Derrick Cornell RIP


Derrick Cornell sadly passed away recently after a short illness.

He was ‘bike mad’ from an early age, repairing machines at his mother’s family house.

He progressed to a workshop next to a pub in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, and then shortly afterwards moved on to a double-fronted shop in the town.

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He took on a Greeves franchise, sponsoring Don Smith who also managed his shop and later became European Champion in the trials world, progressing to No. 1 trials rider on a Greeves.

Derrick sponsored Peter Smith on the latest Greeves Scrambler and was to become one of the first to champion on a Triumph/BSA Matisse.

Derrick was also one of the first to develop a Greeves twin cylinder for road racing, which Reg Everet rode quite successfully.

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Derrick pictured with Peter Smith and a Cornell MX Greeves in 1962.

I worked for Derrick shortly after leaving school and spent many happy trips picking up new Greeves bikes from the Thundersley factory, mixing it with the late Dave Bickers and very friendly with Mike Jackson.

In 1963, Derrick moved to larger premises in Chelmsford, Essex, successfully selling quality cars and bikes. Derrick’s daughter sadly died after a horse riding accident, but he is survived by his son and second wife, Margaret.

Of course I had to have my first Greeves in 1959 and won many awards in the Eastern and South Midlands Trials.

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I have kept in touch with Derrick since this time and am sad to have lost a great friend – his last wish was to ride to his funeral in a motorbike and sidecar hearse.

Jim Petts

Read more News and Features in the November 2019 issue of Old Bike Mart – on sale now!

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