JOCK TAY­LOR

Pride of Scot­land

Classic Racer - - PEO­PLE - Words: Chris Carter Pho­tog­ra­phy: Mor­tons Archive

Fer­gus An­der­son won the solo 350cc world ti­tle in both 1953 and 54, rid­ing a fac­tory Moto Guzzi. He lost his life at an in­ter­na­tional meet­ing at Flor­effe, Bel­gium, in May 1956 at the age of 47. Jock Tay­lor took the side­car world cham­pi­onship in 1980, with a Swede, Bengt-goran Jo­hans­son, as his pas­sen­ger. Two years later Jock was fa­tally in­jured at the Fin­nish GP at Ima­tra in Au­gust, 1982. Jock’s side­car ca­reer started as a pas­sen­ger, not a driver. Scot­tish side­car com­peti­tor Kenny An­drews, who was born in Smeth­wick, but who moved north of the bor­der when very young, was in the Goblin Hawe, a pub in Hadding­ton, East Loth­ian, near Tay­lor’s home, hav­ing a drink with his wife one Satur­day night in early 1974. Jock and some friends, in­clud­ing Char­lie Swan­son, later to be Jock’s me­chanic, were also there. Pos­si­bly fu­elled by al­co­hol, Jock was heard to de­clare that rac­ing a side­car out­fit was easy! An­drews, aged 27, sug­gested if Jock thought that was the case, then he should be at the East For­tune cir­cuit early the fol­low­ing morn­ing for a prac­tice day. There were two big shocks the fol­low­ing day. The first was that Tay­lor turned up! The sec­ond was that he im­me­di­ately turned out to be a top class pas­sen­ger. Us­ing an ex-mac Hob­son Win­drick BSA chas­sis, bought by Tay­lor, fit­ted with a Tri­umph 650 en­gine and gear­box, owned by An­drews, the pair agreed to start rac­ing at the be­gin­ning of the 1974 sea­son. In the close sea­son Lewis Ward of­fered to be his pas­sen­ger and buy a BSA en­gine. Ob­tain­ing an en­gine was no easy task. They caught a train from Ed­in­burgh to Lon­don, met up with Alas­tair Ward, Lewis’s brother, who drove them in his car to New­mar­ket to have a look at Alex Harper’s A70 en­gined out­fit. Tay­lor rode the out­fit round a hous­ing es­tate, and agreed to buy it for £230. They re­moved the en­gine and ex­haust sys­tem, drove back to Lon­don, put them in the guards’ van and re­turned to Scot­land. Tay­lor and Ward’s first race was at Sil­loth. They fin­ished sec­ond to Colin Ja­cobs in the heat and fourth in the fi­nal. They spent the sea­son bat­tling with Alas­tair Lewis and Jimmy Law. At the last meet­ing of the 1975 sea­son at East For­tune the en­gine blew up so the pair sold the out­fit. In the close sea­son they bought a sec­ond-hand Hartwell Imp en­gine and Nor­ton gear­box to go into a new chas­sis from John Crick. Un­for­tu­nately, just be­fore Christ­mas, Jock had a road ac­ci­dent break­ing his right leg in three places. Jock was not able to go to the Melville Club’s din­ner and pre­sen­ta­tion of awards so he was pre­sented his sil­ver­ware at the hos­pi­tal. Doc­tors told Tay­lor he would not be fit to race in 1976. Not sur­pris­ingly Jock had other ideas. Ward and the me­chanic, Char­lie Swan­son, built the Imp out­fit while Jock was laid up. At first the kneel­ing tray had to be piv­oted out to 45º, but as the sea­son went on the tray was grad­u­ally moved back, un­til his leg was straight. The Imp out­fit was sold to Dave Mal­lon at the end of the 1976 sea­son and Tay­lor and Ward looked for a two-stroke. They looked at the flat-four Kohler en­gine at the Road Rac­ing Show, but while they were con­sid­er­ing that, an Ire­son TZ750, owned by Spike Hughes and raced by Dave Lawrence came up for sale. They drove down to Chip­pen­ham, Wilt­shire, rode the out­fit round an in­dus­trial es­tate and with loans bought it for £2700. Ward’s par­ents pur­chased the

Scot­land has only had two road rac­ing world cham­pi­ons, Fer­gus Ken­rick An­der­son and John Robert Tay­lor, bet­ter known as Jock Tay­lor. Both were later killed tak­ing part in the sport they loved. Chris Carter takes up the story.

