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Stanley

Glanfield

One can find little to suggest what his childhood was like or what he did as a young man but his early years must have taken him into the engineering world with a particular interest in motorcycles. By 1927 it was announced that two men were to attempt a round the world trip on motorcycles.


And so on the 2nd July Stan Glanfield, who is described as a London motorcycle dealer, and Flight Sargent Sparks set off on their attempt to navigate around the world on motorcycles. It is not clear if this was an attempt sponsored and encouraged by the motorcycle manufacturers Rudge or if it was a private venture. The riders chose to use an available Rudge machine fitted with a sidecar specially built to house the items needed for the trip. We know from the few available photos that the sidecar had painted on the front a route for the proposed journey and imagine that most of the available space would have contained spares and replacements as well as personal clothing.


It may be as well to remember that in those days roads both here and in the rest of the world were very basic, in the most part having been built on what once was animal and cart tracks. All went well with both riders making it to Bombay, India, where it seems they separated. It is said that Flt. Sgt. Sparks was still a serving airman and was required to return to his service duties whilst Stan Glanfield continued on a longer route arriving alone in Australia.


Arriving in Sydney during the Christmas season he met up with friend who was also in the motorcycle business. Lionel Wills, the friend, was spending his Christmas touring the area around Sydney also riding a Rudge but his was a solo machine. It is said that the two friends visited the recently opened Davies Park and were blown away by the thrills of dirt-track racing. Stanley continued his way around the world riding through America and eventually arriving back in England where he was joined by Sparks so they could finish the journey together. Stan Glanfield had taken eight months to complete his 17,000 miles. Rudge held a celebratory lunch for the two on their return.Not surprising as the trip must have given the company a huge boost in publicity.


Enthused by his dirt-track experience in Australia, when he returned to England Glenfield was to throw himself into this newly arrived racing which had just started to be promoted in the UK at a few meetings held in 1927 and the first licenced meeting at High Beech on Sunday the 19th February 1928 (See here)


Dirt-track (speedway) racing became popular very quickly and it seems Stanley was determined to be part of it. Initially the bikes used on the dirt tracks were road bikes often ridden to and from the meeting. But his partnership in Glanfield Lawrence Motors Ltd afforded him the opportunity to develop, on his return, the track machine known as the Glanfield Rudge (see here)  He also became involved as a rider at both Harringay and London White City mounted on his Glanfield Rudge. Others were impressed and for a short while he was one of the first to produce a bike designed for the job. This was not to be long-lived as others soon began producing track machines, Rudge among them.


Glanfield established a remarkable workshop in a four-storey building off the Tottenham Court Road, London. He divided the top floor into individual workshops enabling up to 20 riders with machines and mechanics to service and repair their bikes. Whilst on the second floor a fully equipped workshop it was possible to repair, tune or produce an entire machine.The Glanfield mechanics were there to help and were apparently paid a bonus if the riders they had helped were successful. There was even a conference room that was used by the tuners and mechanics for discussions and debates.


The Coventry Transport Museum has the Rudge that Glanfield used on his round the world trip on display.

The Brandon Opening photo is from the John Somerville Collection
Many thanks for his permission to use it here

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Born Stanley Thomas Glanfield on February 4, 1900, Exeter, Devon, England.