What’s in a Name?

Southern Sixty Seven race programmes from Keith’s collection

Why Southern Sixty Seven Racing? Well the name once had some significance in the world of amateur motorcycle racing. There was a time when it was hard for privateers to find a way of participating in this exciting sport. The sport had always been avidly followed by loyal supporters, some of whom were aspiring riders, but who could only dream of finding themselves a works ride with one of the major manufacturers. Young men (and some women) found themselves being tempted to try to attain speeds on two wheels far in excess of those permitted or even capable of being achieved on the public roads. Some of these young lads found that it was possible to build up fast machines in the back garden shed and that there was the opportunity from time to time to get them out on one of the country’s famous circuits.

To facilitate this a number of local clubs had sprung up to organize race meetings for amateur riders all over the country. In the Thames Valley one such club was The Southern Sixty Seven Racing Club set up by the late Jim Pink an acclaimed TT racer and dealer from Wallingford in Oxfordshire. The headquarters for the club was the Dolphin Hotel in the town.

S67 newsletters from Keith’s collection

Over the years the Club put on many meetings at circuits around the south of the country. Jim specialised in the lightweight classes. He was a concessionaire for a lesser known Japanese manufacturer, Tohatsu. Jim, besides his own successes also helped some other well known riders realise their aspirations, including the late Dave Simmonds. Jim’s son Tony also pursued a career in racing and like many others started on board a 250cc Greeves Silverstone, an excellent little offering from the Essex factory. Many young riders were to learn their skills on one these machines. Indeed the racing school based at Brands Hatch and run by another former champion TT racer, Chas Mortimer had a number of these fast little bikes. Some very famous names learned their skills here under his tuition.

Jim’s garage, still family owned thrives in the Oxfordshire market town, where it was opened in 1960. Today, run by Tony, it specialises in car sales and servicing.

Things that hold special memories for us and remind us of our younger days are important and Keith has always had special affection for this almost forgotten club and the people who enabled riders to get up onto the first rung of the racing ladder. It seemed only appropriate to name the enterprise after the club. So the name Southern Sixty Seven Racing was reborn.