Ramon Swanson, -- Lived in Woburn in the Hutt Valley. Return to Personalities.
Rode in the daylight meetings in 1946 before the ‘official opening’ of Taita, on
a Harley Davidson Pee Shooter and also did some beach racing at Waikanae.
The Pee Shooter was push start machine built purely for grass track racing. No
clutch and no brakes.
Most of the other bikes in use at that time had at least a clutch so the Pee Shooter was disadvantaged. It had twin stub exhaust pipes exactly 12” long. If shorter or longer the motor would not run correctly. As all riders then had Pee Shooters or converted road bikes the tires were a problem, so they would spend hours soaking tyres and cutting the treads with hacksaws to make “Knobbly” treads.
One day at a practice meeting he suggested to Frankie Boyle that the track went in the wrong direction. So they tried a clockwise race and Ramon stayed out in front all the way whereas he normally trailed the field. He claims it makes sense because if you are right handed your right leg will be stronger!
He was shares in the bike with Rex Harrison who did the mechanical repairs. Rex lost interest and as Ramon could not afford to continue by himself he stopped racing around the time Taita officially opened.
Members of the Ixion Motor Cycle club were asked to help set Taita up and as it was an old river bed they spent many a day just picking up stones off the track. This went on for quite a while until the cinder surface was laid but the piles of stones and boulders under the grandstands were quite high by then!
There were never any programs for those early meetings so “regrettably my name does not appear in print!”
Ramon remembers Rex spending many hours tuning the motor and one day asked Ramon to ride it around on the streets to the Eastbourne bus depot then ride around the roundabout until Rex arrived in his car. Rex then asked Ramon to head off down a long straight stretch of road at full speed and Rex would wait half way down to listen to the motor at full throttle. The exercise went well until Ramon reach the twisty bits at the end of the straight and the motor would not slow down. The throttle slide had stuck full open. It was still winding up when he went out wide onto the grass, but then the motor gave up and died. So ended his competition riding!
He did remain an enthusiast for many years and lived in Woburn which is not a long distance from where Taita track was situated.
This is a Harley Davidson Pee Shooter as described above.
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