TODAY marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most harrowing incidents ever witnessed at Odsal, one in which a speedway superstar almost lost his life.

Danish rider Erik Gundersen, who was World Speedway Champion in 1984, 1985 and 1988, was riding for his country in the first heat of the World Team Cup Final, held in Bradford on September 17, 1989.

Lining up alongside Lance King (USA), Simon Cross (England) and Jimmy Nilsen (Sweden), Gundersen was caught up in a horrific crash between the first and second bend.

All four went down but Gundersen suffered particularly badly. He received a terrible neck injury, hit by a rider while on the ground from the original crash.

Taking up the story, huge fan John Murphy said: "He was rushed to the Bradford Royal Infirmary and many feared he would not survive the night.

"He fought for his life, and following months of rehab in Pinderfields, Wakefield he returned to Denmark. His speedway career ended that day at Odsal."

Earlier this month, Gundersen spoke to specialist magazine Speedway Star about that fateful incident.

He said: "I think about it a lot (the crash). Obviously things affect me everyday, like the injuries have an impact on my daily routine. But I still think about it in a positive way.

"It's gone 30 years and I've come a long way. But when I look back I've been lucky that my disabilities are such that I'm still able to live my life, a functional life both on and off my work, and what I'm doing every day. Therefore I'm a happy camper.

"Although September 17 this year is going to be a funny day in many ways, like it is every year. Every time it is that day it's the first thing I think of when I wake up. I sit and go through my daily routine what I did at Bradford that day.

"It puts a smile on my face and I just look out and keep telling myself how lucky I am compared to others. Some have it so much harder than me after their accidents, that's how I deal with it.

"So then I turn over the next page, go to the next chapter always. That's how I live my life now, to keep turning the pages. I keep looking ahead. I do look back sometimes but mainly always forward.

"I also have heard about Odsal closing down maybe after all this time. That is very sad. I only have good memories of 1985 and the World Pairs final in 1988. I don't remember 1989..."

Meanwhile, Murphy paid his own tribute at an empty Odsal last week, laying out flags for the countries of all the riders involved in the heat, signifying where the race ended abruptly 30 years ago today.