Page updated 25-Apr-2011
Dave Sleat preparing the bikes for the 1971 season
Photo from the Gus Kuhn archive
Sanby was the one-man Gus Kuhn team in 1971 and demolished Hailwood's long-standing Norton lap record (albeit on a single cylinder 500) and might well have won the Formula 750 TT race but for a broken battery lead. He won at Thruxton on a Gus Kuhn road bike and several times bettered Peter Williams on his works machine. [Classic Racer, Spring 1990]

March 7th Sunday at Mallory Park: National. Sanby won his 500 Heat and final and was 5th in BP/Bill Ivy race. “Barry Sheene shatters Mallory rivals, leaving Charlie Sanby (Kuhn Seeley) the only other solo victor – somewhat to his surprise after dramatic developments in the closing stages of the 500cc race eliminated the duelling pair ahead of him.” [Motor Cycle 10/3/71]

March 7th Sunday at Snetterton: Kuhns anticipated delivery of one of the first of the 100 production racing Commandos that the factory were to build for the 1971 season in time for Jon Vincent to use in the first round of the Bemsee/Shell production championship. However, like other customers, they was disappointed. So, just a week before the race, the 'bike which had contested the Bol d'Or 24 Hour race last year was taken out of cold storage and rebuilt to almost identical specification to that of the works Norton Commando. The 'bike was completely rebuilt within the week and Jon kept his appointment at Snetterton, finishing second in the first round of Shell Prod Championship, though slowed by a mysterious mis-fire on full throttle. He also finished 4th in the 1,000cc event. [Ray Knight]

March 13th Saturday at Oulton Park: 1st round Brit Champ, Sanby (Kuhn Norton) is 4th in the 750 event.

March 14th Sunday at Cadwell Park: Second round of the British Championship. Mick Grant out-scratched Charlie Sanby to score his first national win. At the end of eight of the ten laps Grant led. Sanby (Kuhn Norton) led on the first and fifth. But there was never much in it. Sanby's best chances came on two laps when Grant missed third gear leaving Barn corner and he went ahead on acceleration. Sanby's victory came in the 500 final after a race-long struggle with Alan Barnett (382 Aermacchi). Sanby (Kuhn Seeley) led from the start, shadowed closely by Barnett. Both had something up their sleeve for a speed up over the last two laps, so that's the way it stayed. [Norrie Whyte in Motor Cycle News 17/3/71]

Charlie Sanby on the 500 Gus Kuhn Seeley at Thruxton

Charlie Sanby
Photo from the Gus Kuhn archive © Maurice Spalding

March 14th Sunday at Snetterton: Ray Knight won the Production event on a 750cc Gus Kuhn Commando - after leading from the start [Gus Kuhn News]

March 28th Sunday at Thruxton: National 3rd round British Championship. The exciting, howling 'triples' of Percy Tait and Ray Pickrell only just held off the rorty Kuhn Norton of Charlie Sanby, who, watched by Norton Chairman, Mr. Dennis Poore, threatened to upset the Triumph win. Sanby quickly grabbed the lead and Tait forced through into second, with Grant edging Pickrell out of third spot. Tait led from lap two to the end. Pickrell and Sanby shadowed him throughout, with only a second splitting the lot. Sanby briefly retook second from Pickrell on lap nine, but Ray soon turned the tables. [Norrie Whyte in Motor Cycle News 31/3/71] Right, Charlie Sanby (Kuhn Seeley) was 3rd in the 500 race.>>>

April 7th in Motor Cycle
Kuhn Challengers
Delighted with the way Charlie Sanby, on the 750cc Kuhn Norton, has been keeping up with the exotic BSA and Triumph Daytona machinery in recent British 750cc Championship races, Vincent Davey is now aiming to launch a flat-out attack on the big guns in the new Formula 750TT.
“Up to now we've received no support from the factory, but if we could get a bit of help for the TT I'd be wiling to sign a really top jockey,” he said.
That would mean fielding two bikes in the race and plans are already in hand to have three in the Island , two for the race and one as a spare. Even if the works decide not to help, Davey will sponsor Sanby at his own expense.
How fast does he think his Seeley-frame racers can lap? “In the right hands they are capable of making 105mph. I'm confident that their handling will make them a match for anything else in the race.”

