New Zealand and the World Team Cup 1981
Sunday, May 17 sees the KIWIS taking on the defending World Champions England, Australia and the USA. Heavy rain played its part in this ordeal at Reading which saw the first two teams qualify for the Intercontinental Final at Kings Lynn, the following month.
TREVOR REDMOND had one change to last years squad, a new reserve being 19 year old tenacious teenager, TONY BRIGGS. And with Reading being his home track for his second year with the Racers, TONY would be eager to impress should he get the opportunity.
It would be hard going as all four teams were at full strength. Even England, allowing for the fact that Peter Collins was taking a year off to recover from injury. So, the action got underway;
Heat 1. Lee, Penhall, Titman, ROSS.
1st England. 36
2nd USA. 32
3rd Australia. 20
4th NEW ZEALAND. 8
England and the USA had no trouble as the score shows, despite the rain. Reigning World Individual Champion, Mike Lee had a super day as did Speedway's hottest property, 'The Golden Eagle', Bruce Penhall. Australia may have put up more of a fight had Sanders and Crump not been running hot and cold. NEW ZEALAND ? TONY BRIGGS made the most of his debut, heat 9 being the one and only light switch that got turned on all afternoon.
Tony's career came to an end not long after this meeting. A league match crash at Coventry, saw him suffer severe spinal damage. After months in hospital, he did escape permanent paralyses and he would ride again, but his British League days were over. Tony would eventually represent NZ in the World Team Cup again, 1994 & 1995!
However, that's a whole other story.
England and Denmark qualified from the Intercontinental Final, eliminating the USA and Sweden.
1981 World Team Cup Final. Olching. West Germany.
This article was first published on 29th January 2017
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