GOLDEN HELMET CHAMPIONSHIPS: pGH4
- Austrian Golden Helmet
- Danish Golden Helmets
- German / Hamburg GH
- Yugoslav / Lendava GH
- Dutch Golden Helmet
- S.African Golden Helmets
The 'Golden Helmet of the MRO' competition, - the Motor Race-club of Österreich -, was started in 1960 when Arne Pander won the 20-heat international meeting in Vienna with a maximum 15pts from Peter Craven(13pts) and Ronnie Moore(12pts). In the follow-up meeting in '62, (the '61 meeting was rained off,) the Holder met Challengers Craven and Hofmeister in 3-man, 3-heat, 3-leg Match Races in Vienna, Linz and Graz, Craven wresting the trophy from the Dane as the highest point scorer over the 3 meetings.
Rt: Josef Bossner, Ove Fundin, Josef Hofmeister,
- MRO team-mates, Vienna 3TT+GH, 1962.
It was 1971 before the Golden Helmet was next raced for, when it became a 2-day event, at Felixdorf and Krems or Mureck, the latter track, as the 'Speedway Center Austria' taking exclusive operation of the competition over the last 2 decades. Participation was mainly from Eastern Europe, (though the ubiquitous Mauger appeared in '85) and the helmet changed hands year on year, most successes going to Hungarian Zoltan Adorjan, - 3 times in the 'eighties. After the death of its organizer Josef Bössner, (1972 Helmet winner,) in 2005 the GH has been replaced by the Josef Bössner Memorial meeting.
Lord Mayor of Vienna, Trevor Redmond, Ronnie Moore, Barry Briggs.
Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany(-Hamburg), Yugoslavia
Australia the appeal of the name Mauger, Speedway's 'Man of the
Millenium', and his Academy programme of the past 2 decades has
resulted in a Golden Helmet winners' list populated with young
continental Europeans as well as young Australian riders who are now
making their presence felt in UK and Europe, filling league places in
Poland and Sweden as well as British Leagues and winning
international championships! (n.b: Pre- & Post-War Aust. GHs are
detailed on p.GH1.)
Ivan Mauger and 2 of the 2008 Australian Golden Helmet winners,
Justin Sedgemen & Darcy Ward
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In Heusden-Zolder, Belgium international Golden Helmet meetings have been held intermittently in more recent decades, though information is limited. After double wins for Wilfried Hendrickx in '81 and '82 the successful 1983 winner was the much-travelled Ivan Mauger.
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Heusden-Zolder Golden Helmet meetings, 2005 2009 2010 2011
As early as 1929 a points-based Golden Helmet trophy was raced for in Copenhagen at the Roskildeveg 1/3 mile Dirt Track. The winner of the day's final heat received the helmet and 10 DKK for every day he kept it. The rider with the most points at the end of the season retained the helmet for good. Kaj Hansen was the first permanent winner. In 1930 Morian Hansen won with a total of 35 points. The 1931 series was won by Svend Aage Engstrom with 24 points. These helmets were sponsored by 'Gargoyle Oil'.
WWII Gladsaxe Speedway outside the capital ran a GH event in 1948 at
the 400m track sponsored by Wiking Oil and won by Orla Knudsen from
Basse Hveem, the Nordic Speedway and Long Track champ of the day. In
'53 Kiehn Berthelsen (in action, Rt,) was victor in another GH
meeting at the new 333m Amager track.
Morian Hansen, 1930 1931 Gold Helmet Svend Aage Engstrom
Orla Knudsen 1948 Kiehn Berthelsen 1953
( + Lft, Basse Hveem, 2nd.) in action & presentation
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Germany - Hamburg
The first purpose-built dirt track
in Germany was constructed in the Hamburg district of Lokstedt in
1929 by a UK/Danish consortium, United Speedway Ltd., who operated it
alongside its Roskildeveg, Copenhagen site, built the previous year.
