Rex-Acme Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Wal Handley

Walter Leslie Handley, (April 5, 1902 - November 15, 1941), was born in Aston, Birmingham, and was a famous British Inter-War motorcycle racer with four wins at the Isle of Man TT Races in his career.

Later he also raced cars in the 1930's, and died during World War II in an aircraft accident while serving as a pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary. He was CO of Hawarden, Cheshire at the time.

Wal Handley, who was one of the best riders and tuners of the times, guided the Rex-Acme company in its racing exploits from 1924 to 1926. He later became Works Manager at the Earlsdon factory. Prior to this he had worked with the OK factory and raced an OK Junior at the Isle of Man where as a complete novice he set the fastest lap - this made the national news, not so much for the race performance but because began his practice lap in the wrong direction!

Handley's Cottage on the IOM course is named for him.

Handley's strong influence saw the arrival of a wider range of models for 1926 including a new four-stroke, with a 173cc ohv AKD engine and Albion three-speed gearbox, which replaced the previous two-stroke.

1927 There were good results at the TT, when Handley won the Lightweight; as well as the world one-hour record - 91.21 miles (145.94km) covered in the sixty minutes.

By 1929 Handley had moved on from Rex-Acme, but his motorcycle racing and flying exploits continued.

"... we have had great riders who were erratic, and others who were clumsy. But Handley was always visibly superb. Walter was one of our greatest aces." ~ Ixion, 1941.

Sources: Graces Guide; Wikipedia.

If you have further information or a query related to this page, please contact us