Supercharged motorcycle sprint attracted best riders in the world

GYM pic stories 2908

GYM pic stories 2908 - Credit: Archant

We had a good response to our appeal for help in identifying the motorcycle event pictures in last week’s letters pages.

Colin Eagling said the photos are from the early 1960s.

“The peculiar streamlined number 64 is Yellow Peril, which was a supercharged 650cc Triumph ridden and built by Bill Bragg. He built a series of similar machines such as Blue Peril etc.

“The strange streamlining is an ex-USAFF fighter plane fuel drop tank. Bill set several world and British speed records with these machines. He was a very clever but somewhat eccentric man who sometime in the 1970s packed up and went to live on a South Sea island.”

Colin continued: “This particular bike was discovered in an unused chicken shed in the 1990s and rebuilt to original condition and was autioned for over £30,000.

“Number 47 is a vintage Scott 2 strole racer and was possibly owned by Chris Williams and Clive Waye.”

And Colin thinks he knows the people in the pictures.

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“The man who is second left of the middle photo, adjusting his crash helmet looks very much like George Brown who was one of the top sprinters of the era. He was a multiple world speed record holder riding Super Nero, a supercharged 1000cc Vincent.

“Perhaps Phil Kersey of Gorleston who was himself a top sprinter can add further information.”

The pictures are of a motorcycle sprint on Yarmouth seafront which was a great success, explained Phil Allen. However, the event was not repeated because permission was not really supposed to have been given. Phil added: “I can’t remember the exact year but it was at Easter round about 1960-1963.

And Peter Botwright is pretty sure it was an organised drag strip put on by Gorleston motorcycle shop owner Jack Kersey in the 1960s. “I’m pretty sure I went to see it,” he said.

John Annison of Gorleston recalls going to see a motorcycle sprint event on the South Denes during the mid 1960s.

“The start area was at the harbour end on the piece of land given away to the outer harbour company. I believe it was a measured quarter or half mile run.

“I do not recognise any of the riders in the pictures but I do recognise the sidecar with the pointed fairing numbered 64 - it was called Yellow Peril. Also there was George Brown on his supercharged Vincent-powered Super Nero (not in picture).

John also remembers “a local guy by the name of Phil Kersey starting out in the sport. He went on to take national and world records in the 125cc class on his Bultaco.

D Wright has also emailed: “I think Ian Denney’s photos were probably taken at a motorcycle sprint meeting that took place along Great Yarmouth seafront from the old power station towards the harbour’s mouth. The meeting featured George Brown on his Super Nero supercharged Vincent motorbike. The bike is in the National Motorcycle Museum. Super Nero was built to run in the 1960s so maybe the photos are a bit later than the 1950s as suggested by Ian.”

And finally, Maurice Hood has sent the date of the race: It was called the Great Yarmouth Sprint on South Beach Parade and held on Good Friday, March 27 1964, organised by Great Yarmouth Seagull MCC.

Thanks to everyone who responded to Ian’s appeal.