What an absolute pleasure your “Tracks in Time” segment in OBA 74 was on The Poplars circuit at Blacktown. It brought back so many memories for me, a couple in particular, one which some of the readers of The Poplars vintage may be able to help me with, but first things first. In 1940 there were a couple of brothers; Noel and Dudley Nicholls who lived in Milperra. They were dedicated Red Hunter Ariel tuners and riders, and were members of the then Bankstown Canterbury MCC. In those days getting your bikes to the meetings was sometime a bigger battle than riding them at the meet, so they (as we all did at sometime or other) welded a bar in lieu of the rear bumper bar with two bits of pipe the size of the front axles of the bikes, so after removing the front wheels and rear chains you were away. On this occasion (I think 1940) Dudley was the owner of a Singer 9 HP Sedan, so with the bikes on the back and Dud and Noel in the front we approached the entry to the track. The two stowaways in the back – Jackie Osborne and Ray Curtis – were told by Dud to get on the floor and pull the blanket over us, which we did, so we were to be at our first Open meeting but not the last – for free.
The names of the riders you have mentioned have been and will be in my memory for life. Dudley married a girl named Hazel Payne, sister of Arthur of Nuwarra Motor Cycles who I was later to ride a Bantam for at Mt Druitt. I spoke to his brother Keith only recently. The second part of my story is, there was a rider of which the only info I have is the surname; Palmer. It has been mentioned several times over the years as a relation of the Curtis clan. Sadly he was killed when riding through some bushfire smoke on a road he knew so he took the risk, but he collided with a car that was stalled in the smoke. Perhaps a reader will know more.
Ray Curtis Narooma, NSW Email: firstname.lastname@example.org