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#1 terryshep

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 18:13

Hey, chaps, inspired by a post on another thread, I thought we should start a topic on first races. They are bound to be funny in the glaring light of the 21st century, so let's hear about them. I'll start the ball rolling with mine. Are you listening, Stu?

I was in the RAF in 1951 and the North Central Finance Company and I owned a 1939 Inter Norton 500 at this time, me having swapped my 1934 TT replica Rudge for this state of the art device. I was stationed at Sealand Camp and knew that the Wirral 100 MCC ran meetings at Rhydymwyn, not too far away, on a half-mile track between Mold and Denbigh. This may sound a bit isolated but it saw the beginnings of many names of note in later years. It was a tiny venue next to a pub called the Antelope, which was patronised by some of the riders in the luncheon interval, which definitely contributed to some of the strange results we saw later.

It was an extremely twisty track, obviously very short and riders were permitted a pusher to get them going. There were air raid shelters and other very solid buildings around the circuit and one was obliged to weave between them, hopefully missing the sharp edges.

I set forth with my carefully prepared Norton; this preparation consisted of a piece of copper pipe in place of the silencer and appropriately shaped cardboard number plates. Oh! and a lot of tape and wire (no duct tape or Araldite then). Racing clothing was DR breeches & boots & a leather jacket stitched up from pieces from a furniture factory near the camp. No Kevlar, unfortunately and when I flung the Norton away on the fast(?) bend on the straight, it proved very little of a barrier between me and the ground. I crawled back to camp, licking my wounds and fortunately my sergeant accepted my excuse of a fall from the back of a truck with a very cynical and knowing smile.

Not exactly the Grand Prix win I'd been considering, but at least it got me through that first terrifying race start. No-one who hasn't done it can know what that first experience on the grid is like - or maybe I'm just a sensitive little soul.

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#2 Russell Burrows

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 19:56

A good thread, Terry.

An eight lap unlimited bash around Oran Park on a '67 250 Aermacchi for me. I started off about mid field and pretty much stayed there (an omen of things to come). That I didn't fall off surprised me as I can remember thinking that I just had to stick like glue to the bloke in front no matter what. I think it was this race in which the little macchi just about had the legs on a proddy CB 750 Honda down the straight. I've dug out the programme which tells me some of the the opposition wasn't too bad: Trevor Wood on the Tansac, Ross King, Murray Sayle, Robert Madden, Barry Angus..... In 'Division 2' was Les Kenny, as well as Warren Willing on a 650 Triton.

Edited by Russell Burrows, 27 October 2010 - 21:03.


#3 fatfreddie

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:24

A novice grass track event for me. I have only ever been able to remember the start and the finish. What happened in between will forever be a blank. I must have gone quite well though, as I won the bugger. :clap: :rotfl: :rolleyes:

#4 GD66

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:48

A good thread, Terry.

I've dug out the programme which tells me some of the the opposition wasn't too bad: Trevor Wood on the Tansac, Ross King, Murray Sayle, Robert Madden, Barry Angus..... In 'Division 2' was Les Kenny, as well as Warren Willing on a 650 Triton.





Barry Angus is racing again Russell, he rode a 650 Triton in the recent historic roadrace nats at Phillip Island.


#5 MickJones

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 13:20

Good thread, should prove to be hilarious.

My first meeting was with the now defunct Bantam racing club at Snetterton March 18th 1973 on.....uhm :rolleyes: a Bantam, yah gotta start somewhere. The bike had been thrown together from a box of bits i purchased in January, my race prepping being in it's infancy, things looked far from rosey. The first race of the day and sitting on the grid looking towards Riches completely numbed me, I was numbed even worse when the union jack dropped and everyone tore away from me. I hadn't quite mastered the clutch slip needed on a close ratio box unfortunately. I didn't last long as I got quite carried away by the site of another rider slowly getting closer to me. I ran straight into a ploughed field at Sears, over the bars and on my head, no damage then. Next race, an uneventful 18th but the third never happened due to both the expansion chamber and the carb falling off in the warm up area. Needless to say, my preparation improved dramatically if not my riding for a while at least. :well:

#6 Arthur

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 14:41

Terry I have just been reading of some of your 1950's races in an article on Joe Potts in the current 'Classic Racer'
My word looks like that legend Bob Mac did most of the chasing as the article mentions you being ahead on most occasions.
Good subject this will put my thinking cap on and contribute

#7 Russell Burrows

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 15:27

Barry Angus is racing again Russell, he rode a 650 Triton in the recent historic roadrace nats at Phillip Island.


Good on him. He was no slouch on his own Triupmh special and later rode a really quick Triton ? for a well known bloke, so well known I've forgotten his name. :blush: Angus, Laurie Turnbull, Geoff Sim, Dave Evans and Ray Vinton were some of the racers who worked at Bennett Honda when I was there in the sixties. Oh and John Warrian worked for the parent company just up the road.

Edited by Russell Burrows, 28 October 2010 - 15:28.


