The Riders History
My 1st Lambretta, series 2 150cc age 16 whilst still at school, bought from my brother for £25.00
Stripped and resprayed on a shoe string. What a heap.
In 1966 bought TV175 1964 for £90, this machine I swear had never been over 45 miles an hour.
It had only done just over 6000miles and the exhaust port was so clogged up it would not do more than 40!
Joined Lambretta Club London and my first event was Brands Hatch in December 1966 which was a one hour blast on my Standard 175 with the air filter removed! I was lapped by Colin Armett and came in 6th in my class.
During 1967 there were not many track events only Snetterton 12hour Trial & Brands Hatch so apart from a few rallies through the year my next meeting was Brands Hatch in December riding my TV175 or so I thought. There was a lot of competition between Supertune and Arthur Francis; it was the year of the 225, 235 & 250 conversions. Malcolm Clarkson had a SX frame all spayed in Supertune colours and asked if I’d like to put my 175 engine in it. So why not!
Unfortunately as usual everything was left to the last minute, Malcolm had lent me a Vespa 180 to get to work while I did the engine swap & rebuild in the evenings. On the Wednesday before Brands I had an accident on a resurfaced road embedding shingle in my left knee. A trip to the Hospital to remove half the road and all bandaged up good as new. Well no, now I cannot bend my left leg!
So the day has arrived No time to set the carb up, and in practise bang, holed the piston, no spare and a trip back to Croydon to try to purchase another but to no avail.
Enter John Forster to get me out of trouble. John was a reserve in the 200 class and lent me his bike.
The event was spit into three separate sessions of one hour each, 1st off were the small classes mainly 125’s and smaller. 2nd off were the specials, 200’s and fastest from the practise session.
3rd session, remainder of the 200’s plus 150’s etc.
Still with my left leg bandaged, movement was a bit restricted but when the flag drops you do not think about things like that. I had one hour of hard riding including a number of laps nose to tail with John Ronald until he dropped out. Well I came home first but only 4th in the 200 class overall as the others who beat me we in the 2nd session and to be fair would not have done any better had I been racing with them.
Nev Frost left Supertune to work for Arthur Francis, so Malcolm Clarkson offered to supply me with a Supertune Machine.
My most memorable event of that year has to be Cadwell Park, I had entered the specials class as we were still in the regularity trails not racing and the times set were being beaten by Nev in the 200 class.
Again disaster in the paddock, piston broke because of to much compression and a crap piston.
John Foster to the rescue again, John entered the 200 class so lent me his bike again for the specials.
It had been raining for hours and I mean raining (see photos). John had advanced the ignition by a few degrees and it was a pig to start, consequently everyone had disappeared in the first section when I finally got going. I rode as fast as I could in the conditions and some how had faster time checks than anyone else although I was not in the first three, in fact I never saw the leaders which of course was Nev Frost. Nev was not happy with the way the event was being run and quite honestly he was right, how can someone be winning an event by coming in 3rd or 4th , in fact I do not know where I finished in the first stint.
So the 2nd and final session, we lined up and this time managed to get going with the rest, not brilliant but managed to pass a few and get behind Nev. The conditions were appalling, gradually Nev pulled away out of sight. I concentrated hard and put in some decent laps and some how Nev was back in sight, once I could see him I caught up quickly; I overtook him and visa versa a great race for that time. I managed to be in front for the last two corners, That seemed to take a age, not wanting to fall off and keep Nev behind me, edging around the last bend and onto the finishing straight I just put my head down and waited for him to pass me, when I looked up I could not believe he hadn’t.
I’d just held on, the conditions were a great leveller, as Nev’s bike was quicker.
Well I do not think anyone could believe it, I know I didn’t, Nev had never been beaten in a straight race on a track before and I’d never won before. After that day we did have some hairy races.
I must say now that Nev was the best all-round scooter rider of all time, by that I mean rallies, grass track everything and a gentleman to boot, he did not have to brag about it, he just showed people how it was done, at the event. Respect both ways.
1968 also saw my first trip to the Isle of Man, on the first day my head gasket blew after a quick change went to sign on but was 15 minutes late so lost one point and a gold medal for the Manx 400 before I’d even started! Can you imagine covering 400 miles without losing any points and getting a Silver instead of a Gold medal, No you can’t, don’t even think about it, Sick or what?
What happened the rest of the week, I have not a clue. I cannot remember a thing.
I dare say someone out there will give me some answers. And I don’t mean who WON.
