The Internationale 1963
SCANDAL!!! It was the year John Profumo confessed his affair with Christine Keeler and Dr Stephen Ward took his own life. Harold McMillan's Conservative government was rocked to its foundations. Good heavens above!
And in the same year, Speedway had it's very own SCANDAL. The Internationale was staged at Wimbledon on August 5, sponsored by Capstan Cigarettes, 'Perfectly made, perfectly protected, never go without a CAPSTAN.' Ronnie Moore was never without a smoke but sadly had to miss this one, his season had come to an end through injury. [ Ronnie retired and returned to New Zealand. He would come back in 1969 ]
Eric Linden was on the keys for Speedway Star, "What a meeting this Internationale turned out to be. Wimbledon's biggest crowd in years, well over 14,000 watched enthralled as the favourites - Craven, Briggs, Knutson and even Fundin - dropped out of the running, or so it seemed.'"
Indeed, after 4 rounds, Wimbledon's own Sverre Harrfeldt was unbeaten. The Title and brand new Speedway bike was his for the taking in heat 19. He faced Fundin on 10 points, Craven on 8 and Peter Moore with
What happened when the tapes went up is reported by one eye witness, "... was just short of GBH and would have made the BBC Crimewatch programme if it had not happened on a speedway track."
Another report read, "Harrfeldt was bowled unceremoniously off his machine." Harrfeldt said simply, "They knocked me down."
Ove Fundin won the heat and so was crowned Internationale winner for the third straight year. But during the presentations, Wimbledon promoter Ronnie Greene made allegations of bribery. The Speedway Control Board would later reject this suggestion.
This report from Classic Speedway, "At the time it was the most serious accusation ever levelled in Speedway circles and led to lurid national newspaper headlines."
Harrfeldt later said, "Who knows, if I hadn't been knocked off and they hadn't conspired against me in the pits beforehand, I might have come last anyway. But Fundin can't have felt good about himself after the way he won the Internationale."
WOW, Scandal indeed. As for Speedway, it was a case of; You lucky people, you've never had it so good!
Heat 1. Fundin, Broadbank, Sjosten, Fisher.
Ove Fundin 13. Sverre Harrfeldt 12. Bjorn Knutson 12. Nigel Boocock 10. Leo McAulliffe 10. Peter Craven 10. BARRY BRIGGS 9. Olle Nygren 9. Ron How 8. Bob Andrews 5. Peter Moore 5. Mike Broadbank 4. Arne Pander 4. Ken McKinlay 4. Dick Fisher 3. Soren Sjosten 2. Res Roy Trigg 0. Res Jim Tebby dnr. RONNIE MOORE Q inj ns.
This article was first published on 19th January 2020
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