John Ronald was a big name - at least in the world of prosthetics. His company helps disabled people to lead as normal a life as possible with the help of modern technology. To meet such an unassuming character as John Ronald you'd never credit him with being one of the leading lights of British scooter sport in the 1960s - if not perhaps the greatest all - rounder of that era. Here is a man who won the Isle of Man Scooter Week twice, and narrowly missed out on a hat trick. His career in scooter sport took him to race in Italy's Moto Giro and Milan-Taranto. So how does a young lad from Nottingham become a unofficial Lambretta factory racer.
My first interest came through my father. He was a Lambretta rider in the 1950's when he had LD's. There were many Lambretta clubs then, and they all used to go on a run to the park or the seaside. There used to be 30 or 40 bikes on a typical Sunday run. In those days I'd be about 14, I used to go pillion with my dad and mother used to follow in the car, it was a family thing, father would use the scooter for work every day. but in the weekends the family enjoyed the social side of scootering. We were involved in the Nottingham Bowmen Scooter Club, which was formulated through an advert in the local paper. The first meeting was at the YMCA in Nottingham, and then moved to the Lord Roberts, which was my grand-father's pub. The club had a full programme of events put together so you knew where you were going each Sunday.
My first Lambretta was a series 2 Li 150, when I was about 20. It cost me £150 in 1960, and almost straight away I started rallying on it.
Yes, basically they were time trials. The local clubs organised these events which required you to follow written directions. You were timed from one point to the next and you had to stick to a certain schedule to get maximum points. They used to be all over the country, with all the local clubs organising them until the RAC got involved, and then everybody had to get permission to run an event. Then you had to submit maps to ensure courses did not overlap and really that killed them off in a way. It then went down to 12-man trials because you could do that without getting permission to do it.