Crashed at Lydden Hill, at the beginning of the Year, looking at my watch hit a bump and broke my collar bone! Well documented in Magazines, has anyone got one? If so please send some info, thanks R. In those days I used to ride to the events, that day I did not ride back. In fact it was my first ride in an ambulance. You know the saying “I was seeing stars” well I was and I could not see even when I was conscious, a bit scary I have to admit. The trip took me to Canterbury Hospital on a Sunday, Bear that in mind. I was laid out on a trolley, I’m now thinking my leathers were going to be cut off me, you know broken bones and all that and where the hell am I going to get the money for a new set? Not to worry though because I’ve got this big fat bitch (edited for racial discrimination) asking me where the pain is. My shoulder I explained,
(if anyone reading this owns a set of tight fitting racing leathers you know what it takes to get into and out of them) right then pull these off, WHAT the F***, this woman had just been transferred from King Henry VIII torture chambers, still it saved some money I suppose.
Now for the x-ray, no it’s Sunday, it’s closed, and you’re not allowed to have accidents on a Sunday! Oh bugger, I didn’t know that, LASCA will have to run the event on a Monday next time.
So I discharged myself, but before you go take this tablet and a cup of tea (I do not do tea). What they did not explain was that this tablet did not mix with beer, so throw you ring up Ron boy in the pub on the way home. So to Croydon hospital, X-Ray no problem, broken collar bone, we will fix that no problem. We will just bandage you up temporarily, come back tomorrow and we will fit you with the proper ones! What is it with Hospitals in those times? They loved the torture, knee in the middle of you back, pull your shoulders back and tie you up in a figure of eight to hold them there.
Exit Ron looking like a gorilla, how long for? At least four weeks!
These days a few nuts and bolts and Bob’s your uncle good as new, what was that all about?
New machine, Hand Built from scratch at Supertune South Croydon Workshop.
The Supertune SX 200 SE built with the tight regulations in mind.
First outing was at Mallory Park on the first weekend of March, what a day. Ice on the track and god knows what else, I will not bore you with the event, see report of Scootering & Lightweights, but yes it was a win for us.
28th April joined Manchester Lyons Lambretta Club, and for those of you who do not know my parents were brought up in Stockport so I do have family history in that part of the world.
Another trip to the Isle of Man , Gold in The Manx 400, King of the Hill at Peel Hill Climb (and a dent in the frame) 1st 200cc bike home and 3rd overall. What did it in for me was the fog on Druidale. Visibility was a problem and definitely benefited the smaller classes, you don’t have to be Einstein to know you can see just as far in the fog on a 125 as a 200, the difference being you’re supposed to be travelling a bloody sight faster on a 200!
The 1st 3 machines were stripped to check capacities and I was disqualified, I was on a standard re-bore of 66.6 which equates to just over 202cc, the class then was up to 200cc, after a protest backed by Lambretta Concessionaires I was reinstated and so in subsequent events the regulations were changed to allow for standard rebores.
The Tour of Britain was a total disaster. If anyone out there did this event and would like to write an article on it, be my guest, I’ll print it.
Just a few words about it, I was one of the last ones away, got lost as usual along with John Ronald,
He was an absolute ace guy on these events; I’m sure they were closing check points early or maybe we were just so late! Anyway I was following John through Wales in the rain, (it always rains in Wales), when I rounded a bend, the front end gave way and I was on the deck with broken handle bars. With the help of Johns make shift repair, a rubber bungee strapped around the headset I was all set to cover the next 400 or so miles including special stages up to the night stop at Kendal. Not surprisingly my recollections of this event are actually a blur. Just to put things into perspective I recently overheard a young guy on the Isle of Wight ferry talking about how he felt after being in the saddle for 5 hours, what a pussy.
As for the rest of the season, Yes I won a few events and XLU 3G being basically pretty standard was a reliable machine which was a good foundation for things to come, keep it simple was a good motto.
The Purchase of a new machine was in order.
A Red GP 200 CYF 87H
The 1st event of the year for me was Thruxton on March 15th. And the start of the Scooter Track Championship.
No time for a new paint job, just had to get tuning, get the big bore welded up and get there.
For non old timers like me, remember we did not have the benefit of decent tyres that you have today, Avon Clings were the only tyre choice, and where does the Cling bit come from????
Anyway new track to learn, same for everyone, bloody cold day, so what’s new for the first event of the year. What was the bike like?
Brilliant, for that time even with only the standard 22mm carb I was running, set the fastest time of the day including all of the specials which even stands to this day mainly due to the fact no ones been back there! Average speed 67.5mph.
Just a word about Speedo’s, Someone from Bromley Innocents came up to me at this meet and asked, “What speed were you doing? I thought I was flying, it was off the clock and you lapped me as though I was stood still!” Enough said.
