It was agreed that the TT was too much to ask of the teenager, so Jock approached Kenny Arthur. Kenny, a 33-year-old Liverpudlian, was a very experienced TT passenger going back to Charlie Freeman in 1968. He had ridden to victory with George O’dell in 1977 and had been in the chair with Bill Currie in 1975 and Bill Crook in 76. At first he told Jock that he was going to the TT for a holiday and would not race with him, believing him to be too young and inexperienced for the event. Jock asked him again and this time Kenny relented. They had no practice prior to arriving in the Island. Kenny worked out a signalling system to assist Jock, for instance not leaning out of the chair if the next corner was quicker than it looked. Jock treated the event seriously, putting in 36 laps on a road bike before the start of activities. They swiftly turned into a good team, qualifying second fastest in practice, just over five seconds slower than pole setters, Rolf Biland and Kenny Williams. Monday’s three-lap race was won by Dick Greasley and Gordon Russell, after Biland and Williams had gone out on the last lap at Alpine Cottage, with a broken chain. Taylor and Arthur were sixth on lap one, fourth on lap two and finally second, just over 20 seconds behind the winners, after running short of fuel on the Mountain on the last lap. Two days later Jock and Kenny were third home in the second sidecar leg, run in wet conditions after a long delay, giving them overall victory in the event. The winner was Rolf Steinhausen, with Wolfgang Kalauch in the chair. It was Steinhausen’s third TT victory in four years. Jock led on the first lap, nearly 13 seconds ahead of Steinhausen. But a spin at Braddan Bridge on lap two, almost ended with the Scot nearly running backwards into the wall. Jock’s request for an entry at the Dutch TT was turned down, so next was the Belgian GP, where they qualified outside of the top 10. They discovered that the front tyre was too wide, so they borrowed a smaller Dunlop and that worked perfectly on the new, wide Windle outfit. They finished sixth in the race, picking up five championship points. At the British GP at Silverstone they were fifth quickest in practice and went on to be third home, adding another 10 points to their season’s tally. From there they went to the Ulster Grand Prix. In second place on the last lap a gearbox problem caused them to spin at the hairpin, then approaching the start and finish line, a brand new TZ750 engine destroyed itself, putting them out. After that it was off to the Nurburgring for the German GP. They qualified fourth fastest, despite problems with the carburettors. During practice Jock went for a walk and came back with a set of Lectron carbs, given to him, he explained, by his new friend, Kenny Roberts. On the warm-up lap an expansion chamber fell off, forcing them into the pits. The race started and everyone had gone when Jock got out on to the track. In a foul mood, swearing at James, Jock set off after the pack. He picked off the opposition one by one. He was up to sixth, with the front runners in sight, when the chequered flag went out. Another lap, they might have won. The Czech GP wrapped up the world championship. The Brno race did not add any points to the season’s tally. A succession of broken chains was followed by a crash when they were in the top half dozen. Heading to Holland, James was in the caravan his parents had let them have, trying to grab some sleep. Jock and Peter, the mechanic, were in the van. Suddenly James started to feel the caravan swaying and smell burning rubber. He had no way of warning the others. He lay on the floor, cowering and waiting for the caravan to overturn and him to die! The contents of the cupboards and fridge began to fall out. There was flour, rice, milk, eggs and tinned stuff all over. A can of beans hit him on the head and there was blood everywhere. It was a nightmare. Then Jock pulled to the side of the road, got out and opened the door. He surveyed the chaos. “What are you doing? Making a f*****g cake?”
“TAYLOR RODE THE OUTFIT ROUND A HOUSING ESTATE, AND AGREED TO BUY IT FOR £230.”
Back in England it was the British championship rounds. At Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough a spin, after hitting water, put them out. They won at Donington after a great battle with Michel, outbraking him on the last lap. At Mallory Park, they were going well, until a breather pipe came off, spraying oil all over James and the chair. At one stage Jock had to grab him and pull him back into the chair. Michel won, with Jock second. After the race James collapsed and needed treatment. They ended the season at Brands Hatch. James was struggling with a bad case of flu, but Jock still won the race, beating Michel and finishing second in the British championship. In the winter long-time mechanic, Charlie Swanson, left the team and was replaced by Peter Brown. Sadly, Charlie, who went briefly to work for Alain Michel in France, but was due to return to Jock’s team, was killed in a road accident riding a motorcycle just a mile from East Fortune on June 23, 1979. The 1979 season started well, but quickly went downhill. They won at Donington, using the old Windle outfit. Then James broke his wrist at Brands Hatch on Good Friday after Jock spun the new £8500 Seymaz built by Eric Vanier. Three days later stand-in passenger, Dave Powell, was killed in a crash during practice at Oulton Park on Easter Monday. The new outfit was a write-off. New mechanic Peter Brown had to work long and hard to get the 1978 Windle outfit ready for the Austrian GP. With James still injured, Jimmy Law was drafted in for the Salzburgring race. Unfortunately they failed to finish when the rear hub broke up. Law was in the chair for the German GP at Hockenheim, but again, when lying fifth, the engine broke again. Jock was unable to have Kenny Arthur with him again for the 1979 TT, because he was contracted for the whole season, in the GPS and the Isle of Man, with the German, Rolf Steinhausen. Instead Jock persuaded another, highly experienced British passenger, Gordon Russell, a TT winner, to step into the chair. They had problems throughout practice with the carburettors, wrecking two engines. Despite that they were fifth fastest in practice. A misfire plagued them on the opening lap of the first race and Jock stopped to change spark plugs. On the way to Quarter Bridge the misfire continued and they pulled off. For the rest of the race a large Scottish contingent plied them both with Pernod. Things were not much better in race two, where they finished down in 16th place. Gordon was passenger for the Post TT meeting at Mallory Park where they finished second to Dick Greasley.
