George Teale Pepper born 29, November 1912 Belleville, Ontario to parents William Cleveland Pepper and Christina Teale. George the eldest of six siblings grew up in Belleville at the family home 90 Chatham Street.
The biggest race of his career was in front of his hometown when Dr. J.A Faulkner made arrangements to hold the Canadian 200-mile road race at Belleville. It was July 1936, when Faulkner received permission to hold the race through the streets of Belleville. Fearing complaints by the public, the course not revealed until the day before.
It was September 7, 1936, when the Canadian Championships held in Belleville, Ontario. A field of thirty-five riders from across Canada and parts of the United States, which also included Belleville's, George Pepper. The course with the start-finish line on Yeomans Street moved north to Moria Street, east to Everett Street, South to Catherine and then west to Yeoman. The pits located at what is now the Prince Charles schoolyard.
The race attracted the top racers across North America, including Babe Tancrede, 1935 United States Champion, riding a Harley Davidson. In front of a crowd said to be 20,000 from across Ontario, Quebec and New York State, the 120 lap race commenced. After nearly four hours of racing, the local boy, George Pepper, aboard his Norton, was victorious. Beating Tancrede by almost 10 minutes.
Above video by Ian Taylor showing what it might be like had you attended the Belleville race 1936.
In May 1937, Pepper decided to ply his skills at the Isle of man tourist trophy race. This course was daunting, and George made references to the course to one, Ken Colling of the Intelligencer. "My first impression on seeing this course was a feeling of doubt of whether or not would make a fool of myself in the races." Pepper's experience with the Isle of Man race was mostly that of lousy luck, experiencing mechanical failures one after the other.
Early on, Pepper's reputation caught the eye of Norton Motorcycle Manufacturer and agreed to provide him with a new bike and mechanic. He soon joined the West Ham race team, first as a mechanic, then as a spare rider. He then took his fellow Canadian, Eric Chitty's spot when he left the team.
By 1938, he left the West Ham team to captain the Speedway Team at Newcastle. At this time where most were earning $200.00 a week, Pepper was making $400.00.
Along came the war and Pepper joined the RAF and recorded some of the highest test scores when earning his wings. At this point was chosen to be a night fighter teaming up with J.H.Toone. The duo dubbed "salt and pepper" became a successful team shooting down multiple bombers during their nighttime raids. For his efforts were honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross and less than two weeks later died on November 17, 1942, during a daytime test flight. Pepper, Toone and a long time friend Jack Embury (visiting) killed when the plane they were flying went into a spiral and never recovered.
George Pepper's funeral held at Christ Church December 19, 1942,
Pepper inducted into Belleville's Sports Hall of Fame 1987 and Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2013.
The George Pepper Classic which was scheduled for June 30, 2018 has been cancelled. This event was previously call the Norm Carr Classic.
George Teale Pepper born Belleville, Ontario 29 November 1912 died England November 17, 1942.
Father: William Cleveland Pepper born Belleville, Ontario August 1887. Died Belleville, Ontario 27, November 1972.
Mother: Christina Teale Born Hastings County 25,1888. Died Belleville, Ontario 19, October 1961.
Six younger siblings:
Elizabeth Pepper Laidlaw 1915-
William Robert Pepper 1917-1984
Frank Pepper 1919-2013
James Harry Pepper 1920-1943
Grace Lillian Pepper Simpson
Helen Ruth Pepper Stokes
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