The DT5 was the world's first purpose-built speedway machine. Offering a 500cc OHV flat-twin with an extremely low centre of gravity, the DT5 suited the leg-trailing riding style on the cinder tracks of that time. It was THE unbeatable machine of the 1927/28/29 seasons and any rough-track rider worth their salt rode the DT5. The popularity of this sport in the late 1920s is difficult to imagine, as it caught the public imagination like wildfire after the sport arrived from Australia. Races which were expected to attract 1,000 spectators were suddenly swamped with 20,000 people! This caused great difficulties with crowd and traffic control but made promoters (and ultimately riders) a great deal of money in at the time.
One of the riders that made the DT5 famous was Fay Taylour who became a champion speedway competitor in the late 1920s. Born in 1904 in Ireland, she was travelling the world by the age of 21, racing on the incredibly popular speedway tracks in England, Australia and New Zealand.
Fay had remarkable talent and achieved great success until women were banned from ALL speedway tracks in England in 1930; Fay switched to racing cars and became, naturally, very successful at that sport as well.
This immaculate example was brought into New Zealand new and has remained in Christchurch ever since.
"If a woman is strong enough and enjoys the thrills, if she can take to the sport as the men do, she is in for a good time. But she has to exercise greater care, for it is easier for her to overdo things. Nevertheless, she need not lose her femininity over the job. I know there are people who think that there is something abominable about a woman on the dirt-track. But it merely shows her adaptability. She can be just as normal in the leather gear of a speed merchant as she is in a billowy evening frock."
Fay Taylour, 1920s Champion speedway racer and Douglas DT5 pilot.
Image by Motorcycles of the 20th Century