Magnificent Men?..perhaps! Flying Machines?..don't think so!
We were never at the cutting edge of cycling technology! Not for us seven inch cranks or small interchangeable chain
wheels! We used big 46 tooth chain wheels ....or whatever happened to be on the bike when we got it. Back cogs with 24 teeth
gave us the right gearing for every track we raced on!! Sure, we did adopt offset cranks, although at least one Hawk hammered
them in the wrong way and couldn't understand why this seemed a good idea! The same can be true for a reversed handlebar stock
which , while it looked very trendy, just put your elbows a few inches behind every one else at the gate.
Dick never offered to lend his bike to anyone which was never a problem as no one else could have ridden it!! - it had
a saddle that was better not to sit on and handlebars that didn't seem to steer the bike!! He did have extra thick spokes
and reinforced large flanges which should have made it possible to replace spokes without removing the back cog - but Dick
would tell you that relacing spokes was for wimps and the wheel could be "trued" by simply bending it over your knee or jumping
Nicky's bike was believed to be pre - war ... although which war is not known! He was one of the first to straightened
his front forks but must have used a sledge hammer as they always looked to be on the point of breaking. However for the league,
he invested in a new smaller pair, but again demonstrated that he still didn't really have a gentle touch with a hammer! He
also, albeit briefly, had a sponge
saddle cover which was soon discarded.
"Caff" used Nicky's bike - which says more about his lack of judgement than Nicky's generosity!
Ronnies bike seemed almost normal ...until you tried to ride it. It was a lot higher and had narrower bars. However it
worked for him and, but for a wrist injury, would surely have annexed a rostrum place in the 1969 Glasgow final.
Moosh was still comparatively young ..and small. He had adapted his 18 inch frame using the novel idea of sawing the
back strenghtener off his back forks and forcing a larger, 26inch wheel into place - this meant he could ride on gripster
Mike's handlebars looked as though he had let Nicky straighten them and surprisingly Frank had adopted a similar pair.
By now you must be wondering how we managed to win any races, let alone meetings...and looking back, so do I!!
At the end of the first season, Nickys ancient bike had been used to turning left so often that the frame went
out of line. Undaunted, he managed to secure a much sought after track frame, which would propel him to greatness - some hope!!
He had a bit of a struggle to get the old chain over the wheel on the new bike - the spindle barely caught the forks -
but he never thought much about it. His gating was never electric but on this bike it was pretty dire - Neil Grant is sure
he once got so much wheel spin that he appeared to go backwards on the grid! By the following year he had ditched it and met
with considerably more success on borrowed bikes.