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Gary Hocking


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#1 cwaddingham

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 16:22

I posted this in the 4 wheel nostalgia page - perhaps I'll hav more luck here !! Anway cut and paste.

I raced motorcycles in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South Africa in the early to mid 70's. Although this was a short time after Gary 'Sox' Hocking's untimely death in 4 wheel practice in Natal I have heard many stories (some probably embellished as time moved on !!) about this great (and much loved apparently by all who knew him) charachter. A few comments: His retirement from motorcycle racing appears to have been a spur of the moment thing after the death of his friend Tom Phillis at the TT. Cosidering he was a 'favoured son' in Count Agusta's MV team at the time and was succeeded by greats Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini, who knows how many World titles he would have added to the two he had won at the time if he had stuck with it. I believe he also showed tremendous potential in 4 wheel racing before his accident.
Some stories I heard about him: He left the UK in his mid teens under quite extraordinary circumstances. Apparently he and his younger sister were orphaned when his parents died at this time. His sister and himself were assigned to different orphanages. Not wanting to split up what was left of his family - he ran away with his sister and somehow made it to Rhodesia where Gary was able to make a life for the two of them. I dont know the details of this story but would love to hear from someone who knew him and could verify (and clarify) the circumstances. Also I met many people in my racing days who had known him and I never heard a bad word spoken about him - in fact his many kindnesses were almost legendary !!. From everything I have heard about him he was a man of extraorinary integrity and generosity. As I say I would love to hear from anyone who knew him.

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#2 serafini

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 12:27

I may be wrong but I believe that Gary's mother survived him. I am pretty sure that a friend of mine met her when he went to visit Hocking's grave in south Wales.
It was not all sweetness and light with Count Agusta. When Count Agusta tried to sign him from MZ, Hocking asked for a fortune, Agusta blew his top so Hocking told him to keep his ride. Hocking won on the MZ (at the Ulster, from memory) and so Agusta relented and signed him up.
But Agusta had a long memory. When Bob Mac on the 350 Bianchi was challenging Hocking in 1961, Hocking complained that the MV was too slow. Agusta's response was to tell him to leave the girls alone and concentrate on racing - and then he signed Hailwood to add some spice to the team.

#3 Russell Burrows

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 09:52

I posted this in the 4 wheel nostalgia page - perhaps I'll hav more luck here !! Anway cut and paste.

I raced motorcycles in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South Africa in the early to mid 70's. Although this was a short time after Gary 'Sox' Hocking's untimely death in 4 wheel practice in Natal I have heard many stories (some probably embellished as time moved on !!) about this great (and much loved apparently by all who knew him) charachter. A few comments: His retirement from motorcycle racing appears to have been a spur of the moment thing after the death of his friend Tom Phillis at the TT. Cosidering he was a 'favoured son' in Count Agusta's MV team at the time and was succeeded by greats Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini, who knows how many World titles he would have added to the two he had won at the time if he had stuck with it. I believe he also showed tremendous potential in 4 wheel racing before his accident.
Some stories I heard about him: He left the UK in his mid teens under quite extraordinary circumstances. Apparently he and his younger sister were orphaned when his parents died at this time. His sister and himself were assigned to different orphanages. Not wanting to split up what was left of his family - he ran away with his sister and somehow made it to Rhodesia where Gary was able to make a life for the two of them. I dont know the details of this story but would love to hear from someone who knew him and could verify (and clarify) the circumstances. Also I met many people in my racing days who had known him and I never heard a bad word spoken about him - in fact his many kindnesses were almost legendary !!. From everything I have heard about him he was a man of extraorinary integrity and generosity. As I say I would love to hear from anyone who knew him.



I wonder if your conflating some of the Jim Redman story with Gary's ? There's a fair amount of info on Gary on the '49 thread. My recollection: he was taken to Rhodesia from Newport Wales by both parents when around primary school age, and stayed on there when the family returned. His body was returned to Britain in '62.

#4 arttidesco

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 12:49

While researching motor sport in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia I stumbled across this portfolio of pics of bike racing including Gary Hocking in Southern Rhodesia as was now Zimbabwe, afraid I know sod all about any of the tracks or participants beyond what is captioned, but believe you may well find it makes interesting viewing :-

http://travel.websho...010215637RcGUpy



#5 Russell Burrows

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 09:05

While researching motor sport in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia I stumbled across this portfolio of pics of bike racing including Gary Hocking in Southern Rhodesia as was now Zimbabwe, afraid I know sod all about any of the tracks or participants beyond what is captioned, but believe you may well find it makes interesting viewing :-

http://travel.websho...010215637RcGUpy

Interesting, thanks. A rare shot of Lutonboy out there in about '62. I think Tom Kirby loaned him bikes for this stint. I think too, that Readie was a bit underwhelmed by the reception he received from the colonials. :eek:

#6 arttidesco

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 19:11

Well spotted Russell :-)

As a ten year old I remember Africa being a bit of a culture shock can you point to anything anecdotally or in writing to suggest Phil was underwhelmed by his reception from the colonials ?

