A Piece Of Motorsport Memorabilia, A Yorkshire Connection & A Link To Eva Askquith?

Discussion Favourite Finds


Welcome to another instalment of 'Blog Post Monday', a bank holiday special here in the UK.

I've been hard at it again this week travelling around searching for interesting pieces for you lovely lot.  One of my finds was a rather fascinating piece with a local Yorkshire connection and we all know how much I love a piece of local social history!  It's a motorcycle helmet which dates from around the 1920's / 30's with an intriguing hand painted map of Yorkshire on the front.  I've been doing some research into it and it just so happens that I may have found some rather tenuous links to a bit of a superstar of motorsport, so I've decided to dedicate this week's blog post to it.

So, as always, get that kettle on, start those engines and hold on tight as we go racing around Yorkshire...


Image:  my 1920's / 30's Yorkshire motorsport helmet


So, what do I know about this find...  Well, I believe it to be from circa 1920's / 30's, as far as I can tell it was used in motorcycle racing, it has a handpainted map of Yorkshire on the front and it was found at a Yorkshire car boot sale.


Image:  my 1920's / 30's Yorkshire motorsport helmet


My first area of research was to find out about any local Yorkshire motorcycle races.  This is when I discovered the ‘Scott Trial’, which is a British motorcycle trials competition dating from 1914 run over a course of approximately seventy miles throughout Yorkshire.  One of the most challenging trials events in the UK, its appeal is to clubman riders as well as international professional riders. The Scott raises money for the "Scott charities", a range of local non-profit making organisations.


Image:  the Scott Trial Cup


The Scott Trial began in 1914 when Alfred Angas Scott, inventor and founder of the Scott Motorcycle Company challenged the workers at his factory to ride from the factory in Shipley through the Yorkshire Dales to Burnsall, a riverside village near Grassington.  Of the 14 starters only 9 finished.  The event was reintroduced after the First World War in 1919 and although Alfred Scott died in 1923the event continued to be run by the Scott workers until 1926.

The Bradford and District Motor Club then took over the management of the event and moved the start and finish to Blubberhouses, a small village in the borough of Harrogate in North Yorkshire.  In 1938 the trial was moved again to Swainby, on the north western corner of the North York Moors.


Image:  Motorcycle racer, Eva Askquith


It was during my research of the Scott Trial that I discovered an article in the Northern Echo.  This article was about a new book which reflected on life in the small north Yorkshire town of Bedale and its famous characters.  This is where it got rather fascinating...

The article read "STILL considered one of motorcycling’s toughest challenges, Swaledale's annual Scott Trial has seldom taken place in more demanding conditions than in 1927.

Battling against mud, rain and swollen streams, only 73 of the 145 starters completed the course.  But among them, steering her machine home despite its loss of brakes, was a rare female rider – 21-year-old Eva Askquith."


Image:  Motorcycle racer, Eva Askquith


But who was this Eva Askquith, I thought...?  So, I began researching her a bit more and this is what I found out.  

Eva Askquith was a pioneering British female speedway motorcycle racer in the three seasons from 1928 and 1930 when female riders were allowed to race speedway in Britain.  She was one of only four British female speedway riders at this time and also raced internationally.  She was popularly known as 'The Yorkshire Rose'.


Image:  Motorcycle racer, Eva Askquith


Born in 1905 in Bedale in North Yorkshire, Askquith was daughter of Charlie Askquith, a butcher.  Eva became a fearless rider.  She was especially renowned for her trademark one-wheel finishes on steep hill climbs.  Locally, she entered the Scott Trial on a machine which was not really suitable for her and finished the course.  She entered the Scottish six-day trial and won a competitor's medal, which you only get if you finish, and she came second in a trial from York to Edinburgh and back which had to be done in 24 hours.

Her speedway career took her to Spain, South Africa and, of course, Wembley.  In Spain, Askquith was known simply as 'Miss Eva, and during an exhibition she once took a picador as pillion passenger around the ring pursued by a bull.  Meanwhile, in South Africa, she became the first female dirt track rider, and when told by a local reporter that most women there confined themselves to pillion riding she replied simply: "You cannot get much fun out of that."


Image:  Motorcycle racer, Eva Askquith


Unfortunately, Eva's track career came to an end after an unfortunate accident while she was out delivering meat with her father.  They had stopped in the van when someone ran into the back of them. She got out to check the damage to the vehicles and was returning to her van and opening the door when she was hit by a vehicle coming in the other direction. It took four years to get her put right. She never rode on the track again.


Image:  Motorcycle racer, Eva Askquith


So, could it be that my motorcycle helmet has a link to Eva Askquith...?  Well, the sport and era are correct, and the Yorkshire link is certainly there, what with her being from Bedale and her nickname of the 'Yorkshire Rose'... 

I discovered another newspaper article by the Northern Echo from 2003 which spoke about an exhibition highlighting the career of Eva Askquith.  It read, "The hair-raising career of dirt and grass track motorcyclist Eva Askquith, who died in 1985 just a day short of her 80th birthday, has this week been celebrated in a special four-day exhibition by Bedale Museum."


Image:  my 1920's / 30's Yorkshire motorsport helmet


The article continued to explain that the Bedale Museum "has received the material on Miss Askquith over the past two years from her nieces and from a woman in Lancaster who knew her.  They believed it should be stored in a central place where a permanent record could be kept."

Well, it looks like my next port of call will be to the Bedale museum to try and find out a bit more about Eva Askquith and to see if any of the material they hold might link in with my helmet.  Wouldn't it be amazing if I stumbled across a photo of her with it...!?


Image:  my 1920's / 30's Yorkshire motorsport helmet


So, there you have it ladies and gentleman.  Am I clutching at straws or could there really be a link between my helmet and the extraordinary Eva Askquith...?  Either way, it's a very intriguing item.  Let me know what you think in the comments section below and I'll update you if I manage to find out anything further.

Meanwhile, you'll be pleased to hear that this piece of Yorkshire motorsport memorabilia is currently available to buy HERE.



Well, that's it for this week folks!  Remember, if you enjoy my posts, please show your support by subscribing to my 'Source Social' membership, which you can do via the 'Home' page.  It's free and gives you a weekly blog post and a fortnightly YouTube video delivered directly to your inbox, as well as exclusive discounts and first dibs on new items before they are added to our website.

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So, until next week, stay safe, keep buying those antiques and keep spreading that Source Vintage love!




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  • MotoLady on

    Was it Eva’s??

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