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The Speedway Bike
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45 Years a Racer
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Steve Langton Strikes Gold
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Irish Eyes Were Smiling
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The Internationale 1973
By Tracy Holmes

After competing in every Internationale, all 12 years worth, Barry Briggs would not be at Wimbledon on May 28. Why? Dunno! He had appeared in the inaugural Daily Express Spring Classic also at Wimbledon in April. Perhaps his decision to opt out of British League Speedway was behind it but whatever, there was a Briggo sized hole in the programme. That left World Champion Ivan Mauger to carry the Kiwi flag and Graeme Stapleton as standby reserve.

The man of the moment was Swedish ace, Anders Michanek. If Wills Embassy Filters were still the best in smoking, then Anders was currently the best in Speedway racing. He was unbeaten to win the Daily Express Spring Classic and Hackney's Superama.

Now back at Plough Lane, after 4 rounds, the lad from the Land of the Lakes was again unbeaten and all too ready 'to get the hatrick.' "Get away, little bugger eh!"

He had no problems with what was described as a tricky track that even caused World Champion Ivan Mauger to get wobbly. One writer said that riders were "bemused and confused", classic line!

Anyways, one point behind was Ole Olsen. Beaten only by young Wimbledon and Swedish rider, Tommy Jansson in heat 1, Ole kept pace with Michanek and was determined to make up for last years catastrophe. They met in heat 19. Tapes up, Michanek shot into the lead and surely it was all over.

Philip Rising wrote for 'Speedway Star',

"After trailing Michanek for over three laps, Olsen made a superlative swoop on the last bend, snatching the verdict by inches to a crescendo of cheers from a crowd intoxicated by the brilliance of it all."

WOW! Gotta think Penhall/Wembley 81.

So 14 all and an Olsen/Michanek run-off. Could it get any better? Well yes, Ivan Mauger won heat 20 which put him on 11 points, equal with Tommy Jansson. "Two Whiskeys please!"

Twenty heats and no places decided. Speedway got no better than this. Wimbledon fans then saw a dream come true as Tommy Jansson took out Ivan Mauger for 3rd place. A Star is born. Ole Olsen then got it right, outgating Michanek and thumping his name on the trophy, taking home the brand new Jawa.

 

Heat 1. T Jansson, Olsen, Middelton, Ray Wilson.
Heat 2. Lofqvist, Persson, MAUGER, Boulger.
Heat 3. Michanek, Betts, Autrey, McMillan.
Heat 4. B Jansson, Eide, Reg Wilson. Pusey fall.
Heat 5. MAUGER, Betts, T Jansson. B Jansson fall.
Heat 6. Persson, Pusey, Ray Wilson, McMillan.
Heat 7. Olsen, Eide, Boulger. Autrey fall.
Heat 8. Michanek, Lofqvist, Reg Wilson. Middelton fall.
Heat 9. Persson, T Jansson, Autrey, Reg Wilson.
Heat 10. Michanek, MAUGER, Eide, Ray Wilson.
Heat 11. Olsen, Betts, Lofqvist, Pusey.
Heat 12. Boulger, B Jansson, Middelton, McMillan.
Heat 13. Michanek, T Jansson, Pusey, Boulger.
Heat 14. Ray Wilson, B Jansson, Lofqvist, Autrey.
Heat 15. Olsen, MAUGER, McMillan, Reg Wilson.
Heat 16. Middelton, Persson, Betts, Eide.
Heat 17. T Jansson, McMillan, Eide, Lofqvist.
Heat 18. Reg Wilson, Betts, Ray Wilson, Boulger.
Heat 19. Olsen, Michanek, B Jansson, Persson.
Heat 20. MAUGER, Middelton, Autrey, Pusey.
3rd place run-off. T Jansson, MAUGER.
1st place run-off. Olsen, Michanek.

 

Ole Olsen 14. Anders Michanek 14. Tommy Jansson 11. IVAN MAUGER 11. Bernt Persson 10. Terry Betts 9. Bengt Jansson 8. Christer Lofqvist 7. Garry Middelton 7. Reider Eide 6. Reg Wilson 5. Ray Wilson 5. John Boulger 4. Jim McMillan 3. Scott Autrey 3. Chris Pusey 3. John Louis Q ns. Res Eric Boocock Q ns. Res Martin Ashby dnr. Res Barry Thomas dnr. Res GRAEME STAPLETON dnr.

 

This article was first published on 12th April 2020

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