Fours Victory but Farewell to Dudley Wood
During the close season the owners of Dudley Wood Stadium Derek Pugh and
Noel Bridgewater rocked the club and the whole of the sport when the
announcement was made to put the stadium up for sale. An offer had been made by
the building company Barratt to develop the land, putting 120 houses on the
|The Heathens had a successful season in 1995 with third place in the new Premier League which would have been much better but for unfortunate losses against Ipswich both home and away. And Swindon early on in the year.||
R. Simon Cross, Dave Clarke, Billy Hamill, Steve Knott,
|At about the same time they
went down by just seven points against eventual champions Eastbourne at
Arlington and they had to ride without Simon Cross who was on Longtrack
duty. They could have been champions had it not been for these lapses.
One of the season's highlights though was the Heathens victory in the League Four Team Tournament at Peterborough. The rounds had gone well for them, it was never in doubt that they would reach the final, which proved to be very exciting in front of a massive crowd from all over the country and many travelling Heathen fans. The lead alternated throughout between Bradford, Peterborough and the Heathens but Simon Cross and Billy Hamill won the last two races to bring the trophy to Dudley Wood.
The Heathens renowned fighting spirit in the cup were displayed once again disposing of Glasgow and Oxford early on. But alas in the semi-final against Belle Vue they were not at their best and lost both home and away legs to a very determined and skilful Aces side.
The Dudley / Wolves Trophy remained at Dudley Wood for the sixth successive year after two tremendous battles. They edged home by just four points in the morning clash at Dudley Wood but held Wolves to two points in the evening at Monmore Green to win the trophy by two points.
Individually Billy Hamill won the Austrian round of the Grand Prix and Greg Hancock was first in the British Round at the new London Stadium. They finished second and third in the Golden Hammer but behind Sam Ermolenko. Hamill broke the track record at Middlesbrough but Hancock won the Olympique at Monmore Green while riding his new lay-down machine. Then a few days later he won the Silver Jubilee Trophy at Peterborough.
In September Simon Cross reached the Long Track Final scoring 11 points and in October Hamill was runner up to Gary Havelock in the Premier League Riders Championship. He also won the Cradley Club Championship at Dudley Wood.
With the GP taking up some of the fixtures Cradley staged a number of junior meetings to fill the gaps. One of these was the Midland Junior Championship and was won by young reserve John Wilson with a great 15 point maximum.
Another meeting was Champions Night which saw the return of legends Erik Gundersen, Jan O Pedersen and Bernie Persson along with many other stars of the forties, fifties, sixties and seventies.
Billy Hamill had his best season so far heading the Premier League averages for 1995 but he said his proudest moment was the birth of his daughter Margaret.
The Heathens three heatleaders were among the best in the league with Hamill topping the team and National averages with Greg Hancock not far behind. Simon Cross was a revelation, losing about a stone in weight during the close season he was fit and well and it showed, pushing his average to over 9 points.
The young reserves did their job well and although Scott Smith and Jonathan Forsgren struggled at times it was mainly due to niggling injuries.
It was a sad time at the end of the season though, with many fans not wanting to leave the stadium even after midnight walking the famous track and collecting souvenirs of shale with tears in their eyes. It was the end of an era.
Riders Performance Chart
statistics taken from the Cradley Speedway database for BL matches only.
Final League Table
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