Photo of Les Sheehan’s 1954 AJS Twin and Hugh Viney’s works 1955 AJS Twin intended for the ISDT 1955 both alive and well in Australia (P Horton/Speedtracktales)
I was very pleased when Australian reader Patrick Horton, who has provided the most delightful photo we have above, made contact to say
“I own Hugh Viney’s 1955 ISDT AJS. He never got to compete in the 1955 event as he was knocked off the bike in Earls Court on the way to a selection meeting. It left him with a broken leg and a vacancy in the British team that was taken up by Gordon Jackson.”
Never resisting the opportunity to be cheeky I encouraged him for photographic proof and was even more surprised to get this reply
“Last weekend I went to visit the current owner of Les Sheehan’s 1954 AJS ISDT twin which is still in near-original condition. I had my 1955 machine with me and I have a photograph of both which I’d put up here but I can’t see a way to attach a photo to this comment. After seeing the owner I also went to visit Les Sheehan who lives nearby. There can’t be many ISDT riders of the ’50s left.
When Viney got knocked off his bike it was returned to the factory and sold to someone Jock West knew. The special bits were taken off and presumably put on the replacement bike ridden by Gordon Jackson. So bits of the bike photographed above originally belonged on my bike. Could I ask for them back??!!!!”
This amazing unexpected coincidence has not only revealed two of the ex ISDT AJS bikes from the mid fifties finally gave up the damp cold and emigrated to enjoy a happy retirement riding on the warm dusty trails of the outback of Australia but one of their riders, Les Sheehan, remains alive and well and living nearby… a heart warming tale for what is today a snowy day in North Wales. I for one must say to be able to wake up then start up either of those bikes and go out on a ride sans rain, cold, or barbour jacket under blue skies must make Patrick one of the luckiest persons I have ever come across. Here’s to hundreds of more miles of good riding to come Partick.
As we do not have any pictures of Les on the site, having looked him up on Google there was not much available but a request on an Australian Motorcycle site by his daughter Marilyn Quirk indicates he was the Western Australia Scrambles champ in 1956 so he must have emigrated shortly after the time of his ISDT appearance. I would be grateful for any offers of images of him and especially on this AJS.