DVD Review: Peter Collins Racing
Forty years ago Peter Collins' career reached its pinnacle when he won the world title in Katowice. To mark the anniversary of this fine achievement a new DVD box-set has been released by Retro Speedway.
"Peter Collins Racing" is a fantastic compilation of action from throughout the great man's career. It lasts for more than five hours and spans three disks. These are a mix of run of the mill league matches and his races on the biggest stages.
The famous 1973 match-race against Anders Michanek at Wembley that decided the Inter-nations Tournament is included. The tournament was staged over 19 days and the outcome came down to that final race. The race didn't reach its natural conclusion, with only one of the riders finishing. Certainly worth another look to see if you agree with the decision made by ACU referee Arthur Humphries.
Sadly there's no footage available of Peter's other famous match-race against Michanek that decided the K.O. Cup final the same year. Reportedly one of the greatest races of all time.
His win in the 1976 World Final is obviously covered in detail and we see all five of his races. He did much of the hard work in his first two races, battling through from the back to claim wins. Thereafter he made easier work of it and we see him settling for a second place in his last race, safe in the knowledge that the two Eastern Europeans behind him had little chance of ruining his day. The meeting really does show P.C. at his brilliant best, a very well deserved win and great to see it again after all these years.
His brave performance in the following year's final is also covered. He finishes second despite riding with a broken leg. We see him making light of both the poor track conditions and his physical impairment.
As well as individual success, Peter also won world titles in team and pairs racing. He famously won the World Pairs with his close pal Chris Morton in Lonigo in 1984, arguably his last major success on the world stage. There's ample footage of that meeting and his other international appearances included on the disks.
There are some great little pieces of commentary scattered throughout. One particular highlight is the commentator on the Yorkshire Television Trophy apologising that the coverage has been downgraded to black and white due to low lighting levels, then proceeding to tell us that Peter Collins is the rider in blue. Shades of the famous snooker commentary quote.
Dave Lanning is our commentator on many of the races, calling Peter "the curly haired kid from Lymm in Cheshire". As early as 1973 he also says, "I'm told he has two younger brothers who are even better than him". History shows that he wasn't quite correct, but it's a real insight into the excitement that surrounded the racing brothers as their careers began.
The family theme is really emphasised in the footage from his 1980 testimonial meeting at Belle Vue. The brothers raced together as a team and also staged a special family race - in which they neatly finish in age order. Youngest brother Stephen was too young to actively participate but was fully kitted out in leathers and race jacket. The film quality of this particular meeting is excellent and you get a real sense of what the day was like.
By 1985 his star was on the wane and on the day of the World Final he was appearing in league action for Belle Vue at Halifax, having failed to qualify for the big event at nearby Bradford. He's interviewed on that night, giving his views on the final and expressing hope that he'll be back on the big stage himself some day. There's a slight sadness to the interview, giving the impression that Peter doesn't really believe he'll manage it.
By 1987 he'd decided that his body had suffered enough and retired from British League racing. A farewell meeting was staged at Hyde Road and his old pal Bruce Penhall crossed the Atlantic to race a series of match-races against Peter. The two legends put on a great show for the crowd, with the racing definitely falling into the "exhibition" category rather than seriously competitive.
The box-set is a must for every fan of speedway in the 70s and 80s. Peter Collins is one of the most entertaining speedway riders of all time and this is packed with many great examples of his talents. There's the usual regret that he didn't race in the HD television era, but the quality of the racing makes up for the quality of some of the available footage.
Watch a trailer for the DVD
How To Order
By Phone : 01708 734 502
By Post : Send a cheque for £16 (payable to Retro Speedway) (add £2.50 if outside UK) to:
103 Douglas Road
Online : At Retro-Speedway.com
This article was first published on 18th September 2016
"Great to see the riders from the past. I started going to Belle Vue Aces in 1975. What riders PC and Mort were. I would love to see them now riding the new track at Belle Vue. I will be ordering the PC DVD, it will be great to see him on DVD. Glad I found the web site."
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