May 2 West Ham 51 Tigers 27 (British League
Not a great night at Custom House! Both Wells and Mattingly blow their motors and manage only three starts between them. Wells woe continues as his car runs into problems on the way home, and, on finally arriving home, he finds that his other ESO engine is still not back from being repaired!
Only Sverre Harrfeldt can head Charlie Monk but the rest of the Tigers struggle badly and score the bulk of their points when racing the hapless Reg Trott who retires shortly after this meeting. The highlight of an otherwise drab meeting sees Monk taking Hunter from the back after chasing him for over three laps. Coincidentally Tigers score the same as Edinburgh on their visit last month.
Monk 13, W Templeton 6, J McMillan 4, McGregor 4, B McMillan 0, Mattingly 0, Wells 0:
West Ham Scorers
Harrfeldt 12, Hunter 10, McKinlay 8, Simmons 8, Leonard 8, Clarke 5, Trott 0:
May 4 Sheffield 44 Tigers 34 (British League)
With no serviceable bike Wells misses another away meeting and is again reported to the BSPA. Somewhat controversially Glasgow operate Rider Replacement to cover his absence. On a wet track Charlie Monk is uncatchable and powers to fifteen point maximum. Willie Templeton gives a solid performance and is well backed by partner Maury Mattingly, whose score includes three bonus points, making his evening more impressive than it seems at first glance. Gordon Mcgregor gets a good second place in his first outing but can’t maintain his early good form. Glasgow keep the score close for ten heats before Sheffield pull away over the final three races.
Monk 15, W Templeton 8, Mattingly 4, McGregor 3, J McMillan 2, B McMillan 2:
Hart 11, Haley 10, Paulson 8, Dews 8, Major 4, Bales 3, Jay 0:
May 5 Tigers 49 Sheffield 29 (British League)
Alf Wells borrows Brian Whaley’s bike for this meeting and has a “progressive” night – nil in his first race; one in his second, two in his third and crowns his fourth with a heat win. However the main talking point of the night was the spectacular for of Bill McMillan who scores his first ever full maximum with a display of great gating and power riding. Charlie Monk joins him in the maximum stakes, with Willie Templeton just one off with a total of eleven. Maury Mattingly is again plagued by gremlins and finishes only one race in three starts before pulling out of the meetin
For Sheffield, Arnold Haley makes two dreadful starts in the first two races before getting his gating together and scoring five from his final two races. The Speedway Star correspondent praises Bill McMillan’s maximum and says that Danny taylor now has the problem of who to drop – tempting fate or what?
B McMillan 12, Monk 12, W Templeton 11, Wells 6, McGregor 4, J McMillan 2, Mattingly 2:
Major 6, Hart 5, Haley 5, Jay 5, Bales 3, Paulson 3, Dews 2:
May 12 Tigers 36 Belle Vue 41 (British League
This meeting completely alters the shape of the team for the rest of the season! Nils Ringstrom is riding in Sweden and Jim McMillan is drafted in as a replacement. However Jonny Faafeng doesn’t arrive, and thereby hangs a tale or two – more of that later! Brian Whaley comes in at number seven with Jim McMillan moving up into the team proper. The drama continues in the first race when Bill McMillan, a maximum man in the previous meeting, takes a handful of throttle round the first bend and drifts out and hits the fence, sustaining a badly fractured ankle which will keep him out for most of the season.
Belle Vue haven’t won an away meeting in the British League, now into its third season but this years Aces look far stronger than previously. Their top four is Sjosten, Roper, Maidment and Levai although their tale looks rather long. Sjosten and Levai take a5-1 in heat two but Tigers aided by Roper looping at the start and Sjosten suffering bike problems are six up after heat six. It is now tactical substitute time! Roper and Maidment team up for a 5-1 and the deficit is reduced to a single point when Levai beats Willie Templeton as heat eight sees only two finishers. Belle Vue protest long and loud as reserve Dave Hardy is excluded for crossing the inner line. It is not a marginal call as he rides over a goodly part of the centre green. Why they waste their time protesting is unclear but after the delay the momentum moves to Belle Vue, who are well represented by their big guns in the last three races. Wells does well to split the Sjosten- Levai pairing in heat eleven but Aces are now a point ahead. Roper and Maidment take the expected 5-1 over Maury Mattingly and Jim McMillan, helped by the Tigers skipper completely missing the gate. It is now all over and Sjosten completes his maximum heading Monk and Wells
Monk 9, J McMillan 8, Wells 7, W Templeton 7, Mattingly 4, Whaley 1, B McMillan 0:
Belle Vue Scorers
Roper 11, Sjosten 9, Maidment 9, Levai 8, Nevitt 4, Woodcock 0, Hardy 0:
The strange case of the sacking of Jonny Faafeng
Very little was written about this in either the Tigers program or the Speedway Star. Faafeng didn’t return and was summarily sacked. The promotion stated that they never heard from him and showed absolutely no concern for his welfare. Had he ben in an accident or taken ill? Who knows!! No attempt was made to contact him. So what happened? Well we know he needed Joe Hicks to give him a lift to Hull for his ferry to Sweden where he was to ride in a World Championship qualifier – which doesn’t sound like he was intending to come back.
