teams in the Solar League which operates every Thursday, are made up of Hackney supporters. Under the guise of 'The Lads' we have Steve Meddemmen, Les (Rocket) Edwards, Dave Floyd and Alan Derry. Another team operating as 'The Ace Jokers' comprises of Brian Jones, John Thomas, Robin Wright and the effervescent Johnny Owen.
For any of you who may be worried about your waist-line, it may interest you to know that our reigning Miss Hackney, the very attractive Celia Cordina, also keeps her figure in trim by way of this very popular sport.
Cheerio for now.
Up the Hawks!
Oxford ….Oct 3
by DON MORRIS
OXFORD continued their steady climb from the lower regions of the British League with a surprisingly easy win over title-seeking Hackney, who rallied too late to upset the top form home team.
Man of the moment for Cheetahs was Poole rider Pete Smith, who turned out as guest 24 hours after hammering them on the Dorset track. He finished top scorer with 12 and received fine support, particularly from Colin Gooddy, who showed his best form for weeks.
Colin Pratt, who was beaten only once in five rides, and Les McGillivray, who collected 10 points, averted a massacre, but Hackney were on a losing wicket early on when Cheetahs burst into an 8-poiot lead after three heats with two 5-1 wins.
Smith shook off McGillivray after two and a half laps to follow in Reeves in Heat 2 and after Gooddy and Rick Timmo had continued the good work. Oxford strode 10 points clear, with Leo McAuliffe winning Heat 4 and John Bishop recovering to third place.
Pratt and Bengt Jansson cut back two points in Heat 7, but the gap quickly went back to 10 points and then Cheetah’s stormed into a massive 16-point lead with a 5-1 in Heat 10 and a 4-2 in the next race.
Hackney ended the night on a rousing note as McGillivray and Jansson took maximum points in Heat 13, but by then they were facing a hopeless task.
OXFORD 45 HACKNEY 33
Oxford: P. Smith 12, C.Gooddy 9, L. McAuliffe 8, E. Reeves 8, R. Timmo 6, J. Bishop 2
Hackney: C. Pratt 14, L. McGillivray 10, M. Brown 5, B. Jansson 3, D. Lukehurst 1, G. Everett 0, L. Etheridge 0.
Ht 1: Pratt, Gooddy, McAuliffe, Brown. 68.0.
Ht 2: Reeves, Smith, McGillivray, Etheridge, 68.2.
Ht 3: Gooddy, Timmo, Lukehurst, Jansson 68.2.
Ht 4: McAuliffe, Brown, Bishop, Everett, 67.8.
Ht 5: McGillivray, Gooddy, Timmo, Etheridge, 68.1
Ht 6: Smith, Pratt, Brown, Reeves (ret), 68.1.
Ht 7: Pratt, Smith, Jansson, McAuliffe, 67.6.
Ht 8: Reeves, Brown, Bishop, Everett, 69.1.
Ht 9, Pratt, Gooddy, Timmo, Brown. 67.7.
Ht 10: Smith, Reeves, McGillivray, Jansson, 67.6.
Ht 11: McAuliffe, McGillivray, Timmo, Etheridge. 68.5.
Ht 12: Pratt, Smith, Timmo, Etheridge, 67.8.
Ht 13: McGillivray, McAuliffe, Bishop, 69.2.
Halifax • • September 28
by PETER HALE
HALIFAX raced to their biggest win of the season against a disappointing Hackney side lacking the services of Swede Bengt Jansson, who was riding in his own country. The Hawks provided only one of the 13 race winners in Colin Pratt, whose engine started to seize after his first ride.
The best the Hawks could do was to share the points in four races, and the Dukes had things more or less as they pleased. Greg Kentwell took the opportunity to register the first maximum of his career and went on to win the second-half trophy. Dave Younghusband and Eric Boocock were both paid for the lot, and Eric Boothroyd dropped only one point.
Dennis Gavros won both his reserve rides and would probably have had double figures but for nearly turning sideways when he hit a slick patch in one of two extra outings.
Les Sharpe was unlucky to fall twice through over-keenness when well placed. Bob Jameson was also unfortunate in damaging his diamond when he swerved onto the centre green to avoid a possible nasty accident after Des Lukehurst had hit the fence going down the back straight. The Hackney man damaged his right foot in this Heat 7 occurrence and was unable to ride again.
HALIFAX 54 HACKNEY 24
Halifax: G. Kentwell 12, D. Younghusband 11, E. Boothroyd 11, E. Boocock 8, D. Gavros 8, B. Jameson 3, L. Sharpe I.
Hackney; L. McGillivray 6, C. Pratt 6, M. Brown 5, G. Everett 4, J. Biggs 3, D. Lukehurst 0, L. Etheridge 0.
Ht 1: Pratt, Boothroyd, Jameson, Brown, 69.6.
Ht 2: Younghusband, Biggs, McGillivray, Sharpe (f, rem). 69.4.
Ht 3: Kentwell, Boocock , Pratt, Lukehurst, 69.6
Ht 4: Gavros, Brown, Jameson, Everett, 69.8.
Ht 5: Kentwell, Boocock, McGillivray, Biggs. 69.2.
Ht 6: Younghusband, Brown, Sharpe, Pratt, 69.0.
Ht 7 (re-run); Boothroyd, McGillivray, Jameson, Etheridge, 69.8.
Ht 8: Gavros, Everett, Biggs, Sharpe (f). 69.4.
Ht 9: Kentwell, Boocock, Pratt, Brown, 68.6.
Ht 10: Younghusband, Gavros, Brown, Etheridge. 68.8.
Ht 11: Boothroyd, Everett, McGillivray, Gavros, 69.0.
Ht 12: Kentwell, Younghusband, Pratt, Etheridge, 70.4.
Ht 13: Boothroyd, Boocock, McGillivray, Everett, 69.4.
Wolverhampton ••• Sept. 27
by PETER MORRISH
A WIN here would probably have clinched the league title for Hackney and they gave a most spirited showing before losing by two points. By contrast the Wolves were disorganised, Jarman’s tantrums were no help at all, and in some cases they completely lacked determination.
Wolverhampton looked likely to start with two 5-1 wins but firstly Pratt came through to pass Bond and then in Heat 2 Hackney levelled the scores. McGillivray and Brown beat their respective opponents on the last lap, praise their light and determination but really they should never have had the chance for Vandenberg in particular, had held a big lead early in the race.
The teams were still level after Heat 6 and the visitors lost, Biggs when he fell in the next race. Etheridge then proved his value by winning a couple of heats and Hackney held a two point lead with three races remaining. Airey and Bond, the only reliable home pairing, outpaced McGillivray in Heat 11 so the advantage was back with Wolverhampton
for the third time. Pratt won the next one but Humus and Vandenberg divided the points, leaving Airey to complete his maximum and win the match.
Wolverhampton: J. Airey 12, D. Hemus 8, J. Bond 7, P. Vandenberg 6, G. Ambrose 4, P. Jarman 3, D. White 0.
Hackney: C. Pratt 11, L. Etheridge 8, L. McGillivray 8, D. Lukehurst 5, M. Brown 4, G. Everett 2, J. Biggs 0.
Ht 1: Airey, Pratt, Bond, Everett, 68.4.
Ht 2: McGillivray, Vandenberg, Brown, White, 71.4
Ht 3: Lukehurst, Jarman, Hemus, Biggs. 69.8.
Ht 4: Bond, Everett, Etheridge, Ambrose, 72.2.
Ht 5: Hemus, McGillivray, Brown. Jarman, 70.8.
Ht 6: Pratt, Vandenberg, Ambrose, Everett, 70.6.
Ht 7: Airey, Lukehurst, Bond, Biggs, 69.0.
Ht 8: Etheridge, Brown, Ambrose, White, 72.2.
Ht 9 Pratt, Hemus, Jarman, Everett, 70.2.
Ht 10: Etheridge, Ambrose, Vandenberg, Lukehurst, 72.0.
Ht 11: Airey, Bond, McGillivray, Brown, 70.0.
Ht 12: Pratt, Hemus, Vandenberg, Lukehurst, 70.0.
Ht 13: Airey, McGillivray, Etheridge, Jarman, 69.8
by MICHAEL CHANDLE
Hackney .•. September 27
PROBABLY the best thing about the emergence of the Second Division is its unpredictability-a place where the unexpected might happen and so often does.
Take, for example, the case of Plymouth's Mike Cake – a popular choice for the eventual winner-at least for those who dared predict one. Mike, apart from the two races he won, rode well, better than most in fact, and yet at times was made to look sluggish among this company.
Take Reading's Johnny Poyser, the best outsider or so we thought. A former Hackney rider and track record-holder, Johnny finished with only 6 points. This is not meant to be detrimental to the way he rode, but a commendation to the other competitors that an experienced man like him should finish so far down the points chart.
Take Heat 4, The winner, outsider Chris Bailey, clocking the fastest time so far, motored brilliantly round his opponents.
What happens to Chris? Next race, his second in succession, he fluffs his gate and, trying to catch up, falls. Get the picture!
We found a winner eventually but not before the many ifs and buts-and, believe me, there were plenty-sorted themselves out.
Here is a quick run-down on where the principal challengers.
Heat 1: Mike Handley and Allan Brown do the others a favour by getting themselves excluded, separately, in a twice-re-run race, and Murray Burt gallops home.
Heat 6: Burt, against Graham Plant, fights a wheel-to-wheel duel, but comes to grief on the pits bend. Barry
Crowson fighting to stay among the points, is an unwilling victim when enigmatic Bailey (broken wrist) crashes in Heat 12 and is rushed to hospital with a suspected broken thigh (un-founded). And lastly, it seems stupid that a man who rode as well as Tony Lomas did should total only 7 points. So who was going to win?
Simple: anybody who was consistent, rode within the rules and managed to stay put on his machine. The two answers? Ken Eyre or Graham Plant. Eyre had the satisfaction of a Heat 9 victory over Plant, who worked hard from the back 2 points, both had 8 points from three starts. Eyre kept winning, but Handley, his earlier misdemeanour Handley, his earlier misdemeanour apart was impressive and kept a persistent Plant in second spot two heats later.
So with the position nicely wound up (!), the Manchester man had only to win his last race. Only? He was thrashed into third place by Graeme Smith and Martyn Piddock and dramatically Plant gained the necessary 3 points to become champion.
But that's not all. Believe it or not, Heat 20 was the best race of the night! A win for either Cake or Handley would put one or the other into the run-off for third place, and in a fine set-to the latter just made it. In the run-off itself, efficient Graeme Smith, who had been Piling up the points almost unnoticed, led Handley and Burt from the tapes to finish in that order
SECOND DIVISION RIDERS' CHAMPIONSHIP
Scorers: G. Plant 13, K. Eyre 12, G. Smith 11, M. Handley 11, M. Burt 11. A. Brown 10, M. Cake 10, T. Lomas 7, J. Poyser 6, B. Crowson 5, J. Woodcock 5, D. Schofield 5, M, Piddock 5, C. Bailey 3, B. Duke (res.) 2, R. Williams 2, T. Owen 1, M. Vernam (res.) 0.
Ht 1: Burt, Eyre, Brown (exc), Handley (exc), 71.0.
Ht 2: Plant, Crowson, Williams Owen. 70.4.
Ht 3: Cake, Poyser, Smith, Woodcock (f), 71.0.
Ht 4: Bailey, Lomas, Schofield, Piddock, 69.8.
Ht 5: Eyre, Woodcock, Owen, Bailey (f), 71.8.
Ht 6: Plant, Smith, Schofield, Burt (f) 70.8.
Ht 7: Crowson, Brown, Cake, Piddock. 70.8.
Ht 8: Handley, Lomas, William, Poyser (ef) 72.2.
Ht 9: Eyre, Plant, Cake, Lomas. 70.6.
Ht 10: Burt, Piddock, Poyser, Owen 70.6.
Ht 11: Brown, Woodcock, Schofield, Williams, 70.8.
Ht 12 (re-run): Smith, Handley, Crowson, Bailey (f.exc) 71.0.
Ht 13: Eyre, Poyser, Schofield, Vernam. 71.4.
Ht 14: Cake, Burt, Duke, Williams, 70.6.
Ht 15: Brown, Smith, Lomas, Owen, 70.8.
Ht 16: Handley, Plant, Piddock, Woodcock (ef), 71.2.
Ht 17: Smith, Piddock, Eyre, Williams. 70.0.
Ht 18: Burt, Lomas, Woodcock, Vernam, 71,8.
Ht 19: Plant. Brown. Poyser. Duke (ef). 69.4.
Ht 20: Handley, Cake, Schofield, Owen, 70.0.
Run off for third place:
Ht 21:Smith, Handley, Burt, 70.0.
by Reg Fearman (MANAGEMENT COMMITIEE)
CHAIRMAN, DIVISION II
It has been obvious for some years to most forward looking promoters, and to all real students of the sport, that if Speedway is to succeed and expand, then fresh blood must be injected. New talents must be harnessed. A fresh outlook undertaken. Thus it was at the beginning of this, Speedway Racing's Fortieth Birthday year, that the new Division II was born.
Before that historic first meeting at Belle Vue on May 8th many critics were issuing dire warnings. "There will not be enough riders to go round," they cried. To say that they were wrong would be the understatement of the century. As each track opened, the eager young men swarmed forward-far from being short of riders, many promoters were embarrassed by the overwhelming numbers!
To give stability to the League, and to make the standard as highly professional as possible, teams were allowed to use a certain number of riders with First Division experience. This was, in my opinion. a very wise move. These more experienced men have set the standard for the "young bloods," their advice has been eagerly sought and followed, and the result has been a far more professional showing than we at first dreamed, and the public have been treated to a quality of racing, although maybe a little less polished, certainly as entertaining as any in Division I.
As most of you know, our initial League Championship of Division II has been won by the Belle Vue Colts and I would like to take this opportunity of giving the Management Committee's congratulations to them. The strength of their team may be judged by the number of qualifiers they have in this evening's event, and it speaks volumes for the foresight of the Belle Vue management, that when the League was formed they were in a position to enter a team of such quality.
Now, with the season drawing to its close, we arrive at the position where we look for or an individual who can crown his year's racing by calling himself the Division II Champion. All the competitors in this evening's event have earned their place by consistently producing good scores in all their matches and the winner will be a really worthy champion.
I wish all the contestants the very best of luck and may you all enjoy what promises to be a good evening's sport
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS IN THIS PROGRAMME KINDLY SUPPLIED BY THE SPEEDWAY STAR GROUP
LEN SILVER TALKING.......
Tonight it is my privilege and pleasure to welcome to our stadium riders and supporters from Second Division tracks all over the country. In addition we also have the pleasure of the company of the chairman of the Speedway Control Board, Mr Nelson Mills-Baldwin, who will be presenting the top three riders this evening with their trophies and cheques. I sincerely hope that you all have a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and go home with happy memories of tonight's Championship event.
Before going any further I would like to thank the various individuals and groups who have helped me to make this evening one to remember. To the 22 Cadet Squadron, R.E. for providing the pre-racing music under the direction of their commander, Captain B. J. Blankensee, goes my appreciation and by the way, if there are any young men who would like to take part in the Cadet Forces activities, they are invited to visit the headquarters at 1 Hillman Street, Hackney, on any Tuesday or Thursday between 7.30 pm and 10 pm. To the Speedway Star group of magazines for providing me with the photographs for this programme and their ace photographer, Alf Weedon, my thanks go also. Finally, to my fellow promoters who not only gave me the opportunity of staging the Championship meeting, but gave me every bit of assistance that I needed to organise it properly.
I am sure that this meeting is going to prove the fore-runner of a long series of Championship meetings held annually with ever-growing importance. One can look back at quite recent history and see a similar case. In 1960, the Provincial League was born on very similar lines to this year's Second Division, and in that year a Championship meeting was held to find the individual Champion of the Provincial League. It was a hurriedly organised event which was staged at Cradley Heath, but none the less, it was so successful that the following year the Provincial promoters took over the highly expensive Harringay Stadium in London for the second Championship meeting. By 1962 the interest had grown to such an extent that the largest stadium possible was sought, and in that year a home was found at Belle Vue, Manchester. This was to be the fore-runner for the future, and when the. Provincial teams Iinked with the old National League teams in 1965, the Championship event at Belle Vue remained intact, only the name was altered to become the British League Riders' Championship, and it has now become traditionally the last big Association event of the season. So in just nine years a tradition has grown. Could it be that this evening we shall see the birth of a new tradition? Will the winner tonight be able to turn to his children twenty years from now and say, "Ah, lad, remember, I was first !”? I sincerely hope that he can!
While our eyes are watching the racing here at the "Wick," many of our minds will be wandering up there to the Midlands, to Wolverhampton, in fact, where our "Hawks" are doing battle for League points with the "Wolves”. It is a pity that for this important clash, and for the one at Halifax tomorrow, our Swedish ace, Bengt Jansson, is a non-starter. He has League commitments to fulfil in his homeland, and these, alas, take precedence over ours. But the boys are in a very determined mood. Colin has his eyes set firmly on the League Champions trophy, I hope that when we broadcast the result over the P.A. system tonight we are able to give our Hackney fans something to really cheer about, for if we can get one more "Away" win, I think we could call the title ours.
However, we have one more home hurdle to jump. And that is next Friday when the Welsh Wasps from Newport provide the opposition.
Make it a date ... Friday at Eight!
MEET THE RIDERS
1. 1. KEN EYRE (Belle Vue Colts)
Although having some previous grass track experience, where he was quite a champion, this is 23 year old. Ken's first season in Speedway. His uncle was a pre-war Belle Vue star, and Ken's ambition is to follow in his uncle's footsteps. A motor fitter by trade he hails from Buxton. Stockport.
2. MURRAY BURT (Nelson)
This 24-year-old New Zealand Champion first came to England in 1961, linking up with Wimbledon. He found success hard to find with them and joined the Nelson outfit this term. Immediately he shot to the forefront of Division Two and must be fancied for this evening's title.
3. ALLAN BROWN (Teesside)
22-year-old New Zealand born Allan is loaned to Teesside from his parent club, Kings Lynn. This is his first season in England and only his second year in Speedway. Lives with Kings Lynn rider, Howard Cole, at Wolverhampton, and came over to England at Howard's suggestion. Has the tenacity to follow in the footsteps of his more famous countrymen.
4. MICK HANDLEY (Crayford). Tipton (Staffs) Mick began racing in 1966, joining his nearest club, Wolverhampton, Went that winter to Italy to race at Mike Parker's track at Rimini where he became the star attraction. Poor equipment has retarded his progress in England and this year, now well mounted, this 20-year-old Crayford loanee has become one of the outstanding riders of Division Two. Well fancied by many to win this evening.
5. TAFFY OWEN (Belle Vue Colts)
The captain of the Colts and easily the most experienced, now having ridden in six seasons. Lives in "Mike Parker" country at Sale, Manchester. A Vauxhall fitter by trade, he rides a JAP engine in an ESO frame and is one of the favourites to win tonight.
6. GRAHAM PLANT (Teesside).
One of the youngest of tonight's competitors, at 19 years old. Son of the famous Northern rider of yester-year, Wilf Plant, and already looks like outpacing his Dad! Began exactly twelve months ago at Long Eaton and promptly broke a leg. Returned to the Long Eaton training school during last winter. Linked up with Leicester when the Long Eaton outfit moved across country and was loaned to his present club where he became an immediate success. Known by many as the "Teesside Terror."
7. BARRY CROWSON (Canterbury)
Began riding almost two years ago and joined West Ham as a junior. Made steady, if unspectacular, progress and was placed on loan to his present club at the start of this year. Quickly became one of their leading riders. Qualified as reserve this evening but gained a full place because of the injury to Gary Peterson. Is very highly thought of by both Canterbury and his parent London' club.
8. ROY WILLIAMS (Berwick)
Tall, dark and blue eyed Roy was born in Christchurch New Zealand, in 1943. First came to England in 1965 when he rode at Glasgow under his real name of Bernie LaGrosse, but he found no success and went back home a disappointed man. Returned here this year and linked up with Berwick where he has become a great favourite and a prolific scorer. Has his own building business back in New Zealand.
9. JOHN WOODCOCK (Belle Vue Colts)
A Sydney born Australian, 25-year-old John has been in England since 1967, his prone-ness to injuries has probably retarded his progress. Has recently married a girl from Halifax where he is living at the moment. Plans to return home to Australia this winter.
10. GRAEME SMITH (Rayleigh)
This 20-yearold New Zealander arrived in England penniless in January of this year. A protege of ex-World Champion, Ronnie Moore, he has quickly settled down, and already this season is proud of the fact that he bought and paid for a new machine and even has some cash in the bank! Slightly temperamental, like many star performers, Graeme gets his chance tonight because of injury to his team mate, Dennis Mannion, who pipped him by .07 of a point in the qualification tables.
11. MIKE CAKE (Plymouth).
The most outstanding rider of Division Two this year, Mike starts tonight’s as No1favourite, having qualified
with all amazing average of 10.23 points per match. Last season Mike took the London Junior Championship here at Hackney and recently clocked the fastest time of the meeting when he came here as a member of the visiting Exeter side. Mike's off-track occupation, when he finds time between engagements for Exeter and Plymouth, is the manufacturing of Speedway racejackets, and he supplies all the official colours for the B.S.P.A. Began riding at Weymouth in the winter of 1966/67.
12. JOHN POYSER (Reading).
Once the track record holder here at Hackney, John is expected to do well this evening. Has been associated with several clubs before settling into a star performer for the Berkshire side. His career was set back with a serious leg injury from which he is now fully recovered. Born in London, John now lives in Oxford.
13. CHRIS BAILEY (Belle Vue Colts)
Age 22, Chris is in his first season of Speedway and is reckoned by his manager, Dent Oliver, to be one of his brightest prospects. He lives just outside Manchester and works alongside Taffy Owen. Saved up his cash to buy a brand new ESO at about £350 to start the season with. Enthusiasm is his middle name.
14. DAVE SCHOFIELD (Nelson).
Rochdale born Dave started riding 3 years ago at Belle Vue, but the Manchester management let him go because they did not consider him a prospect! Since recovering from a bad injury in 1967 he has developed into one of the most feared riders in the lower league and could easily run out the winner of this evening's Championship.
15. MARTYN PIDDOCK (Canterbury)
Martyn's story book entrance into the sport is well known. He came from the Kentish grass tracks and was an overnight success when he tried his hand at Speedway Racing. Top scorer for his club, Martyn is well known to East End fans for his performances at the nearby West Ham track where he is often in action.
16. TONY LOMAS (Weymouth)
Began riding exactly one year ago at his local track at Coventry. Joined Weymouth at the start of this season where he quickly developed into their star performer. He works as an experimental motorcycle tester apart from Speedway, so his life is very much dependant on two wheels! Loves folk music and salads and hates people who "Knock" Britain.
17. BARRY DUKE (Weymouth)
Apart from being a very good rider, Barry is one of the most colourful characters in Speedway. Reported to be of Gypsy origin he wears an ear-ring in his fight ear in true Romany style, the other one being kept in his pocket ready to give to the girl he marries! Has the longest hair of any rider and cannot tuck it all under his crash helmet. Started riding under the expert tuition of Mike Broadbanks at the Swindon school of last winter.
