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BOBBATH

Oxford 1964

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I agree BL65, How was great-I was privileged to see Ron before his career ending accident. I reckon with How Oxford would have been champs. If the boot had been on the other foot it would have been like Harrfeldt was injured for West Ham. They would have had no chance. BTW a sore point with me is that Dick Bradley was injured and not replaced for the Wasps. Even without Dick, the Wasps finished the highest among the 1964 Prov. League tracks

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7 hours ago, BOBBATH said:

I agree BL65, How was great-I was privileged to see Ron before his career ending accident. I reckon with How Oxford would have been champs. If the boot had been on the other foot it would have been like Harrfeldt was injured for West Ham. They would have had no chance. BTW a sore point with me is that Dick Bradley was injured and not replaced for the Wasps. Even without Dick, the Wasps finished the highest among the 1964 Prov. League tracks

Ron How is one of those riders who genearlly doesn't get the praise that he deserves. He was a star rider for both Wimbledon and later Oxford and it's a shame that his career was cut short by injury. If I remember he became landlord of a pub in Great Missenden (?) and Ivan Mauger visited on at least one occasion.

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16 hours ago, BL65 said:

 The crucial match would have been the first away league meeting without How, at West Ham, where the Hammers won by 8 points.  Stevens scored 4 points and as How's scoring had been at least as good as that of Gooch and Pander, who scored 11 and 9 respectively from 4 rides each, it is highly likely that with him in the team a draw at least might have been secured.  This could have left Oxford with 48 and West Ham with 46 points at the end of the season.  Lots of ifs admittedly. 

Good old Stan - always a West Ham man at heart!

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10 hours ago, BOBBATH said:

I agree BL65, How was great-I was privileged to see Ron before his career ending accident. I reckon with How Oxford would have been champs. If the boot had been on the other foot it would have been like Harrfeldt was injured for West Ham. They would have had no chance. BTW a sore point with me is that Dick Bradley was injured and not replaced for the Wasps. Even without Dick, the Wasps finished the highest among the 1964 Prov. League tracks

Although there was a pool of riders to cover for injuries in 1965 some teams fared better than others with their allocations.  Newcastle, for example, received World Finalist Brian Brett to cover for Ivan Mauger and were allowed to keep him even after Ivan returned (half fit) to the team.  Oxford's replacements did not adequately cover for Ron How.  Newport moved Bob Hughes up from reserve and brought in Ray Harris and then Vic White.  Dick had a league average of just over 8 points, whereas Harris and White achieved around 4.5 and 5.5 respectively.  I do not believe that Wasps would have finished any higher in the league even with a fit Dick Bradley in the team for the rest of the season.  After his injury Newport rode 6 home league matches and won them all.  Away meetings at Long Eaton and Cradley Heath were both won anyway without him.  Away to Swindon they lost 30-48, with Briggs, Broadbank and Ashby all unbeaten by a visiting rider and Dick's presence would probably have not added too many points.  Both Gooch and Pander scored maximums for Oxford as Newport lost there by 13 points and again I don't think Dick would have added enough points to have altered the outcome.  It is possible that Bradley may have scored enough additional points to turn the 8 point defeat at Glasgow into a draw, but Wasps did use a tactical substitute for his replacement in one ride, so it would have been unlikely.  The same applies to the 8 point defeat at Edinburgh.  Even high scores from Bradley would not have reversed the outcome of defeats at Newcastle, Belle Vue and Wolverhampton, by 27-51, 23-55 and 14-64 respectively.

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Thanks as always for all your fantastic information on this thread, BL.

Now, talking of 1965 and West Ham....As a supporter and regular that year, I have always put West Ham's treble success down to Malcolm Simmons' transition from second string to heat leader status. I could probably work this out myself, but I wondered if you have Malcolm's League and Cup averages up to 13 August and then from 14 August onwards (that being the day of the KO Cup Quarter Final replay against Wimbledon when he suddenly came good and became a different rider).

Thanks in advance.

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43 minutes ago, norbold said:

Thanks as always for all your fantastic information on this thread, BL.

Now, talking of 1965 and West Ham....As a supporter and regular that year, I have always put West Ham's treble success down to Malcolm Simmons' transition from second string to heat leader status. I could probably work this out myself, but I wondered if you have Malcolm's League and Cup averages up to 13 August and then from 14 August onwards (that being the day of the KO Cup Quarter Final replay against Wimbledon when he suddenly came good and became a different rider).

Thanks in advance.

Malcolm's league and cup average on 13th July 1965 was 5.67; his average for the subsequent league and cup matches that season was 8.20.  An improvement in form had started in the KO Cup match against Newport on 29th June, prior to which his average was 4.70.  From the Newport meeting to the day before the Wimbledon cup match he averaged 7.76.  That also included away meetings at Wolverhampton, Newcastle and Sheffield, plus home meetings against Edinburgh, Oxford, Poole and Wimbledon, the latter in the drawn cup tie.  A lot of credit was rightly given to Simmons for the terrific team results in the latter half of the season, which led to the achievement of the treble (including the London Cup). However, at the time the introduction of Tony Clarke to the reserve slot in August was also acknowledged as being a contributary factor, with his average in league and cup being 4.35.

