Yuri Chekranov – Speedway Champion

Yuri Chekranov (Rus. Юри Чекранов)

In the 1960s of the twentieth century, this name was known to every inhabitant of Bashkiria, to all motor sports fans of the Soviet Union and speedway fans around the world. The English magazine “Speedway Star” included him in the top twenty strongest racers in the world in 1964 (image above). Yuri Chekranov was a member of the USSR national speedway team, which won silver medals at the World Speedway Championship in 1964 and 1966. In 1963, shortly before his 20th birthday (born October 31, 1943) Chekranov became the champion of the RSFSR in speedway, and a year later – the champion of the USSR in speedway in team races as part of the Ufa “Bashkiria”. Then he repeated this result together with his teammates three more times – in 1967, 1968 and 1969, and won his fifth gold medal with Bashkiria 10 years later as the head coach of the legendary team.

However, the greatest fame came to Yuri Chekranov in ice racing. In 1966, he began with a bronze medal at the Russian championship, and then won such a convincing victory in the final of the USSR championship that few had any doubts about his victory in the first world championship. His name thundered on the ice.

In 1967, at the final of the USSR championship in ice racing, he broke his spine.

In 1973, Yuri Chekranov just by chance found himself among the participants in the quarterfinals of the Russian championship in Salavat, he got a place as a substitute, left in only two races, which he won, and got into the semifinals as a substitute. Then, in a similar way, got to the final and again won the gold medal of the champion of the RSFSR!

At the end of his active sports activity in track motorcycle racing, Yuri Chekranov was engaged in auto racing for some time, participated in rallies and races on the highway behind the wheel of a Moskvich-412, prepared in the road test laboratory of the Ufa Engine Building Plant, led the work of a motorcycle circle in the Ufa Palace of Pioneers, returned to speedway as the head coach of Bashkiria, left for Minsk, where he also worked as a speedway coach.

His pupil and son Kirill Chekranov was close to winning the Russian youth speedway championship, but eventually chose motocross, representing Belarus at the European Championships.

In 2017, the five-time world speedway champion Ove Fundin visited Ufa, and was sincerely glad to meet Yuri Chekranov, with whom he had fought in the finals of the World Championship and in friendly matches on the tracks of Sweden and England half a century before.

Yuri Andreevich Chekranov was “the last of the Mohicans” of the golden age of Bashkir motorsport. He passed away 16 December 2021 in Ufa.

Ufa (Russian: Уфа́; Bashkir: Өфө) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bashkortostan in Russia.

source: Nikolay Ermolenko

translated from Russian and Tartar

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