Just about every sport received Jock Leyden’s attention as a cartoonist and illustrator but motor sport and in particular motorcycle racing were his great passion. He was the Patron of the Natal Motorcycle and Car Club for many years and it was during this time that he contributed several articles and illustrations to the club magazine covering early motoring events, in particular the DJ.
Born in 1908 in Scotland John Michael “Jock” came to South Africa with his parents in 1926 where they settled in Durban. He studied art in SA and England and became a freelance illustrator in 1930. In 1933 he reported on the Isle of Man TT races and then stayed on in London with his work appearing in various publications including “The Autocar”.
Jock returned to SA in 1937 and after working for various newspapers, in 1939 he moved to the Daily News/Sunday Tribune where he remained until his official retirement in 1981.
However, his work continued to appear in newspapers and magazines until he eventually vacated his office and into a final retirement at the age of 81. In 1981 his work was recognised by the award of the South African Cartoonist of the Year but his reputation went further than SA and he was selected by Time Magazine as one of the world’s top six cartoonists of the 20th Century.
He died in 2000 at the age of 91.
What makes the articles, reproduced on this web site, different to most others covering the DJ, is that Jock, having lived through the 1920s, 30s and 40s knew just about all the leading riders personally and was able to obtain their recollections at first hand. When they were published originally from 1962 to 1966 these great stars were about to leave or had already left the scene.
Any of those lucky enough to have been illustrated by Jock will know how accurate he was in making a faithful depiction, as they say, warts and all. When it came to the technicalities of bikes and cars he was equally accurate and he enjoyed his work less as the mechanical details were streamlined away.
All the Leyden material we are publishing is in Copyright and is reproduced with permission by Jock’s son, Murray Leyden.
These articles were first published in the Natal Motor Cycle and Car Club’s magazine Full Throttle (FT) between July 1962 and January 1966.
FT Nos 69/71/72/73
Nov 1965/Jan/Feb/Mar 1966
FT Nos 45/46 Oct/Nov 1963
FT Nos 42/43 July/Aug 1963
FT Nos 50/51 March/April 1964
FT Nos 58/59 Dec 1964/Jan 65
FT No 30 July 1962
FT Nos 51/52 May/June 1964
FT Nos 48/49 Jan/Feb 1964
FT Nos 54/55/56 Aug/Sept/Oct 1964
FT No 32 Sept 1962
FT Nos 66/67 Aug/Sept 1965
FT No 44 Sept 1963