Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Rod Coleman (motorcycle racer)

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Nationality  New Zealand
Name  Rod Coleman

Role  Motorcycle racer
First race  Dutch TT

Roderick William "Rod" Coleman (born 19 June 1926) was a Grand Prix motorcycle road racer from New Zealand who raced for AMC (Associated Motorcycles) riding AJS motorcycles both at the Isle of Man TT, and in the Grand Prix World Championship in Europe, between 1951 and 1956. He was the first official entrant from the New Zealand Auto-Cycle Union in the 1949 Isle of Man TT, but crashed in practice., and in 1954 became the first New Zealander to win a TT.

Contents

Background

Rod Coleman is the son of Percy "Cannonball" Coleman also from Wanganui who first raced at the 1930 Isle of Man TT but retired from the 1930 Junior TT and Senior TT Races. The first New Zealand competitor to enter the TT was Alan Woodman who entered the 1910 Isle of Man TT races, but lost a leg in a practice crash. The "TT Special" of 1951 describes Rod Coleman (R W Coleman) as a "motorcycle dealer from Wanganui", then aged 25 years.

Racing career

In 1951 Rod Coleman secured a works contract with the British manufacturer, Associated Motorcycles, who produced AJS, and Matchless machines. He rode an AJS to eighth place in the Isle of Man Junior TT, while his Norton failed to finish the Senior TT. In the 1951 Grand Prix season, he finished 12th in the final 350 class standings.

In 1952 he came fourth in the Senior TT, and third in the Junior TT, riding AJS in both events. He was fourth in the 1952 500 class standings.

For 1953 there was a fourth in the Senior TT, and while leading the Junior TT, his bike broke down and failed to finish. For the 1953 season, he was tenth in the 500 class and sixth in the 350 class.

In 1954 he won the Junior, the first New Zealander to win a TT. In the 1954 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season Rod came twelfth in the 500 class, and third in the 350 class. This was also the year Associated Motorcycles quit racing. He won the 500cc in Hedemora TT in 1954

Coleman met and married an English woman, Jacqueline Etherington, and they returned to Wanganui where he ran a thriving motorcycle and car business.

References

Rod Coleman (motorcycle racer) Wikipedia


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