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Issue 31

August 2015

BMCT NEWS N E W S L E T T E R O F T H E B R I T I S H M O T O R C Y C L E C H A R I T A B L E T R U S T

In This Issue: Matchless Vickers Banbury Run Minter Café Coventry Transport Museum Musée Chapy Alan Rutherford CWS Federal Restoration From the Chairman


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B M C T S av e s U n i q u e B r i t i s h M o t o r c yc l e f o r T h e N a t i o n A rare First World War Machine Gun Motorcycle Combination has been loaned to the Tank Museum. The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust beat off foreign bidders at Bonhams auction on Saturday 20th June to save a rare WW1 Matchless Vickers 8B/2M motorcycle combination for the nation. The bike has been acquired for loan to the Tank Museum at Bovington, where it has occasionally been seen at special events in the past. But why the Tank Museum? When the first tank crews were assembled in February 1916 a number of mechanically minded soldiers were available from the Motor Machine Gun Service based at Bisley. These men had been trained to use motorcycle combinations – similar to the one purchased – but the onset of trench warfare had made the combinations virtually useless on the Western Front. 700 men from the Motor Machine Gun Service transferred en bloc to the new Armoured Car Section of the Motor Machine Gun Service in March 1916 and they were joined by 100 drivers from the Army Service Corps along with men from a variety of other units. These men became the first to take the new tanks into action in September 1916. This particular Matchless Combination was one of 250 originally ordered by the Russian Government in 1917 – but the revolution caused the cancellation of the order and the machines were

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Our latest acquisition being delivered to its new home at Bovington. Delighted Tank Museum representatives are (from left) Richard Smith (Museum Director), David Willey (Curator) and Chris van Schaardenburgh (Head of Collections)

made available to the British Services. After the war many such motorcycles and other vehicles were sold off to the public and this combination was bought by a landed gentleman who lived near Dorchester to be used on his estate. Found years later and expertly restored to military specification by Chris Roberts (now a BMCT member), it was often demonstrated by Chris at the Tank Museum and elsewhere before being put up for sale. The combination was bought by the British Motorcycle Charitable Trust with assistance from money left to us by the late Martin Tiller. It is one of

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From 1912 onwards H. Collier & Sons produced the Matchless Model 8B fitted with the Swiss MAG 7hp engine. In 1915 the model was updated to incorporate an interchangeable spare wheel and designated the 8B/2. Due to the demands of the war the 8B/2M (M for Military) model was developed to a specification laid down by the Russian Army and fitted with the more

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powerful 8hp JAP engine with a bore and stroke of 85.5mm x 85mm. Lubrication was automatic, with extra oil delivered via a Best & Lloyd combined pump and drip feed. The basic machine was well specified and equipped with a kick starter, three speed countershaft gearbox, fully enclosed rear chain drive, and rear hub brake. The wheel hubs themselves

only three surviving WW1 M/G motorcycle combinations in the UK (the other two are Clynos) and David Willey the Curator at the Tank Museum said ‘it is a magnificent addition to the collections here, and helps us tell the story of those first men who ventured out in tanks nearly 100 years ago’. Of course, the good news for our members is that the wonderful Tank Museum is the latest to join the ranks of our affiliated museums, meaning BMCT members can now get free admission to view this important piece of history.

8 B / 2 M were specially designed to allow for high pressure lubrication in view of the arduous conditions the machines were expected to face. After the end of hostilities Matchless developed the 8B into the well known Model H combination with swinging arm rear suspension which had a long production run, continuing virtually unchanged until 1927.


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Images from the 67th running of the VMCC Banbury Run which started from the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon. Five hundred competitors entered, making this the biggest event in the world for pre-1931 motorcycles and three-wheelers. Several BMCT members were among the starters, and, thankfully, finishers.

Mike Jackson (in blue sweater) waits for an opportune moment to loosen the plug cap of his Bonhams colleague Ben Walker’s 1923 350 Dot Blackburne.

The spirit of the Banbury Run. Richard Wiseman was struggling to reattach the Mole grip (sorry, gear lever) to his 1925 Model P Triumph when a kindly spectator dashed out from the crowd to lend very welcome assistance. Well done, Sir!

The blistering acceleration of his 1926 2.75hp Royal Enfield has Glenn Del Medico hanging on to his hat!

VMCC President Tim Penn was the lucky custodian of the Club’s 1922 Brough Superior SS80 for the Banbury weekend.

Graham Flew on the 1927 Norton Model 18 that belonged to his father, Wally Flew.

No. 363 is Banbury regular Chris Oliver (1927 680 cc Zenith), who was one of only eleven Gold Award winners this year.