April 4th Sun at Lydden: Lord of Lydden, Martyn Ashwood, found his crown had slipped. The man who led his downfall was former lord Charlie Sanby (750 Kuhn Norton). Ashwood and Sanby won their heats at identical speeds and the final looked like providing some exciting duelling. However, Ashwood's 750 Metisse was last away. By the third lap Ashwood had moved up the field into fourth position. Ashwood pulled into second spot on lap 8, but was no nearer catching Sanby. He finished 3rd, 15s behind Sanby, who set a new lap record. [Motor Cycle 7/4/71]

April 9th Friday at Brands Hatch: First round of Anglo-American Match Races & King of Brands. In the 500cc British Championship race “Charlie Sanby (Kuhn Seeley) was first away but Croxford nipped ahead before they had completed the first lap. Sanby was content to slipstream, but when he slipped ahead at Druids on the last lap and then increased his lead around Clearways, the race looked to be all over. But Croxford was not finished, with a mighty effort he ran up into Sanby's slipstream, pulled out and hurled the Seeley over the line to win, literally by a tyre's width. Sanby gained consolation in the 750cc championship round. Scorching away from the start, he built up a big lead but, in the second half, Percy Tait, on a works Triumph started to catch him. Into the last lap the two rivals thundered across the line side by side. However, Sanby had power in hand and, with the fastest lap of the race, he pulled away to win. That was not the tall Hertfordshire rider's only top place. Out again on the hard-worked 750 Kuhn Norton, he was first across the line in the Bill Ivy event, beating Sheene (350 Yamaha) and Brian Kemp. In the 1,300cc race Sanby had to bow to the might of Smart on a factory Triumph three. Sanby got ahead on the third lap, but Smart tore by on the next round and went on to win, with Sanby holding off a determined challenge from Croxford, out again on the 500cc Seeley.” [Mick Woollett, Motor Cycle 14/4/71]

April 11th Sunday at Mallory Park: Second round of Anglo-American Match Races. In the 1,000cc final Charlie Sanby (Kuhn Norton) took third after a hectic battle with Mick Grant (Lee Norton) and Steve Machin (350 Padgett Yamaha). With a third place in the 500 race Sanby took the lead in the Shell series but he couldn't make anything on the two leaders, Percy May (Petty Norton) and Jim Harvey (Kirby Metisse). Sanby's glory came in the production 15-lapper which he led from lap two on Gus Kuhn's Commando. [Motor Cycle News 14/4/71]

April 21st in Mick Woollett's Race Gossip, Motor Cycle
Sanby Bike
As Vincent Davey had decided to build him a new bike for the TT, the 750cc Kuhn Commando which Charlie Sanby has ridden a few times this season is up for sale to anyone who can do it justice. Price £1,000. Completely refurnished and fitted with a new Seeley PGT five-speed gear box and Norvil disc brake, the bike is the one which Kuhn exhibited at the Racing and Sporting Motorcycle Show.

April 12th Monday at Crystal Palace: National. Not being involved with the BSA inspired America-v-Britain challenge, opportunity for Norton to sparkle over Easter came at Crystal Palace on Monday. Charlie Sanby on the Kuhn-Shell Seeley-Commando held off dashing challenges by Peter Williams on a completely new 750 works Norton, to win both main 1000cc events by less than a second. [Charlie Rous in Motor Cycle News 14/4/71]

April 25th at Lydden: Sanby spoils hopes of a Grant double. In the 1,00cc final Mick Grant, riding a 750cc Lee Commando, was just pipped at the post by Charlie Sanby (750 Kuhn Commando). [Motor Cycle 28/4/71]

Kuhn to rescue
Spaniards Juan Rodes and Ricardo Fargas, winners of the Barcelona 24 hour race on a 750cc Norton Atlas in in 1968, hope to ride in all the Coupe d'Endurance events this summer and have even been doing football-style training to get into trim.
But their plans nearly came to nil when Norton telexed them on Friday to say that the new Commando which they had ordered (Rodes is the Norton agent in Barcelona) would not be ready in time for Thruxton.
In despair Rodes telephoned Vincent Davey of Gus Kuhn on Saturday to see what he could do. "As luck would have it, we have lent Charlie Sanby to Norton to team with Peter Williams [sic] on the works Commando, so I said that they could borrow the Norton that Sanby usually rides in production-machine races." said Davey.
So the two Spaniards, both excellent riders (Fargas has raced works bikes, mainly for Ducati, in Spain for many years) will have a really fast bike. They could spring a few surprises. [May 5th]

May 9th Sunday at Thruxton: 500 Mile International Grand Prix & 200 mile F750 event. Charlie Sanby and Tom Dickie are riding the works Norton in the 500 mile race. They are leading two hours from the end, but did not finish in first 6. The 500 miler is won by Tait & Croxford on Triumph Trident. Starting one minute after the 500 mile race is a 200 mile F750 event. There are ten entrants including Percy May entered by Gus Kuhn on a 750 Norton and Peter Williams on a work Norton. The F750 race is won by Ray Pickrell (BSA Rocket 3), 2nd Paul Smart (Triumph Trident). "The race was full of sustained interest and was marred only by the final slip made by Peter Williams on a tricky bit of the circuit. He was not the first to fall there, and made no bones about his error." [Motorcycle Sport, July 1971]

May 16th at Brands Hatch National (Short circuit): Graham Sharp wins one of the 1,000cc races on his 750 Kuhn Seeley.

