Peter Collins (speedway rider)
|Date of birth||24 March 1954|
|Place of birth||Manchester, England|
|Current club information|
Belle Vue Aces
British League Riders' Champion
Northern Riders Championship
Pride of the East
Scottish Open Champion
|British League Champion
British League KO Cup winner
World Team Cup Winner
World Pairs Champion
British League Pairs Champion
1972, 1973, 1975
1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980
1977, 1980, 1983, 1984
Peter Spencer Collins MBE (born 24 March 1954) is a former speedway rider who spent his whole career (1971–1986) with the Belle Vue Aces, the team he supported as a child. The only other club he rode for was the now defunct Rochdale Hornets (Belle Vue's nursery team), with whom he spent the first season of his career on loan.
Collins was born on 24 March 1954 at the Davyhulme Hospital in Urmston, Manchester. He worked at a market garden while at school to save up for a bike, and spent two years as an apprentice fitter with Shell before leaving to concentrate on his speedway career.
Belle Vue Aces
Peter rode his first full season for the Aces in 1972 attaining an average of 8.44 in British League matches while still only eighteen years of age. In addition the Aces won the league and cup double that year. Peter won the British Speedway Championship in 1979.
World Individual Championships
In 1973 he qualified for his first Speedway World Championship in Chorzów, Poland. Peter again qualified for the World Final in 1974 finishing in equal fourth place with a creditable nine points. He did however win the British League Riders Championship (BLRC) at Hyde Road. The 1975 World Final was held at Wembley but resulted in disappointment for Collins who again finished just off the podium. The 1976 final proved to be the highlight of his career however as he became World Champion with fourteen points in Katowice, Poland. In 1977 however, he was injured whilst riding at his home track, badly breaking his leg. He attempted to defend his title, in extreme pain and unable to walk without crutches, he narrowly missed out, finishing second.
World Pairs Championships
Collins won four World Pairs Championship titles during his career, all with different partners, whilst riding for Great Britain or England. The 1977 title was won on his home Belle Vue (Manchester) track with Malcolm Simmons. In 1980 he partnered Dave Jessup to victory in Krsko, Yugoslavia. Yorkshireman Kenny Carter was his partner in Gothenburg in 1983 whilst he was paired up with fellow Mancunian Belle Vue Ace Chris Morton for his final pairs title in 1984 at Lonigo in Italy. He also finished second with Carter to the American pairing of Bobby Schwartz and Dennis Sigalos in the 1982 World Pairs Final in Sydney, Australia.
England's win in the 1983 World Pairs Final was considered lucky. Collins was lucky to be allowed to re-start Heat 10 against Denmark (Erik Gundersen and Hans Nielsen) after video replays suggested that he had simply mis-judged the slick Ullevi track going into the first turn after the start and had fallen causing the race to be stopped. With Collins luckily still in the race, the extra two points England gained as a result of their 5-0 win over the Danes (Nielsen had a tape exclusion on the re-run while Gundersen had an engine failure after comfortably leading for 2¾ laps) would prove crucial as England defeated Australian pair Billy Sanders and Gary Guglielmi by just one point to win the title. Ironically, later in the meeting Sanders (to that point undefeated on the day) had like Collins fallen on the slick track in turn 1 of their heat against the West Germans. Although he had let Collins re-start after falling, the FIM referee of the meeting, Australian Sam Bass, had no hesitation in excluding his fellow countryman from the re-run which was ultimately won by Guglielmi. With the West Germans out of form at Ullevi it was likely Australia would have scored a 5-1 result had Sanders not been excluded. Ultimately, both decisions by Bass helped England secure their record 6th World Pairs title.
World Team Cup
Collins was a five time World Team Cup champion. His first title came with Great Britain in 1973 at Wembley just two weeks after his World Final debut in Poland. His four other wins came riding for England in 1974 (Wrocław, Poland), 1975 (Norden, West Germany), 1977 (Wrocław) and 1980 (Wrocław). He also finished second in 1978 (Landshut, West Germany), 1983 (Vojens, Denmark) and 1984 (Leszno, Poland).
On his retirement, he became part of the team responsible for saving the club following the sale of the Hyde Road stadium, and taking the team back to their current and original home on Kirkmanshulme Lane. He also became a respected television commentator with Sky Sports.
In November 2001 he was awarded an MBE for services to motorcycle racing.
Peter has four brothers all of whom were speedway riders, Les (who finished second behind Bruce Penhall in the 1982 World Final in Los Angeles), Phil, Neil and Stephen. With his wife Angela he has a son and daughter. His son Chris and nephew Aidan were also riders but have both retired from the sport.
World final appearances
Individual World Championship
- 1973 - Chorzów, Silesian Stadium - 12th - 6pts
- 1974 - Göteborg, Ullevi - 6th - 9pts
- 1975 - London, Wembley Stadium - 5th - 10pts
- 1976 - Chorzów, Silesian Stadium - Winner - 14pts
- 1977 - Göteborg, Ullevi - 2nd - 13pts
- 1979 - Chorzów, Silesian Stadium - 11th - 6pts
- 1980 - Göteborg, Ullevi - 7th - 8pts
- 1982 - Los Angeles, Memorial Coliseum - 13th - 5pts
World Pairs Championship
- 1974 - Manchester, Hyde Road (with Dave Jessup) - 4th - 20pts (12)
- 1975 - Wrocław, Olympic Stadium (with John Louis) - 4th - 20pts (7)
- 1977 - Manchester, Hyde Road (with Malcolm Simmons) - Winner - 28pts (15)
- 1980 - Krsko, Matija Gubec Stadium (with Dave Jessup) - Winner - 29pts (14)
- 1982 - Sydney, Liverpool City Raceway (with Kenny Carter) - 2nd - 22pts (15)
- 1983 - Göteborg, Ullevi (with Kenny Carter) - Winner - 25pts (10)
- 1984 - Lonigo, Pista Speedway (with Chris Morton) - Winner - 27pts (13)
World Team Cup
- 1973* - London, Wembley Stadium (with John Louis / Ray Wilson / Terry Betts) - Winner - 37pts (12)
- 1974 - Wrocław, Olympic Stadium (with John Louis / Dave Jessup / Malcolm Simmons) - Winner - 42pts (12)
- 1975 - Norden, Motodrom Halbemond (with Malcolm Simmons / Martin Ashby / John Louis) - Winner - 41pts (12)
- 1977 - Wrocław, Olympic Stadium (with Dave Jessup / Michael Lee / John Louis / / Malcolm Simmons) - Winner - 37pts (10)
- 1978 - Landshut, Stadion Ellermühle (with Malcolm Simmons / Dave Jessup / Michael Lee / Gordon Kennett) - 2nd - 27pts (6)
- 1980 - Wrocław, Olympic Stadium (with Dave Jessup / Chris Morton / Michael Lee / Kenny Carter) - Winner - 40pts (10)
- 1983 - Vojens, Speedway Center (with Kenny Carter / Michael Lee / Dave Jessup / Chris Morton) - 2nd - 29pts (1)
- 1984 - Leszno, Alfred Smoczyk Stadium (with Chris Morton / Simon Wigg / Phil Collins / Neil Collins) - 2nd - 24pts (2)
- Oakes, P.(2005). British Speedway Who's Who. ISBN 0-948882-30-1
- Lanning, Russell (1985) "Rider Profile: Peter Collins", Speedway Star, 18 May 1985, p. 20-21
- Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5
- "MBE for Aces Legend". Manchester Evening News. 2001-11-03. Retrieved 2008-09-23.