Robin miller |
TT and roads
Tony Jefferies, multiple TT winner and prominent member of a great Yorkshire motorcycling dynasty, has died.
He was 72 years old, had been seriously ill for some time but insisted, against medical advice, to attend the recent funeral of his two great friends Paul Smart and Peggy Appleyard.
It was typical of a man whose life was a mixture of triumph and tragedy, the first his success on the Isle of Man and the short circuits including the famous Transatlantic series; the latter a tragic accident during TT training in 2003 which killed his son David; a few years later, the death of his wife Pauline; and his own crippling disability from an accident in 1973 at Mallory Park.
As tributes poured in for his daughter Louise, who now runs the BMW dealership, his younger brother Nick, also a TT winner, told bikesportnews.com: Life as he could. But for 12 months Louise took care of him with us doing our part. He had an esophageal problem but didn’t like the idea of intravenous feeding saying “No, I want to eat normally”. If someone had half the resolution they had, they would be better people.
“He was a great driver but he never really had much luck and if he had had the opportunity to drive a TZ700 which he narrowly missed he would have shown how good he was . He was a big boy and the big boys needed the 700s. What happened was an absolute tragedy.
“I last saw him on Sunday at Bradford Royal Infirmary. He had fallen out of bed but wanted eggs and I had to go out to Tesco. Over the next two days he fell unconscious and the end suddenly came. It was a big shock but I think Louise and I would not have wanted him to suffer the indignity of being force-fed, etc.
“He wasn’t a shrinking purple and after his racing days he took the business forward. He was very brave with lots of new ideas. We didn’t agree on everything, but now there’s a great deal with the best BMW showroom in the country. He was also a great speech maker and served as chairman of the TT Riders Association and the Bradford Motor Club, among others. He got back into sports a lot.
“And, of course, it comes from the big name of Allan Jefferies who was known all over Europe for his success in the Six Day Trials. The biggest event in the 1930s was TT, but the six-day international event came next.
His Yorkshire colleague Mick Grant said: “Tony and I started running together and we had a lot of hilarious moments when Jim Lee was my first sponsor. He had a great sense of humor. When he broke his back on Mallory, I wondered why it happened to such a strong man, to this lovely, lovely man. Life, in many ways, has not been kind to him.
“When we started out we both did a few tries and once Tony did the Scot Trial, the hardest in the world, and lied to me saying he won a Scottish Spoon by finishing in the ten or fifteen first. The year after Tony’s accident I did the Scot, although I was never good enough anyway, and after about half an hour one of the spectators held up a sign saying ” Scot Spoon twenty pounds ”and that went on throughout the trial until it was around two hundred pounds. I then discovered that Tony had put everything together, he had never won a Scottish spoon. He had an incredible sense of humor.
“And as a runner he was very good. Back then, winning a TT was a real achievement, winning two in the same week was incredible. A great man.
Robin Appleyard added: “People shouldn’t forget the role he played in industry and sport. Nor that after having won this double in the TT, he went to Ulster and won there. Our families were very close, we saw each other a lot and it was so sad to see him bedridden for the past two years. Yes, a remarkable man in many ways.