18. MIKE VERNAM (Weymouth) A Poole loanee, 22-year-old Mike has made a big impact in Division Two this year, and his parent club think very highly of him. He started riding in last winter's training school at Weymouth and many critics liken his style to that of Ronnie Moore or Roy Trigg. If he emulates either of them, Poole and Weymouth will be delighted!
The Peter Douglas Page
The start of the newly-formed Second Division this year has been described as the greatest thing that has happened to Speedway since the war, and tonight we witness the first ever individual Riders' Championship Final. When rumours started to circulate last winter of new tracks about to open, young would-be speed men went scurrying to the training circuits at Rye House, Kings Lynn and Weymouth in scores. And instead of having to be content with second-half rides at the existing First Division tracks, the newcomers had a chance of a team place in the Second Division, with an exciting programme of League and challenge matches, and the guarantee of at least five rides per fixture.
Not everything has gone entirely smoothly-meetings have been rained off or vehicles have broken down. At Rayleigh we have counted on the fingers of one hand the fine meetings we have enjoyed. On the other hand, Reading has proved to be a new Monday night rendezvous for Speedway fans all over the south of England. And Canterbury gains new supporters every week, with attendances far exceeding the Saturday afternoon football, and obviously fulfilling a need for fast, exciting spectator sport in the city.
What interests me most is the emergence of new characters in Speedway, names that were almost unheard of before the advent of the Second Division. Plymouth's Mike Cake, top scorer on tonight's averages and our own Graeme Smith, who has found a place for himself as skipper of Rayleigh. And West Ham-cum-Canterbury boy Barry Crowson, here tonight in place of injured Gary Peterson. A word, too, about two men not riding tonight from Rayleigh. Dennis Mannion, still not pronounced entirely fit following the diagnosis of a mild form of thrombosis in his leg, and Geoff Maloney, whose broken collar bone earlier this season and constant machine trouble, must have contributed to Geoff's absence tonight at the starting gate.
The Second Division can only serve to give stability to the sport and provide an opening for up and coming riders. Just as progressive football clubs run a youth policy, not looking only to the following season but five, even ten years hence the promoters have shown foresight and ingenuity in setting up the new league. With attendances at all 39 tracks in the British League increasing, in spite of the poor summer, it is a fact that every week some 150,000 fans turn out to watch speedway. It is doubtful if speedway will ever return to the boom of twenty or thirty years ago, but maybe the sport is now finding its level and with wider coverage on television and in the press, speedway can only advance from strength to strength in 1969.
I think Len Silver has done a first class job in the organising and presentation of this meeting, and with many fans here tonight fresh with the memories of last Saturday's Wembley event in their minds, they could do worse than spare a thought for the riders and promoters whose efforts provide us with our weekly entertainment at a perhaps humbler but not less exciting level.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good evening, Supporters,
Congratulations to Colin for winning the London Riders' Championship for the second time. Rumours, rumours, that's all we read and hear about, Colin and the team wanting transfers. Take it from me, none of it is true, any of them will tell you, they are the happiest team in the League.
There are still seats left on the coach to Halifax tomorrow. Fare 27/6, leave Maud Road 8.30 am.
Coach to Oxford on Thursday, October 3rd, will leave Maud Road at 4.30pm. Fare 10/6, and picking up at Hanger Lane 5.45 p.m.
Our last British League match away is at Cradley Heath on Saturday, October 5th Coach will leave Maud Road at 1.30 pm Fare 19/6.
The End-of-Season Dance which takes place at the Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, on Saturday, November 2nd, dancing from 7.30 p.m. to 11.30 pm, tickets 6/-. I have booked a new group, in fact I found them here at Hackney and they are members of the Supporters' Club.
Tickets are on sale tonight for the British League Riders' Championship. Coaches will be going to this meeting which is held at Belle Vue on Saturday, October 19th, leaving Maud Road 8.30 am. Fare 27/6.
If support is good I will be running a coach to Rayleigh supporters' dance. It is on Saturday, October 26th. Tickets 7/6, at any of our Kiosks.
Book your seat on the coach to Southend lights on Saturday, October 12th. Leave Maud Road 4.30 p.m. Fare 8/-.
Don't forget your draw tickets, they're 6d. each, 3 for 1/-, 7 for 2/-, from sellers around the stadium.
Last week's lucky winners:
1st 19978-A. E. Potter, Hackney Road, E2
2nd: 19936-Mrs. Betchley, Colne Road, E5.
3rd 14998-T. Plant, Holloway Road, N.7.
Cheerio for now.
UP THE HAWKS!
SNOWY BEATIE (Hon. Sec.)
WHO’S WHO IN DIVISION TWO
* BELLE VUE, Zoological Gardens, Hyde Road, Manchester 12, WED 7.30 pm
* BERWICK, Shielfield Park, Tweedmouth, Berwick on Tweed, Northumberland, SAT 7.00 pm
* CANTERBURY, Kingsmead Stadium, Kingsmead Road, Canterbury, Kent, SAT 7.30 pm
* CRAYFORD, Crayford Stadium, London Road, Crayford, Kent WED 7.45 pm
* NELSON, Seed Hill Stadium, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancs, SAT 7.30 pm
* PLYMOUTH, Pennycross Stadium, Plymouth, Devon, THURS 7.30 pm
* RAYLEIGH, Rayleigh Stadium, Rayleigh Weir Roundabout, Arterial Road, Rayleigh, Essex, SAT 8.00 pm
* READING, Reading Greyhound Stadium, Oxford Road, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks, MON 7.30 pm
* TEESSTDE, Cleveland Park Stadium, Stockton Road, Middlesbrough, York’s, THURS, 7.30 pm
* WEYMOUTH, Wessex Stadium, Radipole Lane, Weymouth, Dorset, SUN 3.30 pm
And to top off a big season. The night when, at Hackney tonight (September 27) they race off their Individual Championship.
The great thing about the Second Division is that it has given so many chances to so many young men this year. They've come on a ton, most of them.
But I'm willing to bet that it's experience that is going to produce the first title holder who can call himself Division 2 Champion.
That isn’t such a way out forecast as it sounds. Not when you look down the list of qualifiers. And see who I stick in the experienced bracket even though the boys are riding on a neutral track where hardly any of them have ever ridden.
Man who must start favourite is Mike Cake, representing Plymouth, but equally at home in first division company with Exeter. He's got a couple of big advantages. Firstly he's ridden at Hackney this year and got himself half a dozen points, taken off the local lads, And as they've been lording it at the top of the table all year that's no mean effort. Secondly he's got the moral advantage of knowing that he can get points in both divisions. Psychologically that makes him the best of the bunch although when it comes to getting out on the track psychology doesn't always pay off in points. Mike is certainly experienced then, even if he's only in his first full season.
But who else is there in the "experienced" category? Certainly you must include chunky John Poyser. He's Reading's big hope. And it’s as well to note that not only was he once a Hackney rider but he once held the track record there.
Next on the experience band wagon include Dave Schofield. He's one of the youngsters who have been around second-halves for a good few years, without getting any place until this season. Probably ridden at Hackney some time or another, although not enough to know the circuit. He's a tough and uncompromising customer who is an excellent man to have beaten you want to win anything.
Ken Vale, the Canterbury rider-coach, is another who must have ridden the East London strip some time or another. He's got a whole heap of expertise behind him and still with him and never knows when he's beaten. And even when he is beaten he doesn't realise it!
Two more for this category- Belle Vue's Taffy Owen. Apply the same remarks to him as to Dave Schofield. And Middlesbrough's Allan Brown, who operates successfully with King's Lynn and ruddy marvellously with the Division 11 Teesiders. And who wasn't exactly starved of rides in New Zealand before he got here.
Last two with "experience" are Kiwi Murray Burt and Aussie Roy Williams. Murray came here with a big reputation from Kiwi land, never made the grade at Wimbledon and was struggling with Newcastle before showing us how to shift shale at Nelson.
Roy rode here some years ago, with Glasgow, under the name of Bernie Lagrosse, but without much luck. Nevertheless he collected a fair bit of experience, added to it in Australia and has made it payoff with Berwick this year.
Whoops-nearly forgot Crayford's Mick Handley who has been around trying to get break (or a season or two in the Midlands, before becoming a Kentish king-pin.
Now having plumped for experience to provide the winner it's obvious I've already mentioned the men I expect to take the trophy.
The form book demands that it be Mike Cake. And it demands that the next two should also come from this group. However, one doesn't always go by the book. Not when it leaves out such likely lads as Graham Plant, Tony Lomas and Gary Peterson. Or even the first reserve, Barry Crowson, who if he gets a full quota of rides is more likely to walk off with the title than some of those who qualified in the first place!
One thing the Hackney track will make the lads use all their wits and savvy. They will need to exercise great throttle control and all their track craft. For this is no track where you can blaze around and hope to get away from it. I wouldn't say it is a trick track. But I would say it's one that gives the regular home men a great deal of help. As there are no home riders involved that means it's just going to test out the sixteen star qualifiers from Division 11.
Mike Cake, 1 have already said, is my tip to win. In second place I reckon we might find Dave Schofield, just ahead of Mick Handley and Handley, Allan Brown, Graham Plant, Dave Schofield, Tony Lomas and Ken Vale. And if that is being a coward, at least it is also being honest.Because it is impossible to forecast which of these Division 11 boys will manage to get through the evening on a tough track to ride without getting knocked for six by one of the 15 other super-enthusiasts; without trying out at least part of the safety fence to find out if there is a way straight through it, without running into mechanical troubles, without tearing a chunk out of the tapes and suffering the penalty (especially in nerves), without knowing who meets who when.
Just for once, to be honest, I don't think it matters a damn about not knowing the race draw.
At Hackney on Friday anything is likely to happen and undoubtedly will.
Only one thing will I forecast with any degree of certainty.
This will be the thrill meeting of the year.
Tonight result from Wembley Stadium World Team Cup Final. Great Britain are on top of the World!
Great Britain 40
Ivan Mauger 12, Barry Briggs 7, Nigel Boocock10,
Martin Ashby 8, Norman Hunter 3
Ove Fundin 11, Anders Michanek 7, Bengt Jansson 7, Torbjorn Harrysson 2, Olle Nygren 3
Pawel Waloszek 1, Edward Migos 8, Edward Jancarz 6, Andrzei Wyglenda 2, Henryk Glucklich 2
Jan Holub 1, Antonin Kasper 3, Jaroslav Volf 1, Lubos Tomicek 2, Miroslav Verner DNR
Hackney • • •September 20
by MICHAEL CHANDLER
ERIC BOOCOCK, usually makes his presence felt when he visits the Wick and tonight was no exception. He climaxed a fine performance with a brilliant ride in the last heat to pass both Colin Pratt and Des Lukehurst in one of the best races I have seen this year.
Sadly, for the Dukes, however, he was the only visitor to really impress. Dave Younghusband was their only other heat winner but his eight points came from five rides.
Bengt Jansson spoiled his chances of a maximum when his bike reared at the tapes in the ninth heat but he rewarded us with a first-class win in Heat 12 coming from the back to get it.
As for the rest, it was happily the same old story, with every Hawk fighting as a team while their opponents relied too heavily on one man.
HACKNEY 46 HALIFAX 32
Hackney: B. Jansson 10, C. Pratt 9, L. McGillivray 6, D. Lukehurst 6, G. Everett 6, J. Biggs 5, M. Brown 4.
Halifax: E. Boocock 13, D. Younghusband 8, E. Boothroyd 6, L. Sharpe 2, G. Kentwell 2. B. Jameson 1, D. Gavros 0.
Ht 1: Brown, Pratt, Younghusband, Sharpe, 68.8.
Ht 2: Boocock, Biggs, McGillivray, Kentwell, 67.0.
Ht 3: Jansson, Boothroyd, Lukehurst, Jameson, 67.2.
Ht 4: Everett. Sharpe. Brown, Gavros (ef), 70.8.
Ht 5: Jansson, Boocock, Lukehurst, Kentwell, 67.0.
Ht 6: McGillivray, Younghusband, Biggs, Sharpe, 69.0.
Ht 7: Pratt Boothroyd. Jameson, Brown, 68.8.
Ht 8: Everett, Biggs. Kentwell, Gavros, 69.8.
Ht 9: Boocock, Lukehurst, Jansson, Younghusband, 68.0.
Ht 10: Younghusband, McGillivray, Boothroyd, Biggs,(ef), 68.4.
Ht 11: Pratt. Boocock Kentwell, Everett, (ef) 67.0.
Ht 12: Jansson, Younghusband. Boothroyd, McGillivray (f), 69.2.
Ht 13: Boocock, Lukehurst, Pratt, Jameson, 68.0.
Len Silver Talking • • •
How great it was see skipper Colin join the select band of riders who have been good enough to take the London Riders' Championship title more than once. He most certainly earned your cheers with his magnificent riding. I don't think I have ever seen him in a more determined mood, and when he came through from last place to win that vital heat nine with such a fantastic last bend ride, I knew that the championship deserved to be his. Only Tom Farndon, Jack Milne, Ron Johnson and Jack Young have previously achieved the "Double" and we only hope now that his sideboard will be decorated with the London Cup and the League Championship trophy as well just to round off a great Hackney season.
Jackie Biggs was a most upset man, and it was all I could do to stop him doing something foolish after that decision to exclude him from his first ride last week. In fact, when I raced into the pits, I discovered him half-dressed and ready to leave the stadium, so annoyed was he. We chatted for a while and he agreed to get back into his leathers, but we both knew that his victory chances had gone, and he rode with all the spirit knocked out of him.
Gary Middleton is often the centre of stormy incidents, but surely his amazing crash in heat four was the stormiest incident of his career. He must be blessed with nine live because his escape from very serious injury was nothing short of miraculous.
As I write, the information I have about him is that he has sustained some broken ribs and a suspected fracture of his arm. Painful, certainly but thank goodness, not serious, and we all, I know, wish him a very speedy recovery. .
The Swedish authorities played havoc with our line-up, taking first Banger and then Olle Nygren from us. They both had to compete in the Swedish Championships which were staged a day earlier than was originally scheduled. It seems that they find themselves seemingly unable to keep to a proper fixture list. It is this last minute changing that makes things so awkward for an English promoter to employ a Swede. Let us hope, perhaps that next season we are able to arrange things a little more favourably, with them.
Tomorrow evening Wembley Stadium will once again echo to the roar of a Speedway crowd when the Speedway Control Board stage, for the first time in England, for the World Team Cup Championship. This fabulous event is without question the premier meeting of our season, and in the past has been the highlight of all Europe. Our Bengt will be lining up as a member of the Swedish side, and although he will earn our cheers, secretly we are hoping that the rest of the Swedes are unable to score enough points to take the crown from Great Britain. We want our cake and eat it! Our ticket allocation has been returned to the stadium now, but of course, you will be able to gain admission at all prices tomorrow night if you do not already possess a ticket. The meeting starts at 7 p.m., so get there early to avoid disappointment.
Next week's meeting is a very special one, and I know that it will excite the interest of all London fans as well as those from other parts of the country. It is the first ever British League Riders' Championship of Division Two and we are going to see supporters from everywhere gracing our terracing. Prom Plymouth, Canterbury, Reading, Rayleigh, Weymouth, Belle Vue, Nelson, Middlesbrough, Crayford and Berwick they will come, let us make them feel at home so that they can enjoy what promises to be a most exciting evening even more. Do not be misled into thinking of these Division Two boys in terms of being "juniors" either. Remember, Mike Cake, one of the contestants, put up the fastest time of the meeting here only two weeks ago when he clocked 67.6 in heat four, a feat that even our own star men would not be ashamed of, and there are men in next week's meeting who reckon that they have the beating of Mr Cake! I am looking forward with eager anticipation to this event, and I hope that you are too. It is going to be a night to remember, do not let your friends miss it.
While we are staging the Championship meeting, our lads will be doing their duty up at Wolverhampton, and of course, while we are watching the racing here, our minds will be thinking of them. We shall try to get the result for you before our evening's fun is over, let us hope and pray that we shall be able to give you good news!
So we come to tonight's meeting, another very vital League encounter with the Halifax Dukes. We cannot let up for a moment Eric Boothroyd and his men are no slouches, their team has a powerful look and we will Deed every ounce of skill to keep them at the back and ourselves in the fight for the League title. As we reach the final stages of the League campaign, each match seems to take on a greater significance. With only one more home match to play, this one seems more significant than all the others. None the less, we bid a warm Hackney welcome to Reg Fearman, a fellow promoter whose attitude to the sport I both respect and admire, and his team.
May they go home tonight having enjoyed a thrilling, but pointless for them!
Anyway, I'll see you all at Wembley, and again next week when once more we
Make it a date ... Friday at Eight!
AROUND THE RACEWAYS by HAWKEYE
The Good Samaritan attitude of Speedway people was once again demonstrated last Saturday. On their way to Rayleigh, Rockets' Laurie Etheridge and Geoff Maloney came upon the floods along with countless other speed fans and motorists in general. In the ditch they found a car, almost overturned, with women and children only inside, helpless. It seemed that the rest of the World around were oblivious to the plight of the occupants of the car. But not the two Rayleigh men, knee deep in water, they soon hitched a tow rope onto the luckless vehicle and hauled it to the safety of the crown of the road. They then found that their own way was barred to the stadium by the swirling flood waters that became impossible to pass, and, like most of the other riders and officials, were unable to get to the meeting. Undaunted, our heroes turned smartly around, joined up with Terry Stone and quickly organised a jolly party at Terry's Romford home!
It would seem that the newspaper reports concerning the future of the Halifax track were most premature. As usual, the gentlemen of the press were eager and willing to give space to the startling news that Halifax Football Club wanted the Speedway to go, and that the future for the Dukes looked decidedly uncertain. But they all reckoned without the business acumen of Halifax boss Reg Fearman. They did not bother to find out that he had a strong lease on the Shay Stadium that the Football people could not shake. The general outcome has been a fantastic amount of local and national publicity for the Dukes, startling support from the local populace that has ensured a rosy future for Speedway in Halifax for many many years.
Wally Mawdsley's name has been linked with a possible new venue at Torquay. The Exeter boss first heard of it himself when he read about it in the press! He has asked his public to tell him if there is a possible site there that he is unaware of for it seems that he searched the area some years ago without finding a suitable stadium. Maybe this will be a case where a stupid rumour might do some good!
It's time to pick our 1968 Speedway Beauty Queen, ready to take our place in the national competition at Belle Vue on October 19th. So come on girls, write in to me, Hawkeye, here at the stadium, full address: Hackney Stadium, Waterden Road, El5 with the following details: Name, address, age, occupation and favourite rider. Our winner gets £5 in cash plus a coach seat to Belle Vue, a free ticket for the British League Riders' Championship, plus the chance to win the big prize there. Don't delay, write now, we will announce the competition date next week.
The Peter Douglas Page
THE PRESS AND US
In this month's "Speedway Post," one of their correspondents (un-named) is claiming that a colleague of his who writes a speedway column "on Monday evenings" is unable to get hold of anyone at that time, because all the promoters are away at various tracks that night. Now apart from suggesting that the mystery journalist should write his piece during normal daylight hours when most promoters are to be found in their offices, it made me wonder just what does happen to the mass of press material that Len and I do send out each week, I have been doing some rough calculations and since the start of the season in March we have mailed more than 2,000 items, involving 9,000 foolscap sheets of paper, 1800 envelopes and £45 worth of stamps! Not bad for one track. And if everyone else did likewise, we might get somewhere near putting our message across. Apart from ourselves, West Ham and Crayford are the only tracks I know that issue a press release. And not knowing who the man is that's complaining in the "Post," I don't know if he gets our press material, but this is produced without fail every Sunday to take in Friday and Saturday meetings and now, with the new 5d post, is guaranteed to arrive in nearly seventy offices every Monday morning. So what's his beef? I have replied to the "Post" pointing out that we maintain a round-the-clock telephone service and he's only got to lift the receiver to get in touch.
THE TELEVISION AND US
People have recently asked me what happens to all these dark hints I keep throwing out about impending television coverage. Well, the truth is that not all our efforts produce results, although so far this season Hackney have been featured on BBC-TV, Pathe newsreel and Movietone. And I am now working on the Division II Riders' Championship. What I think you should realise is that, to my knowledge, Len and I are the only speedway people who have taken the trouble to call on every TV sports programme producer, in a series of lunches and meetings, so that by now they know us personally and when they think of speedway, they think of us first. As I say we don't always get results and it's very disappointing, but at least we CARE about the 'Sport’ and don't just push Hackney but press for any kind of speedway. I was angry to notice the amount of coverage given last weekend to the Skol Six-day cycle event: as the TV cameras swept round the Wembley Empire Pool, audiences were seen to be sparse and even for the final night, the commentator amused me by raving over the packed EIGHT thousand crowd. Big deal, when this is just a little more than an average speedway gate at any meeting.
THIS 'N THAT
Nice to see a few faces back from their summer holidays, a little suntanned, fresher even...
Congratulations to "Speedway Argus" on their first ever full colour front cover, one of the best colour- pictures I've seen in speedway. We'll have a chance to see the beautiful girls of Hackney on parade soon because it's time for our annual Beauty Contest to pick "Miss Hackney Speedway" 1968. There's a crisp £5 note plus other prizes for the winner, so I think I’ll write in and apply myself!
Len says he won't let me 'cos I might win!
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good Evening Supporters,
I must congratulate the team on their great win at Swindon. The pity of it was that I was not there to see it because I was in Sweden watching the World Final.
Here is some news about our coach trips. On Saturday September 28th to Halifax, the coach leaves Maud Road at 8.30 a.m. and the fare is 27/6.
On Thursday, October 3rd the coach to Oxford leaves Maud Road at 4.30 p.m. and the fare is 10/6.
On Saturday, October 5th the coach to Cradley Heath will leave Maud Road, at 1.30 p.m. and the fare is 19/6.
We are arranging a Supporters Club outing to see the Southend lights on Saturday October 12th and the fare is 8/-. Coach leaves Maud Road, at 4.30 p.m. You can book for this and all other coach trips at the kiosk tonight,
Another important date for you is Saturday, November 2nd when we will hold our End of Season Dance at the Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, E.15, 7.30pm to 11.30pm Tickets at 6/- each are now on sale.
When the Season ends we will continue our activities in our new club rooms at the St. John's Ambulance Brigade Building in Mildenhall Road, Clapton, E5 every Friday 7.30 pm 10.30 pm We would like to thank the St. John's people for placing their new building at our disposal.
Finally, the last reminder to your Riders' Equipment Fund tickets. Last week's lucky winners:
1st -11357 Peter London.
2nd -10011 Mrs. S.White, Enfield.
3rd - 11495 A. Isaacs, Devons Road, E.3.
Cheerio for now
Up the Hawks
SNOWY BEATTIE (Hon. Sec.)
Hackney skipper Colin Pratt carried of the London Riders' Championship for the second successive year after winning the vital 20th heat which also featured the unbeaten Trevor Hedge of Wimbledon.
West Ham's Norman Hunter would also have been unbeaten at the time had he not reared at the gate in Heat 15, which would have made three unbeaten riders contesting that last race.
