BOB RADFORD TAKES A LOOK AT THE ROBINS WHO HELPED PUT THE CLUB ON THE MAP.
BJORN Andersson was 14 when he made his first appearance at Blunsdon in a series of exhibition match races against Alun Rossiter on scaled down 50cc bikes in 1976. He travelled over with his older brother Jan, who was in the early stages of a great career that started at Swindon, followed by many stellar seasons at Reading.
The young, blond Swede made a huge impression, and when 18 he signed for Swindon in 1981. With Phil Crump happy to advise and encourage him, Bjorn posted a 5.01 average in his debut season – higher than brother Jan had achieved in 1975, his debut year.
The future seemed bright, but generally the only luck Bjorn would have was bad. Swedish boys then faced compulsory military service, meaning that his 1982 debut was as late as 5 June. The upside was that he returned with a lovely girlfriend, Kaisu, who had been born in Finland.
Despite the late start, Bjorn upped his average to 6.47 and looked set to follow in his brother’s tyre tracks to international stardom. In 1983 the partnership of Wally Mawdsley and Richard Vowles broke up amid much acrimony, leaving the Robins with a desperately weak team.
Nevertheless Bjorn started the season well and on April 9 scored a full maximum against Eastbourne, but the following month suffered an ankle injury in Swedish League racing. The injury was slow to heal and he did not return until August.
In a team that finished as wooden spoonists Bjorn had done well to record a 6.27, but his bad luck would turn even worse in 1984, when he had developed a kidney problem and also suffered a complex knee injury which later required surgery.
Just as his entry to Blunsdon was triumphant, his last outing on 30 June 1984 was upsetting. Trying to ride, and carrying a knee injury, he withdrew from the Knockout Cup match against Ipswich after one ride, collapsing in excruciating pain.
Bjorn and Kaisu recently had a 100 celebration, both reaching 50 years of age. Bjorn is still unable to run today, but he does cycle and has a leisure boat on which the family enjoy the splendid archipelago outside of Gothenburg.
They have two children, Josefine and Jesper and two grandchildren, Ludvig and Maximilian. Jesper is studying computer science in Gothenburg.
“Despite all the crashes and injuries during my career, most of my memories from my time in England are very positive. All the experiences I gained as an 18 year old boy in a foreign country has given me a lot of help later in my life. I learned to judge people for their personality not for their nationality. And I had a lot of fun,” said Bjorn .
“I only rode for two clubs, Swindon and with Gothenburg club Kaparna. I finally retired in 1986, aged just 23. Our last trip to England was in 1994 for Per Jonsson’s Benefit meeting, but we hope to come over for the Cardiff GP and also see a match at Swindon. That would be lovely,” he said.