June 1 Long Eaton 41 Tigers 37 (British League)
Almost imperceptibly, the pendulum of fortune had started to swing against the Tigers. Long Eaton had won only one of their last five home British League fixtures and, in Charlie Monk and Bluey Scott, Tigers had two former Archers stars and Station Road specialists. Given Tigers excellent away form, this would seem to have been an away banker. Promoter Redmond obviously thought so, as he retained Bill McMillan in preference to Maury Mattingly. Not for the last time in their history, Tigers arrived at an away track to find he homesters had made a big signing. In this case it was Terry Betts who had been sought by many teams over the past twelve months. He possibly had only signed to ensure he could ride at the new Kings Lynn track, which, like Cowdenbeath, was running under an Open Licence
Betts showed no sign of rustiness and beat Charlie Monk in his opening ride, when he set up the fastest time of the night in the process. However he looped at the gate in his next ride but went on to finish the night with eight points, after being beaten by Charlie Monk in his last ride. Ray Cresp scored a maximum and no doubt enjoyed putting one over on his old boss, Trevor Redmond.
Tigers were six points down after heat nine when Betts and Storer took a 5-1 over Willie Templeton and Bruce Ovenden. Bluey Scott was sent out as a tactical substitute and, along with Charlie Monk, took a 5-1 to reduce the deficit to only two points. However in the next race, Cresp and Adams won their respective battles with Bluey Scott and Bill McMillan taking Long Eaton’s lead to four points, a lead into which Tigers were unable to make any inroads. Long Eaton had won their second home league meeting of the season!
Scott 11; Monk 10; Templeton 8; Coombes 3; McMillan 3; Ovenden 1; Paulsen 1:
Long Eaton Scorers
Cresp 12; Betts 8; Bodie 7; Storer 5; Adams 4; Mills 4; Wrathall 1:
The following night, Betts crashed at Poole and broke his leg in two places. He didn’t ride again all season and never rode again for Long Eaton, signing instead for Kings Lynn. Long Eaton went on to win only two more league meetings over the next three months against fellow cellar dwellers, Edinburgh and Cradley Heath. Had Tigers fixture been scheduled for any other week, they most certainly would have won and perhaps kept their title challenge on track.
June 2 Scotland 62 England 46 (White City)
Charlie Monk and Willie Templeton travelled back from Long Eaton and had the afternoon to clean up their bikes and leathers before setting off for the White City. Scotland’s heat leaders had things very much their own way against a weakened England team. Ken McKinlay scored an eighteen-point maximum. George Hunter and Charlie Monk finished up just one short on seventeen being beaten by Colin Goody and Martin Ashby respectively. Scotland second strings picked off the vital minor placings, which mounted up over the night, resulting in a healthy win.
Scotland won the series 2-1, having won 60-48 in Edinburgh and losing 55-52 at Newcastle
McKinlay 18; Monk 17; G Hunter 17; McGregor 4; W Templeton 3; D Templeton 3:
Goody 13; Ashby 12; N Boocock 12; N Hunter 5; Brett 4; Simmonds 0; Dews 0:
Some crazy fixturing saw this test being staged mid way through Tigers southern tour of Long Eaton, Oxford and Cradley. It had originally been scheduled for Friday 4th June, sandwiched between Oxford and Cradley but was brought forward by two nights. This was no real improvement. Indeed the change may only have been made to help England turn out a better side. The most obvious solution would have been to defer the away meeting at Long Eaton until the following week when it would have been “back to back” with Tigers trip to Exeter but this was not adopted. As if this was not enough, the second Scotland v England test had been slotted in on Monday the 31st May, meaning that some Tigers riders were required to ride on five out of six evenings.
June 3 Oxford 48 Tigers 30 (British League)
Maury Mattingly was restored to the side but, on a track he never really liked, he made little real impression. Oxford’s big three of Ron How, Arne Pander and Jimmy Gooch went through the meeting unbeaten leaving Charlie Monk with ten points from five starts. Nils Paulsen got his best away score to date with six points, including a heat eight 5-1 with partner Bruce Ovenden. This was Tigers only heat win of the meeting. Bruce Ovenden certainly enjoyed his first visit to Cowley and recorded the best away score of his career with a fine four paid seven from three starts.
One time Redmond asset, Glynn Chandler, had signed for Cheetahs but didn’t disturb the score sheet.
Monk 10; Paulsen 6; Ovenden 4; Scott 3; Templeton 3; Mattingly 3; Coombes 1:
Pander 12; How 12; Gooch 11; Reeves 5; Bishop 4; Vale 4; Chandler 0:
June 5 Cradley 43 Tigers 35 (British League)
Maury Mattingly had a disappointing night on a track that he normally liked but Willie Templeton and Nils Paulsen each weighed in with seven points, as Tigers trailed by only four points with just two heats remaining. However any chance Tigers had of taking the league points disappeared with one of the most bizarre refereeing decisions in a long time, when Charlie Monk was excluded for “overtaking Harry Bastable in an improper manner”! After a lengthy delay, when the finer points of the rulebook were discussed in some depth, the exclusion stood and the Cradley pair shut out Maury Mattingly in the rerun.
