1991

Jan O's Year - Another World Champ!

Season Review

The two divisions of the British League from 1990 were amalgamated into one big League sponsored by Sunbrite, with a points limit of 40 this meant that a lot of clubs were forced to release riders to weaker teams. Fortunately for Cradley for the first time in years the Heathens did not have to de-strengthen since Colin Pratt's planning was formulated, mainly because of injuries to his riders.
Jan O Pedersen was fit to take his place again after his broken arm from the previous year, Greg Hancock with a plate in his arm was declared fit to ride, but unfortunately Simon Cross's back injuries would keep him out of the side until the latter part of the season.
With Billy Hamill, Alan Grahame and Gert Handberg retaining their places, two new faces came into the reserve positions, to keep within the points limit. Wayne Garratt was recalled after a two year loan spell with Arena Essex and the last spot went to Scott Smith who ha d been doing well in the junior team.

The Heathens did not do at all well in the early season Gold Cup and never looked like qualifying for the Final, but in the KO Cup they knocked Ipswich out in the second round.  They won their first four league matches very comfortably, and made the finals of the Four Team Tournament. 
 

team photo

Cradley found themselves top of the league with seven wins fro eight matches, they were forced to use rider replacement for Jan O Pedersen when he was on International duty and the Heathens were knocked out of the new BSPA Cup and then over-taken by Wolves at the top of the League table.

L to R. Gert Handberg, Billy Hamill, Greg Hancock, Wayne Garratt, Alan Grahame, Team Manager - Colin Pratt
front row: Scott Smith, Jan O Pedersen, Mark Robinson.
 
(photo by kind permission of Speedway Star & News)

Simon Cross , fit again returned to action and was soon celebrating his Testimonial meeting at Dudley Wood, Wayne Garratt too celebrated his return to the track after being banned for several matches for unprofessional conduct (he threw a fist at Neil Collins after an on track collision).
A tremendous two leg home and away win in the Dudley/Wolves Trophy was very welcome, but Cradley trailed seven points behind them in the league but with three matches in hand.
Cradley were defeated by three points away at Reading in the KO Cup semi-final but won 50-39 at Dudley Wood five nights later, that put them into their tenth KO Cup Final.
Cradley's league championship hopes were dashed on the 3rd October at Ipswich losing 52-38 when Gert Handberg was unable to ride following an injury he sustained in Denmark and Billy Hamill had to withdraw early in the meeting after crashing into the fence.
In the first leg of the KO Cup at Bradford the Heathens fought valiantly but eventually lost by ten points, in the past they had often won from this position, mainly because of their tremendous fighting spirit in the cup but alas on this occasion ex Heathen Simon Wigg was at his brilliant best scoring 14 points at home and away and the Odsal men won both legs to take the Cup 97-83.
Cradley might well have won the league but for four away defeats in October which also caused them to be pushed into third place behind Wolves and Bradford.
Although they did not win a major trophy in 1991, all Heathens supporters were very proud to welcome back the club's third World Champion, Jan O Pedersen completed a five ride maximum in Gothenburg on the 31st August.

Riders Performance Chart

1991 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
J.O.Pedersen
21
107
242
17
259
9.68
B.Hamill
20
93
192
9
201
8.65
G.Handberg
18
85
153
22
175
8.24
G.Hancock
24
122
227
23
250
8.20
Al.Grahame
24
104
158
18
176
6.77
S.Cross
5
20
22
2
24
4.80
M.Robinson
7
26
25
4
29
4.46
S.Smith
24
100
64
17
81
3.24
W.Garratt
16
57
35
6
41
2.88
M.Meredith
1
3
0
0
0
0.00
A.Boyd
1
2
0
0
0
0.00

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


Final League Table

British League 1991
Team PL W D L BP
For
Ag
Pts
Wolverhampton
24
19
1
4
10
1205.5
952.5
49
Bradford
24
15
4
5
9
1184.5
973.5
43
CRADLEY
24
15
1
8
10
1118
1032
41
Belle Vue
24
12
3
9
6
1042
1082
33
Berwick
24
13
0
11
6
1073
1053
32
Ipswich
24
12
1
11
7
1065.5
1089.5
32
Coventry
24
12
0
12
6
1076
1079
30
Kings Lynn
24
12
1
11
5
1013.5
1139.5
30
Oxford
24
8
3
13
6
1069
1085
25
Poole
24
8
2
14
5
1053
1103
23
Reading
24
9
0
15
3
1030
1123
21
Eastbourne
24
6
3
15
3
1027
1125
18
Swindon
24
5
1
18
2
1018
1138
13

