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Issue 76 - Peter Collins, 1976, Hackney Moments, Hollingworth

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Forty years on from his greatest track triumph, winning the 1976 World Final at Katowice, Poland, Peter Collins met up with his former business manager Richard Bott in Manchester to recall a very special shared experience.


PC quotes:

"I had wanted to be World Champion since I was eight-years-old and to fulfil my dream at 22, in front of 130,000 fans the biggest-ever crowd for a speedway meeting was fantastic. Today's Grand Prix riders can't imagine what it was like to race in a one-off World Final in an atmosphere like that."


"Poland was a frightening place to go under the old communist regime. I had ridden there before and remember when a soldier with a rifle sat at the end of every row but the Poles loved their speedway and in '76, when there were no Scandinavian riders in the final, thousands of Swedes and Danes sang my name when I won."


Plus, how PC conquered the world a race-by-race review of the thrilling Katowice final.


One of 800 fans who travelled by train to Poland for the 1976 World Final, Tony McDonald recalls the trip of a lifetime behind the Iron Curtain.


Apart from the heroics of Peter Collins, there were plenty of other hot topics throughout that sizzling summer. Andrew Skeels recalls the Ole Olsen saga, sparkling Diamonds, a new top flight league venue, the four-valve revolution, track tragedy, a very rare England defeat and much more.


Rob Peasley traces the turbulent history of the East End club that, like the cast of the local long-running TV soap series, experienced drama, delight, triumph and tragedy, and earned a reputation for producing fine racing. Among those who made their mark for the Hawks and Kestrels were: Colin Pratt, Bengt Jansson, Garry Middleton, Barry Thomas, Dag Lovaas, Dave Morton, Keith White, Finn Thomsen, Bo Petersen, Malcolm Simmons, Andy Galvin, Mark Loram, Chris Louis and Steve Schofield.


This time our man is roaming the south, visiting Arena-Essex, Swindon, Poole and Eastbourne, and taking a quick peep at what might have been in Rochester.


No-one knows the British speedway landscape better than Robert Hollingworth. Rob Peasley caught up with the Boston legend who, as we revealed in our previous issue, is the most travelled rider of the Backtrack era.


Holly quotes:

“There weren’t any tracks I wouldn’t go to. I loved my speedway and I was devoted to it. It would break my heart if I couldn’t go to it. When riders cry off meetings and don’t turn up, I think ‘how could they do that?’ I’d think I should be there – I wanted to be there."


“It was the second Blantyre that I didn’t like much. I wasn’t a major fan of the first one, which was a funny shape and had tight turns, but it didn’t ride as heavy as the second one."


Martin Neal catches up with the former Arena-Essex junior who quit the shale and took up rallycross.


Remembering the former Oxford and Newport star who died of Parkinson's Disease in August 2016, at the age of 86.


OPENING TIMES Rye House 1974
Andrew Skeels with the background story of how defunct Rayleigh Rockets relaunched at Rye House in the spring of 1974 with a challenge match against Canterbury. Ted Hubbard and Pete Wigley, who were on opposign sides on that Sunday afternoon, and Rockets' general manager Peter Thorogood recall the day second division league racing was first staged at the 'garden of speedway'.





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I was there that fternoon in Katowice when PC won the world title - and this article in Backtrack brought all my memories back - great article, great magazine, I look forward to receiving every copy.

PC's races in Katowice 1976 are to be found on You Tube, fantastic races, especially when he chased, caught and passed Malc Simmons after having to get past John Louis, an amazing effort.

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