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Whatever happened to Reg Harris?


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#1 Nick Wa

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 18:05

Reg Harris' cycling career is well documented but I can see very little on his motoring exploits. Did David Brown give him a trial like Geoff Duke had?

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#2 Bauble

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 19:02

Reg used to drive a D-type Jaguar in club events after he retired from professional cycling, Eric (who else) and I had cycled up to one such clubbie where Reg was driving and when racing had ended we saw the great man in the paddock and we stopped for a chat. He was obviously impressed with our cycling prowess when we told him we had cycled up from North London!!!

I have a picture in my old (very old) scrap book of Reg pumping up the tyres on the Jag at some event or another.

Eric with his elephant like memory will undoubtedly add further detail for us.

Memories, memories.

Edited by Bauble, 01 May 2010 - 19:06.


#3 D-Type

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 22:17

Martin Krejci only has one entry for Reg Harris - driving a D-Type Jaguar at the Crystal Palace in the London Trophy on 5th July 1958 so I wonder how many races he did actually take part in.

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 06:59

Quite a few, but mainly at sub-Krejci club level
My records have Harris recording two wins and a second place in such events in 1958

#5 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:31

Like many racing cyclists Reg Harris had a love of fast cars and motor racing. He once had a very well publicised road accident while driving what was described at the times as a 'very powerful Wolseley Coupe'. He raced at club level during the early 1950's which is where the famous picture of him pumping his tyres at Silverstone came from. I dont recall him having a test with Aston-Martin but its quite possible that he might have been invited to do so for publicity purposes, for Reg was very much a household name at the time. At the Maidstone & Mid Kent Silverstone meeting mentioned by Bauble, Reg was driving the John Broadhead D Type Jaguar previously raced by Bob Berry. The D Type had quite a tussle with the Lotus-Climax of Mayman that day, and we watched from our perch on top of the Ferodo Sign at Copse Corner as Harris overhauled the Lotus over on the Club straight. I believe that Reg raced the Broadhead car several times during 1958 with some success at Club level. Haris was also a great Alfa-Romeo enthusiast and it was said that you could always locate his house by looking for the red Alfa parked in the drive. The nice thing about our meeting with the Cycling World Champion on that blustery Silverstone day was that he approached us, and advised us that due to the prevailing winds we could look forward to "a float ride home". Not a great success as a racing driver but a remarkable man.

Edited by Eric Dunsdon, 02 May 2010 - 08:34.


#6 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 08:24

My memory is telling me that Reg Harris drove the Broadhead D Type in the big sports car support race at Silverstone's 1958 International Trophy Race meeting. Does anyone have a programme or start sheet that could confirm this please?.

#7 RCH

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:48

My memory is telling me that Reg Harris drove the Broadhead D Type in the big sports car support race at Silverstone's 1958 International Trophy Race meeting. Does anyone have a programme or start sheet that could confirm this please?.


By an amazing coincidence I bought a pile of programmes yesterday which included the Int. Trophy.
The entry is there no 7. Reg Harris Jaguar/S.C. Broadhead 3442cc.
No indication of whether he started.

#8 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 11:26

By an amazing coincidence I bought a pile of programmes yesterday which included the Int. Trophy.
The entry is there no 7. Reg Harris Jaguar/S.C. Broadhead 3442cc.
No indication of whether he started.


Wow!. Thank you very much for that information and for confirming my memories of that day. Yes, he did start the race, and, I believe, finished. A little out of his depth at that level though. Thanks again.

#9 Sharman

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 15:00

I think he died sometime in the late 80s, I remember competing against him at a sprint somewhere or other, he was using his powder blue TR3. His ex wife Dorothy was a fairly frequent rally driver.

Edited by Sharman, 03 May 2010 - 15:22.


#10 VAR1016

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 16:30

I think he died sometime in the late 80s, I remember competing against him at a sprint somewhere or other, he was using his powder blue TR3. His ex wife Dorothy was a fairly frequent rally driver.



According to Wiki, he died in 1992 (stroke).

Paul

#11 MCS

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 16:34

I have a vague memory of him winning (?) a Celebrity Escort race at Oulton Park in the mid-seventies...


#12 Giraffe

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 17:20

Derek Lawson in his ubiquitous tome has Reg winning in the D-type at the L&CCC meeting at Oulton Park on June 7th 1958. 23rd July 1960 has him back there in the Jag in a combined Saloon and GT car race and dicing with Dickie Attwood in a TR3. Brian Redman was also in that race, in his Morris Traveller, I suspect? That's the last listing at Oulton for him by Derek.

#13 elansprint72

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 18:22

Mr Harris (as we members of the Manchester Wheelers Club always called our most famous member) did sadly die in 1992 but as I recall it was not from a stroke but from some blood complication from a problem with his foot. Edit: It seems that I was wrong here, it was indeed a stroke. Apologies.

The last time we met he was in considerable pain, walking with a stick and wearing a moon-boot thing; this did not stop him turning out, with his wife Jennifer to support one of our anniversary time trials, based in a ramshackle village church hall out in the wilds of Cheshire.

Reg was the consummate athlete, fiercely competitive, he would give no quarter in the sprint, even late in his life if someone on a training ride started a sprint for a road sign, he would go all out against kids in their prime.

Having not touched a track bike for maybe 15 years after he retired, he was persuaded that current track sprinters were nowhere near his standard and he made a comeback at the age of 51 and, after almost no training, won a bronze medal in the British Championship. Work commitments prevented a further concerted effort on the bike but at the age of 54, having managed to put in some road and track miles Reg became British Professional Sprint champion.

