mercoledì 5 aprile 2017

1936 World Championship (part 2)

The foreigh riders who had been imported for the championship made a mixed impression. Mossman rode at West Ham and, although he only scored four points, reminded many of the legendary 'Sprouts' Elder. Cecil de la Porte was drawn at Belle Vue and missed his first two rides. He won heat nine as the only finisher, in a time ten seconds slower than Bluey Wilkinson's in heat one!
At Harringay Baltazar and Kalle Hansen used borrowed machines. Baltazar, however, scored a lively ten points.
At Hackney Wick neither of the Spaniards knew how to do clutch starts and were quite dreadful. Unfortunately, Jose broke a finger on his left hand.

The big shock of the qualifying rounds was the elimination of West Ham captain 'Tiger' Stevenson after a poor performance at New Cross. Other riders were a tad luckier. A rather dubious practice existed whereby riders who missed their qualifying rounds were able to swap places with other riders. Therefore Ron Johnson, who broke a rib in the England v Australia test match missed his round at Wimbledon but rode at Wembley five days later scoring a flawless maximum. The swapping practice was outlawed by the ACU for the championship round.

There were other shock non-qualifiers for the championship round. One of the title favourites, Max Grosskreutz, had been injured before the rounds took place and had to miss out. Notable riders who failed to negotiate the first stage succesfully were Stan Greatrex, the New Cross rider who had actually been born in Russia, Bill Kitchen (who appeared as a substitute rider in the championship round) and Tommy Croombs.

Qualifying Round Scorers
West Ham (26/5) Jack Parker 12, Jack Milne 11, Bob Harrison 10, Bill Kitchen 7, Gordon Byers 7, Eric Collins 6, Putt Mossman 4, Billy Dallison 3, Billy Lamont 2.
Belle Vue (30/5) Bluey Wilkinson 12, Lionel Van Praag 11, Rol Stobart 10, Mick Murphy (aka as Jack Glass) 9, Gerhard Ahrens 7, Jack Sharp 4, Cecil de la Porte 4, George Wilks 4, Alfred Rumrich 1.
Harringay (6/6) Frank Charles 10, Baltazar Hansen 10, Ginger Lees 10, Wally Kilmister 10, Eric Gregory 7, Stan Greatrex 7, Stan Dell 6, George Greenwood 4, Kalle Hansen 3.
Hackney Wick (19/6) Arthur Atkinson 11, Jack Ormston 11, Norman Parker 9, Geoff Pymar 7, Les Wotton 7, Cliff Parkinson 6, Dicky Smythe 4, Juan Vinals 0, Jose Vinals 0.
Wimbledon (20/6) Fred Tate 11, Dicky Case 10, Morian Hansen 9, George Newton 9, Bill Clibbett 8, Jack 'Bronco' Dixon 7, Ernie Evans 4, Tommy Price 4, Les Bowden 0.
Wembley (25/6) Ron Johnson 12, Wal Phillips 11, Bill Pitcher 9, Eric Langton 9, Wal Morton 6, Oliver Langton 5, Charlie Spinks 4, Torsten Sjöberg 4.
New Cross (1/7) Joe Abbott 12, Cordy Milne 11, Vic Huxley 9, Wally Lloyd 7, Eric Chitty 5, Gus Khun 5, Harold 'Tiger' Stevenson 4, Tommy Allott 4, Ferdinand Meyner 0.

The championship round began at Harringay on July 11, which saw four of the qualifying round's unbeaten riders come together. At the end of the meeting only one remained - home rider Jack Parker. Misfortune was suffered by Bluey Wilkinson who fell once and came last in another. These dropped points were to prove costly in the long run for the West Ham man. Another rider to experience problems was New Cross hero Ron Johnson, who fell twice.

Three nights later at West Ham, Jack Parker dropped five points in a meeting won by Eric Langton who scored a brilliant maximum. Lionel Van Praag won the next round on his home track, Wembley, with both Frank Charles and Cordy Milne experiencing problems along the way.

At New Cross on July 29, youngster George Newton stunned his elder compatriots to win the round with fourteen points. Another shock was the performance of 'Uncle' Bob Harrison of Belle Vue, who finished third. Lionel Van Praag had three engine failures in his opening three rides, then won his last two outings. Jack Milne also experienced engine trouble which restricted his scoring, whilst home favourite Ron Johnson, had a patchy evening.

The next round was at Belle Vue where there was both good and bad news for the 35,000 Aces fans who packed Hyde Road. The meeting was won by home rider Eric Langton who produced several spectacular overtaking moves on his way to a fifteen point maximum. Unfortunately another Aces rider, 'Iron Man' Joe Abbott broke an arm. It ruled him out of the championship which he had gone well in up to that point. George Newton and Bob Harrison again performed well, finishing second and third respectively.

So far the championship round meetings had been exciting. However this was soon to end with a night's entertainment described by the Speedway News as 'tepid'. They were referring to the Wimbledon round held on August 10 in which most races were ridden in silence as the crowd had little enthusiasm for the event. Dons' number one, Vic Huxley, had a poor night scoring only four points whilst Norman Parker had to withdraw with a foot injury. Lionel Van Praag won from Eric Langton with Jack Ormston turning in a lively performance to finish third.

The final round was held at Hackney Wick. It was won by Wembley's Frank Charles although George Newton was unlucky to fall in one race which dropped his tally to 12 points on the night. Jack Parker was second with George Newton in third place.

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