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norbold

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Everything posted by norbold

  1. norbold

    Oldest Surviving World Finalists

    I reminded him of that night!
  2. norbold

    Oldest Surviving World Finalists

    Talking of Split Waterman, I was talking to Ove Fundin about him at the Norwich WSRA lunch a couple of weeks ago. He said he visited him in Spain a little while ago and he was in good health and reasonably active still.
  3. norbold

    AGM November 2018

    Jack Young was another who didn't particularly care which gate he went off as he couldn't gate anyway! He made most of his points from behind. With regard to the ten point averages for the "Big Five", we also shouldn't forget that they went off a 20 yard handicap for three seasons.
  4. norbold

    AGM November 2018

    Just the 1920s really. By 1929 (after just one year) people were getting fed up with what was more or less a meaningless succession of races that meant very little or nothing. Spectators were crying out for team speedway so they could get behind their riders and support them. I can't help thinking that would be the same feeling today.
  5. norbold

    Wembley characters

    Tomorrow afternoon I am being interviewed by Wycombe Radio about the history of Wembley Speedway. As well as a starightforwrad history of the track and its star riders, they have asked if I can include one or two "amusing anecdotes". Not being so sure about this, I thought I'd ask here if anyone had anything amusing to say about Wembley. I'm sure there must be something I can say about the exploits of Lionel Van Praag, Split Waterman or Bruce Abernethy, three larger than life characters. Can anyone help with them or anything else? Thank you.
  6. norbold

    Wembley characters

    The programme was broadcast on 17 October. Here is the link to Wycombe Sound's Listen Again. Click on Wednesday 17 October. The speedway bit is from about 33:24 to 41:20. http://listenagain.wycombesound.org.uk/index.php/shows/the-emperors-bits/
  7. norbold

    BBC Sports Personality Stitch Up

    It's just Boaty McBoat Face all over again!
  8. norbold

    BBC Sports Personality Stitch Up

    Whilst that is probably true, there is no point in opening it up to popular vote then. Why not just choose the winner in the same way they choose the team or the overseas player of the year?
  9. norbold

    BBC Sports Personality Stitch Up

    Yes, I remember that well.
  10. norbold

    Torun 2018

    Yes, that's why I didn't include 67!
  11. norbold

    Torun 2018

    There is a strong possibility that Ove Fundin would have won every year from 1956 - 1963, making eight in all. The only interruption to that could have been Briggo in 57 and/or 58.
  12. norbold

    Wild Cards 2019

    As everyone has a chance to qualify on their own merit either through coming in the first eight in the Grand Prix or through the qualifying system, the picks should go to those who for some reason missed out unluckily, most probably through injury, through these methods. For next year that should mean that Dudek, Zagar and Vaculík are obvious choices. As for the fourth one for next year, personally I would go for either Madsen or Lambert.
  13. norbold

    Torun 2018

    I blame Pedersen. Even though it wasn't his fault..
  14. norbold

    BBC Sports Personality Stitch Up

    Not just in the 80s.....http://www.bikesportnews.com/news/news-detail/david-miller-bbc-to-ensure-rea-sports-personality-success-is-never-repeated
  15. I don't think you can base an opinion on who was the best British rider ever on just one heat. I am sure riders like Tom Farndon, Eric Langton, Peter Craven, Peter Collins, Michael Lee, Mark Loram also rode individual heats that showed the same qualities. Perhaps it's more a matter of long term consistency that makes a rider the best. I'm not saying Tai isn't the best ever, just that there are a lot of things to consider rather than one heat and there is no doubt that Tai is up there with the best. But THE best, that's a really difficult conclusion to reach about any rider.
  16. norbold

    BBC Sports Personality Stitch Up

    Left wing bias, BOBBATH!? I don't think Jeremy Corbyn would agree with you there, nor most of the Labour Party.
  17. I agree with everything being said about the ref and THAT decision. The ridiculous thing is though that the way Tai was racing he probably would have come last in that race anyway. So the ref's really done him a favour as he has an excuse now if he finally loses by one or two points. Although personally, I don't think he will. I think he is too determined and too professional to let his lead slip altogether now.
  18. norbold

    Simmo how is he remembered?

    Oh go on, do tell. You can't libel someone who is dead.
  19. norbold

    Simmo how is he remembered?

