Profile� Jack Galloway
As a very young trials enthusiast many years ago I eagerly waited for the two-weekly papers to come on Wednesdays, Motor Cycle News and Motorcycle. My memory is still etched with some of the headline stories from all those years ago, and one in particular. I have been and still am very keen on the Scott Trial and in 1972 the exploits of Jack Galloway on his Montesa remain as interesting then as they are today, as you will find out in this article. Just ten miles from the finish his new prototype aluminium handlebars snapped and he crashed. He finished the event, just missing the win. The fact he had been in the Parachute Regiment was rewarded with the headline to this article – ‘Jumping Jack’. I had seen Jack occasionally in more recent times but it was to another lifelong motorcycling enthusiast, John Watson, during a phone call that I gave the task of talking to the man himself to confirm the Scott Trial story and generate the words for this article. Words: John Watson and John Hulme • Pictures: Barry Robinson, Malcolm Carling, Eric Kitchen, Alan Vines, The Nick Nicholls Collection at Mortons Archive, Brian Holder and George McGee
One of the first questions I asked Jack Galloway was: “What first fuelled your interest in off-road motorcycle sport?” His answer: “John, I have no idea. The only explanation I have is when I first saw the likes of Dickie Preston, the Tate brothers and such riders clashing handlebars as they hurtled round Carlton Bank; I thought ‘this is exciting’. That scrambles course was close enough for me to cycle to as a young lad. Even now I still remember thinking I would love a go at that.” Then after a bit of thought, he added: “I also remember thinking that I might be pretty good at it as well.”
It is this sort of confidence and straightforward approach to sport, and life itself for that matter, that made Jack Galloway one of the most talented and toughest competitors around in his day. Way before the term ‘in the zone’ came into fashion, coined by many coaches and just another way of referring to concentration, Jack had the ability to shut everything out around him, studying lines and scowling in concentration. It earned him an unjust tag of being dour. But nothing could be further from the truth. Once free of competition he is and always was the best of company, with a quick wit and a wicked sense of humour, but to achieve the success he craved he gave total commitment to be the best.
Born in the market town of Yarm close to Stockton-on-Tees in 1945, Jack attended comprehensive school there, playing all the usual school sports and activities, but he was always happier spending time on his pushbike. On leaving school, he had a couple of job offers and surprisingly he went into farming, as it paid slightly more than some of the other jobs on offer in the area. With no father figure on the scene to help or advise him, Jack did it the hard way and he saved up, purchasing his first motorcycle, a Greeves, at the age of sixteen. After just a few weeks of practice, he entered his first trial with L plates fitted at Carlton Bank near Stokesley. Slightly hot-headed at this age he admits scrambling would have suited him better but with trials, you could ride to the event on the same machine and so overcome any transport problems.
On the day he raced around with his mate ‘Black’ Simpson, never once looking at sections, but on studying the results, he knew he could achieve more. Come his second attempt he studied every section, watched other riders and learnt, finishing with a 2nd class award as a certain Ray Sayer took the Premier award that day.
Jack managed to ride for about a season and a half, and, surprisingly at such a young age and with little experience support, arrived from local Greeves stockists Scott and Wallace of Guisborough, helping him to ride his first SSDT. Sadly it was no fairy tale debut, retiring the first day when the Gudgeon pin circlip on the piston tried to find space down the side of the piston and the Greeves seized-up solid. Sammy Miller went on to win that year, with Jack returning home miserable and hard up, and he decided to retire from trials. Parachute Regiment Joining the army and passing the tough selection process for the Parachute Regiment was no mean feat in itself. Jack thought the high adrenalin life of a ‘Para’ would replace the ‘Buzz’ he so desired from riding motorcycles, and it did. He recalls: “I was all geared up and ready to make my first jump when I suddenly thought ‘what the Hell am I doing up here!” It was to be the first of more than fifty drops he made.
He then met the love of his life, the lovely Pauline, and they married in 1967, and they still are happily married to the present day. While in the army he and Pauline spectated at a local trials event and sure enough the ‘bug’ bit him once more. With Pauline urging him to ride again. Riders of today please note: he purchased a Triumph Tiger Cub from Comerford’s, soon becoming friendly with that well-known wizard of motorcycle fettling, the great Reg May. So began his second stint at trials at the age of twenty-one.
Comerford’s had a couple of teams on the go at this time including the late Martin Lampkin, Malcolm Rathmell and Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin in the top team. Geoff Chandler, Paul Dunkley and Jack would be the ‘B’ team. Jack rode the Triumph to many fine wins even though reliability was a bit of an issue. Sticking with Comerford’s and a change to Bultaco saw Jack hit a purple patch with some great results, but the money shortage almost finished him again. It was only a splendid runner-up berth in the national Hoad Trial that lifted him and kept the string of good results going. Jack was unfortunate in one respect like so many great riders of that era, emerging at a time when Sammy Miller was almost invincible. But Jack’s results, noted by the army, picked him to ride for the army team in the ISDE of 1969 on a BSA B40, unfortunately breaking down on the final day to almost certainly rob him of a medal.
The following story Jack insists has no bearing on him leaving the armed forces. On being chosen to ride for the army against the Swedes and winning, on one particular night of celebration, Jack relates: “The Swedes had supplied us with new 250cc Husqvarna Enduro machines and showing off, I suppose, I did a wheelie across the parade ground. The outcome was that I overcooked it, stepped off the back and stuffed the new motorcycle into the side of one of their huts. That was the first short-wheel-based Husky in existence.”