May 30th Sunday at Mallory Park: “A squall of rain caused havoc in the 500cc final. On the very last lap of one of the most fiercely-fought finals ever seen at the circuit, five riders streaked around the 90mph curve of Gerard's Bend nose-to-tail. Until then, the track had been dry. But, as they jockeyed for position coming out of the bend, they hit the wet surface – and things really started to happen. Race-leader Percy May went into a vicious slide on his Petty Norton but recovered control. Charlie Sanby (Kuhn Seeley), just feet astern, lost it completely and took Dave Croxford (Seeley) with him, the bikes sliding in a shower of sparks and disintegrating fairings. A shaken May came home to win. Miraculously, neither Sanby or Croxford were hurt. In fact, Croxford, grinning from ear to ear, was given a pillion ride to the pits by May who stopped to see how they were when touring back to the paddock. It just was not Sanby's day. Riding the 750cc Kuhn Norton, he looked set to win the big-machine class as he steamed by Percy Tait on the works Triumph racer and into the lead. Then Sanby's machine started to misfire, and he dropped back, eventually recovering to snatch third place on the last lap from Bob Heath. Third piece of bad luck came for Sanby when he was way ahead in the production event. Again the trouble was misfiring, but this time his Kuhn Norton Commando stopped completely. With Sanby out, Gary Green (Triumph) won. [Mick Woollett, Motor Cycle 2/6/71]

May 31st Monday at Brands Hatch: International. In the MCN Superbike race by the end of lap one Percy Tait led Martyn Ashwood by two seconds with Charlie Sanby (Kuhn Norton) third. It took Sanby two laps to pass Ashwood (Weslake Metisse) but he never got within striking distance of Tait (works Triumph-3). [Norrie Whyte in Motor Cycle News 2/6/71] Charlie was 4th in the Evening News Trophy 1,000cc race.

June at the TT: A few problems occurred in the Isle of Man during the TT races. In the Formula 750 event, Charlie Sanby retired with ignition trouble on the last lap. He was in 2nd place and closing on the ultimate winner. A minor carburetion fault caused his retirement in the Production race. But the big news is that the Gus Kuhn Commando lapped the TT circuit faster than any other Norton ever! Charlie Sanby's second lap was in 22 minutes 02.0 seconds, a speed of 102.73 mph. The bike was built and prepared by Gus Kuhn Motors so it also becomes the fastest privately owned and entered 750cc machine to lap the Isle of Man. [Gus Kuhn News]

July 3rd & 4th at the Barcelona 24 hour race: Charlie Sanby and John Taylor were on a 750 Norton. They were lying near the bottom of the field when they retired in the sixth hour.

July 11th Sunday at Snetterton: In the first 1,000cc race J Ward is 6th on his Kuhn Seeley and 3rd in the second race.

July 17th Saturday at Castle Combe: “It was made even more exciting by the slippery surface of the 1.84mile circuit, which produced some really hairy sliding antics. With a mighty roar, 40 seven-fifties left the line, Brian Adams blasting his Triumph into the lead. Behind Mick Grant (Norton) and Charlie Sanby (Kuhn Seeley) led a thundering pack. On lap four Sanby took the lead, with Percy Tait (Triumph Trident) second ahead of Adams. One lap later and Tait was just in front. But then, as they diced, Sanby lost in a big way, almost taking a shaken Tait with him.” After a hectic race, it was won by Redfern. [Motor Cycle]

August 1st Sunday at Lydden: Charlie is 3rd in both the heat and final for the 1,000cc race. John Taylor is entered too.

August 8th Sunday at Brands Hatch: 39th International Hutchinson 100. Entered Charlie Sanby and Tony Smith. Charlie is 5th in first leg of Prod race and 4th in the first Leg of the Shell 500 Championship race. “There was a nasty moment when Charlie Sanby came off coming out of Clearways. He hit the straw-baled marshals' post and escaped with a suspected broken collarbone. The crash came in the second leg of the production-machine race when Sanby on the Gus Kuhn Norton, was holding third place” [Mick Woollett's Race Gossip, Motor Cycle 11/8/71].