K.O.Cup

Round 2-1st leg Ipswich 46 Cradley 44
Billy Hamill 14, Greg Hancock 9, Jan O.Pedersen 7,
Gert Handberg 7, Alan Grahame 5, Wayne Garratt 1,
Scott Smith 1.
Round 2 - 2nd leg Cradley 50 Ipswich 39
Alan Grahame 14, Jan O.Pedersen 10, Gert Handberg 9,
Wayne Garratt 8, Greg Hancock 7, Scott Smith 2,
Mark Meredith 0.
Cradley win 94-85 on aggregate

Semi-Final - 1st leg
Reading 46 Cradley 43
Greg Hancock 16, Billy Hamill 13, Gert Handberg 8,
Scott Smith 3, Alan Grahame 3, Wayne Garratt 0.

Semi-Final - 2nd leg Cradley 50 Reading 39
Greg Hancock 15, Billy Hamill 11, Gert Handberg 11,
Jan O.Pedersen 7, Alan Grahame 5, Scott Smith 3,
Wayne Garratt 2.
Cradley win 93-85 on aggregate

Final - 1st leg
Bradford 50 Cradley 40
Jan O.Pedersen 10, Billy Hamill 8, Alan Grahame 7,
Simon Cross 7, Scott Smith 3, Greg Hancock 3.
Wayne Garratt 2.
Final - 2nd leg Cradley 43 Bradford 47
Jan O.Pedersen 11, Billy Hamill 10, Greg Hancock 9,
Wayne Garratt 6, Simon Cross 5, Alan Grahame 2,
Scott Smith 0.
Bradford win the K.O.Cup 97-83 on aggregate


Cradley hosted a World Championship British Semi-Final Steve Schofield was the winner.

Erik had a Farewell Meeting in May

The Golden Hammer was won by Sam Ermolenko
-Golden Hammer-

Gold Cup

Northern Section

Team P W D L For Agn B Pts
Berwick 10 7 0 3 465 432 2 16
Wolves 10 5 0 5 476 424 3 13
Cradley 10 5 0 5 469 430 3 13
Coventry 10 5 0 5 436 461 3 13
Belle Vue 10 5 0 5 446 452 2 12
Bradford 10 5 0 5 403 496 2 8

Southern Section

Team P W D L For Agn B Pts
Oxford 12 10 0 2 580 500 6 26
Reading 12 7 0 5 561 518 4 18
Eastbourne 12 6 0 6 554 525 4 16
Swindon 12 6 0 6 549 531 3 15
Poole 12 5 1 6 523 556 2 13
Kings Lynn 12 4 1 7 519 560 2 11
Ipswich 12 3 0 9 491 587 0 6


Berwick beat Oxford 93-87 in the Final


B.S.P.A.Cup
Round 2 - Cradley 55 Belle Vue 35
Billy Hamill 12, Jan O.Pedersen 10, Gert Handberg 9,
Greg Hancock 8, Alan Grahame 8, Scott Smith 5,
Mark Robinson 3.

Quarter Final - Poole 51 Cradley 39
Greg Hancock 13, Billy Hamill 10, Gert Hanberg 8,
Alan Grahame 7, Mark Robinson 1, Scott Smith 0.

Poole beat Berwick in the Semi-Final but lost to Bradford in the Final 106-74 on aggregate.


Dudley Wolves Trophy
1st leg - Cradley 53 Wolves 37
Greg Hancock 15, Jan O.Pedersen 13, Billy Hamill 8,
Gert Handberg 6, Alan Grahame 5, Scott Smith 5,
Wayne Garratt 1.
2nd leg - Wolves 41 Cradley 49
Billy Hamill 13, Jan O.Pedersen 11, Greg Hancock 10, 
Scott Smith 4, Alan Grahame 4, Gert Handberg 4,
Wayne Garratt 3.

Cradley win 102-78 on aggregate

 



Jan O.Pedersen became Cradley's third rider to win World crown in just 10 years.
Ullevi Stadium,Gothenburg, Sweden was the place - 
31st August 1991.

Jan O had a reputation of 'missing the gate' and having to fight his way through, but on this occasion Jan was quick from the start and was hardly troubled with a full 15 point maximum.

He completed his hat-trick with 15 points in the World Team Cup and 14 in the World Pairs.
-Jan O.Pedersen profile-

Back to History
Previous   Next


Web site created and maintained by Steve & Phil Johnson. E-mail us your comments and suggestions.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Cradley Heath Speedway.
Copyright: Steve Johnson & Cradley Heath Speedway Ltd. 2006.