July 1 Scotland 57 England 51 (White City)
Possibly the biggest meeting ever staged at the White City. Scotland took on the might of a full strength Russian team, including World finalists Igor Plechanov and Boris Samorodov, in front of a crowd of just under ten thousand.
Russia took some time to get the hang of the shallow White City bends and Scotland led by fourteen points at the interval, with Charlie Monk unbeaten at the break. However the Russians were considerably better following their interval tea and were just four points down going into the final heat which saw Charlie Monk and Bluey Scott, Scotland’s best pair, line up against Kurilenko and Farfarov. Monk got a flier and, although Kurilenko tried desperately to catch, him took the flag. Scott came home third and Scotland ended up winning 57-51.
Plechanov was disappointing and the result would have been different had he been in form. Charlie Monk sent a strong reminder that he was back to form to the selectors for the forthcoming Britain v Poland tests.
Monk 15; Hunter 11; W Templeton 9; McKinlay 9; Scott 7; D Templeton 6:
Samorodov 15; Kurilenko 13; Chekranov 12; Plechanov 8; Kornev 2; Farfarov 1:
Click on the link below to view some historic film footage of this meeting
Russia captain Igor Plechanov leads Willie Templeton
July 8 High Speed Gas Superbike Final Round (White City)
The Scottish Gas Board was keen to promote their new High Speed Gas image and speedway seemed an ideal outlet They produced a glossy eight page newspaper which outlined a brief history of speedway in Scotland, as well as publicising their latest gas fires and cookers. It was decided to stage what was effectively a Scottish Riders Championship over two rounds, one at Edinburgh and one at the White City. The overall winner would receive a new JAP bike, with cash prizes of £20 and £10 for the second and third placed riders. This rivalled Wimbledon’s much vaunted Internationale Embassy sponsorship. Additionally there was a competition for supporters to predict the top three, with prizes of a cooker and a gas fire, a generous sponsorship indeed!
George Hunter had won the Edinburgh leg with fifteen points, followed by Bluey Scott on thirteen and Charlie Monk and Maury Mattingly both on twelve. The winner would undoubtedly come from this quartet. The Glasgow round started sensationally with Reidar Eide scampering home ahead of Charlie Monk, leaving the Aussie with a hard task to reel in Hunter overall. Bluey Scott’s chances disappeared with a third race fall while chasing Eide, yes him again! But with Maury Mattingly and Doug Templeton having off nights, Bluey comfortably annexed third place. Hunter was untroubled in his first four outings and was quite happy to follow Charlie Monk home in the last heat to secure the Superbike. With Jonny Faafeng and Bengt Jansson missing both legs due to racing in Scandinavia, most of the juniors on the Scottish scene were called in to complete the field, good experience for them but leaving some races decidedly lop sided
First: George Hunter 15+14 =29 Second: Charlie Monk 12+14 =26 Third: Bluey Scott 12 + 9 =21
Action from the first round at Edinburgh: Red Monteith; Willie Templeton; Bert Harkins; George Hunter
July 13 Tigers 52 Hackney 26 (British League)
This meeting was a bit of a blur for me! The exam results came out that morning but mine didn’t arrive and some of my more sensitive friends spent the evening trying to convince me that I had failed them all and that no certificate would have been sent!
I do remember Bluey Scott falling in heat six and being carried off with what turned out to be a broken ankle. While there was never a good time to get injured, this was really bad timing as Tigers were scheduled for a five meeting tour in the next ten days. Also Bluey was taking his wife on this tour as part of their annual holidays! Alf Wells stepped into the breach to record his first full maximum. Colin Pratt won the first heat, but it was all downhill for the Hawks thereafter although they did considerably better than the previous year when they managed a mere nineteen points.
Wells 12; Monk 12; Templeton 9; Mattingly 7; McMillan 7; Faafeng 3; Scott 2:
Pratt 7; Trigg 7; Baker 4; L McGillivray 3; Brown 3; Jackson 2; Poyser 0:
My results duly arrived the following morning and I passed them all – oh ye of little faith!
July 15 Newport 38 Tigers 40 (British League)
Trevor Redmond shrewdly listed this as a possible away win in the previous week’s program, citing the Wasps three home defeats. This overlooked the fact that they had won their last three meetings quite comfortably and had beaten Long Eaton 57-21 just two weeks ago. However, Trevor proved to be quite right!
