A familiar face as a rider and later an official in the Newcastle district, WALLY MARTIN was brought up at Hexham, where his parents owned the general store, filling station and also operated the Post Office. Wal did an apprenticeship with Brambles Transport as a motor mechanic, he topped every year at Tech and used the bonus money to buy a motor bike. One of his later jobs was work shop foreman for P & R Williams Car Dealership, servicing MG, Riley and Wolseley. His own car was an immaculate black 1951 2.5L Riley, well known for being the fastest tow car to Gunnedah and Tamworth, where he rode short circuit and scrambles meetings regularly. Wal bought his XB 33 BSA new in 1948 and used it for racing as well as his ride-to-work bike, as was the case with most riders those days. Over time he developed the motor to Gold Star standards. He also rode Jack Leach’s Bantam. Wal was a very safe and good B grade rider and he probably won more 125cc races than any other rider in his time, including the 200cc Ultra Lightweight races unique to the Tamworth Club. Wally was a member of Mayfield MCC, and was for many years a club delegate to the Northern Centre ACU and later as a Northern Centre delegate to ACU NSW. When Wal’s riding days finished, he became an ACU steward. He was also one of the Mayfield members who was a guarantor for the development of the Salty Creek circuit, with his home on the line. He always had the support of his wife Marie. Together, they helped with raffles, working bees and fund raising events. He was a best friend to me, always supportive, prepared my bike over many nights in his garage until he had taught me enough to be able to carry on myself. I would never have been able to race without his input. We started with my 1951 BSA 350cc competition model, and I raced that bike on many dirt short circuits, Bendemeer scrambles, Bathurst road races, with a good share of success. Wal fabricated the fuel tank, seat and tail piece and mud guard brackets etc and nothing ever failed or cracked. He was a water skier until heart surgery stopped that, but he continued to teach many to ski behind his boat. He played bowls and was awarded life membership for his volunteer work with the club. He was also a valued member of Probus in Raymond Terrace in later years. He passed away on 20th March 2018 aged 91. His guidance to myself and many others will not be forgotten, he was a true sportsman and gentleman.
Wally Martin in action – a keen racer and hard worker for his sport.