My Motorcycling Life from George Smith

April 9th, 2020

Hello everyone. In these days of isolation for most of us I thought I would write an history of my motorcycling life and perhaps entertain you with my memories. Links added for more information.

Your comments and memories are welcome, treat as an online club night. All replies to Bill Cullen and he will share with everyone.

I was never interested in English lessons at school please excuse any bad grammar.

My Motorcycling life Chapter 1

  My interest in motorcycles began in the early 1950s with the family outings to Custom House to watch West Ham Speedway.  We all hopped on the bus at Dagenham to watch our favourite riders, me with lapels covered in Hammers badges clutching my goggles used for watching riders up close sliding round corners and covering us in cinder dust.

  In the 1950s motorcycle sport was shown more on television and I became fascinated with 50cc racing   with all those, to me, exotic named machines attaining speeds over 75 MPH through their up to 16 gear multi gearboxes. Many of our top riders cut their teeth on this form of racing. My bedroom walls were soon covered with racing machines and I began to get more interested in Italian machines. Fast, stylish and expensive.

  When I was sixteen fast Ducati singles were starting to appear in the UK but an apprentice wage made a Ducati no more than a dream and had to settle for a Tiger Cub on HP, although after a couple of years I did buy a wreck of a 98cc pushrod Ducati that I managed to pass my test on before it fell to pieces from lack of funds to maintain it.( I am sure most of us have been there.)

  Marriage, house and children meant the end of motorcycling except for get to work bikes. Honda Cub etc.

I never lost interest and this rubbed off on my son David who tells me that one of his earliest memories  is of our BSA Super Rocket / double adult sidecar. Soon to be exchanged for a Morris Minor.

  I booked up a trip to the TT for the two of us that was not to be when we found out that David’s final school exams clashed. This was made worse as this was the year Mike Hailwood made his triumphal comeback on the Ducati.

  David soon got the motorcycling bug and was on the road on his Yamaha Fizzy on his sixteenth birthday. He has continued to own many motorcycles and is his main form of transport to this day.

  The 1970s was a good time for motorcycle racing. The trans Atlantic Trophy being one of my favourites,—whatever-happened-to-transatlantic-racing/

with all the top riders, Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts and many more racing just a short distance away at Brands Hatch.

  In 1985 we finely got to the TT. Me on the back of David’s Honda 400 Four. Got to see Joey Dunlop doing what he does best. Second man to win three races in one week, Mike the Bike being the first, in spite of the fact that the boat carrying him and his bikes sank on the way to I.O.M.

I rode an MZ251 ( an under rated machine) for some time till it was put at back of garage in the mid 1990s partly dismantled and forgotten about.

  In 1990 my Italian obsession started a new chapter when David bought a new Moto Guzzi 1000S and if anyone is interested I will continue my story.

Your comments are welcome