Tigers were using rider replacement for the first time, covering for the injured Bluey Scott. The Wasps got off to the best possible start with a 5-1 from Gote Nordin and Bob Hughes but in heat two Jon Erskine had severe problems when the top was blown clean off his engine and, after an unsuccessful attempt to repair it, he was toiling all night. However Wasps took a 4-2 in heat four to put them six points up. Tigers then brought out Charlie Monk in place of the absent Bluey Scott and took a 5-1. This was the start of their comeback and with Alf Wells and Maury Mattingly in excellent form they won the next four heats to lead by an astonishing eight points. Unsurprisingly Newport called upon Gote Nordin to ride as a tactical substitute in the next race where their 4-2 cut Tigers lead to six, with three heats to go. Then came controversy! Newport had Gote Nordin and Bob Hughes programmed for heat eleven while Tigers had Alf Wells and rider replacement for Bluey Scott. Tigers wanted to track Charlie Monk, claiming that he had ridden as a tactical substitute in heat five and that this was his rider replacement ride. This view was one that was not accepted by the referee and a considerably heated debate ensued! However the referee would not be swayed and Maury Mattingly rode instead. Newport’s 5-1 put them right back in the hunt with Tigers just two points up with two heats to go. A meeting that seemed in the bag a few heats earlier now looked doubtful. Charlie Monk won heat twelve but Newport filled the minor positions, setting up a last heat decider. Tigers were two points up and sent out Alf Wells for his R/R ride to partner Bill McMillan against Gote Nordin and Geoff Penniket. As expected Nordin won from Wells but it was Bill McMillan who won the battle for the vital third place that clinched Tigers first away meeting of the season.
Charlie Monk, still upset at having been denied a race in the league match, withdrew from the second half in protest, missing another ride! Presumably he thought there was some logic to this! Trevor Redmond now knew to be very clear when using a tactical cover in the rider replacement slot.
Monk 14; Mattingly 10; Wells 9; McMillan 4; Templeton 2; Faafeng 1:
Nordin 13; Hughes 8; Golden 7; Biggs 7; Erskine 1; Penniket 1; Vale 1:
Bill McMillan – Tigers last heat hero at Newport
July 16 Coventry 42 Tigers 36 (British League)
Charlie Monk was hoping for a better night at Brandon following his problems in three visits there last year. He had engine problems in the league match; had a fearsome crash when riding against the Russians and didn’t fare much better in the Brandanapolis when he came off worse in a tangle with a Pole. Sadly his Brandon hoodoo was still to the fore and on a rain soaked track he had a high-speed collision with Nigel Boocock, which saw the Bees skipper, carted off to hospital with a broken collarbone and the Tiger out for the night with a wrecked bike. It was a night of crashes with Jonny Faafeng involved in a three man crash with Rick France and Ron Mountford in heat two, which left the Norwegian with a totally wrecked front wheel and forks. A liberal interpretation of substitution rules allowed Jim McMillan, Tigers number eight, to replace reserve Faafeng in heat four! Despite his dislike of wet conditions, former Bee, Maury Mattingly revelled on his former track and scored a season high of fourteen points from six starts. He received good support from Alf Wells whose ten points included a heat win.
The Coventry program carried an interesting paragraph, suggesting that a number of tracks were looking towards Sweden for replacement riders, with Exeter having a particular interest in Bengt Brannefors! There would have been trouble if they had landed him!
Mattingly 14; Wells 10; B McMillan 4; Monk 4; Templeton 2; Faafeng 1; J McMillan 1:
Lightfoot 12; France 10; Hill 6; Mountford 5; Cottrell 4; Boocock 3; Harrison 2:
July 20 Poole 48 Tigers 30 (British League)
With both teams missing a heat leader, Andrew of Poole and Scott of Tigers, the reserves were promoted into the team with the respective number eights taking over the reserve berths. This move certainly benefited the home team, with reserve Cribb scoring six points, while Jim McMillan unsurprisingly failed to score. Charlie Monk was unbeaten in his first three rides before suffering two defeats from Ronnie Genz who went on to compile a maximum. After a run of good away performances, Alf Wells had a decidedly poor night and it was left to Maury Mattingly and Willie Templeton to give the Pirates a run for their money. Both scored five points.
