Racing and Sidecar Passengering

I raced myself from the mid 1980's until the early 1990's, when marriage, work and children made me decide to retire for a while.
In that time I had a lot of fun and made many good friends.

At one time or another, I tried my hands at most types of motorcycle competition and although solo road racing was undoubtedly my favourite, each had its own appeal, not to mention each class having its own 'men to beat'.
I think towards the end though, what I found disheartening with road racing was that I was using a road based engine in my Norton. To make it relatively competative I had also made it fragile and I found more often than not it was going 'pop' on me. If I was to start again, I would definitely set up with a 'proper' race bike, i.e.Manx Norton or similar and concentrate on that class alone. Mind you, thats not likely to happen for a while.
No regrets though, I had really great fun doing it and over the years some brilliant 'scraps'. As people that have raced will tell you, nothing ever seems to compare with the adrenilin rush you get from doing it. After a good session you would be on a high for most of the next week.

As well as racing solo, I used to loan myself out as ballast occasionally to sidecar drivers. These days I would definitely be classed excess ballast! Now most people will tell you that the sidecaring mob are the biggest load of nutter's going (and really I couldent disagree!), but there is no doubt in my mind that 'monkeying' (as passengering was affectionately called) is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on (or should that be 'with your brain removed . . .').

Anyway, below are pictured some of the sidecar racers I pasengered for and one or two solo photographs of my own:

1. Sidecar Racing

Titch at Oulton

Early days with Titch and Norton.
Trying hard at Cascades, Oulton Park 1985

With Titch at Mallory

Same bike in pits at Mallory
Have since given up beard and fags (. . .and hair)

Robin Boalch

Scoring a 2nd place with Robin Boalch
and Triumph at Wigan. Smoke is from the tyres

Roger Allens Norton

Although this looks like the Norton above, it was actually Roger Allens championship Norton. Only went in it a couple of times, but it felt appreciably more potent and nimbler than Titch's similar looking bike

With Celia Walton and Ariel on the grass.
A fine rider and we managed a win

Charlier Parker

Sorry but cannot remember riders name (think it was Charlie Parker). Bike in background is Norton Dominator, at Cadwell

Roger Allen at Snetterton

Although you cant see me, I'm with Roger Allen and Triumph here, slipstreaming down the finishing straight at Snetterton. Ahead of us are Phil and Maggie Bridges, behind is Andy and Kim Mulnar

Roger at Snetterton

Coming into the pits at the same Snetterton meeting.
Think we were 2nd in this race

Steve Allen at BMF

With Roger's younger brother, Steve Allen, on the grass.
We were doing a demo at the BMF Rally on Steve's Norton

Steve Allen and Richard

With Steve and his regular passenger Richard, at Oxford.
Think I was riding Rotrax JAP solo that day

Modern Racing
Karl Wheeldon and Yamaha TZ750 at Cadwell.
The most awesome vehicle I have ever been on, and Karl was a brilliant rider


Titchs Scott

One season Titch felt particularly masochistic and we used this 2-stroke Scott. How many Scott's have you ever seen racing on the grass?!

With Martin Sibson

With Martin Sibson on Triumph, Hall Bends Cadwell.
Martin still races today

2. Racing Solo

Mallory Esses

Mallory Esses on rigid 550 Norton.
Think this was Post TT 1991

Early days on Norton Plunger.
Cadwell Moutain circuit


Grasstrack Startline

Startline of grasstrack on Rotrax JAP.
I am Number 32 on far left, Michael Turner on AJS next to me.

Cadwell Hairpin

Cadwell hairpin on Norton 550. Number 23 was the late Norman Francis

Rudge 4 Valver

My only sponsored ride!
Titch's 4 valver Rudge at Chiltern Hill Climb

Grenaded Gearbox

Ahh, the joys of sprinting!
Grenaded gearbox after shedding a tooth. It had been going very well until that point . . .

RE Bullet Trials Demo

Trials demo at Founders Day.
Even on that tiny pile of wood I managed to score 5 penalty points!

Trials RE in Mud

Now thats more like it!
Trials Bullet after real (Taverners) trial in middle of winter. Mind you, the good blokes never seemed to get their bikes dirty

Rotrax at Hillclimb

Staring out the cameraman before taking the Rotrax out . . .

Norton Rigid

Another shot of 550 Norton, after a polish.
By this time I was using 8 inch front brake

VMCC Relay Rally

VMCC Relay Rally
Very much looking like a police lineup, a group of us enjoying a day out riding around the Burton area on the VMCC Relay Rally.
L to R : Martin Sibson. Steve Lacey, Titch Allen (VMCC Founder), Andy Phillips, myself, Nigel Fox and Steve Allen