#8 terryshep

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 14:52

Terry I have just been reading of some of your 1950's races in an article on Joe Potts in the current 'Classic Racer'
My word looks like that legend Bob Mac did most of the chasing as the article mentions you being ahead on most occasions.
Good subject this will put my thinking cap on and contribute

Thanks, Arthur, I hadn't seen that. I'm glad someone's written about Joe, he was a clever bloke, built some successful 500cc racing cars before the bikes and of course, he was behind all Bob's efforts.

Bob and his sidekick, Alistair King, were my best mates in racing right from the first time we raced each other at Oulton Park in 1955. Both real hard racers but never unfair or any dodgy tactics. Racing was simpler then, I think, less regimented, more or less same bikes, same tyres, no laptops, more about the riders than their equipment. Maybe it's just my rose-coloured memory, but this is the Nostalgia forum, so why not?

What about your exploits, Arthur?

Edited by terryshep, 30 October 2010 - 14:53.


#9 knickerbrook

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 16:35

Say Terry, are you familiar with the posts of forum member "joepotts7"?
He posted some very interesting recollections of Joe Potts a few years ago on this forum, and they can still be read. If you click on the Members button and enter "joepotts7" in the search box, then go to members posts, you will get them. I found his post of Dec. 7th 2006 particularly fascinating!

Barry.

#10 terryshep

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 17:30

Say Terry, are you familiar with the posts of forum member "joepotts7"?
He posted some very interesting recollections of Joe Potts a few years ago on this forum, and they can still be read. If you click on the Members button and enter "joepotts7" in the search box, then go to members posts, you will get them. I found his post of Dec. 7th 2006 particularly fascinating!

Barry.

Thanks, Barry, I'll try that. Not the first time I've noticed your forum name, one of the best corners at Oulton before they ruined it.

#11 fatfreddie

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 18:55

In the dark recesses of my fast fading memory, I can just about recall someone, perhaps Surtees, writing about that moment when engines are cut and a deathly silence settles over the grid. Whoever it was described that brief half minute or so when goggles are adjusted and re-adjusted, when petrol taps are checked and rechecked, when you tell yourself your tightened gut and quickened breathing is due to having pulled the bike back on compression, when you fleetingly imagine a route through the soon to be charging and weaving figures ahead, when under your breath you curse the starter for not raising and dropping his flag……..

Beautifully summed up Russ. :up:

#12 Russell Burrows

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 19:13

Beautifully summed up Russ. :up:


Thanks Fred, I think we might be the only would be poets out there though ;)


#13 knickerbrook

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 20:27

Here is my contribution.

My first race was at Llandow in 1969. I was seventeen and after a few years of keen spectating, I thought of little else other than to start racing myself. I bought a road-going Gold Star from Coburn and Hughes for £150 (£2 pound a week on HP, which made a big dent in my £4 a week apprentices wage!). My enthusiasm knew no bounds! I persuaded a local scrambler to lend me his leather trousers to go with my Lewis Leather bomber jacket, I took off the lights and other road bits and fitted a megaphone that a mate had made for me in his metalwork class! The bike had road tyres (the Dunlop K70 on the rear was almost bald!). How we (both the bike and me!) ever got through scrutineering is a mystery. With the tall gearing of the RRT2 gearbox and the short straights, I was only able to use first and second gears! I rode the bike twenty-odd miles to the circuit early in the morning on that open mega (barrumbaaaa!).
I was entered in two 500cc races. In the first one, I (surprisingly) finished 7th out of a field of around twenty riders. But in the second one I came a cropper when lying in fourth place (due, if I recall, to the throttle sticking open on one of the corners). This was in the early laps – no doubt I would have been overtaken if I had stayed on longer! The only significant damage was bent forks, so no big deal. I was so chuffed with myself for that 7th place in my first race! Finances prevented me from continuing racing at that point, but the seed was well and truly sown! A couple of years after this shambolic start, I went on to race “properly” on a Seeley G50 and later on a TZ350. How I wish I still had that Goldie!

Here’s the evidence (complete with bent forks). Don’t I look a knobhead!
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#14 Russell Burrows

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 20:47

Good stuff Barry, got any more of the Seeley?

#15 knickerbrook

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 21:12

These do Russ? (You shouldn't encourage me!).

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#16 Robin127

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 21:34

A Bemsee meeting at Snetterton on March 22nd 1975 was when I had my first race. Ever since I'd spectated at Crystal Palace on Easter Sunday 1968 all I'd ever wanted to do was race motorcycles.

I really remember more about the day as a whole than about the races themselves. I wasn't actually that nervous, I'd been going to meetings regularly for a few years with my brothers who raced and so I was very familiar with all that went on. It was wet for practice and damp for most of the day but it made no difference to me, my bike, a 250 Montesa was slow (although this was rectified later in the year) but I was even worse, in fact I was bloody awful. I was lapped twice in all my races (the first a 250 single cylinder race, the others Production) and finished last by a long, long way. It was obvious that day that the top GP boys of the time had nothing to worry about.