“TO EVERYONE’S ASTONISHMENT DENNIS WENT BEHIND THE COUNTER AND HANDED OVER A WHOLE LOAD OF ENGINE PARTS, INCLUDING A COMPLETE 500 TOP-END.”
For the Dutch TT, James Neil was back in action. They finished third. Eight days later the engine seized up on the warm up lap at the Belgian GP. Back in Britain the pair took victory at an international meeting at Donington Park. Afterwards James Neil told Jock he was quitting. The events of the past 12 months had had a major effect on Neil’s confidence. Putting not too fine a point on it, James believed if he carried on, he would die and he was too young for that. The previous season, at the Nurburging I had introduced Jock to a 20-year-old Swedish 125cc racer, Bengt-goran Johansson. They became friends. Jock first asked Jimmy Law to crew for him. He could not, because of family commitments, so Jock then approached the Swede. Benga, as he was known, had been racing in the 125cc world championship on a Morbidelli since the start of 1977. His last ride on the little Italian machine was at Cadwell in an International meeting in May, where he made his debut as a passenger with Jock. The Swedish GP at Karlskoga in August marked Benga’s debut as a GP passenger after just two race meetings. They won! There was no sidecar race in Finland, so the next race was the British GP at Silverstone. Biland was the winner, with Jock second. The Czech GP wrapped up the new B2A world championship, but Jock crashed out when running in the top five. Biland and Waltisperg were world champions, notching up 67 points in the seven rounds. Jock and Benga were sixth, on 43. Jock and Benga started the 1980 season with victory at the Paul Ricard circuit in the French GP, ahead of Biland. From there they travelled on to the Yugoslavian GP at Rieka, grabbing third place behind Biland and Michel. Back in the UK, Benga Johansson made his Isle of Man TT debut. Despite the Swede’s lack of experience on the Island, the pair qualified well and went on to take second place in race one. With the track drying out, they cut a 30 second deficit to just six seconds behind winners Trevor Ireson and Clive Pollington, setting the fastest lap at 100.64mph on the third and final lap, the only 100mph plus lap of the race Jock secured his first-ever TT victory in race two, breaking the record from a standing start, until Benga spotted a broken radiator bracket and they had to slow. In the closing stages Benga had to pump the fuel. On the last lap they ran short of fuel eight miles from home. Just 200 yards from home, they ran out of fuel completely. Despite all that they had set the fastest lap at 106.09mph, beating Rolf Biland’s old record by 18 seconds. Their winning margin over Trevor Ireson was a comfortable 65 seconds. Victory at Assen, where Biland retired, lifted Jock into the World Championship lead, Michel was second home and Derek ‘Crazy Horse’ Jones and Brian Ayres third, after qualifying on pole. Mechanic Pete Novac fitted a new, powervalve TZ500 Yamaha motor for the race, one that had been used by Graham Wood on his solo machine and rebuilt by Dennis Trollope. At Zolder, in the Belgian GP, Jock won again, followed home by Michel and Biland. Jock and Benga had eventful practice sessions. The first incident when they went straight on at the chicane, the second when the sidecar wheel sheared leaving the outfit spinning in the middle of the road, finally the engine nipped up in the final session. The team worked till after midnight changing the crankshafts. Jock took victory at Imatra, taking the maximum 15 points, with Biland fourth home,
giving the Scot a 19 point lead. Using a new, wider Windle chassis, Jock and Benga clinched the sidecar world title by finishing second to Jones and Ayres at the British GP at Silverstone. They were lucky to finish. A slow puncture left the rear tyre in shreds at the end of the race, on top of which Jock was suffering from chicken pox! It was the first time since George O’dell’s success in 1977 that a British driver had taken the crown. Biland failed to finish and with only two rounds to go, Jock could not now be caught. The pair ended the GP season on a high note winning at the Nurburgring. At that point the team had had 23 starts, winning 15 international events, including four GPS, four seconds, two thirds, a fourth and just one retirement. Success in the end-of-season British Championship rounds earned them the title and they also notched up the first ever 100mph sidecar lap at Mallory Park. To cap a great year Jock was voted the MCN Man of the Year. Victory in the Austrian GP, ahead of Biland started the 1981 season well. Michel was victorious at Hockenheim, with Jock second and Biland retiring. Biland bounced back with victory at Paul Ricard, with Taylor second and Michel third. Engine problems ended with Jock only 14th in the Spanish GP. Biland was the winner, ahead of Michel. Jock and Benga broke race and lap records as they notched a double win in the 1981 TT. Benga’s memories, though, are not of the successes, but from being battered black and blue from new plastic cones on the Mountain section. Taylor and Michel had another fairing-bashing race at the Dutch TT. Michel narrowly won, with Jock second and Biland third. With five rounds to go Michel was on 62 points, Jock 53 and Biland 52. Biland took victory at Spa, with Taylor second and Michel third. Jock’s hopes of retaining the title took a knock at Silverstone when the gear-shifter broke putting him out. Biland won again, from Michel. Jock blew up three engines at the Finnish GP, but still finished second in the race to Biland. Taylor was third at Anderstorp, with Biland winning again, chased home by Michel. Jock’s Brno curse struck again. He failed to finish the race. Biland made it five wins in succession to win the title on a massive total of 127 points. Michel was runner-up on 106 and Jock third with 87. Back home in Britain Jock and Benga won the British championship again. Life, as usual was busy, but Jock found time to marry his girlfriend, Kate at the end of the year.
Left:tackling tricky Manx conditions;taylor was grateful for Arthur’s knowledge and experience. Below:the ultimate three-wheel dream team, Jocktaylor and Benga
Jocktaylor and Gordon Russell,tt 1979.