Volume 6, Issue 2: Fall 2010

 

A biographical note about Ixion

Christopher Thomas Potter

 

Basil Henry Davies was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, on 29 June 1879. He was educated at Manchester, then Clifton College and Lincoln College, Oxford, receiving a BA 3rd class in 1901, then a 4th class Hons. in Theology in the same year. It was at Oxford that he became interested in motorcycles. He was ordained in 1903 and by 1904 was on the committee of The Motor Cycling Club and honorary editor of its gazette. As was usual for the clergy, he moved around the country, being involved in several dioceses and beginning his career as a deacon in south London (church of St. Mary, Newington, Surrey, 1903-09.) It was at this time that he began to write for The Motor Cycle. He then moved to northeast England (St. Mary’s, Esh, County Durham), deep in the Durham coalmining region, and had a congregation of 8000 miners in four nearby churches to minister. In 1906 he set a 6-day long-distance record covering 1279 ½ miles on a single speed Triumph. In 1907, his work led him to Northampton (St. Sepulchre).  There he married an American lady who was later to provide him with 6 children (4 girls and 2 boys). He also became president of the Northamptonshire Motorcycle Club. In 1910, pressures of work and ailing health led him to a quiet parish in Cornwall (St. Wenn, 1916-21). He recovered enough to serve in the Royal Flying Corps from 1917-19, and also helped found the Scottish Six Days Trial and was a gold medallist in this and the English version during this period. After the war, he moved to Sussex (Lodworth, 1921-26, and St. Barnabas, Bexhill, 1926-40). He retired from active clergy life, becoming an emeritus Canon, due to heart problems in 1940. Throughout this time and for the next 20 years, his “Occasional Comments,” appeared weekly in The Motor Cycle, and his intuitive wit, his special talent with the choice word or phrase, and his deep enthusiasm for the pastime, delighted many thousands of British motorcyclists. Aside from this, he also wrote books and articles on bridge and cricket. His heart condition prevented him prevented him from competing in motorcycling events, but he still rode a lot, writing annual “What I Rode” articles for the magazine. Arthur Bourne, who went under the pseudonym of Torrens  and was for many years its editor, stated in the article from with much of this information is gleaned, that Ixion’s favourite machines were Scotts. [1] Ixion held many firsts in the world of motorcycle journalism. For example, in 1926, his was the first broadcast of a speedway meeting from Stamford Bridge. In 1927 he made the first TT broadcast, dashing across to Liverpool to do so. After this and for the next 30 years, he wrote articles for almost every International TT. His two books on motorcycling, Reminiscences and Cavalcade, both offer excellent insight into the pursuit and draw from his personal experience. He always suffered from his heart and eventually succumbed to it peacefully on 23 March 1961, aged 81. His final column appeared in the magazine on that day.

 

Notes

 

[1] The Motor Cycle, 30 Mar 1961, 386.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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