The BLRC 1965
1965. First year of The British League. Norwich was gone and Ove Fundin was now riding part time. This event would be homed at Belle Vue and would join The Internationale as THE biggest meetings a rider could win in the UK apart from The World Final.
Mike Parker, Chairman of the BSPA wrote in the first programme,
"Our sport has had many problems over the years and 1965 has been no exception, but I am pleased to say that at last all the tracks in Britain are united in one Association under the authority of the newly constituted Speedway Control Board. The co-operation between the two bodies has resulted in a foundation being laid which should be of benefit to everyone in Speedway in 1966. The problems that have arisen only go to prove that Speedway throughout the country is alive and kicking and if we ever reach the stage when we don't have problems the sport will be finished."
And so the foundation was laid for the first BLRC. Octobber 16. Belle Vue. FRANK MACLEAN was behind the typewriter for Speedway Star;
"Barry Briggs, the favourite, won the first ever BLRC at a foggy Belle Vue . A hairsbreath decision in Heat 14, when he managed to get the last puff of power from his dying motor, clinched the issue in his favour. It was as well Briggs did get that vital second place spot in Heat 14 for I fear that had he finished third - and so collected a total of 13 points - there wouldn't have been time enough for the necessary run-off with Jimmy Gooch before the fog closed in. So Briggs could get into a comparatively easy Heat 17 knowing that a win would give him the Title. Barry and his motor made no mistakes.
A near capacity crowd packed into Hyde Road Stadium to see a meeting that will be remembered more for its incidents than its standard of racing. Racing was generally pretty processional and the fact that for much of the time it was difficult to see through the gathering gloom. Incidents indeed. The drama of Heat 14 for example - the race that really was the decider. Previously unbeaten Briggs and Cyril Maidment clashed and Nigel Boocock and Ivan Mauger were in there too. Briggs got out of the gate from Boocock and Maidment. Just when it seemed as if the Belle Vue man was going to get passed Boocock his motor failed and he was out of the race. Then on the last bend Briggs' motor slowed alarmingly and Boocock nipped through to take the chequered flag. Briggs willed his bike over the line as Mauger came haring up behind.
Local fans were really disappointed that Maidment suffered such rotten luck. Four fine wins from his other four starts gave him third place and but for that engine failure it is quite possible that he would have won the Championship."
So, Title number 1 for Briggo after a Slog in the Fog!
Heat 1. MAUGER, Jarman, Kitchen, Major.
BARRY BRIGGS Swindon 14. Jimmy Gooch Oxford 13. Cyril Maidment Belle Vue 12. Olle Nygren Wimbledon 11. Nigel Boocock Coventry 11. Charlie Monk Glasgow 9. IVAN MAUGER Newcastle 8. Peter Jarman Wolverhampton 8. Eric Boocock Halifax 7. Colin Gooddy Exeter 6. Jack Kitchen Sheffield 5. Ken McKinlay West Ham 5. George Major Cradley Heath 3. Gerald Jackson Hackney 3. Ronnie Genz Poole 2. Alby Golden Newport 2. Jack Biggs Newport qns. Res ALF WELLS Edinburgh 1. Res Howard Cole aka Kid Bodie Long Eaton 0.
This article was first published on 5th July 2020
"This statement from Tracy really sums it up: "This event would be homed at Belle Vue and would join The Internationale as THE biggest meetings a rider could win in the UK apart from The World Final." I went with my dad to many BLRC's in the '70's and Tracy is spot on in saying that this was a BIG night. But I'd never really thought of it in comparison terms with other meetings, and I can see that, certainly from the inception of the British Leage in '65, the BLRC stood as a 'big 'un' for many years. Under the lights at Hyde Road, end-of-season, packed crowd, best riders in the world bar the odd one or two - fantastic stuff."
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