CYRIL SMITH REMEMBERED
I write to convey my great thanks to you for the publication of Fred Pidcock's superb article on my grandfather, Cyril Smith, in his ‘Whatever Happened To?' series.
Unfortunately the historical accuracy of the text is not matched by the captions to the photographs. If I might take the opportunity to correct them: the main title photograph is of my grandfather and father (Stan Dibben) at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1954, not 1953. The small portrait photograph of Cyril was taken at the Isle of Man TT in 1958, not 1956. The photo of Cyril leading Eric Oliver and my father at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1953 should say that Les Nutt is riding alongside Cyril on the sidecar platform, not Bob Onslow.
The photo of Cyril and Les at the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix makes mention of him using one of Joe Craig's engines. As explained in the article itself, Cyril did not get works engines until 1954 and even then he had to pay for them. Indeed, the first one he got failed in practice at the Belgian Grand Prix that year when the outside fly-wheel sheared, shot past my father's nose and disappeared into the undergrowth!
The photograph of Cyril in 1950 is with rider Bob Clements, while the photo of Cyril in 1951, again with Bob, takes a little more explaining. The caption states ‘Club'. I surmise the caption has been written simply by repeating what was written on the back of the photograph. I therefore suggest either that the corner was named Club, or that the circuit was the short circuit i.e. the ‘club' circuit, not the longer ‘national' circuit. Hopefully, readers of the article will quickly conclude the captions are erroneous, as they stand in direct opposition to the text.
Many thanks again for publishing the article. In my grandfather we have a Cyril Smith we can perhaps all be proud of. I know I am…