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  1. BL65

    Harry Bastable

    Sad news indeed. Harry was a second string rider at Leicester in the late 1950s, after the closure of Birmingham, with Ivor also attached to the Hunters as an occasional team member, but mainly second half rider. Harry switched to Cradley Heath early in the 1960 season and achieved a league average above 10.5, the best part of a point a match more than Ivor recorded at Yarmouth. When Ivor joined the Heathens his league average increased year on year during the Provincial League seasons, from just over 10 in 1961 to 10.39 in 1964, before dipping slightly to 9.27 in the 1965 British League. His average would probably have been above 10 but for injuries suffered in the Internationale. At the same time, Harry's average fell each year until his final retirement midway through the 1965 season. He had 'retired' several times before but immediately responded to help out as the Heathens suffered a regular injury crisis. In 1961 Harry was second in the team's league averages with just under 9 points per match, dropping to below 8 in 1962, although still second behind Brown. 1963 saw Harry drop to third in the team's league averages with a figure just above 6, behind Brown and John Hart. His figure of 5.33 in 1964 left Harry fifth in the league averages, behind Brown, George Major, Hart and Eric Hockaday. In 1965 an average of 4.79 saw him drop to sixth at the time of his retirement behind the same 4 riders as the previous year together with Chris Julian. Harry was certainly a mainstay of the Cradley Heath team in the early Provincial League years and continued to score solidy in the middle order for the last couple of seasons until his retirement. He topped the Cradley Heath averages in 1952, in just his third season, before moving on when the track closed and he topped the averages when he returned to the reopened track in 1960, a fine achievement. I am glad I saw him ride.
  2. BL65

    For or against the GP series.?

    Scott Nicholls has competed in 23 British Finals/Championships and Chris Harris 20, with both still going strong, although different eras and less difficulty in qualifying in recent times than in the 20th century.
  3. BL65

    For or against the GP series.?

    Although John Davis may not have been considered an 'elite' rider, he nevertheless had a few notable achievements in meetings featuring top riders of his day: - Gained a World Team Cup winner’s medal in the 1977 Final in Poland, scoring 6 from two rides against Poland, Sweden and Czechoslovakia. - Won the 1978 Ullevi round of the Master of Speedway GP, ahead of Peter Collins, Olsen, Lee, Simmons, Jessup, Crump, Kennett, Mauger, Michanek, Sanders and Louis. - Won The Laurels in 1978 at Wimbledon, against Kennett, Simmons, Crump, Jancarz, Ross and Jessup. - Won the 1980 Daily Express Spring Classic at Wimbledon, against a line-up including Peter Collins, Schwartz, Nielsen, Ross, Penhall, Kennett, Jessup, Lee, Louis and Simmons. - Won The Laurels in 1981 at Wimbledon, against Chris Morton, Les and Peter Collins, Simmons, Schwartz, Kennett, Kelly Moran and Ross. - Won the prestigious Golden Helmet of Pardubice in 1984, beating King and Stancl in the final.
  4. The British League race formula was changed for 1969, with teams then having two reserves instead of one reserve and a supplementary reserve in the seven-man teams.
  5. The supplementary reserve was the rider with the second lowest points per race average over the previous six official matches. This was each rider's previous six matches, not necessarily the team's previous six matches if a rider had missed one or more of those meetings. The designated reserve in the seven rider team was scheduled for two rides in league meetings, but if ruled out by injury during the course of a meeting his place could be taken by the supplementary reserve. The supplementary reserve was still limited to the maximum number of permitted rides, which up until the introduction of the rider replacement facility was five.
  6. The calculated match average became embedded in British speedway statistics in the mid-1960s thanks to Bryan Seery. Immediately prior to that for the purposes of deciding which riders should be reserve and supplementary reserve the average points per ride were used, based on figures from the last 6 official matches for each rider. The CMA was not a new idea, however. In 1950 the Leicester programmes regularly showed the averages of the team's riders, including number or matches, starts, points, team points (bonus points) and match average. There was an explanatory note on the method of scoring: "To obtain the match average the number of points (including 'Team Points') which a rider has scored is divided by the number of starts which he has made. This gives the number of points per ride. This figure is then multiplied by four to give an average for a full match. By this means, reserves, who as a rule do not get the same opportunity for a full quota of starts, are not penalised, but are brought into line with the other riders for the purpose of calculation." I don't recall seeing any reference to the CMA prior to 1950, has anyone else?
  7. BL65

    Name your 5 favourite tracks

    Leicester (Blackbird Road), Coventry, Wimbledon, Cradley Heath, Peterborough.
  8. BL65

    Riding with a countryman.

