Profile� Jack Gal­loway

Classic Trial - - CONTENTS -

As a very young tri­als en­thu­si­ast many years ago I ea­gerly waited for the two-weekly pa­pers to come on Wed­nes­days, Motor Cy­cle News and Mo­tor­cy­cle. My mem­ory is still etched with some of the head­line sto­ries from all those years ago, and one in par­tic­u­lar. I have been and still am very keen on the Scott Trial and in 1972 the ex­ploits of Jack Gal­loway on his Mon­tesa re­main as in­ter­est­ing then as they are to­day, as you will find out in this ar­ti­cle. Just ten miles from the fin­ish his new pro­to­type alu­minium han­dle­bars snapped and he crashed. He fin­ished the event, just miss­ing the win. The fact he had been in the Parachute Reg­i­ment was re­warded with the head­line to this ar­ti­cle – ‘Jump­ing Jack’. I had seen Jack oc­ca­sion­ally in more re­cent times but it was to an­other life­long mo­tor­cy­cling en­thu­si­ast, John Wat­son, dur­ing a phone call that I gave the task of talk­ing to the man him­self to con­firm the Scott Trial story and gen­er­ate the words for this ar­ti­cle. Words: John Wat­son and John Hulme • Pic­tures: Barry Robin­son, Mal­colm Car­ling, Eric Kitchen, Alan Vines, The Nick Ni­cholls Col­lec­tion at Mor­tons Archive, Brian Holder and Ge­orge McGee

One of the first ques­tions I asked Jack Gal­loway was: “What first fu­elled your in­ter­est in off-road mo­tor­cy­cle sport?” His an­swer: “John, I have no idea. The only ex­pla­na­tion I have is when I first saw the likes of Dickie Pre­ston, the Tate broth­ers and such riders clash­ing han­dle­bars as they hur­tled round Carl­ton Bank; I thought ‘this is ex­cit­ing’. That scram­bles course was close enough for me to cy­cle to as a young lad. Even now I still re­mem­ber think­ing I would love a go at that.” Then af­ter a bit of thought, he added: “I also re­mem­ber think­ing that I might be pretty good at it as well.”

The Zone

It is this sort of con­fi­dence and straight­for­ward ap­proach to sport, and life it­self for that mat­ter, that made Jack Gal­loway one of the most ta­lented and tough­est com­peti­tors around in his day. Way be­fore the term ‘in the zone’ came into fash­ion, coined by many coaches and just an­other way of re­fer­ring to con­cen­tra­tion, Jack had the abil­ity to shut ev­ery­thing out around him, study­ing lines and scowl­ing in con­cen­tra­tion. It earned him an un­just tag of be­ing dour. But noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. Once free of com­pe­ti­tion he is and al­ways was the best of com­pany, with a quick wit and a wicked sense of hu­mour, but to achieve the suc­cess he craved he gave to­tal com­mit­ment to be the best.

Born in the mar­ket town of Yarm close to Stock­ton-on-Tees in 1945, Jack at­tended com­pre­hen­sive school there, play­ing all the usual school sports and ac­tiv­i­ties, but he was al­ways hap­pier spend­ing time on his push­bike. On leav­ing school, he had a cou­ple of job of­fers and sur­pris­ingly he went into farm­ing, as it paid slightly more than some of the other jobs on of­fer in the area. With no fa­ther fig­ure on the scene to help or ad­vise him, Jack did it the hard way and he saved up, pur­chas­ing his first mo­tor­cy­cle, a Greeves, at the age of six­teen. Af­ter just a few weeks of prac­tice, he en­tered his first trial with L plates fit­ted at Carl­ton Bank near Stokesley. Slightly hot-headed at this age he ad­mits scram­bling would have suited him bet­ter but with tri­als, you could ride to the event on the same ma­chine and so over­come any trans­port prob­lems.

On the day he raced around with his mate ‘Black’ Simp­son, never once look­ing at sec­tions, but on study­ing the re­sults, he knew he could achieve more. Come his sec­ond at­tempt he stud­ied ev­ery sec­tion, watched other riders and learnt, fin­ish­ing with a 2nd class award as a cer­tain Ray Sayer took the Premier award that day.

Jack man­aged to ride for about a sea­son and a half, and, sur­pris­ingly at such a young age and with lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence sup­port, ar­rived from lo­cal Greeves stock­ists Scott and Wal­lace of Guis­bor­ough, help­ing him to ride his first SSDT. Sadly it was no fairy tale de­but, re­tir­ing the first day when the Gud­geon pin cir­clip on the pis­ton tried to find space down the side of the pis­ton and the Greeves seized-up solid. Sammy Miller went on to win that year, with Jack re­turn­ing home mis­er­able and hard up, and he de­cided to re­tire from tri­als. Parachute Reg­i­ment Join­ing the army and pass­ing the tough se­lec­tion process for the Parachute Reg­i­ment was no mean feat in it­self. Jack thought the high adrenalin life of a ‘Para’ would re­place the ‘Buzz’ he so de­sired from rid­ing mo­tor­cy­cles, and it did. He re­calls: “I was all geared up and ready to make my first jump when I sud­denly thought ‘what the Hell am I do­ing up here!” It was to be the first of more than fifty drops he made.

He then met the love of his life, the lovely Pauline, and they mar­ried in 1967, and they still are hap­pily mar­ried to the present day. While in the army he and Pauline spec­tated at a lo­cal tri­als event and sure enough the ‘bug’ bit him once more. With Pauline urg­ing him to ride again. Riders of to­day please note: he pur­chased a Tri­umph Tiger Cub from Comer­ford’s, soon be­com­ing friendly with that well-known wizard of mo­tor­cy­cle fet­tling, the great Reg May. So be­gan his sec­ond stint at tri­als at the age of twenty-one.

Comer­ford’s had a cou­ple of teams on the go at this time in­clud­ing the late Martin Lamp­kin, Mal­colm Rath­mell and Alan ‘Sid’ Lamp­kin in the top team. Ge­off Chan­dler, Paul Dunk­ley and Jack would be the ‘B’ team. Jack rode the Tri­umph to many fine wins even though re­li­a­bil­ity was a bit of an is­sue. Stick­ing with Comer­ford’s and a change to Bul­taco saw Jack hit a pur­ple patch with some great re­sults, but the money short­age al­most fin­ished him again. It was only a splen­did run­ner-up berth in the na­tional Hoad Trial that lifted him and kept the string of good re­sults go­ing. Jack was un­for­tu­nate in one re­spect like so many great riders of that era, emerg­ing at a time when Sammy Miller was al­most in­vin­ci­ble. But Jack’s re­sults, noted by the army, picked him to ride for the army team in the ISDE of 1969 on a BSA B40, un­for­tu­nately break­ing down on the fi­nal day to al­most cer­tainly rob him of a medal.

The fol­low­ing story Jack in­sists has no bear­ing on him leav­ing the armed forces. On be­ing cho­sen to ride for the army against the Swedes and win­ning, on one par­tic­u­lar night of cel­e­bra­tion, Jack re­lates: “The Swedes had sup­plied us with new 250cc Husq­varna En­duro ma­chines and show­ing off, I sup­pose, I did a wheelie across the pa­rade ground. The out­come was that I over­cooked it, stepped off the back and stuffed the new mo­tor­cy­cle into the side of one of their huts. That was the first short-wheel-based Husky in ex­is­tence.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.