Terry Harradine’s Spot
Terry riding MN7383 on a hilly 50 mile TT in Wales, 1973
Bob Mansell had a shop at 504 Oldbury Road, Smethwick. He also had a shop in the main street Smethwick for a while, but mostly selling children’s bikes and toys. Bob was a top coach, and he promoted races around the parks and schools in the Birmingham area. He also took groups of school children on cycle racing camps near Stourport. Lots of the region’s top riders were helped along by Bob at sometime or other. I remember riding up from Ross on Wye and riding criteriums around Hadley Stadium, with Grant Thomas plus several other well known riders.
This photo (above) is of my first real racer. Through my Dad, I got to know Bob Mansell very well, and the bike in the picture was a Planet Pintail, from 1958. My Dad took it into Bob’s shop in Oldbury Road, Smethwick for a re-spray. Major Nichols did Bob’s renovation work, and this is how it came back. Beautifully finished in White with Black Panels and Bob Mansell decal. This was 1964. I won 5 events straight off on the bike including the Hereford Wheelers Easter 25 TT which was my first open win.
Bob introduced me to Major in about 1966, and despite Major’s reputation as a bit of a problem to deal with, I had no trouble what so ever. Except when I took my Harry Quinn in for a respray and asked him to put Major Nichols decal on it. His reply – “I’m not putting my name on that bloody rubbish”.
Terry riding MN7383 on a 25 mile K16*, 1973
Bob was on very good terms with Major, Bob also did a Paraffin round from the shop. When the shop closed Bob moved to a house not far from the shop, I can’t remember the park’s name. Bob sadly died following a brain tumour some years ago, not many months after Major himself died.
(*Note: K16 is Alrewas to Willington on the A38 T. Ed.)