Mick Andrew
   
Page updated 28-Feb-2011

Photo from the Gus Kuhn Archive
Valerie Davey remembers the Gus Kuhn team's first rider: Mick Andrew was a brilliant rider from Ware in Hertfordshire. In this first season in 1966 , at only 20, he hit the headlines riding his own Triumph Bonneville in the Hutchinson 100. He pushed John Cooper on the winning works BSA spitfire and runner-up Percy Tait on the works Bonneville. That ride earned him BSA support. In '68 he had ridden a pair of 998cc Egli Vincents for Terry Prince, a production machine and an unlimited class racer.

In 1967 Mick and Colin Dixon had come second overall at the Barcelona 24 hour race, winning the unlimited class on a 490 Triumph Daytona. The following year Mick was back at Montjuic, this time riding with Alan Peck on the Mead and Tomkinson BSA Victor. At one stage they were leading, eventually finishing 4th. Vincent Davey was also there, supporting his friend Stan Shenton and the Boyers of Bromley team. Norton had recently launched the Commando and Dad felt this was an ideal machine to take racing - and he was looking for someone to ride it. He spotted Mick at Montjuic and knew this talented rider had a future.

The team's first race was at Lydden in August 1968 and Mick finished third on a production Commando in the open class behind local aces Pat Mahoney and Dave Croxford. Mick still had his own 344cc Aermacchi, which he was racing with some success, but Dad soon bought 350 and 500 Seeleys to fill out the Gus Kuhn stable. Mick joined Gus Kuhn Motors' staff as a mechanic, working both on the race machines and customer's bikes.

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In 1969 Dave Croxford joined the team, retaining the 500 British championship. It was a very good year for the Gus Kuhn team and Mick played a key part in our success. On his IoM debut, Mick finished 4th in the Production TT on a GK Commando, greatly helped by advice and assistance from his good friend Charlie Sanby. Mick married his sweetheart June and they moved into the flat above the Gus Kuhn showrooms. Mick also won that year's Hutchinson 100 at Brands Hatch and numerous other trophies which earned him the Grovewood Award for most promising rider.

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In 1970 Mick was joined in the Gus Kuhn team by Pat Mahoney and Charlie Sanby. His daughter Kym was born and the season started very well, but in April Mick took a customer's bike out on road test and was killed in a collision with a van that pulled out in front of him. This was a tragic blow to the Gus Kuhn team as well as his family and friends, and the loss of a great talent to the world of motorcycle racing.  He is remembered with huge affection by all of us who were fortunate to have known him.

When Mick won the Grovewood Award in October 1969, this is what Motor Cycle News said:

This year Mick Andrew in his fourth season of racing was third in the 500cc British championship series and would almost certainly have been second in the 350ccc section if he hadn't been stopped by a crash in the final round at Crystal Palace.

1969 Hutchinson 100.  Runner-up Mick Andrew guns his Kuhn Commando in pursuit of leader Rod Gould in the 1,000cc race.
Without any doubt - and Mick is the first to agree - his link-up with the Gus Kuhn team is a big factor to him becoming one of the most improved riders of the season. His earlier rides were often criticised as being rather ragged and at times wild. This is not true of the Mick Andrew who has forced through into the championships battles and who produced a classic performance of determination and style in this year's Hutchinson 100.

Mick, who works on the Gus Kuhn race bikes, joined the staff towards the end of last year after quitting his job with a firm specialising in the manufacture of hospital furniture.

Vincent Davey was keen to enter racing and Mick took one of the now famous Kuhn Commandos to third place during his first outing at Lydden in August last year.

The link between sponsor and rider was made and Mick moved to London to concentrate on the machines that were being prepared for a full scale entry into racing by Gus Kuhn.

Seeleys for the 350 and 500 classes plus the big class Commandos were the line-up, although Mick did have to miss some earlier 350 races as only one of the smaller Seeleys was available. This went to Dave Croxford, signed as the team's number one rider.

Being second man to 500 British Champion Croxford doesn't bother Mick. "Anyway I'm going to win the 500 title next year," says Mick, one of racing's light-hearted characters who enjoys friendly rivalry with his team mate.


Photo from the Gus Kuhn archive

Personalities

But Mick's interest in racing is not just a determination to better himself.

With a bright future ahead he is aware that efforts must be made to make the sport attractive to spectators.

He welcomes plans like the intended match races between Britain and America and feels that without being gaudy the sport could be brightened up.

Although Mick's life revolves around racing he does find time for relaxation. This is usually found in a pint of beer or a visit to Streatham ice rink.

"This year I have been fortunate and I have received so much invaluable help. I don't think I shall ever be able to repay Vincent Davey for his part in my season of success and I am also indebted to Charlie Sanby for teaching me so much and being such a driving force during my first racing visit to the Isle of Man."


Sadly, six months later Mick was killed when he took a customer's bike out on road test.
He was not wearing a helmet when a car pulled out from a side turning...

This was a tragic blow to the Gus Kuhn team as well as his family and friends, and the loss of a great talent to the world of motorcycle racing.


In August 1971 Mick's parents and MCN presented the Mick Andrew Trophy for the best non-supported rider in the Hutchinson 100 production race. It is very appropriate that it was won by Dave Potter on his own Dunstall Norton, who finished a very creditable fifth overall in his first international meeting. Dave was to go on play a major part in the success of the Gus Kuhn team over the next few years.

If you have further details of Mick's career and would like to add a biography or memories and/or pictures, please contact us.