Vic Retires

We were leaving Dundrod and on our way to the Belfast Ferry terminal when, from out of the blue, Vic told me he had decided to remain in the UK once we got home and he would not be going to Spain with me for the Spanish Series.

This came as a huge shock and disappointment to me as Vic was not only a close friend and the best of travelling companions, but had also become a first class mechanic. In addition, he was the owner of our Ford Thames transporter, without which RMREquipe were stranded!

When pushed to explain why he had come to his decision to drop out, for me, at such a critical stage, Vic told me he thought I would be picking up a Works ride before the end of the season and he could not see himself being offered a position in a Works Team. This he thought would also derail any future development of our earlier planned partnership in a gearbox manufacturing business. In such circumstances, he claimed, he could not see any future for himself in motorcycle racing.

Vic relaxes in Opatia

It is true that I had an approach from a Spanish manufacturer earlier in the season, to ride for them and assist in the development of their 125 and 250 racers in 1965, I will expand on this approach later, but this was only an exploratory approach and no commitments had been entered into by either side. There was also the possibility of a ride on the secret Parilla G.P racer, but this was no more than a vague possibility, again without any commitments being made by either party, beyond my agreeing to an end of season test ride at Monza.In any event, I would not have dropped Vic as my mechanic, if I had been lucky enough to get a Works ride.

Vic at work

The feasibility of us setting up a gearbox manufacturing and sales operation was indeed diminishing. Notwithstanding the wide interest shown in my G50 gearbox and the success of early testing, there was still considerable testing & development to do before we could hope to manufacture and sell in any volume.

In addition, an Austrian gearbox manufacturer Michael Schafleitner had successfully launched a 6 speed box for Manx Nortons, G50’s and 7R’s and these were becoming well established with the privateers. My gear boxes would therefore, have been in direct competition with the Schafleitner gear boxes.

Whilst accepting Vic’s explanation, I could not at the time help but think, his recent reunion with his girlfriend and reminder of other home comforts, were just too attractive in comparison to the low days, at times encountered by most ‘privateers’ and their mechanics on the Circus.

The last week spent living in a dank van, parked in a part flooded Dundrod paddock, was probably the last straw for Vic?