  • Peter Williams won the Mellano Trophy and put 20 pints of best bitter into the giant trophy - and it wasn't even half full! Kerrie, his wife, was especially pleased as he's promised her he'd get a colour TV if he won.
  • Barry Sheene, the Cockney kid they're calling the new Hailwood, stole the hearts of the 12,000 fans at Sunday's Hutchinson 100 road races. [MCN 11/8/71]
  • Find of the season Dave Potter won the Mick Andrew trophy, presented by Mick's parents and MCN for the best non-supported rider in the Hutch's production race. Dave, on his own Dunstall Norton, finished a very creditable fifth overall in his first international meeting. [MCN 11/8/71]
Gus Kuhn offer to Hailwood: Mike Hailwood will test ride both 500 and 750 Ducati vee-twin racers next week in preparation for the Silverstone Trophy meeting on August 22. ... However, Hailwood has also had an offer from Vincent Davey to replace injured Charlie Sanby on his 750 Kuhn Norton. [MCN 11/8/71]

22nd August at Silverstone: Charlie Sanby is entered, but replaced by Dave Potter. “Every road to the circuit was jammed two hours before the meeting was due to start. Hailwood was back in action on two wheels for the first time in nearly two years.” [Motor Cycle]

29th Aug at Snetterton, Race of Aces: “Percy Tait (Triumph) shot ahead from the clutch start of the Superbike race. Smart (Triumph) caught him, and it was still anyone's race when Smart's gearbox failed. This let Pickrell through to finish second ahead of Charlie Sanby (Kuhn Norton).” [Motor Cycle, 1/9/71]

September 4th Saturday at Castle Combe: Sanby (Kuhn Seeley) is 4th in the 500cc race and 2nd in the 750cc event on a Kuhn Norton, behind Percy Tait.

Dave Potter at Crystal Palace
Dave Potter

September 4th Saturday at Crystal Palace: There were no problems for Peter Williams in the two production races. He rode his works Commando to unchallenged victories in both, with Dave Nixon (750 Triumph) and Dave Potter, trying a Kuhn 750cc Commando, taking second and third on each occasion. [Roger Beale, Motor Cycle, 8/9/71] Pic >>> Graham won two of the three 1,00cc races on his Kuhn Norton, the other being won by Paul Smart on a 750 Triumph.

September 11th Saturday at Brands Hatch: Club Race, Dave Potter has two wins riding the 750 Gus Kuhn Norton. Production Race: 1st Tony Smith, 2nd Dave Potter and 8th Vincent Davey Jnr all on Gus Kuhn Nortons.

September 19th at Mallory Park, Race of the Year: Agostini took the 500cc honours, pursued all the way by Sheene (Suzuki), with Charlie Sanby (Kuhn Seeley) beating Dave Croxford (Seeley) for third. [Motor Cycle, 22/9/71]

September 26th Sunday at Snetterton: Guinness Trophy national, Vincent Davey Jnr and Dave Potter entered. Gus Kuhn Nortons were 1st and 3rd in the Shell Production Race and 1st in the 750cc Race. [Gus Kuhn News]

September 26th Sunday at Cadwell Park: International. In the National 750 race Charlie is 3rd, Mick Grant (750 Norton) is the winner and Geoff Barry (745 Commando) 2nd. In the International Senior (up to 1,000cc) race Charlie Sanby (745 Kuhn Norton) is 3rd in his heat and 4th in the Final.

Dave Potter and Tony Smith  
Dave Potter and Tony Smith at Brands Hatch during the 1971 Shell Production Championship.
Photo from the Gus Kuhn archive

October 2nd Saturday at Brands Hatch: Dave Potter won the Shell Production championship race, setting the fastest lap, with Tony Smith 2nd and Hartley Kerner 3rd, all on Gus Kuhn Nortons. Dave Potter won first 1,000cc race, again setting the fastest lap, with Tony Smith 2nd. Vincent Davey jnr was 3rd in the second 1,000cc race and Potter won the third.

October 3rd Sunday at Brands Hatch: Charlie Sanby (750 Kuhn Norton) was sixth in the Race of the South and and 5th in the Superbike race. He was awarded the BP/Bill Ivy Silver Helmet Trophy by winning the final race of the series. Gus Kuhn Motors won the Motor Cycle News Best Dealer Entrant Trophy, in their 1971 Superbike Racing series.

October 17th at Snetterton: Final race of the day was the 500cc final. The battle that mattered was for fourth spot, where Percy May (500 Petty Norton) and Charlie Sanby (500 Kuhn Seeley) were engaged in a struggle for vital championship points. By finishing fourth, two places ahead of Sanby, May became the new 500cc champion. Charlie was 3rd in the championship. He finished 3rd in the 750cc race and 2nd in the championship. [Motor Cycle]

October 24th Sunday at Snetterton: The Bemsee production title went to Dave Potter (750 Kuhn Commando). He had an easy win in the final round after his only challenger, Tony Smith (750 Commando), was last off the line and could finish only third, behind Ray Knight on his Trident. Hartley Kerner (GK Commando) finished 5th ahead of Mick Hemmings (GK Commando) 6th. [Ray Knight & Motor Cycle 27/11/71]