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Motorcycle mayhem at Red Marley and Osmaston Manor

By gavin jones  |  Posted: February 08, 2013

Another riderless bike on Red Marley.

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LAST WEEK we published some photographs loaned to us by Olive Bedworth of West Bromwich, which showed her as something of a pioneer — a female motorcyclist back in the nineteen-fifties.

As fans of both riding and watching others taking part as a sport, Olive and her late husband George travelled all over the country to take in the top two-wheeler events, and here we have a few more of their photographs, which document a variety of meetings.

Following on from last week's action shots from the Red Marley hill climb, we have a 'behind the scenes' snap, with the Start line just visible in the background, and another which shows just how steep that hill is, as five men struggle to keep a bike from rolling back down after losing its rider. Note also the crowds gathered behind the rickety wooden fence.

Another — rather flatter — setting for racing in those days was Osmaston Manor in Derbyshire. George Bedworth was positioned on one of the tree-lined stretches to snap riders 1 and 15 banking around the bend, probably in 1958 or 59.

Stars Amongst the top riders Olive remembers seeing in those days were Ray Amm, Geoff Duke and Eric Oliver. Eric is shown in a press cutting, tackling Maggots Curve, Silverstone, in his sleek motorcycle and sidecar combination.

Olive, in fact, was once asked by a rider who owned a shop in Wednesbury, if she would act as his sidecar passenger, a key role which involved positioning your weight very precisely for each twist and turn.

"It was so long ago I don't remember his name, though it may have been Buck," says Olive. "But George didn't want me to do it, he said it was too dangerous.

He was probably right and I didn't take up the offer, but I'd have loved to have a go!"

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