The World Pairs Final 1974
The famous Belle Vue in Manchester, UK would host this year's Final and the home team would be Belle Vue's own Peter Collins and Leicester's Dave Jessup. An awful lot was placed on these very young shoulders, maybe too much.
Defending Champions Sweden by Anders Michanek and Tommy Jansson safely qualified along with Australia and New Zealand. Denmark missed the boat. Ole Olsen's 16 points with Finn Thomsen's 2, weren't quite enough. Norway and Scotland also eliminated.
Then at the last minute, but in time for the programme to have been printed [!], the Swedish powers that be, pulled Tommy Jansson from the team and replaced him with the Belle Vue 'Ace', Soren Sjosten. Jansson was devastated and said, "Anders and I qualified from Germany and I was told I would be riding at Belle Vue. Then a couple of days before the meeting I was told I wasnt riding."
Jansson was not the only one to be dropped. The Czechs Jiri Stancl and Milan Spinka had safely qualified but were replaced altogether. Easily their best two riders, Spinka had won the previous years CZ Golden Helmet ahead of Ole Olsen and Ivan Mauger! So just what was going on there, who knows? While Barry Briggs had qualified with Mauger for New Zealand, I was hoping that Graeme Stapleton would have got another go. Or Bruce Cribb or Ivan's Exeter team mate, Frank Shuter. Could any one of them had done better than Briggo on the day? Maybees. Maybees not though! Sadly, we will never know.
So to the World Final on July 13, a sunny afternoon saw the Sensational Swedes demolish the opposition with ease. Ivan Mauger was the only one to beat them, it was all too easy!
Australia's John Boulger and Phil Crump finished a proud second. They would however kick themselves for a dismal scrap against the Swedes! The Kiwis kept out the home team, just! Mauger had a magnificent day, beaten only by Jessup in round one but Briggo had a day to forget. Apart from his beating the Ruskies in their last heat. New Zealand's hopes of the Bronze Medals were in doubt until the very last heat. They had 21 points while a 5-1 for England would see them also score 21. So Mauger loaned his bike to Zenon Plech who did not let his Kiwi friend down. Collins won ok but Plech's second place ahead of Jessup secured NZ's place on the podium. Ah the joys of the English countryside!
1 Crump Boulger Holub Hadek
1st Sweden 28
2nd Australia 23
3rd New Zealand 21
4th England 20
5th Poland 18
6th USSR 10
7th CZ 6
This article was first published on 17th August 2014
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