Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
23/11/2022
DVD Review: 70s - A to Z
Your Feedback
 
30/10/2022
Why is it in decline?
Plus Points
 
18/09/2022
Dream Team: Garry Robinson
The Golden Hammer - 1996
Your Feedback
 
11/09/2022
Raking Over Old Coals
The Golden Hammer - 1995
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
04/09/2022
Ode to Brough Park
The Golden Hammer - 1994
Which Craven?
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
07/06/2022
Ivan Miller
The Golden Hammer - 1993
Your Feedback
 
22/05/2022
Generator - Prem Pairs
The Golden Hammer - 1992
 
01/05/2022
As The Crow Flies
The Golden Hammer - 1991
 
24/04/2022
Generator - Danish League
The Golden Hammer - 1990
Your Feedback
 
18/04/2022
Oxford's Minor Miracle
The Golden Hammer - 1989
 
03/04/2022
The Golden Hammer - 1986
The Golden Hammer - 1987
The Golden Hammer - 1988
 
27/03/2022
The Golden Hammer - 1983
The Golden Hammer - 1984
The Golden Hammer - 1985
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
13/03/2022
The Golden Hammer - 1980
The Golden Hammer - 1981
The Golden Hammer - 1982
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
27/02/2022
The Golden Hammer - 1977
The Golden Hammer - 1978
The Golden Hammer - 1979
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
16/01/2022
The Speedway Bike
Your Feedback
 
02/01/2022
45 Years a Racer
Your Feedback
 
15/12/2021
DVD: Sheffield Memories
Your Feedback
 
21/11/2021
Ronnie's Newcastle Nightmare
Plus Points
 
14/11/2021
Book Review: Where Eagles Dared
The Cheetahs Are Back!
Your Feedback
 
07/11/2021
King's Lynn - Part Four
Track Pix: Redcar
Your Feedback
 
31/10/2021
DVD Review: Hans Nielsen
Track Pix: Sheffield
Your Feedback
 
10/10/2021
Artem Laguta
Track Pix: Birmingham
Your Feedback
 
03/10/2021
King's Lynn - Part Three
KENT - Central Park
Your Feedback
 
19/09/2021
Book Review: Yearbook 2020
Track Pix: Peterborough
Your Feedback
 
07/09/2021
Ian Hoskins Tribute
Ian Hoskins Tribute
Your Feedback
 
29/08/2021
Speedway's Black Hole
Track Pix: Mildenhall
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
22/08/2021
Kirky Lane Demolition
Cinder Kings Exhibition
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
09/08/2021
Aussies at Ipswich - 1
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
18/07/2021
Steve Langton Strikes Gold
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
11/07/2021
Book Review: Split Waterman
Your Feedback
 
27/06/2021
King's Lynn - Part 2
Your Feedback
 
13/06/2021
Irish Eyes Were Smiling
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
31/05/2021
King's Lynn - Part 1
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
23/05/2021
Speedway in Germany 1933
Dream Team : Kevin Huggett
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
09/05/2021
The Bill Allen Mystery
Your Feedback
 
02/05/2021
The Ipswich Witches
The Danger of Winning
Your Feedback
 
25/04/2021
Australia 70/71
Canterbury Noise Trials
Your Feedback
 


Oh, What a Night!
By Tracy Holmes

Bert Harkins

Jan 19, 1974. This was the date for the NZ Champs at Templeton but on the same night in Palmerston North, a World International Best Pairs meeting was held at the Showgrounds. It was a curtain raiser to the Mauger/Briggs circus aka 'The World Champions Speedway Series'.

Top of the bill was the 5 time World Champion from Sweden, Ove Fundin. However, illness had delayed Ove's departure and he was a no show. This was a bitter disappointment BUT, his replacement was just the opposite. Australian star Bob Valentine in his fire orange leathers that matched his hair had a splendid night and all but stole the show. He was a joy to watch and to get his autograph with a smile and a pat on the back made a wide eyed 15 year old feel ever so special.

