Stan Dibben has died| Mick Chatterton | TT and Roads
Sidecar world champion Stan Dibben, a true legend in his own lifetime, passed away last week at the ripe old age of 95.
A familiar figure in the TT paddock, particularly in the ‘38th milestone’ hosted by the TT Riders Association, his career including the world title won with Eric Oliver in 1953, was one of amazing variety including working on the land speed record attempt by Donald Campbell and Bluebird in Australia.
It all started after wartime service in Canada plus working as a professional musician over there. Stan started working for BSA before moving to Norton in the late 40s. There he worked in the race shop under Joe Craig, building and developing Manx Nortons which included testing at MIRA with the works riders of the time. He also built and raced is own Manx on all the British circuits including the IoM.
In 1953 Norton were keen to add the Sidecar world championship to their solo successes and Joe Craig sent Stan off to work with Eric Oliver on this project which included acting as passenger even though this was something Stan had never done before. Stan incidentally never agreed with the term passenger as a description of a sidecar racing partnership.
Eric Oliver with Stan won the 1953 World Championship. At the same time Stan was riding his own 500 Manx at all the GPs for a little extra start money as it was well known that Norton Motors did not go over the top when it came to employees’ wages. He rode in a further three TTs with another top English rider Cyril Smith before retiring to work as race representative for Perry Chains and also for Dunlop tyres.
In 1964 Stan worked on the Bluebird land speed record bid in Australia before taking up a position with NGK spark plugs in 1965 on their introduction to Europe. After writing and publishing two books Stan was still giving talks and making personal appearances until quite recently and of course never missed the TT.
TTRA figurehead Frances Thorpe said his dying wish, after spending a lifetime taking risks, was that no one should go to his funeral to avoid being inflicted with corinavarus. That was the mind of man he was.