The World Pairs Final - 1968
If you look deep enough, you will see that many record books say the first World Pairs Final was in 1970. And technically, that's correct however, the first two were prototypes and the winners were presented with FIM Gold Medals.
It was on September 1 at Kempten, West Germany that Sweden won the inaugural event. An event that suffered the effects of 'The Prague Spring' [ google it ] before the tapes went up. Here is how it was reported in Speedway Star,
'The political situation in Eastern Europe caused Poland's Zbigniew Podlecki and Henryk Zyto to withdraw and they were replaced by a Danish pair Jens Hauser and Kurt Petersen. The Soviet Union withdrew earlier than Poland.'
Norway's original pair was Sverre Harrfeldt and Reider Eide. But both were under suspension for having ridden in the European Final against Warsaw Pact countries. Harrfeldt was seriously injured there and could not have ridden anyway but Eide was out! Then the Czechoslovakian pair of Jan Holub and Lubos Tomicek were forced to withdraw and were replaced by a second West German pair.
On the day, the Swedes Ove Fundin and Tobjorn Harrysson had no trouble securing the winners cheques, dropping just one point to the West German ace, Manfred Poschenreider who took a point off Harrysson. Great Britain by Ray Wilson [ England ] and Geoff Mudge [ Australia ] beaten only by the Swedes in the first heat, certainly justified their race jackets.
Disaster for the home number 1 team in their first race when Manfred Poschenreider took out his own partner Rainer Jungling, who was unable to continue. He was replaced by Fred Aberl. Poschenreider's next 3 races saw him make amends.
1 Fundin Harrysson Mudge Wilson
2 Fossengen Berg Hauser Petersen
3 Mudge Wilson Jungling [f] Poschenreider [f]
4 Fundin Harrysson Barth Kastl
5 Poschenreider Hauser Aberl Petersen
6 Fossengen Barth Berg Kastl
7 Mudge Wilson Petersen Hauser
8 Fundin Harrysson Fossengen Berg
9 Poschenreider Barth Kastl Aberl
10 Mudge Wilson Fossengen Berg
11 Barth Kastl Hauser Petersen
12 Fundin Poschenreider Harrysson Aberl
13 Wilson Mudge Barth Kastl
14 Fossengen Berg Aberl Poschenreider
15 Harrysson Fundin Petersen Hauser
1st Sweden 24
2nd Great Britain 21
3rd Norway 16
4th West Germany  12
5th West Germany  10
6th Denmark 6
If anyone has a snap of the first 3 on the podium, please share it with us, Cheers!
This article was first published on 6th July 2014
"Great article, brings back memories of other great racing and politics from that time"
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