A WELL KNOWN figure in the world of motorcycling has died at the age of 73.
Mick Bancroft, was a former president of the Horsforth and District Motor Club. He lived in Horsforth where his family's motorcycle business was based.
Barry Robinson, former motorsport columnist for our sister paper the Telegraph and Argus for 44 years, said Mick's death marked the end of a long connection with motorcycling in general and the sporting connections of the Horsforth family.
"Bill Bancroft’s motorcycle shop on New Road Side was frequented by top racing stars and also the starting point for potential world grand prix riders. The late Alan Shepherd, formerly of Bradford, was taken under the Bancroft wing and progressed to be contracted to Honda Japan after many seasons riding the Bancroft AJS/Matchless. Horsforth’s Harry Plews was also a Team Bancroft member as was Ronnie Fairburn on a unique Italian Bancroft Aermacchi," he said.
"Mick Bancroft raced those machines at British tracks but his activities were curtailed after a major crash in the North West 200 race at Coleraine in the Ulster Province. His connections with the Horsforth club extended to scrambling a Triumph machine on Otley Chevin."
Barry, who was a race mechanic with Bill Bancroft at the TT races in the 1960s, said: "When Bill, he was a legend on the British scene, retired, Mick took over the family business until a fire at the showroom proved a major set-back. Worse was to follow when a car crashed into the building and brought the entire structure crashing down. That signalled the end of the family motorcycle business. Latterly Mick Bancroft occupied his time in Farsley Boat Yard welding and engineering."
On its website the Horsforth and District Motor Club says: "Sad to report that Mick Bancroft, Horsforth Club life member and President in 1976 passed away on 8th February. Mick had not been well recently suffering with mobility and respiration problems.
"Mick was mainly a road racer having competed at international level and he was son of the famous Bill, many will remember his local bike shop.
"He leaves his wife Carol, daughter Kay and son Steve, brother Dave and nephew Chris.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to them."