New Zealand v Poland 1975 - First Test
'Ronnie, Nitro-Circus rain pain and sleeping rough.'
When this series was announced, it shot excitement sky high! At last we would get to see 1973 World Champion Jerzy Szczakiel in action. So cruelly denied the opportunity to visit with the Mauger/Briggs series the season before, surely, he would make this one.
Ahhh no! They arrived in Australia mid-January. The line-up being; Edward Jancarz, Zenon Plech, Andrzej Tkocz, Andrzej Jurczynski, Piotr Bruzda, Piotr Pyszny with reserve Zygfryd Kostka.
Former National Champion and World Finalist Henryk Zyto would be mechanic and standby reserve. The 'manager' was Bernard Kowalski who had 'toured' with Plech and Jancarz the year before. It was an impressive debut as they met a Liverpool Select in Sydney, winning 55-53. George Hunter, Garry Middleton, Howard Cole, Bob Humphreys, Dennis Alderton, Greg Kentwell and Bob Valentine getting more than a run for their money.
Less than a week before the first Test in Kiwiland, the unimaginable happened. Ronnie Moore was near fatally injured in Oz. As we all know, he somehow survived but the 'Pele' of World Speedway would never ride competitively again. Also missing was Mike Fullerton, recovering from a broken wrist with hand injuries.
The 1st Test at Western Springs on Saturday, January 25 saw a comfortable win for the home team but a spirited performance from the visitors. Gary Peterson was completing a wonderful 'comeback' and his 18-point maximum was magic. Made even more so by his partner Graeme Stapleton, making sure they went unbeaten in all their heats.
The big drama came after the event when it was discovered that nitro had been added to the fuel source. And this explained much of the troubles experienced on the night. Poland protested and this was upheld. The meeting results declared void. Good heavens, what a start and what a to-do!
Heat 1. Mauger, Plech, Pyszny, Andrews.
New Zealand 62
This article was first published on 12th March 2023
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