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Joe Riding's Scrapbook: Joe Riding was a stalwart of the Bolton Club and served as its Hon secretary for a time. He later joined the Blackpool Club and it was with them he made his British record.  Most of his racing was in the Midlands and North. He is best known for his two 'Snakey' 10cc cars and his use of Rowell engines. He was the first person to break 100mph with one of these British engines, developing his version to such a degree that it still holds the record for a British car and engine, set in 1952 at 115.83mph. The following photos and newspaper reports come from a variety of events including the opening of the Ossett and Leverhulme Park tracks and the first Scottish open meeting at Dundee.

Contestants at the 1947 Meteor Club Open Meeting, Gerry Buck extreme right.
1066 MRC with 'Buck' type starter at the ready Lt Col 'Goldie' Gardner signed Lucy Gascoignes MG
Another replica of Gerry Buck's 2A Line up for 'concours' judging
Joe's British Record medal Timekeepers and recorders, 1950s style
Open meeting Leverhulme Park May 1949 Gerry Buck's stable of cars
Newspaper reports from the Bolton Club track at Leverhulme Park

The opening meeting of the Bolton and District Society of Model Engineers was held at the Leverhulme park track yesterday afternoon. In spite of the rain there was a record number of entries sixty in the model racing car competition. Societies from all over the North of England had entered, and though no one expected records to be broken, some of the speeds were remarkably high.
     Mr F.G. Buck of the Meteor Club of Stoke, who holds records for both 10cc cars and 2.5cc cars, won both the 10cc classes. In the open class his speed of 111mph was only 4mph below his own record speed. He won the British class with his car Topsy at 102.2mph.
     The Chairman of the Bolton Society won the 5cc open class with a speed of 68.15mph and another Meteor man, T.R. Parker, won the 2.5cc class with a speed of 48.9mph.
     There were originally two women competitors, but both had to scratch before the race.
     While the serious racing was going on, children spent their time examining the ten model railway engines, which had been taken to the meeting. These gave rides during the afternoon on the Societies own track.

Trials of miniature racing cars at Leverhulme Park, yesterday, attracted over 200 people to the racetrack of Bolton and District Society of Model Engineers.
     Heads wagged from side to side as the spectators watched the tiny cars flash round the course almost as fast as their full size counterparts. The fastest speed recorded was 91.6mph came from a ‘peg top’ shaped car of American design, owned by Mr A Wraith of Altrincham Model Power and Car Club. It is so designed that when travelling at speed it balances on only one wheel.
     The cars run on a mixture of ether, castor oil and paraffin.
Footnote: Visitors to the track were warned not to refer to the cars as ‘toys’ or even ‘models’. An Evening News reporter was told to refer to them as ‘miniatures’.



Gerry Buck's original car, 'Old Number I' was regularly pressed into service to perform the official opening of tracks by a local dignitary, Mayor or Mayoress. With its centrifugal clutch it could be started and sent on its way to break the tape for the first official run as can be seen below where everyone waits expectantly at the new Bolton Club track at Leverhulme park on the 17th July 1948, which was opened by the Deputy Mayor.
Opening day at Leverhulme park with news cameras strategically placed. Gerry Buck prepares Old Number 1 for the opening

Gerry Buck prepares Old Number 1 with Hon Sec Joe Riding standing to the right

The following newspaper cutting was from the opening of the Ossett and District Miniature Car Club on 12th June 1949. Several Car Clubs assisted in the meeting, Derby, Beverley, Sunderland, Harrogate and Bolton. Joe won the nomination race, an art which he seemed to be good at, and is probably why he saved article. 



100 M.P.H

    Nearly 1,500 people-at least two-thirds of whom were from outside the town, attended the Ossett and District Miniature Car Club’s inaugural races on Sunday afternoon. The concrete track, built for £200 on the former Army parade ground at Westfield Mill, was considered so ideal for the sport that the Northern Area finals for the national miniature car trophy competition are to be staged there on July 24th.
During the three hour’s racing, one or two of the midget cars achieved speeds of over 100mph, approaching established records for their class. The cars, many of which were made by their owners from scrap metal, weighed only a few pound each, but so good was their workmanship and design that they could emulate in performance and endurance (not to mention noise!) the full size racing cars, of which most of them were exact replicas. The speed and roar of the model, the smell of diesel oil, and the craning necks and excitement amongst the six deep ring of spectators, made the description “miniature Brooklands” a fitting one.

