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!!
attempts at any speed were only possible by means of pedal power, and
speed was achieved by my brother Dave and myself when we acquired a
tandem which we would pedal like hell down Ship Hill in Barry and
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
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
princely sum of £12, I was the proud owner of this powerful machine. I
passed my test on a typical Ulster day, pouring with rain. This took
place in a
Newtownards, and luckily for me the examiner was in a better mood than
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
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,
far as I was concerned, was my Dundrod. The start was where I turned
the main road from
Belfast to Bangor,
and the finish line was the 30mph sign coming into Bangor. I can still
remember the bend coming
out of Crawfordsburn to this day.
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
and Dave and I continued to try and prove who was the quickest on the
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