NZ in the 1973 World League - Part 2
After the first match rain-off, the Kiwis got their first taste of the action at Wolverhampton on June 29. Their opponents were Norway/Denmark and the teams in the programme were;
New Zealand; 1 Ivan Mauger. 2 Graeme Stapleton. 3 Ronnie Moore. 4 Bill Andrew. 5 Barry Briggs. 6 Gary Peterson. 7 Dave Gifford. 8 Freddie Timmo. Team Manager, Trevor Redmond. The programme I have has Timmo replaced by Frank Shuter.
Norway/Denmark; 1 Ole Olsen. 2 Dag Lovaas. 3 Reider Eide. 4 Oyvind Berg. 5 Edgar Stangeland. 6 Ulf Lovaas. 7 Odd Fossengen. 8 Kurt Bogh. Team Manager; Torre Kittlesen.
Here is how Malcolm Owen saw it for Speedway Star;
"Norway/Denmark won this match after seeming certain losers at the halfway stage. The last heat was the decider and with NZ one point in the lead and tracking World Champion Ivan Mauger and former Wolves rider Dave Gifford, it looked a certain victory for the Kiwis. However, an untidy start saw Mauger left at the gate and Eide with Stangeland were away for maximum points. Mauger had complained earlier about the starting procedure and it must be added that he had every justification as one or two decisions were extremely dubious. The referee would listen to no complaints about the last heat and the Scandinavian side had cashed in on their opponents misfortune. "
Heat 1. D Lovaas, Olsen, Mauger, Stapleton ef
Ole Olsen 11, Dag Lovaas 9, Reider Eide 7, Edgar Stangeland 7, Oyvind Berg 4, Odd Fossengen 2, Ulf Lovaas 0. Kurt Bogh dnr
New Zealand 37.
Barry Briggs 9, Dave Gifford 8, Ivan Mauger 6, Graeme Stapleton 4, Bill Andrew 3, Ronnie Moore 3. Frank Shuter dnr.
Ronnie Moore said the "green light starts" spoiled the tournament,
"Riders prepared to take a risk were going on the green light instead of when the tapes went up. Even so, we seemed to be heading for victory in the middle stages of the match. I had a terrific time trying to judge the starts and failed, ending the match with only three points. I couldn't remember when I had last done so poorly in an International."
He said about the last heat,
"NZ only needed a three-three in this to win the match, and with Ivan and Dave Gifford as our representatives, victory seemed assured. Then Reidar Eide rolled straight through the tapes at the start. A re-run seemed certain but the referee didn't bat an eyelid. Ivan, convinced it was a false start, stayed on the grid. By the time he realized that the referee was not going to stop the race, it was too late. When Ivan came back into the pits, he was fuming!"
So, not a great start to the tournament. A rain-off draw and a loss. Their next opponents were the Super Swedes at Swindon.
This article was first published on 5th May 2019
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