Part 1 – the little and fast crowd favorite of the 1960s

Ever since the introduction of the motorcycle world championship in 1949, the races, which were initially only held in Europe, have become increasingly popular. In the following decade there were events with often around 200,000 visitors. The Austrian Rupert Hollaus, who died far too early, was a star of the post-war period. In 1954, the award for Austria’s Sportsman of the Year was awarded, which impressively underlines the growing popularity of motorcycle racing during this time. From the early 1960s, motorcycle racing received even greater attention due to the participation of the Japanese factories. With the entry of Honda in 1960, an era of the technical arms race began as never before experienced. William David Ivy, born on August 27, 1942 in the middle of World War II in Maidstone, England, was only 18 years old at the time.

TT start of the 50 cm³ class in 1963 – this year the 21 year old Bill Ivy won his first race in England.

The beginnings of young Ivy
On the property of a friend’s parents, young Billy made his first attempts at walking on two wheels. He also got his first racing motorcycle through his job at a motorcycle dealer in his hometown of Maidstone. His boss discovered the talent of the young Ivy early on and began to promote him. So it came about that Bill drove his first motorcycle races from 1959 and the first successes should not be long in coming. On September 8, 1963, Ivy won his first race in Snetterton (GB) in the 125 cc class on a Bultaco. A year followed with countless victories for the only 160 cm tall Billy, in races in various classes.

Bill Ivy in 1967 with his characteristic helmet design.

Ivy’s successes in the 1964 season
May 3rd, Mallory Park (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
May 18th, Brands Hatch (GB), 125 cc (Honda)
June 21, Brands Hatch (GB), 250 cc (Yamaha)
July 26th, Snetterton (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
16 Aug, Brands Hatch (GB), 125 cc (Honda)
22 Aug, Aberdare Park, 125 cc (Honda)
30 Aug, Mallory Park (GB), 125 cc (Honda)
30 Aug, Mallory Park (GB), 250 cm³ (Cotton)
5th Sept, Castle Combe, 125 cc (Honda)
Sept 5, Snetterton (GB), 125 cc (Honda)
Sept 13, Cadwell Park (GB), 125 cc (Honda)
Sept 20, Brands Hatch (GB), 125 cc (Honda)
Oct 3, Oulton Park (GB), 125 cc (Honda)
Oct 11, Brands Hatch (GB), 125 cc (Honda)

The hanging-off riding style of Ralph Bryans was commented rather disrespectfully in a German motorsport article, but today it’s state of the art. They wrote “..when he turned corners with the 50 cc two-cylinder Honda, he slipped out of the saddle and hung his seat overboard. Obviously this strange cornering technique is good, because Bryans won the race ..“. Bill Ivy also developed his own riding style early on
A shot from the mid-1960s – Ivy sticks passed inside. Behind in the drifting Dave Croxford (Matchless) and an evasive grip Jenkens (Norton) with the No. 5 on the outside lane. Ivy initially had the most success in the smaller classes, but from 1965 onwards he was also able to convince more and more with the big bikes.

The 1965 season and his first World Championship races

Bill Ivy (pictured in front) from an early shot in the mid-1960s.

The first world championship points in 1965
Already at the TT, Yamaha decided to entrust the young local hero with a third machine, which however fell. This machine was supposedly first intended for Bob Anderson, who in 1960 was fifth in the 350 cm³ World Championship. But he refused the offer, whereupon Ivy came to kiss the hand. It was in the “Cathedral of Speed”, at the Assen GP of the 125 class, where the little big man from Maidstone scored his first championship points on a Yamaha. Behind the Canadian Mike Duff (Yamaha) and the two Suzuki works drivers Yoshimi Katayama and Hugh Anderson, Billy achieved fourth place.

On the left Suzuki works driver Hugh Anderson and behind the East German Dieter Krumpholz on MZ. More about the 4-time world champion Anderson from New Zealand see on this page in our history tab.

Equalized result in Japan
At the season finale at the Japanese GP in Suzuka he was able to equalize this result and was 13th in the final classification of the 125 cm³ World Championship. At the 250 cm³ Grand Prix of Japan, “Little Bill” also won his first podium for Yamaha. These results should be the cornerstone of an impressive World Cup career for the young Englishman.

The German H.-G. Anscheidt on his debut for Suzuki at the Japanese Grand Prix on the 125cc machine. In the 50cc class he made a good 4th place and Bill Ivy got world championship points for the second time in his life.

The list of national races that Bill Ivy was able to win in 1965 is more than impressive:
7. März, Mallory Park (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
21. März, Brands Hatch (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
28. März, Snetterton (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
28. März, Snetterton (GB), 250 cm³ (Cotton)
16. April, “King of Brands Hatch” Meeting, Brands Hatch (GB), 50 cm³ (Honda)
18. April, “Race of the Aces” Meeting, Snetterton (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
20. April, Mallory Park (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
9. Mai, Brands Hatch (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
9. Mai, Brands Hatch (GB), 500 cm³ (Matchless)
16. Mai, Snetterton (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
16. Mai, Snetterton (GB), 500 cm³ (Matchless)

Slide start in 1965, an unthinkable starting method today. Most of the time it was dead quiet until the gun was fired, it was only in 1987 that this stopped.

