1985

Mediocre Heathens But Erik Conquers All again

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Season Review

Once again the points limit finally culminated in the departure of Lance King but it must be said that Lance helped to rule himself out of consideration with his financial demands on the club.
Newly crowned World Champion Erik Gundersen at one stage seemed likely to be the one to leave the club with the cost of retaining the number one rider in the World in question but in the end Erik signed his contract.
Jan O Pedersen was recalled from his spell on loan to Sheffield to fill the space left by Lance King. Phil Collins popular and capable and Alan Grahame reliable and accomplished were retained and one of England's brightest hopes Simon Cross gave the Heathens a very strong top five.  Reserves Finn Jensen and Steve Collins looked to have tremendous potential and Cradley were extremely optimistic, even more so after winning the Premiership Trophy with home and away victories over League and Cup winners Ipswich.

team photo
The Heathens finished top of the League Cup table, qualifying for the semi-finals but then had to wait for months before knowing who their opponents were and during that time the team had lost some of its previous good form.

L to R. Alan Grahame, Jan O Pedersen, Steve Collins team manager - Colin Pratt
Finn Jensen, Simon Cross, Phil Collins On bike: - Erik Gundersen.
(photo with kind permission of Speedway Star)

Gundersen was superb throughout but the rest began to struggle. Phil Collins, Jan O Pedersen and Simon Cross were all pretty poor gaters and they suffered because of the lack of dirt on most tracks making passing extremely difficult. Alan Grahame was injured and while he was out of the team Cradley went out of the League Cup being beaten by Coventry.
In the League they lost at home to Sheffield and could only win twice away, at Wolverhampton and Kings Lynn (although they were awarded the result at Reading which they refused to ride).
They went out of the K.O. Cup in the semi-final being beaten by Ipswich both home and away.  The Midland Cup went the same way when they were defeated by Oxford in the Final again both home and away.
However after an absence of five years the Dudley Wolves Trophy was competed for again and the Heathens were able to put one over the Wolves at Dudley Wood and Monmore Green much to the delight of the supporters.
Individually Erik Gundersen retained his World Title after a run-off with Hans Nielsen and Sam Ermolenko then went on to win the British League Riders Championship at Belle Vue. He began the season as the holder of the Golden Helmet and successfully defended it four times before being beaten by Bobby Schwartz. He regained it by beating Shawn Moran at Sheffield defended it against Chris Morton, Per Jonsson and Hans Nielsen then lost it to Jeremy Doncaster at Ipswich.
Jan O Pedersen reached his first World Final and scored 7 points to finish 9th.
The British semi final at Dudley Wood was won by Andy Grahame with 14 points and Cradley's own great individual the Golden Hammer was won by the very talented Kenny Carter.

programme 1985

Riders Performance Chart

1985 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
E.Gundersen
17
77
213
1
214
11.12
J.O.Pedersen
18
75
129
17
146
7.79
P.Collins
19
75
129
17
146
7.79
Al.Grahame
14
51
76
15
91
7.14
S.Cross
17
65
85
11
96
5.91
K.Smith
6
20
18
4
22
4.40
F.Jensen
17
55
51
4
55
4.00
A.Silver
2
6
5
0
5
3.33
N.Leaver
9
28
7
1
8
1.14
S.Collins
10
30
6
0
6
0.80

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


Final League Table

1985 British League
Team PL W D L BP For Ag Pts
Oxford 20 16 1 3 10 849 708 43
Sheffield 20 13 1 6 6 816 741 33
Coventry 20 11 2 7 7 817 740 31
Halifax 20 9 1 10 5 783 774 24
Ipswich 20 9 2 9 4 781 778 24
Belle Vue 20 10 0 10 4 778 777 24
CRADLEY 19 10 0 9 4 740 740 24
Swindon 20 8 1 11 6 796 762 23
Reading 19 6 4 9 6 734 743 22
Wolverhampton 20 5 2 13 2 715 843 14
Kings Lynn 20 5 0 15 0 677 880 10

