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Replies to various topics for clarification


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#1 BK11

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:04

:wave:

Hello folks. I have been looking at this activity for the past couple of days, after my son sent me the link. It is all very interesting stuff. However, I would like to offer some comment to clarify some items. With regard to 'tuners', Frank Higley was never a tuner. Frank was a very private man(a tree surgeon by profession) and a total gentleman who had an absolute passion for motorcycle racing. Frank sponsored various riders, the like of Chris Conn ( I think) for a couple of years, then a clubman from Lincolnshire, with a 500 Seeley Mk1 and a 350 Aermachhi Metisse. Frank came into our shop in Old Windsor , Five Star Speed Equipe to offer the Aermacchi and the Seeley to me to ride. The 'negotiations did not take long, we shook hands on the arrangements and it all went on very happily from there, with some fulfilling success. Some of the highlights were, meeting Wally Rawlings who did the first engine build on the Seeley and also meeting Colin Seeley, when we changed the bike set up from the complete loop frame of the Mk1 to the open lightweight frame of the Mk3. The other absolute gem of a man I had the pleasure of meeting was Syd Lawton who did all the preparation of the Aermachhi. A couple of successes that stick in my mind forever was the 1971 King of Brands title , which we won with a ride on the Seeley, finishing third to Dave Croxford and Charlie Sanby and a 2nd place behind Paul Smart ( the one time Smarty finished in front of me, sorry Paul I had to rub it in) on the 750 Curly Norton. I had already won the 250 race and the production race earlier in the day, these did not count points for the King of Brands title however (it was a busy day) The other really memorable success with the Seeley was finishing in front of, Peter Williams, Nigel Palmer, Barry Randle, Tony Rutter, Dave Croxford, Percy May at Castle Coombe in 1970, on the same day we finished well in front of Percy Tait on the factory Triumph Triple, breaking the lap record on a few occasions. Other than the very pleasing victories at Castle Coombe, was seeing the look of pleasure on Frank Higley's face when he came up after the 500 race and shook my hand so hard I thought it would come off. We stopped on the way back home to Windsor , I think in Amersham, at a pub with a very pleasant restaurant to have a hardy steak meal. My team and I ate and chatted about the day and at the end of the evening I called for the bill, only to be told that it had already been settled. Frank Higley, was eating at the same restaurant, unbeknown to us and completed the sponsorship of the day by this kind gesture. Whilst mentioning gentlemen, I must mention Mr John Viccars, who was customer and friend of the best Norton Manx tuner in the world, Ray Petty. I purchased my 350 Manx from Ray after he let me try it out at Brands Hatch in October 1964 in the 'Event 9' race where I finished fourth behind Roger Bowring on his Triumph special who was chased all the way by a very enthusiastic rider on a 7R and just in front of me was Adrian 'Ace' Cooper on his Domiracer.
After this trial ride I purchased the 350. I had my first ever, first place on the Manx at Brands on Good Friday 1965 in the 350 non-expert race, which was the same day another lad from our locality, Tom Dickie set himself on the map by finishing third on his Brianb Coleshill prpared 7R behind the winner, the great Derek MInter and Tom (Newbury Ned) Phillips on an Aermachhi. Later in 1965 a John Viccars suggested that I should ride his 500 for the next season and that I should collect from Mr Ray Petty.
Now the title ' Lord of Lydden'. The name Lord of Lydden was bestowed on Charlie Sanby ( and deservedly so) by John Brown, the then editor of Motorcycle News after the very first meeting to be held at the circuit after Charlie won the 500 race on his very immaculate Norton. The 350 race was won by Martin Ashwood with yours truly second in both races on my 350 Petty Norton. The following year, Bill Chesson the owner and promoter of Lydden Hill race track declared there to be an event at the start of the season named 'Lord of Lydden' which I won on my Endurol Yamaha. Thereon becoming the very first 'Lord of Lydden' with the wreath, trophy and prize money. Charlie Sanby was second and Dave Croxford was third. Bill Chesson being a very competitive fellow laid down a rule to retain the title, Lord of Lydden. The title holder had to attend the other two events at Lydden Hill in that season to retain the title. The title holder didn't have to win each meeting , just be there. Good appearance money was paid to the main protagonists for each season , which was very clever marketing as the crowds kept on improving in size each time. The next season, I rode the Curley Norton to defend the title and promptly fell off whilst leading just infront of Dave Croxford at the left hander leading to the new hairpin. I do believe that Charley did then win that year. It was an honour riding in competition with the likes of all of the riders mention in this topic and all the others from 1962 to 1972, truly the great years in my life.

All the very best.

Brian Kemp

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#2 fil2.8

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 12:02

Hi , Brian :wave: , and a very warm welcome to the forum . Thanks for the above info . We look forward to more of your exploits in due course , I remember you well , a good and fair competitor :up: , any piccies per chance ?? :love:

#3 LamboNZ

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 21:01

Hi Brian, welcome to the forum.
Some great reading there, I look forward to reading more.
Interesting to read you refering to Tom as 'Newbury Ned' a name given to him by Lance Weil, I believe.
Tom was a mate of my dads for years, right up until his untimely death.

Nigel Lambourne

#4 picblanc

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 09:37

What a great read Brian, thank you for your memories, and welcome. :wave:

#5 BK11

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 02:10

Hi Brian, welcome to the forum.
Some great reading there, I look forward to reading more.
Interesting to read you refering to Tom as 'Newbury Ned' a name given to him by Lance Weil, I believe.
Tom was a mate of my dads for years, right up until his untimely death.

Nigel Lambourne



I am sure whether the yank gave him the name or not but Tom Phillips was a really good person, unassuming, full of fun and very, very determined. Only had the pleasure of chatting with Tom on a couple of occasions, once at Thruxton and the other time at Brands. I do remember that her had a very attractive wife. Do I read you correctly, that Tom has died or your father. Either of which are very sad but moreso if it is Tom, yet another of the 'old crew' has left us. By the way, I use the term yank with all affection, Lance was a good character as is my iother American friend Marty Lunde, who I understand has a motorcycle business in UK somewhere as he reportedly stayed in UK as there was a love interest.
If you have any more unanswered questions on the 1960's t0 early 70's, please ask or look for an issue of Classic Racer some time after April this year. I will be in UK for all of April and one of my activities is to report to the offices of Classic Racer in Lincoln to be interviewed.
Talk with you soon.

Brian Kemp

#6 BK11

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 02:14

Hi , Brian :wave: , and a very warm welcome to the forum . Thanks for the above info . We look forward to more of your exploits in due course , I remember you well , a good and fair competitor :up: , any piccies per chance ?? :love:



I will try to find some pics and then have one of my boys or one of the grandchildren scan them so that I can send them on to you. Be patient.

Brian Kemp

#7 Jim77

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 16:24

Hello Brian,

Are you the same Brian Kemp who was testing a Vincent at a 1969 club event which I was in? You retired and

I went on to win the one and only race in my short racing career.

If you were, thanks for retiring in that event!

 

I have always wondered what Vincent you were riding and why did you retire (if you can remember the event)?

 

Did you ever ride any more Vincent’s?

 

Regards

Jim.


Edited by Jim77, 28 June 2014 - 23:00.