BMCT trustee Nick Jeffery (1928 Brough Superior SS80)


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As we reported in our last issue, personalities from the motorcycle world came together at the London Motorcycle Museum recently to celebrate the reopening of the old museum tea room as the “Derek Minter Café”, created with the help of grant assistance from the BMCT. There wasn’t room for photos last time, so here are just a few to give a flavour of the event. The display is complemented by a new chequered flag patterned floor, and re-upholstered seating. The new display features a wall of glass fronted cabinets containing Derek Minter’s trophy collection and other memorabilia amassed over a glittering motorcycle racing career spanning the mid-fifties to the late sixties. A fitting tribute to a great rider, and well done to everyone at the London Motorcycle Museum for preserving the collection intact. We are delighted to have been able to support the project. From left: Dave Croxford, Roy Francis, Paul Smart, Colin Seeley, Bill Crosby, Rex Butcher, Ron Chandler, John Kidson, Ian Kerr.

BMCT Trustees present were (l to r) Nick Jeffery, John Kidson, Mike Jackson and Ian Walden.

C o v e n t r y Following a fifteen month £9.5m refit, Coventry Transport Museum reopened on 20th June. The museum has been completely transformed and the various displays show visitors the scale of an industry that made Coventry the largest vehicle manufacturing centre in the country. The new layout features the following exhibitions: Cycle Pioneers 1868 to 1900 A New Industry 1900 to 1914 First World War 1914 to 1918 The Growth of the Motor Industry Second World War 1939 to 1945 Rebuilding Coventry 1945 to 1950 Motor City UK 1950 to the present Workdays and Holidays Model World Transport Technology Future Technology Jaguar Heritage Coventry Champions Land Speed Record

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M u s é e Another missive from Our Man in France, Mike Ricketts. We stay in France for yet another Museum report. This time we are in Boujan-sur-Libron, close to Beziers in the South of France. If the gates on the drive are closed, this suburban house

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C h a p y The Museum houses two cars, a few bicycles but the vast bulk of the space is given over to Motorcycles. There is British interest again with a BSA Sloper and a Velocette LE. Understandably, the bulk of the collection is French, Italian and Belgian and there are some rare machines amongst them. A first for me was the 1923 Supplexa. A 250cc, single cylinder, air-cooled, 4 stroke. Supplexa were a French manufacturer based in Courbevoie, Seine and only active between 1922 and 1932. The collection extends to over 1400 items in total. These include a large number of advertising panels, a display of Oil Cans dating from 1898 and a display of Spark Plugs from 1900 to 1945. The Musée Chapy (Pere et Fils) is at: 14 Rue du Muscat 34760 Boujan-sur-Libron France +33 (0)4 67 30 03 69

looks just like its neighbours but it harbours a secret. The owner and his sons have turned the whole of the downstairs and garage area into a Museum.

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Peter Miller, Blandford Forum Steve Gill, Weybridge Thomas Stuckey, Christchurch Christine Stuckey, Christchurch Ramon Mott, Dorking Hazel Crowther, Wokingham Stuart Smith, Wokingham Bill Rogers, Cambridge Albert Leonard, Leek Vincent Peck, Goring by Sea Andrew Piper, Sittingbourne John Kiff, Gosport David Smith, Betchworth Peter Cordiner, Worthing Toni Cordiner, Worthing Chris Roberts, Painswick John Bannard, Berkhamsted Paul Foot, Weymouth John Brock, Westbury Caroline Brock, Westbury

Musée Chapy has a Facebook page.

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We’re very grateful to the family and friends of the late F. A. (Alan) Rutherford for their generous donations to the BMCT in memory of Alan, who died earlier this year at the age of 88. Alan began racing on a Velocette KTT Mk VIII, which he transported to meetings on the sidecar chassis of a 1926 Matchless side valve v twin combination. He made an inauspicious debut at Boreham, retiring from his first event when the Velo’s con rod snapped. Worse was to come in the 1952 Manx Grand Prix when he came off after he clipped a kerb at Kerrowmoar, and the bike wrote itself off against a telegraph pole. Results improved as Alan progressed to better AJS and Norton machinery, so much so that in 1956 he came to the attention of Geoff Duke, who sponsored him on his Duke BSAs, the move being the springboard to much success. Alan is survived by his wife Shirley and two children, Jane and Geoffrey.


