1945 to 1958 48 52 54 56 58
Rationing, racing, rallying & trails. Jack Daniels-The Flying Welshman. Fairwood. Rally of the Vales
On November 21st 1945 the club entered its second phase with a get together at the Plough Inn, Llangyfelach. A Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Mr V Ragione and on Easter Monday 1946 the club went back to Pendine sands for race meeting. The event was run on dope as petrol was still on ration. Later that year the Cambrian Trail was run, when a petrol ration was granted to the competitors.
The following years saw the club get on its feet again and grow in strength and numbers. Petrol rationing still continued and therefore spectators and competitors visited events by coach & machines were taken by lorry.
During 1948 club member Jack Daniels, an all round performer for some years, shot to prominence by going from his first road race in June, to win the Senior Clubmans TT at his first attempt. Further success quickly followed, including a win in the Senior event and 2nd in the Junior events at Eppynt, 5th in Junior Manx Gran Prix and 2nd in the 350cc Class at the invitation Shelsey Walsh Hill Climb. A brilliant rider and a great clubman, he deservedly earned the nickname "The Flying Welshman", before tragically losing his life in a road accident on October 31st in the same year. This was a tragic loss for all who knew him and to the Swansea Motor Club, for whom he had done so much.
1952saw the first large-scale race meeting at Fairwood Common on July 26th, using a circuit using part of the runway and taxiways of the former RAF base. Jointly organised by the Swansea Motor Club, the Welsh Motor Club, the Half Litre Car Club, and the Daily Telegraph, it was the first race meeting held in Wales, and it attracted many top line motor car and bike drivers and riders, including a very young Stirling Moss!
Swansea garage owner turned race car constructor Cyril Keift, whose Keift 500 chassis were a common site at British race meetings in the early 1950s, was one of prime movers behind the event, which attracted a roll call of the greatest drivers and personalities that did much to propel British racing onto the World Stage. Apart from Moss, the entry included up and coming driver Peter Collins, and drivers who turned into top F1 team owners Ken Tyrell, Colin Chapman and drivers who were major personalities Les Leston and Archie Scott-Brown.
Tropical sunshine attracted a record crowd of 25,000 spectators, who saw a first class days sport, with many people in the paddock admiring Moss' personal Jaguar
Amongst the local personalities was Swansea Motor Club member, Richard Williams, who was also known as 'Dick the Fish' , Dick raced a Le Man style 1927 Green Label Bentley, and got his name presumably because he owned the Mermaid Hotel on Mumbles Road. The Mermaid was a local landmark, until it was demolished after being gutted by fire in the 1990s. Dick died in 1999 aged 83, but his car can still be seen at local historic car shows.
Also in 1952/3 Swansea Motor Club members took part in many National meetings and in the International Six Days Trial at least 3 members won trophies. The Swansea Motor Club team won the team award at the National Kidston Scramble and Swansea Motor Club members were also winning events organised by other clubs.
Also during 1954 the Swansea Motor Club ran the first Post War car rally. The 1954 event was run under ACU (Auto Cycle Union) rules.
In 1955 the club became affiliated to the RAC and a start was made in organising larger Car Rallies, including the Rally of the November Night which was won by G F Reason driving a Triumph TR2, and Driving Tests, and these together with a full Motorcycle programme gave all the members plenty of sport to see and do.
1956 got off to a good start until in November the first Restricted rally was unfortunately postponed following the reintroduction of petrol rationing due to the Suez Crisis.
In the meantime, in 1956, the Committee of the Swansea Motor Club was also elected as the committee of the Welsh Racing Club and the club became a limited company.
At the time the membership fees of the club, were 7 shillings and 6 pence, and the aims included encouraging good motoring manners and to encourage sporting elements in all directions. At that time the club headquarters were at the Grosvenor Hotel in Swansea.
Awards ceremonies in the
1950s were glittering occasions with dinner jackets and black bow ties for the men and
ball-gowns for the ladies. Don Parker, who was introduced as an "International Racing
Driver" presented the 1957 awards. Don was closely associated with Cyril Keifts cars
having scored almost 150 wins with his Keift. The ceremony was attended by the Deputy
Mayor of Swansea, H F Strawford and his wife the Deputy Mayoress, and if you are thinking
that name sounds familiar, it is.
1957. Petrol rationing remained in force until November 1957 when, one year later than planned, the first ever Car Restricted Rally was run in November. Renamed the November Night Rally it was won by W F (Bill) Cawsey in a Triumph TR2 and was a great success.
In 1958 the rally, now renamed, and set to become legendary, as the Rally of the Vales was won again by Bill Cawsey this time in a Triumph TR3. Other plans for 1958 & 1959 included events at Llandow Airfield.
In 1959 the Rally of the Vales was won by F Malkin/G Robson driving a Sunbeam Rapier
N.B during this period and the subsequent years it must be remembered that the road network was based on the A road network, and road surfaces were not as smooth as they were. Until the mid 1960s there was no M4 or Severn Bridge and this meant that any journeys to and from Wales, west to east, were either via Gloucester or via the Severn Beach Ferry, giving any journey an epic dimension.
Links relating to the above text
TT history http://www.iomtt.com/history/index.shtml
Eypnt circuit 1948 to 1953. The circuit ran from the start onto the
long Llewellyn's Way straight, then Piccadilly Corner, next Gardiners Path, Copse Corner,
then the alternative finish line! near Dixie's Corner, now no longer known by its Welsh
term of Llwyd Bwlch y Groes.
extract from the Fairwood Airport site
Swansea Airport has wonderful memories for me including being a marshall at