    My best memory of Malcolm Simmons is always of that day back in August 1965 when, as a West Ham supporter, I saw the best the best meeting I have ever seen. The day Malcolm Simmons became a star! In that year, one of the Quarter Final matches of the KO Cup saw a local derby London tie with West Ham drawn at home to Wimbledon. Before the tie, the two teams appeared to be evenly matched and so the match proved. With one heat to go the scores were level at 45-45. That final heat saw the Wimbledon pair, Olle Nygren and Reg Luckhurst, shoot in to an early lead over West Ham’s Brian Leonard and Norman Hunter and it looked all over for the Hammers when suddenly Luckhurst’s engine blew up resulting in a 3-3 and a tied match at 48-48. Having drawn at West Ham, Wimbledon looked a good bet to take the tie in the replay on their own track. But there was even worse news for West Ham as their top rider, Sverre Harrfeldt, was injured the previous evening at Hackney and unable to take part and their third heat leader, Norman Hunter, was also unable to ride as it was his wedding day! There were no guests allowed so the Hammers had to resort to filling the places of two heat leaders with Tony Clarke, making his racing debut, and a Wimbledon junior, Geoff Hughes. Only Ken McKinlay was a recognized heat leader and, although by now a team regular, it should be remembered that at this time West Ham’s 19 year old Malcolm Simmons was just a reasonable five point average second string who had shown no signs of the great rider he was to become in later years. No-one, not even the West Ham supporters present that afternoon, gave the Hammers much hope. By heat six it looked as though Wimbledon’s superiority was about to assert itself as Wimbledon skipper, the great Olle Nygren. along with the experienced Jim Tebby, took a 5-1 against West Ham’s newcomer, Tony Clarke, and second string, Brian Leonard. The lack of two heat leaders looked as though it was now beginning to tell. But as West Ham were six points in arrears it meant they could use a tactical substitute and they wasted no time bringing in Ken McKinlay for reserve Ray Wickett in the very next heat. The line-up for heat seven was therefore Bob Dugard and Keith Whipp for the Dons, Malcolm Simmons and Ken McKinlay for the Hammers. The young Simmons shot away from the gate with McKinlay behind him and that’s how the heat finished. A 5-1 for West Ham and four points pulled back. Simmons’ time of 66.2 was the fastest of the night. The next heat saw McKinlay out again, this time in a scheduled ride, with old campaigner Reg Trott lining up against Reg Luckhurst and reserve Mike Coomber. Some brilliant team riding by McKinlay and Trott kept Luckhurst behind them and with Coomber falling, it meant another 5-1 to the Hammers and, unbelievably, at the half-way stage, West Ham now found themselves with a two point lead. With Nygren and Tebby lined up against Simmons and Wickett in heat 10 it looked as though the Dons would edge back in to the lead, but, once again, Simmons rose to the occasion and beat Nygren in the second fastest time of the night. Heat 12 saw another astonishing turn of events as Wimbledon’s Bobby Dugard fell and was excluded from the re-run. It was a simple matter for McKinlay and Trott to defeat Whipp and take a 5-1. It was now West Ham who were six points up and it was now Wimbledon who used a tactical substitute as they brought in Nygren for reserve, John Edwards. Unfortunately it did not have the desired effect as, for the second time that night, West Ham’s new hero, the young Malcolm Simmons, beat Nygren, leaving West Ham still six points in front. This time though, Simmons had done it the hard way, coming from behind and taking the Wimbledon captain on the last lap. With just three heats to go, time was running out for Wimbledon and the impossible suddenly looked possible. However, a Nygren and Dugard 5-1 over Trott and Leonard put them back in with a chance and when, in heat 15, Tebby and Coomber pulled off a 4-2 against Clarke and Hughes, the scores, were back to level with one heat to go. The line-up for that final heat saw Keith Whipp and Reg Luckhurst for Wimbledon against Ken McKinlay and Malcolm Simmons for West Ham. The tension around the stadium was palpable. Everyone was holding their breath. A match which at the beginning of the afternoon had seemed likely to be very one-sided had now come down to a last heat decider. To some extent the final race as a race was a bit of a disappointment as Simmons once again flew off from the start and never looked to be in any danger and with McKinlay settling for a steady third place, the match was won by West Ham by 49 points to 47. The small band of Hammers’ supporters who had made the trip across London couldn’t believe what had happened. The hero of the hour was the 19 year old Malcolm Simmons. He had beaten the Wimbledon captain, Olle Nygren, twice and had set the three fastest times of the night. In fact he still wasn’t finished. In the second half scratch race event, the Cheer Leaders’ Trophy, he won the first heat, beating, McKinlay, Luckhurst and Dugard and then went on to win the final, once again beating Nygren. As if that wasn’t enough, a special Handicap race was held with Simmons starting off 20 yards, Nygren off 10 and Trott, Leonard and Tebby off scratch. Yet again, Simmons got the better of Nygren, even with his handicap. As for me, although that match was held 52 years ago I can still remember it as if it were yesterday. In fact I can remember it better than matches I saw last season. It was just such an amazing afternoon. I went along there with a few other Hammers’ supporters expecting a reasonable match but when it was announced just before the meeting started that neither Harrfeldt nor Hunter would be taking part we seriously considered going home. The Wimbledon supporters around us were saying things like, ’You’ll be lucky if you get 20 points’ and ’This is going to be the biggest thrashing of all time.’ Of course we gave back as good as we got but in our hearts we felt they could well be right. But suddenly there was this rider called Malcolm Simmons, who we had seen rise from the ranks of a second halfer at West Ham to a reasonable five point second string but no more, taking on and beating the likes of Olle Nygren and Reg Luckhurst on their own track in the fastest times of the night. He was just phenomenal. Recalling the match later in an interview I carried out with him, Malcolm Simmons said that the West Ham team had gone to the meeting thinking they would get thrashed but somehow the whole team had risen to the occasion. He went on to say, “It was the first good meeting I ever had for West Ham. I just came good on the night.” As we now know, Simmons went on to become one of Great Britain’s greatest ever riders and runner-up in the 1976 World Championship, World Pairs Champion in 1976, 77 and 78, World Team Champion in 1973, 74, 75 and 77 and British Champion in 1976. He was capped 80 times for England, seven times for the British Lions (touring Australia), five times for Great Britain and four times for the Rest of the World. But it all started that night and I feel very privileged to have been there to witness what must have been one of the best matches of all time and one of the most outstanding personal performance of all time.
  20. norbold

