BURIED TREASURE: Tony Dunne's son-in-law picked up a trophy at a garage sale which turns out to have belonged to one of the world's greatest motorcycle sidecar racers, Jim Davies.
BURIED TREASURE: Tony Dunne's son-in-law picked up a trophy at a garage sale which turns out to have belonged to one of the world's greatest motorcycle sidecar racers, Jim Davies. Janine Hill

How did speedway champion's trophy end up here?

A TARNISHED trophy picked up at a Caloundra garage sale has turned out to be a piece of Australian motorcycle speedway history.

Caloundra Gym owner Tony Dunne was given the old trophy as a "birthday present" by his son-in-law, Michael Matthews, who had bought it at a garage sale but had decided he did not have room for it.

Mr Matthews had initially wanted to polish the trophy but Mr Dunne decided it was better left in its original condition.

"I said 'You're better to keep it as is. It shows the history and what it's gone through'. And then I started looking at it and he started looking at it," Mr Dunne said.

The men were reading an inscription, "The Sanders Cup won by Jim Davies 1937".

Mr Dunne said the people who held the garage sale back in July had known little of the trophy's history and had thought it had come from Imbil.

After doing a little research himself, Mr Dunne concluded Mr Davies had probably won the cup in a motorcycle sidecar race in Sydney but he contacted the Daily in an effort to uncover more of the mystery.

Old Time Speedway Australia, a website dedicated to racing heroes from the 1930s to 1980s, put the Daily in touch with veteran speedway journalist and photographer Peter White, of Speedway World.

Mr White said Mr Davies had been a champion sidecar racer from the 1930s through to the 1950s.

"He raced in England and was generally considered the best sidecar racer in the world in his era. At one stage he was the only professional speedway sidecar rider in Australia/the world," Mr White said.

 

The Sanders Cup was given to Jim Davies, one of the world's greatest motorcycle sidecar races, in 1937.
The Sanders Cup was given to Jim Davies, one of the world's greatest motorcycle sidecar races, in 1937. Janine Hill

Mr White said Mr Davies, who is in the Australian Speedway Hall of Fame, had originally been from Melbourne but had moved to Sydney to further his career.

He said the trophy had probably been won at the Sydney Sports Ground or Sydney Showground.

The cup was possibly made by W. J. Sanders, a Sydney metalware business that now makes the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open Tennis trophy.

The founder, William James Sanders, was a silversmith who made a lot of sports trophies for Sydney clubs and events between the First World War and the Second World War.

A company spokesman said it was highly possible The Sanders Cup had been provided by W. J. Sanders for a speedway event in the 1930s.

Mr White was of the belief Mr Davies moved to the Gold Coast after his retirement and had died about 20 years ago.

 

The inscription on a trophy that Tony Dunne's son-in-law bought for him at a garage sale simple reads: The Sanders Cup won by Jim Davies 1937.
The inscription on a trophy that Tony Dunne's son-in-law bought for him at a garage sale simple reads: The Sanders Cup won by Jim Davies 1937. Janine Hill

Mr Dunne, having been informed about Mr Davies' history and movements, is now even more curious about how his trophy ended up on the Sunshine Coast, possibly at Imbil and then at Caloundra.

"The mystery deepens," he said.

He wonders if the trophy was stolen, or brought to the area by a family member, or if Mr Davies himself lived in the area.

Mr Dunne is keen to learn more about Mr Davies and if someone other than him, perhaps a family member, should have more of a claim to it.

If you have information, phone 5430 1077 or email janine.hill@scnews.com.au.


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