I did however keep plugging away and wouldn't give up and eventually became a fairly competent club racer who still has the same love of racing as I did when I first saw it at Crystal Palace 42 years ago.


#17 Russell Burrows

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 21:42

These do Russ? (You shouldn't encourage me!).

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Good shots, Barry; what beautiful looking things they were. :up:

#18 knickerbrook

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 23:09

Hi Robin :wave:
We probably would have been at the same Bemsee meetings on occasions. I did a few between '73 and '75 on the Seeley (Brands and Snetterton) and later on the TZ. If memory serves, Chris Magahan raced a Montesa around that time too, as did a chap named John White (from Swansea), although there didn't seem to be many others around.
I'd have thought there would be more of us recalling their first race. C'mon guys - spill the beans :blush: :lol: !




#19 GD66

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:22

We probably would have been at the same Bemsee meetings on occasions. I did a few between '73 and '75 on the Seeley



What caused you to ditch the Gordon Blair exhaust pipe in favour of the older style, Barry ?


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#20 knickerbrook

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 10:19

Hi GD :wave:
I can't remember a definitive reason for my reverting back to the traditional megaphone, or what the claimed advantage of the Blair was at the time. What I do remember, was that you were recommended to reduce the main jet size when using the Blair (from a 400 to a 360 If memory serves) and that it made one hell of a noise (quite a distinctive double-boom on the overrun) and was easily crumpled when you fell off! Mine got dented when someone bumped into it off the start line. Also, many of the quick G50's around at that time, apart from the factory Seeley and Gus Kuhn's bikes, seemed to favour the traditional megaphone (for example, the Arter-Matchles, the Kirby bikes and Cooper's Seeley). I rather fancy also, that when Mike Hailwood tried out a couple of Seeleys for his Race of the Year ride (1969?) he chose the bike with the traditional megaphone for the race. Russell, is there confirmation of this in Colin Seeley's book?

#21 Rennmax

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 15:53

SMBH's Seeley at the RoY in '69 was equipped with the Blair exhaust, you can see it on page 274 in Colin's book

BTW, Dr Gordon Blair passed away recently

http://www.profblair...PB_Tribute.html


#22 joepotts7

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 16:02

Say Terry, are you familiar with the posts of forum member "joepotts7"?
He posted some very interesting recollections of Joe Potts a few years ago on this forum, and they can still be read. If you click on the Members button and enter "joepotts7" in the search box, then go to members posts, you will get them. I found his post of Dec. 7th 2006 particularly fascinating!

Barry.


Thanks for the kind words chaps. The article about Joe Potts and the preparations for the 1958 season in this months Classic Racer was written by me. I hope those of you who read it, enjoyed it.

Ben

#23 knickerbrook

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 17:02

Yes Rennmax - you are correct, as this clip confirms!
In fact I was watching that race from the exit of Gerrards and Mike rode the wheels off that Seeley. I remember seeing a shower of sparks as he grounded something!
(I think he tried two different Seeleys in practice that day - one with the Blair pipe and one without, which might have led to my confusion as to which one he chose for the race).


PS: After studying the film clip, I notice that it shows him riding the Seeley nearest to the camera (with the longer front mudguard) in what is clearly a practice session (going by the mix of machines), and that the bike nearest the van has no Blair exhaust. Also, I read somewhere that the Seeley he chose for the race was in fact Derek Woodman's bike (which may, or may not, have had the Blair exhaust!). So I reckon the jury is still out on this one! (I wonder if the picture in Seeley's book is the actual race bike?).

Edited by knickerbrook, 31 October 2010 - 17:49.


#24 Robin127

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 20:06

Hi Robin :wave:
We probably would have been at the same Bemsee meetings on occasions. I did a few between '73 and '75 on the Seeley (Brands and Snetterton) and later on the TZ. If memory serves, Chris Magahan raced a Montesa around that time too, as did a chap named John White (from Swansea), although there didn't seem to be many others around.
I'd have thought there would be more of us recalling their first race. C'mon guys - spill the beans :blush: :lol: !


Chris McGahan was a big influence on me starting out with a Montesa, as was Mick Robinson. The things those two could do on those little Spanish singles really caught my imagination, but that was all it was as I was never to get anywhere near the lap times they did.

The name John White rings a bell, I don't remember him on a Montesa but did he wear white leathers, race a 350 Yamaha and was pretty good at Llandow?

I think it's pretty good odds that we were at the same meetings, you probably rode against a couple of friends, Chris Bladon and Bruce McCullum when you had your Seeley.


#25 Rennmax

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 21:00

Yes Rennmax - you are correct, as this clip confirms!
In fact I was watching that race from the exit of Gerrards and Mike rode the wheels off that Seeley. I remember seeing a shower of sparks as he grounded something!
(I think he tried two different Seeleys in practice that day - one with the Blair pipe and one without, which might have led to my confusion as to which one he chose for the race).


