Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another sad day for Motorcycling with the passing of Keith Bryen...International racing motorcyclist, "Continenal Circus" member 1953-57, A great ambassador for our sport and "an all round good egg...!"

Readers of my blog will have come across the many posts I had done on Keith Bryen with a vast number of his and wife Gwen's personal photographs from the time the were members of that unique group of traveling racing motorcyclists with wives, partners and friends in their case from 1953-1957, loosely known as the "Continental Circus"...alas now long gone as the modern era of motorcycle racing embracing the MotoGPs with its highly commercialised band of gladiators is a far cry from the era I speak of...
With great sadness I tell of the passing, suddenly, on Tuesday 22nd October, of Keith Bryen, aged 86.
                              A great photo of a devoted couple, Gwen and Keith.
I realise we don't live forever, but Keith appeared in good health for his age and had just returned from visiting another former "Circus" member...Jack Ahearn....
His memorial service was held on the 28th October with poignant eulogies from his daughter Stephanie and son Mark....
Come share some of his motorcycle racing life again in Keith and Gwen's personal photos....
Many of these can be found in previous posts and a look to the index to the RHS of this webblog will lead you to more...
1946 Speed Twin one of the first bikes Keith used for racing....
 Many circuits were dirt...a good way to hone racing skills...


Keith on a 1939 500cc. Gold Star B.S.A. at Bungaribbee.
 Bathurst races, Easter 1949 with a 1939 BSA Gold Star...
Bathurst 1950, this time with an AJS 7R production racer. 
Pictured with Tommy Han.
 Bathurst 1952 now with the ex Frank Mussett 500 SOHC former factory racer of Ted Mellors.
Keiths first IOM TT...weighing in for the 1953 350cc TT with his Manx Norton.
A bunch of "Commonwealth Riders", Keith among them on the promenade, Douglas, IOM.
Keith's first foray to Europe in 1953, pictured in the pit following the running of the 1953 Dutch TT at Assen.
Returning to Australia by ship he  met Gwen on the boat home...a shipboard romance.....
One that lasted, though sadly Gwen is in nursing care following a gradual slide into dementia some years back.
 Keith returned to Europe in 1954 full of hope but a heavy crash in the Ulster GP saw a badly broken collarbone and shoulder...no plating of such injuries in those days, just a long 4 or 5 month recovery, so he returned to Australia.
He married Gwen in 1955 and they "settled down" in a house they bought, but the racing bug  persisted and he raced in local events during the year, co-riding to a class win on a Triumph Thunderbird in the 1955 24 hour motorcycle production race at Mt. Druitt circuit on the outskirts of Sydney.
Selling their house, Gwen and Keith returned to Europe for the 1956 season...
Floreffe, Belgium, May 1956....
 Awaiting the start of evening practice, 1956 IOM TT races.
On the grid...1956 Belgium GP
After winning the 1957 350cc race at Norisring ( Nuremberg), with Sweden's Valle Lundberg on the left and Australian Eric Hinton on the right.
A Works Ride........ 


1957, the Moto Guzzi depot...
Keith tests the 350cc Moto Guzzi at Monza for the Italian GP.
Keith and Gwen with Keith Campbell and his fiancee Jerry Reid.
Retiring in 1957 following the shattering news that now a factory Moto Guzzi rider for 1958, Moto Guzzi with Mondial and Gilera had retired from International GP racing, Keith settled down to family life.
But the bug bites hard and he rode an AJS 7R for John Surtees at Brands Hatch in 1981 and in some of the newly introduced classic races locally from 1978-1994...

Ferry Brouwer, arch Classic Enthusiast and former Arai MD set up the Centenary of Assen meeting in May 1998 and invited many of the older former riders, supplying bikes to ride and most expenses...
Another "works" ride? 
Well Keith spent the weekend having a great time and is pictured on a 350 Ducati...
Then Tuesday 22nd October 2013..... with son Mark at a railway station preparing to visit a friend,  a sudden fatal heart attack and Keith was gone and motorcycling lost another great ambassador for the sport....
Keith Maxwell Bryen.... RIP.

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