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Classic Speedway Issue 28

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2015 SPRING EDITION

 

Issue 28 of our quarterly magazine is out now and includes . . .

 

MARTIN ASHBY INTERVIEW

Very few riders have enjoyed hero status at two top flight tracks, but MARTIN ASHBY did. Tony McDonald went to Martin's Marlborough home to interview the former Great Britain World Cup winner who, among other things, talks about:

 

* Conquering Exeter's fast, fearsome track and the man who helped him do it.

 

* Why he nearly quit speedway in the early 60s after family tragedy.

 

* A mistake by the births registrar means that Martin is NOT his real Christian name!

 

* Why a freak accident in his first-ever public ride at Bristol earned him the nickname 'Crash'.

 

* His painful debut for Swindon at Norwich which confined him to hospital for a week.

 

* Learning from Robins' team boss Norman Parker.

 

* Turning up at the 1968 World Final, only to discover the authorities didn't have him down to ride!

 

BIRTH OF THE BRITISH LEAGUE

Fifty years on from the formation of the British League, we reflect in depth on the BL's effect on riders and how this landmark season evolved. In the first of a two-part feature, Doug Nicolson and Tony McDonald turn the clock back half a century to a pivotal time in British speedway history.

 

It was the winter of 1964-65 and British speedway had reached a major crossroads. The National League, the top division in those days, had lost another long-time member following the expected closure of Norwich at the end of '64, which reduced the senior section to just six teams.

 

Our Track Directory, listing each promoter plus track record times and holders, recalls the 18 teams that formed the inaugural BL. We've all the riders' final averages from this watershed season, as well as the final league table and a look at what else was happening in the sporting world in 1965.

 

LEGEND: DANNY DUNTON

Danny Dunton, who has recently died at the age of 90, did most things in speedway, from distinguishing himself on the track as a rider to promoting, administration and management. And he did all of them well.

 

Some years ago Danny agreed to be interviewed by John Chaplin. He revealed much about himself, the sport and the great stars he rode with and against. In their conversation he talked about the man he regarded as a god, illegal payments, how he coped with riding before 93,000 people in a Wembley World Final, what he did to opponents who tried to buy him off, the day he thought he was going to die and why he would have paid to be a speedway rider.

 

ARTHUR WRIGHT INTERVIEW

In a new interview with Philip Dalling, Bradford star ARTHUR WRIGHT recalls his finest season 60 years ago. When the 1955 campaign came to an end Arthurs personal honours board recorded that he had topped the Tudors National League Division One score chart, riding in all 24 league matches and notching up 284 points at an average of almost 12 a match.

 

He qualified for the Wembley World Final alongside Bradford team-mate and brother-in-law Arthur Forrest, appeared in all but one of the six official England versus Australasia Test matches, with a top-score of 10 (paid 11) at Wimbledon, and finished the season as the track record holder at Odsal.

 

EVZEN ERBAN INTERVIEW

After a track crash almost left him paralysed, Evžen Erban became one of the most influential people in Czech speedway as a rider-coach and director of the Jawa factory. As Vitek Formanek reveals, Erban has friends in very high places.

 

Plus . . . your letters, tributes to Danny Dunton, Ken Cameron, Pat Williams and Joan Greer, and Newport's Sandor Levai in full colour.

 

To order this single issue or to subscribe, please visit http://www.retro-speedway.com

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Another excellent publication but the final averages given for the 1965 season are incorrect as they appear to have been taken from the book "The Complete History of the British League" which for some reason assumes each rider took exactly four rides per match. Correct averages for 1965 appear in the British Speedway Handbook for that year.

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Not sure I understand your point, brough. That's the way CMAs are worked out by "assuming" each rider took four rides.

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Not sure I understand your point, brough. That's the way CMAs are worked out by "assuming" each rider took four rides.

Senior moment!!!

 

Surely averages are calculated using actual rides taken.

 

If a rider has one ride scoring one point that sounds like a 4.00 average to me. Assuming four rides (Brough's point) would give a 1.00 average.

 

My quibble is that the article refers to the verdict of the Shawcross Commission being announced on December 3 when in fact it was still taking evidence.

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Yes, that's what I said. One point in one ride is a cma of 4.00. A cma assumes each rider has four rides per match. That's exactly how "The Complete History of the British League" works out averages.

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The Complete History shows that every rider has exactly four rides in every match ridden regardless of the facts that in 1965 the reserve (only one at that time) was only programmed to have two races, tapes exclusions did not count as a ride and there could have been tactical substitution and reserve and rider replacement rides. The averages have been calculated using this incorrect assumption. For example the rider with the highest average is shown as Nigel Boocock on 11.91 !!! The Complete History shows he rode in 35 Matches and had 140 rides (35 x 4). Including bonus he scored 417 points at an average of 11.91 (417 divided by 140 and multiplied by four). If the figures shown were correct he only dropped three points throughout the year therefore should have scored 32 maximums!! In that book he is only shown as scoring 18 maximums which shows the book in incorrect. He actually rode in 150 races that season and his average was 11.12 (417 divided by 150 and multiplied by four).

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Brough is completely correct.

The averages for all teams for 1965 listed in the Complete History Book are total bunkum.

The rides given are totally wrong ... in some cases they are way out.

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Brough & Grand Central,

 

Thanks for pointing out what looks like an error we have repeated by using the Complete History Book (CHB) as our source of reference, which is a bit annoying as we also possess the 1966 BSPA Handbook, as mentioned above.

 

One question, though: The averages printed in the CHB relate to all OFFICIAL matches (ie, league and KO Cup), so would that make, for example, Nigel Booey's figures of 11.91 correct?

 

He asks, desperately clutching at straws.


As an aside, we are in touch with Bryan Seery, who was the official BSPA statistician from 1965-81 and Manager from 1978-81. He will be 80 this year (he's currently 79.98, to be precise).

 

If we interview Bryan, do any of you have any specific questions you would like us to put to him?

Edited by tmc

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In all official matches Nigel Boocock's average of 11.12 is the correct one. The BSPA Handbook only includes British League matches for their averages. In addition to the 34 matches shown in that Handbook he rode one KO Cup match away at Long Eaton taking five rides (different format and more heats in the KO Cup in those days) and scoring a maximum of fifteen points.

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All the figures in the CHB do relate to ALL official matches (ie League and Cup) and for most years and most teams they are correct.
But for some reason they are all shot to pieces for 1965 on the rides column; all the other columns on matches points and bonus seem correct.

But of course the CMA for 1965 are consequently wrong for just about every rider in every team ...

Except, for some bizarre reason, Swindon where the data for all columns including rides seems spot on.

 

Going back to 1965 and Bryan Seery ... the concept of Calculated Match Averages was pretty unheard of.
His statistics that accompanied the end of Season Track Reviews in 1965 only included a match average for each rider; with no reference to rides taken.
CMAs did not appear until his reviews of the 1966 season.
And it was only when the 1967 season got into swing that his regular weekly column in the Star first had the weekly CMA tables.

 

The problem with the CHB is one to ask Peter Oakes I suppose not Bryan Seery.

It would seem that this is an aberration of that particular book as all the statistics Oakes used the 'Whos Who of World Speedway ' in 1976 have the correct 'rides' figures for each rider who rode in 1965.

 

Mind you ... If you are speaking to Peter Oakes an enquiry into the utter 'Bull-rubbish' he wrote in the Daily Star concerning the Darcy Ward breath test matter is more the one I would want answered.
But that is not the backtrack/classic era!

Edited by Grand Central

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