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A Frame Up - The True Story of the Evolution of the Modern Speedway Frame
By Tony Webb

It is is often said that journalists are the history makers and do not let the truth get in the way of a good story. Historians just endeavour to record the truth based on fact, evidence and meeting people. Sadly in speedway the myths of the past, perpetuated by speedway scribes, often fail to give the true recognition to the ideas men and women, who get lost in the mists of time. Speedway's forgotten heroes include A J Hunting, the Carleton brothers, Dave Hynes, Jack Kidd, Neil Street and Arthur Payne. Who are they you may say? Well they all had ideas that formulated modern day speedway in promotion and mechanical areas,

The myths include Garry Middleton, Johnny Hoskins and Fay Taylour who had more fairy tales than fact written about them. The truth when revealed by dedicated historians like George Kearne, Ross Garrigan, Jim Shepherd, Brian Gear and myself was at odds with those who preferred fiction. We are among the dedicated researchers who did the hard work, dug deep and came up with the true facts and published what we found.

In later years I became involved in the restorations and became interested in the evolution of the speedway machine. Once more I found all the popular writers, with the exception of Cyril May had perpetuated the fairy tales and failed to give recognition to three young Australians who had the concept of a new speedway frame in 1946 and were never given their just rewards.There were others that were involved but we do not know what interaction and sharing of ideas took place. Several Australians were involved in the aircraft industry in Sydney in the second world war, they gained a knowledge of welding, metal strengths and the use of light weight tubing.

From the start I would like to recall the words of my mentor the late Noel Clark, without doubt the world authority on speedway frames and history. Noel would say this is my opinion of events, but I am ready to listen to others. I follow that philosophy, however my information is from men I spoke to who were there, it is from letters, records and archives. The tale is one of lost dreams, industrial espionage and events that created income for some and hardships for others. Although there is a focus on the Australian origins with three main players, there were several on the perimeter who had input. Recognition is given that in Great Britain Alec Moseley, Ken Dymond, Max Grosskreutz, the Brine brothers, the Langton brothers and Halmac were all working on similar theories.

To put the record straight this is what really happened with evolution of the diamond type speedway welded frame. Max Grosskreutz was the first to investigate a new lightweight frame in 1938, he had a few copies made in 1939 then the war intervened. Four names come up in late 1946 in Sydney Australia, they were riders who had spent the war in the aircraft construction and became familiar with welding and steel strengths. They were Dave Hynes, Vic Duggan, Arthur Payne. and Jack Kidd. Duggan had his theories and built a frame for his own use that he took to England in 1947. It is important to note that Duggan only made frames with Harringay manager Wal Philips for his own use. Once again I have confidence in this fact as Wal Phillips helped me in my UK spares business in the seventies and related the whole story to me as we travelled together. Duggan may have shared his ideas with Dave Hynes as they were both in Sydney but it is speculation. This now rules Duggan out of the full story, but just to mention a frame with Duggan handlbars was manufactured in Bristol in 1949 by Freddie Green known as the Aussie frame but also called it a B&N, I have the brochure.

Now with Duggan out of the picture we came to two young Australian riders Jack Kidd and Arthur Payne, Kidd ran a garage in Sydney, both him and Payne rode speedway on sponsored bikes in Sydney in 1946, they were recruited by Steve Langton to ride for Tamworth England in 1947. They rode sponsored bikes and did not own any bikes themselves so they made two frames in the Kidd garage at Bondi in early 1947 from a Dave Hynes design, They put them in a tin box and set sail for England. They were the first two Aussie frames .They then obtained engines and wheels in England and rode for Tamworth on the first two Aussie frames. Arthur Payne related this story in the Vintage Speedway magazine Vol 2 Number 3 October 1994

Kidd then met up with Norman Parker, and I have a letter to prove it. Norman invited Kidd to come to his garage and build him an identical frame which he did Norman took this frame to Australia in the winter of 1947 and beat everyone. Parker went on to say that the frames were built of T45 Aircraft tubing that Kidd and Hynes had discovered a secret supply o from wartime stocks, the Aussie copies that appeared in 1949 from other makers did not use the same material and did not handle as well. Meanwhile Kidd had been joined by Dave Hynes who arrived in England after racing in Queensland and America. They were both broke and did not have the return fares to Australia. They wintered in England and worked for a speedway frame builder.

Come the 1948 season and Kidd returned to Victoria with his bike which is now with an ex rider in Melbourne and I have seen it. Dave had set up a workshop in Birmingham met up with Graham Warren who had arrived in England with a very old pre war machine. They soon developed a working relationship and Graham was always impressed with Dave’s workmanship and stated in the Speedway Echo on May 28 1949 that Dave was the greatest authority in the world on speedway frames. Dave had a few meetings with Plymouth and very soon most of the team were on the Hynes Aussie frame. The orders started to come in after Wolverhampton’s Eric Irons went through a meeting winning all his rides on an Hynes frame The Speedway Gazette of October 27 1948 stated that Peter Lansdale, Keith Gurtner, Keith Cox, Bonny Waddell and Alex Gray were just a few of the good riders on the new frame.