But for Hunter's mishap, the finishing order for Heat 20- Pratt, Hunter, Hedge – would probably have been the same for the overall result.
The line-up of stars for the meeting was depleted for various reasons and we were robbed of the services of such notables as Sverre Harrfeldt, Ken McKinlay, Bengt Jansson and Olle Nygren.
Add to this the fact that colourful Garry Middleton crashed and was rushed to hospital suffering from two broken ribs and a chipped bone in his arm in Heat 4 and you begin to see that it was all a bit disappointing.
LONDON RIDERS' CHAMPIONSHIP
Scorers: C. Pratt 15, T. Hedge 13, R. Luckhurst 12, A. Cowland 11, N. Hunter 11, L. McGillivray 11, M. Brown 8, G. Everett 8, D Lukehurst 7, G. Barclay 6, T. Clarke 5, B. Leonard 5, L. Etheridge 3, J. Tebby 3, G. Smith 1, D Brown 0, J. Biggs 0, G. Middleton 0.
Ht 1: Cowland, McGillivray, Clarke, Tebby, 68.4.
Ht 2: Hunter, Luckhurst, Lukehurst, Etheridge, 68.0.
Ht 3: Pratt, Barclay, Leonard, Smith, 68.0.
Ht 4 (rerun): Hedge, Everett, Brown, Middleton (F/Exc), 67.6.
Ht 5: Hunter, Cowland, Leonard. D. Brown (f, re), 68.4.
Ht 6: Hedge, Clarke, Barclay, Etheridge, 68.0.
Ht 7: Pratt, Luckhurst, McGillivray, M Brown, 68.2.
Ht 8: Lukehurst, Everett, Tebby, Smith, 69.4.
Ht 9. Pratt, Cowland, Everett, Etheridge, 69.8.
Ht 10: Hunter, M. Brown, Clarke, Biggs (ef). 68.6.
Ht 11: Hedge, McGillivray, Lukehurst, Leonard, 67.8.
Ht 12: Luckhurst, Tebby, Barclay, D Brown (f), 68.2.
Ht 13: Hedge, Luckhurst, Cowland, Smith, 68.0.
Ht 14: Pratt, Lukehurst, Clarke, Smith, 68.4.
Ht 15: McGillivray, Barclay, Everett, Hunter, 69.8.
Ht 16: M. Brown, Leonard, Etheridge, Tebby, 70.0.
Ht 17: Cowland, M. Brown, Lukehurst (ef), Barclay (ef) 70.0.
Ht 18: Luckhurst, Everett, Leonard, Clarke (f, re), 68.8.
Ht 19: McGillivray, Etheridge, Smith, D. Brown, 70.2.
Len Silver Talking • • •
Tonight we offer a warm Hackney welcome to all our friends and rivals from West Ham and Wimbledon who come to cheer on their own particular favourites in the 1968 London Riders' Championship. Both Wimbledon and Hackney supporters will want, at this time, to offer their sympathy to those Hammers who would have liked to have cheered on Sverre Harrfeldt to victory.
Alas, Sverre is unable to take his proper place in the line-up this evening, and as I write, he still lies in the hospital in Poland, critically ill. All London fans join together this evening in wishing him a speedy recovery.
Of course, Sverre is not the only casualty from Custom House. Ken McKinlay and Stan Stevens as you know, have also both suffered injuries recently. Stan, unfortunately is still unfit, although he is now well on the way to recovery. Ken made a special point of telephoning my home last Sunday morning to tell me that he was going to make a very special effort to take his place this evening, and only a direct refusal from his doctor would stop him from riding. He said to me, and I quote his words as exactly as I can remember them, "The London title is one that I have never won, and I think that this year I may be able to pull it off, I've been a lot happier on your track this season and I feel confident that I can make my come-back there with a successful night." So said Ken, and, admire his spirit. It only remains for me to say that we all hope very sincerely that Ken definitely that he is able to take his place. You will see that I have included his name in the programme, but if he cannot ride, then naturally someone else will be drafted in at the last moment to take his spot.
Many people have asked me to tip the winner of tonight’s final but I am very reluctant to do this. Naturally, we here at the Wick would like nothing better than to, see our own skipper keep the title he won for us last year and on current form he must start as hot favourite. It is, of course, a pity that our Bengt can’t be here , for he must have been Colin's greatest rival. I thought that he be able to ride, but at the last minute,rather typical of the Swedish authorise to change the date of the Swedish Individual Championship, and he found he had to fly home immediately after last Saturdays match at Swindon. So Banger is a nonstarter, never mind, he will definitely be with us for our important BLD1 match next Friday against Halifax.
Perhaps the main challenge will come from Jackie Biggs. In recent weeks Jack has delighted us with a return to his very best form, and he could be the man to pull the Hawks to the top. So he must be reckoned tonight, as must ''Atom Bomb" Les who is always a man to be feared. Malcolm, can rise to the occasion as he did at Swindon last Saturday, then he might well surprise many people, but in honesty I must say that I cannot see either him or Gary pulling off the title. A very dark horse must be Des who has been sadly out of touch over the last few matches. But Des is a born fighter, and riders of his calibre and temperament can suddenly shoot out of the doldrums and find their best form at the drop of a hat. Let us hope that Des can do just that this evening.
From West Ham the hot favourite must be Norman Hunter, who won the title in 1966, and, If he rides, Ken McKinlay. Both are very capable of lifting the crown, and it’s for sure that they will have plenty of supporters to cheer them on their way. I cannot however, give the rest of the West Ham contingent much chance of a surprise although both Brian Leonard and Tony Clarke are well known as "Never give up" stylists. Maybe in a year or two their turn will come but I will be a very surprised promoter if they win tonight! .
The South Londoners are the power packed outfit in my opinion, In Trevor Hedge, is now riding better than ever. Olle Nygren and Reg Luckhurst, they have three riders with enough skill and experience to make the title their own, and even Alan Cowland, another recently improved performer, could pull off a surprise. But the real surprise packet may be in the shape of Gary Middleton. With his wild and woolly antics over the past year, Gary has upset many people, but endeared himself to Dons' fans in the process. Nowadays, he may be just as wild, but he is by no means as woolly, and when he turns the throttle on, as he does all the time he now goes forwards instead of sideways. I rank him as the greatest danger man to all the more fancied contestants.
Well, you can take your pick, and as I write, there is the distinct possibility that West Ham may enter a new, either a top Swedish star or an East German. I Sincerely hope that they do, and what a surprise to us all If such a man were to come over and pinch our title?
So much for the London Riders' Championship. What of the League battle? What Hawks fan did not nearly weep with joy when they looked for the results in last Sunday s newspapers? A WIN at SWINDON! ! ? ? The unbelievable happened. It was of the most valuable League points we have ever won and pulling us clear of all rivals head of the table. It must be admitted that we WERE lucky (for once!), Barry Briggs was an absentee due to his suffering from a virus infection which almost stopped riding in Sweden as well. But even so, the Magnificent Seven took their chance with both hands and swept to a convincing victory. Whilst "Banger" got a paid
maximum and Colin was only one short, the two men who probably did most to make the victory possible were Malcolm Brown, with a 9 gallant point score, and Jack Biggs, who pulled in 6 points plus a bonus one, but who in addition, loaned Malcolm his best engine for the match. This was the deciding factor: The "Clown Prince;" was positioned at reserve, and when Des found that he was having an unhappy evening he quickly pulled out to make way for the speedy Malcolm. Well done, lads, I'm proud of you all, and I can now say with the confidence in the World that the Hawks are within an ace of being the 1968 League Champions. It seems to me that only Coventry, Sheffield and Newcast1e have any chance at all of overhauling us, and they still have the "Away" points to get, WE HAVE THEM. But do not let us count our chickens, there's many a slip ... as the old saying goes. In fact, when I look at the teams lining up here next
Friday my complacency vanishes. The Halifax Dukes were League Champions themselves in 1966 and. K.O. Cup winners that year too, and they can boast three of the finest heat leaders in the game. Now their promoter, Reg Fearman, is one of my closest friends, we have known each other since we were lads on the cycle speedway, but believe me, fend or not, I know how much he would love to crow about a win over the Hawks here at the Wick. We only need to relax for one moment and we should find ourselves in trouble. Be sure then that our Hawks wil1 present them in tip top fashion as usual next Friday. I hope to see you bring all your friends along for this one and make our few final League dates really succesfu1. The boys enjoy your cheers, they deserve them, let's make them loud and long next Friday when once more we
Make it a date ... Friday at Eight.
Fancy! I nearly forgot! Congratulations to Ivan Mauger, the new World Champion, and to Barry Briggs, a gallant runner-up. It's great to have two' Britons right there at the top. Well done.
AROUND THE RACEWAYS by HAWKEYE
Barry Briggs continued his winning ways by snatching the coverted Johnnie Thompson MemorialTrophy at Poole the other day. Strangely enough, it was Barry's first win in this event since its conception in 1955, past winners being: Allan Kidd, Cyril Roger, Brian Crutcher, Ken McKinlay, Ron How, Tony Lewis, Jack Scott, Geoff Mudge, Ross Gilbertson, Jim Squibb, Bill Andrews (twice), Reidar Eide. When Reidar Eide won it last year, he became the first foreign rider to hold the title.
Congratulations to "Little boy Blue," Nigel Boocock, on his win in the Midland Riders Championship. Ray Wilson clinched the runner-up spot and surprise third place went to James Bond of Wolverhampton. If Bond keeps up this kind of form then very few teams are going to take League points away from Wolverhampton's Monmore Green Stadium.
On two occasions recently the Swindon Robins have pulled back big deficits in away matches and finished up victors. At Oxford they established a British League record for recovery, being 10 points down at one stage and still winning the match. They followed this with an almost equal performance at Poole a few days later When with only three heats to go they faced an eight point deficit. It says a great deal for their fighting spirit that they still managed to pull off a two-point win. It's no wonder that they are popular visitors with supporters all over the country.
I wonder how many Speedway tracks would now be operating if it were not for the Problems of the Town and Country Planning committees of the various town councils? There must be countless stadiums crying out for the additional revenue that Speedway can bring, only to have their ideas thwarted by such committees. Again, there are many sports stadiums that would love to have Speedway Racing on their running tracks, but a government regulation stops all professional sport in a stadium that has been built with the aid of funds from the Ministry. But still the would-be promoters keep on trying, in spite of all the set-backs, and I have just heard that the appeal against the ''thumbs down" decision at Maidstone is to be heard in October. If the applicants are successful, and it's a very big IF, then Kent will become one of Britain's real hot-beds of Speedway, boasting three venues.
I have just looked up some old records and find that our track has shown such an improvement since 1963, when it opened, that the track record is now exactly 10 seconds faster than the original! In heat one of the match held on April 10th 1963, Tommy Sweetman set up the time of 75.8 seconds. Then on 27th August 1965, the record went THREE TIMES in three heats! Nigel Boocock clocked 67.2 seconds in heat one, Barry Briggs zoomed to a then breathtaking 66.8, then in heat three, without pausing for air Barry came out again and nipped off a further .2 of a second, bringing the time down to 66.6. The big question now is, who will be the first man to take the time below 65 seconds? Can it be done? Len reckons that it can, if an "in form" man is prepared to try for it on a week that a new delivery of shale has arrived. Well, Len, how about a special incentive for the first man to do it?
Many parties made the journey from England to Sweden to see the World Championship Final in Gothenberg. Easily the biggest was the Hackney Supporters' Club group that numbered over 200 and included fans from all over the country as well as our own East End folk. The organisation was the brainchild of the Hackney team manager, Dave Erskine, who also went in charge of the party alongside Snowy Beattie, the Club secretary. Well done, lads!
The Peter Douglas Page
LONDON RIDERS' CHAMPIONSHIP
Can Colin do it again? That is the question that will be in the minds of Hackney fans this evening as we line up for another Hackney "special," the London Riders' Championship. For as you know last year, Colin carried off the trophy after a decider with West Ham's Malcolm Simmons. Bengt Jansson is unfortunately absent this year and he was tipped as a likely winner 12 months ago-but fell twice in two rides and retired with an injured back. The Championship has been held regularly since 1930, with a short break between 1940 and 1944 due to the war and again from 1957 to 1963 there was no competition. Its impressive list of winners includes Split Waterman of gold bar fame and, of course, Barry Briggs. In1964, for the first and only time, the Championship included riders who were domiciled in London, and this considerably widened the field to include that year, Mike Broadbanks of Swindon. But although the inclusion of London residents would make it possible for popu1ar men like Terry Betts to ride, Len Silver tells us that this is traditionally a three-way contest between the London clubs and the addition of outsiders, however worthy, would make the London Riders' Championship into just another challenge event. With Simmons absent this year, and West Ham jockeying for substitute riders, it looks as though skipper Colin has it in the bag. If he does win the championship of 1968, Colin will join a select band of only three other riders who have pulled off a double and won the trophy two years running.
OLDE TYME DIRT TRACK RACING
Looking ahead to our final Gala closing night on October 27th, Len and I were wondering what stunts publicity men got up to thirty years ago before the invention of a medium like television, which we tend to forget has only been with us just over a decade. I know we had got over the era of gas lamps and quill pens, but I wonder how the hard pressed printing and duplicating machines of thirty years ago coped with a hundred copies of a five-page press release in a hurry, compared with the sleek, modern all electric job that turns them out at the rate of two per second.
THIS 'N' THAT
Cheers for the block-makers who are now back at work after their strike, which has kept many cartoons and photographs out of our national newspapers. In my job, picture stories are our stock in trade and we have been feeling the pinch lately, as you can imagine.
Gary Everett looked fit and relaxed after a short holiday in the Lake District last week, where it rains all night but the sun shines all day: wish we could rely on that at Hackney! ... Last Friday's clusters of fans gathered round transistor radios awaiting results of the World Championship Finals reminded me of the value of communications today, when within minutes of finishing, the results came through loud and clear. . . . Also very frustrating it was to have to wade through cricket, tennis, football and rugby scores before getting to the news of OUR sport
That Jack Biggs has been performing his deeds on the Speedway tracks longer than any other rider in action today?
That red shale, the most popular track surfacing material, is getting scarcer every year because of its use in motorway building?
That Wally Mawdsley, Exeter promoter, and his partner, Pete Lansdale, have both represented Rayleigh as riders?
That Wimbledon was at one time the only track operating in London?
That pre-war idol of West Ham, Australian, Bluey Wilkinson, who risked his life often enough on the Speedway track, finally lost it on a motorcycle on the road?
That the Internationale, now recognised as a permanent fixture at Plough Lane was first staged at Harringay?
That the London Riders' Championship, now a regular feature of Hackney's fixture list, was originally the "property" of New Cross?
That Ivan Mauger, in common with other top line stars, adds nitro-methane to his ordinary .fuel when he competes in important meetings?
That during a year, the tractor completes about 2500 laps of the track this includes preparation between meetings?
That it takes about 2,000 gallons of water to damp down the track before racing?
That the rear wheels of Speedway machines used to be much bigger, measuring three Inches more than the present 19 inch rims?
That a Speedway engine may measure up to 510cc, for internal events but only 500cc for non-international events?
That Colin Pratt was purchased by Hackney from the now defunct Stoke track for a fee of £300?
That the two riders originally. nick-named the "Terrible Twins" were West Ham favourites, Aub Lawson and Cliff Watson in the late 40's?
That Aub Lawson was easily the most successful rider to change his- style, from leg trailing to foot forward?
That pre-war Hackney rider, Vic Dugan, returned to ride for Harringay in 1947 and became almost unbeatable that year?
That Dicky Case, first ever skipper of Hackney, taught present skipper, Colin Pratt, how to ride at the Rye House school?
That the pre-war captain of West Ham, "Tiger" Stevenson, now runs a very successful tyre business in East Ham?
That Hackney is the only track that has had its track record broken in every season since 1963?
That Les McGillivray earned the money to buy his first bike by making wooden toys?
That Ronnie Moore, ex-Wimbledon star was the youngest rider ever to win the World title; which he' did when he was as only 18?
That HACKNEY ARE THE GREATEST!!!!
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good evening, Supporters,
With club secretary, Snowy Beattie, away in Sweden for the World Championship I am penning these notes in his absence.
I would firstly like to draw your attention once again to our newly designed lapel badge. The first consignment of these were snapped up instantly, but we now have fresh stocks and these along with all the other items of equipment, can be obtained from any of our three kiosks or from the sellers around the stadium.
Having been foiled by the weather on various of our away trips, we now find ourselves with a most attractive list of away fixtures coming up. On Saturday, September 28th we are at Halifax for a British League match, coach will be leaving Maud Road (opposite Leyton Underground Station) at 8.30 a.m. PROMPT. Fare is 27/6d.
We are then at Cradley Heath for a B.L. match on Saturday, October 5th. Coach leaving Maud Road at 1.30 p.m. and the fare will be 19/6d.
Two days before the above match we are at Oxford for the re-arranged B.L. match. We shall, of course, run a coach for this match, leaving Maud Road at 4.30 p.m. and picking up at Hanger Lane. Fare will be 10/6d. As this match is on THURSDAY, October 3rd, departure time is strictly as stated. If you wish to come along with us on any, or all of these trips, go along to the kiosk this evening to reserve your seat.
Our End-of-Season dance takes place at the Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, on Saturday, November 2nd. There will, of course, be a licensed bar and dancing is from 7.30pm to 11.30pm Tickets at 6/- each are available now.
Draw tickets for the riders' equipment fund are on sale as usual this evening at 6d. each, 3 for 1/- or the bargain price of 7 for 2/-. Help yourselves to win a prize, help the riders on their way to the B.L. title, by digging out that loose change and purchasing as many tickets as possible. Last week's lucky winners were as follows :-
1st prize: 9446-Mr. G. Booker, Glyn Road, E5 (Wall Mirror).2nd prize: 9922-
Mr. R. Rayment, Leicester Road, E11 (Carving Set).
3rd prize: 16006-Mrs. B. P. Scrivener,Heron Way, Upminster (Biscuit Barrel).
Those of you who also follow our "sister" team at Rayleigh, may wish to note the date of their End-of-Season Dance. It takes place on Saturday, October 26th, at the Gun Inn, Bowers Gifford. All the Rockets will attend and our own Hawks will be there too. Tickets at 7/6d each may be ordered at the kiosks.
Cheerio for now and enjoy your racing.
This week at The Wick, the London Riders Championship takes place. Colin Pratt looks to defend his title against a strong field. Only 3 riders have won the LRC in succession and Colin aims to make that 4 on Friday! It's a tough line-up that includes Olle Nygren, Brian Leonard Tony Clarke, 1966 winner Norman Hunter, Les McGillivary, Gary Everett Ken McKinlay, Alan Cowland, Reg Luckhurst, Des Lukehurst, Garry Middleton, George Barclay, Jack Biggs, Malcolm Brown and Trevor Hedge. Lets make it a date Friday at Eight.
|1930||Jack Ormston ()||Wembley Lions||Crystal Palace|
|1931||Joe Francis ()||Crystal Palace Glaziers||Crystal Palace|
|Championship suspended 1932-1933|
|1934||Tom Farndon ()||New Cross Lambs||New Cross|
|1935||Tom Farndon ()||New Cross Lambs||New Cross|
|1936||Vic Huxley ()||Wimbledon Dons||New Cross|
|1937||Jack Milne ()||New Cross Rangers||New Cross|
|1938||Eric Chitty ()||West Ham Hammers||New Cross|
|1939||Jack Milne ()||New Cross Rangers||New Cross|
|Championship suspended 1939-1944|
|1945||Ron Johnson ()||unattached||New Cross|
|1946||Ron Johnson ()||New Cross Rangers||New Cross|
|1947||Vic Duggan ()||Harringay Racers||New Cross|
|1948||Split Waterman ()||Wembley Lions||New Cross|
|1949||Alec Statham ()||Wimbledon Dons||New Cross|
|1950||Cyril Roger ()||New Cross Rangers||New Cross|
|1951||Aub Lawson ()||West Ham Hammers||New Cross|
|1952||Ronnie Moore ()||Wimbledon Dons||New Cross|
|1953||Jack Young ()||West Ham Hammers||Harringay|
|1954||Jack Young ()||West Ham Hammers||West Ham|
|1955||Barry Briggs ()||Wimbledon Dons||Wimbledon|
|1956||Brian Crutcher ()||Wembley Lions||Wembley|
|Championship suspended 1957-1962|
|1963||Norman Hunter ()||Hackney Hawks||Hackney|
|1964||Mike Broadbanks ()||Swindon Robins||West Ham|
|1965||Sverre Harrfeldt ()||West Ham Hammers||Hackney|
|1966||Norman Hunter ()||West Ham Hammers||Hackney|
|1967||Colin Pratt ()||Hackney Hawks||Hackney|
Swindon • . • September 7
by JIM COLE
FOR the third time this season Swindon were well and truly thumped at home. They were out gated by a team that proved they are in the right position in the league (top), Barry Briggs was absent through illness. Swindon wanted to replace him under the rider replacement rule but Hackney protested and the Robins were forced to move their reserve to number one and their number eight to number seven.
In Heat 4 Clive Hitch and Malcolm Brown fought for three laps for the lead. Clive took the lead coming out of the bends but Malcolm kept passing him on the straights. On the last lap Clive stayed in front, but only just.
Bob Kilby (pictured below) was well in the lead in Heat 6 when his motor packed up. The same thing happened in Heat 9 and Bob didn't ride again.
SWINDON 36 HACKNEY 42
Swindon: M. Broadbanks 12, C. Hitch 6, F. Shuter 6, P. Munday 5, M. Keen 4, B. Kilby 3, P. Jackson 0.
Hackney: B. Jansson 11, C. Pratt 10, M. Brown 9, J. Biggs 6, L. McGillivray 4, G. Everett 2, D. Lukehurst 0.
Ht 1: Pratt, Munday, Hitch, Everett, 74.6
Ht 2: Kilby. Biggs, McGillivray, Shuter, 73.8.
Ht 3: Jansson, Broadbanks, Keen. Lukehurst, 73.6.
Ht 4: Hitch, Brown, Everett, Jackson, 75.1.
Ht 5: Broadbanks, Keen, McGillivray, Biggs74.0.
Ht 6: Pratt, Shuter, Everett, Kilby, 75.4.
Ht 7 (re-run): Jansson, Munday, Lukehurst (f), 74.4.
Ht 8: Shuter, Brown, Biggs, Jackson. 75.2.
Ht 9: Pratt. Broadbanks, Keen, Everett, 73.8.
Ht 10: Brown, Jansson, Shuter, Kilby. 74.2.
Ht 11: Biggs. McGillivray, Hitch, Munday. 75.6.
Ht 12: Broadbanks, Brown. Pratt, Jackson, Keen (exc).
Ht 13: Jansson, Broadbanks, Munday, McGillivray. 73.6.
MAUGER SCOOPS WORLD CROWN
by PHILIP RISING
THE best gaters make the best riders is an old speedway maxim, but one that has never been more emphatically illustrated than in the 1968 World Final.
A magnificently professional Ivan Mauger stormed to his first title with an exhibition of gating that was nothing short of superlative.