K.O.Cup
Round 2 - 1st leg Kings Lynn 39 Cradley 39
Erik Gundersen 13, Finn Jensen 10, Jan O Pedersen 7,
Simon Cross 5, Alan Grahame 4, Steve Collins 0.
Round 2 - 2nd leg Cradley 53 Kings Lynn 25
Erik Gundersen 12, (G)John Cook 11, Simon Cross 10,
Finn Jensen 7, Jan O Pedersen 6, Alan Grahame 5,
Steve Collins 2.
Cradley win 92-64 on aggregate

Semi-Final - 1st leg
Cradley 36 Ipswich 42
Erik Gundersen 15, Jan O Pedersen 7, Finn Jensen 5,
Simon Cross 5, Alan Grahame 3, Phil Collins 1,
Steve Collins 0.
Semi-Final - 2nd leg Ipswich 43 Cradley 35
Erik Gundersen 12, Simon Cross 10, Jan O Pedersen 7, 
Phil Collins 3, Nigel Leaver 2, Finn Jensen 1,
(G)Andrew Silver 0.
Ipswich win 85-71 on aggregate
Ipswich then lost the Final to Oxford 79-76


Dudley Wolves Trophy

1st leg Cradley 45 Wolves 33
Erik Gundersen 12, Alan Grahame 11, Simon Cross 8,
Phil Collins 7, Jan O Pedersen 6, Nigel Leaver 1,
Finn Jensen 0.
2nd leg Wolves 24 Cradley 54
Erik Gundersen 11, Jan O Pedersen 10, Phil Collins 10,
Simon Cross 9, Alan Grahame 6, Nigel Leaver 4,
Finn Jensen 4.
Cradley win 99-57 on aggregate

    League Cup

Team P W D L For Ag Pts
Cradley 20 13 1 6 822 737 34
Oxford 20 11 2 7 820 738 32
Ipswich 20 12 1 7 808 752 32
Coventry 20 10 1 7 797 762 30
Wolves 20 10 1 9 805 754 27
Swindon 20 11 0 9 767 793 26
Belle Vue 20 9 2 9 777 783 24
Reading 20 8 2 10 770 789 21
Halifax 20 8 0 12 740 819 20
Sheffield 20 4 1 15 767 856 19
Kings Lynn 20 4 1 15 703 856 10


League Cup Play-offs
Oxford 80 Ipswich 76
Coventry 84 Cradley 72
Coventry went on to beat Oxford 86-70 in the Final


Midland Cup
Semi-Final 1st leg Cradley 44 Reading 34
Erik Gundersen 12, Alan Grahame 8, Phil Collins 7.
Finn Jensen 5, Andrew Silver 4, Nigel Leaver 0.
Semi-Final 2nd leg Reading 41 Cradley 37
Erik Gundersen 13, Simon Cross 10, Jan O Pedersen 7,
Alan Grahame 5, Phil Collins 1, Finn Jensen 1,
Nigel Leaver 0.
Cradley win 81-75 on aggregate

Final - 1st leg
Oxford 45 Cradley 33
Alan Grahame 10, Erik Gundersen 8, Jan O Pedersen 5,
Phil Collins 5, Simon Cross 2, Finn Jensen 2, 
Nigel Leaver 1.
Final - 2nd leg Cradley 38 Oxford 40
Phil Collins 10, Erik Gundersen 8, Simon Cross 7,
Jan O Pedersen 5, Alan Grahame 5, Finn Jensen 3,
Nigel Leaver 0.
Oxford win the Midland Cup 85-71 on aggregate


Cradley started the season by beating Ipswich in the Premiership 81-75 on aggregate

Cradley Hosted an International Test Match in May - England 53 Denmark 55

The Golden Hammer was won by Kenny Carter
-Golden Hammer-


Again Erik Gundersen 'cleaned up' by winning the World Championship, this time in Bradford after a run off with Hans Neilsen and Sam Ermolenko.

He started the season as holder of the Golden Helmet and defended it 4 times before being beaten by Bobby Schwartz but regained it later in the season.
He again won the World pairs with partner Tommy Knudsen and joined his Danish Team to win the World Team Cup.

Erik rounded off the season by winning the British League Riders Championship at Belle Vue.

-Erik Gundersen profile-

World Champ Erik


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