Take last month’s editorial for instance – I wrongly attributed Londoner Harold Daniell with being the first man to lap the TT course at 90mph, but it was in fact Lincolnshire’s Freddie Frith. I’m sure that I knew this but for some reason in my head it was Daniell and even when the correction came in, I was still unsure. As more came, I knew I was wrong.
It is difficult when something is wrong in your mind to ‘correct’ it. I find this happens with certain words – for example, for years, I thought the term ‘cooking’ when relating to motorcycles meant ‘hot’ or ‘fast’ with my reasoning being that the cooking process was adding heat etc. hence my logic that it meant a quicker motorcycle. It was years before I learned the real meaning (cooking being ‘standard’) – which of course changed what I’d been reading for years…
It’s not just me, I know. I’ve a friend who always says ‘weary’ when he actually means ‘wary’ in the course of conversation, and has done for years, while Richard Sheriden’s play The Rivals introduced Mrs Malaprop, a cartoonish character whose name reflected her misuse of words – she thinks she’s right in what she says, but actually isn’t.
People’s names are another opportunity for confusion. I’ve managed to make Yorkshireman Clarrie Wood a Scot in the last issue, too, though the roll-call of people whose surname is ‘Wood’ and who had an involvement with Scott motorcycles is long… In last month’s magazine we also had Colin Missen as Mizen (Syd Mizen was someone else entirely) while the potential for confusion involving Canon Basil H Davies aka Ixion (as featured on the news pages) and his contemporary Ivan Hart-Davies is huge too.
As for other riders involved in pre First World War motorcycling, the Williams pair of Eric and Cyril, both AJS works racing team riders, not only have the same surname but they also looked alike, despite apparently not being related. It does make it all somewhat confusing though it’s still infuriating being wrong. Hopefully we’ll have done a bit better this month...
Where legends come to life
James Robinson, Editor
James Robinson has been the editor of The Classic MotorCycle since 2002. Aged 34, he has possessed a motorcycle licence for 16 years and during that time has owned and ridden all manner of motorcycles, spanning over 100 years from oldest to newest.
Presently the custodian of a varied shed full of motorcycles, his overriding enthusiasm is for pre-World War Two sporting machines, with a couple of cammy Velos, a Rex-Acme and a Model 9 Sunbeam among those competing for attention.