Nils Paulsen continued his fine form with seven points, improving on his best away score.
With a bit of luck, Tigers could have won this meeting. They had now lost the second away meeting that they realistically could have expected to win and their title hopes were fading.
Monk 10; Paulsen 7; Templeton 7; Scott 4; Coombes 3; Ovenden 2; Mattingly 2:
Brown 12; Hart 12; Bastable 7; McAuliffe 6; Hockaday 4; Julians 2; Cooper 0:
Ivor Brown’s maximum was to prove to be his last, as he sustained serious back injuries after a clash with Ove Fundin in the first heat of the Wimbledon Internationale. He was out for the season and was never quite the same rider when he came back
Bill McMillan won the Scottish Junior Championship at Cowdenbeath and set a new track record in the final heat. Red Monteith was second from Ross Nickisson and Kevin Russell. Sixteen riders took part in this event and amongst the field were Alex Hughson, Jimmy Tannock, Maury Robinson, Dave Gifford and Alan Butterfield.
June 7 Exeter 46 Tigers 32 (British League)
A date that will live in Tigers folklore forever! but more of that later. Apart from Charlie Monk, Tigers had little to offer in the Whitsun Bank Holiday morning meeting. The early start did nothing to help the Tigers! Monk and Goody spoiled each others maximums, while Bluey Scott wished the meeting had gone on longer. He fell in his first race, was unplaced in his second and third in his third outing before coming second in his last ride. Obviously he was just getting warmed up when the second half began!
Charlie Monk was excused from riding in the second half as he was booked to ride in Wimbledon’s prestigious Internationale in the evening. Indeed he had been given the option of missing the league meeting but thankfully had decided to ride for the Tigers.
Monk 14; Paulsen 5; Mattingly 4; Templeton 4; Scott 3; Coombes 1; Ovenden 1:
Goody 11; Squibb 9; Blewett 6; Cowland 6; McDermott 6; Lukehurst 5; Geran 3:
June 7 FIM Internationale at Wimbledon
This was a sensational meeting with a large number of incidents. Swedes Ove Fundin, Bjorn Knuttson and Gote Nordin, no longer riding in Britain on a regular basis, were included in the field of this FIM inscribed event. However SVEMO, the Swedish controlling authority, would not allow Olle Nygren to take part. He was permitted to ride in national events but not international meetings. Work that one out if you can! Even more bizarrely he was allowed to be a reserve and actually got five rides!
The first heat saw Fundin excluded after clipping Ivor Brown’s front wheel, causing the Cradley skipper to hit the fence at high speed. He sustained serious back injuries, which kept him out for the rest of the season. Charlie Monk finished second to Gote Nordin in heat two but a win over Fundin, Knuttson and Nigel Boocock in his next ride put him at the top of the leader board after all the riders had had two rides each. A third ride win over Trevor Hedge, Reg Luckhurst and Sverre Harrfeldt reinforced this lead and he was due to meet his main rival Ken McKinlay in his next outing. The other two riders in this heat were Barry Briggs, who was again having problems with his ESO bikes, and Olle Nygren. Briggs won this race but, after a superb ride, Charlie grabbed second place from Olle Nygren. Ken McKinlay was last and his challenge was over. Charlie’s final ride looked to be the easiest one on paper, lining up against Peter Jarman, Ronnie Genz and Arne Pander. It proved to be on the track too. This heat win took Charlie to thirteen points and he could not now be caught.
Charlie had struck another blow for the Provincial League in winning the first classic event of the season.
Top scorers were
Charlie Monk (Glasgow) 13
Gote Nordin (Sweden) 11
Bjorn Knuttson (Sweden) 11
Barry Briggs (Swindon) 9
Ken McKinlay (West Ham) 9
Jimmy Gooch (Oxford) 9
Nigel Boocock (Coventry) 8
Peter Jarman (Wolverhampton) 8
Charlie Monk receiving the brand new JAP prize and also some Embassy cigarettes
June 11 Tigers 38 Oxford 40 (British League)
This proved to be the most controversial meeting of the season. Tigers must have been aware of the threat that Oxford posed, having seen the power of Cheetah’s big three of Arne Pander, Ron How and Jimmy Gooch, at first hand in the previous week’s meeting at Cowley. Despite this Tigers again rested Maury Mattingly and the move backfired badly.
