Hail­wood be­ing the cen­tre of most of it

Classic Racer - - PADDOCK GOSSIP -

Dear CR I’m an avid reader of your mag­a­zine, thanks for the great read. I love it. I read the ar­ti­cle on the meet­ing at Cas­tle Combe to com­mem­o­rate Mike Hail­woods’ 60 years since he made his de­but at the cir­cuit and felt I had to write. I re­mem­ber Mike’s first ride the week be­fore his de­but at Cas­tle Combe at Al­ton Park on his Item 50. I started rac­ing in 1952 on my 250 BSA Em­pire Star and later con­verted a 350 Ve­lo­cette into a 250 OHC. My fam­ily owned a mo­tor­cy­cle busi­ness, Moores, Hemel Hemp­stead (which is still go­ing to­day). I’d been do­ing rea­son­ably well on the cir­cuits on my BSA and Ve­lo­cette and in 1956 my dad of­fered to get me a bet­ter rac­ing bike. I jumped at the chance. We de­cided to plump for the brand-new 125 MV. We or­dered it through Ron Har­ris in Sur­biton. It seems that we had or­dered the first of the two MVS or­dered. Mike’s dad Stan phoned my dad and of­fered him £200 so that Mike could have the first MV to ar­rive in the UK. My dad turned the of­fer down. We should have taken that £200 as both bikes ac­tu­ally ar­rived at the same time. De­spite say­ing no we had a won­der­ful mo­ment with Mike, his mum and dad and sis­ter over break­fast in one of the lo­cal pubs prior to the start of the meet­ing. In 1958, Mike and I headed to the IOM to race our bikes on the Clypse Course, where the smaller bikes raced. I still had my 125 MV but I was sur­prised to see Mike turn up with a 125 Pa­ton and a 250 NSU. Mike fin­ished sev­enth on the Pa­ton and third on the NSU. I was in 10th place on the MV when in the last lap, it ran out of oil and the en­gine seized. At the end of 1958 Stan called my dad to say they were sell­ing all three of Mike’s 125s – the Pa­ton, Mon­dial and Du­cati. We went up to Kings of Ox­ford to meet Stan and pur­chased the 125 Pa­ton. What a great ma­chine that was, my best per­for­mance was a win at Sil­ver­stone in the 1961 Hutchin­son 100, thank­fully Mike hadn’t en­tered that race. I had quite a bit of suc­cess on it al­though var­i­ous me­chan­i­cal fail­ures meant I never fin­ished ATT! I al­ways get asked about what hap­pened to the Pa­ton and lots of peo­ple have sent pic­tures of what they thought was Mike’s old bike. But none of them were the bike. I un­der­stand it went to Amer­ica, per­haps it will turn up at the cel­e­bra­tion. David Moore

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