Bert [Herbert] Le Vack

Name
Bert [Herbert] Le Vack
Birth and death
1887 - 1931
Occupations
Profession details
Motorcycle Racer and Mechanic
Related place
Author
Roger Bird
Le Vack

© Brooklands Museum

Life in Elmbridge

Nicknamed the 'Wizard of Brooklands', Le Vack gained recognition for his victorious exploits as a motorcyclist around the famous Brooklands track. Le Vack was the winner of the only five hundred mile race at Brooklands as well as achieving the feat of two two-hundred mile victories at the track on the same day. These victories saw Le Vack's reputation rise stratospherically, becoming widely regarded as one of the best motorcyclists of his generation.

Life outside of Elmbridge

Bert le Vack was born in North London of Scottish descent. Before the Great War he worked for Daimler, Napier, and the London General Omnibus Company. He started riding motorcycles in road events and competed in the 1912 London to Edinburgh trial, the year that he married Ethel Dale, and rode in the 1914 Senior Isle of Man TT. During the war he worked on aero engines, and after the armistice he started a garage business. He soon moved on to join Duzmo before another move, in 1920, to the London depot of the Hendee Manufacturing Co. Hendee made Indian motorcycles in Springfield, Massachusetts where he developed and raced the eight-valve twin motorcycle.

As well as his victories at Brooklands, Le Vack rode in the Isle of Man TT, memorably finishing second in one race despite pushing his machine half a mile to the finish.

He was also a leading tuner and while at J A Prestwich developed a complete range of world beating engines from 250 to 1000cc. He used these engines in a range of machines, which included Brough Superior, Zenith, New Imperial, Coventry Eagle and HRD. In 1927 he moved to New Hudson and worked his magic on their racing motorcycles before moving to New Imperial in 1929 and Motosacoche in 1930. He was killed while riding a Motosachoche sidecar outfit on the public road in Switzerland the following year. His last wish was to be buried in Byfleet churchyard but the Swiss authorities insisted that his remains be cremated so his ashes remained there.

Sources

  • Isle of Man TT website.
  • Brooklands Museum database
  • 'Motor Cycle', September 1931
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