There was one thing that people knew about Clement Goodwin Jones for sure – he did not like motorbikes. On the 23rd December 1908, he showed up at Lancaster Park to climb aboard that very thing.
Known as ‘Scorcher Jones’, Clement was a very well known Christchurch based cyclist. His whole life revolved around the sport. In his young life, he had already managed his own cycle shop. It was named Star Cycle Company and sat on Colombo Street.
In 1908, he was working for a different business known as Best and Towne Cycle Makers and Repairs, located on Manchester Street. He must have loved his job very much as on the 15th May, that very year, he had faced the courts over a broken by-law. He was found guilty and was fined 5 shillings for parking 7 bikes on the footpath!
It was this love of his job that had landed him on a motorcycle. He was to race S.F. Napper in what was to be a simple business promotion. At 11am on the morning of 23rd December, he was seen by witnesses at Lancaster Park to practice for the upcoming 5 mile race.
Those alongside the track watched ‘Scorcher Jones’ as he began to do laps. As he entered his 3rd time round, something went wrong. One account says the front tyre blew out, where others say that the front of the bike collapsed. In any case, Clement, who was now clocking about 25mph, lost control and slammed into a nearby picket fence. He was thrown up into the air and landed head first on the asphalt. He died instantly from a broken skull.
He was only 33 years old.
A much loved character of track racing, the Christchurch Cycling and Motor Club erected a tombstone (pictured) over his grave at Woolston Cemetery.
Click here to see a photo of ‘Scorcher Jones’ in action:
*Photo taken by Annette Bulovic*