PS: After studying the film clip, I notice that it shows him riding the Seeley nearest to the camera (with the longer front mudguard) in what is clearly a practice session (going by the mix of machines), and that the bike nearest the van has no Blair exhaust. Also, I read somewhere that the Seeley he chose for the race was in fact Derek Woodman's bike (which may, or may not, have had the Blair exhaust!). So I reckon the jury is still out on this one! (I wonder if the picture in Seeley's book is the actual race bike?).


Hi Barry, there are a couple of pics showing Mike aboard the Seeley on that memorable day in this book (which I recommend very much by the way), also one on the starting grid displaying the Blair exhaust pipe, and he wears in all shots a battered Cromwell and not the jet style helmet with bubble visor as he does in the vid, that should be an additional prove that the footage was taken during practice.

Edited by Rennmax, 31 October 2010 - 21:51.


#26 Paul Collins

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 21:43

My first race was March 1978 at Cadwell Park on a TD1C Yamaha with the now defunct Skegness MCC.

The maximum grid size for the club circuit was 24 in those days and it was full, I was running somewhere around 20th when the bike started running really sick and I nursed it home dead last getting lapped in the process, when I got back to the paddock I discovered the magneto back plate had come loose and the timing had moved, I had no idea how to re-set the timing so I stuck it in the van and became a spectator for the rest of the day, I was happy to just finish.

I did another 4 or 5 meetings on the old TD1C, it wasnt competitive but I started occasionally squeezing it into the top dozen and every TZ that I managed to beat was a personal victory for me, then I bought a TZ350A and thought I was sitting on a space rocket the first time I hit the powerband!!

#27 Russell Burrows

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 22:14

Yes Rennmax - you are correct, as this clip confirms!
In fact I was watching that race from the exit of Gerrards and Mike rode the wheels off that Seeley. I remember seeing a shower of sparks as he grounded something!
(I think he tried two different Seeleys in practice that day - one with the Blair pipe and one without, which might have led to my confusion as to which one he chose for the race).


PS: After studying the film clip, I notice that it shows him riding the Seeley nearest to the camera (with the longer front mudguard) in what is clearly a practice session (going by the mix of machines), and that the bike nearest the van has no Blair exhaust. Also, I read somewhere that the Seeley he chose for the race was in fact Derek Woodman's bike (which may, or may not, have had the Blair exhaust!). So I reckon the jury is still out on this one! (I wonder if the picture in Seeley's book is the actual race bike?).


Hi gents, Seeley in his book says SMBH rode Woodman's short exhaust version in the race. This bike and the 'works' MK3, the one ridden to 6th in the Junior Manx by Mick Collins and fitted with a G50 motor for the meeting, were tried on race day after practice. Mick Collins is in the overalls; sadly he would die after crashing at the Verandah - apparently after colliding with Pasolini - in practice for the following year's TT.

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#28 knickerbrook

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 22:57

Well done Russell - that's convincing evidence! (And it appears to be the bike nearest the van in the film clip, judging by the arrangement of the stickers and the shorter front mudguard). The one he is seen riding in the clip (in practice) is obviously the one nearest the camera in the paddock, and has the Blair exhaust.

Either way it was a great meeting! Like all "Race of the Years" back then, there was tremendous anticipation in the air, made even more special that day by Mike's presence on the Seeley (against far more competetive machinery it must be said). Fifth place I believe, but he gave it his all, and was that the race in which Ken Redfern surprised everyone with second to Ago, on what was basically a tuned Norton Atlas? (Or am I getting confused again!).

Robin - yes John White indeed had white leathers and rode a TR3 350 Yamaha (ex-Stafford Coulson/Mike Trimby bike) and before that rode a 250 Montesa production racer on which he and Phil Landeg once did the Thruxton 500-miler on (can't remember where they ended up - but I have a feeling it was in the dirt! I'll be seeing Phil in a week or two and I'll have to ask him!).

Barry.





#29 Russell Burrows

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 23:39

Well done Russell - that's convincing evidence! (And it appears to be the bike nearest the van in the film clip, judging by the arrangement of the stickers and the shorter front mudguard). The one he is seen riding in the clip (in practice) is obviously the one nearest the camera in the paddock, and has the Blair exhaust.

Either way it was a great meeting! Like all "Race of the Years" back then, there was tremendous anticipation in the air, made even more special that day by Mike's presence on the Seeley (against far more competetive machinery it must be said). Fifth place I believe, but he gave it his all, and was that the race in which Ken Redfern surprised everyone with second to Ago, on what was basically a tuned Norton Atlas? (Or am I getting confused again!).

Robin - yes John White indeed had white leathers and rode a TR3 350 Yamaha (ex-Stafford Coulson/Mike Trimby bike) and before that rode a 250 Montesa production racer on which he and Phil Landeg once did the Thruxton 500-miler on (can't remember where they ended up - but I have a feeling it was in the dirt! I'll be seeing Phil in a week or two and I'll have to ask him!).

