1981 Individual Speedway World Championship

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1981 Individual Speedway World Championship
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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. Though he remained undefeated until his last ride when he only needed to finish 3rd to win the Championship (he finished that race in second behind his rival Kenny Carter), Penhall was forced to work hard for his maiden World Championship. In both Heat 7 and Heat 14 he was second for over 3½ laps behind Ole Olsen and Tommy Knudsen respectively before passing both in the run to the line. Olsen would defeat Knudsen in a runoff for second and third places after both finished on 12 points. The triple World Champion gaining some revenge on his younger countryman after Knudsen had defeated Olsen in the first heat of the meeting.

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.

New Zealand Qualification[edit]

Date Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd place
South Island Final
January 19 New ZealandChristchurch New Zealand Larry Ross New Zealand Tony Briggs New Zealand Ivan Mauger
New Zealand Final
February 6 New ZealandNapier New Zealand Ivan Mauger New Zealand Mitch Shirra New Zealand Larry Ross

New Zealand Final[edit]

  • 6 February 1981
  • New Zealand Napier
  • First 8 to Austral-Asian Final
Pos. Rider Heat Scores Total
1 New Zealand Ivan Mauger 3,3,3,3,3 15
2 New Zealand Mitch Shirra 3,3,3,3,2 14
3 New Zealand Larry Ross 3,3,2,2,3 13
4 New Zealand Wayne Brown 1,3,3,3,1 11
5 New Zealand Mike Fullerton 2,2,2,1,3 10
6 New Zealand David Bargh 3,2,1,2,2 10
7 New Zealand Tony Briggs 2,2,2,2,1 9
8 New Zealand Greame Beardsley 1,1,3,2,1 8
9 New Zealand John Goodall 0,1,1,3,3 8
10 New Zealand Mark Dekok 2,1,2,0,0 5
11 New Zealand Gavin Rhodes 2,1,1,1,0 5
12 New Zealand Greg Joynt 0,2,1,0,2 5
13 New Zealand Max Brown 1,0,0,0,2 3
14 New Zealand Colin Farquharson 0,0,0,1,1 2
15 New Zealand Alan Crosbie 0,0,0,1,0 1
16 New Zealand Patrick Pawson 1,0,0,0,- 1
R1 New Zealand Bruce Elvey 0 0
R2 New Zealand Kym Mauger ns 0

Australian Qualification[edit]

Date Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd place
Southern Zone Final
January 16 AustraliaSydney Australia Phil Crump Australia John Boulger Australia Mick McKeon
Northern Zone Final
January 24 AustraliaLiverpool Australia Billy Sanders Australia Phil Herne Australia John Titman
Australian Final
February 14 AustraliaBrisbane Australia Billy Sanders Australia Phil Crump Australia John Titman

Australian Final[edit]

  • February 14, 1981
  • Australia Brisbane
  • First 8 to Austral-Asian Final
Pos. Rider Heat Scores Total
1 Australia Billy Sanders 14
2 Australia Phil Crump 12
3 Australia John Titman 10
4 Australia Danny Kennedy 10
5 Australia Phil Herne 9
6 Australia Gary Guglielmi 8
7 Australia Steve Regeling 8
8 Australia Mick McKeon 8
9 Australia John Boulger 7
10 Australia Robert Maxfield 7
11 Australia Steve Koppe 7
12 Australia Neil Coddington 7
13 Australia Tim Nunan 6
14 Australia Bob Chitchcock 3
15 Australia Glenn McDonald 2
16 Australia Lou Sansom 2
R1 Australia Mark williams
R2 Australia Dave Mills

British Qualification[edit]

Date Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd place
Preliminary Round
7 April United KingdomWeymouth United Kingdom Neil Middleditch United Kingdom Simon Wigg United Kingdom Kevin Smith
10 April United KingdomPeterborough United Kingdom Louis Carr United Kingdom Kevin Hawkins United Kingdom Nicky Allot
12 April United KingdomRye House United Kingdom Kevin Wright United Kingdom Malvin Taylor United Kingdom Bob Garrad
12 April United KingdomBoston United Kingdom Steve Lomas United Kingdom David Gagen United Kingdom Eric Broadbelt
14 April United KingdomCrayford United Kingdom Barry Thomas United Kingdom Ian Gledhill United Kingdom Dave Morton
27 April United KingdomNewcastle United Kingdom Eric Broadbelt United Kingdom Kevin Hawkins United Kingdom Neil Middleditch
Semi-Finals
13 May United KingdomPoole United Kingdom Dave Jessup United Kingdom Steve Bastable United Kingdom Gordon Kennett
14 May United KingdomSheffield United Kingdom Les Collins United Kingdom Chris Morton United Kingdom Kenny Carter
Final
3 June United KingdomCoventry United Kingdom Steve Bastable United Kingdom Kenny Carter United Kingdom John Louis result