spares for £300. Scot­tish solo cham­pion Jock Find­lay showed the pair how to strip down and re­build the en­gine ready for the start of the 1977 sea­son. With the out­fit re­built and re­sprayed, the late Rob­bie Al­lan of­fered them a free stand at the Scot­tish Mo­tor Cy­cle Show. Jock roped in some glam­orous girls he knew, gave them tight-fit­ting Tay­lor/ward T-shirts and had them out and about sell­ing T-shirts, stick­ers and posters. At the end of the show there was still some mer­chan­dise left, so the tallest girl, Syl, of­fered a free kiss with any pur­chase and quickly sold out! Their sea­son opener was at Croft and they won all their races. Then it was down for the Easter Transat­lantic meet­ings in Eng­land. With help from com­men­ta­tor Fred Clarke they ob­tained en­tries at Brands and Oul­ton, but the or­gan­iser at Mal­lory said he had never heard of them and said no. They set off in a Ford Tran­sit van, sup­plied by one their spon­sor, Jimmy Mitchell, tow­ing the out­fit on a trailer, with Jimmy’s son, Richard, fol­low­ing by car. The team fi­nally ar­rived at Brands af­ter their prac­tice ses­sion was over. They and two other teams were given three laps be­fore the first race. Tay­lor qual­i­fied mid field, but made a great start, grab­bing third place be­hind Ge­orge O’dell and stay­ing there to the che­quered flag. They were ly­ing third at Oul­ton when the fuel pump failed. Spike Hughes was so pleased, he of­fered to pay the en­try fees for the sea­son and all ex­penses to race at the three club meet­ings at his lo­cal track. Jock was get­ting quicker and quicker, equalling the solo lap record at East For­tune, held at that time by the late Jock Find­lay. From there the pair went to the Ul­ster GP. The en­gine flooded at the start and they were last away. They charged quickly through the pack, but were forced to stop when red flags came out im­me­di­ately af­ter a fa­tal ac­ci­dent. As­ton­ish­ingly the flags were then pulled in and they were told they could re­join the race! They crossed the line in fourth place af­ter break­ing the lap record and be­com­ing the first side­car crew to lap Dun­drod at over 100mph. The or­gan­is­ers ac­cepted that it had been an un­usual race and that though they had fin­ished fourth, they paid them third place prize money. The team then raced at Scar­bor­ough, Cad­well and then Oul­ton, where they beat Ge­orge O’dell to win their first in­ter­na­tional event. Next was Mal­lory, the penul­ti­mate round of the Bri­tish cham­pi­onship. They had tried to bor­row a Yamaha 750, fear­ing all their ri­vals had all up­graded to the big­ger en­gine. They were let down and could only fin­ish sixth. Then Den­nis Trol­lope stepped in to sell them a 750 top end, for which they did not have to pay un­til Christ­mas. Fi­nal round of the se­ries at Brands car­ried dou­ble points and the or­gan­is­ers agreed to the com­peti­tors’ re­quest to make it 15 laps rather than 12. Bill Hodgkins, Jock’s main ri­val for the Bri­tish ti­tle, led from the start, with Jock breath­ing down his neck. Un­for­tu­nately, af­ter 12 laps, a mar­shal jumped out to usher Bill and Jock off the track. He was nearly run down. No­body had told him it was a 15 lap race. At the end of that lap the che­quered flag went out and the re­sult de­clared af­ter 12 laps, giv­ing Hodgkins the win and the Bri­tish ti­tle. All in all it was not a bad sea­son with the pair win­ning the Scot­tish cham­pi­onship, run­ner-up spot in the Bri­tish se­ries and third place in the Mo­tor Cy­cle Weekly In­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onship.

“WITH THE OUT­FIT RE­BUILT AND RE­SPRAYED THE LATE ROB­BIE AL­LAN OF­FERED THEM A FREE STAND AT THE SCOT­TISH MO­TOR CY­CLE SHOW.”

Left:thanks to the sup­port of Den­nis Trol­lope Jock­tay­lor got to live thett dream with ex­pe­ri­enced Kenny Arthur in the chair.Below:the youth­ful duo of Jock­tay­lor and Lewisward reg­u­larly made the long trek south to take on the best English side­car men.

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