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  • Kenny Roberts
    the realm of the old school he was the neater and more polished perfectionist in his riding style whereas Sheene always looked slightly detached from the motorcycle My only criticism of Roberts was that he never raced on the Isle of Man but that was his personal choice to be respected and at least he did not complain about the TT or the people who took part After the death of Finland s superstar Jarno Saarinen Roberts provided a breath of fresh air for road race fans across Europe His riding style was clearly inspired by the Finnish rider and both had developed their roadracing technique through dirt track and ice racing experience Saarinen had taken America by storm in winning the Daytona 200 on a 350 Yamaha twin while all the opposition were on potentially faster 750s Jarno had achieved the impossible with an unconventional riding style never seen before His handlebars were dropped almost vertically allowing him to be flat on the tank for the whole race which looked uncomfortable but provided superbly effective aerodynamics It certainly worked and thereafter many riders adopted the same manner of riding including King Kenny It was simply awesome to watch and set the standard for the kneepad scraping Tarmac technique which is common today In 1990 Roberts continued to manage his own race team from its base in Banbury Team riders Wayne Rainey won the 500 and John Kocinski the 250 world championships between them a fabulous result By 1993 Wayne had won a total of three world championships for the team matching his own team manager s previous record Back in the halcyon days when Kenny Roberts first conquered Europe 1979 turned out to be a critical year after his 1978 world championship As Chris Carter of Motor Cycle Weekly

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/kenny_roberts.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • Mike Hailwood
    Bridge during the 1967 TT When Honda withdrew from Grand Prix racing the following year the company was reported to have paid Mike 50 000 NOT to ride for any other tearnl His race track expertise certainly helped to establish his entry into car racing This began in 1964 with a sixth place at Monaco for Lotus BRM and the previously mentioned drives with Team Surtees Hailwood and David Hobbs were robbed of victory in the 1969 Le Mans 24 hour race when their Gulf Ford GT4O developed gearbox trouble but they still finished third Mike had more success in his favourite Formula 5000 cars but it was while driving for the Yardley McLaren Formula 1 team in 1974 that a bad crash at the Nurburgring put paid to any further car racing aspirations and thereafter affected his ability to walk with ease Despite this obstacle in 1978 Mike made the most successful comeback in sporting history when he returned to the Isle of Man At the age of 38 and with a leg injury that made getting on a bike difficult he managed with no loss of grace or precision to beat all the younger opposition and to win one of his most famous of all TT victories on the Sports Motorcycles Ducati It was after yet another successful return to the Island in 1979 that I had the pleasure of meeting him at his motorcycle dealership in Birmingham He was kind enough to display one of my paintings of him on the Honda Six in his showroom and had promised to buy the picture for himself if no one else bought it Eventually it was sold to an enthusiast from Wolverhampton and returning to Birmingham to make the delivery I remember joking to Mike that he would be

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/mike_the_bike.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • Mick Patrick
    pose riding the Harold Coppock sponsored 700cc Yamaha Harold s previously mentioned status as Carterton chicken farmer turned race sponsor led to his protégé Mick Patrick becoming widely known as Super Chick His friend Ian Beacham the editor of Motorcycle Racing magazine gave us the following account of Mick s outstanding career in the February March issue of his journal in 1977 headlined Superchick wants to rule the roost Mick had started competing as a schoolboy scrambler and in 1966 came third in the championship His road racing career did not take off until he was 19 after he had saved up enough money from working as a mechanic to buy his first road racers a watercooled 125cc Bultaco and a 250cc Ducati He later opted for a TD250 Yamaha which brought him his first taste of success with the Midland Motorcycle Racing Club 250cc championship He was approached by Harold Coppock in 1975 after Mick had teamed up with South African Alan North in the production TT on the Isle of Man Mike Wheeler motorcycles of Witney sponsored the pair with a 250 RD Yamaha and on their first visit to the Island they came third in their class and fifth overall a tremendous achievement Harold Coppock included Mick Patrick in his team for the 1975 season after this TT win His team mates were Steve Parrish and Wayne Dinham Tony Smith of Brize Norton supplied the team with a TZ 350 Yamaha on which Mick won the Bemsee British Motorcycle Racing Club Championship Parrish and Dinham eventually left to join other teams leaving Mick on his own Later in 1975 Harold unveiled a new 700 Yamaha for the following 1976 season Contesting the British 500cc championship on a 500 Suzuki twin he came third at the end of

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/mick_patrick.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • Richard Madson-Mygdal
    came to the start line for the four lap event and the last man away was Richard Madsen Mygdal What is remarkable about his race entry is that he rode the bike to the Isle of Man with his new bride Stella on the pillion It is difficult to imagine many of today s competitors going to these extremes to get to the island but club racers often rode their machines to a meeting on mainland events raced and then rode the bike home again During the initial stages of Richard s TT race one of the leading riders came to grief at Union Mills Les Floodgate dropped his Vincent in a shower of sparks breaking his collarbone and forearm Richard went into the lead for a while before he too crashed at Brandywell on the mountain section 1 300 ft above sea level This is a particularly fast stretch and Richard fractured his skull in the accident The bike was severely damaged but the repair bill was covered by the wise investment of a 5 insurance premium which Stella had persuaded him to take out prior to the race During the inevitable hospital treatment which followed the bed next to him was occupied by another injured rider George Brown who had been caught up in the debris on Bray Hill after the crash that killed the world champion Les Graham a story I have told in previous chapters Regardless of this horrific experience George Brown went on to become the most successful record breaker in sprinting history using Vincent engined machines Richard did not compete in any more TT races after this but his one TT experience won him enough respect to be supplied with two fully sponsored Manx Nortons which he raced on mainland circuits like Silverstone and

