Wolverhampton Speedway - 1964
As you have seen, Wolves were Provincial League Champions in 1963 despite (a) ignoring the Rider Control committee when signing Rick France (b) winning the title on appeal and (c) being the only league champions in speedway history to have conceded more race points than they scored! This led well-respected speedway journalist Eric Linden to describe Wolves as the worst, and least deserving, league champions ever.
The close season was most certainly a winter of discontent. The closure of Southampton reduced the higher National League to an unworkable figure of six teams. The SCB told Wolves to move up to boost the numbers. Parker refused, due to the increased costs of such a move, and by now had buried the hatchet with Fearman and had the whole of the PL behind him. The SCB countered by ordering the leagues to merge, but refused licenses for three new tracks at Glasgow, Newport and Mike Parkerâ€™s Sunderland.
When the PL promoters refused, the SCB threatened to expel the PL tracks. This threat was carried out and the PL tracks became unlicensed.
This left PL riders with an awkward choice, to ride on licensed NL tracks or on the â€˜blackâ€™ tracks of the PL. With Graham Warren retired, Wolves were hit with a further blow when Tommy Sweetman, now the established number one at Wolverhampton, went into the NL. Wolves struggled badly in the opening few weeks of the season, with only veteran Harry Edwards showing any half-decent form.
After a few weeks, Sweetman returned to the fold and Wolves signed Pete Jarman. But the team was still struggling. Wolves responded by signing Bob Andrews from National League Wimbledon. The Dons were furious, and served a High Court injunction on Andrews to prevent him from riding, whilst Andrews was warming his bike up in the Hackney pits shortly before Wolvesâ€™ meeting at Waterden Road on May 27. Who would Wolves turn to next?The answer came when Parker and Bridgett closed the Sunderland track. That brought New Zealander Colleen McKee and Australians Jim Airey and Gordon Guasco into the Wolves team. The improvement was sudden, and Wolves eventually finished third in the PL. One unfortunate point to note was the broken leg sustained by promising youngster Dave Hemus at Exeter in July. Hemus was never the same rider again.
Continue the story...