British 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 United Kingdom (3) Steve Bastable 13 2 3 3 3 2 13 1 3
2 United Kingdom (2) Kenny Carter 13 3 2 3 2 3 13 2 2
3 United Kingdom (5) John Louis 13 3 3 2 2 3 13 3 1
4 United Kingdom (4) Les Collins 12 1 3 3 3 2 12 4
5 United Kingdom (10) Chris Morton 10 3 3 2 1 1 10 5
6 United Kingdom (6) Dave Jessup 9 2 1 1 2 3 9 6
7 United Kingdom (16) Michael Lee 8 3 1 3 0 1 8 7
8 United Kingdom (15) Ian Cartwright 7 2 0 1 1 3 7 8
9 United Kingdom (13) Malcolm Simmons 6 0 2 1 3 0 6 9 3
10 United Kingdom (11) Eric Broadbelt 6 0 2 2 1 1 6 10 2
11 United Kingdom (9) Phil Collins 6 2 0 2 0 2 6 11 1
12 United Kingdom (7) Melvyn Taylor 5 1 1 0 3 0 5 12
13 United Kingdom (1) John Davis 5 - 1 0 2 2 5 13
14 United Kingdom (12) Gordon Kennett 5 1 2 0 1 1 5 14
15 United Kingdom (14) Kevin Smith 2 1 0 1 0 0 2 15
16 United Kingdom (8) Kevin Jolly 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 16
R1 United Kingdom (R1) Keith Wright 0 0 0 R1
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

Swedish Qualification[edit]

Date Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd place
Semi-Finals
3 May SwedenMotala Sweden Tommy Nilsson Sweden Tommy Johansson Sweden Hans Danielsson
8 May SwedenMariestad Sweden Anders Michanek Sweden Bernt Persson Sweden Karl Eric Claesson
17 May SwedenGislaved Sweden Anders Michanek Sweden Tommy Nilsson Sweden Hans Danielsson

Intercontinental Round[edit]

Date Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd place
Austral-Asian Final
28 February AustraliaSydney New ZealandIvan Mauger AustraliaDanny Kennedy New ZealandLarry Ross
Norwegian Final
26 April NorwayElgane Norway Rolf Gramstad Norway Audun Ove Olsen Norway Jorn Haufvalstad
Danish Final
10 May DenmarkFjelsted Denmark Ole Olsen Denmark Bo Petersen Denmark Erik Gundersen
American Final
30 May United StatesLos Angeles United States Bruce Penhall United States Dennis Sigalos United States Kelly Moran
Nordic Final
5 June SwedenNorrköping Denmark Tommy Knudsen Denmark Hans Nielsen Denmark Ole Olsen
Overseas Final
2 July United KingdomWhite City United Kingdom Dave Jessup United Kingdom Chris Morton United States Bruce Penhall
Intercontinental Final
25 July DenmarkVojens United States Bruce Penhall Denmark Erik Gundersen Denmark Hans Nielsen

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

Norwegian Final[edit]

  • April 26, 1981
  • Norway Elgane
  • First 2 to Nordic final
Pos. Rider Total
1 Norway Rolf Gramstad 15
2 Norway Audun Ove Olsen 13
3 Norway Jorn Haufvalstad 12
4 Norway Trodd Skretting 11
5 Norway Dag Haaland 10
6 Norway Ingve Madland 9
7 Norway Terje Tollefsen 7
8 Norway Kurt Ueland 7
9 Norway Geir Aasland 7
10 Norway Roy Otto 6
11 Norway Asgeir Bjerga 6
12 Norway Dagfin Jorgensen 5
13 Norway Sigvart Pedersen 5
14 Norway Kjell Gimre 5
15 Norway Rolf Havirstad 2
16 Norway Oddmund Bye 0

Danish Final[edit]

