A Tribute to the Williams Family

Best known for his enduring speed, outstanding racing history and cheery outlook Barrie ‘Whizzo’ William’s legacy lives on in Bromyard.

With a racing career that spanned almost 60 years, we remember Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams fondly in Bromyard for his racing achievements and for being an all-around, terrific guy, for making time for a chat with all.

‘Whizzo’ was born in Bromyard in 1938 and was the only child of Tony (Frank) Williams and Kaye Williams. Tony and Kaye were famous throughout Bromyard for their garage ‘Edmund Williams’ which was founded by Tony’s father; their bicycle shop; and later Williams Engineering, (which became Bromyard Engineering).


Edmund Williams Garage established by ‘Whizzo’s’ grandfather. Picture left foreground shows a 1920 Cotton Motorcycle (if anyone has any information about this motorcycle, we’d love to hear about it).

Accounts from ‘Whizzo’s’ father Tony tell of how repairs were carried out in the back of the shop accessed through the Kings Arms car park and of how one of his customers, the Morgan family’s chauffeur spent time there learning how to braze.

The company moved to new premises in Rowberry Street, Bromyard and Williams Engineering grew out of the motor business in the year running up to and beyond World War II, supplying aircraft components for planes (including the Spitfire) to the Midlands aircraft industry as part of the war effort.


‘Williams Engineering’ premises in Rowberry Street, Bromyard, later ‘FastaKart’ manufacturing premises.

In 1950 the factory went through a revamp. Many of the vintage vehicles that had been held by ‘Whizzo’s’ grandfather Edmund, sold to Lord Montagu of Beaulieu for his private motor museum, (now the National Motor Museum, Hampshire) where a number of the ‘Bromyard cars’ still, exist today.

With Bromyard Engineering (established in 1956) cleared this gave space and some additional funds for Tony and fellow director Mel Bayliss to build one of the country’s first commercial GoKart manufacturers, FastaKart.

FastaKart is where ‘Whizzo’ learned to drive quickly and developed those skills that produced such a stunning carrier.

‘Whizzo’s’ dad Tony, no stranger to racing himself, had competed in the 1933 Manx TT where he achieved a very credible 8th place as a works rider for the Sunbeam company of Wolverhampton.

The family passion for racing seems life long. ‘Whizzo’s’ Mother Kaye at 102 years of age, visited the Bromyard Speed Festival 2017. She came for an hour and stayed for most of the day!


Whizzo’ and his Mother Kaye, Bromyard Speed Festival 2017

His doting family and Bromyard is where he got his passion for racing, his cheery outlook and where he set off from when winning the Welsh Rally in 1964.

Jeremy Holden

Historic images courtesy of Bromyard & District History Society; Image of Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams courtesy of Holden Vintage & Classic

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Jeremy Holden
    June 10, 2019 15:15

    Glad you liked the photographs Mark and thank you for the fascinating story, who ever would have thought it of a King… I too miss old Barry (Tony too) and hope likewise !

    Best,
    Jeremy

    Reply
  • mark nolan
    June 3, 2019 17:11

    proper pictures.
    i remember a story told by both parties.

    fasta-kart where commissioned by king hussian of jordan to build and supply several karts for shipping to jordan.
    no monies arrived.. lots of reminders…then a letter stating they know nothing about this order and it was against the religion on the country to race or go fast or something..williams never got paid.

    i was at lunch with a client.. he was lebanese and a great pal of the king..they where best buddies.. when visiting the king and my client would often walk into the garage to see what i was up too…the king being a very knowledgeable engineer and petrol head.. they invited me to lunch…in my jeans dirty finger nails…i was put totally at ease.. and on the wall where two photos of the king and m client racing the fasta-karts. it seems the king would arrange for a military airfield to be closed just so he and his pals could go kart racing.. and the pictures proved this.

    so the fasta karts did get there-and the williams never got paid.
    barry did chuckle about this..it was the last time people got credit..no matter who they where.
    i miss my pal barry. i hope he is in a nice place.

    Reply

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