Various theories abounded
- He just missed the cut in the qualifier and, dissatisfied with his progress in Britain, decided to retire
- Some believe he was told not to come back BEFORE he left as Tigers felt he wasn’t making sufficient progress and wanted to replace him
- The Speedway Star later revealed that an (unnamed) Tiger was looking for a transfer – Faafeng, Mattingly or was Ringstrom finding the travel from his Nottingham base too much? – and that Tigers would replace him with a Dane (Bogh or Wissing?)
Did Tigers fail in their bid to sign their target in time for the Belle Vue meeting and not want to admit they had sacked Faafeng without having a replacement
Whatever actually happened, the outcome was the same Faafeng was history. Bill McMillan was out for quite some time, effectively all of the season as it was to turn out. Maury Mattingly was again about to retire but postponed this as Tigers were badly short of riders, although his “return”was not destined to last long! The team line up would be considerably different to the seven tracked throughout April.
May 19 World Championship Qualifying round
Not exactly a star studded line up! While Tigers fans are delighted as always to see former Tiger Graham Coombes back at the White City, they are rather non plussed by the rest of the visitors, of whom only Haley (Sheffield), Maidment (Belle Vue) and Boothroyd (Halifax) are recognised heat leaders, and the latter is a “no show”! Maury Mattingly, for once, keeps clear of mechanical bother and scores a useful eleven points. Unsurprisingly, Charlie Monk scores an unbeaten fifteen points but the surprise packet of the evening is Swindon’s Bob Kilby who quietly compiles a dozen points. Willie Templeton and Aly Wells both score nine points to keep their qualification hopes alive.
Monk 15, Kilby 12, Mattingly 11, Haley 10, Maidment 10
May 26 Tigers 50 Long Eaton 27 (British League)
Tigers track new signing Bo Josefsson at number two but are the phone lines to Sweden really so bad that anyone can believe he spells his name with three consecutive fffs!! Bo Josefffom – no I don’t think so! While his surname is quickly sorted out, it is a pity that new pennants have been ordered with the incorrect spelling
Bo falls in his first outing in heat one, which is won by the visitors Ray Wilson who is the current Silver Sash holder. The Archers heat win in the first race proves to be their only success all night , as Tigers build up their highest score of the season so far, breaking the fifty point barrier for the first time. Some things don’t change! Charlie Monk, again scores a maximum, while Maury Mattingly again has bike problems and, after two pointless rides, pulls out of the meeting. Alf Wells, Willie Templeton and Jim McMillan all end the night with ten paid eleven, the latter two losing their maximum hopes in their last ride to Anders Michanek. Bo Josefsson settles down after his first ride fall to record a solid five paid seven from his remaining three starts, Fellow Swede Nils Ringstrom is not so productive but seems to be riding an under powered bike, something he promises to resolve for the next meeting.
Monk 12, W Templeton 10, J McMillan 10, Wells 10, Josefsson 5, Ringstrom 3, Mattingly 0:
Long Eaton Scorers
Michanek 8, Wilson 8, Lightfoot 4, Boulger 3, Storer 2, White 2, Poyser 1:
May 27 Coventry 12 Tigers 6 (British League) – abandoned
Coventry are well in control in the opening heats on a seemingly pleasant evening. My abiding memory of this night is Jim McMillan staring up at the sky as the riders walk out the pits to get on their bikes for heat four. Almost immediately the skies open and a downpour of almost biblical proportions ensues. It continues unabated for almost twenty minutes, flooding the exits from the stand. Coventry promoter Charles Ochiltree later makes a generous offer by arranging for Glasgow fans to use their readmission tickets at White city meetings, an offer that has rarely been repeated in over forty years.
Monk 2, Mattingly 2, Josefsson 1, W Templeton 0, Ringstrom 0, Wells 0:
Boocock 3, Cottrell 3, Owen 3, Hill 2, France 1, Mountford 0:
May 29 Newcastle 56 Tigers 22 (British League)
With both Charlie Monk and Ivan Mauger riding in the FIM Internationale at Wimbledon, both teams promote their respective number eights, a prospect that no doubt pleases the cost conscious home promoter Mike Parker.
Tigers are without Maury Mattingly who tells Danny Taylor at Coventry a couple of days earlier that he can’t afford to take time off from his business to make the long trip up to Newcastle. Taylor responds by telling him to take a week off to sort out his bikes. Brian Whaley doesn’t make the trip either and tigers borrow junior Alan Paynter.
The meeting is held in continuous heavy rain and should have been rained off long before the finish – now that wouldn’t have pleased Mike Parker! It is Tigers biggest defeat of the season to date but at least all our riders come through unscathed
Wells 8, W Templeton 4, J McMillan 4, Ringstrom 2, Josefsson 2, Paynter2:
Gifford 12, Butterfield 11, Allan 9, Olsen 7, Dent 7, Watkin 5, Kelly 5: