Frank Hildrick RIP

Frank Hildrick, from Helmsley, North Yorkshire, died at York Hospital, on Sunday, 8th November, aged 75.

On leaving school, Frank fully intended going into journalism but, for whatever reason, he got side-tracked and worked as a travelling mechanic for the Forestry Commission before beginning his own garage/taxi business. He then worked at Perry Slingsby Systems building underwater equipment until retirement.

His passion for motorcycles, especially off-road, lasted his entire life, competing first at grass track on a BSA C15, then a full blooded 500cc J.A.P. Speedway and sand racing followed with a fair amount of success before joining the trials scene.

Pete Clements, a close friend relates a tale which describes Frank`s appetite for riding. Frank and his wife Sally had gone to watch Pete ride his first trial and on his last lap, Pete went a right purler, his ankle swelling up like a football. Pete, thinking Frank was going to help him, couldn`t believe it when he pulled the wellies on and finished the lap. They got a second-class award. (I know it`s not allowed but it is a good story.)

A marvellous machine builder, he fettled a little Minarelli road race/sprinter, competing at the Isle of Man Ramsey Sprint not long ago. Later in life Frank slipped off and broke a hip at Scarborough. Before anyone reached him, he`d ridden side saddle back to the pits. Typical Frank, hard as nails.

I`m sure motorcycles were invented for the likes of Frank Hildrick. Always riding, helping, fettling, plotting sections, or supporting son Richard, he just loved being involved. Clerk of Course for the famous Colonial in the seventies and eighties, he then became major course plotter for the Scarborough Sporting Weekend almost thirty years ago. He and his loyal helpers made it into a must ride event.

One of the finest pleasures derived from the trials scene is meeting larger than life characters such as Frank Hildrick. The best of company to be with, a great storyteller with the sharpest of wit. A man whose optimism and enthusiasm for the sport rubbed off on many. He will be greatly missed.

Frank was a loving husband to Sally, dad to Rachel and Richard and grandad and great grandad to his four grandchildren and great grandson.

Thank you to John Watson for the words and pictures.

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