MOTOR CYCLE SPEEDMEN: R. N. Judd. By The Assistant Editor.
WING to the modest and retiring nature of many of our leading speedmen, it is often difficult for the inquisitive pressman to obtain any interesting information for the benefit of. his readers. Taking advantage of an attack of influenza, however, (from which he is now happily recovered), we were able to corner Rex Noel Judd in his bedroom and extract a few particulars of his brief but eventful racing career, at a time when he had not much chance of escaping our inquisition !
Aged twenty-six Rex Judd, by the inexorable law of anno domini, is essentially a post-war personality so far as racing is concerned, his first experiences of the track being in 1920, when he assisted Dr. M. C. Breeze, an amateur, in setting up some medium and long distance records on a sidevalve Coulson-Blackbume sidecar outfit. In those days belt drive was in great favour for track work, and the gearbox was usually dispensed with. In order to provide a reasonable length of belt and an adequate sized pulley, without raising the gear too much, the Coulson had a plain countershaft arranged in front of the engine, driven by chain, from which a long belt transmitted the power to the back wheel. On the occasion of Dr. Breeze’s successful record attempt Rex Judd performed in the role of passenger. All this, however, is somewhat anticipatory, since our subject had already experienced some instructive and amusing adventures in the R.A.F., which he joined in 1916 by the familiar ruse of forgetting his exact age. After making good headway for some months, Judd received a severe set back when the authorities discovered his real age (16) ! He was promptly reduced to the rank of ” boy ” again and had to start from the bottom once more ; needless to say this little contre
temps did not prevent him from climbing up again, with his characteristic pluck, until at the end of the war we find him a sergeant.
Having gleaned much useful information of motors from his sojourn in the R.A.F. workshops, it was not surprising to find that Judd continued this bent during the early months after demobilisation, his first ” job” being with the now defunct Palladium Motors Ltd.
We have now arrived once more at the stage when Judd first became acquainted with Brooklands, in connection with the Coulson records, and shortly after this he joined D. R. O’Donovan, the famous Norton and Velocette exponent.
His chief occupation at this time (1920) was the “passing out” of the certified B.S. & B.R.S. Nortons. These machines were guaranteed to have exceeded 75 and 70 m.p.h. for the kilometre and 70 and 65 m.p.h. for the lap respectively, and it was Judd’s business to attain these speeds on some twenty-eight machines each month.
Those who remember that these were single geared machines without steering dampers or shock absorbers will realise what a splendid training this must have been for the racing career that Judd was destined to pursue during the ensuing years. The next event of importance in Rex Judd’s affairs was O’Donovan’s decision to give up solo riding, in deference to the responsibilities of fatherhood, and a crash while performing on a Velocette 2-stroke. This gave Judd his chance and. he became O’Donovan’s nominated rider in solo record attempts and races ;