  • May 10, 1981
  • Denmark Fredericia
  • First 6 to Scandinavian final
Pos. Rider Total
1 Denmark Ole Olsen 15
2 Denmark Bo Petersen 13
3 Denmark Erik Gundersen 12+3
4 Denmark Tommy Knudsen 12+2
5 Denmark Hans Nielsen 12+1
6 Denmark Jens Henry Nielsen 8+3
7 Denmark Finn Thomsen 8+2
8 Denmark Preben Eriksen 8+1
9 Denmark Finn Rune Jensen 7
10 Denmark Michael Lochmann 7
11 Denmark Bent Rasmussen 5
12 Denmark Steen Mastrup 5
13 Denmark Hans Ove Christiansen 4
14 Denmark Bent Juul Larsen 3
15 Denmark Svend Lund 0
16 Denmark Klaus Lohman 0
R1 Denmark Finn Lundahl 1

American 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 United States (1) Bruce Penhall 15 3 3 3 3 3 15 1
2 United States (9) Dennis Sigalos 13 3 1 3 3 3 13 2 3
3 United States (3) Kelly Moran 13 2 3 2 3 3 13 3 2
4 United States (5) Scott Autrey 10 2 0 3 2 3 10 4 3
5 United States (16) Shawn Moran 10 3 3 2 1 1 10 5 2
6 United States (13) Alan Christian 10 1 2 3 3 1 10 6 1
7 United States (15) Denny Pyeatt 10 2 2 2 2 2 10 7 0
8 United States (2) Mike Faria 8 0 3 1 2 2 8 8
9 United States (8) Bobby Schwartz 7 3 2 1 0 1 7 9
10 United States (11) Steve Gresham 7 2 1 1 1 2 7 10
11 United States (6) David De Temple 6 1 2 0 1 2 6 11
12 United States (4) Brad Oxley 4 1 1 2 0 0 4 12
13 United States (14) Keith Chrisco 4 0 1 0 2 1 4 13
14 United States (10) Steve Columbo 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 14
15 United States (12) Jefrey Tomlin 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15
16 United States (7) Dubb Ferrell 0 0 F - - - 0 16
R1 United States (R1) Bobby McLain 1 1 0 1 R1
R2 United States (R2) Dan McConnell 1 1 1 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

Nordic Final[edit]

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

Overseas 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 United Kingdom (14) Dave Jessup 13 3 3 3 3 1 13 1
2 United Kingdom (7) Chris Morton 11 2 1 3 2 3 11 2
3 United States (9) Bruce Penhall 10 3 2 2 3 X 10 3 3
4 United States (13) Kelly Moran 10 1 3 1 2 3 10 4 2
5 United States (15) Dennis Sigalos 10 2 2 3 1 2 10 5 1
6 New Zealand (11) Larry Ross 9 2 3 3 1 0 9 6
7 United Kingdom (10) John Louis 9 0 1 2 3 3 9 7
8 United Kingdom (4) Michael Lee 9 2 2 0 2 3 9 8
9 United Kingdom (16) Kenny Carter 8 0 3 1 2 2 8 9
10 New Zealand (5) Ivan Mauger 8 3 1 1 1 2 8 10
11 United Kingdom (1) Les Collins 7 3 0 2 1 1 7 11
12 United Kingdom (8) Steve Bastable 6 1 1 1 3 0 6 12
13 United Kingdom (6) Ian Cartwright 4 0 2 0 0 2 4 13
14 United States (2) Scott Autrey 4 1 0 2 0 1 4 14
15 Australia (12) Danny Kennedy 2 1 0 0 0 1 2 15
16 Australia (3) Phil Herne 0 0 0 0 0 E 0 16
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

