The World Pairs Final 1981
Near the end of the 1980 season, Peter Collins got smashed up and it cost him the 1981 season, well most of it anyway. It certainly cost him his place in this year's competition. Dave Jessup would now defend his Title with Collins' team-mate, Belle Vue Ace, Chris Morton.
No shocks from the Semi-Final at Norden, West Germany where the home team won from da Englanders and Kiwis but over in Treviso, Italy, a three way run-off decided who got through behind the winners, Denmark. Bruce Penhall won it for the Yanks from Czech Ales Dryml, with Billy Sanders last. So the Aussies, Sanders and John Titman went out.
The World Final went back to the Slaski Stadium, Katowice, Poland on June 20. At the end of the sunny afternoon, Bruce Penhall and Bobby Schwartz stood on the podium with the Gold Medals for the USA. They had started well, thumping the Kiwis in round one but an engine failure for Penhall, leading West Germany was a serious glitch. Schwartz got by Egon Muller and George Gilgenreiner but that meant 3 all.
It was the same next time out as Penhall won but the Czechs Ales Dryml and Jan Verner held out Schwartz. They thumped the Danes ok but that was after a torrid battle between Schwartz and Olsen. Chris Morton split them in their penultimate heat. Meanwhile, the home team of Zenon Plech and Edward Jancarz were also stacking up the points along with New Zealand. The Yanks faced off with the Poles and as Plech took the win, Penhall and Schwartz were left to keep Jancarz at the back thus securing 23 points. Now they had to wait because a 5-1 for the Poles in their last heat would give them 23 points as well.
Mauger and Ross secured a podium place with victory in their last heat and all eyes were on the very last race of the day, Poland V Denmark. In a later interview with Bobby Schwartz, he made it clear that Ole Olsen had no intention of 'racing' in this one and sure enough, he didnt.
Heat 21, Nielsen gates from Jancarz and Plech, Olsen at the back. Jancarz tried his hardest to no avail. Plech then took up the challenge but to the despair of the Poles in front of their home fans, Nielsen pulled away and secured the draw. Penhall and Schwartz jumped for joy as they were now World Pairs Champions. The Kiwis were 2nd with the disconsolate Poles 3rd.
What a magnificent afternoon! As for the Danes, after maximum points from their first two rounds, they crumbled like an old Danish tart. England? A round one engine failure for Dave Jessup! Good heavens above! [ Jessup rode in all World Speedway Finals that year, Pairs, Individual and World Cup. He broke down in all 3, twice at the Individual. Bad luck? That old story was well buried by now. ]
The West Germans had the day from hell. Three all with the Yanks was a good start but then the truly bizzare; up against the Danes in heat 7, Ole Olsen gates with Hans Nielsen. Then exiting the first turn, Ole 'pulls down' on Muller, one of the oldest tricks in the book. Egon hits Ole and goes flying. Gilgenreiner then slams into Egon, bike and all, they both end up in a heap. Muller is excluded and Gilgenreiner is unable to continue. In fact, that's the end of the day for West Germany all together. Track reserves Jerzy Rembas and Jozef Kafel are called into action.
After the meeting, a random drugs test was ordered, Dave Jessup called up. It was the first of its kind but a sure sign of the times. Now where is me old Bob Hope? "He's off on the road to Morocco ..."
1 Penhall Schwartz Ross Mauger
1st USA 23
2nd New Zealand 22
3rd Poland 21
4th CZ 18
5th Denmark 17
6th England 17
7th West Germany 3
This article was first published on 13th October 2014
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