Electrical Timing

    The Ossett Club’s meticulous organisation of the event shoed at least they are whole hearted in their chosen sport. The track, as has often been stated, is considered to be in the top class, if not the best in Britain, and received high praise from the competitors, who came from clubs at Derby, Sunderland, Bolton, Harrogate and Beverley. The timing was done electrically by Mr L G Brough, of the Tyneside Society. Two contacts on the central pylon, to which the cars running round the circular track were tethered, operated a mechanism which ticked off the laps as they were completed, and also recorded on a stop watch, to which it was connected, the total time taken for the 1/4mile. The time was then “translated” into speed from a special chart.
     The danger of a car coming off the track at high speed and causing injuries to the surrounding spectators was nullified by the strength of the cables and the existence of a firm chain link fence between steel posts all round the ring. A further space was wired off for the use of competitors. The heaviest class of car (10cc) exerted a maximum tension of 7cwt, on the cables, which were made to stand 15cwt. The smooth surface of the track ruled out any possibility of a car jumping the fence.


    The competitors prepare their models in a special “pit” and came on to the track singly, each being allowed three minutes in which to fasten his car to the cable and get it started. The cars with gears had their engines rotated by the use of an electrically operated wheel (part of the starting mechanism of an old Austin 7); the others had to be pushed around the track by their owners, using a pole, until the engine started up. As some of the latter appeared to be as temperamental as film stars. They afforded their owners a generous amount of exercise!

When a car began to run round the track, the owner watched and listened until the note of the engine told him it had attained its maximum speed, upon which he raised his hand, and the timing device was put into operation. At the end of six laps (1/4 mile), the owner held a cloth near the edge of the track, which caught a lever protruding from the side of the model as it whizzed past and cut off the fuel supply, so bringing it gradually to a stop.

102 Miles Per Hour

    The cars were run in three classes, the heaviest and fastest being the 10cc. Mr I. Moore of Derby, who attained the fastest speed of the day (102.3mph) with a home made model powered by a American Dooling engine, was the holder of the British Open record speed of 107mph in this class. He brought to Ossett the car with which he achieved this record, but was unable to get it started, so had to use another.
     The track was officially opened by Mr Eric Langton, the Odsal speedway rider, who took part in the motorcycle races held on Kingsway, Osseett when it was opened about 25 years ago. He was introduced by Mr L.S. Taylor of Leeds who gave a running commentary on the event over a loudspeaker.

Father and Son Win Prizes

    There were four competitors in the 2.5cc class, in which the highest speed recorded was 38.85mph by Mr Cooper of Nottingham with an Oliver Special, the same type of car which achieved the British record of 55.5mph. Unfortunately, Mr Cooper and Mr J Yates, of the Ossett Club, made only one run each, and failed to get going in the allotted time for their second, so did not qualify for a prize. Each competitor had to complete the ¼ mile twice, the average speed in both qualifying for the award. Mr D Nicholson of Beverly with an ED Frazer Nash won the first prize with 36.81 average, and his fourteen year old son, F.G. Nicholson came second with 36.74mph.
     The only competitor in the 5cc class was a 65 year old retired engineer, Mr J A McKie of Harrogate who also failed to make his
second run, and was awarded a consolation prize. The speed of his home made model on the first run was 30.82mph unofficial record for this type is 32mph.

10cc Races

    Eight competitors entered the pits for the 10cc races, but only six cars actually ran. The home made model of R E Elliott of Derby, started, but fizzled out owing to its plugs having oiled up, and, when the engine belched smoke, its owner took it back to the pits. Mr Burton of Harrogate, also failed to start, his clutch having seized.

    First prize went to Mr Moore, of Derby, with an average speed of 98.91mph. On his first run he clocked 102.3mph in 8.8 seconds, and on the second 96.75mph in 9.4 seconds. Second was Mr D W Parkin, of Derby, with 97.84mph, his speed on his second run being exactly 100mph. He was using an American machine called a Pacemaker Hornet. Nome of the other contestants came within 20mph of these top speeds. At the end of the racing, Mr Parkin made an unofficial attempt on the British record, but again only succeeded in clocking 100mph.
     The final event was a “nomination” race over seven laps, in which each competitor estimated his speed in advance, the prize being awarded to the one who’s guess was the most accurate. The winner was Mr J W Riding, of Bolton with a speed of 60.41 (estimated 57) P G Nicholson came close, with 33.06 (30).

Too Dry For High Speeds

    Mr K Shaw (Chairman of the Ossett Club) told an “Observer” reporter that, to achieve a speed of 102.3mph so near to the record, was a credit to the Ossett Club. Speeds would undoubtedly have been greater had the atmosphere not been so dry; and element of dampness greatly assists small engines.
     No charge was made for admission, the only fees payable being small ones for chairs and programmes. Mr Shaw says that a better supply of chairs will be available for the next meeting.
     Mr L Fozzard carried out the secretarial duties, and Mr T Land those of Treasurer. Mr H Pickersgill was starting marshal, and Messrs W Crosland and E Liversedge timekeepers.