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1 hour ago, BL65 said:

Malcolm's league and cup average on 13th July 1965 was 5.67; his average for the subsequent league and cup matches that season was 8.20.  An improvement in form had started in the KO Cup match against Newport on 29th June, prior to which his average was 4.70.  From the Newport meeting to the day before the Wimbledon cup match he averaged 7.76.  That also included away meetings at Wolverhampton, Newcastle and Sheffield, plus home meetings against Edinburgh, Oxford, Poole and Wimbledon, the latter in the drawn cup tie.  A lot of credit was rightly given to Simmons for the terrific team results in the latter half of the season, which led to the achievement of the treble (including the London Cup). However, at the time the introduction of Tony Clarke to the reserve slot in August was also acknowledged as being a contributary factor, with his average in league and cup being 4.35.

Thanks, BL, I knew I could rely on you. And yes, I agree about Tony Clarke as well. I think we did recognise his contribution at the time, but it always seemed that Malcolm's was the deciding factor.

However, it is interesting looking at those figures that the change wasn't quite as sudden as I maybe thought and he was working his way up to that meeting on 14th August over the previous month. Many years later I spoke to both Malcolm Simmons and Dave Lanning (West Ham's manager on 14th) about the meeting and both agreed it was Malcolm's "coming of age" moment. Malcolm told me he didn't clean his bike for weeks afterwards because it was running so perfectly that day that he didn't want to risk touching anything!

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42 minutes ago, norbold said:

However, it is interesting looking at those figures that the change wasn't quite as sudden as I maybe thought and he was working his way up to that meeting on 14th August over the previous month. Many years later I spoke to both Malcolm Simmons and Dave Lanning (West Ham's manager on 14th) about the meeting and both agreed it was Malcolm's "coming of age" moment. Malcolm told me he didn't clean his bike for weeks afterwards because it was running so perfectly that day that he didn't want to risk touching anything!

I well remember being stunned at the time at the result of the cup replay, particularly given the circumstances, with Hunter and Harrfeldt both missing.  Although this was partly offset by Trevor Hedge being absent for Wimbledon and John Edwards ruled out injured after his first ride, the home team were still expected to win with something to spare.  Putting things into context regarding the improvement by Simmons, in his first 18 meetings he scored 8 or more (including bonus points) only 3 times.  In the next 8 meetings he achieved this 4 times (from the Newport cup match to the home cup match with Wimbledon).  From his sensational performance at Wimbledon onwards he was paid for 8 or more 11 times in 14 league and cup matches.  That really illustrates his improved contribution to the team.

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19 minutes ago, BL65 said:

I well remember being stunned at the time at the result of the cup replay, particularly given the circumstances, with Hunter and Harrfeldt both missing.  Although this was partly offset by Trevor Hedge being absent for Wimbledon and John Edwards ruled out injured after his first ride, the home team were still expected to win with something to spare.  Putting things into context regarding the improvement by Simmons, in his first 18 meetings he scored 8 or more (including bonus points) only 3 times.  In the next 8 meetings he achieved this 4 times (from the Newport cup match to the home cup match with Wimbledon).  From his sensational performance at Wimbledon onwards he was paid for 8 or more 11 times in 14 league and cup matches.  That really illustrates his improved contribution to the team.

Yes, indeed.
I was actually at the meeting. Even though it was over 55 years ago now, I can still remember it more vividly than any other meeting I've ever been to. It was a once in a lifetime experience for a West Ham supporter! 

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5 hours ago, norbold said:

Yes, indeed.
I was actually at the meeting. Even though it was over 55 years ago now, I can still remember it more vividly than any other meeting I've ever been to. It was a once in a lifetime experience for a West Ham supporter! 

I have a few 'memorable' experiences of West Ham from 1965 and 1966.  In 1965 I attended the league title clinching win at Cradley Heath, when the Hammers won 47-31.  This was a re-arranged fixture on 23rd October after the original meeting on 21st August was farcically changed from a league match to a challenge because the track was deemed unfit for league racing after a lot of rain during the day!  Then on 30th April 1966 I had to dash from an England v Scotland schoolboys international football match at Chesterfield, which finished at 4.45 p.m. to Dudley Wood for the 7.30 p.m. meeting which the Hammers won 44-33.  Another meeting I recall was during the period when the West Ham team was at its peak in 1965, a 52-26 defeat at Wolverhampton in a challenge match on 1st October, a meeting arranged after the teams had drawn 39-39 earlier in the season in the league.  The match was remarkable as McKinlay (5), Harrfeldt (5) and Hunter (1) were out of sorts, with Simmons topping the scorechart with 9 paid 10 from 4 rides.  To be fair, if the season had started in mid-September it is possible that Wolverhampton would have won the league title.  They had a run of league results that started with a 50-28 home win against full strength Wimbledon, a 48-30 win at Exeter after the challenge success against West Ham, followed by a 64-14 annihilation of Newport, a narrow 36-42 defeat at Swindon, then ending with a 56-21 demolition of Glasgow and a 45-33 win over Hackney, the latter two after heat leaderJim Airey had returned to Australia.  I remember those events vividly too.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, BL65 said:

I have a few 'memorable' experiences of West Ham from 1965 and 1966.  In 1965 I attended the league title clinching win at Cradley Heath, when the Hammers won 47-31. 

