Born in East End of London Wilks was riding motorbikes before he was a teenager, racing in grasstrack and also travelled to the Isle of Man to compete in the TT in 1929, only to suffer injuries in practice which led to five months in hospital, and a break of three years from motorcycle racing. In the early 1930s he won the South Midlands grasstrack title several times, and was encouraged to move to speedway by Australian international Frank Arthur. He first rode for Harringay, transferring to Hackney Wick at the end of 1935 for a transfer fee of GB£25. In early 1938 he was transferred to Wembley for GB£350, finishing as third-highest points scorer in his first season with the Lions. He worked in a factory during World War II, returning to Wembley when speedway resumed, and was part of the team that won the National League Championship and the London Cup in 1946.
Wilks was first called up by England in 1939, as a reserve in the final test against Australia at Wembley, but did not ride. In 1947 he rode at reserve for England in the second test match against Australia at West Ham, scoring ten points from four rides. He also rode in the final test at Wembley, scoring nine points. He rode in the first test at Wimbledon in 1948, scoring eleven points in England's 61-45 win.
- Morgan, Tom (1949) Who's Who In Speedway 1949, Sport-in-Print, p. 73-4
- Storey, Basil (1947) "'Lion' Who Cost Wembley Fee of £350" in Speedway Favourites, Sport-in-Print, p. 9
- Foster, Peter (2005) A History of the Speedway Ashes, Tempus, ISBN 0-7524-3468-3, p. 77, 80-82, 87
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