The World Pairs Final 1983
Finland were the only major casualty from the Semi-Finals. At Bremen, West Germany, the Yanks picked up from where they left off. Dennis Sigalos/Bobby Schwartz winning from the Poms, Peter Collins/Kenny Carter and the home team Egon Muller/Karl Maier. The Finns Kai Niemi/Ari Koponen had 21 points equal with the Germans but lost the last place run-off.
Gothenburg, Sweden hosted the Final at the Ullevi Stadium on June 17. Bright sunshine had some of the six thousand or so spectators in sun-glasses and T-shirts. [ What in Sweden? You must be joking! ] And it was shock horror for the Yanks, Dennis Sigalos/Bobby Schwartz in heat one, Australia, Billy Sanders/Gary Guglielmi thumping them 5-1. The track was slick and dusty and would stay that way all afternoon, making for a processional meeting. More upset in heat two as Sweden by Jan Andersson and Pierre Brannefors smashed the New Zealand pair, Ivan Mauger and Larry Ross.
England's Peter Collins and Kenny Carter got off to the right start in heat three as did the Danes in heat four. A new team this year of Hans Nielsen/Erik Gundersen got it right and demoralizing the Yanks was Danish delight. The Swedes took a point off Australia in heat 9 and then the circus came to town in heat ten. Denmark V England with ten points each. Nielsen made the gate but Peter Collins fell off all by himself and the race was stopped. The referee ordered all four back, just how Collins "got away with that one, I dunno ladies and gentleman!"
So to the re-run. Nielsen decides to unsettle Carter, disputing his gate position. This did the Dane and the spectators no favours at all. Then, under starters orders, Nielsen rolls over the tapes, stops and falls over! His exclusion was well deserved and applauded. On the third attempt, Gundersen rockets into the lead only to drop out with engine failure on the third lap.
Heat 12 saw Billy Sanders win by a mile but it was 3-3 with the Poms. Dennis Sigalos put it over Carter and Collins in heat 15 but Schwartz never gave up and though he was last, he was right on Collins back wheel. Heat 16 saw Australia V West Germany. The unbeaten Sanders blasts off to lead into turn one, only to fall flat on his ass! Guess what? He was excluded! Oh yea, by the Australian referee, Sam Bass. Say what?! But hadn't Peter Collins fallen off by himself and escaped exclusion? ahh yes, mmmm ...
Guglielmi easily won the re-run and when the Aussies scored a 4-2 over the Danes in heat 19, they were left with 24 points. Collins and Carter had 21 with a race to go. They needed four points and that's exactly what they got. Heat 20, Carter got by Ivan Mauger, Collins was happy to sit for the point ahead of his Belle Vue team-mate, Larry Ross. England were World Pairs Champions by a point from Australia. The Danes sneaked the Bronze Medals ahead of the Yanks.
A hot dusty day in Sweden, who would ever have thought?! Heartbreak Hotel for Australia, Marmalade and Jam for the Poms. Or should it be, "Jam or Marmite?"
1 Sanders Guglielmi Schwartz Sigalos
1st England 25
2nd Australia 24
3rd Denmark 19
4th USA 18
5th Sweden 16
6th West Germany 12
7th New Zealand 11
This article was first published on 26th October 2014
"Billy Sanders knew after his last ride (another win) that his fall against the West Germans had cost he and Gary Guglielmi the title, you could see in his reaction. He's won his heat yet hung his head on the handlebars knowing that all England needed was 4 points against the Kiwis. Shame really, Billy deserved to win more than one World Championship (he was part of the Aussie team that won the 1973 World Team Cup). The referee at the meeting, Sam Bass, was a police detective and later a state parliament politician in his home town of Adelaide (also my home town). Bass may have been straight as a dye as a speedway referee (I believe his son or brother actually rode solo's at Rowley Park), but for a number of years there were heavy rumours that he was a bent cop...all denied of course and nothing was ever proven."
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