Intercontinental 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 United States (14) Bruce Penhall 15 3 3 3 3 3 15 1
2 Denmark (10) Erik Gundersen 12 3 2 3 1 3 12 2
3 Denmark (4) Hans Nielsen 11 3 2 2 2 2 11 3 3
4 United Kingdom (8) Kenny Carter 11 3 1 2 3 2 11 4 2
5 United Kingdom (16) Dave Jessup 10 1 3 3 0 3 10 5
6 Denmark (15) Tommy Knudsen 9 2 1 2 3 1 9 6
7 United Kingdom (3) Michael Lee 8 1 3 1 3 F 8 7
8 Sweden (5) Jan Andersson 8 1 1 3 2 1 8 8
9 United Kingdom (11) Chris Morton 8 2 2 2 2 0 8 9
10 New Zealand (12) Larry Ross 7 1 0 1 2 3 7 10
11 Denmark (2) Ole Olsen 6 2 1 0 1 2 6 11
12 Denmark (13) Preben Eriksen 5 0 2 1 F 2 5 12
13 New Zealand (9) Ivan Mauger 4 0 3 0 1 0 4 13
14 United Kingdom (7) John Louis 4 2 0 0 1 1 4 14
15 United States (6) Dennis Sigalos 1 0 0 1 0 F 1 15
16 United States (1) Kelly Moran 0 F 0 0 E 0 0 16
R1 Denmark (R1) Bo Petersen 0 0 R1
R2 United Kingdom (R2) Les Collins 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

Continental Round[edit]

Date Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd place
Preliminary Round
25 April Socialist Federal Republic of YugoslaviaLendava Austria Herbert Szerecz West Germany Alois Wiesbock Poland Mariusz Okoniewski
26 April West GermanyKrumbach Hungary Ferenc Farkaš Czechoslovakia Jan Verner Netherlands Henny Kroeze
26 April BulgariaShumen Poland Henryk Olszak Czechoslovakia Ladislav Hradecky Poland Andrzej Huszcza
26 April Socialist Federal Republic of YugoslaviaŽarnovica West Germany Waldemar Bacik West Germany Andreas Niedemaier West Germany Kurt Prastbo
Quarter-Finals
10 May ItalyLonigo Netherlands Henny Kroeze West Germany Georg Hack Czechoslovakia Aleš Dryml, Sr.
10 May West GermanyBopfingen West Germany Egon Muller Poland Zenon Plech Soviet Union Valery Gordeev
10 May HungaryMiskolc Poland Roman Jankowski Czechoslovakia Zdeněk Kudrna Hungary Zoltan Adorjan
10 May AustriaWiener Neustadt Poland Jerzy Rembas Poland Andrzej Huszcza Soviet Union Mikhail Starostin
Semi-Finals
13 June West GermanyLandshut Poland Zenon Plech West Germany Georg Hack Czechoslovakia Milan Špinka
14 June PolandLeszno Poland Edward Jancarz Poland Jerzy Rembas Czechoslovakia Zdeněk Kudrna
Final
25 July CzechoslovakiaPrague West Germany Egon Muller Czechoslovakia Aleš Dryml, Sr. Poland Edward Jancarz

Continental Final[edit]

Pos. Rider Heat Scores Total
1 West Germany Egon Müller 3,3,3,3,X 12+2+3
2 Czech Republic Aleš Dryml, Sr. 3,0,3,3,3 12+3+2
3 Poland Edward Jancarz 3,2,2,2,3 12+2+1
4 Czech Republic Jiří Štancl 2,3,2,3,2 12+2+0
5 Poland Zenon Plech 2,3,3,3,1 12+E+E
6 Poland Henryk Olszak 2,1,2,1,3 9+3
7 Czech Republic Jan Verner 0,2,3,2,2 9+2
8 Poland Marek Kepa 3,1,1,2,1 8
9 Poland Roman Jankowski 1,3,1,1,0 6
10 Czech Republic Zdeněk Kudrna 1,1,0,1,3 6
11 Czech Republic Milan Špinka 0,2,2,2,- 6
12 Czech Republic Petr Kucera 2,0,X,1,2 5
13 West Germany Waldemar Bacik 0,1,1,0,1 3
14 Poland Marek Towalski 0,2,0,0,0 2
15 West Germany Georg Hack 1,X,F,0,- 1
16 Soviet Union Valerij Gordeev 1,0,0,0,0 1
R1 Czechoslovakia Petr Ondrašík 0,2 2
R2 Czechoslovakia Antonín Kasper, Jr. 1 1

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
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 United Kingdom (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 West 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 United Kingdom (9) Michael Lee 5 0 3 2 0 f 5 10
11 United Kingdom (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 Czechoslovakia (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 Czechoslovakia (14) Jiří Štancl 0 1 1 0 0 1 3 16
Res Poland (17) Henryk Olszak 0 0 0 Res
Res Denmark (18) Preben Eriksen 0 0 Res
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