The World Pairs Final 1977
No Danish Delight this year as Ole Olsen and Finn Thomsen failed to qualify from the Semi-Final. Their 18 points saw them 4th behind West Germany 25, Australia 24 and Finland 21.
With the World Final back at Belle Vue, the home team picked itself. World numbers 1 and 2, Peter Collins and Malcolm Simmons went in as home and hot favourites. It was another bright, sunny afternoon in Manchester on July 2nd and the crowd was treated to a brilliant days racing, full of dramas, thrills and spills. At the end of it all, England were the victors, making it all look too easy. Beaten only by Ivan Mauger, the home team were never in any trouble.
Sweden took the Silver Medals but they did it the hard way. In the first heat, Anders Michanek and Bernt Persson tangled with the West German pair of Egon Muller and Hans Wassermann. Mich went down and Persson was excluded. It never got much better for Bernie after that but Mich had a magic day. Winning 5 of his 6 heats, only he and Phil Crump beat Ivan Mauger and Mich was himself only beaten by England. Big shock were the West Germans, taking the Bronze Medals on the same points as Sweden, Michanek beating Muller in the run-off. Their torrid scrap against Finland a huge talking point. Ila Teromaa took a right bustling and went into the fence only to be excluded. Then Kai Niemi won from the back and Wassermann had a point deducted for unfair riding!
The Kiwis were in trouble before the meeting started with Ivan's new partner, Larry Ross from Christchurch having his bike smashed up when he was rear ended on route. On the track, he was left to fend for himself and his 1 point reflected a shadow of his ability. Czechoslovakia enjoyed the day apart from an engine failure for Jiri Stancl and his partner, Jan Verner gets a very special, unique mention in Speedway history. 1977 was the year that he rode in all of the seasons 5 World Finals; Ice, Pairs, Individual, Longtrack and World Cup. An astonishing achievement that I believe was never repeated. If I'm wrong, please let us know. And Australia ? Crumpy got his second half right but overall, an Ocker Shocker !
1 Michanek Muller Wassermann Persson ex
1st England 28
2nd Sweden 18
3rd West Germany 18
4th New Zealand 17
5th CZ 17
6th Finland 14
7th Australia 12
This article was first published on 7th September 2014
"It was a great meeting and Ila and the fence is my lasting memory. He should never have been excluded. By the way, the England race jackets were excellent!"
"Call me a predant, call me anything you like, but the 1974 and 1977 World Pairs Final were held not in the afternoon but in the evening with both tapes upping at 7pm."
"Many thanks Ian. All helps with the fun of the affair. Cheers !"
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