1979

First Major Trophy - The KO Cup

bodycolour

Season Review

  Dan McCormick had been busy during the winter months, Bruce's pal Bobby Schwartz was signed following his victory in the USA World Championship Round and another young lad from Denmark Erik Gundersen was snatched from under the noses of other teams to add to the growing number of riders on the Heathens books.  Dan had a row with the BSPA over the 50 point limit.  So his squad of 9 riders went down to 7 with Dave Perks going on loan to Nottingham and Pekka Hautamaki moving to Belle Vue.  Carefully shuffling the rest of the riders early on in the season to fit in with the 50 point limit.  Phil Collins, Erik Gundersen and Bobby Schwartz all missed meetings and were replaced with youngsters John Hack and Denzil Kent.

team photo

L to R. Alan Grahame, Bobby Schwartz, Bruce Penhall, Kristian Praestbro Team Manager - Bob Wasley,
kneeling Erik Gundersen, Phil Collins, On bike - Steve Bastable.
(photo by kind permission of Speedway Star & News)

Erik was an early season casualty with a broken leg at Wolverhampton in June followed by Kristian Praestbro in July then Steve Bastable was put through the fence at Leicester and broke his ankle.  The patched up side lost three vital matches in July which put an end to the Heathens hopes of winning the league in 1979.  However Cradley finished third in the League their best position ever just two points behind Hull who themselves were just two points behind winners Coventry.  Bruce was appointed skipper when Stevie B was out injured, the blonde Californian continued his climb to fame being voted rider of the year by SWAPA, becoming the second winner of the Master of Speedway and the first American to win the Golden Helmet Match Race Title.  He won the World Championship Qualifying Round at Dudley Wood with a 15 point maximum and Badge of Courage Best Pairs with Bobby Schwartz who himself won the prestigious Golden Hammer.
Dan McCormick was voted Administrator of the year for the third year running by SWAPA and Bruce was voted 'Overseas Rider of the Year'. He captained the Heathens to victory both home and away against Hull to take the Speedway KO Cup, becoming the first team to win at Hull in an official fixture since the Viking signed Ivan Mauger.
The Heathens lost only one match in the KO Cup by just one point at Wimbledon.  Penhall also led the team to victory in the Inter-League Cup both home and away against Kings Lynn, Phil Collins was the star at Saddlebow Road with a 12 point maximum beating Michael Lee and Dave Jessup.The Dudley Wolves Trophy also ended up back in the Heathens Trophy cabinet.
One thing marred the 1979 season however, Dan McCormick and Steve Bastable had a bitter row over the composition of the side which resulted in his transfer to Birmingham.  The management paid 7000 to Leicester for Ila Teromaa but because he was cup tied Cradley had to use Dave Perks in the KO Cup matches.
 

programme 1979

Riders Performance Chart

1979 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
B.Penhall
30
131
312
16
328
10.02
Al.Grahame
34
141
263
32
295
8.37
S.Bastable
13
52
94
3
97
7.46
E.Gundersen
20
77
129
14
143
7.43
Ph.Collins
34
143
230
32
262
7.33
B.Schwartz
31
134
213
32
245
7.31
K.Praestbro
21
78
122
16
138
7.08
I.Teromaa
2
8
11
2
13
6.50
D.Perks
15
47
57
14
71
6.04
J.Williams
1
3
4
0
4
5.33
L.Rumsey
10
30
33
3
36
4.80
M.Sampson
3
9
8
2
10
4.44
J.Hack
6
17
12
5
17
4.00
P.Lamb
1
2
0
0
0
0.00
I.Gledhill
1
3
0
0
0
0.00

statistics taken from the Cradley Speedway database for BL matches only.


Final League Table

1979 British League

Team PL W D L BP
For
Ag
Pts
Coventry
34
26
0
8
--
1418
1231
52
Hull
34
24
2
8
--
1546
1099
50
CRADLEY
34
24
0
10
--
1500
1146
48
Kings Lynn
34
22
1
11
--
1396
1256
45
Exeter
34
21
0
13
--
1413
1230
42
Halifax
34
18
0
16
--
1336.5
1311.5
36
Reading
34
17
0
17
--
1345
1305
34
Swindon
34
15
3
16
--
1350
1299
33
Wimbledon
34
16
1
17
--
1327
1320
33
Belle Vue
34
14
4
16
--
1323
1326
32
Wolverhampton
34
15
1
18
--
1306
1342
31
Poole
34
14
3
17
--
1297
1352
31
Sheffield
34
14
2
18
--
1228
1420
30
Birmingham
34
13
2
19
--
1257
1392
28
Ipswich
34
12
2
20
--
1264
1381
26
Eastbourne
34
10
2
22
--
1242
1406
22
Leicester
34
10
0
24
--
1150.5
1497.5
20
Hackney
34
9
1
24
--
1130
1515
19

I.L.K.O.Cup

Round 1 - Peterborough 27 Cradley 51
Steve Bastable 12, Alan Grahame 10, Bruce Penhall 9,
Bobby Schwartz 8, Dave Perks 5, Glen McDonald 4, 
Phil Collins 3.

Quarter Final - Cradley 49 Exeter 29
Bruce Penhall 10, Erik Gundersen 9, Alan Grahame 8,
Kristian Praestbro 7, Phil Collins 7, Steve Bastable 7,
Bobby Schwartz 1.

Semi-Final - Cradley 50 Hull 27
Alan Grahame 11, Phil Collins 8, Dave Perks 8,
Bobby Schwartz 7, Bruce Penhall 7, Erik Gundersen 5,
Kristian Praestbro 4.

