Thursday, May 28, 2009

Keith Bryen, the last rider to get a Moto Guzzi works ride....

Keith Bryen, member of the enthusiastic group of privateers who formed the "Continental Circus" each year as they camped at, and raced in the various motorcycle GPs throughout Europe from pre WW2 up until the early 1970's after which the professional aspect took over and the age of innocence was gone, is likely the last rider to be offered a factory Moto Guzzi ride before they pulled out of racing at the end of the 1957 season.
I know Keith and his lovely wife Gwen, who was his constant companion during their oddessy and he's passed over copies of his photographic collection taken during this time....
I'll share them with you over subsequent blogs....many never seen before, a brief look into his motorcycle racing career.
As Keith put is so succinctly in a letter to me...
"...1956 was a good year for me as I gradually improved and gained a lot of confidence. Never at any stage did I harbour any thoughts of becoming a factory rider, I was just enjoying the racing and being able to see other parts of the world and having Gwen with me made it all so much more enjoyable.
When the Dutch TT was over in 1957, I was approached by Moto Guzzi in the paddock and asked if I would try one of their 350cc machines at the Belgium GP the following week. "How much do you want to ride it" they asked.
I felt like saying "How much do I pay for the priviledge?"
In all there were only three GPs that I rode for them before the season was finished.
Then the news that they had withdrawn from racing and no longer required my services. We had of course returned to Australia so that our first child ( our daughter Stephanie) could be born there, and that was when I got their letter.
How did I feel?
Well I felt that I had just climbed to near the top of the ladder and then it had been pulled from under me."
Gut wrenching stuff I'd say.....
So we'll start this blog with Keith's start with racing motorcycles in Australia from 1947 to 1952.....
Left click on the images to enlarge......
His first racer, a modified 1946 Triumph 500ss Speed Twin

A 1939 BSA Gold Star fitted now with rear suspension.

1949 Bathurst TT races ( in western NSW), the 1939 BSA Gold Star.

On the 1939 BSA Gold Star at Bungaribbee,near Blacktown on the ourskirts of Sydney, NSW.

1937 International Norton

1949 7R AJS at the 1950 Bathurst races with Tommy Han.

Winning the 350cc Hill climb Championships on a 350 Mk.8 KTT.

On the ex Frank Mussett ( ex Ted Mellors ) 500cc factory Velocette racer

The ex Frank Mussett ( ex Ted Mellors ) 500cc factory Velocette racer

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