Peter Collins (speedway rider)

Peter Spencer Collins MBE (born 24 March 1954)[1] is a former speedway rider[2] who spent his whole career (1971–1986) with the Belle Vue Aces, the team he supported as a child. The only other club he rode for was the now defunct Rochdale Hornets (Belle Vue's nursery team), with whom he spent the first season of his career on loan.

Peter Collins
Peter Collins 1.jpg
Born (1954-03-24) 24 March 1954 (age 66)
Manchester, England
Nationality England
Current club information
Career statusRetired
Career history
1971Rochdale Hornets
1971–1986Belle Vue Aces
Individual honours
1976World Champion
1979British Champion
1974, 1975British League Riders' Champion
1973British Under-21 Champion
1974European Final winner
1974, 1975, 1984Northern Riders Champion
1974, 1978Internationale
1974, 1975Bass Yorkshire Open
1975, 1976, 1979Silver Plume
1976Pride of the East
1976Daily Mirror Grand Prix
1976Scottish Open Champion
1976, 1977Intercontinental Champion
1974, 1977Golden Sovereign
1976, 1979Manpower Trophy
1976Golden Gauntlets
1977Skol Masters
Team honours
1971, 1972, 1982British League Champion
1972, 1973, 1975British League KO Cup winner
1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980World Team Cup Winner
1977, 1980, 1983, 1984World Pairs Champion
1984British League Pairs Champion
1975, 1976, 1977, 1978Northern Trophy

During his career, Peter Collins won 10 World Championships in speedway competition (one Individual, four Pairs and five World Team Cups) making him the most successful British rider in history.

Early lifeEdit

Collins was born on 24 March 1954 at the Davyhulme Hospital in Urmston, Manchester.[3] He worked at a market garden while at school to save up for a bike, and spent two years as an apprentice fitter with Shell before leaving to concentrate on his speedway career.[3]


Belle Vue AcesEdit

Peter rode his first full season for the Aces in 1972 attaining an average of 8.44 in British League matches while still only eighteen years of age. In addition the Aces won the league and cup double that year. Peter won the British Speedway Championship in 1979.

World Individual championshipsEdit

In 1973 he qualified for his first Speedway World Championship in Chorzów, Poland. Peter again qualified for the World Final in 1974 finishing in equal fourth place with a creditable nine points. He did however win the British League Riders Championship (BLRC) at Hyde Road. The 1975 World Final was held at Wembley but resulted in disappointment for Collins who again finished just off the podium. The 1976 final proved to be the highlight of his career however as he became World Champion with fourteen points in Katowice, Poland.[4] In 1977 however, he was injured whilst riding at his home track, badly breaking his leg. He attempted to defend his title, in extreme pain and unable to walk without crutches; he narrowly missed out, finishing second.

World Pairs ChampionshipsEdit

Collins won four World Pairs Championship titles during his career, all with different partners, whilst riding for Great Britain or England. The 1977 title was won on his home Belle Vue (Manchester) track with Malcolm Simmons. In 1980 he partnered Dave Jessup to victory in Krsko, Yugoslavia. Yorkshireman Kenny Carter was his partner in Gothenburg in 1983 whilst he was paired up with fellow Mancunian Belle Vue Ace Chris Morton for his final pairs title in 1984 at Lonigo in Italy.[3] He also finished second with Carter to the American pairing of Bobby Schwartz and Dennis Sigalos in the 1982 World Pairs Final in Sydney.

England's win in the 1983 World Pairs Final was considered lucky. Collins was lucky to be allowed to re-start Heat 10 against Denmark (Erik Gundersen and Hans Nielsen) after video replays suggested that he had simply mis-judged the slick Ullevi track going into the first turn after the start and had fallen causing the race to be stopped. With Collins luckily still in the race, the extra two points England gained as a result of their 5–0 win over the Danes (Nielsen had a tape exclusion on the re-run while Gundersen had an engine failure after comfortably leading for 2¾ laps) would prove crucial as England defeated Australian pair Billy Sanders and Gary Guglielmi by just one point to win the title. Ironically, later in the meeting Sanders (to that point undefeated on the day) had like Collins fallen on the slick track in turn 1 of their heat against the West Germans. Although he had let Collins re-start after falling, the FIM referee of the meeting, Australian Sam Bass, had no hesitation in excluding his fellow countryman from the re-run which was ultimately won by Guglielmi. With the West Germans out of form at Ullevi it was likely Australia would have scored a 5–1 result had Sanders not been excluded. Ultimately, both decisions by Bass helped England secure their record 6th World Pairs title.

World Team CupEdit

Collins was a five time World Team Cup champion. His first title came with Great Britain in 1973 at Wembley just two weeks after his World Final debut in Poland. His four other wins came riding for England in 1974 (Wrocław, Poland), 1975 (Norden, West Germany), 1977 (Wrocław) and 1980 (Wrocław). He also finished second in 1978 (Landshut, West Germany), 1983 (Vojens, Denmark) and 1984 (Leszno, Poland).

After SpeedwayEdit

On his retirement, he became part of the team responsible for saving the club following the sale of the Hyde Road stadium, and taking the team back to their current and original home on Kirkmanshulme Lane. He also became a respected television commentator with Sky Sports.

In November 2001 he was awarded an MBE for services to motorcycle racing.[5]


Peter has four brothers all of whom were speedway riders, Les (who finished second behind Bruce Penhall in the 1982 World Final in Los Angeles), Phil, Neil and Stephen. With his wife Angela he has a son and daughter.[3] His son Chris and nephew Aidan were also riders but have both retired from the sport.

World final appearancesEdit

Individual World ChampionshipEdit

World Pairs ChampionshipEdit

World Team CupEdit

* 1973 for Great Britain. All others for England.

World LongtrackEdit

European Grasstrack ChampionshipEdit


1978   Hereford - 8th - 15pts


  1. ^ Oakes, P.(2005). British Speedway Who's Who. ISBN 0-948882-30-1
  2. ^ Lawson,K (2018) “Riders, Teams and Stadiums”. ISBN 978-0-244-72538-9
  3. ^ a b c d Lanning, Russell (1985) "Rider Profile: Peter Collins", Speedway Star, 18 May 1985, p. 20-21
  4. ^ Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5
  5. ^ "MBE for Aces Legend". Manchester Evening News. 3 November 2001. Retrieved 23 September 2008.

External linksEdit