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.
Collins was born on 24 March 1954 at the Davyhulme Hospital in Urmston, Manchester. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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).
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.
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. His son Chris and nephew Aidan were also riders but have both retired from the sport.1973 – Chorzów, Silesian Stadium – 12th – 6pts
1974 – Gothenburg, Ullevi – 6th – 9pts
1975 – London, Wembley Stadium – 5th – 10pts
1976 – Chorzów, Silesian Stadium – Winner – 14pts
1977 – Gothenburg, Ullevi – 2nd – 13pts
1979 – Chorzów, Silesian Stadium – 11th – 6pts
1980 – Gothenburg, Ullevi – 7th – 8pts
1982 – Los Angeles, Memorial Coliseum – 13th – 5pts
1974 – Manchester, Hyde Road (with Dave Jessup) – 4th – 20pts (12)
1975 – Wrocław, Olympic Stadium (with John Louis) – 4th – 20pts (7)
1977 – Manchester, Hyde Road (with Malcolm Simmons) – Winner – 28pts (15)
1980 – Krsko, Matija Gubec Stadium (with Dave Jessup) – Winner – 29pts (14)
1982 – Sydney, Liverpool City Raceway (with Kenny Carter) – 2nd – 22pts (15)
1983 – Gothenburg, Ullevi (with Kenny Carter) – Winner – 25pts (10)
1984 – Lonigo, Pista Speedway (with Chris Morton) – Winner – 27pts (13)
1973* – London, Wembley Stadium (with Malcolm Simmons / Ray Wilson / Terry Betts) – Winner – 37pts (12)
1974 – Chorzów, Silesian Stadium (with John Louis / Dave Jessup / Malcolm Simmons) – Winner – 42pts (12)
1975 – Norden, Motodrom Halbemond (with Malcolm Simmons / Martin Ashby / John Louis) – Winner – 41pts (12)
1977 – Wrocław, Olympic Stadium (with Malcolm Simmons / Michael Lee / Dave Jessup / John Davis) – Winner – 37pts (10)
1978 – Landshut, Stadion Ellermühle (with Malcolm Simmons / Dave Jessup / Michael Lee / Gordon Kennett) – 2nd – 27pts (6)
1980 – Wrocław, Olympic Stadium (with Dave Jessup / Chris Morton / Michael Lee / Kenny Carter) – Winner – 40pts (10)
1983 – Vojens, Speedway Center (with Kenny Carter / Michael Lee / Dave Jessup / Chris Morton) – 2nd – 29pts (1)
1984 – Leszno, Alfred Smoczyk Stadium (with Chris Morton / Simon Wigg / Phil Collins / Neil Collins) – 2nd – 24pts (2)
* 1973 for Great Britain. All others for England.1974 Scheessel - 7th - 11pts
1975 Gornja Radgona - 9th - 11pts
1976 Did not compete
1978 Muhldorf - 3rd - 24pts
1979 Marianske Lazne - 12th - 7pts
1980 Scheessel - 12th - 7pts
1981 Gornja Radgona - 9th - 10pts
1982 Esbjerg - 5th - 15pts
1984 Herxheim - 4th - 16pts
1985 Esbjerg - 3rd - 18pts
1986 Pfarrkirchen - 2nd - 18pts
1978 Hereford - 8th - 15pts