The World Pairs Final 1990
Jan O Pedersen joined up with Hans Nielsen to represent Denmark and they effortlessly won their Semi-Final. Simon Cross was back with fellow Brit, Kelvin Tatum and they won theirs. Biggest Semi talking point was the crash that put Polish rider Piotr Swist in hospital on life support. He would thankfully recover and continue his career but this really started the ball rolling to get rid of the 6 rider per race system.
Off to West Germany for the World Final on July 21, Landshut. 12,000 fans enjoyed the grand parade in the hot Bavarian sunshine and it wasnt long before the dramatic solids hit the air-conditioning!
Heat 1, England V USA V NZ. Before the end of lap one, England's hopes were smashed. Simon Cross had slightly tangled with the Yank, Ronnie Correy and fell. Didnt look bad but it was. The day was over for Cross, rushed to hospital with serious back injuries. He too would recover but for the moment, Tatum was all on his own. He would fight hard and earned a ton of respect!
Heat 2, Denmark V Australia V West Germany. Todd Wiltshire from Down Under made a brilliant gate only for the World Speedway Champion, Hans Nielsen to go flying into him sending them both to the deck. The melee taking out the home star Gerd Riss as well. Nielsen got to his feet but not so Riss who suffered a broken ankle. Now West Germany were down to one man. Nielsen was excluded and Wiltshire won the re-run from Pedersen.
For the 6 rider per race deal, it was three strikes and it was out! The injuries of Swist, Cross and Riss within about five weeks, saw the system well and truly on the scrap heap.
The meeting came to the last ever Heat 18 Final with a more different scenario than most expected. Super Swedes Per Jonsson and Jimmy Nilsen had not come up with the goods. Instead, Aussies Todd Wiltshire and Leigh Adams had the lead with 36 points. Nielsen and Pedersen had 34 while the Hungarians, Zoltan Adorjan/Sandor Tihanyi had 32.
And when the young Oz pair gated? Well, it simply brought out the best in their Danish rivals. Nielsen and Pedersen were soon in front leaving the others to dream of being THAT good. World Title number 7 for Denmark to equal the record of England. A further record of 6 in a row for Denmark. A record of 6 for Nielsen. And Nielsen equals Gundersen's record of 5 in a row. "Look man I'm talkin about classics. Janice Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival!" And the Speedway world could only continue singing, "Who'll Stop the Danes?"
r/run 1 Correy Shirra Tatum Bargh Moran Cross f/ex
1st Denmark 43
2nd Australia 41
3rd Hungary 33
4th Sweden 33
5th New Zealand 32
6th USA 28
7th CZ 21
8th England 20
9th West Germany 15
This article was first published on 14th December 2014
"It was a pity Todd Wiltshire got injured like he did at the 1992 Aussie title at the old North Arm Speedway in Adelaide, that put a halt to his career for about 5 years. I was at North Arm that night and saw him crash. It looked fairly harmless until he didn't get up. And apparently (from what I've been told by others who were there in an official capacity) he would have been ok if not for a light tower located directly behind the kickboard where he hit.
As for Leigh Adams.....the best rider I've seen who never won the World Championship. Won 10 Aussie titles though (the record by 4 over the late Billy Sanders), plus 4 Aussie Under-21 titles, the 1992 World Under-21 Championship and a 3 time World Cup/Team Cup winner. And despite the injury he's reportedly doing well. He's even provided television commentary for World Series Sprintcars here in Australia so he is definitely recognised as an Aussie speedway legend by both the car and bike brigades."
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