History and Results
K. W. Swallow - http://www.iomtt.com/TT-Database/competitors.aspx?ride_id=1467 - features in many a results sheet from the post war era. He started racing in 1946 and continued for well over a decade racing in the Isle of Man TT, the Ulster Grand Prix and many more varied events.
Ken Swallow had five sons, who at one point or another dabbled in motorcycles. Pursuing their passions into motorcycle racing Alec - http://www.iomtt.com/TT-Database/competitors.aspx?ride_id=6772 - the late Richard, and Chris’s father, Bill, all competed on the Isle of Man TT circuit.
Between them, Richard - http://www.iomtt.com/TT-Database/competitors.aspx?ride_id=3426 - and Bill - http://www.iomtt.com/TT-Database/competitors.aspx?ride_id=4217 - have 14 Manx Grand Prix victories and numerous podiums to their names.
Bill had two sons, David and Chris. Tragically David, who was a promising motorcycle racer lost his life at a race meeting in 2010 - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1293019/Biker-killed-barbecue-fumes-slept-van.html
Chris, who is now living in Wellington New Zealand, continues to race bikes. He started in 2003 on his Dad Bill’s home built ‘Swallow Velocette’, winning his first ever race at Carnaby, North Yorkshire. Chris raced, won (and crashed) on the ‘Swallow Velo’ until it seized on the first day of a 2 day meeting back at Carnaby in 2004.
Family friend and Italian bike oracle Andy Farrer offered his lovely 450cc Ducati single for the next day which spawned a lifelong friendship and a very successful racing partnership.
Between 2004-2006 Andy and Chris raced predominantly with the British Historic Racing Club on Andy’s ‘works’ Desmo 350cc Ducati. Most times out they got to the chequered flag first, so decided to dress the 350 as a 500 and ran it as a ‘351cc’ in the 500cc ‘Specials’ class. They still managed to get to the chequered flag first in most instances.
In 2006 Chris took up acquaintance with Miles Robinson, now of Norton Works Racing - http://www.worksracing.co.uk/ - to contest the Lansdowne Cup - http://www.lansdowneclassicseries.com/ - on Miles’ 86 bore Manx Norton. In their first season Chris finished runner up, then went one better in 2007 by winning the closely fought championship at the final round.
2007 also saw Chris take to ‘real road racing’ after thoroughly enjoying the bumps, jumps and narrow tree lined circuit at Oliver’s Mount, where he won first time out in the Lansdowne Cup.
Chris won best newcomer at Isle of Man pre-TT Classic Races, racing Miles’ 500cc Norton and Bob Millinship’s 350cc Ducati. He was the fastest 350cc newcomer at the Classic Manx Grand Prix, with a 96.5mph average lap in the race. The race results show a 27th place finish out of 27 competitors! This was attributable to an unplanned 25 minute stop in a driveway at the foot of Bray Hill to feverishly trace and fix a broken electrical connection. Not an ideal Manx Grand Prix debut but one that sowed a seed and highlighted the demands of the ‘Island’.
2008 saw a return to the Isle of Man pre-TT Classic Races racing Dave Hirons’ Norton and Ducati. Chris recorded a 2nd place in the 500cc race and a 3rd place in the 350cc single cylinder race.
In the wet 500cc Classic Manx Grand Prix, Chris had a tumble on the first lap (attributed to ‘youthful exuberance’), remounted and finished in 8th position. He had set a promising 99.7mph average lap in practice on the Bob Millinship 476cc Ducati single.
Following the death of his mother in December 2008, Chris had a fairly turbulent 2009 and found himself in New Zealand with girlfriend Jen in January 2010 ready to travel and take some time out. In this small world we live in, his path crossed Neville Wooderson’s after the death of mutual friend Paul Dobbs at the TT in May.
‘Dobsy’ was the usual jockey of Neville’s BSA and Neville saw it as a suitable tribute to Dobsy to continue to race the bike Dobsy had been so instrumental in developing.
Contesting the 2010 NZCMRR ‘Modified’ Championship, Chris finished 2nd in the championship despite missing the first two rounds. He finished 3rd in the NZ TT the same year.
In 2011 Chris won the NZCMRR 500cc ‘Modified’ Championship in addition to winning the 500cc NZ TT.
2012 saw Chris successfully defend his 500cc NZCMRR ‘Modified’ title, gain a 2nd place in the 350cc NZ TT and a 3rd place in the fiercely contested 500cc NZ TT.
Chris also returned to the Isle of Man for the first time since 2008 to compete in the Classic Manx Grand Prix. He finished 2nd in the 500cc Classic race with his first 100mph average lap and 2nd in the 350cc Classic race with a 99mph average lap. He rode a Manx Norton belonging to Kiwi tuner Dave Kenah in the Senior Classic and an Aermacchi owned by Mike Fawcett in the Junior Classic.
More can be learned about his racing achievements in the Results section.