BERG, OYVIND S.: Monarchs'
connection was very strong in the sixties.
The big names were Swede Bernie Persson and Norwegian Reidar Eide, but one of Hoskins' best
discoveries was another Norwegian by the name of Oyvind Sandem Berg. Promoter Ian Hoskins
actually travelled to Norway to secure the rider's signature, early in 1967. He was building
a very strong team for what was to be the last Old Meadowbank season.
Berg was born on 8th October 1943 in Askim, Norway. Why he kept the middle 'S' in his name during his British career is not known, though it could well have been Hoskins' idea. The boss used to call him Oyvind 'S for Super' Berg.
Berg was not a well known rider internationally, but had been recommended by Reidar Eide who was also returning after a bust-up had ended his 1966 British season. Both rode in the Scottish Open Championship which opened the 1967 season. Berg won his first-ever race in Britain, and in doing so defeated the reigning champion Arne Pander, and was quite a sensation in compiling 10 points on his debut.
He scored paid 6 in his first league match, away to West Ham, and it was already obvious that a talented rider had been discovered. He didn't quite maintain his early form, dipping in mid-season, but came roaring back at the end of the year, notably in the second leg of the Scottish Cup at White City where paid 14 was Berg's contribution to a famous win.
This performance gave him greater confidence for the rest of the season; his later away scores included paid 10 at Exeter and paid 9 in the win at Newport, Coupled with his performance at Glasgow, he was clearly a man who could cope with difficult tracks.
If for nothing else, Oyvind would have a place in Monarchs' history as the winner of the closing Scottish Best Pairs at Old Meadowbank, His partner was Wayne Briggs, and the Norwegian scored 11 to Briggo's 9 as they took the title. He had had a fine first year, averaging 6.49, but that White City performance led him to believe that he would like to ride in Glasgow permanently. With Monarchs on the move to Coatbridge, Berg became a Tiger, and at his new track he showed an ability which few could match to race into the tight corners at remarkable speed. His home dominance helped him to average around 8 over three years as a Tiger, a period when the Glasgow fans didn't have a lot else to cheer.
He moved with Tigers to Hampden (1969-70), and carried on in similar vein in two season with Oxford (1971-2). Apart from a few matches for Poole in 1974, Berg's British League career came to a premature end at the age of 29 due to pressing business commitments in Norway. He could have had several more years at heat leader level, but even in a short career at Edinburgh, and slightly longer in Glasgow, he made his mark as a fine competitor.