Friday, April 15, 2011

STANLEY WOODS MEMORABILIA AT STAFFORD

Stanley ca.1922, on the Cotton which he competed in the Junior TT, placing 5th in his first race
Bonhams Stafford sale, April 24 2011, will include over 30 lots of personal effects from legendary 10-time Isle of Man winner Stanley Woods.  The lots include various keepsakes, trophies, helmets, and photographs, including a lot of over 2,000 shots of Woods racing, from his personal archive.
Woods began racing in 1921 on his father's 'workaday' Harley Davidson (dad was a salesman and used the H-D to visit customers) in sprints and amateur handicap races.  After visiting the Isle of Man that year as a spectator, he declared "I can do that" and secured a Cotton-Blackburne (above) for the 350cc class in 1922, when he was but 17 years old.  After literally crashing (twice) and burning (the Cotton caught fire in the pits), Woods still managed 5th place, with, at the end, no brakes!  Cotton's initial horror at his youth was replaced with optimism after such a determined result, and he rewarded their faith by winning the Junior TT for Cotton in 1923, the first in his string of ten wins on various makes at the world's premier road circuit.
Woods' Moto Guzzi mechanic's jumpsuit
If you ever wanted to 'play at Stanley', the auction includes the great man's Moto Guzzi jumpsuit - Woods raced a Guzzi to victory in the 250cc and 500cc races at the Island in 1935 - the 500cc on the amazing 'Bicyindrica' v-twin.  Several other Guzzi artifacts are included... sadly, not the machines themselves.  Woods' win on the Guzzis that year was the first time in 24 years that a non-English motorcycle had won the TT, and sent shock waves through the British motorcycle industry.  Woods was above all a professional racer, seeking machines he felt would win, and rode for Norton, Velocette, Guzzi, Husqvarna, Cotton, and New Imperial, chalking up victories with each marque at races across Europe.
Stanley's tux!  Included with 2 bowties and 3 shirts...
While bidders mightn't step into Stanley's boots, they can certainly put on his tuxedo, as that, too is for sale.  And while James Bond, legendarily fond of black tie, is a fictional hero, our Stanley was quite real, and a decent human being, renowned for his quiet good humor and tremendous riding skills.  His 'TT Toffee' company regularly supplied the Boy Scouts who volunteered to 'man' the IoM scoreboard.
A photo from Stanley's scrapbook, ca.1923 at the Isle of Man
Most charming is a letter from Stanley's mother (below), on the date of her gift to him of a motorcycle (his first?) in 1919, because "I think it will give you pleasure.  In return, all I ask is that you never take intoxicating drink, no matter who asks you."   'All I ask', indeed!
Woods' racing bibs and gloves...

2 comments:

brian b said...

Will you be there to give us a blow by blow with twitter updates?

The Vintagent said...

While I am dependent on technology for my work, I am not yet its slave...

If something interesting happens at the auction, I'll post an update. Or, if you see me in a blue jumpsuit afterward, you'll know exactly what happened...