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Fay Taylour

Wanting to write a brief profile for Fay Taylour I started reading anything I could find about her but it seems that some of the articles and information I read was more concerned about this woman’s personality and sexuality than her riding ability and motorcycling  career,  even the photos seem to concentrate on the fact that she was a female rather than her ability to maintain and ride a dirt-track machine, it seems this may well have been her choice as she was said to be excellent at self-advertisement  and promotion.


Born, Helen Frances Taylour on the 5 April 1904 in Birr, County Offaly, Eire, her father was a British Army Officer so I am not sure if she was an Irish national, British or perhaps duel if that were possible at that time.  She was well educated and apparently learnt to drive a car at the age of 12 with the motorcycle following shortly after.


In the mid-1920s when she was about 22 years Fay apparently amused herself doing motorcycle trials, riding grass track and hill climbing swapping to dirt-track when that became available to her in 1928. It is suggested by some that it was because riding the cinders was better paid but reading between the lines I think this lady was more interested in fame than fortune and the promoters of events were not slow to take advantage of this at the time in what today seems very distasteful.

 

Fay Taylour was seemingly successful, frequently winning on her Rudge against both males and females who were also popular riders at the time and was the only British/Irish rider to travel to Australasia for the 1928/29 ‘winter’ season where it seems her success continued.  By now she had changed her machine to a Douglas.  By the beginning of January 1929 she had her first success on Australian soil in a match race that took place in Perth against Frank Brown and followed this up later that month with a win over the Western Australian Champion Sig Schlamm at Claremont Speedway, his home track.


Following her fruitful trip to Australia and New Zealand she returned to Britain for the 1929 season and it seems her winning ways continued chalking up faster track times and beating well known males. Her speedway was to continue through 1929/30 and 1931 making appearances not only in Britain but Europe, Australasia and I believe the USA however that seems to mark the end  of her speedway career as by 1932 she had moved onto Racing Cars. A move no doubt encouraged by the fact that the ACU banned women from competing in speedway racing.


Continued to race cars worldwide until the outbreak of WW 2 when she was interned on the Isle of Man (may be as an Irish citizen or more likely because she was a member of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists)


1948 Fay Taylour returned to racing cars and at some stage moved to the USA where she continued to do so, discovering in the early 1950s Midget cars, Fay continued racing until returning to the UK to retire in the late 1950s. She died in 1983.


Thanks to John Hyam for photographs

Please click to Enlarge

Jackie Hodkinson

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