The headliners were Polish stars Edward Jancarz and Zenon Plech. [ Jancarz, World number three in 1968. Plech, World number three in 1973. ] We had seen them both on the telly when the 1973 World Final highlights had been shown. Ever such a shame that the World Champion himself, Poland's Jerzy Sczcakiel was not allowed to make the trip but these two did not let any fan down. They also freely and happily signed autographs. Hearing them speaking in their native tongue was another treat that night.

British Lion Chris Pusey was no stranger and he shone brightly until a heavy fall knocked off his Polkadots. Poor Bert Harkins, looking oh so Brigadoon in his tartan leathers, had nothing but bike problems so we only got to see a pale shadow of the Flying Scotsman. He was just as hard to understand as the Poles!

Scott Autrey was a long way from California but looked right at home in this company and England's Mike Hiftle, contracted to Western Springs also enjoyed his night among the stars.

The 3 Palmy Kiwis? Robin Adlington had one of THE nights of his career. Partnering 'Steady Eddie' Jancarz, they won the match to the delight of Robin's hometown fans. He rose to the occasion in splendid fashion, following his team-mate home in three of their four races. A maximum score eluded the pair in a bizzare heat 6 affair. Hiftle was the only finisher as Jancarz had an engine failure. Pusey had taken a nasty tumble and Adlington had laid down to avoid the carnage. And the way he held out the previously unbeaten Valentine in the last round brought a standing ovation!

Bill Andrew had a rewarding night, partnering Plech to second place. Graeme Smith had the honor of riding with Valentine but on this occasion, making up the numbers. Still, he looked as stylish as ever!

The meeting was a huge success. Former NZ Champion and Coventry rider Ray New had done a splendid job as promoter and 'man on the mic'. I remember too that this meeting actually outshone the 'Big Top' meeting a week or so later, despite all the Super Star World Champions. The racing was different. More racing than riding. Plenty of you will understand that one. And I remember the electric, exciting atmosphere. Sparks flying off steel shoes, dusty hot-dogs and cans of coke. Collecting programmes and autographs and going home bubbling over with Speedway magic for which there is no cure, "Oh what a night!"

 

Heats

1 Pusey, Hiftle, Autrey, Harkins.
2 Jancarz, Adlington, Andrew, Plech.
3 Valentine, Pusey, Hiftle, Smith.
4 Jancarz, Adlington, Autrey, Harkins.
5 Valentine, Plech, Andrew, Smith.
6 Hiftle. Jancarz ef. Adlington nf. Pusey fall.
7 Plech, Autrey, Andrew, Harkins.
8 Valentine, Autrey, Harkins, Smith.
9 Plech, Andrew, Hiftle, Pusey.
10 Jancarz, Adlington, Valentine, Smith.

 

1st Edward Jancarz (3 3 ef 3) 9 and Robin Adlington (2 2 nf 2) 6 = 15

2nd Zenon Plech (0 2 3 3) 8 and Bill Andrew (1 1 1 2) 5 = 13

3rd Mike Hiftle (2 1 3 1) 7 and Chris Pusey (3 2 f 0) 5 = 12

4th Bob Valentine (3 3 3 1) 10 and Graeme Smith (0 0 0 0) 0 =10

5th Scott Autrey (1 1 2 2) 6 and Bert Harkins (0 0 0 1) 1 = 7

 

Invitation:

 

Heat 1: Hiftle, Plech, Andrew, Pusey.
Heat 2: Valentine, Autrey, Adlington, Smith.
Consolation: Andrew, Adlington, Harkins, Smith.
Final: Plech, Hiftle, Valentine, Autrey.

 

This article was first published on 18th January 2015

[ Use Mobile Version ]
 

 

Comment on this Article | Contact Us | Go Back to Main Menu

   Please leave your comments on this article or on the site as a whole