Barry.


Yeah, not a bad result given he was on Wodman's bike and apparently hadn't had a ride since March. The crash hat he's wearing here was sold at auction last year for thousands after it was purported to be the same lid he wore when he took that big spill at Clearways early in 1963 !

Edited by Russell Burrows, 01 November 2010 - 15:32.


#30 rotrax

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 18:24

Hey, chaps, inspired by a post on another thread, I thought we should start a topic on first races. They are bound to be funny in the glaring light of the 21st century, so let's hear about them. I'll start the ball rolling with mine. Are you listening, Stu?

I was in the RAF in 1951 and the North Central Finance Company and I owned a 1939 Inter Norton 500 at this time, me having swapped my 1934 TT replica Rudge for this state of the art device. I was stationed at Sealand Camp and knew that the Wirral 100 MCC ran meetings at Rhydymwyn, not too far away, on a half-mile track between Mold and Denbigh. This may sound a bit isolated but it saw the beginnings of many names of note in later years. It was a tiny venue next to a pub called the Antelope, which was patronised by some of the riders in the luncheon interval, which definitely contributed to some of the strange results we saw later.

It was an extremely twisty track, obviously very short and riders were permitted a pusher to get them going. There were air raid shelters and other very solid buildings around the circuit and one was obliged to weave between them, hopefully missing the sharp edges.

I set forth with my carefully prepared Norton; this preparation consisted of a piece of copper pipe in place of the silencer and appropriately shaped cardboard number plates. Oh! and a lot of tape and wire (no duct tape or Araldite then). Racing clothing was DR breeches & boots & a leather jacket stitched up from pieces from a furniture factory near the camp. No Kevlar, unfortunately and when I flung the Norton away on the fast(?) bend on the straight, it proved very little of a barrier between me and the ground. I crawled back to camp, licking my wounds and fortunately my sergeant accepted my excuse of a fall from the back of a truck with a very cynical and knowing smile.

Not exactly the Grand Prix win I'd been considering, but at least it got me through that first terrifying race start. No-one who hasn't done it can know what that first experience on the grid is like - or maybe I'm just a sensitive little soul.



#31 rotrax

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 18:57

Hi Guys,My first race was at Jewels Hill,a scramble.I rode a 350 Royal Enfield.The chain was so knackered it fell of the sprocket just before the top of the main hill.In sliding backwards I fetched several good riders off.I spent a lot of time keeping a low profile,fearing retribution! I had my first Road Race at Brands in 1969.I am sure it was the Stars of Tomorrow meeting.There was a Vintage race and I rode my Triumph 350 special.It has a modified frame with much steeper head angle to make it turn tight in trials,about 9 inches ground clearance and a tuned 3HW dispatch riders engine.It was my first tarmac race but I had put in plenty of laps during the Wednesday practice sessions.I was able to get round the club circuit in 1:15-not bad for a trials bike with girder forks and a top speed of about 85.One of the reasons I could go O.K. was the tyres.Arthur Wheeler gave me the tyres that he used when he finished fourth in the T.T. I finished about seventh. I remember running over Jonathan Parkes foot at the start when he slipped while pushing.Other starters were Chris Williams and John Wilkinson.I spent many years Vintage Racing and enjoyed every moment.The first race thread was a good call! Best Regards,In Sport,Rotrax.

#32 zxrman

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 21:21

Well, my first race seems quite uneventful compared to others on this forum !

Brands Hatch, March 1986, with BMCRC. I raced my then road bike (Kawa GPZ550) in the 1300 production class. Sitting in the van before the race I Scanned through the programme and noted 2 other 550s which I thought would provide me a yardstick and an RD400 - (ah ha, well that's one bike I'll beat, I thought - wrong !). If I remember the grid positions were drawn by ballot in the collecting area and I was quite thankful to get a start towards the back of the grid as some of the other riders and bikes looked a little scary :rotfl: As the lights went green, 35-odd starter motors whirred and the pack went hammering into Paddock. From there on it was just a blur and I honestly don't remember much about it (which is probably for the best :) ) I do remember not being lapped which meant I got my first, all important signature towards losing my "Novice" jacket. But I was beaten by that old RD400 which didn't impress me too much at the time.

Mark.

#33 picblanc

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 22:43

I was at the 22nd March 1975 meeting Mr Scudder.(watching) Very wet & very cold!!

#34 picblanc

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 22:56

Got a picture of you in a group going round Corams in your orange jacket, will scan it & see if its any good.

#35 Robin127

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 23:19

Got a picture of you in a group going round Corams in your orange jacket, will scan it & see if its any good.


I'll be the one that's blurred as you panned past me :D


#36 billbomann

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 04:59

First race meeting; Triumph Owners Club High-Speed Trial meeting at Lydden c.1977. Great fun events, a full half hour of chasing your tail round Lydden. That day I rode a Velo Viper and an ex-Roy Peplow ISDT 500 Triumph fitted with road tyres. Was as fast on the Viper as the Triumph - always been single-minded!
Rode back to London compete in a night road trial that evening - won it!

