21. Freddie Mayes
As British Champion Fred Mayes was in demand and found himself being head-hunted by Norton Villiers at the end of the 1966 season.
They wanted a top rider to help develop their prototype Starmaker engined motocross machine, which was to be the forerunner of the AJS Stormer.
Auther Browning / Villiers Metisse /1967
The relationship started quite promisingly, with Mayes racing what had officially become a Villiers Metisse to victory at the end of February 1967 at Steart Hill Farm, in the ‘Somerset Mudbath’.
Local man Bryan Goss was the star of the show but Freddie was the one making the news, coming home 1st in the Experts only race ahead of his new teammate Andy Roberton and Greeves mounted Malcolm Davis.
Then in the 250 British Championship round at the Cotswold Scramble he gave the Cotton framed prototype ‘Norton Villiers’ its first major win in the second 250 race.
Fred Mayes / Villiers Metisse / Wakes Colne / 1967
In the next round at the Cleveland Grand National in July, he turned in another solid performance taking 3rd behind the Huskies of Goss and Clough, who extended his lead over Mayes to eight points.
Mayes rode well in the GP’s in 1967, gaining valuable experience, though he was plagued by mechanical problems all season.
Typical of this was his bad luck at Wakes Colne in July, when an oiled plug eliminated him in the first race and he was also forced to pull out of the second race, mid-way through, whilst well placed.
By September 1967 the project was given the ‘AJS’ name and at Hawkstone Park, Mayes took the Midland Championship to give it a winning debut.
He also lead the Brian Stonebridge Memorial race at the same meeting, until a stray rock hit the timing cover causing the AJS to splutter to a stop.
This did little to help him in his struggle to retain his British title, but had Lady Luck smiled more kindly on him, Fred believes he might well have done just that.
Fred Mayes / Villiers Metisse / Morestead 1967
In the final race of the 250 British Championship at Cadwell Park in October, he finished 5th and was edged out of runner-up spot in the Championship by Dave Bickers, who took the tie-breaker by virtue of winning the previous Hintlesham Park round.