Percy’s pain in the backside…


Reading the Percy Tait obituary (February 2020) reminded me of the various chats I had with Jaguar tester and legend Norman Dewis, who also passed away in 2019 – June 8 to be precise, at the age of 98.

Norman and Percy’s paths often crossed when they were testing their respective products at MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association), where there was always some friendly rivalry between the Jaguar and Triumph testers.

Norman once told me about a time he was testing a prototype E-type at MIRA, and ‘Perc’ couldn’t believe the pace.

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So it was a surprise that when Norman was building up speed to take the banking, that a demented rider on board a Triumph went rocketing by, only to lose it at the top.

Norman was still laughing as he recalled the story: “I watched poor old Perc sliding down the banking on his butt, thinking ‘that’s gonna hurt.’”

The pair enjoyed a healthy respect and showed great interest in whatever new device the other had.

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Jim Patten, email.

Read more Letters, Opinion, News and Features in the April 2020 issue of The Classic Motorcycle – on sale now!

Caption
The MIRA test facility at Nuneaton was opened after the Second World War and used across the British vehicle industry. This is a 1954 open day.

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