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C W S In our last issue, Stephen Hartley was telling us how the restoration of “Fed”, his 1922 CWS Federal, began. When we left Fed, he was proving to be a very reluctant starter… 1 March. Terry @ Stotfold Engineers – “I am sure I am going to get some joy tomorrow as I have measured the float level in conjunction with the main jet and it is way out of synchronization. There is no way this bike could have run in the past with this setup. I am not going to go into too much depth on the technical nature of the problem but when the float in a float bowl reaches a particular level it turns off the fuel to the rest of the carburettor the float will create a level of fuel in the float bowl that will correspond to a predetermined measured level below the top face of the main jet, being about 5mm from the top or uppermost face of the main jet. This is important as the main jet does not want to be immersed in fuel as it will not be able to take and mix the correct proportional amounts of air with the fuel to present a combustible mixture to the compression chamber. The fuel to air mixture is very important for clean cool burning. On trying to start your engine I found an inordinate amount of fuel leaking from the carb venture, not the float bowl, hence I have come to the aforementioned conclusion. On trying to start the engine I found the spark plug to be very wet with unburnt fuel even though there was a very strong spark at the plug even under compression. When was he last run? I wonder.” 3 March. Exactly one year after Fed came to live with us he roared for the first time… Terry @ Stotfold Engineers – “After pushing the Federal up and down the drive a few times I still had the same

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response from the engine, ie popping a few times and not picking up. I fixed the carb problem and refitted the old exhaust valve lifter that came with the bike as my man who promised me a period one for your machine never showed up. I checked the ignition timing and found it to be out by about 80 degrees after I had put a lot of time and effort into timing her, apparently the ignition wants setting up at 3/16″ BTDC and then the flywheel nut wants hammerlocking onto the taper shaft that the flywheel mates with, sounds brutal, and it is, if it is not fully hammered home it will slip on its taper and throw the timing out. It just so happens that I

had a hammerlock ring spanner that would do the job. I cannot understand why the flywheel was not keyed onto the taper shaft. To start – Fuel on, oil drip feed on, set to one drip per second so as not to foul the plug, half choke, quarter throttle, advance lever set to half position, push the Fed with the decompressor lever open and close the lever, pop!, he fires so easily. As my company is in Biggleswade town centre and everybody can see what is going on in my driveway, it can be a bit embarrassing if things don’t go right. There is a fish and chip shop around the corner from my workshop and the guy who delivers the spuds was parked in the lay by watching what was going on in my driveway as I noticed out of the corner of my eye. He was more interested in what was going on than delivering the spuds to the chippie. The second attempt was successful and I could hear him cheer at Fed

starting up with a big puff of oily smoke as he manoeuvred his sack barrow of King Edwards to the back entrance of his truck for unloading to the chip shop. While I was sitting astride Fed I feathered the control levers to give him the best running settings and he never missed a beat and ran as sweet as a nut and responded to the throttle controls and the advance and retard lever so well. I was so pleased that he was running so well that I took him to my local supermarket parking lot at ten o clock closing time and run him until he ran out of petrol. I refilled hid tank and he started straight away without losing a beat. The only problem I found was that the rear wheel was loose on its spindle, so I adjusted it and found it came loose again after a run. On investigation I found some anomalies that really needed sorting out as they were potentially dangerous. These are cup and cone bearings with bearing shrouds to keep the dirt out, the shrouds had been set up so as to act as the cones and the balls don’t like soft metal shrouds, as they like to eat into them and destroy the clearances that have been applied to them. This has all been sorted out and is all running fine. The gearbox has the usual drip of oil and the exhaust has the usual oil deposit exuding from the tail pipe. All In all it’s doing what a two-stroke is meant to do.” 4 March – To maintain the old chap… Terry @ Stotfold Engineers – “I have started it to make sure all is well and it fires up with a little push, if you try to fire it up without the exhaust valve lifter he will not start and the belt will slip due to compression, and boy he has some compression. Remember that he needs running in as the barrel has been honed and a new set of rings have been fitted that I have made. When riding these old tools it Continued on next page


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has to be remembered that they have to be ridden in such a way so as to avoid any impending disaster such as vehicles approaching junctions and cars late braking and such. Remember that evasive riding is called for. Here is a list of what you will need to keep your bike on the road, Halfords classic oil, they only do one type, this is for your oil tank, the filler is the foremost screw cap on top of your petrol tank, the one nearest your seat is for ordinary pump fuel with absolutely no aftermarket additives. The gearbox has been filled with 80 weight gearbox oil from Halfords and will need about an egg cup full after about 50 miles of running , this is not critical as the gearbox will leak oil out through the felt seals but will retain plenty of oil for all the gears at its lowest level. Your hub bearings have been filled with high pressure grease even though the hubs have been fitted with oiler pots when you have done a run of over 30 or so miles you will need to put the Halfords engine oil in them, they only need there lids flipping up and filling to topmost level. Front suspension will need any old engine oil to keep it in fine fettle and working order. There are two grease nipples on your suspension that will need a yearly squirt of grease with an old fashioned grease gun. At the end of the day all you need to do is keep things topped up and leaking oil. All I need to do is make a stand to take the place of the wooden one. My son polished your bike today with Pledge furniture polish, I only said can you give it a going over with a cloth to knock any dust off. Anyway he smells like the best room in a 1940s house and is draped in the best curtain lining you can get from Harrods” 13 March – first time running On Friday, 13th I went to see Fed at Stotfold Engineering in Biggleswade – I watched him splutter into life. This was the first time I had ever seen Fed run. Terry and the boys have done a splendid job restoring the old fella. A front stand had been crafted to lift the front wheel clear of the ground. After 6 months looking I have managed to find a Villiers decompressor ‘valve lifter’ lever to replace the existing lever that probably dates from the 1950’s. Good old eBay. The lever acts on a bowden cable to make the Villiers engine easier to start. Fed comes home on Wednesday, 18 March. My son Ben has announced that he will be running home from school. 19 March – after 8 months away for restoration Fed is home. I stood at the lounge window waiting, looking for an anonymous white van. Fed arrived and a text from my son Ben summed it up “hip, hip, hooray.” - Stephen Hartley

