Jan Blizzard

The following content is from an email that was sent to Lee Roebuck about Jan Blizzard celebrating 50 years.

"I suppose it really was inevitable that I would end up here in this position.  I have never been away from motorcycling .

My mother’s maiden name was SPEED and our home was never without a motorcycle in the garage.

My Dad, Jack Chignell, started out Road Racing where he won the NSW Senior TT at Hartley Vale in 1936 before turning to Speedway in 1938.

Back in 1949-1950 Speedway in England was prolific- running 3 divisions.  Australians were limited to 2 per club. Dad rode 3, 4 and sometimes 5 nights per week in all parts of England and Scotland.

It was my job was to complete the programmes and keep the scores up to date for him.  So I suppose you could say that this really was the start of my involvement as a “worker” in the sport.   I was 10.

It was through Speedway that I met Arthur, who at the time was mechanic for another young rider starting out.  Dad used to help the new young riders getting started.  I had just finished school (aged 15) and starting out to work.

At this time I was swimming competitively and training daily from 5.00am every morning.  My aim then was to swim the English Channel.   I was also a Lieutenant in Girls Brigade and played Netball. How quickly this changed.  Attending club meetings and going out In midweek it was soon obvious that  I wasn’t too keen to get out of bed to be at training by 5.00am.   However, I must point out that in those days curfew was 11.00pm!!!  Kids go OUT at this time now!!!!

It was at this time that Dad said to me “you will need to take an interest in what your boyfriend likes to do” !!!!!    Here is where it all started.

I joined the club early in 1955.  Started lapscoring at dirt track meetings held at Cross Roads (where Bunnings now stands), Vineyards, Winstanes, etc. to name a few.  Oran Park and Amaroo Park were not even in existence at this time.   But I was already going to Bathurst with Mum and Dad purely as a spectator until I met Arthur.

Not long after this I became Treasurer of the club and stayed in that position for 23 years.  (I am now back in this position at present)

During this time our club grew and grew, so much so that we closed the books for 2 years.  We have conducted scrambles (now known as motocross), dirt track, sporting trials. We introduced the Bert Bayliss Reliability Trial and also conducted the Mick Andrews Trial.  We also conducted a few road race meetings at Oran Park and Amaroo Park.

I also worked as a lapscorer for meetings conducted by Willoughby MCC and later Northern Districts MCC held at Amaroo Park, and Bathurst then run by the ACU.  Being a lapscorer I was part of the timing team so I also learned something about this side of things too.

Amongst all this Arthur and I somehow found time to get married.  5 years later we had our daughter Sandra and not long after our first son Jeffrey (who we lost 9 months later).  During the arrangements for this evening a list of names were distributed along with the request to add more. I was told on several occasions that I had made a mistake about 1 name on the list.   Well I didn’t – my daughter is Mrs. Ron Tombs – with 1 “O” not 2 and Ron is here with her tonight.

Oran Park opened up in 1962 and Amaroo Park in 1963. St. George club provided all the flag marshals for all the motorcycles meetings held at Oran Park for several years.  At the first meeting  while I was standing down on Yamaha corner watching Arthur on the inside working at a “flaggie”, an announcement was made following the first couple of races for volunteers to come and help with lapscoring.  The rest is history. I only missed one meeting for many years after that and that only happened because our son, Garry came along earlier that expected!!!

Also during this time St. George club became one of the eight owners of Nepean Raceway.  Somewhere in there I was Secretary for a couple of years and organising dirt track meetings which included a couple of six hour races.  I have also been a member of the Road Race committee for I don’t know how long.

In 1965 I had the honour along with Arthur, of receiving Life Membership to our club.   This is pretty unique in our club. We were the second husband and wife team to receive this honour.

I helped at the ACU with the preparation of entries for the Bathurst race meetings from 1959 up until 1968 when Arthur took over as Event Director I became fully responsible as the Race Secretary.

Back in those days the ACU also run its Annual Ball where they presented all the State Championship trophies.  We also organised this after assisting Eric & Ruby McPherson for many years.

