The World Pairs Final 1993
The two Semi-Finals in June saw no big upsets. New Zealand by Mitch Shirra, Mark Thorpe and Gary Allan were fourth at Bydgoszcz but well off the pace. While at Miskolc, Hungary, Italy were fourth with 19 points, just one behind Australia. Armando Castagna scoring 17 of those!
The Vojens Speedway Center in Denmark would host the 26th and last World Pairs Final. This event had to be [??? ] sacrificed to make way for the coming World Championship Grand Prix and all who would sail in her.
It was July 31 and fittingly, Sweden won the Gold Medals. As Ove Fundin and Torbjorn Harrysson had opened the Championship, Per Jonsson, Tony Rickardsson and Henrik Gustafsson would bring the curtain down. And they did not have too much bother on the way. The defending USA triplets finished a respectable three points behind. Denmark had Hans Nielsen again doing most of the work as Tommy Knudsen was in the habit of running hot or cold. As for the Poms, Martin Dugard replaced Semi-Final hero Andy Smith and while they were not disgraced, they were not up for a podium spot either. Poland's Tomasz Gollob was a one man band and he won the very last World Pairs Final heat beating Hans Nielsen. In the very first Grand Prix Final, May 20, 1995, Gollob would win from Hans Nielsen. So what like? Well I'm just sayin!
Per Jonsson had been chasing this World Title for 9 years. His smile beamed contentment as he added this Gold Medal to his World Individual Title from 1990. Less than a year later, his career was over and he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Tony Rickardsson would go on to rewrite Speedway history but that's a whole other story.
And so the World Pairs Championship was all over. Denmark were THE big winners, 8 times Champions. England 7, Sweden 5, USA 3, New Zealand 2 and Poland 1. Hans Nielsen had won 7 Gold Medals. Erik Gundersen 5, Peter Collins 4, Anders Michanek 3 and Malcolm Simmons 3.
The World Pairs Final was everything Speedway should be, one night or afternoon of Big Top magic. Trapeze artists with no nets or safety ropes, clowns, winners take all, loved by Joe Public and those who got to ride in it. Modern day Speedway Superstars to 2nd division Top Guns. When the axe fell, it was like a death in the family. To those goofballs responsible? "WELL DONE PILLOCKS!!!"
1 Dugard Adams Screen Lyons
1st Sweden 26
2nd USA 23
3rd Denmark 21
4th England 18
5th Poland 15
6th Australia 13
7th Hungary 10
This article was first published on 4th January 2015
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