With a history stretching back to 1958, when the roads swarmed with sidecar outfits, the South Yorkshire Sidecar Club has clung to its existence through good times and bad for 59 years. John Askham tells the story.
The South Yorkshire Sidecar Club was formed in February 1958 by six people who met at 25 Stanhope Avenue, Cawthorne, near Barnsley. As the weeks went by and more members joined, a club name of ‘The Happy Wanderers Combination Club’ was chosen.
At first, members met in pub rooms, but later moved to premises on Anchorage Lane, Sprotborough, Doncaster. Lots of long-time Federation of Sidecar Clubs members know of this venue and have pleasant memories of events that were held there.
Around that time the club name was changed to the South Yorkshire Sidecar Club, and members took over a hut at an old wartime searchlight battery unit barracks where squatters had lived before the club moved in. Members knocked out a wall to make one big room, built extra toilets and a fireplace, and made a parking area at the front with ashes from the Doncaster power station. A high wire fence surrounded the parking area until 1970, giving security that wasn’t really necessary at that time.
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By 1963 the SYSC boasted around 60 members and organised numerous outdoor and social activities including the rallies that were first held at Doncaster, then at Laughton en le Morthen to the south of Rotherham. The charge of five shillings (25p) per outfit included rally fees and social evenings at the Hatfield Arms. In those days the hugely-popular Ovaltine van would come for the day selling Ovaltine and biscuits.
Read more in the May issue of OBM – on sale now!