Week Ending January 4

BRITISH hopes of retaining the speedway ashes ended in an eventful Heat 17 of the fifth Test at Liverpool on Boxing Day. Trailing 3-1 in the series, the Lions needed success in this vital clash to repeat last year’s series win but a fall by Eric Broadbelt when he was racing neck-and-neck with leader Phil Crump turned the match Australia’s way. The 5-1 picked up by Crump and partner John Titman in that penultimate heat gave them an unbeatable lead to take into the final race - and signalled the end of a brave British fight.

The 57-51 victory clinched the series for Australia with two matches remaining and strangely enough they did it on the smallest track in the country - the 310 metre newly licensed Liverpool circuit that was staging its first official meeting since being sanctioned by the FIM.

THE 1975 round of the Barry Briggs/Ivan Mauger inspired World Champions series gets underway at Christchurch, New Zealand, on Saturday, wrote Peter Oakes. A great deal of preparation has gone on to ensure that this year’s meetings carry on the fine traditions established in 1974 but it is fair to say that the series as a whole has a long way to go before reaching the dimensions envisaged by Briggs and Mauger.

It is not necessary to retrace the history of the series through its embryo stage; suffice to say that from the outset, Barry and Ivan have seen it as an annual, worldwide competition - with big cash prizes for the riders.

THE much talked about Weslake speedway engine made its first public appearance on a British track at Hackney and the general consensus of opinion of both interested parties and neutral observers was ‘vastly impressive’.

While it is too early to start talking about a speedway revolution, wrote the Star’s correspondent, it is fair to say that on the evidence of these trials, the new engine lives up to all the manufacturer’s claims.

Acting as ‘test pilot’ for the day was Ipswich and England star John Louis who fitted the four-valve engine into a standard Jawa frame and admitted afterwards that it had performed even better than he had expected.

On the Speedway Star cover this week:

FRONT: Dave Jessup, Martin Ashby and Terry Betts

BACK: Stoke’s Bryan Woodward

Speedway Headlines 1975

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