1988

Knock Out Cup - Record Third in a Row

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Season Review

Anyone could only describe the 1988 season as successful both from a team point of view and individual achievements.
Colin Pratt was happy to see the team collect the KO Cup for keeps (for winning it three times in succession), finishing in third place in the league winning the Premiership and then rounding off the season by beating Wolves in the Dudley Wolves Trophy.

Cradley's British League Division 2 team also won the KO Cup beating Reading in the Final creating a unique double.

L to R. Alan Grahame, Simon Cross, Dave Walsh   Promotor - Derek Pugh,
Jan O.Pedersen, Wayne Garratt, team manager - Colin Pratt, Gert Handberg,   
On bike: - Erik Gundersen.
(photo by kind permission of Speedway Star & News)

The season started badly for the Heathens though, losing four of the first five matches. Alan Grahame still suffering from a serious illness and Gert Handberg visibly lacking in experience only found their true form later in the season, indeed Alan was a great influence on the team especially when the Heathens went to Belle Vue for the Cup Semi-Final second leg without Erik. Only the determination of Alan and Erik got the Heathens through.
Colin Pratt had high praise for Jan O and Erik, "What can you say about a rider who wins 95 per cent of his races from the back? He creates brilliant racing not only at Dudley Wood but everywhere he goes, and as for Erik he has won an astounding 16 gold medals in 10 seasons. OK, Ivan Mauger picked up 15 but how long was he riding? He is so professional, a great number one and a good ambassador for the sport."
Individually Erik was World Champion again with Jan.O finishing third, both riders were part of Denmark's successful World Cup Team. Erik won a hat-trick of gold medals in the World Pairs, he was also runner up in the British League Riders Championship behind Jan.O!
Simon Cross too was runner up in the World pairs (with Kelvin Tatum) and also winner of the Overseas Final but was bitterly disapointed to go out in the Intercontinental Final at Vetlanda.  Simon set the pace in the Golden Hammer equalling the track record (61.5) in heat one but Hans Nielsen went on to to take the coveted trophy.
Erik had a testimonial metting at Dudley Wood on the 8th June. The race of champions was won by Bruce Penhall who narrowly defeated Ole Olsen, Erik and Bernie Persson. Bruce Cribb showed his skills on an ice bike setting a new track record of 56.7 seconds, but it was Crossie who won the main event in a six lap final winning a new Tolba / GM speedway bike.

programme 1988

Riders Performance Chart

1988 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
E.Gundersen
38
185
447
11
458
9.90
J.O.Pedersen
37
182
414
32
446
9.80
S.Cross
39
183
341
43
384
8.39
Al.Grahame
31
129
180
30
210
6.51
G.Handberg
38
148
155
24
179
4.84
D.Walsh
39
165
168
27
195
4.73
J.Walker
3
5
4
1
5
4.00
W.Garratt
38
134
90
26
116
3.46


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


Final League Table


1988 British League

Team PL W D L BP
For
Ag
Pts
Coventry
40
31
2
7
18
1978.5
1618.5
82
Belle Vue
40
26
1
13
13
1912
6186
66
CRADLEY
39
22
1
16
15
1831
1675
60
Oxford
40
20
6
14
13
1850
1743
59
Reading
40
20
3
17
12
1857
1736
55
Sheffield
39
19
2
18
8
1731.5
1776.5
48
Swindon
40
17
1
22
8
1706.5
1888.5
43
Wolves
40
15
3
22
8
1781
1817
41
Kings Lynn
40
14
3
23
7
1718.5
1878.5
38
Ipswich
39
13
0
26
4
1651
1854
30
Bradford
39
10
0
29
2
1580
1924
22

Dudley Wolves Trophy
1st leg Cradley 51 Wolves 39
Erik Gundersen 13, Jan O.Pedersen 13, Gert Handberg 9,
Alan Grahame 6, (G)Mike Faria 4, Wayne Garratt 4,
Dave Walsh 2.
2nd leg Wolves 46 Cradley 44
Alan Grahame 13, Jan O.Pedersen 12, Erik Gundersen 9, 
Simon Cross 5, Dave Walsh 4, Gert Handberg 1, 
Wayne Garratt 0.

Cradley win 95-85 on aggregate


Cradley hosted an International Test Match in September - England 48 Denmark 60.

The Golden Hammer was won by Hans Nielsen
 -Golden Hammer-

Erik Gundersen had a Testimonial in June - won by 
Jan O.Pedersen.

 K.O.Cup

Round 1-1st leg Cradley 51 Sheffield 39
Erik Gundersen 15, Jan O.Pedersen 9, Simon Cross 9,
Wayne Garratt 6, Gert Handberg 5, Dave Walsh 5,
Alan Grahame 2.
Round 1-2nd leg Sheffield 43 Cradley 47
Jan O.Pedersen 14, Simon Cross 9, Erik Gundersen 9,
Gert Handberg 9, Wayne Garratt 3, Alan Grahame 2, 
Dave Walsh 1.
Cradley win 98-82 on aggregate

Round 2-1st leg
Cradley 53 Kings Lynn 37
Erik Gundersen 15, Alan Grahame 13, Jan O.Pedersen 11,
Simon Cross 5, Gert Handberg 4, Wayne Garratt 3,
Dave Walsh 2.
Round 2 2nd leg Kings Lynn 40 Cradley 50
Erik Gundersen 14, Jan O.Pedersen 14, Alan Grahame 13,
Simon Cross 4, Gert Handberg 3, Dave Walsh 1,
Wayne Garratt 1.
Cradley win 103-77 on aggregate

Semi-Final-1st leg
Cradley 49 Belle Vue 41
Jan O.Pedersen 14, Erik Gundersen 13, Gert Handberg 6,
Simon Cross 6, Alan Grahame 6, Dave Walsh 4,
Wayne Garratt 0.
Semi-Final-2nd leg Belle Vue 48 Cradley 42
Jan O.Pedersen 16, Alan Grahame 12, Gert Handberg 6,
(G)Sam Ermolenko 3, Wayne Garratt 3, Simon Cross 2,
Dave Walsh 0.
Cradley win 91-89 on aggregate

Final - 1st leg
Coventry 40 Cradley 50
Alan Grahame 13, Jan O.Pedersen 11, Simon Cross 9,
Erik Gundersen 8, Dave Walsh 7, Gert Handberg 1,
Wayne Garratt 1.
Final - 2nd leg Cradley 50 Coventry 40
Alan Grahame 10, Gert Handberg 9, Erik Gundersen 8,
Simon Cross 8, Jan O.Pedersen 8, Dave Walsh 5,
Wayne Garratt 2.

Cradley win the K.O.Cup 100-80 on aggregate


Although Cradley lost the first leg of the Premiership against Coventry the Bees were unable to find a suitable date for the return leg and the Trophy was awarded to the Heathens.


Again Erik Gundersen won the World Final, this time on his home soil - Vojens, Denmark. 
In an all Danish rostrum with Hans Nielsen runner-up and Cradley's Jan O.Pedersen in third place.
Erik completed a trio of World Championships again, with the World Pairs this time partnered with Hans Nielsen and the World Team Cup.

-Erik Gundersen Profile-

World Champ Erik


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