In front of a packed crowd at the beautiful Ullevi Stadium, Ivan earned a standing, ecstatic ovation for a brilliant 15-point maximum. In each of his five rides, bullet-like speed from the traps had won him his races almost before they had started.
From my seat, I was situated in a straight line with the gate. There was never a hint of creeping at the tapes; just amazement at phenomenal judgment. And once away, Ivan, fired by ambition, was in complete command.
His line was always perfect and never did an opponent get near enough to seriously challenge the dark-haired Newcastle Diamond.
One wonders whether New Zealand should make Ullevi a national shrine. This magnificent arena certainly belonged to the Kiwi on this warm evening of fast racing, with Mauger undisputedly world champion and Barry Briggs-suffering from a virus infection-a fighting second.
Mauger's crowning achievement capped a memorable hat-trick for New Zealand. In 1966 and1964 Briggs won with maximum scores, but, after losing to Mauger in Heat 2, his chance of completing his fifth title was gone.
But Barry won the best race of the night when he fought a titanic duel with the spectacular Torbjorn Harrysson in Heat 10. WeeToby had emerged as the darling of the crowd with some incredible riding that brought him 6 points from his opening two rides. But, after leading Briggs for over three laps, Barry put everything into a last-bend effort and stunningly switched from outside to inside (shades of the late Peter Craven) to snatch victory.
Without wishing to detract any praise from Mauger's performance, from a spectator's point of view it lacked excitement. His races, theoretically, lasted simply the time it took for the tapes to go up. He never had to fight his way from the back, but he was there to win the title, not provide a series of thrills.
World Finals can never be a bore. There is always the atmosphere of a great occasion, yet in a cold analysis, this Final lacked consistently good racing. There was little interchanging of position the gate was all important.
Too many heats were processional after one lap, with the consequence a paucity of incidents that would have added thrills and spiced the entertainment
It was a disappointing night for the Swedes. Favourite Ove Fundin won his first race without too much bother, but his hopes crashed in Heat 7 when he was boxed on the first bend and trailed home last.
Harrysson faded in the later stages and Anders Michanek, who also opened his account with a win, rarely got to grips with the situation.
The biggest surprise packet was undoubtedly 21-year-old Edward Jancarz, the tough little Pole, who beat Gennady Kurilenko in a runoff for third place. Despite riding with two broken ribs, Jancarz really impressed with three wins.
Of the other Poles, a first-ride fall cost Pawel Waloszek dearly. In four completed races, he gleaned 10 points and can count himself unlucky not to have got a rostrum position.
Antoni Woryna was a mere shadow of the rider who did so well two years ago.
England's duo of Martin Ashby and Nigel Boocock failed completely as did the Coatbridge pair of Reider Eide and Bernie Persson.
For Niger it was an encore of previous World Finals.
Gennady Kurilenko displayed much of the skill that he has rarely shown on British tracks and at one stage was strongly placed should Mauger slip, up. But that was like waiting for the cost of living to go down. Mauger left absolutely nothing to chance. A new tyre for each race, complete concentration between heats, flawless in every aspect of his successful challenge, superb in technique. But above all else, razor-sharp gating made Ivan Mauger the 1968 World Champion.
Early disasters for the Poles. Michanek is first away as, behind, Trzeszkowski fal1s on the second bend. Waloszek is quickly through Ashby, but he too comes to grief.
Michanek, Ashby, Waloszek, Trzeszkowski (f), 77.4.
First example of Mauger's speed from the gate. Briggs is quickly in pursuit and tries everything he knows, but perfectionist Ivan is in command. Jancarz and Eide are also rans.
Mauger, Briggs, Jancarz, Eide, 77.0.
Kurilenko gates, but with fantastic skill and balance, Harrysson is round the outside and that's how it stays, with Holmkvist holding off Malmkvist for four laps.
Harrysson, Kurilenko, Holmkvist, Malmkvist, 78.5.
Fundin away first, but Persson sweeps outside the complete field. Bernie is quickly back at the rear and finally out with engine trouble. Fundin takes Woryna, with Boocock a long way behind.
Fundin, Woryna, Boocock, Persson (ef), 79.3 .
Heat 5 :
Vital race for Briggs. But be trails Kurilenko from the start and, despite a four lap fight, cannot improve his position. Michanek has no trouble holding on to third place.
Kurilenko, Briggs, Michanek, Boocock, 79.0
Easy for Mauger. A flyer, of course, and that's that. Ashby takes Persson on the completion of lap one, but cannot catch Holmkvist.
Mauger, Holmkvist, Ashby, Persson, 79.0.
Tragedy for Fundin. He is completely boxed out on the first bend and hopelessly left. Once ahead, Jancarz stays there with Malmkvist and Trzeszkowski in attendance.
Jancarz, Malmkvist, Trzeszkowski, Fundin, 78.0.
Harrysson performs his party piece again, this time on Waloszek. Screams from the crowd as Toby defies fate to stay in front of a somewhat bemused Waloszek,
Harrysson, Walozzek, Woryna, Eide, 78.8
Mauger adds his third win, despite a brave early effort from Michanek. But Anders can make no impression, and at the rear a disappointing Woryna trails Malmkvist.
Mauger, Michanek, Malmkvist, Woryna (nf), 79.0.
Unbeaten Harrysson versus Briggs and Fundin. Barry is anxiously first to the gate but Toby is of like a shot. Briggs goes outside Fundin on the second bend. On the last bend he takes Toby, cutting inside after starting a big swing round the fence.
Briggs, Harrysson, Fundin, Ashby, 79.0.
Kurilenko becomes the first rider to break the tapes. But he makes no mistake the second time to lead all the way, with the Coatbridge stars Eide and Persson collecting their first points.
Kurilenko, Eide, Persson, Trzeszkowski, 78.5.
Waloszek confirms the opinion that his Heat 1 fall has cost him a place in the top three. He leads from start to finish. Jancarz takes Holmkvist on the first bend, but Hasse hits back on the same bend next time round.
Waloszek, Holmkvist, Jancarz, Boocock, 78.0.
Key outing for Harrysson, with a Pole and two Swedes in opposition. Jancarz breaks the tapes and the tension, albeit temporarily. Young Edward and the dynamic Toby jockey for the lead, with the Pole winning their first-bend duel. Michanek also takes Harrysson to kill the Newport rider's aspirations.
Jancarz, Michanek, Harrysson, Persson, 77.7 .
First-bend pile-up for the English representatives. Boocock is excluded and only leaves the track after lengthy treatment. The re-run is processional.
Malmkvist, Ashby, Eide, Boocock (f.exc), 78.5.
At last Briggs heads the pack out of the first bend, with Holmkvist hard on his heels. But Barry knows a slip will shatter his remaining slim hopes - there is no mistake.
Briggs, Holmkvist, Woryna, Trzeszkowski, 75.0.
Chief contenders Mauger and Kurilenko meet, with Fundin there, too. That gating again takes Ivan within one ride of the title. Fundin is a dismal sight a quarter or a lap behind.
Mauger, Waloszek, Kurilenko, Fundin, 79.0.
Little interest in this race, although Fundin does at least clinch another 3 points, with Holmkvist netting his fourth second place of the night. Eide falls.
Fundin, Holmkvist, Michanek, Eide, 79.5.
Jancarz again displays outstanding potential. Very slick from the traps, he has no trouble in this race.
Jancarz, Kurilenko, Woryna, Ashby, 77.2.
The crowd are ready to crown a new champion. And Ivan produces the best of five superb starts to guarantee the title. Boocock drops out while Harrysson falls but he quickly remounted. Thunderous applause for Ivan from the appreciative Swedes.
Mauger, Trzeszkowski, Harrysson (f, re), Boocock (nf), 78.0.
Heat 20: Malmkvist leads, but Briggs bursts through, yet, with fatigue evident, Waloszek takes runner-up Barry on the final bend.
Waloszek, Briggs, Malmkvist, Persson, 79.0.
Shock performer Jancarz leads Kurilenko to take third place.
GOTHENBURG, SEPTEMBER 6th 1968
Ove or Barry
says PHILIP RISING
(who flies out to cover the 1968 World Final)
IT was all so different a few years ago when the "Big Five" reigned supreme over world speedway. Remember them? Ronnie Moore, Barry Briggs, Ove Fundin, Peter Craven and Bjorn Knutsson, all magical names, masterly riders, legends within their own era.
Now only Fundin and Briggs remain. Only Kiwi Briggs remains active in British League racing. Moore is now home in New Zealand; Craven was tragically killed at Edinburgh; Knutsson is retired.
Since their departure from the world scene, first the Russians and then the Poles stormed the international circuit. Other Scandinavians have made their mark, and yet, could they or the East Europeans have matched any of the "Big Five" at their best?
Personally, I doubt it. Handicap racing, although a curse, did at least illustrate the superiority of this magnificent quintet.
And when it came to predicting the outcome of a World Final, as thousands of us are doing now, it was simply a question of perm anyone from five.
Statistics tell the story. Since Ronnie Moore annexed the title in 1954, no rider outside of the five has managed to be crowned World Champion.
At one stage it looked as though Fundin, who now limits his speedway activities to the World Championship in an all-out effort to add to his five titles, would be left to carry the fight alone.
But Briggs, after his elimination at the British-Nordic Final, found fate at his side and gladly accepted a second bite at the cherry. He is more determined than ever to emulate Fundin's total number of wins.
The sequence has got to be broken some time, and 1968 could be the year. The challenge to the Briggs-Fundin monopoly is stronger than ever. Ivan Mauger, Antoni Woryna and Anders Michanek are the three I see as serious contenders, but the old firm could have something up their sleeves.
Mauger has made tremendous strides over the past two years, is a man for the occasion and was the top non Polish qualifier from Wroclaw. Add his British and British-Nordic titles, mix in his gating ability and track craft, spice with flair and determination, flavour with self-confidence and you have the recipe for success.
I am not going to fully commit myself, but I cannot envisage Mauger outside the top three. I wouldn't even be surprised if he were crowned world champion at Ullevi on the night of September 6.
My tip for an outside bet? Anders Michanek, bustling, hard riding speedster now benefiting from his British League experience. He can mix it with the best and come out on top. So watch Anders.
Norway had pinned their hopes on Sverre Harrfeldt, but his aspirations were shattered at Wroclaw and he now lies in a Polish hospital. But the Norwegian cause is not lost. Reider Eide is a dark horse who could figure prominently.
Others have a good chance, some better than others. And yet, deep down, I cannot ignore the names of Briggs and Fundin. I don't expect both to succeed. But one of them, almost for old time's sake, might just continue the saga that began with Ronnie Moore back' in 1954.
Hackney …..September 6
by MICHAEL CHANDLER
Those who stayed away thinking the absence of Bengt Jansson and Martin Ashby would ruin this clash will be disappointed when they read this. Right from the beginning when Colin Pratt won heat 1 holding his fuel tank in position with his knee (!) the two teams set about each other in amazing fashion. In fact the riders became so wound up in the meeting that after Tommy Sweetman had brilliantly swept round Des Lukehurst to win Heat 8, the four contestants went on to fight it out for another lap!
Exeter spearheaded by Wayne Briggs, who was always prominent, gave us 13 splendid heats, thank you, while for sheer effort (and comedy) hats off to Malcolm Brown. After falling while second in the seventh heat, Malcolm pushed his machine home for one and a half laps and on completion collapsed hilariously into his mechanic's arms to be carried, fireman-style, back to the pits!
HACKNEY 43 EXETER 35
C. Pratt 11, J. Biggs 11, L. McGillivray 9, D. Lukehurst 5, M. Brown 4, G. Everett 2, L. Etheridge 1.
W. Briggs 10, T. Sweetman 8, N. Street 8, M, Cake 6, C. Bass 2, J. Squibb I, C. Blewett 0.
Ht 1: Pratt, Brown, Cake, Squibb, 68.2.
Ht 2: Biggs, Briggs, Sweetman, Lukehurst, 68.8
Ht 3: McGillivray, Everett, Street, Blewett. 68.4.
Ht 4: Cake, Bass, Brown, Etheridge. 67.6.
Ht 5: McGillivray, Briggs, Sweetman, Etheridge 68.6.
Ht 6: Biggs, Lukehurst, Cake, Squibb. 69.0.
Ht 7: (re-run): Pratt, Street, Brown, Bass (f, exc), 69.4.
Ht 8: Sweetman, Lukehurst, Etheridge, Bass, 68.2.
Ht 9: Briggs, McGillivray, Cake, Everett, 69.2.
Ht 10: Biggs, Street, Lukehurst, Cake, 69.0.
Ht 11: Sweetman, Pratt, Briggs, Everett, 68.8.
Ht 12: Street, Biggs, Squibb, Everett, 69.2.
Ht 13: Pratt, Briggs, McGillivray, Blewett, 68.6.
Len Silver Talking • • •
My prediction about last week's match being a thriller was certainly correct, and 1 enjoyed It more than many other of our recent meetings. I suppose the fact that it was an all-important League match helped to make it even more exciting, but surely one of the most thrilling sights here at Hackney is to see "Little Boy Blue," fully fit, screaming around the safety fence and I must say that Nigel gives full value when he visits us. Credit must also go to the rest of the Bees, who fought as men possessed in every race. Yes, a match to remember, and more credit than ever to our own Magnificent Seven for emerging victors at the end.
I must say a few words about Colin. It appears to me that there are one or two very thoughtless and unknowledgeable people who can only criticise and never praise, and last week when Colin had one of his very rare off nights (still managed to get paid for seven points though, I notice) I heard some very unkind remarks coming from these few. It seems that in just one evening they can completely wipe out the memory of all the sterling work that Colin has done for us over the years, how he has headed our score chart for the whole of the season in spite of mechanical problems unknown to most of you. Every rider, at some time or another, has a meeting at which nothing seems to go right when perhaps, his motor just won’t go and when he is under the weather himself. Is it reasonable to expect that our skipper is superhuman and can avoid these occasions? What you must remember is that Colin, above all other riders, is a perfectionist. When things are "just so'' he is unable give of his best. This is why he takes such pains with his equipment and it his search for constant perfection that enables him to lead the team in such a magnificent way. When things are not quite right, he needs your cheers, I hope that those few people to whom my remarks are directed, can find it in their hearts to give him them. . .
With Bengt Jansson and Martin Ashby absentees, both doing duty tonight at Gothenberg the Falcons and ourselves call up our younger brigade to fill the gaps. As I write, I do not yet know who the Falcons will call upon, but I know that they have a wealth of talent waiting in the wings so to speak, from the Plymouth and Weymouth teams. Likewise, we are fortunate that, with our regular No 8 Jackson of injured, we are in a position to call up one riders at Rayleigh.
Thus we are able to see the wisdom of having a team associated with us in Division Two. In welcoming the Exeter team here tonight, I also welcome the Second Division riders in both sides who will be straining every fibre to prove their ability. May they be successful. The Falcons, by the way, are still very much in the running for the League title, and they need only to win one or two of the many "Away" matches which they still have to ride to overhaul us at the top of the table. So, to both teams tonight's battle is once again of paramount importance. Can they pinch the points from us ? Well, I can tell you this, in spite of the fact that we are ahead of them in the League, their combined riders' averages so far this season total over 7 points per match more than ours ! Now against a record like that you must agree that we have really got to perform miracles this evening. Let us hope that none of our lads suffer from mechanical or other problems for we cannot afford to drop a single unnecessary point.
Coming back from Belle Vue last Saturday, where we were not able to claim any surprise victory over the Aces, I met up with some of the Oxford boys who had been racing at Cradley Heath. I was most upset to hear that one of my oldest friends, an ex-cycle speedway opponent from 21 years ago, Ilford born, Ronnie Genz, had sustained head injuries after a collision with "Bangor's" brother Lars. He was that night detained in the local hospital. I most sincerely hope that I will be able to' report that all is well with him by tonight. Telling me the story of the crash was the victim of yet another crash in the same match, it was Colin Gooddy, looking very much the worse for wear with a fantastic black eye and heavy bruises all over his face. I thought, after seeing him that they'd had a boxing match rather than a Speedway match! I commiserate with the Oxford team in their hour of trouble, and Danny Dunton knows that if there is anything that I can do to assist him, he only has to shout!
Next week we shall be staging the 1968 London Riders' Championship. Our skipper, as you know, is the reigning champion. This coveted title is a difficult one to hold on to because every London rider considers himself in with a chance to nab it, and by golly, they are right too ! As one of our more attractive fixtures, the attendance is bound to be high, and so once more I hope that those of you who are able to come early will do so, particularly if you use the free bus service. This helps to ease the congestion as the clock nears 8 p.m.
Who will be the Champion? There is only one way to find out, to join us all here next week when once more we
Make it a date . . . Friday at Eight,
AROUND THE RACEWAYS by HAWKEYE
It seems that some of our foreign visiting stars quickly get caught up in the spirit of general goodwill that pervades throughout the World of Speedway. One such example is Odd Fossengen, the latest foreign bombshell to storm the "Pirates" lair at Poole. He was travelling en route to Swindon when he came across a group of Poole supporters, also on their way to the meeting, who had unfortunately broken down. Without a second thought, Odd piled them all into the back of his van amongst his valuable machinery and tools and took them to the meeting. Now it appears that Odd was due to go to Denmark for a meeting immediately following the Swindon match, and it was necessary for him to take his engine with him although not his complete bike. The supporters that he had befriended now took their turn to pay back Odd for his fine gesture. They drove his van for him while he huddled in the back removing his engine as they drove along! So he was able to save valuable time and get some extra sleep before racing in Denmark .... Life's lovely sometimes, but complicated too!
World Finalist, Martin Ashby, the brightest star to ever hit the Exeter scene, set the track alight a week or two ago with a scorching new track record of 70.2 seconds. Just to show that it was no fluke, he equalled his new record the very next week. A group of supporters quickly held a collection for Martin to reward him for his remarkable achievement, the record having stood for a great many years, and they donated £25. Exeter promoter, Wally Mawdsley, when asked by the group what his donation would be, quickly replied: "Double yours, mate," and so Martin received £50 for just one race! To cap it all, the following Monday he also received a superb engraved memento donated by a local jeweller. I wonder what they'd do for him if he became World Champ?!
Congratulations to the Belle Vue Colts for becoming the first ever British League Two Champions. Throughout the lower League campaign, the Colts have proved to be the most attractive visiting side at all stadiums, and they are a credit to the famous old name of Belle Vue. They are very well represented here on September 27th, the date of the Division Two Riders Championship Final, and it may well be that the Manchester team could have a double cause for celebration after the meeting.
The Peter Douglas Page
Not content with crossing thousands of miles of ocean to join us from his native New Zealand, Rayleigh skipper Graeme Smith now clocks up several hundred miles a week in an assortment of vans and cars in pursuit of the speedway bug. Last week saw him riding at Reading on Monday, Middlesbrough on Thursday, sneaking a second half ride at Glasgow on Friday, riding for the Rockets at Berwick on the Saturday. After Sunday in bed, he rode at Canterbury on Monday in the Kent Messenger Trophy. Not bad for a week's work. At Middlesbrough, Smiffy rode alongside Rocket Mike Gardner, another regular eager beaver in Hackney second halves. And last Friday,
Geoff Maloney made his debut for the Hackney circuit-tumbling once on his first lap, but settling down to a magnificent run in the Junior Handicap.
I have been doing a bit of travelling myself this week, with a trip to Coventry as a guest of the directors of Coventry City football club, Jimmy Hill's old stomping ground. The idea being to have an exchange of ideas on public relations in sports.
From there, crossed over to Bristol where partner Steve Albery has been busy on a job. Took in a visit to Bristol Rovers, then back home. All this is a week when Les Barrett and Eamonn Dunphy, my stalwart co-directors, both had League Cup matches though Eamonn and I disagreed with Les who reckoned a trip to the Orient was an away fixture! Partner Steve will probably be joining us full time inside the next few months, so you'll be seeing him around the Hackney bars on a Friday night.
Disaster in the office this week putting up a new strip light, the electrician managed to pull down most of the plaster on our spanking new white ceiling. So if I seem to have a few more grey hairs, it's because I am still combing the dust out. Why, oh why, do we always seem to get them, fortunately we had not taken delivery of our new fitted carpet expected this week, which we are planning to baptise with champagne. Any more of this, and you'll be asking if Len's put up our fees or something.
Since I wrote my piece about a PR man's job I have had several offers from Hackney fans to write their life stories as well. So roll up if you want to see your name in print.
I thought last week's edition of the special "Speedway Post" was the best we have done so far with stacks of interesting editorial:
A tribute to scribe Len Silver's fact-finding ability and the staff of the "Post" for laying it all out so well in record time, when due to a mishap, we were a day late with the copy. So keep on buying, it’s a great five pence worth I think.
I have been glancing through my copy of the official BSPA handbook, which has at last arrived on the scene, and at six shillings it's a must for all speedway fans, with a wealth of statistics and other useful facts and figures, plus features on the major European teams, the British League set-up. the Second Division etc. Widely circulated, it could do a power of good for the sport.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good evening, Supporters,
While you are watching Hawks v. Exeter, I will be in Sweden watching the World Championship Final. As I am not here to write the programme notes for next week, my friend Tony Hurren will stand in for me. It was bad luck for Alan Jackson having his first ride at Rayleigh, he fell in his first race and broke his collar bone. Here's wishing you all the best and a speedy recovery.
Tonight is your last chance to book for Swindon, tomorrow's British League match against the Robins. Coach leaves Maud Road at 1.30 p.m. Fare 17/6.
Our last three away meetings are the ones that were rained off.
First is to Halifax on Saturday, September 28th. Coach will leave Maud Road 8.30 a.m. Fare 27/6.
Second one on the list is Oxford. For this meeting, which is Thursday, October 3rd, the coach will leave Maud Road 4.30 p.m. Fare 10/6.
The third is to Cradley Heath on Saturday, October 5th. The coach will leave Maud Road 1.30 p.m. Fare 19/6.
On Saturday, October 12th, a coach will be going to see the Southend lights. More details later.
Make a note of the end-of-season Dance to be held at the Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, on Saturday, November 2nd. Tickets 6/-. Dancing 7.30 pm to 11.30pm.
Robbie, my ace draw ticket seller, is also in Sweden, so all you regular buyers will have to look for a new seller. Tickets are on sale around the Stadium, 6d. each, 3 for 1/-, 7 for 2/-.
Last week's lucky winners:
1st 11647-D. A. Shipperlee, Whitney Road, E10
2nd 11142-H. Cardy, Du-Cane Road, W12
3rd 11958-J. Cole, Rownall Road, Dalston.
Cheerio for now.
UP THE HAWKS
SNOWY BEATTIE (Hon. Sec.)
Belle Vue ... August 31
by FRANK MACLEAN
DENT OLIVER'S novice training policy is paying off in more ways than winning Division 2 trophies for Belle Vue.
He drafted Taffy Owen into the team for absent Tommy Roper and gave Chris Bailey a run at reserve. Both riders responded to Oliver's confidence by winning their first races and a combined bag of 11 points played a useful part in Belle Vue's 45-33 win over league leaders Hackney.
