Johnny (The Vicar) Croxson

Tribute 2011.

Johnny Croxson was an infamous rallyist from the 1960s whose exploits are legendary.

Where was the Vicar's tattoo?

How he ran the girls home.

I, like so many others, was saddened by the news of Johnny's passing. He was a great character. He enlivened all of the rallies that he attended with his wit and humour, not to mention his fire breathing act.

He was at the Woodpecker Rally way back in the late '60's (my first rally) and I spoke to him at the 40th Captain Cook rally a couple of years back so he must have been rallying close on to 50 years!

Like so many others of the rally scene who are no longer with us he will be missed by all that knew him. He was truly a legend in his own lifetime.

- Les Hobbs

Stories from Ray Jackson:

Open quoteI travelled quite a lot with the Vicar in the earlier days of rallying and a couple of stories spring to mind.Close quote

The Onion

In the early days he always took a big onion to a rally ... the biggest onion he could find. This he hung from the front of his tent and left it there until it was time to pack up. All the regulars knew why he did this but every now and again a newby would spot it and, not knowing Johnny, would ask the reason for it.

His answer was always the same ... "To keep the vampires away!"

A lot accepted that but every now and again some bright spark would say "There's no vampires around here.", when the Vicar would answer in his cockney accent "I know, it's a f**king good onion ain't it!"

The Busking Vicar.

The Vicar and I were en-route to the Dragon Rally one February in the late 1960's. At that time we both worked together at a steel fabrication company and we set off after work on the Friday evening. I can't remember which bikes we were on but I was on a solo and Johnny on his outfit.

It was turned midnight as we approached Chester and we decided to have a break in the town centre. It wasn't too cold for that time of year but the drizzle and breeze made it feel much colder than it actually was. We parked up and took shelter in one of those deep shop doorways. It was probably a couple of metres deep. Deep enough to house both of us with room to spare.

I remember that there was an eerie silence as there was nobody about. Even passing traffic was non-existent.

Well, except for one. We had been there for less than five minutes when a slow moving police car passed. The Vicar got eye contact with the driver and said to me something like "That nosey twat is gonna come back and move us on." As he was saying that he was heading the few yards towards his outfit. He grabbed his frying pan and returned to the shop doorway.

Sure enough, the police car returned and as the cop stepped out of his car and made his way towards us, Johnny pretended that the frying pan was a musical instrument and started strumming whilst singing something like "I'm leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street". The copper started laughing, turned around, got back into his car and drove off.

That was typical of the Vicar. Always game for a laugh.


"The Vicar" referred to the personna that Johnny adopted on rallies, emphasised by collar and bowler hat.