#7 Russell Burrows

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 22:30

Well spotted Russell :-)

As a ten year old I remember Africa being a bit of a culture shock can you point to anything anecdotally or in writing to suggest Phil was underwhelmed by his reception from the colonials ?


Phil wrote about his adventures in Southern Africa - can't really remember where though, presumably in one of his biogs. My memory is that he fell out with some of the locals after inspecting some of their racing irons a bit too closely for their liking. Perhaps this was connected with Phil wanting to convert Kirby's bikes to run on alcohol? I think too that for whatever reason, Jim Redman, or was it wife Marlene, were not too impressed with Lutonboy and showed this by being less than hospitable.

#8 arttidesco

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 07:38

That's a shame.

#9 Felix

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 18:57

Hi, I received this invite today and figured it was worth sharing

Gary Hocking Tribute – Westmead, 23 June 2012.

His career in motorsport was brief, but in those five years Gary Hocking achieved much more than most top professionals, many of them world champions, do in a lifetime of trying. At the age of 20 the young Rhodesian went across to Europe to try his luck as a motorcycle racer. In his debut event he picked up sixth place at the 1958 Dutch TT on a 500 ...Norton, and three weeks later earned a third in the West German 500cc GP at the Nurburgring. Just less than four years later he retired abruptly, as reigning 350 and 500cc World Champion, after winning the opening round of the 1962 World Championship, the Senior TT on the Isle of Man. In his brief international career he started in 38 motorcycle Grand Prix and won exactly half of them. He missed out on the podium just five times in those 38 races.

Six months after he retired from two-wheeled racing Hocking was killed at the Westmead circuit in Pinetown when he crashed a Formula One Lotus during practice for the Natal Grand Prix. He’d raced in only a few F1 races, but displayed astonishing talent in those he contested. His first two drives in Southern Africa were in the Rand Spring Trophy and the Rhodesian Grand Prix. He won both, and at Kyalami broke Jim Clark’s F1 lap record. In the fifth Rand Grand Prix Hocking finished fourth in a Lotus 24, behind Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor in the works Lotus 25s and John Surtees in a Lola. Then came the Natal Grand Prix in Westmead. If the Gods had been kinder he would have stood an excellent chance of challenging Surtees in the quest to be the first man to win World Championships on two wheels and four.

This year, to celebrate Gary’s achievements and commemorate his death exactly 50 years ago, a group of his friends and racing associates are organising a function in Westmead near Pinetown. On display will be a collection of Hocking’s trophies and other memorabilia, and tributes have been gathered from motorsport celebrities around the world who remember him. These include six times World Champion Jim Redman, motorcycle and Formula 1 ace Paddy Driver, works Yamaha racer and GP winner from the ‘60s Michelle Duff, four times World Champion Kork Ballington, and the legendary Honda and MV Agusta mechanic Nobby Clark. Also present will be many of the legendary Rhodesian racers of yesteryear, including Ken Robus, Alan and Dave Harris, Tommy Robinson, Ophie Howard and Alex McDonald. The gathering will be held at VMacs Roadhouse, 97 Goodwood Rd, Mahogany Ridge, Westmead on Saturday 23 June 2012 and all who wish to pay tribute to the great man are welcome. Contact Dave Harris on 082-7127745 for further information.

Anybody with scrapbooks or other memorabilia from the period is welcome to bring them along to share with the rest of us.


Anybody requiring contact details PM me, or call the number as given, adding +27 and dropping the 0

Edited by Felix, 25 April 2012 - 18:58.


#10 Geoff E

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 19:25

Apparently he and his younger sister ...


Searching thr GRO birth index, I can find evidence of only Gary (1937) and Duncan (1944), both born in Monmouthshire.


#11 tonyed

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:13

Searching thr GRO birth index, I can find evidence of only Gary (1937) and Duncan (1944), both born in Monmouthshire.

On St Valentines day in 1968 I attended a very wet and windswept Silverstone to participate in my first track outing at the Charles Mortimer Racing School. One of the other attendees caused some problem to the school by being unwilling to divulge his name or show a driving license. After some discussion he and Chas Senior withdrew to another room away from the rest of us. After a few minutes they returned and the session on the track started. I later discovered that the consternation regarding the nameless rider was that he did not want to divulge his name but be judged on his own abilities. He was Duncan Hocking.

#12 Sakkie

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 21:29

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Absolute poetry in motion. Gary Hocking was simply the best ever, and that comes from someone who´s seen them all. R.I.P young man, R.I.P. :cry:

Edited by Sakkie, 27 April 2012 - 21:30.


#13 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 09:01

I may be wrong but I don't believe Duncan Hocking did much if any road racing, but I recall him at the Ramsgate Sprints in the 60s, and he continued sprinting from then on.

http://drdb.eu/pbdrv.asp?drv=760

#14 dixie

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:13

I may be wrong but I don't believe Duncan Hocking did much if any road racing, but I recall him at the Ramsgate Sprints in the 60s, and he continued sprinting from then on.

http://drdb.eu/pbdrv.asp?drv=760

He definately raced at Brands, circa 1969, in the same race as myself. He was a late entry and we were asked whether we had any objections to him starting. Can't remember what bike he rode other than it was a 250cc race.