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/mygdal.html (2016-04-29)
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  • British Artists - David Lankford
    1949 Members of BACH consisted of service or civilian motorsport enthusiasts stationed in or around the German city Leaving Hamburg in 1949 he was employed in the UK by the BBC s Outside Broadcast Department where his enthusiasm for motor sport was put to good use His first job was in the Bristol division of the corporation where he produced a programme entitled The Birth of the 500s In fact 500cc car racing had started in the West Country with some of the great names associated with the sport like John Cooper and Colin Chapman Cooper was the first British racing car driver and designer to popularise rear engine racing cars and the name Cooper is synonymous with that particular engine layout a design which laid the foundation for the modern Formula One concept R W Reg Phillips introduced Raymond Baxter to single seat racing cars after they met at Silverstone in the late 1950s Phillips was racing 500cc cars at the time and was responsible for encouraging Baxter to compete against him at speed hillclimb events Raymond raced at Prescott with his son Graham until Graham s final year at Oxford University put a stop to father and son competing against one another with some degree of relief from Raymond it must be said as the speed was becoming fast enough and their times close enough to be dangerous Baxter senior was the instigator behind the BBC s coverage of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1950 a precursor to his ambition of competing in the rally itself the following year as co driver to Gordon Wilkins The pair entered the 1951 Monte as a works team fo the British manufacturer Jowett driving a Jupiter and finished 11th overall second in class A total of three Jupiters won the manufacturers

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/raymond_baxter.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • Untitled Document
    commissioned by Val Christensen a local enthusiast who had purchased the car from Rivers Fletcher some time before this date When I delivered the picture Val drove me in the very same car to Rivers house in north Oxfordshire where he signed the painting and later gave it a good write up in his regular column with the magazine MG Enthusiast We went for a drive and spent the rest of the day looking around his workshop which housed a beautiful Alvis Speed 20 of 1934 vintage Rivers Fletcher had written a number of books relating to motors and motorsport and I purchased two of them My Thirty Favourite Cars and My Favourite MGs which he signed His finest racing exploits started in 1950 when he purchased a Type 35 Bugatti Grand Prix model with the eight cylinder two litre engine He had three years racing this car which included wins at Silverstone and some success at Shelsley Walsh and Prescott Hill Climb events Both car and driver are immortalised on the Bugatti Inn sign at Gretton close to the Prescott venue PRX 14 on show at the 50th anniversary of the MGA Register In action His determination to succeed at hill climb racing saw him purchase the highly competitive Cooper JAP in 1954 his Mark V gave him 15 fastest times of day and eight course records Rivers had to admit that his technical work with the BRM Grand Prix team in the 1940s took priority when GP races often clashed with hill climb events Working with BRM however gave him the chance to drive their GP cars on occasion and in 1986 at Shelsley Walsh near Worcster he drove the incredible V16 BRM This unique car years ahead of its time produced so much power that it really

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/rivers_fletcher.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • Rod Gould
    in the hotly contested 250 and 350cc classes Britain s round of the world championship was held on the Isle of Man during the TT races and in those days Rodney s great rival was the brilliant Australian rider Kel Carruthers who won the 1970 250 TT with Rod Gould in second place Gould however went on to win the 250 world championship that year with a tally of six Grand Prix wins giving him a total of 102 points Carruthers was second in the championship with four wins and 84 points The Swedish rider Kent Andersson took third with 67 points The 350 world championship of 1970 was a predictable win for the dashing Italian superstar Giacomo Agostini on his fabulous M V Agusta Ago as he was known had a 90 point victory over Carruthers in second place riding for the Italian Benelli factory Rod Gould was sixth with 28 points In 1971 some friends and I sailed over to the Isle of Man for the first time to see what all the fuss was about We had missed the boat so to speak as far as the quality of the racing machinery was concerned The standard of racing however was and remains as high as ever Mike Hailwood was in semi retirement after the Honda factory had pulled out of the grand prix series due to the rule changes on engine technology and apart from the Italian M V Agusta and Benelli teams there was a distinct lack of exotic racing machinery Gone were the four and five cylinder 125 machines and the four and six cylinder 250s For the 350cc race that year Rod Gould was one of the front runners So from Ramsey where we stayed in a flat situated right next to the course

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/rod_gould.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • Rowan Atkinson
    so deeply felt in the Reich that Adolf Hitler personally sent a wreath measuring some six feet in width to Seaman s funeral in London Tim Birkin s admirable efforts to break the German hold on the grand prix circuits as well as Le Mans was worthy of the tribute paid by the film As an accomplished racing driver himself Rowan Atkinson drew from his own race track experience to portray the role in the film as accurately as possible In consequence it received favourable reviews at the time of the TV broadcast The Aston Martin DB2 of 1951 vintage which Rowan drove on the day I first encountered Rowan pictured the racing driver purely by chance one weekend in 1998 when the Aston Martin owners club of which he was a member held one of their annual race meetings at Wiscombe Park the beautiful speed hill climb course set in spectacular countryside between Seaton and Sidmouth in South Devon The Sunday of this particular weekend was shared by the Reliant Scimitar and Sabre club and as a Scimitar driver I happened to be there at the same time Always inspired by the noise and atmosphere of a motor racing event I carry a camera and sketch pad with me at all times However on this occasion the illustration is mainly from memory and shows the Aston Martin DB2 of 1951 vintage which Rowan drove on the day There are a number of websites detailing Rowan Atkinson s biographical history from childhood spent on his parents farm near Consett County Durham where he first acquired a taste for things mechanical by driving a tractor and his mother s Morris Minor This interest became strong enough to earn him a degree in electrical and electronic engineering at Newcastle University culminating in

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/rowan_atkinson.htm (2016-04-29)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2017-12-15