Ned Noakes, the President of the Tenterden & District Motorcycle Club passed away recently after a short illness, at the grand old age of 93.
Joining the Tenterden club in the early 1950’s, becoming a committee member in 1957, Ned was Chairman from 1971 before being made President on the passing of club founder Karl Pugh. Seldom if ever did Ned miss a committee meeting over the years and was very much the father figure and a true ambassador for the club, always giving support & advice to those doing the day to day running of the club.
He lived all his life at the house adjacent to the forge at Pye Corner, Ulcombe, where he had taken over the running of the family agricultural engineering business from his father Nobby Noakes.
Ably backed up by his near neighbour Percy Smith, Ned assisted in running grass track and trials events together with social functions, attending E.K.T.C. & A.C.U. business meetings on behalf of the club.
A keen club rider Ned rode a AMC four stroke machine in the 1950’s trials before changing to the two stroke Greeves which he rode in the 1961 Scottish Six Days.
For many years he was also a supporter and keen spectator at the Isle of Man Road races with friend Spider Burniston.
Ned’s all round interest in motorcycling, classic cars, agricultural machinery, ploughing matches never left him short of knowledge or conversation often meeting up with a wide selection and generations of people including former customers, club members and landowners.
Ned was not a great drinker, but a great socialiser he was known to many in the local pubs.
In the late 1950’s an employee of Ned’s engineering business was Maurice Ivy, father of the later to become World 125cc Road Race Champion motorcyclist Bill Ivy. Bill’s first motorcycle was a 250cc Francis Barnett that had been used by drivers of the Noakes contracted out combine harvesters to get home from the fields.
After retiring and closing the agricultural business, Ned maintained his interest in classic cars owning Lancaster and Singer cars on which he carried out high levels of restoration and maintenance. He would show these cars at events throughout Kent & Sussex and was still driving to his shopping etc. in Maidstone, Headcorn and Tenterden, maintaining his independence after losing his sister last year.
May we wish that future generations give the support and have the enthusiasm for motorsport & club life that Ned portrayed unreservedly.
A true ambassador and gentleman, who will be greatly missed.
Club Presidents since 1946:
Major Geoffrey Freeman
Edward Charles Noakes”Ned”