Dundee Open Meeting
June 18th 1950

Scottish Speed Challenge Trophy Various newspaper reports 




F.G. Buck, Stoke on Trent, is the first holder of the Scottish Individual Miniature Race Car Speed Championship.
     He won the solver rose bowl, presented by Mr E. Doel, Dundee at the inaugural Scottish race meeting at Riverside Park, Dundee, yesterday. His 10cc American McCoy engine car averaged 106.63mph. He was also runner up with Topsy, a car he built himself, which averaged 104mph.
     For three hours during the afternoon the miniature cars screamed round the track, providing the speed thrills of Silverstone and the Isle of Man for the 2,000 who walked out to see. The meeting was organised by the Dundee and District Miniature Race Car Association.
     The Dundee Club members have worked hard for many months to tune their cars to meet the English challenge. All last week their cars were on the track till dusk going through their paces. Some overdid it, the cars developed snags, and had to be withdrawn.
     Cyril Catchpole, Surrey, entered an American Dooling capable of 118mph. But he was unlucky yesterday. He had fitted a new plug, which was slightly oversize and affected the ignition. His average speeds for the two trials was only 86mph, but after the official runs he gave a demonstration run and reached 107.2mph. His 5cc car equalled the speed of some of the larger models, clocking 81mph.
     Dundonians were out of luck. Dr G. Fraser’s Dooling registered 109mph on its first run but ran out of juice on its second. W. Armstrong’s Rowell reached 92mph.

Results:- FG Buck (McCoy) average 106; FG Buck (Topsy) 104; JC Cook Sunderland (Dooling) 99.1; K Smith Dundee (McCoy) 92.7; W Armstrong Dundee (Rowell) 92; C Catchpole Surrey (Dooling) 86; A Fyife Dundee (Rowell) 81; C Catchpole (5cc Dooling) 81; EW Wilson Carnoustie (Hornet) 79.6; E Armstrong Sunderland (Nordec) 72; JW Riding, Bolton (Rowell) 43.5; J Soutar Dundee (Rowell) 42.25; FC Petrie Sunderland (Dooling) 43.5; Dr G Fraser Dundee (Dooling) 50.5;

Midget Car averages 106.63mph at Dundee

Showers and a greasy concrete track were against record breaking runs when Dundee and District Miniature racing Car Association held their Scottish Open Challenge event at Riverside Park, Dundee, yesterday.
     But F.G. Buck, with two cars- "McCoy" and "Topsy"- won the first and second prizes, the Doel Rosebowl and a silken pennant, with average runs of 106.63mph and 104mph respectively.
     Gerry Buck, a thirty four year old jeweller from Stoke On Trent who holds eleven British titles, including the "Open" with a 109.8mph, drew gasps of admiration from the 2,000 rain soaked spectators with the performance of his 10cc midgets.
     One of the first men to build miniature cars in Britain, he took up his hobby seriously when injured by a Nazi bomb early in the war.
     Each car costs between thirty and forty pounds but the secret of success is patience, and it takes nearly five years before a car is ready for the track.
     Third prize, another silken pennant, was won by Mr J.C. Cook of Sunderland, with his American Dooling. His speed was 97.9mph.


C.M. Catchpole, a Surrey driver, clocked 108mph in his Dooling car during practice trials in the morning, but while running his second competitive round, a mechanical defect brought his speed down to 87mph, In a run after the competition, his figure rocketed again to 107.7mph.

Baby Car wins

At 106.6mph

Nearly 150 motor-cars were parked in Dundee’s Riverside Drive yesterday, while a 2,000 crowd watched miniature racing cars whine at more than 100mph around a 75foot diameter concrete strip. It was the first contest, for the Scottish Speed Challenge Trophy. It will be an annual event.
     Fifteen competitors, in turn pushed off their miniature ‘pet’, stood by nervously as it was timed over 6 laps (1/4 mile), shrugged if the 10cc engine spluttered and stopped. The crowd became dizzy as they watched the models, anchored by a pivot cable, try to leave the ground and fly past.
     One man had no need to shrug because of engine failure. He was Mr F.G. Buck of Stoke, present British miniature speed record (109.9mph) holder. He entered two cars yesterday, won the Trophy and also took second place.
     His winning car was an American ‘McCoy’ with an average speed of 106.6mph over two runs. The second was his hoime made ‘Topsy’ with an average speed of 104mph
     Third was Mr J.C. Cook of Sunderland, whose American Dooling recorded and average of 99mph.






Our thanks to James Riding for these super images and photos of Joe's medals recognising his long standing record.