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Geoff Duke RIP


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#1 Mal9444

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 05:41

http://forums.autosp...p/#entry7150478

 

reffed to here since he had an albeit brief career in cars but most of a certain age on this forum will remember with admiration.



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#2 Rob29

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 05:53

Yep first biker I heard of -remember Murray Walker race reports from IOM TTs-RIP



#3 LotusElise

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 10:47

I was only talking to Dad about him a couple of weeks ago. He was one of Dad's first racing heroes and he was surprised he was still alive then.



#4 sterling49

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 17:42

One of the greats that I heard about in my younger years.

#5 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 18:56

Absolute standard setter on two wheels at the height of his career, Reg Parnell of Aston Martin encouraged him to try the transfer to four wheels but he encountered something of a class barrier - no less - erected by those most prominent amongst his 'team-mates' and he had neither the inclination, nor really the intensity, to bother to combat that. Six World Championship titles reflect his talent. I certainly remember from my early childhood a terrific media fuss about him, and looking for the details I find he was Sportsman of the Year in 1951, when I would have been an intensely impressionable five or six.  Blimey...

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 03 May 2015 - 18:57.


#6 kayemod

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 19:31

No question about his phenomenal biking talents, I'd have been about ten when my Dad dragged me along after a bouncy Irish sea crossing on the steam-driven Ben-my-Chree to watch the TT races. He also ran a good (IOM) pub overlooking the Calf of Man. His son Peter founded Duke Video, which specialised in all kinds of motor sport stuff..



#7 cpbell

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 21:54

R.I.P.



#8 David Birchall

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 03:09

Saddened to hear this but he lived a long life. Like others I learned of Geoff Duke from my father who was from St Helens, Duke's home town also. Much to both our surprise we got to meet him at Westwood track here in British Columbia in the late eighties--I was racing a Gemini front engine Junior and to my everlasting regret I didn't ask Geoff Duke to drive it. RIP

#9 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 05:26

Yes, David, I got to interview Geoff Duke at Westwood, albeit mostly about his limited car racing experience.  He seemed like a very nice fellow.  I found the following link...Vic Hudson interviewing him at the track...starts at about the 7 minute mark.

 

 

Vince H.



#10 Mal9444

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 05:49

No question about his phenomenal biking talents, I'd have been about ten when my Dad dragged me along after a bouncy Irish sea crossing on the steam-driven Ben-my-Chree to watch the TT races. He also ran a good (IOM) pub overlooking the Calf of Man. His son Peter founded Duke Video, which specialised in all kinds of motor sport stuff..

If you crossed the Irish Sea in the Ben-ma-cree to see Geoff on The Island you must surely have driven up to Dundrod to see him in 'The Ulster?'  Just magical.



#11 Mal9444

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 05:52

Absolute standard setter on two wheels at the height of his career, Reg Parnell of Aston Martin encouraged him to try the transfer to four wheels but he encountered something of a class barrier - no less - erected by those most prominent amongst his 'team-mates' and he had neither the inclination, nor really the intensity, to bother to combat that. Six World Championship titles reflect his talent.


DCN

Do I infer correctly that it was the bikers who disapproved of the motorists? A sort of inverted snobbery? (Of course, were one a biker there would be nothing inverted about it.)


Edited by Mal9444, 04 May 2015 - 05:52.


#12 zoff2005

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 15:40

I once (telephone) interviewed Geoff Duke on behalf of Yves Naquin who was issuing a new edition of his book about the Monaco GP (where he drove FJ). Duke said that he considered car racing too risky (he had a very bad accident in a Cooper in Scandinavia) and that Piero Taruffi had warned him that it was more dangerous in those days to race cars than bikes. I don't really hold with the "class" theory - a lot of racing drivers had raced bikes before moving over to cars.

Marcus



#13 TecnoRacing

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 20:07

Do I infer correctly that it was the bikers who disapproved of the motorists? A sort of inverted snobbery?

 

No, I think the opposite. Presumably Doug is speaking of Collins most particular?



#14 LittleChris

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 20:36

Riseley-Prichard perhaps ?



#15 David Birchall

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 00:03

Apparently Collins behaved like a prick!

#16 Concreteconrods

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 09:46

Duke was teamed with Collins in a works Aston Martin DB3 for the 1953 Sebring 12 hour race. Collins drove the first stint & handed over a good lead to Duke who maintained it for a while then made a mistake, due to inexperience. The car was damaged & retrired from the race. Collins apparently made some scathing remarks to team boss John Wyer about Duke's driving. Soon after Duke decided to concentrate on two wheels with Gilera.

 

After retiring from bikes in 1959 he raced a front engined Formula Junior Gemini in 1960 - against the likes of Clark, Taylor & Surtees in rear engined cars! In 1961 he drove a scruffy old Cooper Climax (F1/Intercontinental) for Fred Tuck, incurring a serious injury at Karlskoga. End of career. Perhaps he could have been a star on 4 wheels too in the right circumstances. My Dad - a Duke fan - always thought so.