I won quite a few races this year, but most disappointing was at Mallory Park when Dave Richie lent me a Dellorto SS carb which was not jetted right, he said the main jet was big enough, I said it was not, anyway he did not have any larger ones, so big mistake which was to cost me any chance of the outright championship.
It was flying but pinking like mad, far too weak, I had a huge lead at the start of the second lap and going into Gerards it seizes solid, no time to get the clutch, it high sided me in the highest speed crash I have ever had. I was flipped over the handle bars and was flying. Although crashes happen in split seconds, I can tell you that when you are in it, it seems to take for ever. I was in the air when I opened my eyes, staring at the tarmac, I put out my hands not realising I was actually in the air, I touched the tarmac with my hands which flipped me over onto my back and by the time I had stopped I had a huge burn on my arse, apart from other cuts and bruises. And so ended what chance I had of becoming overall Champion.
Some of my high lights of the season must include the first person to win three separate classes at one meeting, Mallory Park in November. Riding Nick Barns 125, 200cc Class and the Specials riding my 200. I won 2 out of three in the 125 cc Class coming 2nd in the other to Norman Ronald and what a scrap those races were, brilliant. Norman was a true competitor. I had to ride defending corners but he got me fair and square. Which I can honestly say is the only time it happened during 1970 &1971 when my bike was going normally or I had not fallen off! Unless you believed the crap that the magazines wrote which I will address under a different heading on this web site in weeks to come.
The 200 class, I won the first two races but as I was also using the same machine in the specials it meant that I had completed one hour of racing on this machine going into the last race. And this is where race reports were a joke. In the last race it started to rain, not good but I was used to riding hard in the rain but I was careful. I lead for three laps then Kenny Bricklebank overtook me and I retook the lead until lap eight at which point I lost a nut on the exhaust U tube so losing power but in any case Kenny was riding like a man possessed, with respect Kenny I knew it would not last sure enough lap thirteen he dropped it going round Gerards. My bike was now down about 15 mph and was passed by Alan Flack and Ray Kemp, came in 3rd. but still won overall.
Now came the specials, again won the first two races, but now going into the last race with no time to fix that U tube and my only chance is that it keeps raining. And it did, with some coaxing from John Forster, I kept going at near walking pace for me, well about just over 70mph top speed came in second to Nev Frost and so the third Class win.
This is what really gets me; the reports said I had a misfire! Were you deaf as well as dumb.
Ok I am a realist and obviously everyone wanted to beat me, it comes with the territory just as it was with Nev Frost. But come on, George Pearce came up to me after that specials race just to say Nevs a specialist in the wet, with a big grin, implying I’M not. Come on George, were you watching the same race.
As you now might be aware I will be telling things as they were with no apologies.
How do I know all this anorak crap? I’ve got the race results. Durr!
What a Track! 1.39 miles long
I will not bother here about the Magazine report, see other sections later.
A fantastic venue, very well run and should have had more racing at this track.
I must say it was a bit disconcerting going around some of the corners with no run offs like today and staring at railway sleepers instead!!!
1st and only race in London which meant a short trip for me.
That said my first race after joining Roy’s of Hornchurch or was it the 2nd?
6 starts 6 wins and Roy was there to see it, was he a happy man? Have not a clue, ask him.
But I would think so, and another outright lap record of 64.15 mph which will never be broken, they have ripped the track up! It’s now a sports centre and has been for years in fact it’s falling apart and should be demolished and rebuild the track.
Another rider I should mention who was trying very hard during the year was Ray Kemp, at Cadwell Park on the 6th September, Ray had come 2nd to me in the first race and was really up for it in the second. But on the second lap Ray was right up my exhaust going into the Goose Neck but unfortunately did not make it round the second part of the bend, all I saw out of the corner of my eye was Rays bike on it’s side followed by Ray. And the Dust, hells bells I nearly stopped as I thought Ray was in real trouble and I mean real trouble. Being a selfish bastard I kept going.
Seeing Ray in the pits later with his face all cut reminded me of the learning curve that I went through, the hard way. More about Ray later.
So during the coarse of 1970 there were 8 meetings to decide who became the first British Scooter Track Champion, 4 at Mallory Park, 3 at Lydden Hill and 1 at Cadwell Park, where did Thruxton come in all this ??
The winner Colin Armett riding Dave Ritchie’s 225 special
2nd Nev Frost as for myself I had to settle for 3rd overall and winner of the 200cc Class
There were a total of 225 solo riders scoring points during the season
22 combination outfits
12 in the Ladies championship
During the Closed season, my GP was completely stripped new paint job and rebuilt.
