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Sidney the robin

Briggs, Fundin, Mauger , Crump, Rickardsson, Roll of honour.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Bryce said:

Some awesome riders discussed here, but I can't believe nobody has mentioned Erik Gundersen. Three titles, and who knows if he would have taken more but for his career ending accident. A wonderful rider, and an incredibly nice guy too.

Yes Erik seems to have been overlooked but personally I wouldn't put him in quite the same class as some of the others mentioned despite being a multi-champion...just my opinion.

Edited by steve roberts

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19 hours ago, Bryce said:

Some awesome riders discussed here, but I can't believe nobody has mentioned Erik Gundersen. Three titles, and who knows if he would have taken more but for his career ending accident. A wonderful rider, and an incredibly nice guy too.

I must say Erik had Hans measure on the big occasion generally,  yes three titles before that horrific accident who knows???? .Hans was terrific stuck at it showed real mental aptitude and really should of won at least six titles for me me.Going to Oxford regular from 1983/ 89 Gundersen and Knudsen were two riders who were not in awe of Hans and both had great head to head records against Hans.  Lee was another  rider one who always  generally faired well against Hans over the years not many did.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Sidney the robin said:

I must say Erik had Hans measure on the big occasion generally,  yes three titles before that horrific accident who knows???? .Hans was terrific stuck at it showed real mental aptitude and really should of won at least six titles for me me.Going to Oxford regular from 1983/ 89 Gundersen and Knudsen were two riders who were not in awe of Hans and both had great head to head records against Hans.  Lee was another  rider one who always  generally faired well against Hans over the years not many did.

Some interesting views Sid. I'm obviously very biased when making comparsions but I do believe that Hans was a better all round rider than Erik (something that Erik admitted to in an an interview some years ago in "Backtrack"). Hans' ability to team ride was second to none and I don't recall Erik excelling in that particular role (I saw a lot of both riders during the middle/late eighties). I also believe that Hans was a better exponent at passing opponents. I would be the first to admit that Erik had great mental strength (how much that was down to having Olsen in his corner is open to conjecture) and had the beating of Hans in both the 1984 Final (with a little help from Kelly Moran getting in the way) and 1985. The 1986 Final will be debated for as long as there are people willing to talk speedway. Erik suffered a bad second ride after being intimidated by Neil Evitts as the tapes rose. The infamous incident between Knudsen and Nielsen could have gone either way and personally, although not at the time (I was present) I felt that Hans was lucky to get away with it. However Knudsen style of riding was always questionable as he tended to ride 'square bends' and he attempted to correct himself only for Nielsen to have filled the gap. I saw Knudsen many times attempting to ride opponents wide and being caught out as opponents switched lines to pass him up the inside (there was a classic race at Cowley when Marvyn Cox out-witted him after such a move).

All three were great riders but personally I would list them in order as Nielsen first, followed by Gundersen and Knudsen fending off Jan O Pedersen...possibly?

It's been debated many times but I strongly believe that if the GP's had been operating during the middle/late eighties Hans would have been successful in most, if not all, of them.

Edited by steve roberts

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11 minutes ago, steve roberts said:

Some interesting views Sid. I'm obviously very biased when making comparsions but I do believe that Hans was a better all round rider than Erik (something that Erik admitted to in an an interview some years ago in "Backtrack"). Hans' ability to team ride was second to none and I don't recall Erik excelling in that particular role (I saw a lot of both riders during the middle/late eighties). I also believe that Hans was a better exponent at passing opponents. I would be the first to admit that Erik had great mental strength (how much that was down to having Olsen in his corner is open to conjecture) and had the beating of Hans in both the 1984 Final (with a little help of Kelly Moran getting in the way) and 1985. The 1986 Final will be debated for as long as there are people willing to talk speedway. Erik suffered a bad second ride after being intimidated by Neil Evitts as the tapes rose. The infamous incident between Knudsen and Nielsen could have gone either way and personally, although not at the time (I was present) I felt that Hans was lucky to get away with it. However Knudsen style of riding was always questionable as he tended to ride 'square bends' and he attempted to correct himself only for Nielsen to have filled the gap. I saw Knudsen many times attempting to ride opponents wide and being caught out as opponents switched lines to pass him up the inside (there was a classic race at Cowley when Marvyn Cox out-witted him after such a move).

All three were great riders but personally I would list them in order as Nielsen first, followed by Gundersen and Knudsen fending off Jan O Pedersen...possibly?

It's been debated many times but I strongly believe that if the GP's had been operating during the middle/late eighties Hans would have been successful in most, if not all, of them.

