RAINED OFF at the first attempt to stage it, the 1978 Final was always going to be a tense affair, with only four of the competitors able to qualify for the World Final at Wembley on September 2.
In the event, Britain’s number one rider, Peter Collins, found himself dogged by engine trouble throughout the meeting and finished the night with a disappointing 6 points. Following his elimination after two machine failures, traces of a sugar-like substance were found in the fuel he had been using. Some in the Belle Vue camp suggested that the star’s methanol may have been deliberately doctored but, without positive proof, Collins himself was reluctant to say anything, fearing that people would claim it was simply sour grapes on his part.
On this occasion, it isn’t Wally Loak but Colin Martin of Raceway Recordings who provides the commentary at Brandon Stadium for the Golden Jubilee British Final
The eventual winner was Michael Lee who turned in a fine 14 points and looked to be every inch a potential World Champion, beaten only by Malcolm Simmons.
Behind the British Champion, the other qualifiers were Dave Jessup (12), Malcolm Simmons (11) and Gordon Kennett (10).
There was disappointment, too, for Reading’s John Davis who looked likely to reach the fourth-place run-off, only to be robbed of the chance by an engine failure in his final ride.
WE invite you to re-live the atmosphere of this tense British Championship through the taped commentary that many a speedway fan unable to be there would have played back, possibly in the car on the way to one of their own team’s matches, in the days that followed.