#37 Arthur

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 20:11

Can't remember the exact date of my first road race believe it was late 1959 but remember the comical circumstances which brought it on.Previous to this I tried speedway but even though I had some good tutors at the old Norwich Firs Stadium I could not stomach all the muck being sprayed over you so packed it in whilst still learning.Then made a nuisence of myself in my local village on my BSA Empire Star and Arial Huntsman which caused neighbours to complain to the village policeman who after so many complaints told me that if I wanted to tear round like an idiot I should get myself to the races at Snetterton. What a good idea thanks PC Johnson. I then looked for a small race machine and purchased an E M C Puch, noisey but pretty slow. I then had to find out what the rules were and how I could enter and here I was in luck.Living close to me in the same parish was a Mr Bob Havers who was scretary of Snetterton Combine and also a pretty important ACU official. So I went and knocked on his door and he explained what I needed and how to enter.So instructions carried out and licence in order my first entry at a Snetterton National meeting was made and accepted. In those days you could only get a national licence if you held a full group G motorcycle licence which meant you had to have passed your bike test.If you got banned from the road you could'nt race either.
Well nice new Lewis leathers and a Cromwell pudding basin later we were ready for action.Oh how I convinced my friends I was going to win. 40 entries do'nt remember how many starters but believe around 30. All I can say is that I was brought down to earth with a bump No I did'nt fall off but finished around 28th Some behind me so was'nt last.Mind you that was the start of around 14 years of absolute challenge and enjoyment the bonus being meeting and befriending some really fine people.
Wish I could do it all again but in my 70's I'm afraid the body is not up to it

#38 stokeith

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 19:32

Ahh, the first race! Nearly didn't happen.
Got banned in July '69 so, having marshalled at Brands for a couple of years and knowing a few racers from my club the Gravesend Eagles MCC, decided to have a go myself if I could break 70secs (short circuit Brands) on my T20 Suzuki (you could then - ride when banned). I did it by a gnats and, also that afternoon, had the first of my more than 100 get-offs whilst racing. Anyway, prepped the bike for the last Lydden meeting of the year (lots of broken 1/16th drills & miles of lockwire). I'd arranged a lift with a mate with his firms van (Aeros of Norbury - an old Suzuki dealer) and, come early Sunday morning, was just going out the front door when my Mum who'd got up early to wish me luck asked if I needed a matchbox I'd left on the mantelpiece. Did I need that matchbox! It held the gudgeon pin circlips for the immaculately prepared (!!!!!) but potentially fatally flawed Suzuki T20. Mr Gudgeon Pin entering Mrs Transfer Port is not a nice thought whichever way you dress it up. Mums, don't you just love 'em? She's just 90 & thinks The Doctor is fantastic and Bradley looks too young to race!
Good job there were no other bikes in the van 'cos it became the workshop as I stripped and rebuilt the engine whilst being driven to the other end of Kent. How early does Early Onset Dementia start? Now, where was I? Oh yea, thank goodness it didn't have more than two cylinders. Practice was uneventful, in no small part to a dry day which was lucky because heavy rain the previous few days meant that the South-East was flooded for miles around for some weeks from that weekend if I remember correctly and meant massive diversions for most of the participants to get back to their respective homes. Worst floods since 1947, the year I was born.
As for my first race, I paddle started the bike and led at least for a few bends and finished nearer the front than the back - good stuff! Just realised I had my last race at Lydden, strange but true! I think it's called synchronicity. Had a get-off as well I think so was sort of mimicking my football hero, Jimmy Greaves , who scored in all his debuts.
Two other things, the picture of Ago, Mike & Micky Collins, posted earlier, is in my scrapbook 'cos I worked with Micky, lived round the corner from him and tried to pull birds with him. I captioned the photo 'Past, Present & Future?', we can only imagine. By the way, the fairing on Mick's bike (installed with a Tom Kirby G50 & Blair exhaust) was different to Derek Woodmans. After Mick's death Les, his Father, asked me to ride it (7R re-installed) a few times before he sold it. Wonder what became of it?
Finally, I'd like to remind you of the sound of revolving (dry) clutch plates after the drop of the flag and before the drop of the clutch lever.
PS Going to Eddie Crooks memorial service in Barrow tomorrow - he was a good rider on the rough & the smooth, a great sponsor who helped many and a really nice bloke even if he did support Bolton Wanderers.

Edited by stokeith, 11 November 2010 - 19:37.


#39 knickerbrook

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 14:33

Hi Stokeith :wave:
I enjoyed your post! Yeah, I'm with you on the broken 1/16th drills and the rattling clutch plates of the push-start - good details!
As I said earlier, I well remember your mate Mick giving the top guys a run for their money on the Seeley at Brands once. I seem to remember he was pushing very hard and the commentator was getting quite excited (Eddie Dow?). I imagine therefore it was a particularly significant meeting for him. Do you remember his results that day?
What's your name by the way?