Len Silver's clever use of Bengt Jansson and Colin Pratt as tactical substitutes chopped Belle Vue's lead from 10 to 4 points at Heat 7. Just as it seemed Hackney might surprise the home side after a Jansson race-win Cyril Maidment roared into something like his old form and continued with Sandor Levai in a match winning ride for full points and a commanding lead to his Aces.
Soren Sjosten earned a maximum in jet starts from the gate.
And for Hackney, another Swedish rider Bengt Jansson was top scorer being beaten only by Sjosten in two of five rides for 13 points.
Bill Powell was the crowd pleaser with another fighting display of recovery after poor starts to gain 7 points the hard way.
BELLE VUE 45 HACKNEY 33
Belle Vue: S. Sjosten 12, C. Maidment 8, B. Powell 7, T. Owen 6, S. Levai 5, C. Bailey 5, N. Nevitt 2.
Hackney: B. Jansson 13, C. Pratt 9, J. Biggs 7, D. Lukehurst 2, L. McGillivray 1, M. Brown 1, G. Everett 0.
Ht 1: Pratt, Levai, Maidment, Everett, 73.8.
Ht 2: Owen, Biggs, Nevitt, McGillivray. 74.4.
Ht 3: Sjosten, Jansson, Powell. Lukehurst. 73.0.
Ht 4: Bailey, Maidment, Brown, Everett (ef). 73.4.
Ht 5: Sjosten, Biggs, Powell, McGillivray, 73.6.
Ht 6: Jansson, Pratt, Owen. Nevitt (ef). 74.0.
Ht 7: Jansson, Maidment, Pratt, Levai. 73.6.
Ht 8: Biggs, Bailey, Nevitt, Brown 74.8.
Ht 9: Sjosten. Powell. Pratt, Everett (ef) 74.4.
Ht 10: Jansson. Owen, Lukehurst, Bailey 73.4.
Ht 11: Maidment. Levai. McGillivray. Biggs, 74.6.
Ht 12: Powell, Pratt, Lukehurst, Owen. 74.8.
Ht 13: Sjosten, Jansson, Levai, McGillivray. 73.6.
Hackney • • August 30
by MICHAEL CHANDLER .
With Colin Pratt again on the track spare and opposed by a Coventry side that knew that victory here was worth virtually four points in their quest for the British League title, the Hawks thought they were in for a tough fight.
They realised this even more when Nigel Boocock promptly equalled the track record in Heat 1. And it wasn't until Heat 12 that Booey was outgunned, by, of course, Bengt Jansson who avenged his only defeat of Heat 9.
It was also Boocock who prevented a Jack Biggs paid maximum and if racing wasn't the best we've seen this season the closeness of the scoring held our full attention,
For the Bees the cleverly woven partnership of Col Cottrell and Rick France packed a lot of punch, while Tom Ridley's super dash in Heat 4 which nearly brought him from last to first was, for me, the highlight of the evening.
HACKNEY 42 COVENTRY 36
Hackney: B. Jansson 11, J. Biggs 10, M. Brown 7, C. Pratt 6, L. McGillivray 5, G. Everett 2, D. Lukehurst 1
Coventry: N. Boocock 14, C. Cottrell 8, R. France 5, A. Kasper 4, T. Ridley 3, R. Hill 1, C. Harrison 1.
Ht 1: Boocock, Pratt, Ridley, Everett, 65.8. (equals track record)
Ht 2: McGillivray, Biggs, Kasper, Hill, 68.4. (re-run)
Ht 3: Jansson, Cottrell, France, Lukehurst, 66.4.
Ht 4, Brown, Ridley, Everett, Hill, 70.0.
Ht 5: Jansson, Kasper, Hill, Lukehurst (f/re), 67.6.
Ht 6: Boocock, Biggs, McGillivray, Ridley. 66.0.
Ht 7: Cottrell, France, Everett, Pratt. 68.6.
Ht 8: Biggs, Brown, Harrison, Hill(ef), 69.8.
Ht 9: Boocock, Jansson, Lukehurst, Ridley, 66.2.
Ht 10: Biggs, Cottrell, McGillivray, France. 68.2.
Ht 11: Boocock, Brown, Pratt, Kasper, 67.0.
Ht 12: Jansson, Boocock, Cottrell, McGillivray, 67.0.
Ht 13: Pratt, France, Kasper, Lukehurst (f) 69.0.
Len Silver Talking • • •
Tonight we get back into the hefty struggle for league points after a gap of six weeks, and our opponents will probably prove to be the toughest yet. The Bees of Coventry are always very welcome visitors here, and we extend to them our cordial greetings tonight.
Having said that, I must add that our hopes for them are that they go home happy, but defeated! We cannot afford to drop a single point on our home territory and I think that we should look for some more "Away" points before we start thinking in terms of being League Champions. None the less, we are still making the running for all the other more fancied clubs and Colin and the Magnificent Seven make no secret of the fact that they are after the title. Me? I am just crossing my fingers!
I have a bit of sad news to tell you now. Young Alan Jackson, our battling No.8, took part in the Eastern Counties Championship at Rayleigh Stadium last Saturday and was unfortunate enough to fall heavily whilst leading in his first race. The result was a broken collar bone, and this is likely to keep him out of action for three or four weeks. Naturally we all wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back in action again before the season draws to its close.
Talking of the season ending brings me to mention our final meeting. This is, I believe, the very last meeting of 1968, and if you remember, I gave you a little hint last week that I had something planned of a very unusual nature. Now that some of the organisation for it has started, I can reveal to you what those plans are.
To celebrate the end of Speedway's Fortieth Year, the meeting here on October 25th will be an authentic effort to put the clock back to Speedway's earliest "Dirt Track" days. The main event will be a match between the Hackney Wick "Wolves" (our pre-War name) and Lea Bridge, who were the "Wolves" greatest rivals in those days. The riders taking part will, of course, be our present day favourites, but they will look very different. Every rider will be compelled to use dropped handlebars, and what is more the foot forward style will be banned! Every rider MUST leg trail! To add to the authenticity of the evening, I intend, if possible, to put down a layer of black cinders to make the track just like it was back in the "Dirt Track" days. The Veteran Dirt Tracks Riders' Association have promised to help, and we shall have on display many of the machines used in 1928 and some of them may actually be raced.
Many other exciting ideas will be used, and I will only spoil your evening's enjoyment if I disclose to you all that will happen. I will say, though, that fans who do not like "Ye Olden Days" idea will not be disappointed, some modern racing will be included in the programme, This is going to be a night to remember, and I think that it is going to excite the interest of a great many people throughout the World of Speedway. I am hoping that the TV and Newsreel cameras will consider it worthy of coverage, and that you will spread the news about it to your friends and neighbours. We want to end the season on the highest note possible in every way. Who knows, we may be presenting the League Championship trophy AND the London Cup to the Hawks that night as well! If we do, what a night it will be! The mind Boggles!
I must now extend my sympathy to West Ham and in particular to Sverre Harrfeldt who broke a leg last Sunday whilst competing in the European Final of the World Championship. This is a very heavy blow to the Hammers' Championship hopes, and because of this I am not going to write my reply to Mr Lanning's comments in his programme of the 20th August. Sufficient to say that I am pleased to hear that he does not intend to enter into a "Smear Campaign" nor enter into any arguments in public.
I look forward to receiving the results of the "necessary steps" that will be taken in a "democratic and dignified way that befits West Ham" and I shall make my Cockney reply to Mr Lanning then. Those of you who have not read the Dave Lanning column' in his programme will be mystified, but I hope that you are able to discover from your friends the comments that I refer to so that my remarks make sense.
In commiserating with Sverre Harrfeldt, whom I personally admire greatly, both as a man and a rider. I must add my congratulations to our British qualifiers, Ivan Mauger, Barry Briggs, Nigel Boocock and Martin Ashby. Barry, of course, was fortunate to get ride at all, for if you remember he went to Wroclaw as reserve, but travel sickness to, Eric Boocock gave him his chance. Another well-known name to us receives our' congratulations is Monarch's Reidar Eide who qualified with 8 points.
Next week the olde enemy, Exeter; make their bid to pinch league points from us here at, the "Wick". The Falcons are a vastly improved side this term and the fact that Martin Ashby is an absentee is balanced out by the absence of "Banger" from the Hawks, both riders of course, being on' World Championship duty, Incidentally, we hope to be able to announce the results of the Gothenberg meeting during our match next week another reason why I hope to see you all here again, when once more we
Make it a date-Friday at Eight.
AROUND THE RACEWAYS
Keep your eyes on that man Barry Briggs. It seems that Barry was more than a little upset at missing out in the Nordic Final at West Ham. He felt, rightly or wrongly, that, in his injured condition, he might have been treated a little more gently by the rest of the British lads. Had they done so, Barry may well have qualified, and who can doubt that he, above all others, would definitely keep the old flag flying over there on the Continent. But Speedway is a sport in which no quarter is ever asked and very rarely is any given, and who have it any different? But, as I said, Barry is upset. He is reported to have announced that the World of Speedway will have no doubt about his supremacy in the future. Fighting talk that, and typical of the man who rides only to win, win, win. Barry. I admire you, and I hope that you are successful in your wishes.
* * *
Len was really pleased with his guest rider, Terry Betts, who stood in for Bengt at Wimbledon last Thursday. Terry volunteered to stand down in favour of someone else when it was learned that his own machine was en route to Poland on the day of the Wimbledon match, but Len would hear none of it, and how his confidence in Terry was rewarded. Fourteen magnificently taken points to head the Hawks' score chart, and that after driving down from Scotland the night before!
* * *
Back to Barry Briggs again for the moment ... did you know that Peter Vandenberg, of the Wolves, has been acting as mechanic and chauffeur to B.B. during the time that he has been racing under the handicap of injury.
* * *
Behind the scenes discussions are going on at the moment regarding the Division Two Riders' Championship due to take place here on September 27th. It seems that two or three of the qualifiers may be needed by their parent First Division clubs that night, but it is hoped that special arrangements can be made so that the riders concerned can take their rightful place in the line-up here. Two of the men concerned, Mick Handley of Crayford and Wolverhampton, and Mike Cake of Plymouth and Exeter are strongly fancied to lift the title. What a crying shame if one or both of them were absent!
The Peter Douglas Page
Like professionals in other sports, the Hackney men certainly win hands down when it comes to showmanship and one of the first things that I noticed as a newcomer to the "Wick" at the start of this season was the smart turnout of The Magnificent Seven, on and off the track, and this contrasts violently with some of the scruffy 'Erberts you can see around the pits at other fixtures. Malcolm Brown tells me he has lost count of the tins of Cherry Blossom he has expended on his leathers, but a smart turnout certainly does add to the presentation of speedway. Footballers always appear in clean strip and I thought the recent sidecar riders at Rayleigh showed us up just a little with their turnout-immaculate leathers, smart crash helmets and polished bikes. However, a bouquet to the Hackney men for consistently looking smart.
Talking of leathers, Gary Everett is a bit sore that even whilst the collection box was going round the stadium last week for himself and Les McGillivray, he had torn the pocket and ripped the seat of his pants in his new outfit. Gary blamed the Wimbledon track as the culprit.
BOYS IN BLUE
The array of law men in the pits last Friday had, I am assured, nothing to do with recent pits scuffles up and down the country at away fixtures, and reports of bodyguards for leading riders can be discounted! The friendly bobbies often drop by during racing, and who knows, inside the heart of every cop on a Noddy bike a frustrated speedway rider may be trying to get out!
If you heard the sound of blending voices rising from the gents loo in the Hackney pits last Friday before the match, I can report it was just Len Silver and Malcolm running through the words of a pop song that Len has written about speedway, which we are trying to get on record. No more details yet, but I'll keep you posted. At least, whatever the sales, we can guarantee a few Silver discs !
Hackney will have something of an old-time atmosphere for our final night on Friday, 25th October. We don't promise gas lamps and top hats for the staff, but the occasion promises to be something that speedway fans will enjoy and remember. Given a typical, damp Hackney evening, the Victorian atmosphere will be complete! All we really need is FOG to go with your cloth caps and mufflers.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good evening, Supporters,
Time is running short so don't forget to get your tickets to see the World Team Cup Final which is being held at Wembley on Saturday, September 21st Prices of tickets are 30/-,25/-, 17/6, 15/- and 10/- standing. Buses will be going to see this first-ever final, leaving Maud Road at 4.30 pm fare 5/6.
Anyone interested in going to Belle Vue tomorrow for our British League match might like to know we still have one or two seats left, fare is 27/6. Coach leaves Maud Road 8.30am.
On Saturday, September 7th, the Hawks are at Swindon for a British League match. Coach leaves Maud Road 1.30 p.m., fare 19/6.
While at the Kiosk maybe you would like to book for Halifax, if you remember our first trip was rained off. The coach leaves Maud Road 8.30 a.m., September 28th, fare 27/6.
Here is another date for you to keep: our End-of-Season Dance is Saturday, November 2nd, to be held at The Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, 7.30pm to 11.30pm Tickets 6/-.
The Committee are now working out their winter activities, one being the new Club which will open on Friday nights when the season is finished.
Draw tickets for the Riders' Equipment Fund are on sale around the stadium. They are 6d. each, 3 for 1/-, 7 for 2/-.
Last week's lucky winners :
1st 10905-Mr. Cole, Pownall Road, Dalston.
2nd 10376-Mrs. Page, Evering Road, Clapton.
3rd 9625-T. Plant, Holloway Road, N.7.
UP THE HAWKS!
SNOWY BEATIIE (Hon. Sec.)
A very relaxed Len Silver by the start gate at The Wick
Hackney • • • August 2J
by MICHAEL CHANDLER
THE rivalry between two teams becomes as intense as it is between these two neighbours one is bound to feel a certain amount of relaxation or let down when one team takes the field minus its two top scorers, West Ham were the unfortunate victims this time and with Norman Hunter and Sverre Harrfeldt away in Poland to contest the European Final they called upon Belle Vue's Cyril Maidment and Bon Andrews of Cradley Heath.
Shame that a rider of Cyril's capabilities could only muster one point from three rides and Brian Leonard substituted for his fourth. But Andrews, in sharp contrast, dropped only one point, in the last race. His conqueror was Colin Pratt (riding the track spare all night after blowing his own motor to smithereens in the pits prior to the meeting who fairly shot from the tapes.
HACKNEY 47 WEST HAM 31
(pride of the East End Trophy)
Hackney: B. Jansson 11, J. Biggs 10, C. Pratt 8, M. Brown 7, L. McGillivray 5, D. Lukehurst 4, G. Everett 2.
West Ham: B. Andrews 11, K. McKinlay 10, B. Leonard 5, G. Barclay 2, S. Stevens 1, C. Maidment 1, T. Clarke 1.
Ht 1: McKinlay, Everett, Pratt, Stevens, 66.6.
Ht 2: Biggs, McGillivray, Leonard, Maidment, 61.6.
Ht 3: Andrews, Jansson, Lukehurst, Clarke (f), 67.0.
Ht 4: Brown, Barclay, Steven, Everett, 68.0.
Ht 5: Jansson, Lukehurst, Maidment, Leonard, 68.0.
Ht 6: McKinlay, Biggs, McGillivray, Stevens, 67.6.
Ht 7: Andrews, Pratt, Clarke, Everett, 61.4.
Ht 8: Biggs, Leonard, Brown, Barclay, 68.6.
Ht 9: Jansson, McGillivray, Lukehurst, Clark
Ht 10: Andrew, Biggs, McGillivray, Clarke, 68.0.
Ht 11: Brown, Pratt, Leonard, Maidment, 68.6.
Ht 12: Jansson, McKinlay, McGillivray, Clarke, 67.0.
Ht 13: Pratt, Andrews, Leonard, Lukehurst, 61.1.
Len Silver Talking ••••
Enough words have already been written about our English summer to fill several encyclopaedias plus that didn't stop me thinking up some fresh words, so far unwritten, last Friday! Had the rain eased up, even just for a short while, we would have run, in fact the track itself was not too bad, but the referee, quite correctly, held the view that, with continuing rain, riders would be blinded and unable to see and therefore he ruled as too dangerous. Up until his inspection time at 7 pm I had every intention of running. The sawdust was standing by and all we were waiting for was a short let-up of the downpour. But it was not to be, and as a result lots of people had fruitless journeys. I apologise for this, but I hope you will understand the predicament I was in.
But let us forget the rains! Surely there can't be much more up there anyway, can there? Let us think about tonight's little joust with the 'Orrible 'Ammers. This was, of course, to have been a London Cup match, but at the last minute it was discovered that Sverre Harrfeldt and Norman Hunter had to leave today for Wroclaw in Poland for the European Final of the World Championship. Therefore, both Dave Lanning and I felt that with two riders absent it was ludicrous to run a fixture so important to us both. Therefore, we agreed that tonight's fixture should be our annual "Pride of the East End" challenge fixture and the London Cup date will be held during October. In fact, both of our home London Cup fixtures will now take place then because of our rain-off last week. The probable dates are Hawks v Dons on October 11th and Hawks v Hammers on October 18th, both are subject to confirmation. This means that the last two London Cup fixtures will be decided right here at Hackney, and undoubtedly the London title will be decided then, so the matches in October now take on a very important look.
Talking of our October fixtures, as you know, we are running right through until October 25th, and on that date we are going to present a meeting of a very unusual character. It will be our Hackney way of celebrating the end of Speedway's 40th Anniversary Year and I can promise you a meeting that will be talked about throughout the world of Speedway Racing. Now having whetted your appetites and aroused your curiosity a little I'm going to leave you in suspense until next week. By then I will have tied up a few of the more important arrangements and I'll be in a better position to announce our BIG surprise.
It's back into the League battle next week when the Bees of Coventry call. Their newest signing, Antonin Kasper, the flying Czech, is no stranger to us and we recognise him as a man to be feared. He joins a firm favourite of ours, even though he is in the opposing side, Nigel "Little Boy Blue" Boocock, to spearhead the Coventry attack. We've had some tough tussles this year and so far we've been lucky enough to maintain our unbeaten home record. This match promises to be the toughest yet-and the Magnificent Seven MUST triumph to keep at the top of the League. I hope the weather keeps fine and that you'll all come and bring your pals to see this vital match, anyway I'll be here to lead the cheers and see you all then, when once more we'll
Make it a date - Friday at Eight.
AROUND THE RACEWAYS by HAWKEYE
Bill Bridgett, the guvnor of the other "Magnificent Seven" up there in Wolverhampton was a little narked at Jim Airey the other day. Seems that Jim came back into the pits shouting abuse at all and sundry about the condition of the track after dropping his first points in an otherwise unbeaten meeting against Wimbledon. Jim was taken to task by Mr Bridgett in his programme and warned that there were other members of the team coming along fast, and hinting that perhaps Jim was not so important after all!
* * * * *
Talking about other members of the Wolves team, their young up-and-Coming, Mick Handley, is now progressing at a fantastic rate. He was placed on loan to Crayford and has really developed into a first-class performer. Recently he went to Reading and notched seven consecutive wins including a resounding victory over Johnny Poyser. He should be the Crayford representative here in the Division Two Riders' Championship Final on September 27th, so you will have a chance to see this forceful young man in action then
* * * * *
Tor Harryson, Newport's balancing Swedish star, had the misfortune to break a toe in the Eddie Glennon Memorial meeting. It seemed that he was more interested in telephoning his fiancée after the meeting than in getting treatment! Tough guys these riders.
* * * * * *
Hear a whisper that Hackney born Vic White, now resident in Leicester and riding there too, has had an upset with his management. A pity this for Vic has always been an easy chap to get on with. Do not be surprised to see Vic gain a berth with a Second Division club * * * * *
Down at Canterbury, the "Archdeacon," John S. H, was ranting and raving about one of the newspaper reporters who had written a piece about the Canterbury v Rayleigh match. He wrote that the Crusaders were lucky to win. Johnnie raved, "His great long nose must have interfered with his vision. Besides, he rang the report through from my office, ate a plate of my strawberries and left the stems in my ashtray-then drip! Dear old John, where would we be without him!
The Peter Douglas Page
RUNNING A PR BUSINESS…..
Public relations men have been in the news lately, following Lord Arran's attack on them in the "Evening News" he actually disliked us because we offered a mixture of "old school tie and heavy lunches." Naturally our trade- press has been up in arms this week, with a selection of bitter replies, and I thought it might be as well to outline just what we do for our living. My two footballing partners were a little mystified at first, as Eamonn Dunphy put it, "In a fish and chip 'shop, everyone knows what you do you sell fish and chips."
Actually, as a firm of which I am a director, we take our job pretty seriously and the bulk of our work consists of feeding out information to the press. We don't try and do a journalist's job for him but try and supply the sort of information on which to hang a story or fill in background detail, in the case of Hackney this means coming events, riders, heat details, scores, etc. To this end, we maintain a constant supply of information which can be passed on by telephone and we are on call day and night literally, and we are proud of our boast that unlike a lot of firms that shut down from Friday night to Monday morning, we never close! This is because we tend to concentrate on sports-footballers, football clubs, table tennis and show business-and a lot of news happens at the weekend. So it's no use if I am down at my weekend' cottage whilst the phone rings madly in the office.' I personally specialise in television a lot, as I consider it perhaps the most important medium of our time, and I spend a large part of the day feeding reminders-by letter, phone, personal visits, lunch meetings that our clients exist and suggesting how they can be brought into existing programmes, or putting up ideas for new ones. I know personally all the sports producers and naturally watch a lot of television, sports programmes, features, children's programmes, often watching two sets side by side, catching BBC and ITA at the same time! We also have to keep up to date with what's current in the Press and every morning, ALL the daily papers are delivered to the office and during the day we buy several editions of the "News" and "Standard," often up to three or four each afternoon if we are nursing a particular story. I have to get through a lot of sports magazines-all the football and speedway publications-looking for ideas, watching the development of series ideas, seeing what our rivals are doing (an important job this).
Then come meetings with our clients to talk over progress, discuss future plans, and generally examine where we are succeeding or failing. Sometimes I have to spend all day on a special job: for example I had a great day out in Croydon last Saturday doing a survey, with a couple of real dollies! Earlier in the week, I was in Richmond Park doing a series of photographs for a sports magazine. And working as we do for Ember Records, we get our fair share of parties and receptions given by music publishers and the other record companies.
But the bulk of our work is behind the scenes and not very glamorous, writing these programme notes, for one (!) and THINKING. But life is never dull, and we tend to get involved with our clients' problems.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good evening, Supporters,
With rain falling almost non-stop for the whole week, I was beginning to view our Supporters Club Outing to MARGATE on Sunday, 11th August, with somewhat mixed feelings. However, as those who came along will gladly tell you, the weather man must have known it was to be our day out, as the sun glowed throughout the day and a wonderful time was had by all. We were extremely pleased to have with us on this occasion, five of our riders, their wives and children, and, of course, Uncle Len, all of whom said they had a great time. To see them enjoying themselves flying round them Go-Kart track, one could tell how pleased they were to be with us.
Incidentally, as you must well know by now, our British League match at Oxford was rained off. Many supporters made the journey by coach and car and Oxford promoter Danny Dunton was kind enough to have us all signed into the Oxford clubroom as guests for the evening. This is a new clubroom, excellently furnished. Malcolm Brown gave us a cabaret act, including some material that I feel sure the B.B.C. would not be at all keen to sanction. Excellent entertainment, Malc.
