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Rod Coleman
Nationality New Zealand New Zealand

Grand Prix motorcycle racing career
Active years 1951 - 1956
Teams AJS
Grands Prix 26
Championships 0
Wins 1
Podium finishes 11
Career points 84
Pole positions N/A
Fastest laps N/A
First Grand Prix 1951 350cc Dutch TT
First win 1954 350cc Isle of Man TT
Last win 1954 350cc Isle of Man TT
Last Grand Prix 1956 250cc Ulster Grand Prix

Rod W Coleman (born June 19, 1926) was a Grand Prix motorcycle road racer from New Zealand who raced for AMC (Associated Motorcycles) riding AJS motorcycles both at the Isle of Man TT, and in the Grand Prix World Championship in Europe, between 1951 and 1956. [1] He was the first official entrant from the New Zealand Auto-Cycle Union in the 1949 Isle of Man TT, but crashed in practice.[2], and in 1954 became the first New Zealander to win a TT.

Background

Rod Coleman is the son of "Cannonball Coleman" also from Wanganui who first raced at the 1930 Isle of Man TT but retired from the 1930 Junior TT and Senior TT Races. The first New Zealand competitor to enter the TT was Alan Woodman who entered the 1910 Isle of Man TT races, but lost a leg in a practice crash.[3] The "TT Special" of 1951 describes Rod Coleman (R W Coleman) as a "motorcycle dealer from Wanganui", then aged 25 years.[4]

Racing career

In 1951 Rod Coleman secured a works contract with the British manufacturer, Associated Motorcycles, who produced AJS, Matchless and Norton machines. He rode an AJS to eighth place in the Isle of Man Junior TT, while his Norton failed to finish the Senior TT.[1] In the 1951 Grand Prix season, he finished 12th in the final 350 class standings.

In 1952 he came fourth in the Senior TT, and third in the Junior TT, riding AJS in both events.[5] He was fourth in the 1952 500 class standings.[6]

For 1953 there was a fourth in the SeniorTT, and while leading the Junior TT, his bike broke down and failed to finish.[1] For the 1953 season, he was tenth in the 500 class, and sixth in the 350 class.

In 1954 he won the Junior, the first New Zealander to win a TT. (He failed to finish in the Senior.) In the 1954 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season Rod came twelfth in the 500 class, and third in the 350 class. This was also the year Associated Motorcycles quit racing.

Coleman met and married an English woman and they returned to Wanganui where he ran a thriving motorcycle and car business.[1]

Rod Coleman was 81 years of age in 2006, and intends to attend the Isle of Man TT Centenary. He still rides.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "NZherald.co.nz Rod Coleman story". http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/4/story.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10414550. Retrieved 2007-01-20.  
  2. ^ Title: "TT Special", Published: June 8 1953, page 9
  3. ^ Title: "Island Racer", Published: 2004, Page 68.
  4. ^ Title: "TT Special,Published: June 4 1951, page 9
  5. ^ "IoMtt.com Rod Coleman detailed results". http://www.iomtt.com/TTDatabase/Races.aspx?meet_code=ALL&ride_id=1353. Retrieved 2007-01-20.  
  6. ^ Rod Coleman career statistics at MotoGP.com
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