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Gus E Kuhn

Born October 17th 1898 in Birmingham a keen motorcyclist in the days when it really was a step into the unknown and therefore I would think stimulating and exciting which is also a description I have heard of the riding of Gus Kuhn.

Gus was not going to be satisfied with riding round the country side so in 1915 at the age of 16 he took to competitive riding I understand his first step on the competitive ladder was a hill climb but that was just the start from then on it seemed that anything competitive and Gus would be there, trials, scrambling, sprinting and road racing all before the advent of World War I, joining the Royal Navy Air Service and returning to motorcycle sport as soon as he was released from the RNAS in 1919.

In 1920 Guss took part in his first Isle of Mann TT races and continued to do so until 1926 although it would seem he did miss a couple of years, his best result was finishing 5th which seems to have been his last attempt at the TT races, but he continues with other competitive sports including the Lands End to John O’Groats trial.

Speedway arrived in the late 1920’s the first completion licence thought to be granted to the South Manchester Club in June 1927 but there is no record I have found to say Gus Kuhn was there but he was not far behind as there is record that he rode Dirt Track at Crystal Palace during the same year and at the September meeting he was riding a 348cc Velocette in a race where other bikes were 500cc – he won. All this is a bit lost in the mists of time but we get to Gus Kuhn Speedway Rider and team member in 1929

He is recorded as a captain of Stamford Bridge Pensioners team in 1929 although I believe he was riding at individual meetings before this he remained with the Stamford team until it closed in 1932 when he went to Wimbledon Dons until 1937 and then in the same season to Wembley Lions for just that year before moving on to Lea Bridge in 1938.

1939 was to be his last year before retiring and that was spent as captain of the Southampton Saints – at the end of 1939 all speedway league racing in the UK was stopped by the start of World War II.

Like so many of the speedway riders in the earlier days they used their winnings to set up businesses for themselves and their families, in Gus Kuhn’s case this was Gus Kuhn Motors, opened in London in 1932 and consisted or workshops and showroom for both cars and motorbikes. The business was later run by his son in law and was finally sold in 1989.

Gus was president of the Veteran Speedway Riders’ Association (now World Speedway Riders’ Association) in 1964.

He died aged 67 in 1966, a full and memorable life.

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