Riley collection

Scope and Content

Material relating to the life and career of Michael Williamson Colcott Riley, including trials material; papers relating to various clubs of which Riley was a member; D.M.W. company papers; personal papers; various publications; and items relating to reliability trials.

This collection consists of six series: [1] Motorcycle trials; [2] Motor cycle and car clubs; [3] D.M.W. Motorcycles, Wolverhampton; [4] Personal papers; [5] Publications; and [6] Reliability trials. It contains a variety of material, including items such as programmes, route cards for trials, race results, sales material, articles written by Riley, letters and photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

Michael Riley was born on 20 Oct 1913 in Ipswich. He attended boarding school in South London and on leaving school worked for two years in a machine shop in the East End of London. Later he was a Development Engineer for B.S.A. and became a designer at D.M.W. (Dawson's Motor Works/Dawson's Motorcycles Wolverhampton) after the departure of Leslie Dawson. He obtained his driving licence and first motorcycle when he was 14, in 1927 - a 172 cc Villiers Sports 2-stroke. He became a motorcyclist of some note, riding in reliability trials, and was a member of the Carshalton Motor Cycle Club, Surrey in the 1920s and 1930s, and then of Midland Clubs, particularly Wolverhampton Motor Cycle and Car Club. The first trial he entered was a Schoolboys' Trial; he had a flat tyre half-way round and when he reached the finish he found that the trial was over and everyone had gone! Thereafter he became hooked on trials and joined the Carshalton Motorcycle Club.

In 1936, riding a B.S.A., he won the largest trophy in motocross sport, the Patchquick Trophy, which was first presented in 1934. He entered the Scottish Six Days Reliability Trials in the years 1947 - 1952, initially riding for Carshalton Motor Cycle Club and afterwards for Wolverhampton Motorcycle and Car Club, winning a First Class Award in 1947, a Special First Class Award in 1948, best performance on a solo motorcycle 126-200 cc in 1950 and 1951, and a Special First Class Award in 1952. He served on the Group Trials Committee of the Midland Centre Auto-Cycle Union in 1949, and provided information for the writing of the Patchquick Motocross Official Programme for its Golden Jubilee Year 1991.

He died in June 1993 aged nearly 80.

Access Information

Open to researchers, by appointment. For further information, please see:

Conditions Governing Use

Please apply to the Archivist if you would like to make any copy of the material.