The Full Story
World Championship Sidecar Racer who Raced and Won in a Watsonian Sidecar circa 1953 In 1949 I joined BSA in Birmingham Armoury Road factory building Goldstars and doing some development riding for the experimental department, riding all the prototype bikes of the era.Built myself a 350 Gold Star racer and raced it a few times.
1951 head hunted to Norton by Rex McCandless to road test the ''''featherbeds''''.
Did the Manx Grand Prix on a 350 Manx, built in my own time at the factory with the blessing of Joe Craig my boss. Finished outside the Bronze medals due to having to change a spark plug at Kirk Michael. Then entered as an unofficial entry at Silverstone and had “water in the works”. Entered again at Thruxton, won the 350 heat and finished about 7th in the final won by Surtees.
By this time I was testing the works racers at MIRA in the company of Ken Kavanagh and Ray Amm. Never mentioned in any of the Norton books, I built the first Dommie racer in the factory and raced it (number 44) at Blandford last meeting of the 1952, instructed by Joe Craig to “ballast” assist Eric Oliver at MIRA and found myself more or less hijacked into his sidecar for the 1953 season.Won the World Championship. Raced a 500 Manx all over Europe as well as the sidecaring bit. Rejoined Norton, but fell out with Gilbert Smith, Norton’s MD and left.
Teamed up with Cyril Smith, the 1952 World Champion sidecar man.Invited to the Isle of Man in January 1954 with Eric Oliver and Cyril Smith to test ride the Clypse course. Raced a semi works Velocette in the Barcelona 24 hour race 1956.Opened the roads after the Senior TT in 1957 I think it was, to get some idea of sidecar lap times prior to putting them on the big course away from the Clypse. Road semi works Ariel Leader and Arrow at the Thruxton 500 mile races.
Did thousands of miles at MIRA on a 350 Manx testing Perry chains and Dunlop tyres when working for Perry. 1965, joined NGK Spark plugs importer Les Simms who was bought out by the factory and stayed with them until 1990 when I retired.I probably hold the record for the number of times visiting the Isle of Man. First as a spectator, then rider (Senior TT 1954) and passenger and I lost count of the number of times as a technical rep for both Perry and NGK. In 1964, was appointed personal assistant to Andrew Mustard project manager of the Donald Campbell Bluebird successful land speed record in Australia 1964.
Stan Dibben 89
SOURCE: STAN DIBBEN