#17 Mal9444

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 06:51

Duke was teamed with Collins in a works Aston Martin DB3 for the 1953 Sebring 12 hour race. Collins drove the first stint & handed over a good lead to Duke who maintained it for a while then made a mistake, due to inexperience. The car was damaged & retrired from the race. Collins apparently made some scathing remarks to team boss John Wyer about Duke's driving. Soon after Duke decided to concentrate on two wheels with Gilera.

 

 

According to Chris Nixon in Mom Ami Mate, the situation was exacerbated before the race by the American media who devoted more or less all their attention to Geoff, on account of his world champion status, and virtually ignored Collins and the other drivers in the team, the only non-US team there.  "George Abecassis recalls: 'It caused a lot of unpleasantness in the camp at Sebring, where Duke was always being interviewed for the radio and newspapers, so much so that you would have thought he was the only driver in the team, instead of the new boy.' "

 

Collins after three hours handed over a lead of almost a minute... "Duke shortly afterwards tangled with a slower car and went of the road..." and, as 'Concrete' says above, Wyer retired the car.

 

"'Peter was absolutely furious with Geoff and with us for putting what he called an 'amateur' in with him' says Wyer 'and in view of Duke's inexperience he had some justification.'

"George Abecassis adds 'I don't think it was fair to blame Geoff. He was astonishingly gifted, but talent alone is not enough - you need experience to go with it, and that he just did not have'. "

 

A couple of pages later Chris Nixon goes on...

"Duke also retired from motor racing, more in sorrow than in anger. 'The main reason was the fact that I did find considerable resentment towards me, a motor cyclist, joining a team of established car drivers. I was always very conscious of an atmosphere and this was completely foreign to me... I'd always got on well with my fiercest rivals in the motor-cycle world but, with a few exceptions, this situation didn't exist for me in motor racing and I don't really know why.' "

 

How sad. Gilera's gain was car racing's loss.

 

Chris Nixon finishes on the subject of Duke: "... he left a useful legacy in that he had persuaded David Brown to use Avon tyres and Castrol oils... associations that were to last to the end of the decade.

 

Thanks to Doug for reminding us of this, and to 'Concrete' for the story behind it all.


Edited by Mal9444, 07 May 2015 - 06:53.


#18 B Squared

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 08:26

A last lap of the Isle of Man:

http://www.foxsports...eral-lap-050615

#19 275 GTB-4

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 07:31

No question about his phenomenal biking talents, I'd have been about ten when my Dad dragged me along after a bouncy Irish sea crossing on the steam-driven Ben-my-Chree to watch the TT races. He also ran a good (IOM) pub overlooking the Calf of Man. His son Peter founded Duke Video, which specialised in all kinds of motor sport stuff..


Geoff Duke business interests...

purchasing and running the former Arragon Hotel on the Old Castletown Road in the late 1950s.

He established a successful motor parts distribution company on Peel Road, Douglas and headed the Manx Line shipping company launched in 1978 as opposition to the Isle of Man Steam Packet. Geoff was also a director of Duke Video which his eldest son Peter set up in 1981, a company that still exists.

My Father greatly enthused about seeing Geoff and the Gilera at Bathurst and said it whooshed by rather than "thumped"

Edited by 275 GTB-4, 08 May 2015 - 13:45.


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#20 kayemod

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 16:38

I've just listened to one of my BBC Radio 4 favourites, it's called Last Word, and features brief appreciations of notable persons who have died recently, usually by someone who either knew them well, or was influenced by them. One of the notables featured on this afternoon's show was Geoff Duke, mostly his son Peter Duke in conversation with presenter Mathew Bannister, and I'm sure that all who've contributed to this thread will find it interesting.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b05t6pnb

 

Also included was part of a brief interview with that other legendary TT racer Stanley Woods, no one better to comment on Geoff's riding style. He described it being so smooth it was "like water flowing from a tap", something with which most of his contemporaries would doubtless agree. I think that those were more or less the exact words that I'd used to my long-suffering mother, in describing an outing with my father to see Stirling Moss racing for the first time, probably some time in the mid to late 50s, I'd have still been wearing short trousers at the time, so my memories are vague. I had been taken to more bike races than car ones at that time, and didn't know a great deal about the sport, but I was mesmerised by Stirling's smoothness and precision, the track was wet, and his car control was clearly in a completely different league from everyone else in the race, something that also seems to have been the case with Geoff.


Edited by kayemod, 08 May 2015 - 22:38.


#21 MarkBisset

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 07:19

107-CCC2-B-E6-B2-4-A24-A9-BF-75-E329-ED3

 

Geoff Duke at Bandiana Army Base, near Wodonga on the Victoria/NSW border, I think, during his January/February 1955 tour, Gilera 500-4

 

Great article about the excitement he created in Australia; https://amcn.com.au/...the-royal-tour/

 

 

B4-FA403-D-F1-F1-4-DDF-9-E8-B-B5735-ABBC


Edited by MarkBisset, 13 October 2020 - 07:37.


#22 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 13:42

Geoff Duke was an absolute hero of my youth, He got a raw deal with Aston Martin and Peter Collins in particular but could have been really good. He was very impressive at Berne in 1952 where his fastest lap times in practice where credited to Reg Parnell.. I met him once and he was a gentleman. R.I P Mr Duke,


Edited by Eric Dunsdon, 13 October 2020 - 17:07.