December 13 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 14, 2013
THERE can’t be too many nonagenarians who drive most days, let alone a 91-year-old who’s been motoring for 72 years, has never had an accident in his life, and regularly takes to the roads around Exmouth in three of his classic cars or astride five of his magnificent motorcycles.
Meet Reg Imray, of Hulham Road.
Deaf since birth, a teacher told him he would never own a motorbike because of his disability. That made Reg determined to do so.
He fulfilled his dream when he kick-started his first motorbike – a 1935 BSA 150 that he bought off his dad for £10 – in 1941. He was 17.
Since then Reg has owned more than 170 vehicles – including sublime scooters, scintillating sports cars and terrific three-wheelers – and driven them around the globe.
Not only that, but despite the many miles he’s travelled, he’s never had an accident! No wonder he’s been described as an “insurance man’s dream”.
Reg wanted to fly during World War Two, but was unable to, due to his deafness. Instead he worked for De Havilland, helping to build the Mosquito aircraft. He was rewarded with a medal for his work by Geoffrey De Havilland.
After the war, Reg raced cars at Silverstone, becoming a speedway rider – the “Raleigh Rocket” – in the late 1940s.
Over the years he has driven through Canada and Mexico and across America. His driving skills – and meticulously restored vehicles – have won him more than 300 prizes from rallies and shows.
And – as you can see from Simon Horn’s photos here – many of Reg’s vehicles are on display, at The World Of Country Life, Exmouth, and at Bicton Park Botanical Gardens.
So which is Reg’s favourite vehicle?
He points proudly at the photos of his 500cc Royal Enfield.
“Everybody says it’s wonderful and they take lots of photos of it,” he says.
Unfortunately – due to an ear infection that makes wearing a crash helmet painful - Reg is currently unable to ride any of his classic motorbikes. But that hasn’t stopped him driving, even if it’s behind the wheel of a humble – and modern – Smart car!