Great post i  personaly think Erik was more consistent than many think and he would of always been there in amongst it.The Hans/Erik years was a strange period really because Penhall, Lee,Carter, Sanders,Sigalos all disappeared  off the scene because of differing reasons leaving a huge void and opportunity.Going to Oxford was the best move Hans ever made and yes he should of won at least six titles great rider certainly.

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2 hours ago, Sidney the robin said:

Great post i  personaly think Erik was more consistent than many think and he would of always been there in amongst it.The Hans/Erik years was a strange period really because Penhall, Lee,Carter, Sanders,Sigalos all disappeared  off the scene because of differing reasons leaving a huge void and opportunity.Going to Oxford was the best move Hans ever made and yes he should of won at least six titles great rider certainly.

Some great names there Sid. I wonder if things would have been different if they had been around during the Nielsen/Gundersen years and at their prime? We can only speculate.

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9 hours ago, steve roberts said:

Some great names there Sid. I wonder if things would have been different if they had been around during the Nielsen/Gundersen years and at their prime? We can only speculate.

All if's  and but's Steve all hypothetical really it happened in different era's what if Peter had not been killed? what if Bjorn had not retired ?.Hans had served his apprenticeship at Wolves/ Birmingham he grasped the nettle and what a terrific embassaddor he was for speedway.

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14 hours ago, steve roberts said:

Some interesting views Sid. I'm obviously very biased when making comparsions but I do believe that Hans was a better all round rider than Erik (something that Erik admitted to in an an interview some years ago in "Backtrack"). Hans' ability to team ride was second to none and I don't recall Erik excelling in that particular role (I saw a lot of both riders during the middle/late eighties). I also believe that Hans was a better exponent at passing opponents. I would be the first to admit that Erik had great mental strength (how much that was down to having Olsen in his corner is open to conjecture) and had the beating of Hans in both the 1984 Final (with a little help from Kelly Moran getting in the way) and 1985. The 1986 Final will be debated for as long as there are people willing to talk speedway. Erik suffered a bad second ride after being intimidated by Neil Evitts as the tapes rose. The infamous incident between Knudsen and Nielsen could have gone either way and personally, although not at the time (I was present) I felt that Hans was lucky to get away with it. However Knudsen style of riding was always questionable as he tended to ride 'square bends' and he attempted to correct himself only for Nielsen to have filled the gap. I saw Knudsen many times attempting to ride opponents wide and being caught out as opponents switched lines to pass him up the inside (there was a classic race at Cowley when Marvyn Cox out-witted him after such a move).

All three were great riders but personally I would list them in order as Nielsen first, followed by Gundersen and Knudsen fending off Jan O Pedersen...possibly?

It's been debated many times but I strongly believe that if the GP's had been operating during the middle/late eighties Hans would have been successful in most, if not all, of them.

I believe Hans helped Coxy, Sorensen, Dugard all improve as riders his team riding  skills were sublime.At Swindon we always knew there was a good rider in there in Per and he  really grew as a rider riding under Han's wing.

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9 hours ago, Sidney the robin said:

I believe Hans helped Coxy, Sorensen, Dugard all improve as riders his team riding  skills were sublime.At Swindon we always knew there was a good rider in there in Per and he  really grew as a rider riding under Han's wing.

Per's signing was inspirational and he really added that vital ingredient that made a good side into a great one in 1986. A vastly under-rated rider in my opinion.

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Always enjoy these debates.

I caught the fag end of Mauger's career in person, so never saw the best of him in the flesh. But have absorbed all that is possible on film and in books. He redefined what it was to be a professional speedway rider. But if you pinned me down, I'd have to rate Tony Rickardsson as just above him. He was World Champion in a one off format, he was World Champion in a GP format. He could win from the front, win from the back, he could win under pressure and do it on all tracks.

No-one can say he did it in an easier era either. Crump, Hancock, Pedersen all have claims to be in the world's top 10-15 ever. He was a notch above them all. Not to mention other truly quality riders like Gollob, Nielsen, Adams, Hamill, Loram...whose careers all overlapped Rickardsson. Of course they all got one or two over him, but he emerged as the clearly the best. He's the closest I've seen to a complete rider. That said, I'd like to have seen Ove Fundin in action too :)

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Now, here's something I would like to add...

Like every other old-timer on here, I have VERY fond memories of years gone by, and I think the top boys were fantastic. However, when I watch some of the stuff now - particularly from the 70's - some of it seems almost amateurish to me. Of course, it wasn't, but often...

...riders used to slow down and coast at the end of the straight.

