Monday, 12 April 2010

GEORGE BROCKERTON - Pre-War Speed Junkie...


George Brockerton was an Irish road racer, born in 1898 in Coleraine. He had competed in the Ulster Grand Prix where he won the 500cc Championship and was an organiser and competititor at the very first North West 200 race in 1929. He also remains the only Irishman to hold a Brooklands "Gold Star" for speeds of over 100mph. George also made his debut at the Isle of Man in the Amateur TT during the late 1920s.  It was at that initial North West 200 that George first met another Motorcycle racer named W.H.T. (Harry) Meageen from Whitehaven in Cumberland.They were to become close friends aswell as opponents on the race track.

Harry invited George over to stay with him in England in 1931 and entered him into the grass track races that were held at the Whitehaven Recreation Ground that year. While he was there, Harry got George a job driving buses for Cumberland Motor Services, the company set up and owned by Harry's father. George was also given the honour of driving the very first bus out of the brand new Whitehaven bus station during the opening ceremony, but he was obviously a much better motorcyclist than he was a bus driver and lurched forward into the crash barrier causing extensive damage to both the barriers and the brand new bus.

Continuing his "daredevil" lifestyle, George continued to make his mark as a motorcyclist by performing in the famous "Globe of Death. Barry's "Globe of Death" toured all over the UK offering a £5 cash prize to any members of the public who could ride it. George was the flamboyant presenter and star performer. 



George hit the headlines again during WW2. Serving as a Dispatch Rider, Brockerton single-handedly rescued a party of 81 British soldiers who were trapped in a cellar at Dunkirk.

George is pictured at the top this page on an O.E.C Lightning at the 1934 Isle of Man T.T.. The bike was a difficult one to master featuring Duplex steering and Blackburne engines that were only loaned to OEC for the duration of the T.T. George rode the O.E.C. machine in both the Senior and Lightweight races, but failed to finish in either event.

5 comments:

  1. Apparently Cameron Crowe is making a movie about a journalist who was a great admirer of George and a bit of his life will be going into this movie. Matt Damon will be starring as the journalist. It's wicked exciting because George is my grandmother's brother :)

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    1. My Maternal Grandmother, Elizabeth Brockerton Lamont, was George Brockerton's Aunt. I am honoured to be related to George and have visited his grave at Agherton Cemetery, Portstewart Co Antrim. I believe it was his wish to be buried close to the track of North West 200 which is an annual motorbike race here in County Antrim in which he participated! His wife Phyllis is buried with him x

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  2. Amazing to hear from a relative of George. I first heard about him from a great old guy in his 90s named Cliff Bone who lived near Glasgow, but was brought up in Whitehaven on the edge of the UK's Lake District. Cliff was a motorcyclist too and met George in 1931 thro TT racer Harry Meageen, Cliff also saw the bus station incident and also saw George race at Whitehaven in 1931... what else do you know about George? - I'm only aware of his motorcycling exploits and the Dunkirk heroics.

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  3. Was interested to read these comments, George Brockerton was my Paternal Grannys Cousin.

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  4. paddy brockerton24 March 2012 at 10:57

    Photoes of George were used in the film We bought a Zoo to adorn a back wall along with others, unfortunately the camera did not focus specifically on him when the scenes were 'shot' but one of a lion in a side-car included him in the original(thus the difference between 'stardom and otherwise')
    there are many stories published in local historical magazines namely The Bann DISC and Due North vol 1 issue 5 Spring/summer 2002. Paddy BROCKERTON(son)

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Whitehaven, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Disenchanted City Boy who rode out of the fast lane and into the back lanes! Life on Two Wheels is so much fun.