The Supporters Club football team were successful with their application for league membership. They have been elected into the London and Essex Border League and will play their home matches on the North Marsh (Hackney Marshes) facing Lesney's.
Any potential footballers who are fifteen years of age or over, and would like a team trail are asked to contact our football secretary Mr S W Jones at 10 Hassett Road, Homerton, London E9 immediately as registration forms have to be in very shortly. One further stipulation is that all football team members MUST hold a current Hackney Speedway Suppers Club Membership Card! Our early season fixtures will be published in this column as soon as they become known, and anyone requiring a complete fixture list should write to the above mentioned address.
Our next away British League match is at Belle Vue on Saturday August 31st. Coach will leave Maud Road (opposite Leyton underground station) at 8.30am prompt. Fare for this trip is 27/6. This is a good way to start your bank holiday weekend with speedway and the famous Belle Vue Gardens.
Draw tickets in aid of the riders equipment fund are on sale as usual this evening priced 6d each, 3 for a 1/- or the bargain price of 7 for 2/-. We have some excellent prizes to offer our lucky winners and these should be claimed immediately after this evenings meeting. Don’t forget by purchasing these tickets you are doing that much extra towards our league championship bid. You may also be one of the lucky winners.
Well that’s it from me this week
Cheerio and UP THE HAWKS
SNOWY BEATTIE (Hon Sec)
Wimbledon. • • August 22
by PHILIP RISING
ON the eve of leaving for the World Championship in Poland, Trevor Hedge gave one of his finest performances against Hackney in the London cup match.
In his first race he was chased from start to finish by Des Lukehurst and Terry Betts, and it came as no surprise when the result was announced that Hedge had lowered the track record from 63.1 to 62.9 sec. Hedge had six rides and his only defeat came in the last heat when Terry Betts led from the gate.
Betts rode for Hackney as a replacement for Bengt Jansson, who was in Sweden, and the King's Lynn star certainly gave the Hawks the help they needed.
Alan Cowland was absent from the Wimbledon team, he was in Poland and was replaced by Tony Clarke, who was unplaced in the two races he had.
The opening heat saw a crash on the first bend when Colin Pratt fell, Garry Everett hit his partner's machine, crashed and went under the safety fence.
Pratt was excluded from the rerun and Nygren and Tebby gave the Dons a good start with a 5-1 win. Garry Middleton was excluded in the 11th heat for boring Les McGillivray, and the Hawks rider was unable to take his last ride owing to machine trouble.
Wimbledon: T. Hedge 17, O. Nygren 14, R. Luckhurst 11, G. Middleton 8, B. Dugard 6, J. Tebby 5, P. Murray 2, T. Clarke 0.
Hackney: T. Betts 14, C. Pratt 9, M. Brown 8. L McGillivray 6, G. Everett 4, D. Lukehurst 3, Biggs 0, A. Jackson 0.
Ht 1 (re-run): Nygren, Tebby, Everett, Pratt (exc), 66.4.
Ht 2: Luckhurst, Middleton, McGillivray, Biggs, 65.6.
Ht 3: Hedge, Lukehurst, Betts, Clarke, 62.9.
Ht 4: Brown, Dugard, Murray, Jackson (ef), 66.7.
Ht 5: McGillivray, Nygren, Tebby, Biggs, 65.7.
Ht 6: Betts, Middleton, Luckhurst, Lukehurst (f), 65.2.
Ht 7: Hedge, Pratt, Everett, Clarke, 64.5.
Ht 8: Betts, Nygren, Tebby, Brown, 65.1
Ht 9: Hedge, McGillivray, Dugard, Biggs, 65.4.
Ht 10: Pratt, Middleton, Luckhurst, Everett, 64.5.
Ht 11: Nygren, Betts. Middleton (exc), McGillivray (ef), 66.3.
Ht 12: Luckhurst, Everett, Dugard, Lukehurst (f), 66.4.
Ht 13: Hedge, Pratt, Tebby, Biggs, 64.7,
Ht 14: Brown, Dugard, Murray, Jackson, 65.9.
Ht 15: Nygren, Middleton, Lukehurst, Everett, 65.0.
Ht 16: Luckhurst , Pratt, Brown, Dugard, 64.3.
Ht 17: Hedge, Betts, Brown, Tebby, 64.1.
Ht 18: Betts, Hedge, Nygren, Pratt, 65.5.
Hackney • • • August 16th
by Dave Whitta
Well the weather was the only winner in this London Cup encounter. Len told you’re intrepid reporter that if it had stopped raining by about seven o’clock he could have got the meeting on, but alas the rains didn’t stop and the referee Mr G F Little had no real option but to call the meeting off. A new provisional restaging date is the 11th October.
Len Silver Talking • • •
When I arrived at the stadium last Friday and looked ill horror at the track. In some places almost two feet of water covered the surface. The drains were all waterlogged and filled with sludge, and to cap it all it is still raining! I do not think that there was one person in the stadium that day who thought that I would be able to run. In fact, the staff left the tarpaulin sheets around the dog track, although this was just as much due to the immense weight of them, they being waterlogged too, as to the thought that we probably would not run I telephoned the Meteorological Office for an accurate forecast and was told that I could expect rain, rain, and then some more rain ! But I knew that I had to try. So we quickly telephoned for assistance of a mechanical water pump (the first time ever that we have had to do this) and when it arrived we got to work. Meanwhile, the stadium lorry went out arid collected some sawdust to hold in readiness. My helpers worked like men possessed, and by a miracle the rain ceased during the afternoon, giving us the break we needed to remove the last few gallons of water, then on with the sawdust just before the "Off" and the result was praise from all the riders, both British and Continental, for a track fit to race on (well almost, anyway!)
Alas, many, many people could not conceive that it was possible to run, and who can blame them after such a week of water? The lowest crowd at Hackney for over two seasons and this for one of our ''Plum'' fixtures! When Gordon Cox, the Rayleigh team manager, saw me on Saturday he said, ''1 fully expected to read in the papers that you had committed suicide after last night." I forced a smile and answered, "Ah well, it’s only money!"
This should surely be the final education needed to PROVE beyond all shadow of doubt that the Hackney track CAN and will take more water than almost any other track in the country, and barring actual torrential rain at 8 p.m. we should never have to suffer the misfortune of- a "Rained Off" meeting. PLEASE, folks, remember this and tell all your pals as well, it is so disappointing to get everyone slogging away in order not to disappoint Mr Public, only to find that Mr Public doesn't come anyway!
Anyway, the match proved to be a real thriller, and one can see the improvement the Czech riders since their last visit, and it is no wonder that they knocked the Russians out of the World Team Cup in the European Qualifying Rounds. I think that by the time September the 21st comes round, one or two other nations might well be in for a surprise. With Antonin Kaspar now really feeling his feet on English tracks and being able to pass on more detailed knowledge about gear ratios, tyre pressures, carburation problems, and other mechanical items which may be different to those encountered in their native land, I think that the Czechoslovakian team are going to make us all notice them at Wembley.
Talking of Wembley, Snowy Beattie tells me that ticket sales are beginning to shoot up rapidly. Hawks fans can expect to see at least one of their favourites there for "Banger" is certain of a place In the Swedish Side. Can we expect to see Colin in the British team? That, of course, is in the lap of the Selection Committee. Naturally I shall press the claims of our skipper, and I know that if he keeps up his brilliant form of the moment, he must be considered for a place. We can only wait and see. Meanwhile, do not delay get your ticket NOW so that you can have a better selection of seating. Now we must say a big Hackney "Welcome," to the Dons from South London.
They call in search of points for the London cup title. Their form recently has improved considerably, and although they are placed well down the British League table, do not under estimate their chances tonight. A couple of weeks ago they went to West Ham and pulled off a drawn match, much to everyone's surprise, and since that time their points scoring ability seems to have taken a markedly upward trend. Man to watch might well be Alan Cowland who tells me that his new Eso seems to have worked a little miracle for him. Whatever happen I know that we are in for a real scorcher, let us hope that our Magnificent Seven are just a little more scorcher than the Dons.
The team and I had a wonderful day at the seaside last Sunday when we joined the Supporters' Club in their annual outing to Margate. Bengt was the only Hawk to be brave enough to go in for a swim. I made a wonderful Nursemaid taking all the kids for a donkey ride! Highlight of the day was undoubtedly our race on the Go-Kart track in Dreamland. Malcolm, rather unfairly I thought, whacked me in the rear to spin me round, and then proceeded to do the same to Banger.
Gary and Les, meanwhile, were craftily working their way to the front. I still do not know who the eventual winner was, but sure enough all the Supporters got some lovely action photos there.
Next week the 'Orrible 'Ammers come a-calling in our London Cup match. At the moment, Dave Lanning and I are not seeing eye to eye because I took him to task about an article which he wrote in the Daily Sketch. So I reckon that he'll be giving his lads a bit of an extra "GEE-UP" to try and score one over on me. Meanwhile, the "Hawks" are full of confidence, and are very keen to take the title of top London club this year. So it's going to be a real old "Needle': match next Friday. Please let the sun shine for it!
As an added attraction next week we shall have the pleasure of some real music from the "Supremes." I think they will prove to be a very popular trio and I hope that you will come along and enjoy seeing them.
Well, let's get into battle with our guests from Wimbledon and get into trim for our bout next week with the 'Ammers, I’ll see you all then when once more we'll,
Make it a date, Friday at Eight!
AROUND THE RACEWAYS by HAWKEYE
The Supporters' Club will be holding a collection tonight. The proceeds will help to pay for the new leathers, helmets and boots etc. that Les and Gary have had to buy after having their kit stolen up in Glasgow. A new outfit costs over £50, and it came as quite a blow to our two merry men when they discovered the loss. I know that you will all want to give a generous donation to help the Supporters' Club make up to the lads for what they have lost.
The eight men to qualify for the European Final in Wroclaw, Poland, on their way to the World Final in Gothenberg are: Ivan Mauger 15 points; Nigel Boocock 13; Reidar Eide 13; Martin Ashby 11; Sverre Harrfeldt 10; Terry Betts 10; Trevor Hedge 9; and Eric Boocock 7. First reserve is Norman Hunter, second reserve Barry Briggs. Our congratulations must go to them, and our best wishes for their success in gaining a place in the Final.
During the Supporters' Club outing to Margate last Sunday the team members were sitting in a restaurant having lunch, and engaged in conversation with a couple of ex-Harringay fans from way back. “It’s not the same today," said one. ''When you had the likes of Jackie Biggs and then, you really had racing." Jack guffawed with laughter at this remark, and was the chap's face red when he found out who he'd been talking to! Len promptly handed the chaps some complimentary tickets, so the boob made was profitable after all!
League placings are sometimes made more interesting when placed alongside the current Team Strengths list issued by the Official Statistician. Here are those for August :
West Ham 48.11
Belle Vue 47.33
Kings Lynn 43.67
Since the above figures were published, Poole have been strengthened by the addition to their side of Arne Pander, now recovered from his injury sustained here earlier this year.
The Peter Douglas Page
T.V. OR NOT T.V.-THAT IS THE QUESTION
Battling as I am daily to get more coverage of speedway on television, I sometimes wonder as I glance through the schedules if the planners have not sometimes gone mad. Take a look for example at B.B.C.'s "Grandstand," that stalwart of the sports world, served up every Saturday from W.l2. Four screenings of athletics, surely the most boring sport ever shown on television, with the usual mish-mash of knobbly legs, nondescript figures climbing in and out of track suits, officious white-trousered officials all over the place and a general air of chaos: and watching it all, a small knot of spectators, two or three hundred at most. Then, having suffered horse racing every afternoon from Monday to Friday (I know, because my partner Eamonn Dunphy has the office TV set on all the time between trips to the betting shop), what do we get three visits to Newmarket. And in case-you like your horses jumping up and down instead of just running about, Show Jumping hit our screens at 4.00 o'clock for 35 minutes. So much for the BBC dish.
Turning now to the ITA, I realise they have suffered this week due to the technicians' dispute which has kept even producers and directors out of the studio. But are they to be forgiven for their "World of Sport" epic? Admitted I enjoyed the slight change and watched the water skiing, but must we have a further diet of horses (this time from Dublin), nearly an hour's wrestling (in a SPORTS programme? they're joking, of course) and a minor epic documentary, mysteriously titled "Black Power in American Athletics. Serialised in half hour lots, I'm sure that would quickly top the TAM ratings!
Fortunately, I was able to get last Friday's match filmed by British Movietone News and this will be shown in your local cinemas from today, but it maddens me to see so much time wasted on the TV screen. As I write these notes, London Weekend bogged down still by the strike are screening Manchester United versus Benfica under the dubious title "Match of the Year." Okay, I know we had to sit through Elsie Tanner's wedding twice over, but I know the Manchester United game almost by heart by now. And on the other side, is there perhaps a ray of light piercing through the gloom from Shepherds bush. No, rest assured in case you might think some original ideas had managed to penetrate the mass of mediocrity served up by the BBC: they are showing "Blue beard's Eighth Wife" made in 1933, exact1y 30 years ago! Undaunted, later tonight they plan to show ANOTHER Bob Hope relic in the "Laugh with Hope" series. Laugh? I personally am on my knees in front of the TV set, beating it on top with frustration!
PINT SIZED HEROES
Mounting borrowed bikes, Tiger Beech and Steve Calder, both youngsters well known around the Hackney pits put on a great show of racing for the first time at Rayleigh last Saturday. Tiger made the gate and beat Steve in 70.0 seconds over three laps. Maybe the fact that he was wearing Colin's leathers had something to do with it. I don't know if the boys have got over the speed bug or are just itching for more, but the best of luck to two possible future champions.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good Evening. Supporters,
Last Friday we entertained the Prague team and, of course, our own Magnificent Seven to a supper in the Pits restaurant. It was a very enjoyable end to an otherwise damp night, and the Czech boys proved once again to be very friendly and full of fun.
Our Club outing to Margate on Sunday was a huge success and nearly all the team were present. We had a lot of fun in Dreamland with the team giving us all a lot of laughs on the Go-Karts, The evening ended with Malcolm entertaining us with a couple of songs and a good old fashioned sing song on the coach homeward bound.
The winning draw tickets last week were lost after the lucky holders had collected their prizes so we are unable to tell you there names and numbers, but the prizes were chosen from our big new selection and I hope that you will help the Riders' Equipment Fund to reach even dizzier heights by rushing out to get your ticket right now.
We will be collecting tonight for donations towards the new leathers that Les and Gary have had to buy. Theirs were stolen in Glasgow after the winning League match there. I hope you are able to give generously to aid the lads cover this heavy and unnecessary expense.
Our next away trip by coach is to Belle Vue. It is on Saturday, August 31st, and it is for a British League match. Book your seat tonight, fare is only 27/6 and the coach will leave Maud Road at 8.30am sharp.
Bookings are going well for the bus to the World Team Cup Final at Wembley. Fare is only 5/6. If you help us by booking early, we will know just how many buses to engage.
Our trip to Oxford was rather damp (I almost added "as usual" ) but we had a pleasant evening in their new clubroom. We now look forward to our re-run of this match on October 3rd. Naturally we shall run another coach then.
Cheerio for now and Up the Hawks!
SNOWY BEATTIE, Hon. Sec
West Ham ••• August 13
by MARTIN ROGERS
THREE times this season Hackney have come to West Ham and given the tie to the widely-held theory that this is no place for visiting teams to shine.
West Ham ousted Hackney from the K.O. Cup with a 55-52 score line, beat them 41-37 in the British League; and although this time the win margin stretched to 10 points the meeting didn't suffer at all by comparison with the previous two.
West Ham, predictably, owed most to Sverre Harrfeldt and Norman Hunter who scored 16 (paid 17) apiece. But with skipper Ken McKinlay [pictured above] having a motor-plagued night the biggest aid came from an unexpected quarter. Stan Stevens, so often the Custom House quiet man, showed his teeth this night and scored 11 gutsy points from his five rides.
Hackney, sadly, didn't quite give top two Colin Pratt and Bengt Jansson the support needed to pull this one out of the fire, hard though they tried. Jansson and Harrfeldt were locked in close combat for four sensational laps in Heat 6-the titbit of the season this and Pratt coolly stopped the maximum hopes of Harrfeldt and Hunter.
WEST HAM 59 HACKNEY 49
West Ham: N. Hunter 16, S. Harrfeldt 16, S. Stevens 11, K. McKinlay 6, T. Clarke 5, G. Barclay 3, B. Leonard 2, B. Crowson 0.
Hackney: C. Pratt 14, B. Jansson 13, M. Brown 7, A. Jackson 4, J. Biggs 4, L. McGillivray 3, D. Lukehurst 3, G. Everett 1.
Ht 1: Hunter, Pratt, Clarke, Everett, 72.8.
Ht 2: Harrfeldt, Biggs, McGillivray, Leonard, 73.2.
Ht 3: Jansson, Stevens, McGillivray, Lukehurst 73.8
Ht 4: Jackson, Brown, Barclay, Crowson, 75.4.
Ht 5: Hunter, Biggs, Clarke, McGillivray, 72.4.
Ht 6: Harrfeld, Jansson, Leonard, Lukehurst, 73.6.
Ht 7: Pratt, Stevens, Everett, McKinlay (ef), 74.8.
Ht 8: Hunter, Jansson, Lukehurst, Clarke, 74.0.
Ht 9: McKinlay, Stevens, McGillivray, Biggs (nf). 75.6.
Ht 10: Pratt. Harrfeldt, Leonard, Everett. 74.0.
Ht 11: Jansson, Hunter, McGillivray, Leonard, 73.2.
Ht 12: Stevens, Harrfeldt, Lukehurst, Everett, 74.4.
Ht 13: Pratt, Clarke, McKinlay, Biggs (nf), 74.4.
Ht 14: Brown, Barclay, Jackson, Crowson, 76.2.
Ht 15: Hunter, Brown, Lukehurst, Leonard. 73.6.
Ht 16: Harrfeldt, Pratt, Stevens, Biggs (nf), 74.2.
Ht 17: Jansson, McKinlay, Clarke, McGillivray, 74.6.
Ht 18: Harrfeldt, Hunter, Pratt, Jansson, 73.6
Hackney • • • August 9
by MICHAEL CHANDLER
ONLY the tremendous work of the track staff prevented postponement of this meeting and on the saturated track close, exciting racing was impossible early on.
However, as the surface began to dry we saw something of the visitors' true potential with Jan Holub and Antonin Svab particularly hard working while Antonin Kasper confirmed his recent good form. The one big disappointment was the riding of their captain Lubos Tomicek who, it seems, just doesn't relish riding in the wet.
Meanwhile, the Hawks skipper Colin Pratt, scored a paid maximum and the solid backing he received saw the hosts comfortably home.
HACKNEY 46 PRAGUE 32
Hackney: C. Pratt 11, B. Jansson 10, J. Biggs 8, D. Lukehurst 7, L. McGillivray 5, M. Brown 3, G. Everett 2.
Prague: A. Kasper 10, J. Holub 5, J. Volf 5, A. Svab 5, F. Ledecky 4, M. Verner 3, L. Tomicek O.
Ht 1: Pratt, Volf, Holub, Everett, 70.6.
Ht 2: McGillivray, Biggs, Ledecky, Tomicek, (f.exc),70.0.
Ht 3: Kasper, Svab, Jansson, Lukehurst, (f. rem). 69.4.
Ht 4: Brown, Volf, Everett, Verner, 71.6.
Ht 5: Jansson, Lukehurst, Ledecky, Tomicek, 70.0.
Ht 6: Biggs, Holub, McGillivray, Volk, 71.5.
Ht 7: Pratt, Kasper, Svab, Everett, 71.4.
Ht 8: Biggs, Verner, Volk, Brown, 71.2.
Ht 9: Jansson, Lukehurst, Holub, Volf, 70.4.
Ht10: Kasper, Svab, McGillivray, Biggs (nf) 71.2.
Ht 11: Pratt, Ledecky, Everett, Tomicek, 71.0.
Ht 12: Jansson, Kasper, Holub, McGillivray, 70.2.
Ht 13: Lukehurst. Pratt, Verner, Svab, 71.6
Len Silver Talking • • •
Does anybody want to buy 2,000 out of date Speedway programmes? Bargain price, and only slightly soiled by water! And I'm not joking! Well, not much, anyway. That asterisk rain last week ruined what promised to be one of our most outstanding meetings ever, and even on the wet and sloppy surface, the race times were still quite good. I hope that this was due to the new granite chippings, but it is difficult to tell until we have a dry meeting. The racing certainly perked up towards the later stages as the track began to dry, and I think we should congratulate all the riders on putting us on such a good show in very difficult conditions. Congratulations, of course, to the outright winner, Anders Michanek of Leicester. Perhaps being a Swedish team mate of "Banger's" has its advantages?
Our Czechoslovakian guests this evening are especially welcome. There is something about an international meeting that seems to bring OUT the best in British Speedway Supporters. They love to see the home team win, but amazingly when they are in the process of so doing, they often cheer on the opposition to encourage them! And it is with this friendly spirit that we greet our Eastern European opponents tonight. With the highly charged political situation in their home-land, we hope that we can help to make them forget their domestic problems, and I know that free Speedway folk everywhere will be right behind them in their negotiations.
The Prague team managed to amass only 26 points when they called last year, but none the less, the meeting was never lacking in entertainment value. With experience behind them of last year's tour, I am hoping that the score will be a lot closer tonight.
But our Hawks have got the wind behind them at the moment, and I feel that it's going to take a very tough outfit indeed to head us home here at the "Wick." Stranger things have happened though, especially in the World of Speedway, and with a few changes to their team, who can tell what will happen tonight?
Another "First" for Hackney. I refer to the "Speedway Special" newspaper that began its career here last week. The Evening Post is actually an evening paper published in Reading, and they produced a magnificent "Speedway Special" down there in Berkshire.
Naturally I cast envious eyes at it, and, never wishing to let the grass grow under my feet, when they intimated to me that It might be possible to produce one for Hackney, I rounded up P.R.O. Peter Douglas, and before you could say "Hackney for the Championship" we had knocked our heads together with the Evening Post and produced last week's first edition. Priced at the normal newspaper price of 5d., it represents terrific value for the Speedway enthusiast. But its value to the sport, and to Hackney in particular, goes much further. Peter Douglas and I are hoping that this special edition, which will now become a weekly regular feature, will infiltrate into the local newsagents, barbers' shops, cafes, hairdressing salons, fish and chip shops, and in fact everywhere that newspapers are read and used. And this is where YOU can help. When you have read your copy, and 1 know that you are going to help maintain its continuity by forking out your 5d. each week, if you see to it that people OUTSIDE the stadium get a glance at it, you will be acting like the best ambassador Speedway ever had. So do your stuff, folks, and who knows what heights we might reach? Of one thing I am absolutely certain, the special edition of the Evening Post has undoubtedly been a major factor in the huge success of Speedway Racing in the town of Reading.
The attendance figures there rise each week, if they can do as much for Hackney, and WITH YOU'RE help I think they can, then I'm sure that we're going to be delighted. For we all want one thing, for Hackney to be TOPS in everything, and with the larger numbers of people making the turnstiles click, everything is possible. I have visions of great things for our future. Alas, like many other ideas, it is only the money that is holding them back. Perhaps my visions are not so far away after all?
