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March 1966

The BSPA was keen to accept Kings Lynn’s application for league membership but there was the problem of finding riders of a suitable standard for the new side. This problem was exacerbated by a number of heatleaders announcing their retirements during the close season, notably Jack Kitchen, Dick Bradley, Ron How and Brian Craven. The BSPA proposed to reintroduce non-resident Swedes to alleviate this shortage. However the SRA refused to issue work permits for them, believing that the costs of flying them backwards and forwards between the UK and Sweden would be ruinous for the tracks concerned, and would lead to some tracks closing. The BSPA reluctantly accepted this and turned down Kings Lynn’s application. Another preseason reallocation exercise was carried out and was considerably more radical than the previous year.  Among the moves agreed on, Bengt Jansson was to go to Edinburgh and Glasgow would have the choice of either Bengt Brannefors or Runo Wedin. Olle Nygren was to move from Wimbledon to Sheffield and Sverre Harrfeldt was to leave West Ham to go to Long Eaton. The two London tracks reacted with their customary high-handed lack of grace to these changes. Ronnie Greene threatened not to open Wimbledon, claiming the Dons would not be viable without their captain. Interestingly he didn’t share the same view a few years later when he couldn’t release Nygren quickly enough in order to resign Ronnie Moore. West Ham joined him in throwing their toys out of the pram and a further Promoters conference was convened in Manchester.

At this meeting it was forcibly pointed out to the SRA that if three commuting Swedes were allowed then Kings Lynn’s application would be approved, creating four “vacancies” for their members.  The SRA agreed but was concerned about these Swedes taking points off their members. Incredibly the BSPA offered to pay an extra £1 per start to all riders in a heat with these Swedes. This was to include team partners! Ian Hoskins reaction to this was not known. Nor was it known whether these allowances were ever paid! Work permits were issued for Ove Fundin who would ride for Long Eaton, Gote Nordin at Newport and Bengt Jansson of Edinburgh. The meeting dragged on for some time and no written record was produced. Trevor Redmond left the meeting believing that although his Swedish rider was not specifically named in the “holy trinity” there would be no problems, as he would not be classed as a “commuter”. Indeed he was unlikely to return home any more often than Nils Paulsen, the rider he was replacing. How wrong he was!

The Tigers line up for the new season had three changes from the previous year. Bruce Ovenden had got married in New Zealand and was not returning. Bill McMillan would take his place. It was a great disappointment, but no real surprise, that Graham Coombes had been recalled by Mike Parker, who had paid for him to come over to the UK in 1964. It was possible that had the Tigers agreed to repay those fares, they could have retained him, but, with Alf Wells being given the chance to fulfil his long held ambition to join the Tigers, finances dictated otherwise. Nils Paulsen had decided against resuming his British League career. Although undoubtedly injury prone, this was quite a blow to the Tigers, as his mid summer form had shown that he was capable of being Tigers number two behind Charlie Monk. Bengt Brannefors was allocated to replace him. Brannefors wasn’t a completely unknown quantity, having previously ridden for Johnnie Hoskins at New Cross in 1961. Johnnie of course was now a director of Glasgow Speedway Promotions Ltd.

Tigers' fixture list showed the season beginning on the first of April with a home meeting and finishing on the fourteenth of October with a BL fixture at fellow Friday nighters, Wolverhampton. Tigers final home meeting at the White City was scheduled for the thirtieth of September. The Scottish Gas Board were to sponsor the High Speed Gas Superbike event, which had a brand new bike as the first prize. It was to be competed for by Edinburgh and Glasgow riders over two meetings to be held at these tracks during the summer. There were also three Open dates included in the home schedule and there was some speculation as to how all these dates could be usefully filled.

Admission charges were six shillings (thirty pence) for the Stand and four shillings (twenty pence) for the Ground, with Juveniles being admitted at half these prices. The Speedway Star had increased its price for the first time in a number of years, now costing one shilling and three pence (six pence)

Although Kings Lynn had been admitted to the British League, there was a reduction in the number of non-league tracks that would be running this year. Cowdenbeath, Ipswich, Rayleigh and Weymouth would not be reopening. Cowdenbeath would never stage speedway again but the latter three would subsequently reappear once the Second Division was formed in the late 1960s. Middlesbrough and Rye House were the only tracks running under an Open Licence. The Bears opted for weekly racing through June and July with Rye House preferring to stage meetings fortnightly from April until the end of October.