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About Us

 

This is an article that was written in the Brisbane Telegraph December of 1970 by Max Jessop

Solo ace Bert Kingston's presence in the Australian Team for Saturday night's Exhibition speedway Test against England is a triumph for courage and determination.

For by rights Bert should be no longer riding speedway. He could have been excused for hanging up his leathers after a fateful night at Halifax speedway in England on April 29 1967.

Riding for the home team in a British League match against Glasgow, Bert was jockeying for the lead when he slid and fell heavily.

An opposition rider was so close behind Bert he could not avoid running over his head with the full weight of his machine. The Halifax crowd were stunned as Bert, one of the home-town heroes was carried to the dressing rooms. They all feared Bert was dead and from my vantage point in the pits that night, so did I. At that time I was public relations officer for the Halifax team. Bert was my close friend, and the friend of the rest of the team and many club supporters.

After Bert had been taken to the local hospital by ambulance, we stumbled through the rest of the match somehow, then scurried for information on his condition. "Touchand go" said the doctors. "He might make it if he can pull through the night".

Numb with worry, half the team, officials and fans made their way back to my home at nearby Huddersfield which throughout the night became the central information point. Frequent calls to the hospital revealed that Bert's condition was unchanged.

His skull was fractured badly. Even if he lived, he might never recover fully. The next day back at the hospital his doctor told me: "Your friend died last night. His heart stopped beating for several minutes, but he must have wonderful courage. "He fought back from the dead. and miraculously when we were about to give up hope, he started breathing again."

From that point onwards, Bert started the long, slow haul back. He could not fully recognise his bedside visitors even after he emerged from a deep coma. But gradually he improved, and after his discharge from hospital he came to stay with me and rejoin his wife Annette and two small children which had been my guests since the night of the accident.

Our troubles were just beginning. Bert was a wretched invalid. But health was restored slowly, then came the time for Bert to make his decision. Acting against medical advice and the pleas from his wife and friends he said: "I refuse to retire. I must ride again". Incredibly, he was back in the saddle. in a home match against Hackney on July 29.

It was tough going, and he scored a meagre two points, but what a reception he received from the fans. Before the end of the season in October, he was riding as well as ever, and it was a bitter blow for Halifax when he announced that he was quitting England and returning to Australia.

I came with him, and have watched proudly as Bert has made himself No. 1 Brisbane rider and No.1 favourite with the Exhibition crowd.

He runs a successful motor cycle business at West End, and is my across the street neighbour at The Gap.

Rarely do Bert's thoughts go back to that near fatal night at Halifax - the night when he "died". Only a handful of close associates have know the full story. But now it is out, I only hope that speedway fans tomorrow will realise just what brand of man is carrying Australia's colours and give him that extra cheer towards victory.

A word from the webmaster.....

As you can see from the above article this man has determination, and this is what has helped to make BK Performance what it is today. Bert's career in speedway started in 1963 and he retired in 1972.

I had the pleasure of meeting Bert many years ago through my stepfather, the late Dutton Stibbard , and I must say he has been a great friend and comfort to myself and family through some hard times, since past, but I know he will be there if ever the need arises......

How it all started

The Bert Kingston Motorcycles story began Christmas 1967, following my return from three yearly stints to England riding for First Division Halifax in the British Speedway League. The first year 1965 was encouraging with an unprecedented ever present season ( only Halifax team member to ride every club fixture ). A broken leg and ankle in '66, a fractured skull in '67 were to say at the least disappointing. When season '67 closed, I decided that my wisest move would be to invest what brass I had left into J.A.P. and ESO spares, which at the time represented gold in Australia. I concluded at the time being literally bent and broke, that as a professional speedway rider my life expectancy wasn't assured, so home and work appeared to be my only alternative. In retrospect, had I realised what the word "work" in the motorcycle industry meant, I would still be in Pommieland riding skids.

December '67 was the "kick off" as Bert Kingston Racing. With an offer from one John Taylor with some consignment bikes, The Yamaha Station at West End was to seal my fate. Kingston's Kawasaki Kingdom and Southside Suzuki shortly followed. Bert Kingston Honda was born with the help of a service station site from H.C. Sleigh Golden Fleece, who at the time was one of my very valued speedway sponsorships. The "servo site" was at the Brisbane suburb of Nundah, an aboriginal word meaning "chain of waterholes", ironically all of my shops have been within a stones throw of the proverbial "watering hole". (Something worked in my favour).

A return trip to England in 1970, and a visit to Japan, offered a number of opportunities to explore my importing and exporting avenues. The rest is now history, but I sincerely believe the products that are offered could not have become reality had it not been for the help and assistance of friends, business associates and staff members past and present.

 


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