Monday 2 April 2012

Wilf Caunce's Nortons

-JdK- I was contacted by Stephen Caunce and his daughter Sally who sent the following message:

Wilf's Manx GP racer and his wife (?)

"We discovered your feature on Wilf Caunce’s Manx Norton. It was great to see the bike and the pictures. Above is another photo of the same bike, taken after the war. I  (Stephen) am Wilf’s nephew, and cleared up his estate after he died some years ago. He didn’t leave many papers, like most working-class men of his age, but there are one or two Manx GP items, plus some local newspaper reports of his exploits. He was an apprentice-trained engineer who worked at the Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows, where he lived all his life, and ended his career there training apprentices in the 1970s. In clearing up his estate, I had to dispose of his home workshop in his garage, and was told that it was worth very little as the tools and equipment were out of date.

Wilf on a c1924 Model 18. At Brooklands?
Family history says he had to hide his bike when he first started riding them as his father (a very dominant man) disapproved strongly, partly because another of my uncles was hit by a car while sitting on a bike, and killed. Wilf had to keep his bike in another person’s garage and sneak off to ride it whenever he could, so perhaps this prepared him for his wartime trick. He apparently rode regularly on Southport sands. I think the 1947 Manx GP was the highpoint of his life in many ways."

-JdK- Only one entry can be found for Wilf in the TT database; he came 40th in the 1947 Manx GP Senior in which he used the Model 30 in the photo on top. The newspaper article above demonstrates he had been to the Isle of Man previous to that. The pics below most probably show Wilf and a friend on that occasion, somewhere in the mid-1930s. The Norton is a c1930 Model 18 Norton.

Wilf at the Senior
A friend on the same Model 18