1981 Individual Speedway World Championship

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1981 Individual Speedway World Championship
Previous: 1980 Next: 1982

The 1981 Individual Speedway World Championship.

1981 was the last of a record 26 times that London's famous Wembley Stadium hosted the World Final (and the final time the stadium would be used for Motorcycle speedway). In future years when the final was held in England, it would be held at the Odsal Stadium in Bradford until the advent of the Speedway Grand Prix series in 1995. The 1981 Final was held before a reported crowd of 92,500 - just shy of the Wembley record of 95,000 set at the 1938 World Final.

Bruce Penhall became the first American to win the World Championship since Jack Milne in 1937. As a past World Championship winner at Wembley, the 74 year old Milne was a special guest at the event and saw Penhall end America's 44 year Individual World Championship drought.

In Heat 6, Denmark's future triple World Champion Erik Gundersen set the 4 lap record of 66.8 seconds for the 345 metres (377 yards) long track when he defeated eventual 3rd placed rider Tommy Knudsen (Denmark), Jiří Štancl (Czechoslovakia) and Zenon Plech (Poland). As this was the final speedway meeting at Wembley it will forever be the track record.

Overseas Series[edit]

New Zealand Qualification[edit]

  • First 8 from New Zealand final to Australasian final plus 1 reserve
Date Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd place
South Island Final
 ?? New ZealandRuapuna Speedway New Zealand Larry Ross  ??  ??
North Island Final
 ?? New ZealandAwapuni Speedway New Zealand Wayne Brown New Zealand David Bargh New Zealand Mitch Shirra
New Zealand Final
 ?? New ZealandMeeanee Speedway New Zealand Ivan Mauger New Zealand Mitch Shirra New Zealand Larry Ross

Australian Qualification[edit]

  • First 8 from Australian final to Australasian final plus 1 reserve
Date Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd place
Southern Zone final
January 16 New ZealandSpeedway Park Australia Phil Crump Australia John Boulger Australia Mick McKeon
Northern Zone Final
 ?? AustraliaLiverpool City Raceway Australia Billy Sanders Australia Phil Herne Australia John Titman
Australian Final
February 14 AustraliaBrisbane Exhibition Ground Australia Billy Sanders Australia Phil Crump Australia John Titman


Australasian Final[edit]

Pos. Rider Total
1 New Zealand Ivan Mauger 15
2 Australia Danny Kennedy 11+3
3 New Zealand Larry Ross 11+2
4 Australia Phil Herne 11+1
5 Australia Billy Sanders 10+3
6 Australia Phil Crump 10+2
7 Australia Gary Guglielmi 9
8 New Zealand Mitch Shirra 8
9 Australia John Titman 7
10 Australia Mick McKeon 7
11 New Zealand Tony Briggs 6
12 New Zealand Wayne Brown 5
13 New Zealand David Bargh 2
14 Australia Steve Regeling 2
15 New Zealand Mike Fullerton 1
16 New Zealand Graeme Beardsley 1
17 Australia Robert Maxfield (RES) 1


American Final[edit]

Pos. Rider Total
1 United States Bruce Penhall 15
2 United States Dennis Sigalos 13+3
3 United States Kelly Moran 13+2
4 United States Scott Autrey 10+3
5 United States Shawn Moran 10+2
6 United States Alan Christian 10+1
7 United States Denny Pyeatt 10+0
8 United States Mike Faria 8
9 United States Bobby Schwartz 7
10 United States Steve Gresham 7
11 United States David DeTemple 6
12 United States Brad Oxley 4
13 United States Keith Chrisco 4
14 United States Steve Columbo 1
15 United States Bobby McLain (Res) 1
16 United States Dan McConnell (Res) 1
17 United States Jeffrey Tomlin 0
18 United States Dubb Ferrell (Res) 0


Nordic Final[edit]

Pos. Rider Total
1 Denmark Tommy Knudsen 15
2 Denmark Hans Nielsen 13
3 Denmark Ole Olsen 12
4 Denmark Preben Eriksen 12
5 Sweden Jan Andersson 11
6 Denmark Erik Gundersen 10+3
7 Denmark Bo Petersen 10+2
8 Finland Kai Niemi 8
9 Finland Ari Koponen 5
10 Sweden Tommy Nilsson 5
11 Sweden Hans Danielsson 5
12 Norway Audun Ove Olsen 4
13 Norway Rolf Gramstad 4
14 Sweden Bernt Persson 3
15 Sweden Anders Michanek 2
16 Finland Pekka Hautamäki 1
17 Denmark Finn Thomsen (Res) 0
18 Sweden Bo Wirebrand (Res) 0


British Final[edit]

Pos. Rider Total
1 England Steve Bastable 13+3
2 England Kenny Carter 13+2
3 England John Louis 13+1
4 England Les Collins 12
5 England Chris Morton 10
6 England Dave Jessup 9
7 England Michael Lee 8
8 England Ian Cartwright 7
9 England Malcolm Simmons 6+3
10 England Eric Broadbelt 6+2
11 England Phil Collins 6+1
12 England Melvyn Taylor 5
13 England John Davis 5
14 England Gordon Kennett 5
15 England Kevin Smith 2
16 England Kevin Jolly 0


