The World Pairs Final 1975
Controversy before the first wheel turned this year. I will start with New Zealand because that's where I am. Ivan Mauger and Barry Briggs were selected but that's as far as they went. Briggo got smashed up so he was out. Ivan then chose not to ride. Why? I dunno! I asked Ivan for an explanation once, no twice. Each time he made no reply or one that made any sense. But his co-dependency on Barry Briggs was getting awfully creepy !
It was a shame too because had he partnered either Bruce Cribb or Gary Peterson, would anyone bet they would not have qualified? I doubt it.
Moving on, Scotland were allocated a place but they chose not to accept, citing the costs involved. Then out went the Russians; 'The Soviet Union withdrew their pairing from this event 48 hours before the start of the meeting. [Semi-Final] No explanation was forth coming ...' That appeared in'Speedway Star'.
And so to the track. New Zealand by Bruce Cribb and Gary Peterson failed to qualify. Needing to finish in the top three, they were fourth scoring 20 points behind Denmark on 24, Sweden on 22 and Australia also on 22. Norway, Finland and The Netherlands also going out. Michanek and Sjosten safely getting through but Tommy Jansson would get to make up for last year, replacing Sjosten.
On June 15 at Wroclaw, Poland, The World Final took place in bright afternoon sunshine with the fanatical home crowd loving every minute. And their home team was not disappointing either. Edward Jancarz and Wroclaw's Piotr Bruzda put up a very strong fight and more than justified their selection. But they had to settle for second behind the Super Swedes. Only a point in it mind!
While Ole Olsen again put up an 18 point maximum, his partner Jan Henningsen got his 2 points in and got himself a Bronze Medal. Thanks to Ole beating John Louis in the run-off. Yes, England started well but never really got over their thumping by the home team in their second race. An engine failure for Peter Collins in round four, turned a 5-1 over the Aussies into a 3-3.
Heat 17 was a shocker for the Kandid Kangaroos. John Boulger gated and stayed in front but Crumpy missed the gate and was last into the first turn. Then try as he did, there was no splitting the West German pair of Christoph Betzl and Fritz Bauer. 3-3, "Treble Schnapps here Adolf !"
5-1 by the Poles in their last heat meant Sweden needed 4 points for the Gold Medals. It was the very last heat and that's exactly what they got. It looked so good for Sweden with Michanek and Jansson loving the idea of defending their World Title at Eskilstuna the following year ...
1 Louis Collins Betzl Bauer
1st Sweden 24
2nd Poland 23
3rd Denmark 20
4th England 20
5th Australia 19
6th West Germany 10
7th Austria 10
This article was first published on 24th August 2014
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