- Name Charlie Monk
- Date of Birth 5/2/1940
- Age 77
- Hometown Adelaide, Australia
Charlie began his UK career with Neath Dragons in 1962 and then he rode for Long Eaton Archers in 1963. He moved to the Tigers for the 1964 season when regular speedway returned to the White City after an eleven year absence.
Made his Tigers debut on 1st April 1964 in home Northern League match v Middlesbrough. In his first match for the Tigers he scored a 12 point maximum in a 44-34 Tigers win.
Charlie’s second match for the Tigers should have been the following night at Sheffield but he broke down near Jedburgh and never made it, with promoter Trvor Redmond having to step in and ride in Charlie’s place. Imagine Gordon Pairman or Colin Hamilton doing that today!
Charlie scored a 12 point maximum in his first four Tigers home matches and it wasn’t until 6th May against Newcastle that he lost his first race for the Tigers at the White City. He was beaten by no less than Ivan Mauger, so no disgrace there then.
His first away maximum was at Sunderland in a Northern League match on 12th May, although the Tigers still lost 48-30.
In Northern League matches in 1964 Charlie rode in 9 matches scoring 99 points from 36 rides giving an average of 11.00
Charlie easily topped the Tigers league averages in 1964 amassing a figure of 10.88 from 22 matches. He won 75 out of 96 heats in the league. This figure of 10.88 is the highest ever average recorded in a league season by a Tigers rider, equalled only by Tommy Miller in 1952 and still stands today.
Charlie’s away league average in 1964 was 10.86, attained from 11 matches. This is the highest ever away average ever recorded by a Tigers rider in a season and it is a record that is unlikely to be broken.
Charlie became Scottish Match Race Champion when he defeated Doug Templeton. He defended this later in the season beating George Hunter at Old Meadowbank.
Charlie finished runner up in the Provincial League Riders Championship scoring 13pts, losing a run off for the title to Ivan Mauger. Charlie defeated Mauger in the meeting but dropped two points in his first ride when his machinery gave him problems.
In 1964 Charlie finished runner up in the Scottish Open Championship at Old Meadowbank, losing a run off to George Hunter for 1st place.
It was conveniently discovered that Charlie’s father was born in Dundee, so in 1964 Charlie rode multiple times for Scotland. 5 times v England, 3 times v New Zealand, once v Rest of the World.
The 1965 season was arguably Charlie’s best season in the sport. He continued his dominant form for the Tigers and had great success on the individual front.
1965 was the year when the National League and the Provincial League merged to form the British League. The world class riders were in the old National League and the stars of the Provincial League were expected to play second fiddle to the established stars, but no one told Charlie.
On Easter Monday Charlie beat a host of top riders to win the Easter Trophy at West Ham being presented with the trophy by the current Miss World Anne Sydney.
However, better was to come and it was on the 7thJune 1965 that Charlie rode to the greatest individual achievement ever by any Glasgow rider.
In the morning Charlie rode in the Exeter v Glasgow match, which had an 11am start. He scored 14 points in a 46-32 defeat before heading to London for a meeting at Wimbledon that evening. He had been given the option of missing the Exeter match but opted to ride for the Tigers.
The Wimbledon meeting in the evening was the FIM Internationale. It was the biggest individual meeting on the speedway calendar after the World Final and was ranked as such by the FIM. Many people considered the line up at this meeting to be stronger than the World Final.
Charlie began with a second place behind track record holder Gote Nordin of Sweden. He then won his next two races to lead the field with 8 points after 3 rides apiece. Second place behind Barry Briggs in his fourth ride meant that Charlie’s win in heat 17 won the prestigious meeting with 13 points and an achievement that is yet to be bettered by a Tigers rider.
A mistake in the programme race card listed Charlie’s nationality as New Zealand.
In May 1965 Charlie unsuccessfully challenged Barry Briggs for the Golden Helmet, a competition that had evolved from the British Match Race championship. The challenges were held in neutral tracks and Charlie won the first leg 2-0 at Poole, before losing 2-0 at Sheffield and the decider 2-0 at West Ham.
Such was Charlie’s form in 1965 that he was selected to ride in the Great Britain side in the World Team Cup Final at Kempten in West Germany. Great Britain scored 18 points finishing third behind winners Poland and second place Sweden. It was a disappointing day of machine problems as Charlie scored 1 point from two rides, although in scoring his point he finished ahead of the Soviet Union’s greatest rider Igor Plechanov.
Charlie’s biggest disappointment of 1965 and probably his career came in the British Final. Six riders qualified for the Wembley World Final and Charlie was well positioned to qualify with only his final ride to come. Monk had 8 points from 4 rides, and he came to the tapes for heat 20, a race where the ensuing controversy would last for weeks.