Each stadium included a greyhound circuit in addition to the 1/3 mile
speedway track, and star riders and their bikes, including British
stars such as Bill Kitchen, were often flown between the two venues.
From the opening Hamburg meeting in July '29 both venues ran a 'Golden Helmet' competition, - see the Roskildeveg GH results, 1929- '31, in the adjacent Danish GH table - , where weekly stagings were restricted to native riders who accumulated points towards an end-of-season total and the award of a Golden Helmet. The first winner was Fritz Niss, who won 4 of the weekly finals and totalled 42 points, (presumably from a scoring basis of 5-3-2-1 that was known to have been the Copenhagen system,) though he was being drawn down on by Herbert Drews toward the end of the year. Drews went on to become the 1930 overall winner with 5 weekly successes and 66 pts. The 1931 competition was abandoned after the initial event, though racing at Lokstedt continued up to 1933.
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at Lendava, present-day Slovenia, where the former 'Yugoslav Golden
Helmet meeting, initiated in 1978 and won 5 times in the first 7
years by Ivan Mauger, was resurrected in the last decade with
Walaszek and Zagar as recent winners, (photo rt.)
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Amsterdam Olympic Stadium, Aug. 10 1953: Line includes winner Tony Kroeze (among 4 Dutchman on left,) Reg Fearman (ctr, in Leicester jacket,) Roy Craighead & Phil Bishop, (3rd & 2nd from Rt.)
series of Dutch Golden Helmet meetings, - a single competition at
each track after the initial year: each helmet retained by the winner
- , was held annually from 1950 onward at several tracks in the
Netherlands with crowds approaching 50,000 at the Olympic Stadium
Amsterdam and Feyenoord, Rotterdam, and up to 25,000 elsewhere.
Hengelo, Tilburg, den Bosch, and Sleen (today termed Veenoord,) also
staged meetings but regular speedway action in the capital ended
following the 1987 World Final there and only the Veenoord track now
continues the competition. Some meetings were dedicated individual GH
meetings, on other occasions a Golden Helmet was awarded to the top
individual scorer in a team match or Best Pairs competitions,
(Hengelo '59) i.e. a dual event meeting. Dominated by German and
Dutch riders in the early years, Josef Hofmeister and Tonny Kroeze
each won 4 helmets, Nic van Gorcum took 5 in the '60s, as did Dane
Hans Nielsen in the '70s.
Dutch Golden Helmets from Veenoord:
1974: Norgaard receiving Helmet. 1980: Fritz Koppe's Helmet 2009: 21stC. Dutch Golden Helmet.
The Polish Golden Helmet, a tournament restricted to senior domestic riders only, was introduced in 1961. As a memorial to Dr.L.Barana of Wroclaw, a former FIM vice-president, the prize winner has traditionally received a new full Jawa bike. Prior to 2006 participating riders were nominated from their preceding season's averages, but since serving as the national qualifier for the SGPs, semi-finals have been introduced. In the table of winners below the Gollob brothers' 9 successes stand out, Jacek taking 2 titles and Tomasz 7 wins over a 14-year period. Poland also has a Silver Helmet and a Bronze Helmet competition, for U21 and U19 riders respectively.
Polish GH 123, 2011 Polish Silver Helmet winner,
2nd Piotr Protasiewicz, 1st Adrian Miedziaski, 3rd Jan Kolodziej 2010, 2011 Maciej Janowski
Rhodesian (N. & S.) Golden Helmets
the S.African GH and Rhodesian GHs (N & S,),
incl'g the SA.MRC and the present day Golden Helmet meetings
see the Southern Africa page go to S.Africa page
Whilst most Gold and Silver Helmets were of the traditional 'pudding basin' style, as Czech and German trophy helmets still are, the transition from the 'sixties to the present day, - from Racemaster through the Spacemaster style to the full-face polycarbonate rider helmets - , has been reflected in latter day Gold and Silver Helmets being not assay-marked, as were the first, but CE-marked, for safety certification !