Things developed from here.  Arthur & I were involved in the organising of the first ever International meeting to be held in Australia.  That was the International Motocross at Oran Park in 1972 where Roger DeCosta and several other International riders competed.  I was also race secretary for all the Oran Park Motorcycle meetings, as well as the interclub meetings that our club were running, and working in the timing team at Amaroo Park motorcycle meetings.  We then conducted the first two World Superbike Championships ever held in Australia – again at Oran Park in 1988 and 1989.

In 1973 I had the honour of being the first ever female to receive Life Membership to A.C.U. of NSW.  This was a double honour as Arthur was also nominated at the same time.  This meant the first time ever that two people had been nominated at the same time and also the first husband and wife team.

In amongst all this Sandra was playing Netball and Garry played Soccer. They were both in the Swimming Club in Caringbah for a couple of years.  Then BMX was introduced. Every Friday afternoon we headed for Liverpool Speedway, along with 500 other kids between 5 and 16, where the meetings were conducted by Mike and Carol Raymond and a couple of other officials.  I also ended up as an official there for several years.  Sandra then took up Dancing on Roller Skates for a short period of time.

In the past couple of years I have begun to work for people and machines from my beginnings – the historic and post classic era. This has become very enjoyable as these guys are out there having fun and with no pressure to perform for team managers or having positions at stake.

This all sounds like a lot of hard work.  Perhaps it was and still is. But there has also been lots of fun.  Even at the busiest times at race meetings and after them we have all had some fantastic times together.  This is, and always will be, the very good side to all of this.  I’ve met and have made lots of great friends.  I have lots of wonderful memories.

A couple of very funny times were –

Ruth at the Ball,

Pet Rocks - Bathurst

Playing 500 – Bathurst

Calling taxi’s at Bathurst

Over the years I have seen so many ups and downs in this sport but

friendships made have been kept though it all.  Quite a number of you are here with me tonight.

This was also very obvious to me when Arthur fell so very ill and passed away.  The support I received and still receive has been so wonderful and greatly appreciated.  Arthur wanted me to carry on.  While he was ill he actually set up and registered a business name for me.  So if you have received or may have seen things under the heading “Motorcycle Administrative Services” that’s how it come about.

The pleasure in seeing people achieve their goals both competitors and officials alike has been great.

I could go on forever.  Fifty years may sound a long time, but it really has gone very fast.  The fun and the sadness of things I have experienced over all those years has been wonderful.

The only time I know it’s been so long is when I come face to face with second and third generations of families who have or are competing and the first person of that generation comes up and reminds me that my name still appears in the List of Officials of the meeting.

I really have enjoyed these 50 years."


Lee Roebuck:

Well, I would need a lifetime to talk about Arthur & his wife Jan, they are Mr & Mrs Motor Cycling of Australia. Its the efforts of Jan & Arthur over the years that could be attributed to the high standard of riders that Australia has produced .

2 thoughts on “Jan Blizzard

  1. Hi Jan,
    I enjoyed reading your article above.
    I worked with your father at Lucas Hydraulics. I owned the Blue Honda Scrambler that was in his shed at Ramsgate in 1971 while I was in hospital with a broken leg. It happened on the way to work at Zetland.
    I was a marshal with the Motorcycle Racing Club o NSW at Oran Park and the Easter meetings at Bathurst in the early 70’s (after leg mend). I remember how you tried to get your dad to go to Bathurst and eventually he did. Your dad and I worked on a lot of projects together and one day he told me why he was relucant to go to a bike meeting, very sad. You probably don’t remember me but we did meet briefly a couple of times.
    Regards, Barry

  2. Well what can l say? Arther was a true gentlemen. Jan ? Her vioce over the PA would shake all the riders to the bone & if she ever call you to the control tower it was like the walk of death !! You’d think shit what have l done ??. My first ever race meeting was at Oran pk in 1978. Jan said all novice rider with start with a le.mans start
    I thought ok this will be good. All ready on one side of the track, our bikes on the other. Ok bellows Jan. This is gonna be a bit different. You will run from your starting postion, up around that big gum tree, through the infield & onto your bikes !! Im what ????? Well off we went tripping over. Getting tangled in the long grass falling over eachother. The race started & that was my introduction to Jan & road racing..

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