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Geoff Duke


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#1 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 15:11

Could someone please remind me of Geoff Duke's time in single seaters? I read his autobiography a few years ago and am aware of his time in Aston Martin sportscars but cannot recall his experience with single seaters.

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#2 David Birchall

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 16:21

So far as I am aware his sole single seater experience was in a Gemini FJ, front engined. There are photos in most of the FJ books.

In the 1980s Duke attended the 'Historic Weekend at Westwood' just outside Vancouver, at the request of the motorcycle racing group who co-organized with us. He was a very personable man and my father, who was from St Helens-the same as Duke-was thrilled. I am embarrassed to recall that although I had an identical Gemini there and was racing it I did not invite Duke to drive the car or even sit in it :blush:

#3 KJJ

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 17:26

Originally posted by David Birchall
So far as I am aware his sole single seater experience was in a Gemini FJ, front engined.


Didn't Geoff Duke have a bad crash driving a Cooper in the 1961 Formula One Kanonloppet race?

#4 fuzzi

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 20:02

According to his autobiography it was at Karlskoga in Sweden in June 1961. The Cooper was owned by Fred Tuck and after gearbox problems in practice GD started with the problem "fixed" only to be caught out as he changed up to 3rd and the box locked up solid. "The car slewed round, hit a grass bank, and then shot high up in the air, rolling over and crashing upside down."

His injuries were extensive and included torn chest muscles, a collapsed left lung. damage to his heart muscles, broken collar bone, cracked pelvis and a burst blood vessel. Apparently local hospital staff were not aware of the extent of his injuries and allowed him to leave after a few days and he walked up the steps to the BEA plane home. Fortunately he was properly checked out when he got back to Britain.

#5 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 20:24

Originally posted by KJJ


Didn't Geoff Duke have a bad crash driving a Cooper in the 1961 Formula One Kanonloppet race?


Yes. I believe Don Capps wrote this:

"...resulted in some very serious injuries and effectively put paid to the great two-wheelers four-wheeled career in GP cars..."

Apparently, he also raced a Lola Mk 2 FJ and a Lotus 18 F2 in 1960.

I chatted with him at the Westwood Historic race David mentioned. As David indicates, he seemed like a very nice fellow. He autographed my program for me!

Vince H.

#6 subh

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 21:43

From The 500cc World Champions, by Michael Scott:

1952 [...] had been a busy year, including four races for the Aston Martin sports car team, finishing second at Goodwood at the first attempt, behind Stirling Moss. Aston Martin were sufficiently impressed to sign him up for 1953 as well, although after driving twice he asked to be released from his contract mid-season.

Duke’s car racing career had fizzled out during 1953 - mainly because of friction with the existing drivers, especially Peter Collins, who resented this fast motorcyclist invading his territory.

(not single seaters, but I thought it might be relevant - no other car racing is mentioned in this particular article)