I know less about Reg's career on four wheels but I know that he commissioned the Deep Sanderson twin Mini-engined car (not sure if he ever raced it) and his road car, when I crossed his path again, was a pale yellow 911 with duck tail and registration REG 525. Often he would catch up with me when I was cycling into work in Manchester and drop in front, pacing me along Kingsway at a steady 35-40 mph (the duck-tail Porsche pulls a big low pressure area behind it with a sweet-spot when the bike wheel is about 18 inches behind the rear bumper!

I first met Reg when he owned a Shell garage in Didsbury; I was deposited on his forecourt by a VW camper which suddenly decided it needed fuel just as it was alongside my bike and turned in, taking me (fending it off with my elbow) with it. "You did well there lad, you must be a sprinter, good elbow!"

His biography (co-written with Anthony Huston Bowden) "Two Wheels to the Top" is superb, if you can find a copy.


Mr Harris is buried in Chelford, not far from the home he shared with Jennifer at Lower Withington.

Edited by elansprint72, 04 May 2010 - 09:27.


#14 speedman13

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 09:09

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#15 Graham Gauld

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 12:35


Having been away for a few days I missed out on this thread. However I am attaching two photos I took of Reg at Charterhall in 1958 when he drove the Johnny Broadhead D type. As you can see he let it go at the hairpin before the straight.

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#16 elansprint72

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 16:02

In "Two Wheels to the Top" there is a whole chapter on his motoring and motor racing; road cars included HRG, Allard, Riley Sprite formerly owned by bob Gerrard's wife (I'm leaving out the boring stuff here, like road-going Jaguars).
He drove an MG TD in the first RAC Rally. Started the Monte Carlo Rally in his Jag MkVII but reached the first control on a tow rope. He entered the next year a in an ex-Ken Wharton A90, stopped to assist a crashed Pat Moss, eventually they withdrew after falling far behind schedule due to icy conditions.
Next step was the Broadhead D-type, in which he felt he was in need of tuition so had some demo laps from his friend Tony Brooks in a DB4 at Oulton, he got in the D-type and improved no end, Brooks observing from around tha track.
He then talks about the Chater Hall (sic) race in which Jim Clark passed him and demolished the fencing.
Next racing at Crystal Palace against Jonathan Sieff, who took to the trees to avoid what he though was going to be a big Harris accident.

Reg decided that he should concentrate on his cycling career and gave up the cars.


There are photos showing him racing:

1) the white Riley Sprite APW351, race number 57 at Silverstone, Sept '51 (his "first attempt motor racing") finishing 4th behind three XK120s.
2) alongside Geoff Duke at Siverstone '52 in tuned A40s, MOE 174 is Harris' car, neither of them are wearing helmets, this was a two-car match race.
3) Driving the D type OKV2 at Oulton Park in '58.
4) as shot of Jim Clark "helping me to promote Gannex".

Hey, you'll have to buy the book now!

Edited by elansprint72, 05 May 2010 - 21:16.


#17 Sharman

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 16:51

Graham
Never heard anybody call him Johnny, always Jack, he was a great character having made a lot of money out of scrap at the end of the war. I wish I could remember which car he had rebodied in tulip wood. unlike most rich men he would always buy a round at the pub in Bollington where he lived and his son Bill still lives.
John

#18 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 17:01

In "Two Wheels to the Top" there is a whole chapter on his motoring and motor racing; road cars included HRG, Allard, Riley Sprite formerly owned by bob Gerrard's wife (I'm leaving out the boring stuff here, like Jaguars).



There are photos showing him racing:

1) the white Riley Sprite APW351, race number 57 at Silverstone, Sept '51 (his "first attempt motor racing") finishing 4th behind three XK120s.
2) alongside Geoff Duke at Siverstone '52 in tuned A40s, MOE 174 is Harris' car, neither of them are wearing helmets, this was a two-car match race.
3) Driving the D type OKV2 at Oulton Park in '58.
4) as shot of Jim Clark "helping me to promote Gannex".

Hey, you'll have to buy the book now!


Wish I could afford to!. ):

#19 elansprint72

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 21:12

Wish I could afford to!. ):


http://cgi.ebay.co.u...=item2a06cb297c

I had no idea this was a rare book; just goes to show, you should buy stuff when it is new.

:stoned:


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#20 elansprint72

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 21:25

Graham
Never heard anybody call him Johnny, always Jack, he was a great character having made a lot of money out of scrap at the end of the war. I wish I could remember which car he had rebodied in tulip wood. unlike most rich men he would always buy a round at the pub in Bollington where he lived and his son Bill still lives.
John


Who is Graham, who is Johnny, Jack and Bill? I can see no reference to any of these folks in this thread.
I do know that Mr Harris worked in Bollington for Draka Foam, which was part of Philips bv. for whom I also worked at that time. :smoking:


#21 Tim Murray

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 21:38

Try reading post 15 by Graham Gauld, which makes reference to Johnny Broadhead. Sharman pointed out that Johnny was usually known as Jack, and had a son called Bill.

#22 elansprint72

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 21:48

Try reading post 15 by Graham Gauld, which makes reference to Johnny Broadhead. Sharman pointed out that Johnny was usually known as Jack, and had a son called Bill.


Having been away for a few days I missed out on this thread. However I am attaching two photos I took of Reg at Charterhall in 1958 when he drove the Johnny Broadhead D type. As you can see he let it go at the hairpin before the straight.


Um.... missed the Johnny reference, apologies. Jack and Bill? :well: