JIMMY HANDED THE BIKES BACK TO BOB AFTER THE RACE. BOB SAID: “THERE’S NOTHING TO BEAT A DOUBLE SCOTCH!”
This race was the most thrilling of the day with Bob, Jack and John battling it out for 17 of the 20 laps. In the final few laps Brett pulled away by 20 yards to take victory, while Bob just edged Hartle out by half a length. In the 500cc BMCRC Championship race Bob finished second behind Hartle. The racing at Silverstone had been thrilling and even described as “total war”. Bob was given the Carburol Cup (for best British 250cc bike) for his performance on the Potts 250. At Brands Hatch, Bob got four second places in a day on the Potts machines. Mick O’rourke won the 250cc class on an MV, while Alan Trow won the other classes on his Nortons. The following weekend Bob enjoyed a very successful day at Aberdare Park, winning all four classes on his machines; 250cc, 350cc, 500cc and 1000cc. It was at this meeting that John Surtees and Bill Webster would approach him to try to get him to agree to ride for MV Agusta for the 1957 season. In early October Bob would keep up the previous weekend’s good form by dominating the BMCRC Metropolitan Road Races at Crystal Palace. In the 250cc Championship he won at 70.20mph on the Potts 250 from Geoff Monty (GMS). On his larger Potts machines, Bob won the 350cc and Senior Championship, the 350cc race being a real thriller, as Bob just got the better of Terry Shepherd, Alan Trow and Alastair King (all Norton-mounted). And so another season came to an end. Bob had been the most successful rider in the 250cc, 350cc and 500cc classes at British meetings. The Potts team had won both the 250cc and 500cc British championships. Bob and Joe discussed the offers from MV and Gilera for Bob to ride for them in 1957. Joe told Bob that if he wanted to win Classic races that he needed to ride one of the multi-cylinder Italian fliers. Bob flew to Arcore on the outskirts of Milan to have a discussion with Giuseppe Gilera about riding his bikes. Gilera also flew to Bellshill to stay with Joe for a few days. When staying at Joe’s house during a dinner party, Gilera loved it that the son of one of Joe’s guests was wearing a kilt. Gilera insisted on trying the boy’s kilt on as he found it so amusing! One of the most important things to Bob was that when Gilera did not need his services, he had to be free to continue riding Joe’s bikes. Gilera were not keen on this idea, but Bob said that he would not sign for them underer any other circumstances cir cum stances.Gil era agreed to sign Bob without a test ride and the deal was announced in The Motor Cycle on October 11. Bob’s first ride on the Gilera was later that month at a wet and windy Monza. And so was to start another very happy relationship between Bob, Joe and the Gilera team; one that went on for much longer than the one season Bob actually rode for them. For 1957 Bob was still planning on riding the Potts 250cc, 350cc and 500cc machines, but due to Gilera commitments he would not be able to do many meetings. For this reason Joe wanted to sponsor another rider. The decision was easy – he chose Alastair King, who was Bob’s best friend and had been riding well and developing into a top rider.
Below: A man at one with his machine; Joe Potts with one of his bikes.