New Zealand and the World Team Cup 1985
With the USA hosting this year's Final, who would join NEW ZEALAND, England and Australia in the first round? Scotland surely! Well no, Finland actually. "Oh alright, we believes you!"
Bradford would host this round on May 12 and TREVOR REDMOND had a KIWI team that named itself. MITCH SHIRRA was recovering from horrific injuries sustained at Western Springs in December of 84 but he was looking good. Joining MITCH would be LARRY ROSS and DAVID BARGH. The next two at either number 4 or 5, Berwick's BRUCE CRIBB and Edinburgh's ALAN MASON.
Disaster struck the team when DAVID BARGH broke his wrist in April and was unable to take his place. Imagine the shock when the team was named. SHIRRA, ROSS, IVAN MAUGER, KYM MAUGER with reserve ALAN MASON. Good heavens! IVAN MAUGER? Well, there was no show without Punch. KYM MAUGER? Like dad, with no team berth in Britain!? Oh for ... ok he did get a couple of matches for Berwick. It seems that the politics that was killing the sport back in the Shaky Isles, was having the same effects across the world.
NZ was not the only team in turmoil. England would have to do without Simon Wigg. The solids had hit the air conditioning and he was banned from the three FIM World Speedway Championships that year. [ Wiggy was however allowed to compete in the World Longtrack Championship. And he won it! ]
Less than three weeks before the event, Australia's Billy Sanders took his own life. The sport as a whole was deeply moved by this sadness. Billy was a Superstar around the Speedway world. The weekend came and all the teams assembled for the Sunday meeting. On the Saturday however, came the Bradford City football ground fire. This tragedy claimed the lives of 56 spectators and over 250 were injured. Many thought the following day's Speedway meeting would not go ahead. But go ahead it did with respect being paid to the victims and their families beforehand.
For England, this would surely be a piece of cake. But with two places at the Intercontinental Final, in Denmark the following month, up for grabs, a close fight was hoped for and expected. "Right, away ya gan."
Heat 1. Crump, Carter, Moksunen, K.MAUGER.
1st England 42
2nd Australia 21
3rd NEW ZEALAND 17
4th Finland 16
For England, a 'Lazy Sunday Afternoon'! Well it was a breeze. Only three members of the opposition gave them a run. Kai Niemi , the only Flying Fin. Crumpy started well but ran out of Crocodile Dundee juice and MITCH SHIRRA, well at least he put up a fight. The other KIWIS? ALAN MASON showed that his being put at reserve was a load of bloody nonsense! KYM MAUGER's only point, thanks to Steve Regeling breaking down.
This UK round, which had become something else, had come to an end. The FIM in their infinite wisdom decided that The World Team Cup needed reinventing. But for this year? The home team Denmark won the Intercontinental Final. England, again, eventually got to the Final but they, again, would be without the, again, injured Kenny Carter. So what happened?
1985 World Team Cup Final. Long Beach. California. USA.
While I hated Denmark holding world domination, I was overjoyed that they beat the Yanks on their home turf, "Alriiight!" But, the USA did have one new sensation, their reserve Sam Ermolenko. This guy would turn out to be something really special!!!
This article was first published on 5th March 2017
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