Charlie and Ken McKinlay diced for the lead and after two laps McKinlay fell and Charlie was excluded in a very controversial decision. The Speedway Star editor wrote that, “I don’t think Monk had anything to do with McKinlay’s fall”. Ironically Monk didn’t need to beat McKinlay, but only finish ahead of Jimmy Gooch to reach the World Final.
The episode wasn’t finished and after Tigers boss Trevor Redmond saw the footage on the BBC, he lodged a protest with the Control Board. They upheld Glasgow’s appeal and astonishingly ordered a re-run of heat 20 of the British Final four days before the World Final. The management committee ruled that this was not in the best interest of the sport and the referee’s decision should be final.
It was thought that this would just delay Charlie’s appearance in a World Final but 1965 was as near as Charlie came to appearing in the sports big night.
On his way to the British Final, Charlie never dropped a point, scoring a maximum in each of his three qualifying rounds and then a further 15 point maximum in the British semi-final.
In 34 league matches in 1965 Charlie scored 8 maximums and 1 paid maximum for an average of 10.22 over the season. His paid maximum was his only full score away from home. It came at Belle Vue in Tigers one and only win in Manchester against the Aces.
1966 was the poorest of the four seasons Charlie raced at the White City. His average dropped to 9.23 in a season where he suffered from machine problems, failing to finish in 10% of his 153 races in the British League. He suffered from 9 retirals in the first 10 matches which had a huge effect on his average.
Such was the effect of these mechanical woes in the early part of the season that from mid-May onwards Charlie’s average was well over 10 points.
He still managed 9 full and 1 paid maximum in 1966, although surprisingly it took until 3rd June in the home match v Exeter for Charlie to get his first full score of the season.
In 1966 Charlie raced 5 times for Scotland v England, once for Scotland v Soviet Union and he took part in the match when Scotland were humiliated 79-29 at Old Meadowbank on 30th July. It was the same day that England won the World Cup. It really was a bad day!
In 1967 Charlie was back to his dominant best. He averaged 10.72 from 35 British League matches, scoring a maximum in 14 of those matches, 4 of them away from home.
He only dropped 16 points at the White City all season and 6 of those were from a fall and a retiral.
Once again he averaged over ten points in away matches. An away average of 10.28 over a season is an outstanding performance. It is no wonder that announcer Don Cumming when announcing the heat results often referred to him as Charlie “Maximum” Monk.
In the winter of 1967 Charlie requested a move to a track nearer his Yorkshire base, so he moved to Sheffield for the 1968 season, where he had scored a 15 point maximum the previous year.
Supporters at Glasgow were not happy and the season at the White City was punctuated by fans protests demanding the return of their hero.
Charlie returned to the Tigers in 1969 as we moved from the White City to the big Hampden track. He was still his dominant self but wasn’t top dog in the team as by this time Jimmy McMillan was the new Tigers number 1.
Charlie finished 1969 with a very impressive 9.63 average, which included a home average at Hampden of 10.68.
The maximums were still being scored with 7 full and 1 paid maximum all being scored at Hampden.
Charlie once again turned out for Scotland against England and Norway, both at Hampden. In the same year he also rode against Scotland for Australia at Coatbridge. It only happens in speedway. Well known Scots Reidar Eide and Oyvind Berg also rode for Scotland against England and then turned out for Norway against Scotland at the same venues.
Charlie also had scores of 10 and 12 riding in two matches for Australia in their three match series against England during the British season.
Charlie stayed at Hampden for the 1970 season where he maintained a very respectable average of 8.52 from 35 matches. He was still scoring maximums posting 4 full and 3 paid ones during the campaign. He scored 316 plus 12 bonus points in the British League that year.
In 1970 Charlie again rode twice for Scotland against England, scoring 10 points in the Scots 59-49 win at Newcastle.
Charlie’s scoring tailed off in 1971 when he finished fourth in the Tigers averages behind the three Scots McMillan, Hunter and Beaton. His final average of 6.97 was below previous seasons but he still contributed 244 points to the Tigers cause through the season.
1972 was to be Charlie’s last season riding for the Tigers, which coincided with our last year of racing at Hampden Park. In our four seasons of racing at Hampden Charlie Monk was a regular for all that period, along with Jimmy McMillan and Bobby Beaton.
He scored a further 3 full and 2 paid maximums in his final season in the stripes, scoring 215 points for a 6.94 average. He had a near 9 point average around the big Hampden track, but his away average to below 5 points.
Charlie made one further appearance for the Tigers in April 1973, riding as a guest in our away match at Sheffield.
After leaving the Tigers Charlie Monk rode for Halifax, Edinburgh and Barrow with his final UK season being 1978.
Charlie Monk – Tigers career record was 2,540 points scored from 265 league matches, including 54 full and 9 paid maximums.
- 1964 – 1967, 1969 – 1972. 8 seasons
- Scottish Cup winner 1965, 1966
- 2,540 points from 265 league matches
- 54 maximums and 9 paid maximums