Dark day at the races

With a tragic accident during Friday practice and then a hugely disappointing crowd, enthusiasm was dampened further by race day morning rain. But, gradually, the sun came out and the racing was actually rather good.

Roy Mayhew leads a gaggle of machines round Anchor Crossing.
Roy Mayhew leads a gaggle of machines round Anchor Crossing.

There was a dark shadow cast over the late July meeting at Aintree in 1956 as in Friday practice, New Zealander Bob Cook crashed his AJS 7R at the fast right-hand Waterway Corner, overshooting and colliding with a concrete wall. He sustained serious head and neck injuries to which he succumbed at 7pm in the Walton Hospital, Liverpool.

After such a grim start to proceedings, there was more bad news for the organisers come Saturday too – hardly anyone turned up to spectate. Noted Motor Cycling: “One could have been excused for thinking that it was practice day and not race day.” A lunchtime shower hadn’t helped things either.

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Photograph: Mortons Archive

Read more in September’s issue of TCM

 

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