Graham Walker (motorcycle racer)

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Graham Walker
Graham Walker 1921 (cropped).jpg
Graham Walker in 1921.
Nationality British
Born 4 August 1896
Wallington, London, England, UK
Died 7 September 1962(1962-09-07) (aged 66)
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested 15 (1920-1934)
TT wins 1
First TT win 1931 Lightweight TT
Last TT win 1931 Lightweight TT
Podiums 6

Graham William Walker (4 August 1896 – 7 September 1962[1]) was an English motorcycle racer, broadcaster and journalist. He also contributed greatly to the motorcycle section of the National Motor Museum.

Graham Walker was born in Wallington, Surrey[2] and was the son of William Walker (1851–?), a shipping company clerk, and Jessie née Goodman (1859–?), he had two sisters and two brothers one of whom was Eric Anderson Walker. He was educated at Highgate School from 1910-1912[3] and had five siblings - three brothers and two sisters.[4] Walker married Elsie Norah Fyfield née Spratt (1897–1999)[4] and together they had one son, Graeme Murray Walker (born 10 October 1923) who went on to have a long career as a motorsport commentator.

Walker was a motorcycle despatch rider in the First World War for the Royal Engineers Signal Service, where he received a leg injury requiring him to ride a motorcycle with a modified brake pedal. Despite this he had a successful racing career with Rudge, Sunbeam and Norton. Riding a 493cc Sunbeam he was a member of the victorious British International Trophy Team at the ISDT held in Buxton 1926 and Ambleside 1927 then saw success on the Silver Vase team in 1928 at Harrogate and 1932 Merano in Italy. Road successes included winning the Ulster Grand Prix on a Rudge Ulster in 1928, the first road race win with an average of 80 mph.[5] Walker also won the 350cc class at the 1931 North West 200, again on a Rudge. He rode many times in the Isle of Man TT, winning the lightweight (250cc) class in 1931,[6] and became president of the TT Riders Association.[7]

During World War II, Walker took part in a campaign to recruit new dispatch riders.[8]

In 1935, after his motorcycle racing career had finished, Walker was employed by the BBC as a commentator for motorcycle racing events on television and radio.[1] In 1949, Walker was partnered on the BBC's motorcycle commentaries with his son, Murray.[9]

He was editor of Motor Cycling magazine from 1938 to 1954[5] and he then took up a directorship at the Montagu Motor Museum, of which his enthusiasm for preserving historic motorcycles partly led to the museum having opened a motorcycle section in 1956.[8]

Isle of Man TT Race Career[edit]

Year Race Position Make of Motorcycle
1920 Senior TT 13th Norton
1921 Senior TT Ret Norton
1922 Senior TT 5th Norton
1923 Senior TT 4th Norton
Sidecar TT 2nd Norton
1924 Sidecar TT Ret Sunbeam
1925 Senior TT Ret Sunbeam
Sidecar TT Ret Sunbeam
1926 Senior TT 10th Sunbeam
1927 Senior TT 5th Sunbeam
Junior TT Ret Sunbeam
1928 Senior TT Ret Rudge
1929 Senior TT Ret Rudge
1930 Senior TT 2nd Rudge
Junior TT 3rd Rudge
1931 Senior TT 5th Rudge
Lightweight TT 1st Rudge
Junior TT 5th Rudge
1932 Senior TT 6th Rudge
Lightweight TT 2nd Rudge
Junior TT 5th Rudge
1933 Senior TT Ret Rudge
1934 Senior TT 6th Rudge
Lightweight TT 3rd Rudge

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Obituary: Mr. Graham Walker". The Times. London. 10 September 1962. p. 16. (Registration required (help)). 
  2. ^ 1901 United Kingdom census
  3. ^ ed. Boreham, J.Y. Highgate School Register 1838-1938 (4th ed.). p. 246. 
  4. ^ a b Walker, pp. 12-14
  5. ^ a b The National Archives | Access to Archives
  6. ^ Meetings - The official Isle of Man TT 2008 website
  7. ^ TTRA - The TT Riders Association website
  8. ^ a b "Obituary: Mr. Graham Walker". The Times. London. 14 September 1962. p. 13. (Registration required (help)). 
  9. ^ Walker pp. 5-8

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jimmie Simpson
500cc Motorcycle European Champion
1927
Succeeded by
Wal Handley
Preceded by
Syd Crabtree
250cc Motorcycle European Champion
1930
Succeeded by
Riccardo Brusi