23. Mai, Mallory Park (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
23. Mai, Mallory Park (GB), 250 cm³ (Cotton)
23. Mai, Mallory Park (GB), 500 cm³ (Matchless)
20. Juni, Post-TT Meeting, Mallory Park (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
27. Juni, Brands Hatch (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
27. Juni, Brands Hatch (GB), 500 cm³ (Matchless)
31. Juli, Thruxton (GB), 250 cm³ (Cotton)
15. Aug, Brands Hatch (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
15. Aug, Brands Hatch (GB), 500 cm³ (Matchless)
30. Aug, Oulton Park (GB), GP England 500 cm³ (Matchless)

Mike Duff from Canada leads the pack, the Canadian became Michelle Ann Duff after his racing career from 1987 after a sex change.

5. Sept, Snetterton (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
5. Sept, Snetterton (GB), 500 cm³ (Matchless)
12. Sept, Cadwell Park (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
19. Sept, Brands Hatch (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
19. Sept, Brands Hatch (GB), 350 cm³ (Yamaha)
26. Sept, “Race of the Year” Meeting, Mallory Park (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
2. Okt, Oulton Park (GB), 125 cm³ (Honda)
2. Okt, Oulton Park (GB), 500 cm³ (Matchless)
10. Okt, “Race of the South” Meeting, Brands Hatch (GB), 1000 cm³ (Matchless)
10. Okt, “Race of the South” Meeting, Brands Hatch (GB), 50 cm³ (Honda)
31. Okt, Mallory Park (GB), 500 cm³ (Matchless)

Bill Ivy in Oulton Park – the newly minted English champion in the 500 cc class from 1965.

125cc final World Championship standing 1965

Of the 12 races in 1965, only the 7 best results were counted, which is why the first 3 pilots in the World Championship table had cancellation points. After only the first 6 drivers of a race were able to win world championship points at that time, here for the sake of completeness also the drivers who finished 7th to 10th in a GP:
Mauricio Aschl (SPA, Bultaco), Rex Avery (GB, EMC), André Bellone (FRA, Honda), Hartmut Bischoff (GDR, MZ), Karel Bojer (CSR, CZ), J. Burgard (USA, Honda), Ian Burne (ZA, Bultaco), B. Byron (USA, Honda), Kevin Cass (AUS, Bultaco), Bob Coulter (N.Irl., Bultaco), Graham Dickson (NZ, Bultaco), Peter Eser (GER, Honda), Jack Findlay (AUS, Honda), Gustav Havel (CSR, CZ), Jan Huberts (NED, Bultaco), Eddie Johnson (GB, Honda), Friedhelm Kohlar (GDR, MZ), Jan Kostwinder (NED, Honda), A. Lahti (USA, Bultaco), , Seppo Näppi (FIN, Honda), Angelo. Orsenigo (ITA, FB-Mondial), Jukka Petäjä (FIN, MZ), George Plenderleith (GB, Honda), J. Prescott (USA, Honda), János Reisz (HUN, MZ), Jürgen Seltmann (GDR, MZ), Barry Smith (AUS, Bultaco), Vagn Stevnhoved (DEN, MZ), László Szabó (HUN, MZ), Claude Vigreux (FRA, Bultaco), Pierre Viura (FRA, Honda).

350cc start at the Sachsenring 1965 – at that time nobody could have guessed that Bill Ivy’s career in this class would come to an abrupt end here.

Manufacturer championship 125cc

250cc final World Championship 1965

Of the 13 rounds for the World Cup, only the best 7 results were counted. Since only the first 6 drivers of a race were able to win world championship points, here for the sake of completeness also the drivers who crossed the finish line at a GP in 7th to 10th place (this time with the country abbreviations used at the time):
Jean Auréal (F, Morini), Anders Bengtsson (S, Husqvarna), G. Bunckley (USA, Ducati), E. Canova (I, Aermacchi), Graham Dickson (NZ, Bultaco), Arnold Dobbs (NZ, Bultaco), Jack Findlay (AUS, DMW), Tom Finlay (N.Irl., Aermacchi), Wolfgang Gast (DDR, MZ), Bo Gehring (USA, Bultaco), Kenneth King (CDN, Honda), František Krocka (CS, Jawa), Siegfried Lohmann (D, Lohmann/Yamaha), Gyula Marsovszky (CH, Bultaco), Derek Minter (GB, Cotton), J. Näppi (SF, Ducati), Renzo Pasolini (I, Aermacchi), Roberto Patrignani (I, Ducati), J. Rudge (GB, Royal-Enfield), Horst Seidl (D, Bultaco), Brian Setchell (GB, Aermacchi), Guinness Smyth (ZA, Bultaco), John Somers (IRL, Bultaco), Angelo Tenconi (I, Aermacchi), Gerhard Thurow (D, Adler), Cees van Dongen (NL, Bultaco), Claude Vigreux (F, Morini).

Manufacturer championship 250cc

Part 2 of the Bill Ivy Story: coming soon..