Driving force behind motor club dies

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Wetherby Motor Club lost a founding father of the club with the passing of Ken Smith at the age of 92 last Saturday.

Ken died in the Belmont Care Home in Harrogate, where he had lived for the last few months.

In the golden years of the Wetherby club, Ken masterminded several world championship trials plus the Superstar series.

Club spokesman Barry Robinson said: “Bayliss Gap and Marsett were the last ones but Ken’s Canyon was named after him after he located the land west of Pateley Bridge.

“The Bayliss Gap trial attracted thousands. Just every hotel and bed and breakfast establishment in the Nidderdale Valley were booked solid.

“Thanks to Colin Appleyard, Dunlop came onto the scene and their Press Officer Christine Arundel brought the tyre giant into the Scottish Six Days sponsorship deal.”

The late David Weatherill also played a major role in the progression of the Wetherby Motor Club.

Les Smith, along with Jonny Greenwood, undertook the majority of trials course preparation in Bayliss Gap, cutting back bushes and trees to create spectacular areas for viewing.

The trials attractions struck when Les Smith was 11 years old way back in 1962 when Ken bought his son a trials machine.

The move into the major events started in 1969 and continued from 1981-83 and 1986 when Jack Knoops was the Clerk of Course. Those events were followed by Bayliss Gap in 1993.

Ken Smith’s wife Betty passed away some years ago. Ken’s son Les and his wife Maggie also passed away. Their daughter Debbie is married to Jonny Greenwood and they cared for Ken until he entered a care home six months ago.

The funeral service of Ken Smith will take place on Monday October 21 at 11am at the Stonefall Crematorium, Harrogate.