|Kenzo Tada in 1930, posing after racing in the TT, and winning 15th place. Tada wears a traditional "Japanese haori (half coat), hakama (traditional loose trousers), white tabi (socks, and felt zori (sandals)", as noted in his comments below.|
|Kenzo Tada aboard the Mk1 KTT which took 3rd place in the 1929 Junior TT, loaned to him by the Veloce factory, whose chief designer, Percy Goodman, stands immediately next to Tada.|
|The 1930 Veloce-supported Isle of Man Junior TT team, with 12 countries represented!|
|Tada in a characteristic 'Kieg Collection' photo of Isle of Man competitors (now managed by FoTTofinders); this may be shot after practice, as the bike bears a road registration (OG 1962) not seen in the actual race. Pic courtesy Bill Snelling!|
The information we have on Kenzo Tada is slim, but we know he was the Velocette agent for Tokyo (Tomeye Trading Co.) and ordered three of the earliest KTT models; KTTs #20, 22 and 28, all in February of 1929. We also have an interview conducted in 1972, recounted in the excellent book, 'Japan's Motorcycle Wars' (reviewed here in The Vintagent):
"I began as a bicycle racer, and started that at the end of the Russo-Japanese War, in 1905. That first race was once around Shinobazu pond in Ueno Park, Tokyo, which was a 3 mile course, as the pond was bigger at that time. I was 18 years old and the prize was half a dozen beer glasses... Afterwards I trained for the Komiyama race as an apprentice, like a young sumo wrestler. I rode bicycles imported from America by the Ishikawa company in Yokohama. I joined their racing team in 1907. The pace car at that race was a Triumph motorcycle. Most bicycles were imported then and the Ishikawa company brought in American Pierce and British Triumph bicycles... I rode in a 250 mile bicycle race on 30 June 1907 and I won... In those days various stages of the race were reported by telegram to the finish line. I won several races after that and was reported on widely in the press. I was paid 3 yen per month by the Ishikawa company and I raced 3, 5 and 10 mile races. 10 miles races were the main event and if I won I was paid 10 yen and 5 yen for shorter races.
|Tada negotiating the unpaved Ramsey hairpin on the Isle of Man TT course|
I moved up to racing motorcycles in about 1921. In the Taisho era I went to see the races at the Nakayama racecourse [now used for horse racing]. I bought a Triumph motorcycle which cost about a 1000 to 1200 yen whereas a bicycle was only 120 to 170 yen. I managed a bicycle shop then which made its own brand, Mates (as in "friends"), and sold it there on the premises. Later this brand became Shinbashi Bicycles. I raced again in 1924 but I got no prize money in that amateur race, only a trophy. At that time there were only about 20 motorcycle racers in the whole country.
|Screen capture from the film; An amazing variety of motorcycles raced in '30 TT - in the top photo alone you can see Rudge (#9), Sunbeam (#13), and Excelsior (#11) racers.|
Please contact The Vintagent with any further information on Kenzo Tada!