Tuesday, September 03, 2013


From the fantastic title sequence of 'No Ordinary Passenger', which can be viewed here.
From the New York Times, which is becoming increasingly relevant in the world of Old Motorcycles, comes this charming portrait of Stan Dibben, the 'monkey' on Eric Oliver's World Sidecar Championship winning Manx Norton in 1953 (Cabell Hopkins made the film).  For whatever reason, Oliver isn't really mentioned, which is perhaps fitting given its slant ... praising the unsung heroes of sidecar racing, without whose skill and bravery in throwing their weight, nobody wins a race.  There's an instructive moment in the film, vintage footage which shows a 'monkey' hesitating before throwing his/her weight into a curve, with dramatic results!
Multiple Sidecar World Champion Eric Oliver with Stan Dibben in 1953 with their pioneering streamlined Norton outfit. Photo courtesy Stan Dibben

'No Ordinary Passenger' is 7:33 long, and worth the time, especially for Stan's elfin disposition. Stick around for the credits sequence at the end - fantastic!  Anyone wanting to know more about Stan and his days racing and passengering on the 'Continental Circus' of the 1950s should buy his book, 'Hold On! Stan Dibben World Champion Sidecar Rider', from Panther Publishing (currently available only in e-book, but deserving another print run!).
Stan Dibben with his book, 'Hold On!'

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Greg Summerton said...

Get hold of Stan's book and have a good read, a great book by a great man. He and Eric have always been my sidecar inspiration. (Us passengers have to stick together Stan!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

Thanks so much for putting the note up about the film. Just a quick correction in that the photo you put up isn't of me and Eric. Rather it is of Les Nutt and Eric at the 1954 TT in the Isle of Man, which they won using the kneeler (streamling version No. 2). I have put a long comment up on the NYT website explaining who won what, on what and with whom so hopefully that will be helpful for people.

Anyway, here is a photo of me and Eric at the Belgian GP at Spa Francochamps, with the kneeler (streamlining version No. 1); the forerunner of all others since.

I have had a look through the site and it's fabulous. Thanks for doing all your hard work to bring the origins of motorcycling to - let us say - etherial life!

Thanks again,


Grandpa Jimbo said...

Now I have two hero's to emulate, Jim Day and now Stan Dibben. Guys like these make me want to ride even more!
Jim A.

Anonymous said...

Locally "Whalin' Wendy E., still the fastest woman AMA rider in history, and German expat Kristine from Rosamunde Sausage have had quite the sidecar racing rivalry going(friendly, of course).

Good flattrack sidecar racing in Penryn, too, with our old local pal Jefferson doing well with a coed "monkey" aboard SUZ TL-powered rig.