Oh and a new set of leathers, birthday present from Roy.
What was new to the GP? Nothing really. I managed to spend more time on it towards the end of the previous year and I was still winning so not too much.
The 200 crank was sent to the machine shop, padded out and balanced, fitted one of Innocenti’s new electronic ignition systems, that was about it.
And what a season it was to be, lost the championship in round one. Yes another Moss never won the world title, isn’t that right Sterling?
Round one Lydden Hill.
Put myself up to be ridiculed, white leathers!!! Ok heard all the jokes but I was quietly confident that all anyone would be seeing was my arse. No, no, not you shirt lifters, my back is always against the wall in those situations, I meant the white leathers, “do I always have to explain every detail”, obviously yes.
The flag is up, revs are up, flags down and away was Ray Kemp first, followed by me and John Foster, I remember thinking, S.H. one T, Ray your bike is bloody fast, after some time I did manage to get by. It was to be repeated at all meetings through the year, we had some great scraps, more about those later. Luck was not on my side this day, a faulty Mag side bearing leading to damaging the new electronic ignition system. It was the only time I used it. I went back to the old points system.
After the debacle of Lydden Hill I was not a happy bunny. At this point I have to say that I’m not going to give a report of every meeting of the year, it’s just too boring.
I had already got the shops 150 going well enough to win races, Roy had already allocated this bike to Tom Pead who raced it the previous year. Funny it is not until now that one realises that I was the only one in the shop that had one bike! Which was mine two others had shop bikes, yet I was the idiot that got them going, still my fault I should have asked for one, don’t ask don’t get.
I rode the 150 in the up to 160 specials class on a few occasions. I have to say I rode it to make sure I gained some points, bit late after the first round! I must admit I really enjoyed riding this machine, not for racing against other 150 but against the 225’s. The thing was that I was used to riding hard on the 200 so this was a doddle, you arrive at a corner at a slower speed so you did not have to break as hard, just line it up and hold your speed, easy, well sort of.
At Castle Combe I had a real ding dong with Geoff Stephens on his Wild Cat 225, it was brilliant, Geoff is a great guy, he said to me afterwards, “your mad, what’s the point, you know I’ll overtake you down the straight “ Yes but it was bloody good fun, wasn’t it Geoff? Geoff wasn’t it??
I had a couple of meetings at Mallory Park on it, gaining 4th overall twice, just three 225 specials beat me and two of those I was dicing with for 2nd place
At one meeting Dave Tooley won 2 out of 3 in the Standard 150 class with a fastest lap of 53.4sec 67.4mph while I clocked 52.1sec 69 mph in the specials, get the picture, sorry can’t resist the dig.
Isle of Man.
Great week, see Manchester Lyons. Just like to thank Jim Weston for navigating on the trial, very brave man. Hill climb was pretty difficult as the conditions were fairly damp on some of the bends.
Also if you read Manchester Lyons story I was not 100% but anyway a good day for me. Won my class and King of the Hill.
Druidale, what a disaster, could not get hold of a water proof plug cap, yes what an idiot. For people who do not know what happened the engine virtually stopped on each lap at the water splash.
Brian Hull came 1st in Druidale and champion for the week. Brian was a good rider but with all due respect Brian, I gave it to you on a plate. I was surprised that John Forster did not win seeing that he knows the course well and came second in the hill climb, where was Brian Hull in the hill climb? which posses a question? And I’m not going there now.
1971 saw the first British Sprint Championship
Mainly held at RAF Fulbeck in Lincolnshire .
Sorry I cannot say that I was particularly interested in sprinting, thought it was a bit of a yawn compared to racing but really had to for the shops sake.
Well I won that year with maximum points and have to say that was probably the best trophy I had ever won, only thing was I had to return it at the end of the year!
Had this in an email from……
I will never forget when at Lydden Hill (in 1971 I think) you were
leading the race but your clutch was slipping. You went in to the
paddock, changed the clutch, rejoined last just in front of the pack and
won the race!
Had you forgotten?
You mention not winning but, I only remember you failing to win once
which was at Castle Combe when you fell off on the straight while
bouncing up and down (to get the revs up?).
I used to travel around with the innocents.
Thanks for some great memories you were a truly great rider!
Yep you are right I had forgotten that one at Lydden Hill, but the way I remember it was that I was riding in two classes, the 200’s And the specials on the same bike. I had had trouble in the 200 class in the last race having won the first two, came in had to fix the bike and was late leaving the pits, the flag had already dropped when I was coming onto the circuit. Yes I did win that one and set a new circuit record at that time.