swanmoco.jpg (28382 bytes) Swansea Motor Club

1924 to 2013

swanmoco.jpg (28382 bytes)


Club History
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1945 to 1958   48 52 54 56 58 

Rationing, racing, rallying & trails. Jack Daniels-The Flying Welshman. Fairwood. Rally of the Vales

On November 21st 1945 the club entered its second phase with a get together at the Plough Inn, Llangyfelach. A Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Mr V Ragione and on Easter Monday 1946 the club went back to Pendine sands for race meeting. The event was run on dope as petrol was still on ration. Later that year the Cambrian Trail was run, when a petrol ration was granted to the competitors.

The following years saw the club get on its feet again and grow in strength and numbers. Petrol rationing still continued and therefore spectators and competitors visited events by coach & machines were taken by lorry.

During 1948 club member Jack Daniels, an all round performer for some years, shot to prominence by going from his first road race in June, to win the Senior Clubmans TT at his first attempt. Further success quickly followed, including a win in the wpe22.jpg (21376 bytes) Senior event and 2nd in the Junior events at Eppynt, 5th in Junior Manx Gran Prix and 2nd in the 350cc Class at the invitation Shelsey Walsh Hill Climb. A brilliant rider and a great clubman, he deservedly earned the nickname "The Flying Welshman", before tragically losing his life in a road accident on October 31st in the same year. This was a tragic loss for all who knew him and to the Swansea Motor Club, for whom he had done so much.

1952saw the first large-scale race meeting at Fairwood Common on July 26th, using a circuit using part of the runway and taxiways of the former RAF base. Jointly organised by the Swansea Motor Club, the Welsh Motor Club, the Half Litre Car Club, and the Daily Telegraph, it was the first race meeting held in Wales, and it attracted many top line motor car and bike drivers and riders, including a very young Stirling Moss!


Swansea garage owner turned race car constructor Cyril Keift, whose Keift 500 chassis were wpe13.jpg (42875 bytes)a common site at British race meetings in the early 1950s, was one of prime movers behind the event, which attracted a roll call of the greatest drivers and  personalities that did much to propel British racing onto the World Stage. Apart from Moss, the entry included up and coming driver Peter Collins, and drivers who turned into top F1 team owners Ken Tyrell, Colin Chapman and drivers who were major personalities Les Leston and Archie Scott-Brown.


wpe1E.jpg (9271 bytes)Tropical sunshine attracted a record crowd of 25,000 spectators, who saw a first class days sport, with many people in the paddock admiring Moss' personal Jaguar

Amongst the local personalities was Swansea Motor Club member, Richard Williams, who was also known as 'Dick the Fish' , Dick raced a Le Man style 1927 Green Label Bentley, and got his name presumably because he owned the Mermaid Hotel on Mumbles Road. The Mermaid was a local landmark, until it was demolished after being gutted by fire in the 1990s. Dick died in 1999 aged 83, but his car can still be seen at local historic car shows.

Also in 1952/3 Swansea Motor Club members took part in many National meetings and in the International Six Days Trial at least 3 members won trophies. The Swansea Motor Club team won the team award at the National Kidston Scramble and Swansea Motor Club members were also winning events organised by other clubs.

wpe1C.jpg (41753 bytes)In 1954 the 2nd event at Fairwood saw a full days sport, but the weather was unkind and although a large crowd saw a good days sport, the event was not a financial success.

Also during 1954 the Swansea Motor Club ran the first Post War car rally. The 1954 event was run under ACU (Auto Cycle Union) rules.


In 1955 the club became affiliated to the RAC and a start was made in organising larger Car Rallies, including the Rally of the November Night which was won by G F Reason driving a Triumph TR2, and Driving Tests, and these together with a full Motorcycle programme gave all the members plenty of sport to see and do. 

In the 1950's The Kilminster Cup Driving Competition was a major event, and details of the August 28th 1955 test shows how it promoted good driving.


1956 got off to a good start until in November the first Restricted rally was unfortunately postponed following the reintroduction of petrol rationing due to the Suez Crisis.

In the meantime, in 1956, the Committee of the Swansea Motor Club was also elected as the committee of the Welsh Racing Club and the club became a limited company.