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#40 stokeith

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 19:44

Hi Stokeith :wave:
I enjoyed your post! Yeah, I'm with you on the broken 1/16th drills and the rattling clutch plates of the push-start - good details!
As I said earlier, I well remember your mate Mick giving the top guys a run for their money on the Seeley at Brands once. I seem to remember he was pushing very hard and the commentator was getting quite excited (Eddie Dow?). I imagine therefore it was a particularly significant meeting for him. Do you remember his results that day?
What's your name by the way?

It's nice sharing the memories of the minutia of The Best Days of Our Lives, 1/16th drills et al!

The passing years have an odd effect on my little grey cells - I can recall stupid little things but not where I was for instance when JFK met his end. I'm going to the TTRA luncheon next week and have invited a couple of my former spannermen (and co-workers of mine & Micky's at J & E Halls, Dartford) as guests, I'm hoping they might have an answer to your question regarding Mick's potential red letter day.

Been going through the alphabet and finally remembered...........my name, it's Keith Martin from Stoke-on-Trent (10 years & counting).

I'm reminded that at a TTRA Luncheon a few years ago I discovered why I kept on crashing in the wet on various machinery (always strokers), I might open a new thread on the subject 'Things I found out too late'.

Edited by stokeith, 22 November 2010 - 19:46.


#41 tdijam

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 08:14

My first race was September 1971 riding a 250 DMW Hornet at RAF Elvington Yorkshire. A friend lent me the bike for the meeting, i rode a 250 Yamaha YDS7 at the time , so the gear change was on the wrong side for me , that made life interesting!. In the first race the clutch expired, and in the second race the woodruff key on the flywheel / rotor broke.
Not a great first race , but i was hooked!

#42 ejayaitch

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 00:11

Have just come across this new(ish) thread, I only occasionally browse the 'Motorcycle racing 1969 - 1990 nostalgia 2' thread, trying to remember the names of the riders in the posted photos!
I'll have to be brief as it's past my (usual) bedtime......
My first race was at the Bantam Racing Club meeting in April 1967, on the original Snetterton circuit.
It was the Formula Bantam 'Novices' Race, and I can remember nothing other than it seemed to take approx. 5 minutes to get around the 2.71 miles, I finished 4th, and was pleased with that -- I think I have a (paddock) photo somewhere.
Seems incredible now, but at the time I was in my final year of a Civil Engineering degree course in London.
I had digs in Mitcham, Surrey, across the road from a Metropolitan Police car driver/motorcyclist -- he had been racing a Bantam for a few years. A 2-bike trailer behind his Mini Cooper got us to the circuit.
Amazing what us old chaps can recall when we get started.....!!
Regards to All, Eric Hayes.

Edited by ejayaitch, 24 November 2010 - 00:25.


#43 knickerbrook

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 14:39

Hey Keith (stokeith), I have just looked you up on the TT database!
That's one hell of a CV you have there - including a TT win :clap: ! Seems you have had more than your fair share of misery too (the DNF's :eek: ) so top marks for persistence! Did you do something to upset the faires or something? (For those who may not know, it is customary - and advised - to go to the Fairy Bridge and ask the little people for good luck!).
Bravo!

Welcome Eric - I don't know you, but your name is very familiar!



#44 Paul Collins

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 19:14

Have just come across this new(ish) thread, I only occasionally browse the 'Motorcycle racing 1969 - 1990 nostalgia 2' thread, trying to remember the names of the riders in the posted photos!
I'll have to be brief as it's past my (usual) bedtime......
My first race was at the Bantam Racing Club meeting in April 1967, on the original Snetterton circuit.
It was the Formula Bantam 'Novices' Race, and I can remember nothing other than it seemed to take approx. 5 minutes to get around the 2.71 miles, I finished 4th, and was pleased with that -- I think I have a (paddock) photo somewhere.
Seems incredible now, but at the time I was in my final year of a Civil Engineering degree course in London.
I had digs in Mitcham, Surrey, across the road from a Metropolitan Police car driver/motorcyclist -- he had been racing a Bantam for a few years. A 2-bike trailer behind his Mini Cooper got us to the circuit.
Amazing what us old chaps can recall when we get started.....!!
Regards to All, Eric Hayes.


Hello Eric, Did you ride TZ350/750 in the 70's?

#45 picblanc

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 20:43

First race meeting I went to Snett Combine April 12th 1971, Eric was 2nd to Anthony Jones with Eric Piner 3rd in 250 race on 250 Yamaha.
Welcome Eric & Keith Martin. :wave:

#46 Ray Oldam

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 22:32

My first road race was at Thruxton in 1974 on a production Ducati Mk3 Desmo. It was a club meeting, but almost like a national, with quite a big crowd. The works Norton team, based at the circuit in those days, fielded Dave Croxford and tester Norman White on Commandos! I got away about halfway up the field and as I sat up to brake for the Complex, I remember seeing a nice new yellow Norton Commando going through the air upside down, and a couple of other riders getting brought off with it. I began to wonder if this road racing game was such a good idea after all!

