Mike Coombes
Page updated 15-Jan-2011

Hi, I was an apprentice mechanic at S.G.Smith Motors at their Clapham Road branch. In 1964 I had a 500 BSA twin. The carburettor leaked badly and my attempts to fix it did not work. The guys in your workshop got the job done very economically - as an apprentice in those days I was on £3.00 a week.

I was always in and out and I started a 45 year competition career using advice from some of your employees. Vincent Davey told me that the time spent in preparation of a comp. bike was never wasted and I like to think I took that on board. During my racing career DNFs were scarce - usually mechanical breakages.

Gus Kuhns was a proper bike shop. Good advice was always available, even to an impecunious youth like myself who was racing on a knotted shoestring! On a sad note, I saw Mick Andrew shortly before the crash that killed him - he would often ride past my workplace when road testing bikes.

I am a member of the World Speedway Riders Association (used to be the Veterans) and I knew Wal Phillips, Reg Bounds, Percy Rye and other pioneer speedway riders. I was privileged to ride the late Len Coles dirt track Douglas many times in the UK and Europe . I know how difficult the early speedway bikes were to manage, particularly on tight tracks. Gus must have been special to be competitive for so long.

In Sport, Mike Coombes.