Kiwis in the Overseas Final - 1981
A new round is introduced to the World Championship this year with a silly name and a silly trophy to go with it. That is no slur on Nelson Mills Baldwin, all due respect. And not knocking the designer or the Sunday Mirror who sponsored the event. It is just that, they forgot it was a qualifying round, on the way to the World Final, rather than a Championship all on it's own. The winner would certainly deserve the cheque but to be 'crowned' Overseas Champion, what on earth was that meant to mean. British Champion, not a problem. Back in the day, European Champion. Cool. But this meeting should have been kept in it's place. Only saying.
Two Kiwis lined up at White City on July 12. New Zealand and Australasian Final winner, Ivan Mauger and Larry Ross. The other two hopefuls, Mitch Shirra and Tony Briggs having been eliminated. Mauger was in the twilight of his riding career and was busy being co promoter for the 1982 World Final. Also, he had his very own 'Mini me', becoming personal manager of Kenny Carter.
With 10 to qualify, Larry Ross had no problem and was able to help Mauger in their last race. This was heat 20. Mauger had 6 points and needed another 2 for a place in the next round. Defending World Champion, Mike Lee also had 6. Dave Jessup was unbeaten with 12 points. With 1 point being all he needed to win the meeting and Lee being his Kings Lynn team-mate, the stage was set for a pre-arranged exhibition. So when Lee blasted around Mauger, Jessup sitting third and Ross happy at the back, the crowd was treated to a 'mates race'. Nothing wrong with that. As I pointed out earlier, this was after-all, simply a qualifying round. Both Kiwis safely through to the Intercontinantal Final at Vojens on July 25.
Other talking points of the meeting were the sad elimination of the British Champion, Steve Bastable. Winning that meeting should have put him straight through to Wembley. And Bruce Penhall putting Kenny Carter into the fence. "There was nothing I could do !" mmm...
Heat 2. MAUGER, C Morton, Bastable, Cartwright.
3. Penhall, ROSS, Kennedy, Louis.
5. K Moran, Penhall, MAUGER, L Collins.
7. ROSS, Sigalos, C Morton, Herne.
9. ROSS, L Collins, Carter, Cartwright.
10. Sigalos, Autrey, MAUGER, Kennedy.
14. Bastable, K Moran, ROSS, Autrey.
15. Louis, Carter, MAUGER. Herne nf.
20. Lee, MAUGER, Jessup, ROSS.
Dave Jessup 13. Chris Morton 11. Bruce Penhall 10. Kelly Moran 10. Dennis Sigalos 10. LARRY ROSS 9. John Louis 9. Mike Lee 9. IVAN MAUGER 8. all qualify.
Les Collins 7. Steve Bastable 6. Scott Autrey 4. Ian Cartwright 4. Danny Kennedy 2. Phil Herne 0.
Reserves; Billy Sanders, Shawn Moran, Malcolm Simmons, did not ride.
This article was first published on 26th November 2017
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