I diced with a Kawasaki 3 for the next couple of laps, and then the rain started. The track actually seemed quite grippy in the wet so I hardly really slowed down, then as I braked for the Complex the bike suddenly disappeared from beneath me. After I had caught it back up and got back on again, a Norton Commando, followed by its rider, came sliding off the track, hit the back wheel and knocked me straight off again. Not exactly the dream debut I had hoped for – five minutes into my road racing career and I had been on my backside twice already!

I set off again and finished the race wobbling round very slowly, now wary of the wet, and returned to find my brother Dennis not too happy about me bending the bike and putting a dent in the tank before he even had a chance to race it. He was to get his own back by slinging my Aermacchi up the road at Brands a year later and doing considerably more damage!

Here’s a photo – a nice bike - despite the dented tank!

Ray :wave:


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#47 ejayaitch

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 18:45

First race meeting I went to Snett Combine April 12th 1971, Eric was 2nd to Anthony Jones with Eric Piner 3rd in 250 race on 250 Yamaha.
Welcome Eric & Keith Martin. :wave:

Hi 'Paul Collins' -- yes, raced the TZ's in the 1970's:- TZ350A in 1974; TZ350B in 1975; TZ750C in 1976/7/8; TZ750E in 1978.
Hi 'picblanc' and 'knickerbrook' -- Thanks for your "Welcome".
Re. the April 1971 Snetterton Combine meeting -- don't remember the 250cc winner 'Anthony Jones' at all..?!
I was parked next to Eric Piner and his Dad in the paddock, and we became friendly. I remember we were chuffed that we had a 'dice' in the race!
Think he had only started racing that year, and I gave him some advice -- we both had TD1C Yamahas.
Used to see him at the circuits, until he was killed at the Manx GP in 1972/3(?).
PS. How do you include a photo in a post?

#48 picblanc

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 19:44

You have to put your photos onto a Photobucket account (free) or similar then you can copy & pastethe img code onto your post on here & your photo will magically appear, it sounds a bit long winded but is easy when you have done one.
Best,
Graham.

#49 Paul Collins

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 20:33

Hi 'Paul Collins' -- yes, raced the TZ's in the 1970's:- TZ350A in 1974; TZ350B in 1975; TZ750C in 1976/7/8; TZ750E in 1978.
Hi 'picblanc' and 'knickerbrook' -- Thanks for your "Welcome".
Re. the April 1971 Snetterton Combine meeting -- don't remember the 250cc winner 'Anthony Jones' at all..?!
I was parked next to Eric Piner and his Dad in the paddock, and we became friendly. I remember we were chuffed that we had a 'dice' in the race!
Think he had only started racing that year, and I gave him some advice -- we both had TD1C Yamahas.
Used to see him at the circuits, until he was killed at the Manx GP in 1972/3(?).
PS. How do you include a photo in a post?


Hi Eric, Welcome from me too, I think you retired around the time I started but I remember you on the 'Kass Construction?' Yamaha's in the 70's

I'm a native of Laceby just up the road from you, but now living on the IOM, I used to keep in touch with your neighbour Keith Martin (journalist not the one in this thread) give the old lad my regards if you bump into him in the village.

I look forward to some of your photo's too.

Paul

#50 LCRider

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 22:45

Hi 'Paul Collins' -- yes, raced the TZ's in the 1970's:- TZ350A in 1974; TZ350B in 1975; TZ750C in 1976/7/8; TZ750E in 1978.
Hi 'picblanc' and 'knickerbrook' -- Thanks for your "Welcome".
Re. the April 1971 Snetterton Combine meeting -- don't remember the 250cc winner 'Anthony Jones' at all..?!
I was parked next to Eric Piner and his Dad in the paddock, and we became friendly. I remember we were chuffed that we had a 'dice' in the race!
Think he had only started racing that year, and I gave him some advice -- we both had TD1C Yamahas.
Used to see him at the circuits, until he was killed at the Manx GP in 1972/3(?).
PS. How do you include a photo in a post?



Welcome Eric - I
remember you racing your 750 Yam - you used to do Racing 50/New Era meetings @ Snett? Green/Black Leathers Did you finish in 1978 as I seem to recall you after then - maybe I'm wrong though as dates befuddle me a bit these days!
Do you remember the greenfly "invasion" we had at that time?
I seem to recall that you were involved in the race meeting which saw a straight dice betwen Tony Rogers and Keith Huewen (and you?) were you 3rd? I was marshalling @ Sears, as we tended to do for that club with Alan and Margaret Howlett. I seem to think that this may have been a meeting where there was inter-club racing?
Anyway I'd be very interested to see your pics and read your recollections

Chears

Paul

Edited by LCRider, 25 November 2010 - 22:46.