May 6 Tigers 45 Oxford 33 (British League)
New signing, Jonny Faafeng made his debut and scored four paid five. He certainly was very raw and wore no goggles on a very wet night! Charlie Monk’s problems with his ESO continued with his bike failing during a heat five duel with Oxford guest George Hunter. Alf Wells fell in his first outing but still managed four paid six over the evening. Bill McMillan was unbeaten from the reserve spot and sensationally headed home George Hunter in heat eight.
Willie Templeton with paid eleven and Bluey Scott with nine were best for the Tigers whose score of forty-five was their best score of the season so far. Tigers again provided a minority of heat winners with Arne Pander getting a full maximum and cleaning up the second half events
Templeton 10; Scott 9; Mattingly 7; Monk 6; McMillan 5; Wells 4; Faafeng 4:
Hunter 13; Pander 12; McDermott 4; Lukehurst 2; Seaton 2; Reeves 0; Clarke 0:
Scotland won the first test against England by 63-45 at Old Meadowbank, with Charlie Monk, using his JAP for the first time this season, scoring seventeen and only losing his maximum in his last race when headed by Brian Brett. George Hunter and Bluey Scott were Scotland’s best pair and some of their team riding exploits are remembered to this day.
May 13 Tigers 43 Edinburgh 35 (British League)
The new averages showed that Bluey Scott, Alf Wells and Willie Templeton were the heatleaders. As they must ride at numbers one, three and five, the pairings were rejigged and the Tigers lined up as
Bluey Scott and Jonny Faafeng
Alf Wells and Maury Mattingly
Willie Templeton and Charlie Monk
Reserve : Bill McMillan
This was one of the few occasions when Charlie Monk didn’t line up at number five in the Tigers team at the White City. Edinburgh’s new signing Reidar Eide was programmed but didn’t show and was replaced by Dudley McKean.
The meeting was recorded by STV for transmission the following afternoon, and there was plenty action for the cameras. Tigers got off to a bad start with both Bluey Scott and Jonny Faafeng falling in heat one. Then in heat two Bengt Jansson drifted into the pits bend fence and was carried off with a broken ankle. Tigers took a 4-2 in the rerun and went on to take two further 4-2s in the next three heats to lead by 20-16, but Edinburgh provided the next three heat winners and levelled the score after ten heats. However with Bengt Jansson programmed in two of the remaining heats, Edinburgh ran out of steam and Tigers took two 5-1s to win 43-35.
Edinburgh provided seven heat winners but solid scoring by the Tigers saw them through. Charlie Monk made a promising start, giving George Hunter his only defeat in heat three, but the, by now, almost inevitable gremlins struck, limiting his score. Reserve Dudley McKean actually rode in five races despite the regulations specifically stating that reserves may only have four rides. Indeed the previous week the umpire had correctly stopped the Oxford reserve from taking a fifth start.
Alf Wells obviously enjoyed putting one over on his old mates and his eight points made him Tigers top scorer. Bill McMillan continued his rich vein of form by winning the second half final from George Hunter and Doug Templeton.
Wells 8; Scott 7; Monk 7; Faafeng 6; Mattingly 6; W Templeton 6; McMillan 3:
Hunter 11; D Templeton 11; Harkins 8;Tannock 3; Landels 1; McKean 1; Jansson 0:
May 14 Wimbledon 48 Tigers 30 (British League)
It was a case of one early and one late! The early one was Jonny Faafeng who travelled down overnight on the supporters’ club bus with his bike stowed in the luggage compartment. He then spent the day taking in the sights in Wimbledon. The late one was Maury Mattingly, who after working on his bike all afternoon did not leave his Southampton home until 6.30 for the eighty mile journey to Plough Lane! Quite a journey it was too as he pulled into the pits just after eight o’clock!
Any chance Tigers had of winning the match disappeared in heat three. Maury Mattingly was still en route and Charlie Monk’s bike blew while coming out of the pits. He was excluded under the two minute rule and Bill McMillan was Tigers sole representative. Wimbledon sportingly loaned Charlie the track spare for his remaining rides but he couldn’t match the Dons heat leader trio. Alf Wells was the only Tiger to win a heat, when he partnered Bill McMillan to a 5-1 in heat four, Tigers only heat win of the evening. On a track that was quite rough following the previous nights’ stock car racing Tigers “old guard” of Bluey Scott, Maury Mattingly and Willie Templeton all had a dire night, with each scoring one paid two.
