BARRY SWANN 1948-2015
I’ve known Barry since the 1960’s, at a time when we both used to frequent a Tunbridge Wells café called “Toms” It was a favourite meeting place of local motorcyclists or “Rockers” as we were known in those days. I remember first being introduced to Barry at Brands Hatch. They had open practice on Wednesdays back then and if it was my half day at Philpot’s Motorcycle shop I used to go up on one of my bikes to watch.
This particular day Barry had come up on the pillion of some local hero that thought he could be world champion. Needless to say he went out in one of the practice sessions, crashed and ended up in hospital, wrecking his bike also. This left Barry stranded at the circuit with little money. Someone, I forget who, asked if I could give him a lift back to Tunbridge Wells, which I duly did. “Never again” I heard him mutter as he got off!
After that he took up an interest in trials, as had I, and we used to travel together sometimes to events. One notable event was the 1970 Isle of Wight 2day trial, but that’s another story!
He joined Tenterden and District MCC, and later the Owls MCC, sitting on the committee, and helping set out trials for some years.
In the late 60’s we both got married and started families, so other things occupied our time. We met again in 1973, when both moved into a new estate at Matfield where we have remained to this day.
After a few years we got back into pre 67 trials on Triumph Twins with some success. Barry also worked as a reporter for TMX, and covered many South East trials including national and internationals.
In the mid 70’s he started working as a mechanic at the Kawasaki Paddock Wood motorcycle business run by Paul Smart and Roy Francis, during the boom time for bike sales. He was a valued and well liked trials riding member of the staff.
One day he asked me if I would like to help out as a mechanic on Saturdays “you bet” I said! We had a lot of laughs there and made contact with several famous motorcycle racers at the time.
The years rolled by and Barry spent more with his other passions, fishing, train spotting and model railways, which I believe he kept up to very near the end.
Barry was a good looking lad with a great personality and always made a big impression with whoever met him.
We will all miss him a lot.