Sidecar hero Jock Taylor
August 15, 1982, circuit of Imatra, Finland. Last race of the day, held under heavy rainfall, the sidecar teams had long discussion about whether racing under such conditions or not. All classes ended up racing, but the three-wheeled sidecar outfits maybe were more subject to aquaplaning which happened to several of them as of the start of the race, particularly on the heavy braking at the end of the straight just before the train crossing. Jock Taylor already had gone through a sliding while on the brakes, but this time was too hard, and the sidecar left the asphalt and violently hit a telegraph pole sideways. Marshalls were still trying to rescue him out of the outfit when Finnish sidecar rider Perti Niinivaara came out at the same place and hit Taylor’s machine. The race was finally red-flagged allowing ambulances to reach the crash and take the injured riders to hospital. Jock Taylor passed away later that evening.
John Robert “Jock” Taylor was born on 9 March 1954 in Pencaitland, East Lothian, Scotland; he entered his first sidecar racing event at the age of 19, as passenger to Kenny Andrews in 1974. Then in 1975 he took part in his first event as a sidecar driver. In 1977 he started to win races in Scotland and England, and in 1978 he took part in the British Championship with a new passenger, Jimmy Neil. In 1979, he bought a Seymaz outfit but did not like it as he suffered two accidents, one leaving passenger Jimmy Neil with a broken wrist and the other one killing the replacing passenger in a high-speed crash at Oulton Park. Taylor took back his old Windle-Yamaha and got a fifth place in Hockenheim. With Swedish 125 rider Benga Johansson as passenger, he achieved his first Grand Prix win in Karlskoga shortly after.
In 1980, the Taylor-Johansson pair won four Grand Prix events, and finished all races they took part in on the podium, taking the World Championship title. In 1981 they won the British Championship for the second time, and also won the TT B2 race. In 1982, Jock was fighting to recover the World title, but it was a very hard fight against Swiss Biland-Waltisperg and German Schwärzel-Huber. He was third in the World Championship when arriving at Imatra, Finland.