Make your own free website on

Speedway Archives

Bob Andrews


1968 1969 1971 1972 Index


by Richard Frost

Cradley Heath jetted into the 1970's with the super-boost of their best-ever season behind them, leaving their loyal fans thirsty for the success which has eluded them for so long.
  Too often in  recent seasons Cradley supporters have been almost glad to see the end of the programme in the hope that next year would bring something better. 

Ralph (cant think of his surname), Bob, Irene Pritchard, Bernie Persson (on bike), and Ralph's son.

Well, 1969 was that year. Cradley finished their highest British League position, beating West Midland rivals Coventry and Wolverhampton, and reached the K.O. Cup semi-final before going down to Wimbledon. And that was no disgrace.
  But they retained the Cup that really matters up in the Black Country, the Dudley Wolves Trophy which is compete for on a two-leg basis.
  They took the Trophy to Dudley Wood in 1968 and to the  discomfort of Wolves fans they made no mistakes about keeping it.
  The spearhead of their dash away from the foot of the table were the three heat leaders who took on manfully the job of scoring a very high proportion of Cradley's points. They were Swede Bernt Persson, who joined Kiwi Bobby Andrews and Englishman Roy Trigg from Coatbridge and soon settled in at his new home.
  This trio gave Cradley fans a lot they can remember with enthusiasm, either in Cradley colours or in their frequent incursions into international speedway.

Cradley looked like championship contenders early in the season. But their top trio did not always get the backing they needed from their second strings and their lack of consistency was the main reason for the Heathens not finishing nearer the top of the table.
  Cradley's search for improved second string power took them to Rayleigh who reluctantly allowed teenaged Londoner, Mike Gardner, to join the Dudley Wood outfit half-way through the season.
  Gardner, who learned his speedway at Olle Nygren's winter school at King's Lynn was keen to continue his "education" against the big boys in Division One.
  Cradley team manager, Ted Flanaghan said: "Mike is a natural. He has wonderful throttle control and uses his head to keep out of trouble during races. I think he is a wonderful prospect."

Mike Gardener and Bob, with Dudley Wolves Trophy ?


Certainly young Mike improved from watching Messrs. Trigg, Andrews and Persson and the youngster turned in some useful performances.
  Graham Coombes had a fairly quiet season, his second at Cradley. He said "Goodbye" to the British League racing at the end of the season to return to his native New Zealand.
  Aussie Chris Bass has wintered on his native circuits after a fairly good first season at Dudley Wood. He was the most consistent of the Cradley second string riders but his progress was halted mid-season by a collar bone injury.
  Their improvements in 1969 should have given them momentum for a headlong dash towards top honours in the super-seventies.


More of 1969
1968 1969 1971 1972 Index

Back to Index