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Ken Redfern, the 'gentleman biker'.

AS a friend of the late Ken Redfern, Michael Thompson wonders if anyone has any film footage of Ken's motorcycle racing exploits.

In particular Michael would be interested in any film of Ken's memorable races on a home-prepared 750 Norton Domiracer on consecutive weekends at Cadwell Park and Mallory Park in 1969 where he finished second to the Italian star Giacoma Agostini (MV Agusta).

He writes: Ken was born in Stockton, living most of his life in Grosvenor Road, before moving to Hutton Rudby, where his brother Mike still lives.

He began his racing career at Croft Autodrome, riding a Manx Norton, where he quickly became a well-respected racer. Ironically his first win was at Snetterton, Norfolk, a weekend I remember well..

He progressed from the 350 and 500 Norton's to 350 Aermacchi and 750 Norton Domiracer, scoring considerable success at meetings around the country.

The two memorable consecutive weekends in late 1969 at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire, and Mallory Park, Leicestershire, Race of the Year meeting, in front of 60,000 spectators, were where he sprang to international recognition.

Competing against some of the world's best riders including Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini, Ken brought his 750 Norton Domiracer prepared by his friend Keith Jeal in the garage of his Grosvenor Road home, into second place, both times having to fight his way through the field following bad starts.

I remember at Cadwell Park, Agostini's mechanics hanging out the pit board showing that Ken was catching him on every lap; who knows what the result would have been had the race been longer or Ken had got a better start? I also remember Ago saying to Ken at the finish of the Mallory race "You again".

Following those races Ken went on to ride for London-based team owners Paul Dunstall and Gus Kuhn.

Tragically Ken was killed in a freak road accident near what is now Judges Hotel near Kirklevington.

The late, well respected Evening Gazette motorsport reporter and photographer, Spencer Oliver, once described Ken as "the only true gentleman" he had ever met and the "most determined". In 2000 the Evening Gazette named Ken as the local rider of the century.

The attached picture, courtesy of Morton Pictures, shows Ken in determined mood chasing Agostini at the 1969 Race of the Year at Mallory Park, watched by 60,000 spectators.

If any readers have film footage of Ken at these or other meetings would they kindly contact me at jacobean@btinternet.com..
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 16, 2009
Words:413
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