1975 World Final. Heat 20.
1975 World Final. Wembley. September 6. We all know the story. The state of the track. Ivan Mauger said it was no worse than 1972 apart from the dust. The dust that got fans so irate, they took hoses ... Could Peter Collins have won heat 9? Yes. Would he have done so? Maybees, maybees not though! I mean, like Peter, Phil Crump was also unbeaten. Defending Champion Anders Michanek had 4, same as Ivan Mauger. HUGE ask indeed. Well, he did make an excellent gate. But this was all about 'if' he had done so.
From the Peter Collins autobiography 'Keeping it on the Tyres';
"Despite regaining my composure sufficiently to win Heat 14 from Tommy Jansson, it had become futile. Ole - riding a two-valve longtrack Jawa - had won the previous race to stay unbeaten on 12. Mentally, I'd kind of lost it, big-time, after finishing last in my third ride. Olsen was in a class above the rest and making consistently fast starts all night. But if I'd still been in title contention when we met in our last ride, Heat 20, there's every chance I could have beaten him. I would have had a fair crack at it anyway. As it turned out, he again won as he pleased, completing a relatively untroubled maximum ahead of Simmo, with me third. But to show this is not just sour grapes, even Ole admitted when interviewed afterwards that the track was 'not good."
Recently on facebook, I had an enjoyable debate about this World Final. My friend did not say Peter 'would' have won, he said 'could' have won. As Peter himself has said. And I totally agree. How wonderful it would have been to see PC & Ole go head-to-head, both on 12 points and the winner takes it all. Imagine Wally Loak, "Well excoitment excoitment indeed ladies and gentlemen, whooose it gunna be?"
The reason for this article [pfft] is for those who say that Peter 'would' have won and that there is no question of that. As I have seen on facebook. They mean well but do not take into account what a brilliant year Ole had before that meeting and after it. And when up against Peter Collins, how they fared. So, for those who are interested, lets take a look.
These are THE biggest meetings between the two. No league matches. And a few where neither rode or just one, for context.
April 10. Wimbledon. Daily Express Spring Classic.
May 26. Wimbledon. Internationale.
June 15. Wroclaw. World Pairs Final.
July 24. Wimbledon. Daily Mirror Open.
Then came the World Final. And again, Ivan Mauger said that World Final Speedway was different to any other Speedway and had to be ridden as such. [That is why in 14 straight World Finals, he put up the winning score in 7 of them and won 6!] So although Ole had won all these previous encounters, it counted for nothing on the biggest night of the year.
September 6. Wembley. World Final.
[ September 10. Coventry. Brandonapolis. Neither rode in this event. ]
September 15. Reading. Manpower Trophy.
[ September 21. Norden. World Team Cup Final.]
September 25. Sheffield. Bass Yorkshire Open.
[ October 5. Pardubice. The CZ Golden Helmet. ]
October 21. Belle Vue. British League Riders Final.
[ October 25. Kings Lynn. Pride of the East. Neither rode in this event. ]
Well, you can clearly see by this overview that Ole had an amazing year. This was Ole at his supreme best. And so, here is where we started. World Final heat 20. Had Peter Collins been unbeaten with Ole Olsen, could he have beaten him to be crowned World Champion? Absolutely! But as this piece shows, it would certainly have been a MASSIVE task.
This article was first published on 27th December 2022
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