George Wallis

Born in Grimsby in 1903 but moved at some time to Sheffield where his father has a garage and car dealership. Then not long before the outbreak of World War I his family moved again to the midlands. George at 15 was apprenticed to the Phoenix Car company but they stopped trading and he decided to set up his own business buying in, repairing motorcycles for resale. Although the business did well like so many others George’s living expenses overtook his income and killed his business.

He found himself apprentice once again to an engineering company and then he took a job working for Rootes Motor Company and then joined Perry Thomas to work in the engineering workshop at Brooklands race track. The young man of 21 was then asked by Harley-Davidson to run their English operation, they wanted him to go to the USA but he had other ideas and wanted to pursue them.

At the suggestion of Arthur Bourne, editor of The Motor Cycle he became contracted to the Australian Speedway team that was in England to race against the British team, he set up workshops and by all accounts did a very good job. He then set about building a frame that could accommodate a variety of available engines.

Next he was a salaried engineer at Crystal Palace speedway club, still selling his equipment and running a riders workshop. When Crystal Palace ceased to run he was employed at Stamford Bridge Speedway where again everything in his mind was progressing well but the track was closed to speedway and opened for dogs. He was then asked to go to Plymouth speedway and, yes, you have guessed they went out of business as well.

George then ran a workshop garage premises in 1934 for two restaurant owners where he did very well repairing vehicles, whilst still making speedway bikes. Around this time he also opened a café. When the Second World War started he joined the Combined Operations where he manufactured machine parts and when the war ended he re-opened the café as it had proved so profitable.

He apparently designed a muck spreader that he offered to Fisons who turned it down so he manufactured it himself and sold hundreds of thousands at this point Fisons changed their minds and wanted it, he let them have it for £120,000 – he had originally ask them for £1,000