Monday, June 17, 2024
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Harry Woolridge

Ex-Triumph factory staffer, book author and skilled off-roader Harry Woolridge has died, aged 88. Starting in Meriden’s service department in 1954, Harry moved to the experimental department in 1960 to work under development chief Frank Baker, who pursued racing projects without the authority of Meriden boss Edward Turner. In addition to his week’s work, Harry would spanner at weekends for experimental’s head tester Percy Tait at race circuits.

When Doug Hele took over experimental in 1963, work began on developing the 750cc triple destined to become the T150 Trident and Harry had the exciting job of road testing the first prototype, easily the fastest motorcycle he had ever ridden. In 1965 he took a new post, working with his old boss Baker on production troubleshooting, which included using a newly-installed rolling road to overcome ignition snags. He recalled using the rig to cure a spate of seizures suffered by big twins made by BSA, Triumph’s parent company and that Meriden was never credited for the work.   

Harry was promoted to being a production foreman, a job he didn’t much enjoy, then was made redundant by Norton Villiers Triumph in the wake of the October 1973 factory sit-in crisis. Two years later he returned to Meriden to work for the Co-operative set up to run scaled-down production, first as an inspection foreman and then as warranty manager. After Meriden closed in 1983, Harry worked at Norton’s Rotary operation at Shenstone until redundancy came around again, when he joined the Les Williams operation in Kenilworth as a stores manager and machine builder.

In the 1990s Harry became a book author with the aim of setting out useful and authoritative information for classic restorers. His publications include Triumph Speed Twin & Thunderbird Bible  and Triumph Trophy Bible.

 

Harry Woolridge is pictured while displaying the 1973 Triumph’s 500cc Adventurer’s trail capability trail in the Scottish Highlands 

 

 

 

 

                 

 

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