Wells 11; Monk 6; McMillan 5; Faafeng 5; Templeton 1; Mattingly 1; Scott 1:
Hedge 12; Nygren 12; Luckhurst 9; Dugard 7; Childs 4; Edwards 2; Chilman 2:
May 16 Exeter 46 Tigers 32 (British League)
Charlie Monk had sorted out the bike problems that had plagued him at Wimbledon and for the first time this season was back to his expected form for Tigers. Neil Street was the only Falcon to beat him but he avenged this with a last heat win, which, in turn, deprived the Exeter man of his maximum.
Two 5-1s in heats five and six swung the match to Exeter but there was plenty of incident in the later heats. First Chris Blewett, chasing a paid maximum, fell at the first bend of heat ten and was taken to hospital with an injured left ankle. In the following heat, Colin Goody, Jimmy Squibb and Bluey Scott all piled up at the now notorious first bend. Goody joined his teammate in a trip to Exeter Royal. Not unsurprisingly, Maury Mattingly, the only rider to avoid the mayhem, won the rerun. This completed Maury’s “progressive” evening, starting with a last place, then a third, followed by a second place and rounded off with this heat win. Tigers did well in the second half, supplying three trophy finalists.
Monk 11; Mattingly 6; Scott 6; Templeton 3; Wells 3; Faafeng 2; McMillan 1:
Street 11; Sweetman 10; Blewett 7; Squibb 6; Geran 6; Goody 4; Dearden 2:
May 20 World Championship Qualifying Round (White City)
Ron Mountford again showed his liking for the Paisley Road West circuit, winning the round with an unbeaten fifteen points. Charlie Monk was runner up with fourteen and seemed to be coming back to form at just the right time to make a bid to reach the World Final after last years disappointment. Maury Mattingly got eleven and with rounds at Edinburgh and Cradley, two of his favourite tracks, looked well placed to make the cut.
May 27 Tigers 46 Newport 32 (British League)
Maury Mattingly dropped to reserve for this meeting but it was not the first time that a captain had been reserve. Hackney’s Colin Pratt had recently had a short spell in the number seven berth and it had revitalised him. Newport had Swedish test star Gote Nordin in their line up, riding at number six. Strangely, Tigers moved Charlie Monk to number six so that the pair would not be scheduled to meet in the final heats
Solid scoring by the Tigers saw them build up an eighteen points lead by heat nine, when Newport deployed the expected tactical substitutes. Jack Biggs and Gote Nordin got extra rides although unexpectedly in heats featuring Charlie Monk. Both were beaten by Charlie, calling into question the team managers’ grasp of tactics and form, particularly as Newport were six points down after heat four and changes could have been made earlier in easier heats. The Alby Golden / Geoff Penniket pairing was badly out of touch and Jon Erskine was another Wasp, who found points considerably harder to come by than on previous visits to the White City, a measure of Tigers improvement over the last two years.
Charlie Monk kept up his recent run of good form since reverting to his JAP, scoring eleven points. Honours were even in his clashes with Nordin. He received excellent support from Alf Wells with ten points. For the first time since the opening meeting, Tigers actually provided more heat winners than the opposition, managing to get the first man home in seven races.
Monk 11; Wells 10; Templeton 6; Faafeng 6; Scott 5; McMillan 4; Mattingly 4:
Nordin 13; Biggs 13; Erskine 3; Penniket 2; Golden 1; Hughes 0; Vale 0:
After some convoluted travel arrangements to get his bike to Cradley following this meeting, Maury Mattingly ran out of steam in his final round at Dudley Wood and two last places in his final two rides ended his hopes. Charlie Monk was Tigers only qualifier, with a comfortable thirty-six points from three rounds.
Charlie Monk’s return to Wimbledon to defend his Internationale title got off to a bad start with a fall and exclusion in heat one and things didn’t really improve thereafter. Shaken up, he was a shadow of the previous years sensational winner, finishing with just three points.