The meeting started quietly enough with Jimmy Gooch winning a shared first heat but the fun started in heat two, when Bluey Scott fell on the last lap while chasing Arne Pander. Nils Paulsen laid his bike down and the race was stopped. Referee Taylor ordered a rerun, a decision, which did not please Oxford. Twenty minutes of argument ensued with managerless Oxford team insisting that the heat should have been awarded as a 5-1 in their favour. They steadfastly refused to take part in a rerun and the heat was declared null and void. Ron How beat Charlie Monk in heat three before a Willie Templeton / Bill McMillan 4-2 gave Tigers the lead after heat four. Thereupon it was announced that Oxford had condescended to take part in the rerun of heat two, which would be the next race! Paulsen won this rerun, which did nothing to lighten Oxford’s dark mood. Thereafter, a Monk / Coombes 5-1 over Pander seemed to put Tigers in the driving seat with a six point lead.
However over the next three races things began to unravel for the Tigers. Nils Paulsen was closing in on Jimmy Gooch on the run in to the chequered flag but wobbled as he crossed the line. He fell as he was slowing down at the pits gate and was obviously in some distress. It turned out he had broken the toes on his right foot by trapping them under his footrest. He was carried off and taken to hospital. There was more woe in heat seven. Tigers were sharing a 3-3 when Bruce Ovenden’s engine blew rather spectacularly, causing it to bounce into the fence. Bruce was now a passenger. Nils Paulsen was programmed to ride in heat eight along with reserve Bill McMillan and Tigers intended to track supplementary reserve Graham Coombes in his place. Oxford protested against this at some length, arguing, correctly, that the supplementary reserve can only replace an injured reserve. With the threat of a walk out, the referee eventually ruled in their favour. Oxford took a 4-2 from this race and were now only two points behind.
A Charlie Monk / Graham Coombes 4-2 extended Tigers lead to four but this was wiped out by an Oxford 5-1 in heat ten. Oxford went two points ahead in the next race and Gooch and How lined up for the crucial heat twelve. However How was excluded under the two minute rule and the heat was shared. Tigers were now facing a last heat decider and must have rued not having Maury Mattingly. Oxford filled the minor positions behind Charlie Monk to win the meeting.
Monk 11; Templeton 9; Coombes 5; Paulsen 5; Scott 4; McMillan 3; Ovenden 1:
Gooch 11; How 8; Pander 8; Bishop 5; Vale 5; Reeves 2; Chandler 1:
June 18 World Championship Qualifying Round (White City)
Charlie Monk won this round with fifteen points and went on to collect two further fifteen point scores from his rounds at Newcastle and Cradley Heath to top the qualifiers list with the maximum forty five. His Cradley round, the night after the White City round, caused quite a logistics problem. In the morning Trevor Redmond found that Monk’s leathers had been left at the White City. With Monk already en route for Cradley, Trevor phoned Eric Hockaday and arranged to meet him off the plane in London. Eric then took the leathers to Cradley!
Bluey Scott scored fourteen points making him second on the night. He would go on to qualify for the semi finals too. Maury Mattingly, who was riding at the White City for the first time in four weeks, was plagued by mechanical problems and finished with just two points. Despite a splendid fifteen point maximum at Edinburgh the following night he did not make the semi finals. Ivan Mauger rode at Glasgow using a special cast protecting his broken ankle. He rode steadily to score twelve points, finishing third on the night. He would go on to make the cut for the semis. Bruce Ovenden and Graham Coombes both had to take part in the pre qualifying rounds, scoring twenty-one and twenty two respectively from their rounds at Middlesbrough and Cowdenbeath, However neither made the semis. As Glasgow was to stage a semi final in July, Tigers fans took particular interest in the qualifiers lists.
In Edinburgh, George Hunter beat Charlie Monk 2-1 in the Scottish Match Race championship. Both riders had now won one leg each and a decider will be required – possibly at Cowdenbeath
June 25 Tigers 49 Poole 29 (British League)
Incredibly this was Tigers first and only victory in June! Poole had only lost twice in Scotland since 1960 but were never in the hunt. Scot Ross Gilbertson, making an all too rare appearance at the White City, scored twelve and Ronnie Genz got nine, both from five starts.
Tigers scored solidly down the line. Charlie Monk got a full maximum and reserve Bruce Ovenden was unbeaten by an opponent. Nils Paulsen rode with his broken toes strapped up in what looked like a brown carpet slipper pulled over his right boot. He had two race wins in his eight points. Maury Mattingly made a welcome return to form with seven paid eight.
Prospective Edinburgh Monarch, Alfred Sitwohl was unplaced in a second half race, which featured Red Monteith, Joe Hicks and Leo Ramm. Obviously he wasn’t going to be the answer to Edinburgh’s problems.
Monk 12; Paulsen 8; Mattingly 7; Templeton 7; Scott 6; Ovenden 5; Coombes 4:
Gilbertson 12; Genz 9; Andrew 5; Mudge 2; Smith 1; Strachan 0; Munday 0: