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April 1    Tigers  42   Sheffield  35  (British League)

 

 

The program cover featured a Tiger, named as Bluey Scott, seeming to be going the wrong way round the track. A similar photo had appeared in the previous years Evening Citizen when the photo plate had been mistakenly reversed. Considerable correspondence was to ensue about the identity of the rider but bearing in mind the date it was quite an original April Fool! With both teams still trying to sign their final rider, it was agreed to track their number eights, Joe Hicks for Tigers and Arnold Haley for Sheffield. Graham Coombes was booked into the second half just in case Sheffield managed to complete their line up.

Charlie Monk would have missed this meeting as his ship was not due to dock for another few days but had been flown in from Naples the day before. His bike was still on board and George Hunter had kindly agreed to lend him his new ESO. However the bike failed first time out and Charlie then had to borrow Maury Mattingly’s new ESO. He won heat five in seventy-six point eight seconds, just 0.6 seconds outside the track record but it too expired in his next ride. Having blown up two borrowed bikes, there couldn’t have been a queue to lend him a mount for his final ride! Alf Wells, reportedly, was unable to sleep in the nights prior to his debut! He needn’t have worried as he scored a very impressive nine paid eleven, only being beaten by Bob Paulson. Partner Bluey Scott recovered from a first ride fall to go through the rest of the meeting unbeaten, including cleaning up in the second half.

Maury Mattingly had insisted that he stayed with Tigers, rather than be allocated to Oxford, and got off to a great start winning his first two rides before his bike blew up when being ridden by Charlie Monk. He was not the same force on borrowed machinery but good support from Willie Templeton and Bill McMillan saw the troubled Tigers through. John Dews was again the best for Sheffield and surprisingly didn’t get a tactical substitute ride to add to his score of ten.

The second half featured a “Swedish Trial Exhibition” race in which Alan Dahlov and Tommy Berquist lined up against Jim McMillan and Red Monteith. The Swedes were part of a party who had spent a week, training at Kings Lynn under Olle Nygren’s tutelage. Others in the party included Hasse Holmquist, Nils Ringstrom and Lars Jansson. Holmquist would go on to sign for Wolverhampton and ride in the 1969 World Final at Wembley, while both Ringstrom and Jansson would sign for Tigers although neither would complete a full season before being released. Berquist easily won the exhibition heat and went on to win a trophy heat, beating Willie Templeton and John Hart to qualify for the final, where he was runner up to Bluey Scott. Based on this performance, Trevor Redmond decided he was the man for the Tigers and was going to take steps to get the necessary permission for him to join up.

Jim McMillan fell in the exhibition race but managed a creditable second place behind elder brother Bill in the Reserves Races, beating Joe Hicks in the process.

Tigers Scorers

Wells 9; Scott 9; Templeton 9; Mattingly 7; McMillan 5; Monk 3;Hicks 0:

Sheffield Scorers

Dews 10; Bales 7; Jay 6; Paulson 6; Hart 4; Haley 2; Major 2:

 

  

 

 

April 8   Tigers  39   West Ham  38  (British League)

With Tigers awaiting SVEMO clearance for Tommy Berquist, Graham Coombes was allowed to deputise. Malcolm Simmonds was missing due to chicken pox and one time Tiger Terry Stone was brought in as a “sudstitute” according to the program, leading to many cracks about soap etc. Sadly from the Hammers point of view, he didn’t clean up! Hammers other replacement rider Eric Boocock, covering for hernia victim, Sverre Harrfeldt, had a far better night, with thirteen points from five starts.

After two shared heats, Tigers hit three 5-1s to lead by ten points after heat six. However Ken McKinlay took a tactical substitute outing in the next race and shepherded his partner home for a Hammers 5-1. Heat nine brought disaster for the Tigers. Charlie Monk reared at the start and looped over, hitting his head on Ken McKinlay’s back wheel. He was carried off unconscious and was out of the meeting. Graham Coombes bike failed in the rerun, gifting the Hammers a 5-0 and reducing Tigers lead to a single point.  However Bluey Scott and Alf Wells immediately hit back with a 5-1 over Norman Hunter, giving Tigers a five point lead which was maintained when Maury Mattingly and Willie Templeton filled the minor positions behind Eric Boocock in heat eleven. Bluey Scott then split the McKinlay / Hunter pairing in the penultimate race setting up a last heat decider with Tigers three points ahead. Maury Mattingly duly kept Ted Ede at bay after Graham Coombes bike had failed and Tigers had edged the meeting by a single point. Alf Wells continued his fine start at Glasgow with seven paid eight despite a first race fall. West Ham had provided nine heat winners but their second strings provided little support and this ultimately cost them the meeting.

West Ham wore orange fluorescent waistcoats, similar to those worn by traffic policemen. Apparently this was to make their partners stand out on a murky night. Whatever the reason these jackets never caught on and were dispensed with before the month was out.

The second half trophy was a large Easter egg courtesy of Trevor Redmond’s confectionery business. Hammers’ Ken McKinlay won it but, unusually, took it home!

Tigers Scorers

Scott 9; Wells 7; Mattingly 6; Templeton 5; Monk 5; McMillan 4; Coombes 3:

West Ham Scorers

E Boocock 13; McKinlay 11; Hunter 9; Trott 3; Leonard 1; Ede 1; Stone 0:

 

Starting gate action: Heat Three featuring (l to r) Monk ; Stone ; Coombes ;  Hunter

The Hammers riders can be seen wearing their waistcoats.

 

Elsewhere:

Nineteen year old Brian Whaley was rated one of the top protégés of the 1965/66 Aussie season and was tipped to be making the trip over to the UK in the near future.

Some things don’t change! Edinburgh lost their opening meeting for the second consecutive year, with Newcastle coming out on top in a challenge match.  This meeting had it all, including many engine failures, a lady spectator being rushed off to hospital in advanced stages of labour and, horror of horrors, the tea urn being overturned in the pits!

More bad news for Monarchs in their second home meeting when Henry Harrfeldt crashed after colliding with Pete Jarman and suffered a badly broken leg, which was to end his career

 

 

 

April 15   Tigers  41   Coventry  37  (British League)

Tigers attempts to sign Tommy Berquist had been vetoed by SVEMO, who were upset that he hadn’t turned up for the previous years Swedish national final and were not prepared to issue him a permit. Trevor Redmond had now turned his attentions back to Bengt Brannefors but Doug Templeton would guest tonight. With severe weather hitting the UK, this was the only meeting to go on in entire country, or indeed anywhere in the World as Trevor Redmond pointed out!

Nigel Boocock, Ron Mountford and Jim Lightfoot were all in good form but 5-1s from Bluey Scott and Alf Wells in heat two and Willie Templeton and Bill McMillan in heat four gave Tigers an early lead which Bees tactical substitutions reduced to just two points with two races left. Doug Templeton had had a wretched night with just one point from his first three rides but teamed up with Bluey Scott to shut out Jim Lightfoot and split heat twelve. Again there was to be a last heat decider. Charlie Monk and Maury Mattingly won their respective battles with Ron Mountford and Les Owen to take a 4-2 and clinch the meeting 41-37.Charlie top scored with ten and showed no ill effects from his heavy spill the previous week.

Coventry had provided eight heat winners but, like West Ham before them, had received little support from their second strings. Times were consistently fast throughout with Nigel Boocock winning heat one in 77.0 seconds and Charlie Monk recording 77.8 in heat thirteen. This win left Tigers as the only unbeaten team in the league.

Jim McMillan recorded his first win in the second half, taking the chequered flag in the Progress Race in a time of 85.8 seconds.

Tigers Scorers

Monk 10; Scott 8; W Templeton 7; Wells 6; Mattingly 4; McMillan 3; D Templeton 3:

Coventry Scorers

Boocock 13; Mountford 10; Lightfoot 10; Owen 3; Cottrell 1; Harrison 0; France 0:

 

 

 

More starting gate action, this time taken from the centre green at the Tigers versus Coventry meeting.

Heat Two (L to R): France ; Wells; Mountford ; Scott

 

 

 

April 16   Swindon   v   Tigers   (British League) 

Snowed off! A nine inch thick layer of snow was slowly melting but there was no real prospect of the track being rideable and the meeting was called off in early on he morning to prevent riders and supporters from making an unnecessary journey. Fortunately there were no supporters buses organised as they usually left around midnight and would have been nearing Swindon at the time of the cancellation.

 

 

 

April 22   Tigers  v   Cradley   (British League)

Rained off. At 6.30 the track was still ok but a heavy shower ruled out any prospect of racing. Bengt Brannefors was programmed and was actually in the stadium, but no permit had been issued by the SRA, and Graham Coombes had been enlisted as a guest. As Runo Wedin was now lining up for Edinburgh, it was hard to understand why Brannefors was being refused.

 

 

 

 

 

April 23   Edinburgh  46   Tigers  31   (British League)

With both Runo Wedin and Bengt Brannefors riding in Sweden, both teams promoted their respective number eights. This move was to be greatly to Monarchs advantage as Jimmy Tannock took his chance with both hands and scored eight points from three rides, losing only to Bluey Scott.

Heat three was most controversial. First Dudley McKean fell and the race was stopped. Then in the rerun Bengt Jansson completely missed the gate and, with the Tigers pair speeding off into the distance, sat waiting rather hopefully for a false start decision. To the disgust of the large contingent of Tigers fans, the race was again stopped.  Charlie Monk came out for the second rerun on Maury Mattingly’s bike as his own had seized and his mechanical hoodoo continued as it too failed mid race. Both Monk and Mattingly were now bikeless and even this early in the meeting it was really all over!

Bluey Scott was the only Tiger to enhance his reputation. He took George Hunter from the back in his first outing and went on to score twelve from five starts, three of which were in the last three heats. Given Charlie Monk’s recent record of having borrowed bikes fail on him, George Hunter bravely loaned him his bike for heat twelve. The Tiger duly responded by giving Bengt Jansson his only defeat of the night. Jim McMillan got no fewer than three rides in the second half, winning the Progress Race in a rather tentative 81.4 seconds.

Tigers Scorers

Scott 12; Monk 5; Mattingly 4; W Templeton 4; McMillan 4; Wells 2; Monteith 0:

Edinburgh Scorers

Jansson 11; Hunter 10; D Templeton 9; Tannock 8; Harkins 4; Landels 4; McKean 0:

 

 

 

 

 

April 26   West Ham  43   Tigers  35   (British League)

With approval for Bengt Brannefors still not forthcoming, the BSPA nominated Roy Trigg as a guest for this meeting. Trigg’s 1965 average was over 7.5,which gave an indication of Brannefor’s expected potential. West Ham too had a guest, with Ron Mountford replacing Sverre Harrfeldt who was still recovering from his hernia operation.

For once Tigers got off to a great start. In heat four, Maury Mattingly shepherded Bill McMillan to his first, and only, away heat in of the season to put Tigers six points up after only four heats. However things started to go wrong! First, Bluey Scott blew his engine while well in contention and a possible heat advantage was lost. Undaunted the little Aussie changed engines in time for is next ride. Then a Ken McKinlay tactical substitution, lining up with Ron Mountford, paid dividends for the Hammers as their 5-1 took them to within two points of the Tigers. Next Charlie Monk pulled up while chasing McKinlay.  Despite all this Tigers were still level with three heats to go. But even more misfortune! Roy Trigg, unbeaten after three rides, was leading Ken McKinlay when his forks snapped Fortunately he managed to pull up safely but the Hammers were now in the lead and Tigers chance was gone. Two more heat wins in the final two races gave West Ham victory by a flattering margin, which they certainly did not deserve.

Tigers had only managed to provide five race winners and this summed up their current predicament, a solid team but with no real spearhead. Former Tiger Vic Ridgeon rode in the second half, apparently saying that he only retired because Glasgow was too far for him

Tigers Scorers

Trigg 9; Monk 7; Scott 4; Wells 4; Mattingly 4; McMillan 4; Templeton 3:

West Ham Scorers

McKinlay 14; Mountford 11;Hunter 7; Simmonds 5; Trott 3; Leonard 2; Ede 1:

 

 

 

 

April 27   Kings Lynn  45   Tigers  33   (British League)

With Kings Lynn’s previous home meeting being rained off, Tigers were the visitors for the first British League match ever held at Saddlebow Road. Maury Mattingly earned a place in their history books by winning the first heat, ahead of Terry Betts. The scores were level after five races but Maury Mattingly’s bike blew up, putting him out of the meeting. Ray Wilson, guesting for Brannefors, won heat eight and with partner Bill McMillan third, this reduced the deficit to just two points. Willie Templeton kept Tigers hopes alive by handing David Crane his only defeat of the evening in the next race, but that was as close as Tigers got. Charlie Monk had more bike troubles and failed to score in his final two outings and a Bluey Scott fall in the final race left Kings Lynn winners by a flattering 45-33 score line.

Willie Templeton was Tigers top scorer with seven points, which included two heat wins. This was his best away score of the season and the only time he led the scorers away from home. 

Tigers Scorers

Templeton 7; Wilson 6; Scott 5; Wells 5; Monk 4; Mattingly 3; McMillan 3:

Kings Lynn Scorers

Moore 12; Crane 11; Betts 10; Smith 4; Byford 3; Adams 3; Stevens 2:

 

 

 

April 29   Tigers  42   Halifax  36  (British League)

As there was still no permit for Bengt Brannefors, Graham Coombes once again turned out for the Tigers. He had now been at the White City for four of the first five meetings and his points were vital as the Tigers just managed to squeeze out the Dukes.  Graham was keen to accept the booking as, earlier in the week, he had been sacked from his hospital job for taking too much time off!

Heat two saw Bluey Scott and Dave Younghusband lock together and fall. Bluey injured his shoulder and had to pull out after two scoreless rides. Things were looking bleak for the Tigers. Dukes twice took an early lead but were pulled back. With the scores level after seven races, Tigers cut loose with two 5-1s from the Alf Wells / Bill McMillan and Charlie Monk / Graham Coombes pairings, giving them an eight point cushion that ultimately saw them through. Eric Boocock and Tommy Roper ended Alf Wells maximum bid in heat ten, before two split heats set up another White City last heat decider. Charlie Monk and Maury Mattingly won their respective battles with Eric Boocock and Dave Younghusband to again take a 4-2and clinch the meeting 42-36.

Dukes provided seven heat winners. This was some improvement for Tigers as Coventry had managed eight and West Ham nine in the two previous meetings. Alf Wells and Charlie Monk both scored ten for the Tigers, but, in Bluey Scott’s absence, it was Bill McMillan with seven and Graham Coombes with paid seven, who finally turned the meeting Tigers way.  Bill McMillan was in fine form and recorded a personal best time of 77.8 seconds when winning heat four.

Tigers Scorers

Monk 10; Wells 10; McMillan 7; Coombes 5; Templeton 5; Mattingly 5; Scott 0:

Halifax Scorers

Boocock 11; Younghusband 8; Boothroyd 7; Gavros 4; Roper 4; Kingston 1; Jameson 1:

 

 

The Speedway Control Board stepped into the row between the SRA and the BSPA over work permits for Runo Wedin and Bengt Brannefors.  Wedin’s permit, apparently, was only a temporary cover following Henry Harrfeldt’s injury and this had now expired The SRA remained adamant that they would not sanction further permits for commuting foreigners and rejected the idea that Brannefors and Wedin would only have to return to Sweden three times in the season, challenging the BSPA to produce a list of the meetings for which they would have to return.

Both Ian Hoskins and Trevor Redmond were furious at this impasse, demanding that the SRA produce two suitable replacement riders. Unsurprisingly none were forthcoming and both Scottish teams turned their attention to Norway. Tigers lined up Jonny Faafeng, a hitherto unknown Norwegian who was prepared to come to Scotland immediately. Monarchs would shortly sign fellow Norwegian Reidar Eide whom Johnnie Hoskins would initially declare to be  “easy to manage”! Oh Johnnie you couldn’t be so wrong!