John House is a 91 year old retired police inspector who still enjoys riding motorcycles on the public roads.
We think John might be Britain’s oldest rider. His motorcycling life stretches seven decades and he has the stories to boot as we found out when we sat down with him at his home in Guildford.
What was your first motorcycle?
“In 1946, at the age of 19, I bought a brand new BSA 350 B31 from ‘Heath Brothers’ in Farnham, Surrey. I kept it at Wellington Barracks in London and would use it to travel down to my family in Somerset, or to visit my girlfriend at the time in Guildford. That girlfriend is now my wife, by the way.”
You mentioned something about being a ‘pit hand’ at the TT?
“Yes, at the 1952 TT I was a pit assistant. In the next pit but one, there was Geoff Duke. He came into the pits, they re-fuelled but he couldn’t free the clutch. So, he took off his helmet and gloves and that was that. Reg Armstrong won the race after that. He crossed the line with a broken primary chain and coasted over the line to take the win.”
What do you ride now?
“Currently I ride a Yamaha Vity 125 scooter. It’s better than nothing and this is what I ride at the moment as I can handle the weight”
With the weather picking up, John is looking forward to riding to bowls matches again with his equipment in the scooters under seat storage.
For our full interview with John, check out the video.