My early introduction to Motorcycling. By Vince Chivers.

From a very early age my father told me tales of how fast Vincent HRDís were, and also the peculiarities of trying to control Morgan 3-wheelers. This together with my fatherís enthusiastic driving obviously left a lasting impression on my young mind!!

My early attempts at any speed were only possible by means of pedal power, and great speed was achieved by my brother Dave and myself when we acquired a Claude Butler tandem which we would pedal like hell down Ship Hill in Barry and straight onto the Barry Island road passing a few bewildered car owners on the way.

In 1959, when I was 15, my father took up a job in Northern Ireland, where my brother and I continued with our pursuit of speed on pushbikes. The following year we all went to the Ulster GP and from that moment on both my brother and I wanted motorbikes. This led to making friends with two boys, one of whom lived on a farm. The main thing was that they had two motorbikes, a WD Matchless 350 and a two stroke 125 Royal Enfield. I still remember the thrill of trying to slide the Matchless round the fields of the farm.

At some time I learnt that a 197 Dot was for sale and when I approached my father for permission to buy it, was surprised when he said yes as long as I paid for it! So for the princely sum of £12, I was the proud owner of this powerful machine. I sat and passed my test on a typical Ulster day, pouring with rain. This took place in a village called Newtownards, and luckily for me the examiner was in a better mood than the weather and I passed.



At this time I was still attending school in Bangor, which was about 10miles from where we lived in Craigavad. With a great deal of saving I put together the money for tax and insurance and was now on the road. By this time we had seen our second Ulster and seen Bob Mac on the Bianchi 350 and 250 Honda four, together with Hailwood and John Hartle, so I had really got the road racing bug.

I discovered a different route to school in Bangor via a village called Crawfordsburn. This, as far as I was concerned, was my Dundrod. The start was where I turned off the main road from Belfast to Bangor, and the finish line was the 30mph sign coming into Bangor. I can still vividly remember the bend coming out of Crawfordsburn to this day.

Eventually we moved back to Barry when my father took up another position in the firm that he worked for. Mother and we three boys moved back to Barry and father went to London. This was 1964 and Dave and I continued to try and prove who was the quickest on the road. Dave eventually gave up when he got married but I continued riding on the road, and eventually tried racing for a couple of years, giving up when I got married as well.

I have loved riding bikes right from those early days and still love to now, hoping that I still have many more years of enjoyment still to come!!!

Vince