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Dream Team : Andrew Bradley

WiggCross

I'm an old Cradley Heath fan who doesn't visit Speedway anymore just keep in touch thru Sky etc. I would like to submit my all time Cradley Heathen 7.

Juicy Brucie Penhall
Always rode below what he could achieve in my opinion when doing domestic meetings. When he rode his last match v Halifax in August '82 he was simply untouchable and scored an easy maximum averaging 1.5 seconds faster than all other heat winners. Awesome rider when he really tried was exceptional, and he was fantastic when he didn't try that hard!! Never really any rider to compete with him in the early 80's.

Phil Flyer Collins
Great entertainer and a delight to watch. Always gave 100% and never gave up a lost cause. Once saw him 50 yds off at the back and he still got up into 2nd for a 5-1 with Alan Grahame. Never could make the gate but that made him the rider he was. Memorably saw him win the Overseas Final at Belle Vue on a soggy day in 1983. Class act.

Simon Wigg
Only had one season at Dudley Wood, his first after stepping up from Weymouth, but he was catapulted into the No.1 jacket after 1 month of brilliance at reserve. Was such a talent and very reliable, spearheading Cradley Heath into that golden spell when they won virtually everything in '83. Superstar in the making.

Lance King
Brought over by Penhall, he took time to settle. Had such a smooth riding style and almost succeeded in claiming the greatest prize in '84 losing out to Erik and Hans. Took over as No.1 after Wiggy left and again could be relied upon for hefty scores and was good from the front or back.

Erik Gundersen
Gunder the Wunder, what can you say. Long serving skipper who spoke with a Black Country accent. Dynamite from the tapes he was rarely passed once in front, not so good from the back but have seen him overtake! Loyal servant so sad when he got injured. He could still compete with the best around today, in my mind. Phenomenon.

Simon Cross
Crossy was another who served us well over a long period of time. Saw him make his debut and his raw talent was evident at 16. Never saw him much after '86 when he claimed greater glory. Still warrants a place due to competitiveness and ability to bounce back after injury.

Bobby Schwartz
Boogaloo. Penhall's mate but another to leave a great impression on the Dudley Wood crowd. Always rode well there when riding for other sides later on but in '79 left us with some great memories. Would have been great to see him and Bruce riding for Cradley Heath when they were both at their peak.

Others who warrant a mention:

Jan O Pedersen: (all heart and World Champ so class personified)

Alan 'Old Codger' Grahame: He was not my favourite but deserves mention for his whole hearted efforts and comeback from illness.

Wild Bill Barrett: Aussie kid who rode about 10 times, I thought he was great.

 

This article was first published on 25th June 2004

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