Classic Racer - - PEOPLE -

Jimmy Buchan also rode a Potts 350cc at Er­rol, in the 500cc race against riders on 500 Manx ma­chines and var­i­ous other larger bikes. Even us­ing the 350cc, Jimmy moved up from 12th on the first lap to fin­ish a very good sec­ond be­hind Alas­tair King (500 Manx). The Manx Grand Prix was next for the Potts team. Bob would go as me­chanic and pit as­sis­tant for Jimmy Buchan, who would be pi­lot­ing the Potts ma­chines. At the start of the week only the Potts 500 was on the Is­land for Jimmy. Bob was plan­ning on us­ing the 350 at Char­ter­hall on Sun­day, Au­gust 26, but in the end he did not run the bike due to the track be­ing flooded from heavy rain. A 100-yard sec­tion of the track was flooded by two feet of wa­ter! Even so, the or­gan­is­ers ran 1.5-mile sprints, but Bob did not com­pete. He brought the 350 Potts Manx to the Is­land on the Mon­day. At the Manx, Bob told Jimmy to “En­joy your­self and don’t fall off” prior to the prac­tice pe­riod. Bob also said that “The ma­chine’s for rugged Scots, not promenade Per­cys,” when talk­ing about the 350 to Jimmy. Prac­tice went rel­a­tively well for Jimmy, as he was able to top both 350cc and 500cc tim­ing sheets against stiff com­pe­ti­tion from the likes of Alas­tair King, Bob An­der­son and Alan Holmes. The only hic­cup was a bro­ken valve spring on Jimmy’s Se­nior mount, but lit­tle dam­age was done and the bike was eas­ily re­paired. The Ju­nior race went well for Jimmy and his Potts Manx, which re­sulted in vic­tory at an av­er­age speed of 88.54mph from Ed­die Crooks. Af­ter Jimmy was con­grat­u­lated on his re­mark­able record at the IOM, his mod­est re­ply was, “Aye but look at the good bikes I’ve had!” At the prize-giv­ing, Jimmy thanked Joe and Bob for their help and the “loan of the mo­tor”. Things went just as well in the Se­nior race, as Jimmy won once more from Bob An­der­son and Alan Holmes. He had won the dou­ble Manx GP on Potts Manx ma­chines! When Jimmy handed the bikes back to Bob af­ter the rac­ing, Bob stated, “There’s noth­ing to beat a dou­ble scotch!” The Potts team was to have a good meet­ing at the Scar­bor­ough In­ter­na­tional in September. Jimmy Buchan was to ride the Potts 250 af­ter his Manx GP suc­cess and Bob would be rid­ing the two larger ma­chines. In the 250cc class Jimmy rode to a good fourth be­hind Dave Chad­wick’s MV, Brian Purslow’s NSU and Ted Fen­wick’s Moto Guzzi. His ride was not with­out in­ci­dent, how­ever, as he de­cided he would be able to go flat out through the bot­tom straight. When he tried it he had a mas­sive slide and nearly lost con­trol in a big way. In the 350cc class fi­nal Bob won from Peter Mur­phy on an AJS. The 500cc fi­nal was a huge bat­tle be­tween Bob on the Potts Manx and Ge­off Duke on the Works Gil­era. Ge­off had the Scar­bor­ough spec­i­fi­ca­tion Gil­era, which fea­tured smaller car­bu­ret­tors to make it more driv­able. In the early part of the race Bob took the lead, but com­ing out of Mere hair­pin he had a big slide un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion and nearly high-sided his bike. On the fourth lap Ge­off took the lead, but was only able to get past due to Bob miss­ing a gear-change com­ing out of Mount hair­pin. Bob was close be­hind Ge­off for the rest of the race, in the end fin­ish­ing in sec­ond place. Af­ter the race Bob and Ge­off swapped bikes for the lap of hon­our; Ge­off rid­ing the Potts Nor­ton and Bob the Gil­era. Af­ter the lap Bob was ac­ci­den­tally give the win­ner’s lau­rels, as he was still astride the Gil­era. It was at this meet­ing that Ge­off asked Bob to ride for Gil­era in 1957. The fol­low­ing day Bob took his ma­chines to Cad­well Park for his first time at the Lin­colnshire cir­cuit. In the 250cc class he won on the Potts 250 from Percy Tait and Ge­orge Catlin. In the 350cc class Bob could only man­age third, while in the Se­nior he fin­ished sec­ond be­hind John Har­tle. Mean­while, in Scotland, Char­lie Bruce was con­tin­u­ing his good form by win­ning the 250cc class at Er­rol. At Sil­ver­stone’s Hutchin­son 100 meet­ing there were six races (two for each ma­jor class) rammed into the day for Bob and the Potts ma­chines. The field was full of top class riders, with the Works Nor­tons of Har­tle and Brett the main threat in the big classes and Ce­cil Sand­ford and his Mon­dial in the 250cc class. In the 250cc races, Bob fin­ished sec­ond in the first race be­hind Sand­ford and third in the sec­ond (250cc BMCRC Cham­pi­onship) be­hind Sand­ford and Dave Chad­wick on an MV. In the 350cc BMCRC Cham­pi­onship race Bob fin­ished sec­ond be­hind Jack Brett but ahead of John Har­tle.

Right: Many spoils to the vic­tor, as is usual in the rac­ing game, but Bob knew that to con­tinue the win­ning ways would take a team-up with some­one like Joe Potts. The smile says it all about the va­lid­ity of that de­ci­sion.

Left: L to R, Joe Wool­lams, Bob, Joe and Vic Wil­loughby at North Road in Bell­shill with the pan­nier tanked Potts ma­chine.

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