Ft. Worth’s Enigmatic Golden Boy Racer
By Bev Bowen
In the mid-1950s Ft. Worth had its own version of “Rocker” type British Bike racers, made famous by the Ace Café legions back in Merrye Olde England. Instead of a café hangout, the hub for gathering in
Ft. Worth was mainly Dalio’s Triumph Shop, but others might have preferred George Fasig’s Indian dealership (which later became Carleton Williamson’s shop). Of course, there were other dealers, but Dalio’s was the first
name on the list for at least a couple reasons, one being that Triumphs were probably the marque with broadest appeal (and overall most successful in racing) and the other being that Jack Wilson was the main wrench there
for the longest time, and his personality and results were a magnet to any serious gearhead in those times.
The Iron Horse Motorcycle Club was not the only motorcycle organization in/around Ft. Worth back then, but it was maybe the liveliest, considering the noise made by its riders and their bikes! These guys were SERIOUS
about going fast on motorbikes, and they frequented both official and non-official speed gatherings. Perhaps no other motorcycling organization in Texas has maintained such a bond among its members – and they still have
an annual reunion.
All this to preface the subject luminary Philip Norman Fagan, and to highlight his achievement on the salt in 1956 on the saddle of George Fasig’s Norton Dominator 88. As you can see from the signs in the photos, Philip
rode that machine to a record, but it was then quickly broken shortly thereafter by Jesse Thomas aboard a Triumph. Philip was definitely one of the colorful stars of the Ft. Worth racing crowd.
Philip was a small man– so, his size was perfect as a “jockey” for the racers of the day. And, Dalio, Fasig, Williamson and others hired Philip to race their machines. Apparently, he had the riding skills to deliver big
He was a favorite among the Iron Horse Club and at dealerships – folks still talk about his presence at races and around bench racing sessions and social meets.
There was a lot more to Philip than motorcycling, though, as sometime shortly after those photos were taken, he drifted off to diverse interests and activities, some seemingly far away from daring-do on a bike at speed.
For example, he took ballet and went seriously into drama, studying under those on the cutting edge of the arts. Somehow, he became an intimate associate of Andy Warhol in New York. If that wasn’t far enough adventure
from Ft. Worth, he then went to Southeast Asia and studied Eastern Religion and culture.
Unfortunately, Philip Fagan is no longer with us, so we can’t interview him about his interesting life. However, his namesake nephew, Philip Fagan, is working on a documentary that will likely provide more clarity to
this interesting man’s contributions and desires and may even reveal collateral information about those times of the crazy 1960s and possibly never before revealed information about not only the motorcycling activities
of those days but also about other people – even Andy Warhol, perhaps.
For an interesting look into his nephew’s documentary project, check out: http://faganfilm.com/ - click on current projects.
Anyone interested may also check with any of the Iron Horse Club members, some associated either as members or as friends to the NTNOA. They may be able to add to this story, and if anyone has any information they feel
might be helpful to Philip Fagan’s documentary effort, use the link provided to make your contact – I’m sure he will appreciate it.
So, part of Norton’s success back in the 1950s involved Philip Norman Fagan. He was special.
The Shooting Star returns - https://www.jalopyjournal.com/?p=35186
From Michael Barone,
I was looking at Renault and a Texas connection and found this webpage.
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Revised: January 05, 2018