...entering the bends, they didn't turn the bike until well into the corner.

...the foot forward style, particularly entering the bends, looks awkward and ungainly.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that? Be honest...

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, chunky said:

Now, here's something I would like to add...

Like every other old-timer on here, I have VERY fond memories of years gone by, and I think the top boys were fantastic. However, when I watch some of the stuff now - particularly from the 70's - some of it seems almost amateurish to me. Of course, it wasn't, but often...

...riders used to slow down and coast at the end of the straight.

...entering the bends, they didn't turn the bike until well into the corner.

...the foot forward style, particularly entering the bends, looks awkward and ungainly.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that? Be honest...

Yes there's some truth in that. I guess that the development of bikes and riders adapting their styles to suit added to the changing way in which the sport developed. The old J.A.P. was apparently notoriously difficult to ride. Trailing one's leg as riders tend to do now wouldn't have been possible on the basic J.A.P. and JAWA bikes and I would hazzard to guess that the advent of link forks, lay downs and the many other adapations to a modern bike requires differing techniques and, dare I suggest, easier to ride?

White line riding became somewhat rare as riders went hell for leather chasing the dirt mid track keeping the throttle full on...something that wasn't possible in years gone by when tracks were regarding as somewhat grippier and, dare I suggest, bumpy? There were slick tracks in my day but have they become more of the norm enabling riders to keep the power on? Heavier tracks required better throttle control which I guess added to the hesitancy of some rider's approach to combating track conditions. Just my thoughts for what they're worth...

Edited by steve roberts

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, falcace said:

Always enjoy these debates.

I caught the fag end of Mauger's career in person, so never saw the best of him in the flesh. But have absorbed all that is possible on film and in books. He redefined what it was to be a professional speedway rider. But if you pinned me down, I'd have to rate Tony Rickardsson as just above him. He was World Champion in a one off format, he was World Champion in a GP format. He could win from the front, win from the back, he could win under pressure and do it on all tracks.

No-one can say he did it in an easier era either. Crump, Hancock, Pedersen all have claims to be in the world's top 10-15 ever. He was a notch above them all. Not to mention other truly quality riders like Gollob, Nielsen, Adams, Hamill, Loram...whose careers all overlapped Rickardsson. Of course they all got one or two over him, but he emerged as the clearly the best. He's the closest I've seen to a complete rider. That said, I'd like to have seen Ove Fundin in action too :)

I's agree that Rickardsson is up there with the best of them but I always questioned his team ethic and leadership qualities which is something I always base any assessment (rightly or wrongly) on who was the best etc. I tend to look beyond just World Championship honours although obviously important within the grand scheme of things. The likes of Mauger, Olsen, Nielsen etc developed a team around them and nurtured their potential and Ronnie Moore was probably regarded as the best team rider during any era and some regarded him as being the most naturally gifted rider of his generation.

Edited by steve roberts

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3 hours ago, steve roberts said:

I's agree that Rickardsson is up there with the best of them but I always questioned his team ethic and leadership qualities which is something I always base any assessment (rightly or wrongly) on who was the best etc. I tend to look beyond just World Championship honours although obviously important within the grand scheme of things. The likes of Mauger, Olsen, Nielsen etc developed a team around them and nurtured their potential and Ronnie Moore was probably regarded as the best team rider during any era and some regarded him as being the most naturally gifted rider of his generation.

Maybe that was a weakness that was often thrown at Briggo?? not a criticism as i was a massive fan of his.

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10 minutes ago, Sidney the robin said:

Maybe that was a weakness that was often thrown at Briggo?? not a criticism as i was a massive fan of his.

That's a good point, Sidney. In "my" era, Briggs and Fundin were known for being ruthless and out for no.1 and not really interested in team riding, whereas Moore was known for being a team man who thought more about his team than he did himself. And, although, many would regard Moore as the most gifted rider, he was less successful in individual events than Briggo and Ove. I'm sure there must be a moral there somewhere.....

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, norbold said:

That's a good point, Sidney. In "my" era, Briggs and Fundin were known for being ruthless and out for no.1 and not really interested in team riding, whereas Moore was known for being a team man who thought more about his team than he did himself. And, although, many would regard Moore as the most gifted rider, he was less successful in individual events than Briggo and Ove. I'm sure there must be a moral there somewhere.....

Perhaps Ronnie would have won more Championships if he hadn't 'retired' prematurely before making a come back? As like most of these discussions pure conjecture but fun anyway!

I'm not sure but did Norwich win any team honours when Ove rode for them?

Edited by steve roberts

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