At the time the membership fees of the club, were 7 shillings and 6 pence, and the aims included encouraging good motoring manners and to encourage sporting elements in all directions. At that time the club headquarters were at the Grosvenor Hotel in Swansea.

Awards ceremonies in the 1950s were glittering occasions with dinner jackets and black bow ties for the men and ball-gowns for the ladies. Don Parker, who was introduced as an "International Racing Driver" presented the 1957 awards. Don was closely associated with Cyril Keifts cars having scored almost 150 wins with his Keift. The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Mayor of Swansea, H F Strawford and his wife the Deputy Mayoress, and if you are thinking that name sounds familiar, it is.

Howard Strawford, and his wife Pat, now the driving force behind the success story at Castle Combe, were long time members of Swansea Motor Club and HF was Howard's' dad. In his address the Deputy Mayor, who mentioned that he had bought his first car, an Austin 7 from the clubs President, Handel Davies, praised the club for it's efforts to improve driving and pointed out that better drivers meant a reduction in the accident rate. He also that hoped Fairwood circuit might re open, but if it did not, then perhaps an alternative track could be found.

1957. Petrol rationing remained in force until November 1957 when, one year later than planned, the first ever Car Restricted Rally was run in November. Renamed the November Night Rally it was won by W F (Bill) Cawsey in a Triumph TR2 and was a great success.

In 1958 the rally, now renamed, and set to become legendary, as the Rally of the Vales was won again by Bill Cawsey this time in a Triumph TR3. Other plans for 1958 & 1959 included  events at Llandow Airfield.

In 1959 the  Rally of the Vales was won by  F Malkin/G Robson  driving a  Sunbeam Rapier

N.B during this period and the subsequent years it must be remembered that the road network was based on the A road network, and road surfaces were not as smooth as they were. Until the mid 1960s there was no M4 or Severn Bridge and this meant that any journeys to and from Wales, west to east, were either via Gloucester or via the Severn Beach Ferry, giving any journey an epic dimension.

Links relating to the above text

TT history http://www.iomtt.com/history/index.shtml
Thanks to Lynn Isaac for links to his excellent sites Racing on Eyppnt http://www.silverdragons.co.uk and http://www.sandspeedwales.co.uk with Oxwich, Penclawdd, Jack Daniels, Cefn Sidan, Pendine and Fairwood buttons. You will see much on Handel Davies also in the Homepage, so scroll around & take a look.

Fairwood circuit http://www.racingcircuits.net/UnitedKingdom/Wales/Fairwood.html

Cyril Keift http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/genealogy/Kieft/CyrilKieft.htm

Eypnt circuit 1948 to 1953. The circuit ran from the start onto the long Llewellyn's Way straight, then Piccadilly Corner, next Gardiners Path, Copse Corner, then the alternative finish line! near Dixie's Corner, now no longer known by its Welsh term of Llwyd Bwlch y Groes.

Welcombe House At the Strand area of Swansea the Showroom section of Welcombe House was
used to display and market Kieft machinery

extract from the Fairwood Airport site

Swansea Airport has wonderful memories for me including being a marshall at
the first  race meeting where Stirling Moss, John (Peter) Collins and other famous drivers competed in cars such as the Sketty Garages based 500 cc Kieft, and the Norton powered Cooper. There was a wide range of cars competing that included Aston Martin DB2, one of the very first Porsche's with a tuned V.W engine.

Another well known character of the time was Dick Williams with his 1927 Green Label Bentley. A tank of a car that was no competion against the machinery of the day. Fairwood became abandoned again in the early to mid 1950's and was used at week ends by the "Ton-up-boys" on our motor bikes. I had a Vincent 1000 and others had Dommi Nortons, BSA Gold Stars, Velocettes.
It was at a time when Japanese bikes had not been invented.

We held many unofficial races for a few years and dodging the meandering sheep beacame quite a skill. The wartime YMCA over the road building was used as the local Cafe with up to 30 or 40 bikes parked outside... During the 1980's I was allowed use of the runways with a fire tender to limit the
length we could use, to test cars that we were building at the time. They were copies of Le Mans GT 40's. Some had 350 hp engines that allowed the cars to exceed 160 mph. To see Fairwood back in action again with well motivated owners and management is a delight to me. Long may you succeed and