1973 Individual Speedway World Championship

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1973 Individual Speedway World Championship
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The 1973 Individual Speedway World Championship.

The 1973 World Final was won by Polish rider Jerzy Szczakiel following a run-off in with defending champion Ivan Mauger after both riders had finished on 13 points. On the second lap of the run-off, Mauger fell in turn 3 after trying a risky passing move leaving Szczakiel to win easily. Another Polish rider, Zenon Plech finished third. Rank outsider Szczakiel, who had finished last with no points scored in his only other World Final appearance in Sweden in 1971, rode the meeting of his life and was only beaten in his final two rides before defeating Mauger in the run-off.

The final, held at the Silesian Stadium in Chorzów, Poland, was held in front of the largest crowd in world speedway history, estimated to be around 130,000, though some reports put the size of the crowd as anywhere from 90,000 to 120,000.[1]

Controversy[edit]

The Final was surrounded by controversy, with decisions made by Georg Traunspurger, the referee assigned to the meeting by the FIM, seeming to openly favour the Polish riders in an attempt to have a home town win and/or more than one Polish rider on the podium, although Jerzy Szczakiel's form on the day did not require the referee's help. One of his decisions was to have 2nd reserve Andrzej Wyglenda of Poland race in Heat 16 in front of 1st reserve Tommy Jansson of Sweden (after Bernt Persson of Sweden was unable to ride), making it 4 Polish riders in the race. The race itself also had people talking as second placed Edward Jancarz, who led for the first three laps, seemed to let Zenon Plech take the lead in the final turn, allowing Plech, who had more points at that stage of the meeting, to collect another 3 points for the win.

However, by far his most controversial decision was to exclude Soviet rider Gregory Khlynovski from Heat 19. Khlynovski had attempted to pass Zenon Plech for the lead going into the back straight of the last lap. As he was passed by the Russian, Plech lost control of his bike and fell. Despite protests from riders and the Soviet officials, after speaking to him via the pit phone the referee simply took Plech's word that Khlynovski had knocked him off his bike. He did not take into account any eye witness reports and excluded Khlynovski, resulting in the Russian officials walking out in disgust. England's Peter Collins, who was in 3rd place at the time of the crash, was awarded the heat win, Plech, who didn't actually finish the race, was awarded 2nd, while another Russian, Valery Gordeev, was awarded third place even though he did not finish the race either after hitting Plech's fallen bike. In a show of good sportsmanship, Collins gave the fallen Plech a ride back to the pits on the back of his bike.

The result of the two points he gained for second place allowed Plech to finish a clear third in the championship. The ruling, with Khlynovski excluded, should have seen Collins as the only rider to score from the heat, with both Plech and Gordeev scoring no points after failing to finish. This would have resulted in Plech only finishing the championship on 10 points and in 5th place. Had Khlynovski been the winner of the heat as many believe he should have been, including many of the riders in the meeting, he would have ended on 13 points, which would have put him in the run-off for the title with Szczakiel and Mauger.[2]

British television commentator Dave Lanning called the ruling "The craziest piece of speedway regulations in the history of World Championship racing", before adding that "It seems to me that the authorities here in Katowice are making up the rules to suit themselves to get their boys a world title."

It had been reported and long believed that the referee of the meeting was Polish. However, the official program of the meeting names Georg Traunspurger as being from West Germany.

World final[edit]

Placing Rider Total 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Pts Pos 21
1 Poland (16) Jerzy Szczakiel 13 3 3 3 2 2 13 1 3
2 New Zealand (8) Ivan Mauger 13 3 1 3 3 3 13 2 F
3 Poland (6) Zenon Plech 12 2 3 2 3 2 12 3
4 Denmark (7) Ole Olsen 11 1 2 3 2 3 11 4
5 Soviet Union (3) Grigory Khlinovsky 10 2 3 2 3 X 10 5
6 Soviet Union (2) Vladimir Paznikov 8 3 1 2 1 1 8 6
7 Poland (4) Paweł Waloszek 8 1 2 1 1 3 8 7
8 Soviet Union (12) Valery Gordeev 7 2 0 1 3 1 7 8
9 Poland (11) Jan Mucha 7 1 1 1 2 2 7 9
10 Sweden (1) Anders Michanek 6 0 3 X 1 2 6 10
11 Poland (9) Edward Jancarz 6 3 1 0 2 0 6 11
12 England (13) Peter Collins 6 1 0 2 0 3 6 12
13 Australia (14) John Boulger 6 2 2 1 0 1 6 13
14 England (5) Ray Wilson 5 F 2 3 0 F 5 14
15 Soviet Union (10) Vladimir Zapleshny 2 0 0 0 1 1 2 15
16 Sweden (15) Bernt Persson 0 F 0 R - - 0 16
R1 Poland (R1) Andrzej Wyglenda 0 0 0 R1
R2 Sweden (R2) Tommy Jansson 0 0 0 R2
Placing Rider Total 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Pts Pos 21

m - exclusion for exceeding two minute time allowance • t - exclusion for touching the tapes • x - other exclusion • e - retired or mechanical failure • f - fell • ns - non-starter • nc - non-classify

gate A - inside gate B gate C gate D - outside

References[edit]

  1. ^ Katowice 1973
  2. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1eOmHuX2Lk&NR=1
  3. ^ Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5