Final - 1st leg - Cradley 43 Kings Lynn 35
Bruce Penhall 9, Alan Grahame 9, Erik Gundersen 8,
Phil Collins 7, Bobby Schwartz 5, Dave Perks 3,
Kristian Praestbro 2.

Final - 2nd leg - Kings Lynn 36 Cradley 42
Phil Collins 12, Bruce Penhall 9, Alan Grahame 6, 
Dave Perks 6, Erik Gundersen 4, Kristian Praestbro 3,
Bobby Schwartz 2.

Cradley win the Cup 85-71 on aggregate 


Midland Cup

Round 1 - 1st leg Wolves 39 Cradley 38
Alan Grahame 13, Joe Owen 12, Bobby Schwartz 10,
Kristian Praestbro 3, Phil Collins 0, Erik Gundersen 0, 
Denzil Kent 0.

Round 1 - 2nd leg - Cradley 46 Wolves 32
Roger Johns 12, Alan Grahame 12, Kristian Praestbro 8,
Bobby Schwartz 6, Phil Collins 6, Dave Perks 2,

Cradley win 84-71 on aggregate

Semi-Final - Coventry 46 Cradley 32
Phil Collins 9, Alan Grahame 9, Erik Gundersen 5,
(G)Jim McMillan 3, Kristian Praestbro 3, Les Rumsey 2,
Bobby Schwartz 1.

Semi-Final - Cradley 44 Coventry 34
Bruce Penhall 10, Bobby Schwartz 10, Alan Grahame 7,
Kristian Praestbro 6, Phil Collins 6, Les Rumsey 4,
Erik Gundersen 1.

Coventry win 80-76 on aggregate, they went on to
beat Leicester 93-63 in the Final

    KO.Cup
(matches over 18 heats - 8 man teams)

Prlm Rnd 1st leg- Leicester 40 Cradley 68
Bobby Schwartz 13, Bruce Penhall 12, Phil Collins 10,
Kristian Praestbro 10, Erik Gundersen 9, Alan Grahame 9, 
Dave Perks 5, Steve Bastable 0.
Prlm Rnd 2nd leg-Cradley 66 Leicester 42
Bruce Penhall 14, Bobby Schwartz 12,
 Kristian Praestbrp 11, Phil Collins 10, Mike Sampson 8,
Alan Grahame 7, John Hack 2, Dave Perks 2.

Cradley win 134-82 on aggregate

Round 1 - 1st leg- Wimbledon 54 Cradley 53
Bobby Schwartz 15, Bruce Penhall 12, Phil Collins 8,
Alan Grahame 7, Kristian Praestbro 4, Dave Perks 4,
Erik Gundersen 3, Mike Sampson 0.
Round 1 - 2nd leg- Cradley 78 Wimbledon 29
Alan Grahame 15, Phil Collins 12, Erik Gundersen 12, 
Kristian Praestbro 11, Bruce Penhall 9, Steve Bastable 8,
Dave Perks 6, Les Rumsey 5.

Cradley win 131-83 on aggregate

Round 2 - 1st leg - Wolves 52 Cradley 56
Alan Grahame 12, Phil Collins 10, Bobby Schwartz 10, 
Dave Perks 7, Bruce Penhall 7, Kristian Praestbro 6,
Les Rumsey 3, Erik Gundersen 1.
Round 2 - 2nd leg - Cradley 71 Wolves 37
Alan Grahame 12, Bruce Penhall 11, Bobby Schwartz 11,
Phil Collins 10, Kristian Praestbro 9, Erik Gundersen 9,
Dave Perks 6, Les Rumsey 3.

Cradley win 127-89 on aggregate.

Semi Final - 1st leg - Cradley 43 Halifax 23
(rained off after 11 heats - result stands)
Bruce Penhall 9, Phil Collins 8, Dave Perks 7,
Alan Grahame 7, Kristian Praestbro 6, Erik Gundersen 4,
John Williams 2, Nigel Couzens 0.
Semi-Final - 2nd leg - Halifax 49 Cradley 59
Dave Perks 13, Kristian Praestbro 10, Erik Gundersen 9,
Phil Collins 9, Bruce Penhall 6, Alan Grahame 5, 
John Hack 5, Ian Gledhill 2.

Cradley win 102-72 on aggregate

Final - 1st leg -Cradley 62 Hull 45
Bruce Penhall 11, Alan Grahame 11, Erik Gundersen 9,
Dave Perks 9, Phil Collins 9, Bobby Schwartz 6,
Kristian Praestbro 4, John Hack 3.

(the second leg was rained off after 7 heats)
Final 2nd leg re-run - Hull 50 Cradley 58
Bruce Penhall 13, Bobby Schwartz 11, Phil Collins 9,
Kristian Praestbro 9, Alan Grahame 6, Erik Gundersen 5,
John Hack 5, Dave Perks 0.

Cradley win the Cup 120-96 on aggregate

team with K.O.Cup


Dudley Wolves Trophy

1st leg - Cradley 50 Wolves 28
Bruce Penhall 11, Bobby Schwartz 10, Erik Gundersen 8,
Kristion Praestbro 7, Alan Grahame 7, Phil Collins 6,
Les Rumsey 1.
2nd leg - Wolves 39 Cradley 39
Bruce Penhall 10, Bobby Schwartz 8, Erik Gundersen 7,
Phil Collins 7, Alan Grahame 5, Kristian Praestbro 1,
Les Sawyer 1.

Cradley win 89-67 on aggregate


The Golden Hammer in July was won by Bobby Schwartz - Golden Hammer
Cradley hosted a Test Match in August - 
England 72 Australasia 36


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