Talking about newspapers, I must register my displeasure at what I read in the Daily Sketch last Friday. As most of you already know, our great rival, Dave Lanning, boss man at West Ham, writes a weekly column in the Sketch under the pen-name Dave Lang. Now I would have thought that in writing this column he had a duty to the public to present Speedway news in a completely unbiased way. However, on reading last week's epistle I discovered yet a further harmful reference to the ridiculous rumours concerning Colin and Bengt, Again, no questions were asked of me by Mr Lanning before writing his stuff, to ascertain either the credibility of it, or perhaps even to ask a comment about it. After all, I suppose one could say that I am slightly involved. But more than that the column went on to give a long review of the present League situation, summing up the prospects of title chasing West Ham and Hackney, as well as the other clubs in the hunt, and referring to the necessity of Hackney gaining League points from their trip to Scotland. All good stuff and to the point, but, from the way in which it was written, one could have easily drawn the conclusion that there was no meeting here last week due to the absence of the team. The Eddie Glennon Memorial meeting quite rightly had a mention, but of Superama, not one word. I should remind Mr Lanning that, World Championship meetings apart, only the Internationale at Wimbledon has a stronger line-up of star riders, every other championship meeting has a lesser number of heat leaders, and SUPERAMA contains SIXTEEN. Every competitor is a heat leader with the exception of the reserves. It is this strong line-up that makes it such an attractive, if expensive, meeting, and surely one could reasonably say that its importance in the Speedway scene is now high. But not one word from "Dave Lang." Both I and the Managing Director of Hackney Stadium have written letters of complaint, and perhaps if some of you wrote to the Sketch also, we might not have a recurrence of this unhappy state of affairs. I would have thought that it is the duty of all Speedway promoters and managers to pull together to place Speedway Racing at the top of the tree, and speaking personally, I am always prepared to go to great length to achieve this, as many of you know. Most of my colleagues in the Promoters' Association do the same, it is a pity that there seems to be an odd man out.
When Wimbledon come visiting next Friday, hopeful of starting out well in their bid for the London Cup, I think that they're in for a shock. Determination and team spirit. Those are the key words. Mind you, I notice with, I must admit, a little pleasure, that the Dons forced West Ham to a draw at the Custom House track two weeks ago, so it would appear that they have pulled themselves out of the doldrums that they seem to have been in this year, so maybe they might shock US. I know that I always take great pleasure from their visits. Their team manager, Vic Gooden, was my old boss, so I love to show him just how much his pupil has learned! So I look forward to seeing him and you next week when the Dons come a-calling, so don't forget to
Make it a date, Friday at Eight.
THE CZECH SCENE by peter oakes
On paper tonight's battle with Prague should be the easiest of this year's international clashes. After all Czechoslovakia come a long long way behind the Swedes Poles and Russians in the international rankings. All matter of how many the Hawks will reel off? Not a bit of it. Tonight is likely to be the hardest meeting of the season at Waterden Road! There is no club side in Britain with the all-round strength depth that this mighty Prague outfit can pack into their party. With Antonin Kaspar now absolutely flying after a slow start for Coventry and the power of Lubos Tomicek re-added to the team after an earlier decision to leave him out I think the Hawks will be hard pressed to win. We will be seeing for the first time the Czech's first ever World Finalist-27-year-old JAROSLAV VOLF who has made a miracle recovery from a frightening injury that seemed certain to end his international career. .
JAN HOLUB, firmly entrenched as their number one (despite the presence of Kaspar and Tomicek) top scored for a squad that also included Frantisek Ledecky and Miroslav Verner. FRANTISECK LEDECKY is a seasoned international in his late twenties who rode here last year. Once again he is to the forefront in Czechoslovakia's domestic scene, where team racing takes a back seat to individual competitions, and seemed a likely contender for Gothenburg until he drew a semi-final qualifier in Poland.
After seven years of regular riding MIROSLAV VERNER is having his best ever year and was reserve for the Continental Final after an inspiring qualifier at Mszeno, Czechoslovakia-a meeting won by the unbeaten Tomicek. Not bad for a man of 30.
It still makes him a chicken when you look at balding ANTONIN SVAAB a near veteran of 36. An all the year round sportsman-he was third 'in the 1966 World Ice-Racing Championship and fifth this year and last-he didn't start riding until he was 28. He didn't tour Poland but there are few riders with the international experience KAREL PRUSA of who is a regular on the European speedway circuit.
Keep your eye on MIROSLA SMID. He's a new name to most British speedway supporters. He's not one of the Czech big boys-and as far as can discovery has yet to make his international debut, but my spies behind the Iron Curtain tell me that he went well in the World Championship qualifiers. Every Iron Curtain tour party brings along its unknown. Prague-a collective name for a representative side from the city's four track-is no exception. There's young VACLAV VERNER who’s likely to have one or two rides in the reserve berth.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if we didn't see him tonight as he is more likely to be given his chance at Leicester and Glasgow.
Those are the strangers we'll be seeing tonight-by the time they have raced their seven meetings in this country in eight days’ time, I trust they will be strangers no longer.
AROUND THE RACEWAYS by HAWKEYE
Imagine the feelings of young Toni Kasper, son of Coventry's Czechoslovakian star when his father scored his first ever maximum for the Bees against Coatbridge. He fully expected him to receive a trophy, or perhaps some laurel wreaths, or at the very least a congratulatory handshake. But what did he get? He got thrown into the air by the rest of the team! Ah well, he was told that all Englishmen were mad!
* * *
I hear that Charles Ochiltree is not alone in his plea for a change in the international selection set-up. Crying louder and perhaps longer, and it seems justifiably too, is Halifax boss, Reg Fearman. It seems that the selection Committee have not only upset him by taking his star men for more than their fair share of International meetings, thus robbing the Dukes of their services, but the bookings have been arriving so late that his programme printing has gone haywire.
* * *
Oh, how the mighty are fallen! Swindon, 1967 League Champions, and right worthy champions at that, received their biggest ever defeat recently, at the hands of Belle Vue, the score? 55 - 23. But it must be remembered, of course, that Swindon, like so many teams this year, have been sadly hit by injuries lately, notably, of course, to star among stars, Barry Briggs.
* * *
As the international series begin to slacken off, interest is now beginning to swing towards the World Team Cup Final due to take place for the first time in England this year. Wembley, on Saturday, 21st September, is the venue and date, and without any doubt at all, this meeting is going to prove the most popular Wembley meeting for many years. The formula of the World Team Cup matches is such that, not only does a man ride for his team, but also for himself. Each team having one representative only in each race! Thus we might see, for example, Antoni Woryna, Barry Briggs, Bengt Jansson and Igor Plechanov all competing in the same race, but racing for TEAM points. Yes, with England's chances uppermost at the moment, I think Wembley will be packed on that occasion.
* * *
Nice to hear that crowd figures at Middlesbrough are definitely on the upgrade. I know that many know-alls predicted a short and dull life for the new Second Division venture there. After all, they argued, the Tees-side area has never proved a real hot-bed for the sport. It just goes to show that Speedway can and does succeed with the aid of an attractive team and a live management.
The Peter Douglas Page
My sympathies go to London Weekend Television run by my good friend Jimmy Hill for the chaos caused within seconds of their launching last Friday by the technicians' dispute. I have not yet had a chance to see the new sports programme "Sports Arena" which Jimmy is directing as it happens on Friday when I'm down at Hackney, but as you well know, Len Silver and I have been sitting on the doorsteps of the news companies ever since they were announced and we are hoping that at least one of our schemes for televised speedway WILL come to fruition. I am also closely watching the various new magazine and feature programmes on the new stations and have already put up a number of suggestions. Sorry, no more details at present, but our rivals also read these pages.
The arrival of the special speedway edition of the "Evening Post” last Friday was a triumph of editorial flair (Len Silver) and organisation by the Reading publishers, The idea was first mooted on Monday evening, following a chance remark at the Reading track and enterprising Len was as usual quickly on the ball. From my office all Wednesday a stream of phone calls to the editor and circulation manager and we were in business. The entire editorial was written by Len as fast as we could get it down on the typewriter and hustled into that night's post. And photographer Alf Weedon came through with the splendid array of pictures that decorate the first edition. The speedway special will be a regular feature at Hackney and I think you will agree with me it’s an interesting five pence worth.
RUMOURS AND RUMOURS OF RUMOURS
Len certainly went to town with his opening editorial last week and I told him it's the best he's written! Apparently lack of space had to cut short the flow of words; he could have gone on. . . . Seriously though, I am glad we have come out into the open on what could lead to a serious crisis of morale, both amongst the riders and, even more important, amongst you our supporters.
However, I don't know if I fancy Len's idea of the pair of us mounting speedway bikes to fight off the opposition!
THIS 'N' THAT
The publishing venture I predicted last week was not in fact the arrival of the "speedway special." Despite quizzing by perplexed reporters, I'm afraid I have to stay mum on this one too....
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good evening, Supporters,
Our Mid-Summer Dance that was held at the Pigeons Hotel the Saturday before last was a huge success. In spite of the alternative attractions taking place on that evening, a good attendance ensured the right atmosphere. Highlight of the evening was a cabaret act by Malcolm, Colin and Bengt, Hilarious stuff that had us all in fits. We have come to expect this sort of entertainment from Malcolm, but Colin and Bengt really surprised us, and secretly I think that they surprised themselves! Surely, anyone seeing Colin join in the fun, and acting as he did, would know how happy he is to be a Hawk and would cast aside these silly transfer rumours. We look forward to our next dance at the end of the season.
A quick reminder to supporters going on the outing to Margate this Sunday, the coach will leave Maud Road at 8.30 a.m., so don't be late.
Our next coach trip to follow the team is to Belle Vue on August 31st. This is always a popular journey because of the fun we have in the pleasure gardens before and after the match, so please book early to avoid disappointment. The fare is 27/6 and a small deposit will reserve your seat, any kiosk will be pleased to make your booking.
When you visit the kiosks, you can purchase your ticket for the World Team Cup Final at Wembley on September 21st. Prices are: 30/-, 25/, 17/6, 15/-, 10/-. We shall, naturally, run buses to this and the fare will be 5/6, so you can make your reservations for the journey at the same time. One bus will, incidentally, pick up travellers in the Harringay area en route to Wembley. Certainly Bengt will be in the meeting, riding for Sweden, and maybe Colin might be picked for Great Britain, so our ticket sales are likely to be high, so don't leave it until the last moment, get yours NOW.
We have a new selection of prizes for the Riders' Equipment Fund Draw tonight, so dig out all that loose change and take your chance of a bonanza win, helping the team as you do. Tickets are only 6d each, 3 for a shilling or 7 for two bob. Last week's lucky winners were:
1st Prize 8434-R. Rayment, Leicester Road, E1l
2nd Prize 8466-S. Harris, Chigwell, Essex.
3rd Prize 8431-Rosemarie Clare, Sturge Avenue, E17.
We're all cock-a-hoop at being back at the top of the League because of that great away win at Glasgow. Keep up the pressure, lads, we're right behind you.
Cheerio for now and "Up the Hawks,"
SNOWY BEATTIE, Hon. Sec.
THE HAWKS IN SCOTLAND by Dave Erskine
After a hair-raising ride in the rear seat of Jack Biggs' car, I arrived in Glasgow a little breathless but otherwise safe an hour before the match started, even though we left London as late as noon on Friday! The way that Jack drove his car was a foretaste of the way in which he rode his bike. In the early races, Glasgow took a short lead which disappointed me somewhat, but in heat five Les and Jack pulled us back on level terms with a well-taken 5-1. It is possible that we would have been ahead at this point had it not been for Malcolm losing a chain when lying second in heat four. The scores remained level until heat eight, when Jack Biggs and Gary Everett pulled off another 5-1, Gary fighting his way through the field to back up the fast gating Jack. I, therefore, decided to put Gary out again in heat nine and with Jimmy Macmillan winning the race, Gary forced his way past Russ Dent to join skipper Colin Pratt and draw the points. At this stage the score was Glasgow 25, Hackney 29-and victory was in sight. We went further ahead with a 4-2 in heat ten with Banger and Des. In heat eleven my heart sank as the previously high-scoring Jack and Les found the Tigers' pairing of Oyvind Berg and Jimmy Macmillan too much to contain, and after the heat we were then only two points ahead and victory seemed to be slipping from our grasp, but dismay turned to jubilation in the penultimate heat, when Colin and Banger made no mistake and put us back into a six point lead. The amazing part about this race was the fact that Colin's fuel tank came adrift as he dropped his clutch at the starting gate, and for four laps he struggled to hold it in position with his knee. This may sound difficult enough, but when you learn that Colin had to fight through from last to second to gain the 5-1 we so badly needed, you will appreciate the magnificence of the performance! He played a real captain's part. A drawn heat from Les and Des brought the final total to 42-36. Full scorers: Colin-9, Malcolm-0, Les-6, Jack-8, Bengt-10, Des-4, Gary-5.
The following evening we travelled to the alarmingly banked track at Coatbridge, where try as they may the Hawks were never able to overcome the difficulty of being left behind at the gate because of persistent "creeping" by the home team, and in spite of repeated protests to the referee by our promoter, this state of affairs was allowed to continue throughout the evening. The final score of Coatbridge-53, Hackney-25, in no way reflects the manner in which the Hawks went about their business. Les and Des both found the track very difficult to ride, but the rest of the boys put on a fighting display once they had got the hang of it. Perhaps when Reidar Eide knocked a whole second off the track record in heat one, we knew that we had a stiff task! Our defeat at Coatbridge, however, could not take away the jubilation of the boys for their win the previous night. Full scorers: Colin-8, Malcolm-4, Les-2, Jack-5, Bengt 6, Des 0, Gary 0.
The Hawks were due to ride riding at Oxford Cheetahs speedway tonight in a vital BLD1 match, but unfortunately the weather has beaten both teams. The re-run date is now Thursday 3rd October.
Coatbridge ••• August 3
by JOCK ANDERSON
Coatbridge has seen no zippier league match all season. The scores suggest that Monarchs walked away with it.
Not a bit of it! The table toppers from London put up a tremendous fight and there was not a less-than-thrilling race in the 13.
What a meeting! In a dust bowl-even the local fire brigade couldn't dampen it down-Reider Eide smashed Martin Ashby's track record in the first heat. There was tape breaking, exclusions and false starts galore, but when it came to the crunch every Monarch was in there fighting.
Heat 2 produced fireworks when Brian Collins and then George Hunter were excluded for tape-breaking. Reserve Alex Hughson was called up and led Jack Biggs and Les McGillivray all the way to earn a Hampden Roar-type ovation.
Coatbridge: B. Persson 12, R. Eide 11, D. Templeton 8, A. Hughson 7, B. Harkins 6, G. Hunter 5, B. Collins 4.
Hackney: C. Pratt 8, B. Jansson 6, J. Biggs 5, M. Brown 4, L. McGillivray 2, D. Lukehurst 0, G. Everett 0
Ht 1: Eide, Pratt, Templeton. Brown, 65.4 (track record).
Ht 2: Hughson, Biggs, McGillivray, Hunter (exc). 69.4.
Ht 3: Persson, Harkins,. Jansson, Lukehurst. 68.8.
Ht 4: Templeton, Brown, Hughson, Everett. 69.8.
Ht 5: Persson, Hughson, McGillivray, Harkins (exc), 70.0.
Ht 6: Pratt, Brown, Hunter, Collins, 69.2.
Ht 7: Eide. Jansson, Templeton, Lukehurst. 68.8.
Ht 8: Collins, Biggs, Hughson, Everett. 70.8.
Ht 9. Persson, Harkins, Pratt, Brown, 69.8.
Ht 10: Hunter, Jansson, Collin, Everett, Lukehurst (exc), 69.8.
Ht 11: Templeton, Eide, Jansson, Biggs. 69.0.
Ht 12: Persson, Pratt, Hunter, Jansson 69.6.
HI 13: Eide, Harkins, McGillivray, Lukehurst. 70.8.
Glasgow ••• August 2
by IAN MACKAY
DESPIT'E a magnificent 15 point maximum by Oyvind Berg and a spanking 12 points from Jim McMillan, Tigers went down 36·42 to Hackney Hawks at White City, Glasgow in the league.
Berg had a wonderful match and apart from his points maximum. he also annexed the Scottish Match Race title when he beat the holder, Monarchs' Bernie Persson.
It was a very poor match for Tigers, who were riding without Swedes Bo Josefsson and Acky Anderson. Apart from Berg and Jim McMillan. The other riders could only turn in 9 points between them, certainly not good enough. Bill McMillan, who was in the reserve berth, was a bit unlucky. He had one win and was third in another race. He would also almost certainly have been second in his other race but his engine blew up. Bill has been having a sticky time of it and it was tough. If he didn’t have had that engine failure he looked like getting among the points.
Russ Dent, too, was a bit unfortunate. He was excluded in the first race for breaking the tapes and he also had bike trouble, failing to finish in two races.
However, injuries notwithstanding, I think the fans are entitled to expect more than 9 points from four riders at their home track. Really the White City men seemed to lose heart.
GLASGOW 36 HACKNEY 42
Glasgow: O. Berg 15, J. McMillan 12. B. McMillan 4, B. Whaley 2, W. Templeton 2, R Dent 1
Hackney: B. Jansson 10, C. Pratt 9, J Biggs 8, L. McGillivray 6, G. Everett 5, D. Lukehurst 4, M. Brown 0.
Ht 1: Berg, Pratt, Whaley, Brown, 79.5.
Ht 2: B. McMillan, Biggs, McGillivray, Templeton. 81.0.
Ht 3: Berg, Jansson, Lukehurst, B. McMillan. Dent (exc), 79.2.
Ht 4: B. McMillan, Everett, Whaley, Brown. 79.2
Ht 5: Biggs, McGillivray, Templeton, Dent. 82.0.
Ht 6: Pratt, J. McMillan, B. McMillan, Brown. 79.8.
Ht 7: Berg, Jansson, Lukehurst, Whaley, 79.0.
Ht 8: Biggs, Everett, Templeton, B. McMillan 83.4
Ht 9: J. McMillan, Pratt, Everett, Dent, 80.2.
Ht 10: Jansson, J. McMillan, Lukehurst, Templeton. 79.4.
Ht 11: Berg, J. McMillan, McGillivray, Biggs, 79.8.
Ht 12: Jansson, Pratt. Dent, J. McMillan. 80.6.
Ht 13: Berg, McGillivray, Lukehurst. Dent. 80.6.
Match race: Berg beat Persson, 80.2.
Hackney ••• August 2
by MARTIN ROGERS
BUSTLING Anders Michanek has developed quite an appetite for plum individual titles at the end of last season. The signs are that this efficient Superama win could be the beginning of another success run for Michanek. To ride unbeaten against sort of opposition bodes well for or the Leicester man's World Final title tilt.
With performers like Ivan Mauger, the Boocock brothers, Martin Ashby. Sverre Harrfeldt and Ray Wilson in the field it was perhaps surprising, but nonetheless refreshing, to see some different names in the frame.
In damp and uninspiring conditions, almost all the riders did well to put on a worthwhile show. The big disappointment was the fact that Martin Ashby had to withdraw after blowing his motor in his opening ride.
Michanek and Reider Eide came to Heat 19 with four wins apiece to their credit, in the same race for good measure were Terry Betts, who had dropped only 1 point, and Eric Boocock on 10. Michanek, as before made the gate, Eide and Eric chased him to the first turn.
Then Betts, in possibly his most impressive form so far this season, swooped past both in fine style, but he was unable to catch the unflappable Swede.
Scorers: A. Michanek 15, R. Eide 13, T. Betts 13. N. Boocock 11, E. Boocock 10, I. Mauger 10, G. Mudge 9, R. Trigg 7, S. Harrfeldt 7, S. Sjosten 7. M. Broadbanks 6. R. Genz 4. K. McKinlay 3, R. Wilson 3, C. Maidment 2, M. Ashby 0, A. Jackson (res.) 0. M. Gardner (res.) O.
Ht 1: Trigg, Mudge, E. Boocock, Harrfeldt, 69.4.
Ht 2: N. Boocock, Betts, McKinlay, Genz (f) 69.2.
Ht 3: Michanek, Broadbanks, Wilson, Ashby (ef) 70.0.
Ht 4: Eide, Sjosten, Mauger, Maidment (f) 69.4.
Ht 5: Eide, N. Boocock, Mudge, Broadbanks, 68.2.
Ht 6: Betts. Mauger, Trigg, Wilson, 69.0.
Ht 7: E. Boocock, Sjosten, Genz, Jackson, 69.2.
Ht 8: Michenek, Harrfeldt, McKinlay, Maidment, 70.0
Ht 9: Betts, Mudge, Maidment, Gardner, 70.0.
Ht 10: Michenek. N. Boocock. Trigg, Sjosten, 69.6.
Ht 11: E. Boocock, Mauger, Broadbanks, McKinlay, 69.0.
Ht 12: Eide, Harrfeld. Genz, Wilson, 69.8.
HI 13: Michanek. Mauger, Mudge, Genz, 68.8.
Ht 14: Eide, Trigg, McKinlay, Jackson, 69.0.
Ht 15: E. Boocock, N. Boocock, Wilson, Maidment, 68.8.
Ht 16: Betts, Harrfeld, Sjosten, Broadbanks, 69.4.
HI 17: Mudge, Sjosten, Wilson, McKinlay. 70.0.
Ht 18: Broadbanks, Genz, Maidment, Trigg (ef), 70.4.
Ht 19: Michanek, Betts, Eide, E. Boocock 68.8.
Ht 20: Mauger, N. Boocock, Harrfeldt, Gardner, 68.6.
Len Silver Talking • • •
I keep looking at the star-studded line-up for tonight's meeting and trying to work out the eventual winner and the more I look, the more winners I get.
After 'the startling display last Friday by Scotland's favourite Norwegian, Reider Eide, when he demonstrated once more his liking for the Hackney bowl, many must fancy him to take the trophy. But what of other Hackney "specialists"? Ivan Mauger, Roy Trigg, Nigel Boocock, Terry Betts, oh yes, the more you think about it, the longer the list gets, in fact, I can think of no competitor this evening who IS unhappy on our track. It is for this reason that I feel that the eventual winner IS.so difficult to forecast. My only wish is that each man shall have the best of luck and enjoy HIS racing, and in doing so, give you, the paying public an evening of thrills and excitement second to none in the world of Speedway Racing. .
Last year we had the track record broken in our Superama meeting, and it would be not surprise me at all to see history repeat itself. Regular patrons may distinguish a slight change in the colour of the track this evening, and. the reason for this is that I have experimented with a new granite dust, almost green, which I think may solve our dust problems on dry evenings as well as giving the riders a faster surface to race on. Tonight is the first time it has been used, and I shall be watching with great interest to see whether my theories prove correct. Actually I am hoping as well that my experimenting might help to dispel the ridiculous thoughts that seen to be in the minds of a few that I am no longer interested in the Hackney track! Believe It or not, folks, two people wrote to me last week accusing me of just that. Well, to say that I was flabbergasted would be an understatement. You know, it has always been my proud boast that our race strip was among the best in the land, rivalling Sheffield and Coventry for top honours. It is true that the stupid weather we are suffering from this season has made our maintenance task more difficult, an example of this was seen a couple of weeks ago when a hole appeared in the first corner caused entirely by the flooding of the previous week. But to say that this shows that I have lost interest makes me a very puzzled man. I suppose that really I should just ignore such accusations and treat them with the contempt which they deserve, but I do admit to being a little touchy on that particular subject and I just had to air my views on It.
