Articles on Scooter
The late Dave Bowen with Weatherby his
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- Scooter Racing
The first track events were for time trials round Mallory Park. Les Rafferty's Wildcats were entered in them the legend goes that the Hampshire Union guys got fed up of checking times and opened up there throttles and Scooter Racing was born.
The Solent City members were not really into racing, so Dave And I used to go with the Hampshire Union guys to the meetings, by then I was working for Rafferty Newman in the Workshops and then the Stores with my friend and Solent City member Kenny Erridge, Happy days.
We used to hire a dodgy van from Danny Gormans in Titchfield cram it full of bikes and bodies and off we went. There are many tales to tell of the journeys which I will start telling when time permits.
- Crystal Palace
The race meeting at Crystal Palace was a fun event we all trooped up to South London in our usual convoy, we parked in the grounds next to some dinosaurs as I recall I slept in the back of Raffertys Mini Pick up. In the morning stiff and cold we foraged for food some likely lad I can't recall who raided the local doorsteps for some milk sorry people. The race event was a big success it was a lovely track, I was racing the ex Wildcat Vega 125 5 port, and as usual I was getting a fantastic view of Bev Flaniganns rear end, over the years I got to know her rear end very well, as her bike was just a bit faster than mine.
- Mallory Park
Mallory Park was the best, I agree with my mate Dave Tooley. From the grandstand (so called) you could see most of the circuit and check your teams progress, the pits were covered if you were quick to nab the best spots. The track was fast with a large sweeping bend round a large pond. The only problem was that we mostly raced there in the early spring when it was to put it mildly bloody cold. We had some great times there arriving usually around 8.00pm but luckily well in time to pile in to the bar for some much needed refreshments and a chat with the other teams.
Thruxton was my first race meeting I was riding my 225 GP in the race I took of the Panels and the front legshields so as not to damage them if I fell off. Needless to say I didn't do that well but it was fun.
The Thruxton meeting saw the first and only outing of Les Raffertys Villiers powered Sidecar.
- Lydden Hill
Lydden Hill in Kent was a very challenging circuit, as usual we were racing at the cold months of the year, as you probably know Lyden is also used by cars who spread mud all over the track, and hairy hill is well named.
- Castle Combe
Castle Combe is a beautiful little circuit in the picturesque village of the same name in Wiltshire.
Les knew it well as it was where he raced his Ariel Arrow back in the
50's, when he must have gained all his knowledge of two stroke tuning.
I personally only raced at Castle Combe once, running in the 158 Wildcat
Dykes engine while my engine was being repaired.
I had an uneventful race as I was running the engine in, and I was under
strict instructions not to seize it up.
I do remember that it was a nice circuit to drive
- Black Death
Solent City Scooter Club racing activities were limited to only a few determined and resolute individuals; namely Keith Champion, Marten Holdway and myself (Dave Tooley).
After Keith and I had our abortive ride to Mallory Park on his Wildcat 150, I decided to build him a bike dedicated only to racing.
It was cobbled together, as usual, from a hybrid group of abandoned Lambretta's of dubious pedigree from the Gosport area.
- Les Rafferty
Les Rafferty the ace tuner of two stoke machines. He once told me that during his days in the RAF he used to race an Ariel Arrow round Castle Coombe, this must of been the time he learned his trade as a tuner. Les could transform a meek little Lambretta into a howling beast, which would leap away with alarming speed and many wheelies if you were not careful. In the sixties he and Ned Newman started the Wildcat tuning side of the Motorcyle business in West Street Fareham.