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Here come the . . . CZECHS - your memories?

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HERE COME THE . . . CZECHS

In the next issue (88) of Backtrack, Martin Rogers will be looking back at the Czech Republic riders who competed in the British League between 1970 and 1990.in the 70s & 80s...

Alongside the main piece will be a section of supporters' comments about the Czechs who raced in the UK during that era, so please either post your personal recollections, anecdotes, memories or opinions here or email us at: editorial@retro-speedway.com

As well as the recognised big names, Antonin Kasper Snr and Jnr, Jiri Stancl, Vaclav and Jan Verner, Zdenek Kudrna, Ales Dryml and Petr Ondrasik, what do you recall of lesser lights such as Emil Sova, Ladislav Hradecky, Zdenek 'Sam' Tesar, Bo Brhel, etc?

Or perhaps your most vivid memories relate to one of the many international tour matches raced in Britain at BL2/NL level, when the 'bouncing Czechs' were usually guaranteed to enliven proceedings?

We look forward to hearing from you ASAP – respond and you might well get your name in Backtrack!

Thanks,
Tony Mac

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Zdenek Kudrna:

As a Wolves fan I was always amazed to see him turn up at Birmingham Speedway in his Austin Allegro with a bike rack on the back; knowing he had driven from Czecho overnight. I would have been frightened to cover the distance from my home to Perry Barr in an Allegro in that condition. Fair play to him!

Sam Tesar:

The only speedway rider to have the same nickname as the track lighting at where he rode.....  Peterborough - "The Dark Shadow".

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1 hour ago, Lefty said:

Zdenek Kudrna:

As a Wolves fan I was always amazed to see him turn up at Birmingham Speedway in his Austin Allegro with a bike rack on the back; knowing he had driven from Czecho overnight.

Allegro.... or Skoda?

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Must be something about cars and the Czechs - a friend of mine always used to refer to Vladamir Kalina as Vauxhall Kalibra!

 

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I rember well when Bo Brhel first came to King's Lynn in the March (By the way Tony, He's not a lesser light around King's Lynn...:D). He turned up at the house that he was going to be living at with his Lada 1500 with 2 bikes on a trailer, his tools etc. All of his clothes, wash gear, shoes etc. were in 2 very small carrier bags. This was to last him from the begining of March to the beginning of November. It has to be said that his English was not too good either, but he got through OK, and his now pretty fluent, and he soon developed a taste for McDonalds..... It was easy to order in very broken English.

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between 1970 and 1990 they were the Czechoslovakian riders, not the Czech Republic's

Edited by Bavarian

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My first memory was when my dad took me to see Czechs ride at Romford in 1970. It was scary stuff watching the likes of Vaclav Verner ride inches away from the concrete safety wall at brooklands!

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That was also my first visit to Brooklands. I'd written the programme notes about the Czechs for the series and was keen to make further contact with them. Blimey, that concrete 'safety' wall. I couldn't believe it. I'd seen some dodgy looking fences in the past, many with those evil concrete/metal lamp posts scattered around the perimeter, but nothing like that. A good meeting though as were all the others Young England/Czech series that followed. That 1970 series was very much a part of good things to come for British Speedway as young riders got a real taste of cutthroat international racing. John Louis and Dave Jessup were still learning their trade in that Romford meeting. Peter Collins and others quickly followed suit and paved the way for the great British team success at senior world level just a few years hence.

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Zdenek Kudrna RIP was a really exciting rider he rode in a 1979 double header at the Abbey for Exeter on a dark dismal October/November?? night the conditions were awful but he gave everything.Jiri Stancl i believe was a class act and if he had rode in Britain  more regularly he would of been an even better rider Toni Kasper (jnr) RIP was my favourite all time Czech's a really classy rider.

Edited by Sidney the robin

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Hope I'm not too late but probably the most memorable Czech rider to race at Hull, the Boulevard, would have been the late Vaclav Verner.  In an era when Exeter were reffered to as Czechxeter for tracking 3 Czech riders ( Vaclav, brother Jan & Ales Dryml Snr).  In 1978 Vaclav took out Hull's annual individual meeting, the Yorkshire Television Trophy, with 13 points winning from Mike Lee & Bruce Penhall.  On another occasion at Hull, Vaclav caused the odd issue for former Exeter team mate and skipper, the late, great Ivan Mauger in that he wiped Ivan out !  Vaclav picked loads of drive mid way between turns 1 & 2, Ivan was minding his own business, easily leading the race, when in a split second he was collected big style and finished up on his hands and knees half way along the back straight.  Verner was obviously exluded following the unintentional take out of his great pal Ivan who went on the win the re-run.  An interesting note was it was reported in the local paper that Vaclav literally 'canonned' off the fence on almost every lap, I can confirm he gave it a real clout on the exit and thought surely he had to have done it on purpose.  I later read in Ivan's book 'The Will To Win' that he (Ivan) would often deliberatley clip the fence on the bends at Exeter to gain a quicker exit, maybe Vac was trying the same at Hull.  Either way he was certainly spectacular which is why I recall his rides 40 years on....

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Wasn't it four Czech riders in for Exeter?  Ales Drymyl, Zedenek Kudrana, Jan & Vaclav Verner.  I remember going to the 'Western Winner' grass track event back in the seventies where I think Vaclav was competing and hearing about how his car ran on gas - as I was around nine or ten I spent all afternoon sh*****g myself that the thing would explode!!

 

 

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My memory of Czech tourists goes back to their first ever visit, as the Red Star Prague team in 1967. 
On an August Saturday afternoon when the Czechoslovaks were due to meet Cradley Heath Heathens  I was riding a few miles away when i came across a car and an estate both with bike-laden trailers parked on the side of the road. The number plates on the Skodas made it obvious who they were, so I stopped and went over to them. Somehow they'd got all 8 riders (one serving as mechanic) plus the team manager and a face I recognised as BSPA secretary Dave Stevens into the 2 vehicles, along with leathers, helmets and kit, etc, for all the riders, plus 8 bikes ! (Possibly statistician Bryan Seery was also in there too, -?  Sorry, it was a long time ago.) Admittedly Dave was only of slight build, (Bryan Seery the opposite,) and obviously only joined them once the visitors had reached London after their 800 mile journey across Europe, but even so, traveling conditions for the 9 would have been far from comfortable: what a difference from today's riders in their luxurious Mercedes Sprinter vans!
   Dudley Wood Stadium had always been notoriously difficult to find, - the SS&N once did a 'True or False' story entitled 'The Track that Disappeared' : -  it was true, and based on Dudley Wood!  Sure enough, even with Dave Stevens as UK guide, the party was lost. So after a brief chat I had them follow me the couple of miles to the stadium , in plenty of time for the match. 
     I kept in touch with team manager Pavel Kacer for many years afterwards, - as an organiser of the Pardubice Golden Helmet he'd send me the programme each year plus other memorabilia, and I'd reciprocate with things like spark plugs for a family Hillman Minx that they couldn't get a match for behind the Iron Curtain.
    Cradley Heath was again on the tour programme the following year, 1968, and meeting with Pavel at the track that evening, he said that they'd got lost getting to Dudley Wood and had to follow a chap on a motorbike that led them to the track. Because of the poor english, I thought he was relating the first visit of the previous year: "That was me, I said, last year. "No, he replied, - Today, - it happened again !"        

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