While on the subject of discontent I'd like to dispel a few more rumours that seem to be circulating. Rumours that are only in circulation, I am sure, because we are in a leading position this year, and people are very quick to knock the successful. I hear from all around that skipper Colin wants a transfer, the story was reported in the Sunday press and the Speedway magazines. It is not the first time that this tale has done the rounds, and I don't suppose it will be the last, but I can say this: Colin, like us all, has his good days and his bad. He works very hard at his racing, and his machinery is second to none. He worries if it is not, and recently he has been troubled with a problem in his engine which has got both him and Jackie Biggs stumped. Not that his points totals have suffered too much, but have you noticed the difficulty he seems to have recently in beating some of the other top riders? Not unnaturally at times like this, and with other problems outside of Speedway as well, it has been very easy to find Colin looking a very worried man. Now some have taken this to mean that he is unhappy at Hackney, believe me, folks, had this been true, then I would have accepted the £2,000 bid for him by Kings Lynn, and used the money to find a replacement, always providing, of course, that the Rider Control Committee allowed me too. Colin knows, as do all the Hawks, that, much as I enjoy having them here, I would never stand in the way of a rider wanting a move, be it Colin or anyone else. So if ever you hear in the future that such and such Hawk wants a transfer, then just remember that if it is true, then the transfer will take place. Then I read, again in a Sunday paper, and repeated to me by odd people around the Pits, that Bengt would be staying in Sweden next season due to "business commitments," Well, THAT one's got whiskers on it, and it surprises me that normally responsible people take notice of remarks like that. In any event, Bengt has never said one word to me of his "business commitments" and always greets me with his big grin and happy "Hallooooo," so until he says something to me about it, I can only assume that he will return to England to continue in his winning ways in 1969. Of course, whether he returns to Hackney or not is always in the lap of the Rider Control Committee who allocated him to us in the first place. This is the case with ALL foreign riders, even those who have been with their English club for some years. So I NEVER take for granted that "Banger" is our personal property, much as I'd love to, and I'll just keep my fingers crossed, and use my persuasive powers, inadequate though they may be, to obtain his allocation to us during the Winter months.
"Ah," some will say, "that may be very well about Colin and Bengt, but what about the others? Gary and Alan are fed up with being messed about, Les and Jack are going to retire, Des can't stand the travelling from Ashford and wants to ride at Canterbury, and Malcolm is going into show business." THAT'S disposed of the Magnificent Seven in one fell swoop I Well, folks, when all these frightening things happen, don't worry, Peter Douglas and me will put on some leathers and take on the opposition I Seriously, though, every one of those stories has reached me over the last few weeks, and I'm sure that you will have heard some, if not all, of them. Certainly Gary and Alan are fed up with being messed about, what two riders, both very equal and vying for the same team spot are not? I always expect Les to retire at the end of every season, after all as he was already retired when I persuaded him to join us in 1964? But he has not hinted at it, even in the slightest way, in fact, he seems to be getting keener and keener, just look at his form this year!. One of the main reasons for our high position is the improvement in Les’s points tally. So far as Jack is concerned, I don't know about retirement, but he DID ask me for a transfer a few weeks ago. But what was the reason? He felt that after all the trouble I'd gone to, to obtain his signature last term that he was not getting enough points to justify him remaining here! You can imagine what my reaction to that was . . . but notice he asked for a transfer, he did NOT warn of impending retirement. The report about Des is so stupid that's it's hardly worthy of comment. The only reason that he left Oxford in the first place was to get nearer home, and London is his nearest 1st Division Speedway centre and to think of Des as a Division 2 rider is ludicrous. And as for "Clown Prince': Malcolm, of course t is well known that he is interested in show business, but that's a lot different to giving up his Speedway Racing for it. I think that if certain plans we
have for Malcolm bear fruition, then he may well be the first rider to share part of his livelihood with show business.
Next Friday we shall be pleased to welcome once again our friends from Eastern Europe, the Czechoslovakian National team, "Prague." The week after next we go into battle for the London Cup, the coveted tie that West Ham seem to call their own.
This year we’d like to change all that and into our first match against Wimbledon who seem to have perked up a bit lately, we intend to show the London Speedway folk that we have our eyes on the title. Well, all that's in the future, let's get down to the present. It’s SUPERAMA time, so let’s wish all the competitors luck and think about the Prague match when the dust has settled, enjoy yourselves and come again next week to join us when we ...
Make it a date
Friday at Eight,
AROUND THE RACEWAYS by HAWKEYE
Fine goings on at Sheffield the other evening when the Hawks provided the opposition to the local Tigers. Jackie Biggs, a little upset at being "speared" by Bengt Larrson, showed the Swedish lad where he'd made his mistake in good old Australian fashion with as nice a right hook as I've ever seen I Sheffield boss, Frank Varey, well known for his fisticuffs ability, promptly picked up little Jack by the seat of his leathers and heaved him away; up popped Len Silver, ready to defend Jack, and rushed between Frank Varey and the prostrate Jack. But Frank was on the warpath, and all Len got for his trouble was a punch in the teeth I ''Well,'' said Jack afterwards, "at least the crowd got treated to a little bit of blood !"
• • •
One of tonight's star performers, Reider Eide, was involved in a dangerous but amusing incident at Cradley Heath a couple of weeks ago. It seems that he almost put Heathen Bob Andrews through the safety fence, and when Bob remonstrated with him after the race, Reider retorted in broken English, "Rider in front can choose own line." When, a few heats later Cradley's Chris Julian, never a bashful rider at the best of times when it comes to a bit of the old heave-ho, hung Reider on the same piece of fencing that Andrews had been grazing, Bob was heard to remark to the Norwegian on his return to the pits, "Rider in front. "
* * •
Another BIG EAST END NIGHT is in the offing at West Ham this coming Tuesday, August 6th, when the World Championship Nordic/British Final takes place.
This is the last title chance for riders on British tracks for the next step moves to Europe, to Poland in fact for the European Final, and then on to the "Final" Final at Gothenberg, Sweden, on September 6th. A large contingent of Hackney supporters will be sailing off to Sweden to see the Final, under the watchful eyes of Secretary Snowy Beattie and team manager, Dave Erskine, who has been responsible for all the organisation.
In the meantime, while East End folk wait for their pleasure cruise across the North Sea, they will all whet their appetites at the home of the 'Orrible 'Ammers on Tuesday
• • •
Boobs by the Speedway Press. It appears that at the same time that they were reporting a return to racing of injured Diamond, Goog Allan, the rider was in Mike Parker's office looking very much the worse for wear and certainly in no fit state to ride. Maybe one day the writing men will check their facts properly before rushing into print ... ah, happy day ..
* * •
As we enjoy Superarna '68, our Hawks are undertaking their Annual Scottish tour. Tonight they race at Glasgow and tomorrow at Coatbridge. Team Manager, Dave Erskine, is hopeful of bringing back a couple of League points, and needless to say, we whole-heartedly support his hopes. I expect we will be able to announce the Glasgow result over the P.A. tonight, if the G.P.O. lines are working that is!
* * *
Congratulations to our rivals from Custom House on reaching their 40th birthday. They had a celebration meeting there last Tuesday and Colin, Bengt and Des Were racing in the Second Half of the programme. Unfortunately, due to our printing arrangements, I am unable to tell you what happened, but you can bet that our boys gave a good account of themselves. Anyway, I would like, on behalf of the management, supporters and riders, to wish the "Hammers" a happy birthday, and hope that we have the pleasure of beating them many times during the next forty tears!
The Peter Douglas Page
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
If speedway matches were won on titles, then Len and I would be winners! In the past few weeks, we have named the Eastern Counties Championship (at Rayleigh), the Argus Trophy and last week the London Scottish Cup. I'm all for showmanship, and how much more exciting than the bald .announcement that some newspapers insist on, referring to an "Open Meeting." This conveys nothing at all to the non-speedway fan, and I'm making a personal crusade to get the Press to title meetings properly.
Whilst in a complaining mood, let me explain a little problem we are trying to iron out with some evening papers-the question of heat details appearing in the early editions. Now, I feel that, here again, heat details mean nothing at all to the newcomer to speedway, just a list of names, lined up in apparently some sort of riding order. And to the man who is already coming to Hackney that night, well he knows he can get this information in the programme, and much more nicely laid out and easy to follow.
When I suggested to one paper that they should drop these details in favour of a story and pictures, which we will gladly supply, they accused me of trying to push up programme sales! So there the matter rests. We have asked for meetings to put our case and await a reply. Meanwhile, frustrated Fleet Street journalists are spending two hours working out League formulas which we no longer supply!
OUR FRIENDS THE SPEEDWAY PRESS
What's new this week? I liked the piece on young Graeme Smith in last week's "Speedway Star." Nice matter, well laid out, and the picture makes Graeme look quite as young gentleman. As Peter Oakes once remarked, Graeme might not get into the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, but he is indeed a very serious young man whose antics on the circuit belie his studious outlook. Thanks again to Speedway Star for help with pictures this week and next, for our Hackney v. Prague match. And Peter Oakes has promised to buy a new tie, following his picture last week with Belle Vue-boy Ken Moss. Hardworking boys these reporters, as I think Peter must have been on "holiday" when he compiled his report on Belle Vue; and the other week Mick Chandler turned up during his break from the office to write his usual Friday night match report on Hackney.
SWEETLY FLOWS THE LAGER
For next week's Hackney v. Prague event, we are planning some joint promotion with the makers of Pilsner lager. Believe me, after a recent drink at the Czech Embassy, I can assure you this is the genuine stuff. I am told it's due to the higher density, and Pilsner makes the others look like kid's stuff in comparison. The Hackney bars will be carrying huge stocks of Pilsner next Friday, so we are praying for a hot night. And as they say in Yorkshire, sup up!
THIS 'N' THAT
Len Silver and I are behind a new publishing venture that will will shake the speedway world. I am minus my business partners this week, as Les Barrett and Earnonn Dunphy are away on their pre-season tours. . . Smaller c.c. speedway bikes will make it easier for youngsters to get into the sport? ... Chris, Tiger, Ginger and Co. all reported buying piggy banks. And with that, I think I'll sign off.
DID YOU KNOW???
? That Jackie Biggs is reported to be the only rider in British Speedway to use a knee hook ?
? That it takes over 500 tons of shale to make a Speedway track ?
? That most Speedway tyres come from Czechoslovakia
? That Methanol, the fuel nick-named "Dope" by all the riders costs 11/- per gallon?
? That riders pay 2/3d. per race just for insurance ?
? That West Ham used to have a 2nd team called the "Hawks"?
? That a rider's helmet must be approved by the A,C.U. ?
? That there is not one official referee who has been a professional speedway rider during the past 20 years ?
? That Colin Pratt was kicked out by the Southampton management because he wasn't good enough?
? That Nigel Boocock began his career at Odsal Speedway, Bradford?
? That Ken McKinlay has his workshop in Leicester Stadium?
? That the Riders' Equipment Fund has distributed over £600 since its inception?
?That Ronnie Genz is married to ace cameraman, Alf Weedon's daughter?
? That Glasgow Speedway has the longest straights in the country?
?That Crayford Speedway has the tightest bends in the country?
? That Belle Vue have staged 1,231 meetings since opening in 1928?
? That Oxford promoter, Danny Dunton. once visited a psychiatrist to try to regain his form when he was still an active rider?
? That Exeter is the only Stadium that has the greyhound race track on the inside of the Speedway track?
? That Owlerton Stadium, Sheffield, is the only current stadium staging Speedway Racing that is owned by a local council?
? That the first ever meeting staged at Kings Lynn was on a Sunday?
? That Len Silver had his first ever race at West Ham?
? That Hackney stage more meetings than any other club this year?
? That the Wolverhampton track is more like Hackney than any other?
? That Wembley once staged many of their "Home" matches at Wimbledon?
? That Bengt Jansson flies over 20,000 miles per season?
? That HACKNEY are the GREATEST?
STRAIGHT FROM THE HAWKS' NEST
Good evening, Supporters,
Tickets for the World Team Cup Final to be held at Wembley on Saturday, September 21st, are now on sale at the Kiosks. Prices of the tickets are 30/-,25/-,17/6, 15/- and 10/- standing. We will be running buses to the great event, leaving Maud Road, Leyton, 4.30 p.m., fare 5/6. Interest is exceptionally high so reserve your bus seat now.
The coach going to Oxford on Thursday, August 8th is getting pretty full. It will leave Maud Road 4.30 p.m., fare 10/6. We still have a few vacant seats so hurry and help us get a full coach to cheer on the lads.
The Supporters' Club outing to Margate is going along very well. For this day by the sea with the boys, why not pop along to the Kiosk and book a seat. It is only 15/-, providing you are a member of the Supporters' Club, which is only a 1/-. The date is Sunday, August 11th and the coach leaves Maud Road at 8.30 a.m.
Something I forgot to mention about the draw for the Speedway Bike which we raffled. About two weeks after it had been won I received a letter from U.S.A. with three dollars in it, asking us to send 5 draw tickets. The sender was an old New Cross supporter and said that if it arrived too late to enter, please send programmes, badges, etc. It shows how far speedway news travels!
Tickets for the Riders' Equipment Draw are going very well this season. Sellers going around the track will be only too glad to sell you some at 6d. each, 3 for 1/-, 7 for 2/-.
Last week's lucky winners:
1st. 4969-Mr. J. Swift, 112 Marlowe Road. Walthamstow, E.17.
2nd. 7591-R. Lanceman, 31 Daiglen Drive, South Ockendon,
3rd. 7589-Mr. J. Tiffin, 22 Tudor Avenue, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex.
Cheerio for now,
UP THE HAWKS!
SNOWY BEATTIE (Hon. Sec.)
Seerys Statistics for w/e 25th July 1968 makes amazing reading. Ivan Mauger top of the averages 11.43 average. 21 riders with averages above the magical 9 points [compared to today seven], West Ham Speedway share top spot with Hackney in a 19 strong league, plus Belle Vue Colts top the newly formed 10 strong BLD2.....Happy days
Hackney .•• July 26
by MICHAEL CHANDLER
WHAT could have been a great match was spoilt by the attitude of the majority of the Coatbridge .riders, whose continual pushing and prodding of the tapes overshadowed anything that happened on the track.
In Mr Day, a far too lenient referee, finally excluded Reider Eide in Heat 7 for tape-breaking but his action came too late.
With Hackney gathering five 5-1's in the first seven heats, the match was virtually over and it was left to Eide to salvage some visitors' tarnished pride with a superb show of perfect gating (except once) bringing him maximum points from the six races he completed.
A disappointing Bernie Persson managed only 10 points from seven starts after being the victim of some of his team mate’s dodgy tactics in his first two rides.
Meanwhile, the Hawks riding as a TEAM just piled up the points.
(Challenge Match London Scottish Cup)
Hackney: C. Pratt 14, B. Jansson 12, J. Biggs 10, D. Lukehurst 9, L. McGillivray 8, M. Brown 5, A. Jackson 3, G. Everett 3.
Coatbridge: R. Eide J 8, B. Persson 10, G. Hunter 6, A. Hughson 4, D. Templeton 2, B, Harkins 2, G. Smith 2, B. Collins 0.
Ht 1: Eide, Pratt, Templeton, Brown, 67.6.
Ht 2: McGillivray, Biggs, Hunter, Harkins, 69.0.
Ht 3: Jansson, Lukehurst, Persson, Collins (f), 68.6.
Ht 4: Jackson, Everett, Hughson, Smith, 70.0
Ht 5: Pratt, Harkins, Hunter, Brown, 69.6.
Ht 6: Biggs, McGillivray, Persson, Collins, 70.0.
Ht 7: Jansson, Lukehurst, Templeton, Hughson, 68.8.
Ht 8: Pratt, Persson, Brown, Collins, 69.2.
Ht 9: Lukehurst. Hunter, Jansson, Harkins, 69.6.
Ht 10, Eide, Biggs, McGillivray, Templeton, 69.0.
Ht 11: Pratt, Hunter, Persson, Biggs, 70.0.
Ht 12: Jansson, Persson, McGillivray, Templeton, 68.2.
HI 13: Eide Brown, Lukehurst, Harkins, 69.4.
Ht 14: Hughson, Smith, Everett, Jackson (f.exc), 70.2.
Ht 15: Biggs, , Pratt, Persson, Templeton, 70.0.
Ht 16: Eide, Jansson, McGillivray, Harkins, 68.6.
Ht 17: Eide, Hughson, Brown, Lukehurst, 69.4.
Ht 18: Eide Persson, Pratt, Jansson (nf), 69.6.
Len Silver Talking • • •
What a pleasure it was to get back to some normal top class racing last Friday. The Diamonds certainly pulled out all the stops and we were treated to some excellent fare. Ivan Mauger gave his usual immaculate display and his races with "Banger" were worth the price of admission on their own. Their reserve, Alan Paynter, who was unfortunate enough to be carted off to hospital after that heat four pile up, was not badly hurt. He suffered a severely dislocated thumb and other small bruises and lacerations, and with any luck he should be back in action by the time you read this. I sincerely hope so anyway.
The doubts about Ivan Mauger's participation in Superama next week are now happily dispelled. It would seem that Mike Parker will be running benefit meetings for the widow of poor Eddie Glennon at both Newport and Newcastle, and Ivan will take part in the Newcastle meeting, leaving him free to come to Hackney for our big trophy event with all the other top stars. And what a line-up we've got for you this year! Ivan is keen to take the top honours, but with the likes of Sverre Harrfeldt, Nigel Boocock, Terry Betts and Martin Ashby to contend with, he's likely to have a tough time ... and I haven't even mentioned such names as Roy Trigg, Ken McKinlay, Eric Boocock, Reider Eide, Anders Michanek & Co.! The full line up is given on page eleven of this programme and you will notice a different name or two to those announced last week.
This is due to the Eddie Glennon Memorial benefit meeting which is running the same evening at Newport. Naturally I was happy to release riders who were asked to appear in the Welsh meeting and Mike Parker co-operated with me to the fullest extent so as to avoid too much alteration. All those taking part in the benefit meeting are giving their services completely free of charge, such was the esteem in which Eddie Glennon was held, and they are to be applauded for their action. In this materialistic age it is a pleasure to find that money doesn't always count for everything and that human more important things come along. Mind you, knowing Speedway folk as I do, I'm not the least bit surprised at the action of the riders and officials in their generous action, I would have been surprised had they refused.
Next week-end the Hawks will have a busy time. At Glasgow on Friday and at Coatbridge the next night they will clock plenty of miles on their speedometers in their quest for League points. But spare a thought for "Banger" who also charges off to Sweden immediately after the Coatbridge match, catching a plane to London airport, then by taxi and train to Gatwick and away to the Land of the Lakes for just one meeting on Sunday afternoon, before returning here to see the Nordic Final at West Ham. Phew! The thought of it all makes me feel exhausted!
I want to mention Superama again for a moment, just to remind you that with the riders' pay and travel bill rising steeply next week, due to the programme being filled with top heat leaders who, of course, qualify in these circumstances for much higher rates as you know, it will be necessary to make a small increase in admission charges. These will also apply to the following week when the Czechoslovakian National team, Prague, provide the opposition. In the latter case it is, of course, the heavy travel and hotel expenses that create the additional burden. However, I am happy to report that the increase will be kept down to only a 1/- increase in all parts, thus spreading the load evenly and fairly. I'm certain that the quality of the fare will prove to be well worth the extra. Remember last year's Superama ? A classic if ever I saw one, and this year's event looks even better! As with all of our bigger meetings I would respectfully ask you again to co-operate with me in coming early if you can-particularly if you use the free' bus service, no need for me to tell you why, you all know by now and I'll thank you in advance for your assistance.
When the Coatbridge Monarchs came a-calling for their League match way back in May, they were minus the services of George Hunter and Reider Eide, yet we still only managed to scrape home by 4 points, winning 40 - 36. Can you wonder, then, at Ian Hoskins confidence that, given a full side, he could knock spots off us? Therefore, he did not delay in throwing out a challenge which I just had to accept. After all, the Magnificent Seven would never live down a refusal, and anyway they all claimed that the Monarchs caught them "with their pants down" so to speak, and they want to show the Scottish boys what they can do when they are riding normally. So the trophy tonight is the "London Scottish Cup" and maybe we'll get Ian to offer us a return bout and perhaps make it an annual event. We'll have to see how you, the public, feel about it first. Anyway, it's time we were setting about the "foreigners" from over the border, so, reminding you to bring your pals to see Superama next Friday, I'll sign off with my usual slogan,
Make it a date - Friday at Eight.
The Peter Douglas Page
Expect an announcement soon about a special television project involving Hackney Speedway-bigger and better than anything we have discussed before ... Two Hackney riders may shortly be blossoming out in careers completely apart from speedway ... A national newspaper will be featuring Hackney in a two page picture-story spread.
Don't forget that the terrible twins Snowie and Ken are holding a supporters' club dance tomorrow at the Pigeons Hotel, Romford Road, Stratford. Dancing is 7.30 to 11.30 and the Hawks will be there in force. I shall be in Canterbury with the Rayleigh team, and we plan to come on over following the meeting, for at least the last hour or so. See you there!
RAIN CLOUDS OVER RAYLEIGH
No, not the title of a pop song but the dismal prospect that greeted speedway fans last Saturday. With near-perfect weather all around Essex, we are starting to think that a black cloud hangs permanently over Rayleigh Weir. Counting back, I can remember one fine evening only since the start of the season there. Reluctantly the meeting was cancelled there last week, after an inspection by the referee and spectators were treated to the sad spectacle of bikes being re-mounted on the back of cars, whilst track staff started taking down the safety fence in preparation for stock cars. Even the cheese rolls were going at half price!
Not many people know that cowboy Len Silver is a wizard with the guitar and regularly does a turn at Snowie Beattie's seaside barbecues. Talking over promotion ideas the other day, I suggested Len should write a pop song about speedway which young Malc Brown could sing-something sad and sentimental, along the lines of "Tell Laura I Love Her" which made the charts a few years back. If there are any budding composers among our speedway patrons with any bright ideas for a song, I am sure Len will be delighted to hear from them. And who knows, we might even make the top twenty!
A reel of black cotton on its way to Malcolm Brown so he can darn his tights ... After sterling work boosting East-West relations, Johnnie Owen now back on the Hackney scene ... Pit men Tiger and Chris planning as assault on the Rayleigh circuit using machines borrowed from Rye House . . . Smiling Geoff Maloney will have a trial spin round the circuit after tonight's meeting to get him in trim for tomorrow's meeting at Canterbury: Yogi Bear coming too? . . . The Mayor of Hackney wrote to say he enjoyed his first visit to speedway.
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