New Zealand 74/75
The 74/75 New Zealand season was an amazing one for solos. Gary Peterson made his comeback and two International teams paid a visit, the first was a British League side. Three tests saw the following results;
1st Test. 25 November '74. Western Springs. Auckland.
2nd Test. 30 November '74. Te Marua. Wellington.
3rd Test. 9 December '74. Templeton. Christchurch.
The visitors were at Palmerston North on January 14th '75 for the New Zealand Championship. Missing from the event were defender Ivan Mauger, '73 winner and home favourite Gary Peterson, I would love to know what that was all about, with a South Island 'no show'. The Poms all but dominated the day;
1st Dave Morton 15
If anyone has a photo of the presentation, please let me know !!!
January saw the Amazing Rythem Aces from Poland arrive, sadly without the 1973 World Champion Jerzy Szczakiel, forced to stay at home for political reasons. Tragically, NZ would be without Ronnie Moore as his career and very nearly his life was ended in an Australian smash at Newcastle's Jerilderie Park, January 20. [ See Ronnie's book for all the details and just how well he was riding at the time. ] Ivan Mauger and Barry Briggs returned to lead the Kiwis.
1st Test. January 25. Western Springs. Auckland.
The results of this meeting were declared void by the NZCB after it was found that both teams had used Nitro.
Before the 2nd Test, a 'Pall Mall International Best Pairs' meeting was held at Templeton on Febuary 1st;
1st England 18
2nd Test. Febuary 5. Templeton. Christchurch.
I'm told that as the rain came down later in the meeting, the Poles came into their own and put up a spectacular fight.
3rd Test. Febuary 8. Te Marua. Wellington.
Inspired by their Templeton performance, the visitors came out guns blazing and put up a magnificent performance, Poleaxing the home team and stunning the crowd.
So to the decider;
4th Test. Febuary 18. Western Springs. Auckland.
When Plech and Bruzda won the first heat from Mauger and Andrews, they were overjoyed. Mauger was furious and anyone that can remember his comments after the match can only cringe in shame !
So New Zealand won the series 2-1 with one match void. The Poles were brilliant in attitude and appearance despite their touring hardships. Recently, Plech revealed some of what actually went on, 'we often slept in cars like gypsies to avoid spending our expenses on hotel rooms. Even though the team manager would collect hotel receipts that the PZM would later convert to cash for beds that were never slept in.' The team manager, Bernard Kowalski pocketed the lot!
Another 'Test' held that season was at Oreti, Invercargill where New Zealand took on 'The Rest of the World'. The 'World' squad made up from Stars in the Mauger/Briggs flying circus;
'Rest of the World' 60
The likes of that season would never be seen again and that wasn't all, Gary Peterson returned to the UK, riding for Wolverhampton. He lost his life on October 17 and NZ lost one its most spectacular 'Stars'!
This article was first published on 2nd June 2013
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