Excerpt from Frank Pierce article..
There has been a lot of interest in ladies riders especially Fay Taylor. I recently came across an article written by Frank Pierce Called "My Life on the Speedways" by Frank Pierce. Frank wrote each week for the Empire Speedway News program Sydney Australia. In the January 11th program he wrote the following in his article.
"Most of you remember that I appeared in two meetings at the Wentworth Oval and two at the Showground track, but it was not sufficient time for me to get settled and I did not ride at my best.
Around this time Fay Taylor (the woman rider) made a trip to Australia. I heard that she was going to have a match race with Alby Taylor, who had been riding successfully in Brisbane. (Alby hailed from Adelaide) but that he was not too keen as he was afraid of hurting her. However I suggested to the management that I ride my 2.75 h.p. against her 3.5 h.p. which suited them.
I had a habit of breaking records in those days, and I had an idea I would break one in this event. The management would not let me make a special attempt as I usually succeeded and cost them ten pounds each time. Just before the event one of the directors said, "Well Frank, ladies first" to which I replied "If she chooses to rub shoulders with men let her do a man's job." I always tuned my motor in the actual race and for 2 laps I could not get the desired setting on my carburetor, and with nearly two laps to go she was nearly half a lap in front. However I did get it tuned and I had to ride like the deuce to win by about four lengths. Many people thought that I had purposely staged something.
The directors intended to match her the next week against someone slower, but later rang me with an offer to meet her again. This time they said that they did not want to take her standing away from her and it would be better for her to beat me.
This time I did not get my setting right and I was beaten by a quarter of a lap. I was so annoyed with myself that they let me make an attempt on my record. They did this and I broke the lap record. Many of my greatest friends believe to this day that I gave her the race."
So did Frank actually have carburetor trouble or did he pretend not to be able to catch her or did the unthinkable happen and Fay beat him fair and square? One thing is for sure she was the best female rider of her time and maybe of all time. One thing is for sure she had to be strong to handle the bikes of that era and it is fact that she did put in some good race times down under.
This article was first published on 6th August 2009
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