Dave returned home with his wife, and riders Graham Warren, Keith Cox and and Keith Ryan in October 1948 on the SS Orion. He returned to Brisbane, then returned to his Elwood, Melbourne home by road. His traveling companion was young Brisbane rider Russell Box who related this story to the author in 2006. Dave received information from England that another company were producing identical frames. Dave had not registered a patent and was philosophical about the whole situation, saddened by his ideas being pirated he then diverted his attention to other speedway products He returned to England in 1950 in March then traveled on to California where he went into business with the Williams brothers making frames and lost to British speedway. in the USA . He made one last machine for Ivan Mauger to ride in 1968, but it was not a success.

Dave returned to 5 Joyce Street Elwood in Melbourne in December 1950 and appears to have made one more trip to England in December 1957 with his wife. Huck Fynn took over Dave’s work and Graham Warren continued the professional link with Hynes through Huck, who at the time of writing was still living in Stratford on Avon

Dave retired to the Gold Coast, he lost his wife and daughter in tragic circumstances and passed away in the late seventies. There were an estimated 30 genuine Hynes frames made .The author has traced 6 of them. there is one of the two Kidd frames in Melbourne, Keith Gurtner's 1948 is in Queensland 2020.Russell box passed away in 2017. Arthur Payne and Wayne Powell still live in Queensland. Noel Clark passed away in 2019.

Bonnie Waddell 1948
Jack Waddell 1952
Keith Cox 1950
Peter Lansdale 1948
Graham Warren 1949
Alex Gray 1948
Eric Irons 1948
Wayne Powell
Gerry King 1954
Noel Clarke 1990
Mike Coombs 1960

Identification. the most obvious feature is the curved front tank bracket, beware the 15 known Kermond frames used the same idea, but the Kermond has one bottom fixing and the Hynes has two. the Hynes had a forward fixing clamp for the handlebars, the counter shaft was set in the plates as the later Jawas.

 

Note 1

Dave Hynes was born in Elwood Melbourne in 1915 His speedway career had commenced back in December 1934 at the Exhibition speedway in Melbourne, but he actually started out as a cyclist at the Exhibition. When the Putt Mossman Stunt team visited Australia in 1937 he accepted an offer to appear with them. They made headlines when they were lost in the outback for a while during an overland drive from Perth to Melbourne to Brisbane. Dave travelled to England in October 1938 but no record of his riding there appears for the 1939 season. At the end of the war he moved up to Brisbane with Andy Menzies and Morrie Bond they rode at the Brisbane Exhibition track in 1947. Dave represented Australia in a Test match in December 1947

 

Notes 2

The Hynes Williams. Traveling back to the USA Dave worked with Ken Williams and his father in 1975 developing an engine this particular motor is now under restoration and is of the type that has a CB ignition timing cover fitted. There is a second timing cover which uses a Lucas magneto for ignition.

The cases are made of steel and incorporate the engine mounting plates. The cylinder is aluminium that houses a Jawa sleeve whilst the head is JAP converted to overhead cam. Like the cylinder sleeve, the flywheels were also Jawa.

With Ken Williams and his father they produced a Williams Hynes frame constructed from mild steel tubing, jig welded using heliarc and high tensile strength welding rod. The top tube is of 2 inch O.D.1/16 wall swaged down to 1 1/2 inch at the head stock. The head stock and front down tube is of 1 1/2 inch O.D.1/16 wall tubing.The rear down tube is of the same 2 inch O.D. as the top tube. Gussets are welded between the top and front down tube at the head stock.

The top and rear down tube serve as the fuel tank with dual petcocks at the base of the down tube. The front down tube serves as the oil tank with the filler tube passing through the top tube. The early frames had this tube in front of the fuel filler with the later version having it behind. Fuel capacity is 2.5 liters,oil capacity is 1.5 litres.

The front forks are 11/4 inch tube telescopic type with 2 inches of travel. The rear section is of 7/8 inch tubing and is comparable to other such rear sections. There was a second type of rear section with a larger loop and the wheel mount and adjusters forward of this loop. This proved too weak and would break just forward of the wheel mounts. The purpose of the design and building of this frame was to provide a light weight yet more rigid frame than was available at the time.It proved to be more rigid than the Jawa while also having less weight, so in that area the design was successful.

With Ken Williams he produced another engine that had the rare dfeature of the engine plates cast with the crankcases.

Dave was held in high esteem by the car racing fraternity in America and continued to travel between Australia and the States for several years

Do not shoot the messenger, constructive input welcome but references are important TONY WEBB 0481 990364 binbooks@iinet.netau

 

This article was first published on 14th June 2020

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