The day the motorcycle club took to the skies

Crawley History - Crawley Motorcycle Club SUS-150219-135529001

Crawley History - Crawley Motorcycle Club SUS-150219-135529001

  • Club was formed following a 12-man chat in the White Hart
  • Paid 10 shillings to go up in an Auster plane to look at Crawley from the sky
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With the development of the new town came enough social clubs to keep even the most picky new towner happy.

One group was given the chance to take to the skies and see for themselves how Crawley was blossoming.

George ran a small motorcycle repair and supply shop across the road from the gates to the Memorial Gardens. Then it was known as Crawley Recreational Ground – The Rec

Peter Perry, of Northgate, recalled the birth of the Crawley Motorcycle Club on a chilling night in the 1950s.

It started with 12 men chatting at the White Hart pub in February of 1952 or 1953.

Mr Perry said: “We were gathered there to form a motorcycle club, proposed by George Jarvis, a local businessman.

“George ran a small motorcycle repair and supply shop across the road from the gates to the Memorial Gardens. Then it was known as Crawley Recreational Ground – The Rec.

“A committee was formed and the room was booked for weekly meetings – the following week, the membership doubled.”

The club ran frequent events. On Monday nights half a dozen of its members would head off to Wimbledon to watch the speedway.

On Sundays, there were visits to the Scramble at either Pirbright or Bagshot.

Closer to home, there were treasure hunts, usually within 10 miles of Crawley.

And on one special day, the men who were used to racing around on two wheels, found themselves flying.

Mr Perry said: “We joined Handcross Motorsports Club for a 10-shilling flight in an Auster aircraft four-seater to look at the new town house-building estates going up at West Green and, I think, Langley Green.

“We had arrived the week before but the wind was too rough for flying. It was still rough but the pilot didn’t want to turn us away again. Nobody was air sick, just a little shook up!”

This picture was taken in 1954 at Gatwick’s grass runway. Mr Perry named: Roy Funnell, Ron Tobit, Don Goring, Derek Bashford, George Jarvis, Alan Covy and Fred Baker.

Were you a member of the Crawley Motorcycle Club? Were you one of the lucky few who took that flight over Crawley?