Motor-Cycle Speedmen. J. S. WRIGHT.
AS a general rule, the prominent motor-cycle speedmen of to-day have been recruited from the ranks of trade experts, from whence it is only to be expected that the most promising talent should be found. In Joseph Sydney Wright, however, we find a notable exception to the rule, for the redoubtable Zenith wizard finds his principal interests in an altogether different sphere of life, carrying on a prosperous business as a master builder at Egham.
During an interview with Mr. Wright at a recent meeting of the British Motor-Cycle Racing Club, we had the opportunity of gathering a good deal of interesting information concerning this rider, who has come to the forefront of the motor-cycle racing world with such astonishing rapidity.
His career on the track is all the more meritorious in that he has consistently ridden his own machines, and has kept them in the best racing condition with little or no outside assistance. For him motor-cycle racing is a hobby pure and simple, his remarkable successes being carried in a level-headed mariner, so that Wright, the speedman, does not overshadow the Wright who is normally engaged in extending the parish where his activities are very evident. It was not until the year 1921 that Mr. Wright began to take an active interest in motor cycling, and then it was principally as a clubman that he followed the pastime. From social runs to club competitions, however, is
By THE EDITOR.
but a short step, and as a member of the Slough Motor Cycle Club, Mr. Wright showed that he possessed more than ordinary skill awheel. For some time he appeared to have no greater ambition than to participate in club events, and to increase his professional experience, until happening to visit the track at Brooklands during a meeting of the I3.M.C.R.C., he became fired with enthusiasm to possess a really fast machine on which to try his skill and to satisfy a growing ambition.
His First Speed Machine.
The first step to this end was to acquire a 21 h.p. side valve J.A.P.-engined Zenith, with which he made his first appearance on the track in 1923, but his debut was by no means sensational, and, like many another now successful rider, he had for some time to content himself with figuring amongst the ” also rans.” In this way be slowly gathered the experience necessary for the ambitious programme he had in mind, for as everyone knows the track becomes a very different route as soon as the speed of a machine rises from the ” seventies” till it becomes ” hundredish.”
In 1923 he took part in some speed trials organized by a motor-cycling club at Portsmouth, and was successful in gaining several premier awards, and also put up some encouraging times in the Kop Hill Climbs of that year.
It was not until July, 1925, that J. S. Wright came prominently to the notice of the racing world, when riding a 988 c.c. twin Zenith, he startled everyone by putting up a record lap at Brooklands at the hitherto unheard-of speed of 110.43 miles per hour. The latter figure, however, was still further improved upon in April last, when, at the meeting of the B.M.C.R.C., he won the five-lap scratch race at an average speed of 108.51 miles per hour, and during the event, which was the fastest to date, was timed to lap at over 113 m.p.h., thus putting up a sensational record for his afternoon’s work. But before this climax was reached, the Zenith crack had achieved numerous other honours on the track, for during last year he came to the top by winning the B.M.C.R.C. Championship Solo Race at 102 m.p.h., and also the B.M.C.R.C. Championship Sidecar Race at 88:m.p.h. On both occasions he used Zenith machines; for which make he has always shown a marked preference
To his growing list of successes was added a” second’ in the 200-miles Solo Race last year, and the capture of the Bailey Cup at the record speed of 103.76 miles per hour. By mentioning the more outstanding of his successes, we leave our readers to conclude bow a comparatively unknown figure on the track worked his way to the top by sheer grit and perseverance without many of the opportunities which are enjoyed by the trade rider. Having become accustomed to high speeds as a more or less regular habit, Mr. Wright found the ordinary racing programme inadequate to satisfy his voracious appetite for E` empyaiches,” and so we find him breaking out as a world’s record breaker, a phase of the sport in which he has become wonderfully adept, even to the
dethronement of some of the reigning speed-kings. In his quiet, unassuming way he mounted his machine one fine morning and sauntered round the track to annex the 50-miles and the 50-kilometre records, for which he put up the speeds of 87.37 m.p.h.. and 140.76 km. per hour respectively. Setting out to lower the existing times for the roo miles and the 100 kilometres, J. S. Wright further demonstrated the gentle art of piloting his big Zenith with the wick turned fully up, and finally made a new record for the Class G category by covering 85 miles 1,6if yards in the hour, all the above records being made on a sidecar combination.
The Zenith which has done so well in the hands of Mr. Wright was specially designed for ultra high speeds by ” Freddie ” Barnes, who has so long been associated with this famous marque and was supplied this year.
In reply to our question about the value of supercharging Mr. Wright said he did not consider that artificial respiration was likely to add much to existing speeds on the track, which views are extremely interesting as being opposed to those expressed by Mr. Hagens in the course of the article which appeared in our June issue.
Except for the remarkable achievements recorded above, the career of this rider has not been very spectacular, and has been accomplished without any flourish of trumpets. It has just been the case of a quiet, unassuming sportman cherishing his own ambition and sticking to his guns until it has been accomplished. For those who believe that success on the track is the monopoly of trade riders, the exploits of Mr. Wright are most encouraging, and his brilliant career proves how a business man may shine in the greatest of all sports if he goes about in the (W)right way.