Overseas Final[edit]

Pos. Rider Total
1 England Dave Jessup 13
2 England Chris Morton 11
3 United States Bruce Penhall 10+3
4 United States Kelly Moran 10+2
5 United States Dennis Sigalos 10+1
6 New Zealand Larry Ross 9
7 England John Davis 9
8 England Michael Lee 9
9 England Kenny Carter 8
10 New Zealand Ivan Mauger 8
11 England Les Collins 7
12 England Steve Bastable 6
13 England Ian Cartwright 4
14 United States Scott Autrey 4
15 Australia Danny Kennedy 2
16 Australia Phil Herne 0


Intercontinental Final[edit]

Pos. Rider Total
1 United States Bruce Penhall 15
2 Denmark Erik Gundersen 12
3 Denmark Hans Nielsen 11+3
4 England Kenny Carter 11+2
5 England Dave Jessup 10
6 Denmark Tommy Knudsen 9
7 England Michael Lee 8
8 Sweden Jan Andersson 8
9 England Chris Morton 8
10 New Zealand Larry Ross 7
11 Denmark Ole Olsen 6
12 Denmark Preben Eriksen 5
13 New Zealand Ivan Mauger 4
14 England John Louis 4
15 United States Dennis Sigalos 1
16 United States Kelly Moran 0


Continental Final[edit]

Pos. Rider Total
1 West Germany Egon Müller 12+3
2 Czech Republic Aleš Dryml, Sr. 12+2
3 Poland Edward Jancarz 12+1
4 Czech Republic Jiří Štancl 12+0
5 Poland Zenon Plech 12+0
6 Poland Henryk Olszak 9+3
7 Czech Republic Jan Verner 9+2
8 Poland Marek Kepa 8
9 Poland Roman Jankowski 6
10 Czech Republic Zdenek Kudrna 6
11 Czech Republic Milan Spinka 6
12 Czech Republic Petr Kucera 5
13 West Germany Waldemar Bacik 3
14 Poland Marek Towalski 2
15 West Germany Georg Hack 1
16 Soviet Union Valerij Gordeev 1


World final[edit]

Pos. Rider Heat Scores Total
1 United States Bruce Penhall (3,3,3,3,2) 14
2 Denmark Ole Olsen (2,2,3,2,3) 12+3
3 Denmark Tommy Knudsen (3,2,2,2,3) 12+2
4 Denmark Erik Gundersen (2,3,0,3,3) 11
5 England Kenny Carter (3,2,3,R,3) 11
6 Sweden Jan Andersson (1,2,1,3,2) 9
7 West Germany Egon Müller (1,1,3,2,2) 9
8 England Dave Jessup (3,3,0,R,1) 7
9 Denmark Hans Nielsen (2,0,0,2,2) 6
10 England Michael Lee (0,3,2,0,F) 5
11 England Chris Morton (2,1,1,1,0) 5
12 Poland Edward Jancarz (1,1,1,1,1) 5
13 New Zealand Larry Ross (0,Tx,1,3,0) 4
14 Czechoslovakia Aleš Dryml, Sr. (0,0,2,0,1) 3
15 Poland Zenon Plech (F,0,2,1,0) 3
16 Czechoslovakia Jiří Štancl (1,1,0,0,1) 3
R1 Poland Henryk Olszak (-,0,-,-,-) -
R2 Denmark Preben Eriksen did not ride -

Heat Results[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
1 United States (11) Bruce Penhall 14 3 3 3 3 2 14 1
2 Denmark (3) Ole Olsen 12+3 2 2 3 2 3 12 2
3 Denmark (2) Tommy Knudsen 12+2 3 2 2 2 3 12 3
4 Denmark (10) Erik Gundersen 11 2 3 0 3 3 11 4
5 England (5) Kenny Carter 10 3 2 3 e 3 11 5
6 Sweden (12) Jan Andersson 9 1 2 1 3 2 9 6
7 Germany (7) Egon Müller 9 1 1 3 2 2 9 7
8 England (16) Dave Jessup 7 3 3 e e 1 7 8
9 Denmark (15) Hans Nielsen 6 2 0 0 2 2 6 9
10 England (9) Michael Lee 5 0 3 2 0 f 5 10
11 England (8) Chris Morton 5 2 1 1 1 0 5 11
12 Poland (1) Edward Jancarz 5 1 1 1 1 1 5 12
13 New Zealand (4) Larry Ross 4 0 t 1 3 0 4 13
14 Czech Republic (13) Aleš Dryml, Sr. 3 0 0 2 0 1 3 14
15 Poland (6) Zenon Plech 3 f 0 2 1 0 3 15
16 Czech Republic (14) Jiří Štancl 0 1 1 0 0 1 3 16
Poland (17) Henryk Olszak 0 0 0
Denmark (18) Preben Eriksen 0 0
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

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. ^ Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5