The World Pairs Final 1984
1984, where is George? He's gone? Awe well, never mind! Big brother was certainly watching England. Peter Collins had a new partner, one of his oldest and very best friends and Belle Vue team-mate, Chris Morton. They were very happy campers after their Semi-Final, unbeaten to put every other pair on notice, they would be the Red Hot Chile Peppers!
No big shocks from the Semis, sad to see Finland's Kai Niemi/Ari Koponen bundled out. Yanks Dennis Sigalos and Shawn Moran safely through but six days later on June 9, Siggy's career was ended by a smash at the American Final. Just another piece to the tragic jigsaw that was the 80s! Bobby Schwartz was now back in the team. Czechs Jiri Stancl and Toni Kasper also got through but Kasper was replaced by Ales Dryml. Why? Dunno!
"You will have to be quick cos were ganna live in Italy from next month!"
Lonigo, Italy hosted this years Final on June 17, lots of fun in the hot, hot sun! So hot in fact, the track had to be watered after each race. The capacity 15,000 crowd loved every minute and the action got under way with 5-1s for the Danes, Poms, Kiwis and Yanks. Heat 2 saw vintage Collins needing his backstage pass to get by Sanders and Guglielmi. Ivan Mauger's new partner, Mitch Shirra relishing his afternoon in the sun.
Heat 5 was Denmark V England. From the gate it was Nielsen but he went just wide enough for Morton to steam by for the lead he would not give up. Again, Collins needed every ounce of experience to wear down Gundersen and finally get the vital point.
Heat 7 was disaster for the Stars & Stripes when Shawn Moran blew his motor while in front. Before the start of Heat 8, England V CZ, the Danes gave Jiri Stancl one their Carlisle tyres. It worked well for Stancl but he could not stop the 5-1. Right on their back wheels all the way mind! Mitch Shirra knocked England for six in Heat 13. An amazing race followed in the Australia V USA clash,
Heat 14. Schwartz gated from Guglielmi and Sanders but they proved no match for the reigning World Longtrack Champion Shawn Moran, who had the crowd screaming as he went from last to first.
Heat 16, Denmark V New Zealand. Mauger produced a vintage gate but Nielsen forced his way through and he became the only opposition rider to beat Shirra. But as bigger news, Ivan Mauger held out Erik Gundersen for a priceless point. In fact, Erik was disqualified for crossing the white line. Oh yes, Ivan was not as good as he once was. But he was as good once as he always was! [ Priceless point? Yes. 1984 was the year Gundersen won the World Individual Final, the World Longtrack Final and with Denmark, The World Cup Final. Priceless indeed! ]
Heat 17, England V USA. If ever the Belle Vue pair needed to make the gate, it was now. AND THEY DID! Morton said, "When we came out of the first corner together, it was like a dream come true!" And they held it all the way, England 5 USA 1.
It was the same result for the Danes in Heat 19 earning them 25 points. But England's last race was against the home team and while the Italians were thoroughly enjoying their afternoon, they were not in the same league. So the inevitable 5-1 was 'MAGNIFICO!!!' and England were once again World Pairs Champions. Title number 4 for PC.
The Kiwis flew in Heat 21 which put them level with Denmark. Hans Nielsen again beating Mitch Shirra, this time for the Silver Medals. But for Shirra and 44 year old Ivan Mauger, the Champagne was sweet surrender. Last words from Morton, "It was also the day two lifelong friends who used to ride on old bangers of motorbikes as kids beat the world."
1 Nielsen Gundersen Dryml Stancl
1st England 27
2nd Denmark 25
3rd New Zealand 25
4th USA 19
5th Australia 14
6th CZ 10
7th Italy 6
This article was first published on 2nd November 2014
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