‘Flying Freddie’ Dixon
‘Flying Freddie’ Dixon was an English motorcycle racer and racing car driver from Stockton-on-Tees.
Freddie Dixon was born Frederick William Dixon on 21 April 1892 at 31 Alliance Street, Stockton. Freddie left school at 13 and went to work in a cycle shop, soon moving to Kit McAdam’s Garage in Yarm Lane. He acquired his first motorcycle in 1909 and within a year was competing in speed and hill climb events in and around Stockton-on-Tees. In 1912, at the age of 19 he competed in the Isle of Man TT races on a ‘Cleveland Precision’ motorcycle but unfortunately the machine was not up to the challenge.
During World War One, Freddie spent four years in the RASC (Royal Army Service Corps) rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. On returning to civilian life he went into business for himself at Park Garage on Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough though he continued to compete in motor cycle races with placings in various race categories throughout the 1920s. Freddie’s first big win culminated in victory in the 1923 Isle of Man TT Motorcycle and Sidecar event with passenger Thomas Walter Denny. The race was won on a ‘Douglas’ fitted with his famous banking sidecar system which he designed. This design raised or lowered the sidecar to suit the different types of circuit bends. Freddie’s first solo TT win came in 1927 on a HRD machine – Flying Freddie Dixon was the first man to win both solo and sidecar TT races.
In January 1926 Freddie married Margaret Thew at St.Barnabas Church, Middlesbrough – and had one child – a daughter Jean. He retired from motorcycle racing in 1928 but continued to work with Douglas for another two years in their Design and Racing Departments. After leaving Douglas Freddie began to design and market a watercooled 4 cylinder motorcycle but the Depression soon stopped his venture. However, in 1938 Brough Superior based their ‘Golden Dream’ on his designs but its commercial viability was cut short by the Second World War.
By 1932 Freddie had moved on to the car racing scene in his own specially prepared Riley cars. His achievements in racing cars is as impressive as that on motorcycles as Freddie had wins in the 1934 and 1936 British Racing Driver Club 500 Mile Race at Brooklands – he was the only man to lap Brooklands at 130mph in a car of less than 2 litres. Freddie enjoyed further victories in the RAC TT car races held at the Ards circuit in Northern Ireland winning in 1935 and 1936, again in a Riley. His success in winning these meant that he is the only driver ever to have won TT races on two, three and four wheels – a record that still stand today.
In 1948 he was contacted by the Douglas motorcycle company to help in the development of their T35 motorcycle which was one of the first real new British post war designs, he redesigned the top half of the engine and these modifications resulted in the new Mark 3 Douglas machine.
Frederick William ‘Flying Freddie’ Dixon died on the 5 November 1956 in Reigate, Surrey aged 64.