Jump Jockey

Collector Dave Angell's Story

A few years ago I typed ‘Triang’ into ebay and there at the top of the list was a Jump Jockey set, at a very low price. Within a month I had bought it and two more sets and displayed them, statically at Telford Steam Railway’s Model and Collectors Gala.

An invite to Alresford Toy Museum for a Day in 2008 gave the impetuous to get some running and do some research into the history.

The history is quite hard to find but I now understand the system was launched in the late 1960s and only continued until the early 70’s. Initial sets were made in the Miniville factory at Havant, although transferred to Margate soon after.

In essence it was similar to a slot car racing system, but with horses attached by wires to a car running in a channel below the ‘grass’ track level. Its unique feature was the ‘jumps’ where you needed to reverse the polarity of the controller to jump the fence. The logo for the game was ‘You Race, You Jump, You Win.’

Sadly the system didn’t last very long, probably as it was quite complicated and expensive – comparable to a mid range train set from price lists.

I have discovered reference to four UK sets, JJ100, JJ200, JJ300 and JJ500 by looking through old price lists and brochures and believe this is the complete list, without the JJ400. The ‘Layout Leaflets’ with these refer to sets JJ200, JJ230 and JJ2000 on the 200 set, and JJ300 with JJ3000 on the 300 set and similar with the 500. The 100 is missing its. The 230 and 330 sets I have seen are as per the 200 and 300 but French export sets, with the addition of ‘betting slips’ and ‘gambling money’, similar to that in Monopoly. The boxes have a French label stuck to the standard box. I still have no idea of  the X000 versions.

A number of spare parts were available; I have an additional horse, referred to as ‘Horse, Jockey and Motor Unit’ which is JJ001, JJ002 is a controller , two straight tracks - JJ004,and a pair of curves - JJ005, additional jump - JJ006. From leaflets and a sales brochure, I have found the starting gate is JJ003 but still need a boxed one; the leaflets also suggest extended circuit plans. It also opens up another numbering range JJ9001, 2 and 3 being respectively lap counter, finish flag and spare fence for jump. The brochure also confirms JJ400 did not exist.

The sets each contain horses, controllers, track, electrical starting gate, lap counters, finishing posts as well as jumps with side fences; The quantities varying from set to set. JJ100 was the basic set with a small oval, one jump and two horses. JJ200 had a larger oval of two jumps and two straights and was advertised (and set contents state) two horses. However, mine has three and others I have seen do too. JJ300 was a bigger one, containing three horses and controllers with three jumps and straights. JJ500 was the big set having five jumps and additional straights. The smaller sets still had room in the plastic moulding to accommodate three horses and controllers – no bad thing as the track was three lanes wide!

Of note is that the sets each had a slightly different picture on the lid, all were horses jumping but in different poses. At some stage the set number changed from printing on the box, to a stick on label.

No power supply was provided but MiniModels J.24 Smoothflow transformer – rectifier appears to be the recommended one as three of my sets came with one or the instructions sheet for them.

The set instructions are interesting in that they were written in eight languages and cover comprehensive details of how to set the game up and maintain it.

There is a specific Jump Jockey brochure available in English, A4 sized, folding out to four pages wide, which details the range well. There is also a French catalogue detailing Jump Jockey and also Scalextric and Hornby Acho / Triang Hornby

Operating a set is fun, but you can understand why it failed to survive. Once the track bases have been set up, ensuring the jumps are the right way round, the starting gate needs to be wired to the controllers as it works by springing open to create electrical connection to them. Once the horses and track have been tested, as per instructions, the grass can be added along with clip in fences, lap counters and finishing post.

Once the starting gate opens, the controller when half way depressed causes the horse to travel forward, on reaching the ‘jump’ however the plunger needs to be completely pushed down to reverse the track supply as the rails on the jumps are of opposite polarity. It can be done, but a certain skill is required!

The lap counters work by a small lever being pushed each time the horse passed, rotating a dial in the clip in counter. My own findings are that these are temperamental and stop the horse too often!

I have now exhibited a working set up at a number of shows and they certainly cause a great attraction. They weren’t difficult to restore, usual motor cleaning and oiling being required as well as track cleaning. The motor is not the Minic car one as some believe but a cheaply constructed one which had broken on a couple of horses. Tyres are the same size as the Minic cars but were smooth not treaded. They have all needed the driven ones replacing due to cracking and glazing.

If you haven’t seen one running yet, look out for adverts saying where I will be. I exhibit a variety of Triang toys so can’t guarantee when they are next out!

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