Coleman Family


Coleman FamilyInducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Percy Coleman (1897 – 1965)

Broke the world grass track flying mile record six times between 1916 (52sec) and 1929 (44.8sec – 80mph). 

In 18 years of racing he won more than 200 events, racing with success in New Zealand, Britain, America and Australia. 

He set Australasian records for one, 10 and 15 miles on an Indian motorcycle in 1914. 

In road racing Percy (Cannonball) Coleman became the first British rider to exceed 100mph, at Brooklands (England) in 1919. 

His longest race was over 200 miles in the American national championships at Marion. 

Coleman was the first New Zealand rider to represent New Zealand at the Isle of Man, in 1930.

Rod Coleman (1926 – )

Was the first New Zealander to win at the Isle of Man, riding an AJS to victory in the 350cc race at a speed of 91.51mph in 1954.

He scored road victories in England, Sweden, Casablanca, Belgium, Switzerland and Australia as well as in New Zealand, plus other placings in France, Holland and Spain.

In major international racing Rod Coleman scored 10 victories, was runner-up 16 times and placed third in 10 events.

He was fourth in both the world 350cc and 500c championship classes in 1952 and third in the 350cc and sixth in the 500cc during the 1954 world championships.

Rod Coleman won numerous New Zealand motorcycle road titles and was also a national jet boat champion driver. 

Bob Coleman (1931 – ) 

A top class New Zealand grass track and motocross rider for 21 years, winning 12 national championships. 

He won five New Zealand one mile grass titles between 1949 and 1970, three New Zealand beach racing finals, two New Zealand miniature TT grass-track titles and two NZ motocross championships. 

On the road Bob Coleman was NZ 350cc TT champion in 1954 and two years later was fourth in the Ulster 250cc Grand Prix as well as racing at the Isle of Man. 


The Coleman family, which was instrumental in becoming New Zealand agents for some of the world’s top motorcycle companies, played a major role in motorcycle racing in the country and also establishing the internationally renowned Wanganui Cemetery Circuit. 

In addition Percy, Rod and Bob all represented New Zealand at the world famous Isle of Man races over a period of a quarter of a century.

Page reviewed: 22 Aug 2016 3:37pm