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Oldest Survivng World Finalists

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was Bjorn better on the bigger racier circuits or the more technical ones ? New Cross was little yes. ?

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I too saw Bjorn K, win his championship at Wembley in 1965.

In that same year that he took the Speedway World Chmpshp Knutsson also won the Long Track World Chmpshp forerunner, (known then as the European 1000m Chmpshp.) So no problem with bigger tracks, I'd suggest.

Only Mauger and Gundersen ever did that double in the same season, in 1972 and '84 resp'ly.

Edited by britmet

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I had the privilege of seeing Bjorn every week when he was captain of West Ham. He was pure class and could beat anyone on his day. It was always said that he didn't do better on the big nights because he was a very nervous character. I don't know how true that was, but there is no doubt that he deserved his World Championship win in 1965. He was right up there with the likes of Ove and Briggo, no doubt about it.

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If you go on to you tube and watch the Briggo golden greats 89 at Landshut Bjorn rode in that.After a ride he really got going can remember Bettsy looking brilliant and Briggo was also superb riding the fence.

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Gotta agree with you guys- Norbold re your post I think there is an element of truth about the nerves of Bjorn (nervous Knutte)-he had been the favorite to win a couple of Finals in the early sixties as you know and dare I say it that indeed , on many occasions, he could get the better of Ove and Briggo. I think in 1965 the circumstances were a bit different-while one of the favorites he did not ride in England and so the glare of attention was not on him. Also at Wembley in the Final he lost his first race to Banger-so again the heat was off him-then after that he won the rest of his races and finished champ with 14. Incidentally according to Eric Linden (Danny Carter, Angus Kix and who the heck other names he used)in the Star Sept 17 1968 that covered the preview to the Final he had Briggo as the odds on favourite and then as other favourites he had Plechanov, Knutsson and Nigel Boocock.. He had then a third category as class outsiders which included Ove, which seemed to prove out when Boocock beat Ove in his first ride. My first World Final ( and visit to Wembley)-what a wonderful evening for me. Went back to Cardiff on a late train from Paddington-with some Newport supporters who worked for a company in Panteg or Cwmbran -perhaps GKN-probably doesn't exist any longer-if you're out there guys let me know!!

Re the oldest Finalists list- are Crutcher and Briggo the next oldest after Ove -because if so we have our second and third reserves after Ove.!!! Again I have to say that 1965 for me was the Golden year of Speedway-thank Buddha I kept all my programmes and Speedway Stars!!!!!!!!!

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I have often thought would history of been so much different if Peter Craven had not been killed.He was only 29 he would of been a contender i would imagine up until 68/70? how would he compare to Fundin, Knutsson, Briggs,Moore.?

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I have often thought would history of been so much different if Peter Craven had not been killed.He was only 29 he would of been a contender i would imagine up until 68/70? how would he compare to Fundin, Knutsson, Briggs,Moore.?

Well, we know he compares very well to them as together they made up the Big Five. And yes, he may well have won more World Championships. Maybe not 68 onwards but certainly up to then I think.

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He could have done very well on the polish tracks,as he was very successful when he toured there with belle Vue.Not sure how many times the world final was held in Poland before 1968.But he was fairly poor when the final went to Sweden,so maybe he won as many as he was going to win

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So it came too late for PC even ignoring his tragic death

Probably, yes, though he was roughly the same age as Briggo, both born 1934, and Briggo had been runner-up in 1968 and 1969 and was 7th in 1970. So, if he really took to the Polish tracks, he may have been in with a chance.

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So here is the updated list as of 24.11.2017

 

1 Split Waterman born 27/7/23

2 Arthur Payne born 30/8/24

3 Dick Bradley born 28/11/24

4 Chum Taylor born 4/4/27

5 Eric Boothroyd born 26/4/27

6 Derek Close born 13/5/27

7 Henry Long born 26/7/27

8 Billy Bales born 6/6/29

9 Olle Nygren born 11/11/29

10 Rune Sormander born 29/11/29

11Jack Geran born 10/12/29

12 George White born 24/5/31

13 Ian Williams born 4/8/31

14 Per Tage Svensson born 16/10/31

15 Peo Soderman born 29/10/32

16 Ronnie Moore born 8/3/33

 

Next folks in order

 

17 Ove Fundin born 23/5/33

18 Dan Forsberg born 25/3/34

19 Josef Hofmeister born 17/6/34

20 Brian Crutcher born 23/8/34

21 Barry Briggs born 30/12/34

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So was Björn the best of the ‘big five’? His record suggests otherwise although as Norbold points out, on his day he could beat anyone! I feel that in 1965 he was already losing his enthusiasm for the sport which ironically may have lead to him being able to overcome his nervousness and win the world title. He certainly retired too early which is such a shame as he would doubtless have given Mauger a run for his money in later years.


And New Cross was not his favourite track. I recall seeing Colin Pratt beat Björn almost effortlessly when a Provincial League select raced against Southampton at New Cross back in the early 60’s.

Edited by Split
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I recall seeing Colin Pratt beat Björn almost effortlessly when a Provincial League select raced against Southampton at New Cross back in the early 60’s.

Just as an aside, that was the only time I ever saw Southampton. For various reasons I missed them every time they had a match against New Cross, but managed to catch up with them in this meeting.

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Hi guys -missed one out - Mike Broadbanks (and I still think of this as his surname) was born 25/9/34-so a bit older than Briggo and just behind the "nipper"


Looked back at all my programmes and was amazed to see the only time I saw Bjorn ride was in the 65 World Final. As regards the question of who was the best of the big five -I would have to say unequivocally it was Fundin-second best is a toss up between Briggo and Moore, guess I would have to go with Ronnie-sadly I never got to see Peter Craven, Bjorn had too short a career to rank with the others imho

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Hi guys -missed one out - Mike Broadbanks (and I still think of this as his surname) was born 25/9/34-so a bit older than Briggo and just behind the "nipper"

Looked back at all my programmes and was amazed to see the only time I saw Bjorn ride was in the 65 World Final. As regards the question of who was the best of the big five -I would have to say unequivocally it was Fundin-second best is a toss up between Briggo and Moore, guess I would have to go with Ronnie-sadly I never got to see Peter Craven, Bjorn had too short a career to rank with the others imho

In a way Bjorn was similar to Penhall both retired far to early and yes Bjorn would of been a massive threat to Ivan in the late 60s.Penhall was the same i am convinced Nielsen/ Gundersen would not of won seven titles between them if Penhall had not retired.

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