    In 1956 three South Africans, Arthur Duncan, Neil Mortimer and Doug Davies, rode together (and at times were paired with each other) in the Birmingham team. Doug Serrurier and Fred Wills from South Africa were occasionally paired together at Liverpool in 1949 and Serrurier was likewise paired with Buddy Fuller, also at Liverpool, in 1950.
  9. BL65

    Riding with a countryman.

    Although brought up in Wales, Leo was born in London (Westminster). In 1966 Hungarians Sandor Levai and Laszlo Munkasci were paired together in one race in three meetings for Belle Vue, Levai riding at number 2 and Munkasci at reserve so they rode together in heat 4.
  10. BL65

    Name your favourite five riders.

    Jack passed away in 2020.
  11. BL65

    Name your favourite five riders.

    The one and only Jack Scott came over from Australia to join Southampton in 1959 and was a Saints rider for 3 seasons, although he was loaned to Plymouth in 1961. His progress was aided by a football pools win which enabled him to invest in good machinery. Covering for missing riders, he also rode several times for Southampton during that season, averaging just under 9 points per match and recording two paid maximums. He was one of the top riders in the Provincial League with Plymouth, recording 13 maximums and averaging just over 11 points per match. He stayed in Australia from 1962 to 1966 but after being crowned Australian Champion he agreed to join Cradley Heath in 1967. Mechanical problems led to him quitting mid-season and returning to Australia. In the World Championship in 1961 Jack Scott progressed through the British rounds as far as the British Final at Wembley. He should not be confused with Eric ('Bluey') Scott, a fellow Australian who also rode for Southampton for a season in the 1950s before finishing his British career with Glasgow. Mounted on new machinery, Ivor Hughes was transformed from a reserve to heat leader in 1966 before his tragic accident on 20th August. In the month before his untimely death he had shown real potential. Top scoring with 10 points at home to Newcastle he beat Ivan Mauger 3 times, although Mauger eventually pulled up, already beaten, in one of those heats. Hughes then beat Mauger again in the second half to make it 4 wins in a row, before Mauger gained his only success in the scratch race final. A couple of weeks later he scored a 12 point maximum and remained unbeaten in the second half against a Hackney team containing Colin Pratt and Roy Trigg. His finest moment came when, after scoring 10 points against the touring Vargarna team, he defeated the previously unbeaten reigning World Champion Bjorn Knutson in the scratch race final. A few days later he top scored with 10 against Swindon, losing only to the team riding Martin Ashby-Mike Broadbank combination. Sadly, he crashed in heat 13 of the meeting against Sheffield when heading for another 12 point maximum.
  12. BL65

    Name your favourite five riders.

    Ronnie Moore, Bob Andrews, Jack Scott, Stefan Kwoczala, Ivor Hughes
  13. BL65

    Oxford 1964

    Sadly not.
  14. BL65

    Oxford 1964

    Cyril Melville and Rodney Rycroft were partners in the promotion, but they lasted just one season. They added a couple of riders, How and Gooch, to create a winning team which they couldn't afford, as despite the success on track attendances left something to be desired that year. Cyril Melville owned an advertising business in Exeter and I believe Rodney Rycroft may have been involved in car sales at the time.
  15. BL65

    Fathers and Sons

    Muller made a couple of very unsuccessful appearances for Coatbridge in 1973, who then used R/R for him against Oxford before he departed. He lasted longer and with much more success at Hull in 1976 before they had to use R/R for him throughout September and October. Oxford only used R/R once for Samuelsson, in 1969 against Swindon, resorting to guests for a while after that as Leo McAuliffe was also then absent and they used the facility to cover his rides.

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