    Lindgren 2019

    It is a perennial problem. It's like a pyramid really. At the very top are just a few outstanding riders but as you get lower down the order the numbers widen out. By the time you get past the top five or six, the next layer widens out more and more, so by the time you get to around numbers nine to twelve, there is a much wider pool who could be considered. Assuming no. 9 gets a wild card, as has invariably been the case (I believe it's only not happened once, though I'm open to correction on that), the three others chosen are not going to be significantly better than any other three from that ever widening pool of riders. As we have seen above, a case can be made for at least five or six riders, maybe more, and there is no real definitive answer to this. The only way it could be solved is for all the seven riders after the automatic eight to go through some sort of qualifying system, whether the current system or the bottom seven versus a qualified nine. Otherwise this dilemma will happen every year. Even this has its problems, because it doesn't account for injuries, but then neither did the old one-off type of World Final. But then, of course, if it was all done through qualifiers, we wouldn't have endless fun speculating who might be chosen.
  21. norbold

    Meaningful Second Halves anyone?

    I'm not sure I can think of any riders in that category, Sidney. What I can remember is that the first time I saw Roy Trigg and Dave Jessup, who was 15 years old and having his first-ever competitive ride, I thought they are going to be good. Funnily enough, Dave Jessup's first race was against another first timer, the 16 year old Barry Thomas, who actually won the race. But there was something about Jessup's style and determination that convinced me he was going to make it and was a better prospect than Thomas. I suppose of those I mentioned, the least impressive at first sight was Malcolm Simmons, but even then, although maybe not showing signs of the great star he was to become, certainly showed the makings of a good team rider.
  22. norbold

    Meaningful Second Halves anyone?

    Yes. Going back to "my" day, the second half novice/junior races were where I first saw the likes of Roy Trigg, Barry Thomas, Dave Jessup and Malcolm Simmons. It was great to see them progress through these second halves, into the team and then on to even bigger things. Is the fact we don't have these regular opportunities to race competitively in front of crowds to gain experience now, the reason we don't have as many up-and-coming riders as we did back in the 70s and 80s and don't have as many world class stars like we did back then as well?
  23. norbold

    Ronnie Moore

    When I wrote my booklet, Two Wimbledon Legends, I asked a number of riders for their memories of Ronnie. I think this quote from Alf Hagon sums up Ronnie's skill and contribution to Wimbledon and speedway nicely: “I was Ronnie Moore’s partner at Wimbledon. He was by far the best rider I have ever partnered. He could do anything on a bike. They called him Mirac and he was. He could ride full throttle, half throttle, change directions, tootle round slowly, ride the inside line, ride the outside line. He would even shout instructions at me as we were going round."
  24. norbold

    Ronnie Moore seriously ill

    Sad news today that Ronnie has died. Sincere condolences to family and friends.
  25. norbold

    Rider Rivalries

    Yes, Steve: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crazy-Speedway-World-Bert-Harkins/dp/1909885169/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534493612&sr=1-1&keywords=bert+harkins
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