Perhaps one of Rattrays best known salesmen from the post-war years, he started with the company in 1937, at the age of 27. Whilst Jack freely admits he did not have a background in the trade (he was originally a hairdresser), he was clearly seen to have the potential to increase sales when they took him on. This may have had a lot to do with a large proportion of cycle shop owners and employees being themselves prominent clubmen and cyclists. Jack was a well known local speedman.
In 1929 he joined the Glasgow Wheelers, a club renowned in the 1930s for it's Scottish record holders and success in the Scottish Team championships. In 1935, Jack created an early season sensation by clocking 4 hrs. 47 mins. 24 secs. in the Edinburgh Road Club "Hundred". This was over six minutes faster than second placed man J.W. (Jocky) Allan and was only 1 minute 20 seconds. slower than the then Scottish competition record and the third fastest '100' in Scottish open competition.
Later that same year Jack beat the the clubs '100' record with a time of 4 hrs. 43 mins. 32 secs. and went on to become the 7th Best All-Rounder in the Scottish Amateur Road Championship, completing the Clarion '50' in 2 hrs. 15 mins. 34 secs, the Ivy '100' in 4 hrs. 44 mins. 42 secs. and in the West '12' (hrs), covered 228. 3/4 miles. with an average Speed for all three events of 20.755 mph.
Under the tuition of Jack Smith he became Rattrays most senior salesman and stayed with them for 42 years. He finally retired in 1979 at the age of 69 following a short period of part-time working. The only break in his years of selling Scots was during World War II, when he was retrained by Jack Smith as an assistant, to work in the machine shop on war contracts.
Retiral didn't slow Jack down, and he continued to compete as a veteran (he was one of founding members of the Veteran Time Trial Association - Scottish Group, which began in 1952) and to this day, whilst no longer able to race is still involved with his club, and has an incredible memory of the road racing scene in Central Scotland from the 1930's.
Well known during his time at Rattrays, Jack was and remains, a friend to many cyclists from club to professional level. Speak to most Scot owners from the mid to late 70's and the name Jack Potter will come up somewhere in the conversation.
You could always rely on Jack for that wee bit extra discount !
Photographs Courtesy of the Jack Potter
This wee article was written back in 2004 just after having met Jack personally for the first and what would be the last time - any other times I'd come across him was when he was behind the counter at Rattrays. Sadly Jack passed away in January 2010 shortly before his 100th birthday. Jack was as much part of Rattrays as were the Flying Scots.