NEWPORT SPEEDWAY IN 1971
1971 saw the Wasps enjoy their best season since 1965. They ended up eighth with a multi national squad including Sandor Levai, Bill Andrew (New Zealand), Edgar Stangeland (Norway), Ted Laessing (Latvia), Bengt Brannefors and Tommy Johansson (Sweden), Dave O'Connor (Australia), Bob Hughes (Wales) and Ronnie Genz (England). They built a fortress mentality at Somerton Park losing only their final match against Hackney Wick. In five home matches the margin of victory was only two points.
The Wasps started off with some much more positive performances. They beat Exeter over two legs in a challenge match. They overcame Wolverhampton by 42-36 in their first outing. They went down narrowly to both Oxford and Exeter as they put up stronger performances away from home. New boy Johansson quickly found his feet and formed an impressive opening partnership with Stangeland. The two both achieved paid maximums as Newport beat Wimbledon 42-36 at home. An all around team effort saw the Wasps take their first away victory at West Ham by 40 to 38. They slumped to heavy away defeats at Coventry (55-23) and Wimbledon (52-26) before recording a huge win of their own (59-19) over Exeter. They followed this up with their best performance - a 44-34 win away at Kings Lynn.
Sandor Levai was victorious in the World Championship qualifier at Newport edging out Nigel Boocock of Coventry. Levai also won the Southern Riders qualifier. Jim Airey beat Barry Briggs in a run off for the Prince of Wales Trophy.
Newport fans also enjoyed the novelty of a club fixture being staged at Somerton Park due to the non-availability of Wembley Stadium. Wembley lost a 'home' fixture by 47 to 31 to Belle Vue with Ivan Mauger and Soren Sjosten recording 12 point maximum scores.
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Newport v Leicester (21/9/71)