I went to that as well. I don't remember seeing you there!

I was at college in Norwich at the time and I hired a car and managed to persuade a few (non-speedway) friends to join me and drive across to Cradley. When we got there, we joined the West Ham supporters' section of course. After the meeting, naturally, I wanted to celebrate with my fellow supporters so I stayed with them, while my college friends, who weren't really that interested, drove back to Norwich. Fortunately, there was a spare seat on the coach going back to London, so I hopped on that. Good times!

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52 minutes ago, norbold said:

I went to that as well. I don't remember seeing you there!

I was at college in Norwich at the time and I hired a car and managed to persuade a few (non-speedway) friends to join me and drive across to Cradley. When we got there, we joined the West Ham supporters' section of course. After the meeting, naturally, I wanted to celebrate with my fellow supporters so I stayed with them, while my college friends, who weren't really that interested, drove back to Norwich. Fortunately, there was a spare seat on the coach going back to London, so I hopped on that. Good times!

Very fortunate, it would have been a very long walk back to either Norwich or London, although hitching a lift was still common practice in those days. I was delayed leaving the stadium at Leicester on one occasion in the 1960s due to being engaged in conversation with Alf Weedon and ended up catching the last train, then missed a connection in Birmingham which meant being stuck there until 6.30 a.m.  Happy days indeed.

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On 7/11/2021 at 5:31 AM, BL65 said:

Although there was a pool of riders to cover for injuries in 1965 some teams fared better than others with their allocations.  Newcastle, for example, received World Finalist Brian Brett to cover for Ivan Mauger and were allowed to keep him even after Ivan returned (half fit) to the team.  Oxford's replacements did not adequately cover for Ron How.  Newport moved Bob Hughes up from reserve and brought in Ray Harris and then Vic White.  Dick had a league average of just over 8 points, whereas Harris and White achieved around 4.5 and 5.5 respectively.  I do not believe that Wasps would have finished any higher in the league even with a fit Dick Bradley in the team for the rest of the season.  After his injury Newport rode 6 home league matches and won them all.  Away meetings at Long Eaton and Cradley Heath were both won anyway without him.  Away to Swindon they lost 30-48, with Briggs, Broadbank and Ashby all unbeaten by a visiting rider and Dick's presence would probably have not added too many points.  Both Gooch and Pander scored maximums for Oxford as Newport lost there by 13 points and again I don't think Dick would have added enough points to have altered the outcome.  It is possible that Bradley may have scored enough additional points to turn the 8 point defeat at Glasgow into a draw, but Wasps did use a tactical substitute for his replacement in one ride, so it would have been unlikely.  The same applies to the 8 point defeat at Edinburgh.  Even high scores from Bradley would not have reversed the outcome of defeats at Newcastle, Belle Vue and Wolverhampton, by 27-51, 23-55 and 14-64 respectively.

Blimey BL65-you  and your posts - I reluctantly have to agree that though Dick Bradley is one of my heroes if he hadn't been injured it would not have made that much difference to the Wasps final position!! BTW what was the team you followed the most- West Ham maybe?? Thanks for all the info you share with us, I think I speak for all forumlanders when I say how much I enjoy your posts and how much I learn from them. Keep up the good work mate!!

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Say there had been no injuries to anybody in 1965- How, Mauger (I guess they wouldn't have got Brett in that case) Sharples etc etc -who do you think would have ended up Champs-still WH or maybe someone else- Halifax would be pretty good as I recall-they lost Brien Elliott. What about Wolves??

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10 hours ago, BOBBATH said:

Blimey BL65-you  and your posts - I reluctantly have to agree that though Dick Bradley is one of my heroes if he hadn't been injured it would not have made that much difference to the Wasps final position!! BTW what was the team you followed the most- West Ham maybe?? Thanks for all the info you share with us, I think I speak for all forumlanders when I say how much I enjoy your posts and how much I learn from them. Keep up the good work mate!!

Thank you BOBBATH.  Started out by following Liverpool.  At various times over the years I have 'followed' by attending regularly at (in alphabetical order) Birmingham, Coventry, Cradley Heath, Hull, Leicester, Oxford, Peterborough, Stoke and Wolverhampton.  There are many other tracks I have visited on numerous occasions, with Belle Vue, Bradford, Exeter, King's Lynn, Long Eaton, Reading, Sheffield and Swindon the most frequent among them.

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