1989

KO Cup Victory "For Erik"

bodycolour

Season Review

With a new points limit set at 44 Colin Pratt had to make more changes, though this time the changes were less severe but Colin had a difficult time persuading Alan Grahame to agree terms.

Dave Walsh and Wayne Garratt were on their way into the National League. They were replaced with John Bostin and to start the season - Justin Walker.
Pratt had always made his intentions clear that he wanted to bring in young American prospect
Greg Hancock who was recommended by Bruce Penhall but on the eve of the season The Speedway Riders Association put a block on foreign riders until all the British riders had team places.
It all started well for the Heathens winning the Northern Section of the Gold Cup and qualifying for the Final against Oxford.
Early in May when the green sheet averages came out there was a little room for manoeuvre for Colin and Hancock was bought over for the reserve berth to replace the struggling Justin Walker.

team photo
However Greg was carrying a shoulder injury when he came to England and struggled a little to make the grade but the potential was there and he continued to improve, by the Autumn Greg was regularly getting double figure scores. It was Greg's improvement that made the Heathens title contenders later in the season.

L to R. Simon Cross, John Bostin, Gert Handberg, Alan Grahame,
front row Greg Hancock, Jan O.Pedersen, on bike Erik Gundersen


Cradley put League winners Oxford out of the K.O.Cup in the second round but things started to go wrong in July when Jan O Pedersen was injured in Munich and a week later Simon Cross was injured in Vojens and missed the World Pairs Final as a result. Pedersen came back to qualify for the World Final but then suffered a broken wrist in the Dudley Wolves Trophy and was out for the rest of the season

Then less than a month later came that sickening crash that almost cost Erik Gundersen his life and finished his speedway career and also injured Simon Cross, but Crossie bravely carried on riding helping the Heathens to beat Oxford at Dudley Wood, then to top it all Gert Handberg the Heathens other young Dane was injured and out of the team.
Led by Crossie and some well chosen guests Cradley went on to not only to qualify for the KO Cup Final but to win it for the fourth consecutive year beating Wolves in the Final home and away.
In fact the League title was not decided until the very last night of the season when the Heathens were at Oxford, if they had won that night they would have been League Champions - it was not to be - the lost by six points and finished third behind Wolves.

programme 1989

Riders Performance Chart


1989 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
J.O.Pedersen
14
72
175
12
187
10.39
E.Gundersen
20
100
242
8
250
10.00
S.Cross
30
135
276
34
310
9.19
G.Handberg
29
123
172
32
204
6.63
G.Hancock
29
138
194.5
14
208.5
6.04
Al.Grahame
32
124
155
30
185
5.97
J.Bostin
32
113
74
13
87
3.08
J.Walker
3
11
6
2
8
2.91

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
Oxford
32
22
1
9
13
1580
1293
58
Wolverhampton
32
19
2
11
12
1511
1366
52
CRADLEY
32
19
3
10
10
1550.5
1327.5
51
Belle Vue
32
19
2
11
10
1496
1378
50
Coventry
32
15
3
14
8
1389
1486
41
Swindon
32
12
1
19
8
1395.5
1483.5
33
Reading
32
13
1
18
5
1356
1521
32
Bradford
32
9
2
21
3
1347
1529
23
Kings Lynn
32
8
1
23
3
1319
1560
20

K.O.Cup
Round 2 - 1st leg Oxford 45 Cradley 45
Erik Gundersen 13, Jan O.Pedersen 11, Greg Hancock 8,
Simon Cross 5, Alan Grahame 4, John Bostin 2,
Gert Handberg 2.
Round 2 - 2nd leg Cradley 50 Oxford 40
Jan O.Pedersen 12, Erik Gundersen 11, Simon Cross 8,
Alan Grahame 6, Greg Hancock 6, Gert Handberg 4,
John Bostin 3.
Cradley win 95-85 on aggregate

Semi-Final - 1st leg
Reading 40 Cradley 50
(G)Peter Ravn 13, Erik Gundersen 11, (G)Neil Evitts 9,
Greg Hancock 7, Gert Handberg 6, Alan Grahame 3,
John Bostin 1.
Semi-Final - 2nd leg Cradley 42 Reading 48
Jan O.Pedersen 13, Erik Gundersen 11, (G)Ronnie Correy 6,
Greg Hancock 5, Gert Handberg 3, Alan Grahame 3,
John Bostin 1.
Cradley win 92-88 on aggregate

Final - 1st leg
Wolves 41 Cradley 49
(G)Kelvin Tatum 13, Greg Hancock 11, (G)Jimmy Nilsen 10,
Gert Handberg 6, Alan Grahame 6, Simon Cross 2,
John Bostin 1.
Final - 2nd leg Cradley 46 Wolves 44
(G)Shawn Moran 14, Simon Cross 12, (G)Kelvin Tatum 7, 
Gert Handberg 5, Greg Hancock 5, Alan Grahame 3,
John Bostin 0.

Cradley win the K.O.Cup 95-85 on aggregate


 Gold Cup
Southern Section

Team M W D L For Ag Bon Pts
Oxford 8 6 1 1 409 309 4 17
Reading 8 5 0 3 351 366 2 12
Kings Lynn 8 2 2 4 346 374 2 8
Coventry 8 2 2 4 350 368 1 7
Swindon 8 2 1 5 340 379 1 6

 
Northern Section

Team M W D L For Ag Bon Pts
Cradley 6 4 0 2 263 277 1 9
Bradford 6 3 0 3 279 261 2 8
Belle Vue 6 3 0 3 276 263 2 8
Wolves 6 2 0 4 261 278 1 5


Final - 1st leg Cradley 42 Oxford 48
Erik Gundersen 13, Alan Grahame 8, 
Jan O.Pedersen 6, Simon Cross 5, Gert Handberg 4,
Greg Hancock 4, Mark Robinson 2.
Final - 2nd leg Oxford 54 Cradley 36
Erik Gundersen 10, Greg Hancock 9, (G)Kelvin Tatum 9,
Simon Cross 5, John Bostin 2, Gert Handberg 1,
Alan Grahame 0.

Oxford win 102-78 on aggregate


Dudley Wolves Trophy

1st leg Wolves 45 Cradley 44
Erik Gundersen 18, Greg Hancock 9, Simon Cross 6,
Jan O.Pedersen 5, Gert Handberg 3, Alan Grahame 2,
John Bostin 1.
2nd leg Cradley 45 Wolves 45
Jan O.Pedersen 15, Erik Gundersen 9, Alan Grahame 8,
Simon Cross 8, Gert Handberg 3, Greg Hancock 2,
John Bostin 0.

Wolves win 90-89 on aggregate


Cradley started the season with a win over Coventry in the Premiership
 112-67 on aggregate

Cradley hosted an International Test Match in July England 64 U.S.A. 44.

The Golden Hammer was won by
 Jan O.Pedersen 

-Golden Hammer-


Erik at Pinderfields Hospital

Erik Gundersen was left fighting for his life following a crash in the World Team Championship at Odsal, Bradford on 17th September.  The crash left Erik with serious spinal injuries which finished the career of one of the all time greats.

Erik is seen here with his Cradley teamates who visited him with the K.O.Cup at Pinderfields Hospital in Leeds


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