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1975 World Final. Heat 20.
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1975 World Final. Heat 20.
By Tracy Holmes

1975 World Final. Wembley. September 6. We all know the story. The state of the track. Ivan Mauger said it was no worse than 1972 apart from the dust. The dust that got fans so irate, they took hoses ... Could Peter Collins have won heat 9? Yes. Would he have done so? Maybees, maybees not though! I mean, like Peter, Phil Crump was also unbeaten. Defending Champion Anders Michanek had 4, same as Ivan Mauger. HUGE ask indeed. Well, he did make an excellent gate. But this was all about 'if' he had done so.

From the Peter Collins autobiography 'Keeping it on the Tyres';

"Despite regaining my composure sufficiently to win Heat 14 from Tommy Jansson, it had become futile. Ole - riding a two-valve longtrack Jawa - had won the previous race to stay unbeaten on 12. Mentally, I'd kind of lost it, big-time, after finishing last in my third ride. Olsen was in a class above the rest and making consistently fast starts all night. But if I'd still been in title contention when we met in our last ride, Heat 20, there's every chance I could have beaten him. I would have had a fair crack at it anyway. As it turned out, he again won as he pleased, completing a relatively untroubled maximum ahead of Simmo, with me third. But to show this is not just sour grapes, even Ole admitted when interviewed afterwards that the track was 'not good."

Recently on facebook, I had an enjoyable debate about this World Final. My friend did not say Peter 'would' have won, he said 'could' have won. As Peter himself has said. And I totally agree. How wonderful it would have been to see PC & Ole go head-to-head, both on 12 points and the winner takes it all. Imagine Wally Loak, "Well excoitment excoitment indeed ladies and gentlemen, whooose it gunna be?"

The reason for this article [pfft] is for those who say that Peter 'would' have won and that there is no question of that. As I have seen on facebook. They mean well but do not take into account what a brilliant year Ole had before that meeting and after it. And when up against Peter Collins, how they fared. So, for those who are interested, lets take a look.

These are THE biggest meetings between the two. No league matches. And a few where neither rode or just one, for context.

April 10. Wimbledon. Daily Express Spring Classic.
1st Phil Crump 12. 2nd Barry Briggs 11. 3rd PETER COLLINS 11. 4th OLE OLSEN 10.
Heat 10. OLSEN, Simmons, Betts, COLLINS.

May 26. Wimbledon. Internationale.
Heat 14. OLSEN, Boulger, COLLINS, Lovaas.

June 15. Wroclaw. World Pairs Final.
1st Sweden 24. Anders Michanek 17. Tommy Jansson 7.
2nd Poland 23. Edward Jancarz 15. Piotr Bruzda 8.
3rd Denmark 20. OLE OLSEN 18 maximum. Jan Henningsen 2.
4th England 20. John Louis 13. PETER COLLINS 7.
Heat 8. OLSEN, Louis, COLLINS, Henningsen.

July 24. Wimbledon. Daily Mirror Open.
Heat 13. OLSEN, COLLINS, Ashby, Thomas.


Then came the World Final. And again, Ivan Mauger said that World Final Speedway was different to any other Speedway and had to be ridden as such. [That is why in 14 straight World Finals, he put up the winning score in 7 of them and won 6!] So although Ole had won all these previous encounters, it counted for nothing on the biggest night of the year.

September 6. Wembley. World Final.
Heat 20. OLSEN, Simmons, COLLINS, Val Gordeev.


Post Wembley.

[ September 10. Coventry. Brandonapolis. Neither rode in this event. ]

September 15. Reading. Manpower Trophy.
1st Phil Crump 14. 2nd Malcolm Simmons 13. 3rd OLE OLSEN 12. 7th PETER COLLINS 8.
Heat 19. OLSEN, Michanek, COLLINS, Louis.

[ September 21. Norden. World Team Cup Final.]
1st England. PETER COLLINS, Malcolm Simmons, Martin Ashby, John Louis, Dave Jessup. Denmark did not qualify. ]

September 25. Sheffield. Bass Yorkshire Open.
1st PETER COLLINS 13. 2nd Ivan Mauger 13. 3rd OLE OLSEN 13.
Heat 8. OLSEN, COLLINS, Glover, N Boocock.
1st place run-off. COLLINS, Mauger. OLSEN ef.

[ October 5. Pardubice. The CZ Golden Helmet. ]
1st OLE OLSEN. Peter Collins did not enter this competition.

October 21. Belle Vue. British League Riders Final.
1st PETER COLLINS 15. Ole Olsen qualified but did not start.

[ October 25. Kings Lynn. Pride of the East. Neither rode in this event. ]

Well, you can clearly see by this overview that Ole had an amazing year. This was Ole at his supreme best. And so, here is where we started. World Final heat 20. Had Peter Collins been unbeaten with Ole Olsen, could he have beaten him to be crowned World Champion? Absolutely! But as this piece shows, it would certainly have been a MASSIVE task.


This article was first published on 27th December 2022

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