Classic Camera: Returning traveller, December 1950

Fiercely independent Theresa Wallach

The fiercely independent motorcycle explorer was no stranger to long motorcycle trips, having, in 1935, ridden from London to Cape Town on Panther and sidecar, pulling a trailer. Accompanied by Florence Blenkiron, the journey is documented in a book, The Rugged Road.

She was one of only three ladies to earn a Brooklands Gold Star, riding a Francis Beart tuned 350cc ‘cammy’ Norton in 1939, then during the war served as a dispatch rider.

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After a spell working for Lagonda, she decided she needed a new adventure and set off for America in July 1947. Meeting her Norton there – it went by ship, she by air – she took just the bare essentials and spent the entire two and a half years ‘living off the back’ of her Norton.

On return, she rode her Inter – registration number HOF 260 – to Norton’s workshop and was presented with a new machine. Soon, bored of austere Britain, she returned to America, opening a motorcycle shop and then motorcycle training schools, on the back of her book, Easy Motorcycle Riding.

She wrote a further book (Motorcycling for Business and Pleasure) as well as The Rugged Road, but the memoirs of her ‘International’; trek were never written, She died on her 90th birthday, on April 30, 1998. bike

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