#15 petercorkill

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:54

Hi
Just a tiny piece of the Hocking jigsaw. As a teenager I lived in the "Welbeck" boarding house in Douglas IOM. Gary stayed with us when he first came over to the island to race the TT... along with a bunch of great guys including Jim Redman, Paddy Driver and Des Wolf. I was fascinated by these Southern Hemisphere characters. In his first year as a works rider with MV Gary came to Island in the Spring to prepare for the race. He was our only guest at this quiet time. He drove a big Ford (Zephyr? Zodiac?) and every day he would drive the course - I once sat in as his passenger and listened as he went through every detail including, of course, gear changes and rev. levels for every section of the course - in the evenings he would sit in our front room and I would test him as he memorised the whole 37.7 mile circuit. You can imagine I completely idolised the guy and just knew he was going to be a winner - watching him at corners Glen Helen, Governor's Bridge out-riding some of the best riders ever (Hailwood, Surtees, Agostini) was a bit special... great memories... but what a very sad end.

Hi, I received this invite today and figured it was worth sharing

Gary Hocking Tribute – Westmead, 23 June 2012.

His career in motorsport was brief, but in those five years Gary Hocking achieved much more than most top professionals, many of them world champions, do in a lifetime of trying. At the age of 20 the young Rhodesian went across to Europe to try his luck as a motorcycle racer. In his debut event he picked up sixth place at the 1958 Dutch TT on a 500 ...Norton, and three weeks later earned a third in the West German 500cc GP at the Nurburgring. Just less than four years later he retired abruptly, as reigning 350 and 500cc World Champion, after winning the opening round of the 1962 World Championship, the Senior TT on the Isle of Man. In his brief international career he started in 38 motorcycle Grand Prix and won exactly half of them. He missed out on the podium just five times in those 38 races.

Six months after he retired from two-wheeled racing Hocking was killed at the Westmead circuit in Pinetown when he crashed a Formula One Lotus during practice for the Natal Grand Prix. He’d raced in only a few F1 races, but displayed astonishing talent in those he contested. His first two drives in Southern Africa were in the Rand Spring Trophy and the Rhodesian Grand Prix. He won both, and at Kyalami broke Jim Clark’s F1 lap record. In the fifth Rand Grand Prix Hocking finished fourth in a Lotus 24, behind Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor in the works Lotus 25s and John Surtees in a Lola. Then came the Natal Grand Prix in Westmead. If the Gods had been kinder he would have stood an excellent chance of challenging Surtees in the quest to be the first man to win World Championships on two wheels and four.

This year, to celebrate Gary’s achievements and commemorate his death exactly 50 years ago, a group of his friends and racing associates are organising a function in Westmead near Pinetown. On display will be a collection of Hocking’s trophies and other memorabilia, and tributes have been gathered from motorsport celebrities around the world who remember him. These include six times World Champion Jim Redman, motorcycle and Formula 1 ace Paddy Driver, works Yamaha racer and GP winner from the ‘60s Michelle Duff, four times World Champion Kork Ballington, and the legendary Honda and MV Agusta mechanic Nobby Clark. Also present will be many of the legendary Rhodesian racers of yesteryear, including Ken Robus, Alan and Dave Harris, Tommy Robinson, Ophie Howard and Alex McDonald. The gathering will be held at VMacs Roadhouse, 97 Goodwood Rd, Mahogany Ridge, Westmead on Saturday 23 June 2012 and all who wish to pay tribute to the great man are welcome. Contact Dave Harris on 082-7127745 for further information.

Anybody with scrapbooks or other memorabilia from the period is welcome to bring them along to share with the rest of us.


Anybody requiring contact details PM me, or call the number as given, adding +27 and dropping the 0



#16 Russell Burrows

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 10:20

Hi
Just a tiny piece of the Hocking jigsaw. As a teenager I lived in the "Welbeck" boarding house in Douglas IOM. Gary stayed with us when he first came over to the island to race the TT... along with a bunch of great guys including Jim Redman, Paddy Driver and Des Wolf. I was fascinated by these Southern Hemisphere characters. In his first year as a works rider with MV Gary came to Island in the Spring to prepare for the race. He was our only guest at this quiet time. He drove a big Ford (Zephyr? Zodiac?) and every day he would drive the course - I once sat in as his passenger and listened as he went through every detail including, of course, gear changes and rev. levels for every section of the course - in the evenings he would sit in our front room and I would test him as he memorised the whole 37.7 mile circuit. You can imagine I completely idolised the guy and just knew he was going to be a winner - watching him at corners Glen Helen, Governor's Bridge out-riding some of the best riders ever (Hailwood, Surtees, Agostini) was a bit special... great memories... but what a very sad end.


Thanks for this genuinely interesting contribution, Peter.