The BLRC 1968
Belle Vue, October 19 and our friend FRANK MACLEAN gives us the blow by blow account he gave Speedway Star;
"They locked the stadium gates before the BLRC at Hyde Road on Saturday. And it was agony for hundreds of frustrated fans left outside as 20,000 privileged people thrilled to the highlights and heartbreaks of the most dramatic individual contest seen for many years. Swindon's golden boy, Barry Briggs, emerged as the ultimate champion, but not before the last race in a memorable night of changing fortunes and tingling suspense. For the joint favourite Barry was beaten into second place by power-packed Eric Boocock for his only defeat in Heat 16. The Halifax star completed 12 points and cheering Northern fans sensed a breakthrough of Briggs' three year domination as Boocock came to the tapes just 70 odd seconds away from the Title in his last race. Then out of the blue came another chance for Barry as Belle Vue's Soren Sjosten, with just 5 points scored, flashed to the front to win and put both riders, Briggs and Boocock level on 14 points.
In the run-off, Briggs experience and flair for the big occasion proved itself again when he left Boocock at the second bend and raced home for his fourth successive Title. It was cold luck for Boocock, particularly after a sensational first-race win when he outpaced Ivan Mauger as he blasted round Belle Vue in a remarkable time of 70.6 - the best time at Hyde Road in the past ten years. Ivan Mauger suffered another setback in Heat 18, a race that more than underlined Briggs' championship class. Briggs trailed the field in a poor start, but in successive laps overtook Bernie Persson and Torbjorn Harrysson before turning into a spectacular swoop from the pits bend to overhaul Mauger in the last few yards."
Harrysson had only been beaten by Eric Boocock after 4 rounds and needed to win that heat, as it turned out, to be in the run-off with Eric for the Title. Even though he fell in that titanic Heat 18 battle, his efforts were valiant indeed and not to be overlooked.
Well what an evening that was! And with four on the floor, The Briggo Brigade were begging for more!
Heat 1. Harrysson, Holmqvist, Pratt, Trigg.
BARRY BRIGGS Swindon 14. Eric Boocock Halifax 14. IVAN MAUGER Newcastle 13. Torbjorn Harrysson Newport 11. Martin Ashby Exeter 11. Terry Betts Kings Lynn 8. Anders Michanek Leicester 8. Soren Sjosten Belle Vue 8. Bernt Persson Coatbridge 7. Hasse Holmqvist Wolverhampton 7. Norman Hunter West Ham 5. Nigel Boocock Coventry 5. Charlie Monk Sheffield 5. Colin Pratt Hackney 2. Olle Nygren Wimbledon 2. Roy Trigg Cradley Heath 0. Res Jim McMillan Glasgow dnr. Res Geoff Mudge Poole dnr. Res Colin Gooddy Oxford dnr.
This article was first published on 12th July 2020
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