World Sidecar Trophy, Donington Park, 18th May 1980

One problem with having chemo fatigue is that I watch far too much television. This weekend I’ve managed to see some of the British Superbikes from Brands Hatch. I was delighted to see Leon Haslam clinch the championship. Back in the late 70s I remember watching his father, Ron, duel with the likes of Randy Mamola at Donington Park.

These fond memories set me wading through some reels of old 8mm cine film this afternoon. While I didn’t manage to find any of Ron and Randy in their prime, I did find a couple of minutes from the World Sidecar Trophy, shot from our favourite vantage point at McLeans. This featured Jock Taylor and his ‘passenger’, Benga Johansson. Normal motorcycle racing is daring enough, sidecar racing is terrifying. Much as the exploits of Ron Haslam appealed to me as a teenager, the real hard men were the sidecar racers. What’s noticeable in this clip is the fairly low-level of protection offered to riders, marshalls and spectators. These days McLeans has a much larger run-off area and catch fencing.

World Sidecar Trophy programme, Donington Park, Sunday May 18th 1980.
World Sidecar Trophy programme, Donington Park, Sunday May 18th 1980.

I can’t find the result of this particular race, but it would seem that Jock and Benga were leading in the number 7 Fowler Yamaha outfit at some point in the race. (See around 1m 16s into the clip). They certainly won the world sidecar championship together in 1980. Sadly, Jock Taylor was killed in a racing accident in 1982 at the age of 28.

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Reader Comments

  1. Simon and Lou

    As I grew up on the Isle of Man I saw many amazing sidecar races and it was brilliant and brutal
    On another point re your previous post I am hoping to go for one last trip to the Donington museum, do you think you could be up for it?
    I could drive and hopefully Mike Cole will be able to come. I appreciate it would be hard work for you currently be it would be great if you could
    I can’t do any weekends so it would be a Tuesday or Friday pm?
    Ps Keep hanging on in there Slow and steady wins the race someone once said,!

    • tim

      A Tuesday or a Friday afternoon would work for me. I’m feeling so much better today and I’m sure I could manage a few hours out of the house. I shall bring my walking stick!

  2. Andrew

    Worth watching the BBC I player Murray Walker profile if you missed it. Some great track footage and pics over many years and some insightful moments too

Your thoughts?