New Zealand and the World Team Cup 1976
Oh boy, here we go again. The UK qualifying round would see England, the defending World Champions, square off against Australia, Scotland and NEW ZEALAND for the only place in the World Team Cup Final. It had been hoped that England would be seeded as the host country with the Final set for White City, London in September. That way, we may have seen an England/Australia show down. What a crowd puller that would be! But no.
The UK round was originally set for Sunday May 30 at Ipswich and all selected riders prepared for this date. And yes, IVAN MAUGER and BARRY BRIGGS would represent NZ. But what happened? The date was changed to Sunday May 16. And yes, the Kiwi pair were booked to ride for Ole Olsen in Denmark.
The war of words erupted;
Ipswich promoter John Berry:
"Mauger and Briggs were asked if they wished to race for NZ at Ipswich and they said they were not interested. I understand that the FIM will not allow them to race anywhere else on that date or a day either side of it. Obviously, I am very disappointed that two riders who have been honoured by the Queen for their services to NZ speedway should decide that they do not want to represent their country at Ipswich."
This from Speedway Star:
"Mr. Harry Louis of the Speedway Control Board said that neither Mauger or Briggs would be permitted to race in Ole Olsen's meeting at Vojens in Denmark on the same day. The FIM rules are quite clear, he stated, and riders who are nominated to race for their country but refuse will not be allowed to ride elsewhere on the day of the meeting or a day either side. This could affect Mauger riding at Exeter on Monday.'
"If the BSPA had kept to the original date of May 30, this problem would never have arisen. As usual, Ivan and I will get a lot of stick but to say we are not interested in riding for NZ is ridiculous. We both have to fix up all our meetings months in advance. We consulted the FIM calendar and left May 30 free and accepted bookings for Olsen's meeting. I'm told that the meeting had been brought forward because of the Internationale on May 31."
"I arranged my meeting for May 16 months and months ago and it didn't interfere with other meetings. How can I replace Mauger, Briggs, Collins, Louis and Crump?"
Ron Bagley, Ipswich promotion:
"Much has been written about the absent NZ stars. Some condone their reasons for missing out on this occasion while others violently condemn their actions. To my way of thinking, the whole thing should have been tied up months ago by the organizing body concerned. That way, this embarrassment to riders and ourselves as the promotion concerned could have been avoided."
MAUGER and BRIGGS took this personally. Peter Collins, John Louis and Phil Crump also missed Ole's meeting but turned out for their country. The Kiwis chose not to. Right or wrong?
For those who are interested, World Champion Ole Olsen won his 'Big Day Out' from Anders Michanek and John Davis.
Back to the World Cup. TREVOR REDMOND put together the best KIWI side he could and this was it; BRUCE CRIBB, LARRY ROSS, COLIN FARQUHARSON, DAVE GIFFORD and JACK MILLEN.
England were super confident as they had every right to be. Home track, home team, "nae bother aye Den?" Here is how it went.
Heat 1. Herne, Simmons, CRIBB, Beaton.
1st Australia 40.
2nd England 35.
3rd Scotland 12.
4th NEW ZEALAND 8
And so the Mighty Lions got fed to the Great White Sharks. This was a disaster, not only for the defending Champions but for the Final itself. It all went wrong in heat 3 when John Louis went into the fence, taking George Hunter with him. Then in heat 11 when Jessup fell trying to take on the leaders. What a day for John Boulger! Sweet revenge for his being overlooked by the selectors of Great Britain three years earlier. Scotland and NZ were pretty evenly matched but Brian Collins' fantastic win in heat 11 swung the balance. Then in heat 13, the Scot went smashing into COLIN FARQUHARSON, sending them both for a shale sandwich. Perhaps not a great day for the KIWIS, but look at the opposition and again, they did their best with what they had.
1976 World Team Cup Final. White City. London.
Yes, a Golden day for the Kangaroos with victory coming in the very last heat. Boulger making the gate and staying in front of Sweden's Anders Michanek who kept Poland's Edward Jancarz in third place.
Helping his Aussie team-mates that day was Mitch Shirra. He had been very upset not to be named as their reserve.
This article was first published on 22nd December 2016
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