1984

Team Dismantled But Gunder Steps Up

bodycolour

Season Review

  Well, following the success of 1983 new team manager/promoter Colin Pratt had the unenviable task of getting the team to within the 48 point limit.  The Heathens were forced to transfer Simon Wigg to Oxford, release Peter Ravn to Wolves and to loan Jan O Pedersen to Sheffield.
Colin kept Erik Gundersen, Lance King, Phil Collins and Alan Grahame a great top four but their combined average was 37 points giving him very little scope to make up the team.
He signed Mike Wilding from Birmingham, Finn Jensen from Leicester and brought in Steve Collins the youngest of the famous brothers at reserve despite his limited experience. 

team photo
He was hoping to fit in the very talented Simon Cross but was not able to fit him in until the new green sheet averages came out in May.  Mike Wilding was the one to go, transferred to Scunthorpe this brought about a big improvement in the Cradley side.

L to R. Steve Collins, Finn Jensen, Team Manager - Colin Pratt, Simon Cross, Alan Grahame,
front row - Phil Collins, Erik Gundersen, Lance King
(photo by kind permission of Speedway Star)

 During the opening weeks of the season Cradley had shocked the speedway world by beating Belle Vue home and away to take the Premiership Trophy, however the League Cup showed up the weakness of a very long tail and were lucky to reach the semi-final.
In the League they began their defence of the title by losing to Wimbledon home and away, that home defeat was a bitter pill to swallow as it was their first home defeat for six seasons - a British League record dating back to March 25th 1978, 93 consecutive league victories at Dudley Wood.
Gundersen was a late arrival missing five of the first seven matches and with Simon Cross drafted into the side it all changed and the Heathens were on the Championship trail once again.  After a tremendous run they lost at Ipswich and Reading in October and dropped another point at home to Ipswich after a real tussle.  They also lost to Ipswich in the KO Cup round 2 but went on to win the League Cup defeating Belle Vue in the Final.  They also won the Midland Cup beating Swindon home and away in the Final.

Cradley's season though was dominated by Erik Gundersen. Erik won the Individual Long Track and speedway World Finals and also picked up a third Gold Medal as a member of Denmarks winning World Team Cup side.  He finished the season by winning and retaining the Golden Helmet and almost retained the British League Riders Championship finishing runner-up after being excluded for a tape offence in the run-off for the title.  He climaxed a great year by being voted Denmark's Sportsman of the Year after a Nationwide poll.
Lance King sparkled too, winning the Overseas Final of the World Championship
 and finishing third in the World Final itself after losing a run-off with Hans Neilsen.
Alan Grahame also had his moments being a worthy winner of the Golden Hammer and qualifying for the World Final at reserve and scoring five points from his two rides.


programme 1984

Riders Performance Chart

1984 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
E.Gundersen
24
99
224
4
228
9.21
L.King
28
118
248
23
271
9.19
P.Collins
27
113
232
20
252
8.92
Al.Grahame
30
121
204
48
252
8.33
S.Cross
27
105
183
24
207
7.89
F.Jensen
29
105
124
8
132
5.03
K.Gray
3
12
10
2
12
4.00
C.Chaplin
1
2
1
0
1
2.00
S.Collins
20
59
26
3
29
1.97
M.Wilding
8
19
6
3
9
1.89
B.Barrett
3
5
2
0
5
1.60
P.Fry
1
2
0
0
0
0.00

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


Final League Table

British League
Team PL W D L BP
For
Ag
Pts
Ipswich
30
25
2
3
--
1343
994
52
Belle Vue
29
23
3
3
--
1322
938
49
CRADLEY
30
21
2
7
--
1308
1031
44
Reading
30
17
1
12
--
1202.5
1126.5
35
Sheffield
30
15
0
15
--
1191
1148
30
Kings Lynn
30
15
0
15
--
1143
1196
30
Wimbledon
30
15
0
15
--
1139
1198
30
Oxford
30
14
1
15
--
1174
1166
29
Swindon
29
12
2
15
--
1142.5
1119.5
26
Wolverhampton
30
13
0
17
--
1141.5
1193.5
26
Eastbourne
30
12
1
17
--
1157
1178
25
Coventry
30
11
2
17
--
1169
1168
24
Poole
30
10
1
19
--
1075
1258
21
Halifax
30
9
3
18
--
1029
1311
21
Exeter
30
8
2
20
--
1045
1293
18
Newcastle
30
9
0
21
--
1036.5
1299.5
18
The Swindon v Belle Vue match was finally abandoned after three attempts were made to run the meeting - each one being rained off.

K.O. Cup
Round 1 1st leg Cradley 46 Reading 32
Alan Grahame 12, Erik Gundersen 12, Phil Collins 11,
Finn Jensen 6, Simon Cross 5, Mike Wilding 0.
Round 1 2nd leg Reading 41 Cradley 36
Erik Gundersen 11, Lance King 10, Alan Grahame 9,
Finn Jensen 5, Phil Collins 1, Bill Barrett 0.
Cradley win 82-73 on aggregate

Round 2 1st leg Cradley 40 Ipswich 38
Simon Cross 11, Erik Gundersen 8, Phil Collins 7,
Alan Grahame 7, Lance King 7, Finn Jensen 0,
Mike Wilding 0.
Round 2 2nd leg Ipswich 46 Cradley 32
Simon Cross 10, Erik Gundersen 8, Alan Grahame 6,
Lance King 4, Phil Collins 3, Steve Collins 1,
Finn Jensen 0.
Ipswich win 84-72 on aggregate

Ipswich went on to beat Kings Lynn 91-65 in the Semi-Final and win the Final against Belle Vue 92-64


Midland Cup
Semi-Final - 1st leg Cradley 40 Wolves 38
Erik Gundersen 11, Finn Jensen 9, Lance King 9,
Phil Collins 6, Alan Grahame 3, Andy Reid 2, 
(G)Graham Jones 0.
Semi-Final - 2nd leg Wolves 39 Cradley 39
Erik Gundersen 10, Lance King 8, Simon Cross 7, 
Finn Jensen 5, Phil Collins 4, Alan Grahame 3,
(G)Graham Jones 2
Cradley win 79-77 on aggregate

Final - 1st leg Swindon 37 Cradley 40
Lance King 8, Erik Gundersen 7, Phil Collins 7,
Finn Jensen 7, Alan Grahame 6, Simon Cross 5, 
Steve Collins 0.
Final - 2nd leg Cradley 43 Swindon 35
Erik Gundersen 10, Phil Collins 9, Lance King 8, 
Alan Grahame 6, Finn Jensen 6, Simon Cross 4,
Steve Collins 0.

Cradley win the Midland Cup 83-72 on aggregate

  League Cup
Southern Section

Team P W D L F A Pts
Reading 16 11 0 5 676 570 22
Wimbledon 16 11 0 5 664 584 22
Ipswich 16 10 1 5 679 568 21
Eastbourne 16 9 1 6 633.5 613.5 19
Oxford 16 9 0 7 648 599 18
Poole 16 8 0 8 592.5 652.5 16
Kings Lynn 16 7 0 9 619 627 14
Swindon 16 5 1 10 617 631 11
Exeter 16 0 1 15 481 765 1

Northern Section

Belle Vue 12 10 0 2 575 360 20
Cradley 12 6 0 6 468 467 12
Newcastle 12 6 0 6 451 481 12
Coventry 12 5 0 7 457 478 10
Sheffield 12 5 0 7 449 487 10
Wolves 12 5 0 7 436 495 10
Halifax 12 5 0 7 433 501 10

Belle Vue met Wimbledon in the Play-offs winning 95-61 on aggregate

Cradley met Reading winning 88-68
1st leg Cradley 52 Reading 42
Lance King 12, Phil Collins 12, Erik Gundersen 11,
Alan Grahame 7, Simon Cross 6, Finn Jensen 4,
Steve Collins 0.
2nd leg Reading 42 Cradley 36
Erik Gundersen 15, Alan Grahame 7, Phil Collins 7,
Finn Jensen 3, Lance King 2, Simon Cross 2, 
Steve Collins 0.

Final 1st leg Cradley 44  Belle Vue 34
Phil Collins 12, Erik Gundersen 11, Lance King 10,
Alan Grahame 4, Finn Jensen 3, Simon Cross 3,
(G)Brett Saunders 1.
Final 2nd leg  Belle Vue 42 Cradley 36
Lance King 11, Erik Gundersen 11, Phil Collins 7,
Alan Grahame 5, Simon Cross 1, Steve Collins 1,
Finn Jensen 0.

Cradley win the League Cup 80-76 on aggregate


Cradley opened the season by beating Belle Vue in the Premiership 82-74 on aggregate

Cradley hosted a Test Match in May 
England 49 U.S.A. 59

Alan Grahame won the prestigious
Golden Hammer in June
-Golden Hammer-



Following in Bruce Penhall's footsteps in 1981 and 1982 Erik Gundersen stepped up to the rostrum to take the 1984 World Championship at Sweden's Ullevi Stadium in September.

Lance King joined Erik on the rostrum too in third place.

It was the icing on the cake for Erik who had earlier become World Long Track Champion and won a gold medals as part of Denmark's World Cup winning team and World Pairs.
He rounded off the season by winning and retaining the Golden Helmet, he won the Danish National Championship and was voted Denmark's Sportsman of the year.

-Erik Gundersen profile-

World Champ Erik

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