Poole were also staging a High Speed Gas trophy although in their case it was to be an extended second half competition, nothing as grand as the Scottish version.
Monk 13; Mattingly 5; Templeton 5; B McMillan 3; Faafeng 3;Wells 1; J McMillan 0:
Genz 12; Mudge 11; McKee 8; Cribb 6; Smith 4; Strachan 4; Briggs 3:
July 22 Hackney 41 Tigers 37 (British League)
Correspondent James Oldfield rated this as “one of the most entertaining tussles of the summer”. High praise indeed following Tigers previous visit which was marginally more exciting than watching paint dry! There was never much in it throughout and Tigers twice pulled back Hawks narrow lead, with Charlie Monk and Willie Templeton getting a 4-2 in the penultimate heat to level the scores and set up a last heat decider. However as Hackney were tracking the unbeaten duo of Trigg and Pratt, there was never any real prospect of the league points going north. Trevor Redmond persisted in giving reserve Jonny Faafeng the first rider replacement ride, despite the fact that he had never ridden the track before. The pattern of Faafeng in heat two; Monk in heat five; Mattingly in race eleven and Wells in the final heat ensured that no one had two rides in a row but meant that Willie Templeton was denied an extra ride at a time when he was in considerably better form than Jonny Faafeng. While it didn’t cost Tigers the meeting, it was a bit odd.
Monk 11; Wells 9; Mattingly 9; Templeton 4; B McMillan 2; Faafeng 2:
Pratt 12; Trigg 11; L McGillivray 9; G Jackson 7; Brown 2; Baker 0; A Jackson 0:
July 23 Belle Vue 42 Tigers 36 (British League)
Belle Vue had Brian Brett as a guest in place of Cyril Maidment who was on international duty, riding for Great Britain in Poland, and what a good guest he proved to be, scoring eleven points and handing Charlie Monk his only defeat of the evening. Maury Mattingly pulled up while disputing the lead in heat one, in which the Aces went on to take a 5-1. However successive 4-2s in heats six, seven and eight gave the Tigers a two points lead, but another Mattingly bike failure in heat nine meant that the Aces had levelled the score. More importantly it also meant that the skipper was out for the evening and would not be able to take his two final rides, which ultimately cost Tigers the meeting. Definitely one that got away!
Monk 14; Templeton 7; Wells 6 ; Mattingly 3; B McMillan 3; Faafeng 3 :
Belle Vue Scorers
Brett 11; Fisher 10; Nevitt 9; Levai 7; Powell 3; Yacoby 2; Munkasci 0:
July 29 Tigers v Cradley (British League)
For the second time this season, this fixture was rained off. It seemed likely that the next attempt would be on September 2nd, which was shown as an open date on the fixture list. The Scottish Match Race Championship between the holder, Charlie Monk and challenger, Bengt Jansson would be staged considerably sooner, probably in a fortnight.
Not only did the Cradley team have the misfortune to drive all the way to Glasgow for no useful purpose but on the way home team manager, Ted Flanaghan was involved in an accident when a minivan went out of control and managed to hit no fewer than five other vehicles. Lucky white heather!
July 30 Scotland 29 Poland 79 (Edinburgh)
Without doubt this was the worst sporting day in my entire life! The Tigers supporters’ club bus was halfway along Princes Street when the crackly radio caused terrible despair with the news that England had scored their fourth goal against West Germany. Happily we were spared the nauseating “they think it’s all over” commentary that has been trotted out at frequent intervals ever since.
How wrong to think it couldn’t get any worse! A few hours later Scotland suffered their biggest-ever international defeat from a Polish team, which Scotland team manager Trevor Redmond later compared to a side with eight Barry Briggs. The Old Meadowbank circuit seemed to suit the Poles down to the ground and their riders were well in the mood as Tkocz showed with a ruthless pass on Charlie Monk, which nearly put the Tiger onto the railway line at the back of the stadium! The Poles bikes seemed far faster and they were pulling away from Monk, Hunter and McKinlay on the straights. They sportingly loaned their bikes to Hunter and McKinlay for the last two heats and both managed a heat win, although perhaps the visitors were feeling sorry for their hosts by then.