First the bad news. I’m sorry to have to announce that, after a very long association, the National Motor Cycle Museum (NMCM) have decided to withdraw from our affiliation scheme, meaning there will no longer be free access for our members to view the collection. This is particularly saddening since the BMCT was originally formed by the late W R (Roy) Richards, Trevor Wellings and others as a charity to fund the building of what was to become one of the finest motorcycle museums in the world. As is well known, the BMCT and the NMCM went their separate ways in 1995, when the museum company relinquished its charitable status, and the BMCT was re-constituted with a new board of trustees with no connection to the museum. Since then our members have been allowed free access to view what were once our own bikes, but changes since the death of Mr Richards have seen that concession withdrawn. If you’re a frequent visitor to the NMCM then you may wish to consider their own “Friends of the Museum” scheme, but your BMCT membership and museums admission card will not be accepted there after 31st August 2015. Now the good news. Elsewhere in this newsletter you’ll have read about our exciting addition to the BMCT Collection - the unique 1917 Matchless Vickers machine gun combination. We are delighted to have saved this bike from being sold to an overseas collector, doubly so since it means that the Tank Museum, where the machine will reside on long term loan, now becomes the latest museum to join our affiliation scheme. As with all of our affiliates, this means that BMCT members now get free entry to the museum, except on days when they are holding a special event, like Tankfest, for example. We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful association with them. More good news is the opening of the Minter Café at the London Motorcycle Museum in Greenford. Needless to say it was a pleasure to work with Bill Crosby and his team to help them prevent the late Derek Minter’s trophy collection from being broken up. And credit must go to BMCT member Colin Seeley for his tireless efforts to ensure that the project came to fruition. We are keen to have more affiliated museums; do you know of a museum that needs help expanding its collection or improving its displays? Let us know.

Thanks for sharing Fed’s story with us Stephen. We’d like to hear similar restoration tales from other members.

Ian Walden BMCT Chairman


T H E B R I T I S H M O T O R C Y C L E C H A R I T A B L E T R U S T

Registered in England No. 01445196 Registered Charity No. 509420 Secretary: Andy Bufton Registerered Office: Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore WR10 2NH Tel: 01386 462524 Mob: 07754 880116 www.bmct.org

Email: info@bmct.org

The Trust was originally formed to facilitate the building of the National Motor Cycle Museum at Bickenhill, near Solihull in the West Midlands, but since 1995 the BMCT has been an entirely separate organisation, a grant - making Charity dedicated to the promotion of British motorcycle engineering heritage through a network of affiliated transport museums throughout the country. Membership is open to all, and allows free entry to all the museums in our affiliation scheme. Our funding comes from membership fees, bequests, donations, and income from investments. Please direct any enquiries to the secretary, Andy Bufton, at the address on the left.

Preserving the past...for the future Trustees: I N Walden OBE (Chairman) P J Wellings, S Bagley, T P V Barnes, J F R Handley, M Jackson, J N Jeffery, J E Kidson

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9th August

GRAHAM WALKER RUN, NATIONAL MOTOR MUSEUM, BEAULIEU SO42 7ZN Veteran and Vintage bikes built before 1930 gather in memory of Graham Walker, the first Curator of the Museum and father of Murray Walker OBE.

16th August

BROOKLANDS REUNION, BROOKLANDS MUSEUM, WEYBRIDGE KT13 0QN Recreating the glamour, excitement and atmosphere of a nineteen thirties race day.

16th August

BRACKLEY FESTIVAL OF MOTORCYCLING, HIGH STREET, BRACKLEY NN13 7AB Displays, demonstrations, trade stands. In aid of the Air Ambulance and local charities.

22nd August

NORTHANTS VINTAGE CLASSIC BIKE SHOW, STAR & GARTER, CHELVESTON NN9 6AJ Trophies in all classes, Autojumble, Raffle, BBQ. In aid of The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust. www.northantsbikeshow.com

29-30 August WINGS & WHEELS, DUNSFOLD PARK, GUILDFORD GU6 8HY Car and motorcycle demonstrations by the Brooklands Museum, air display, Vulcan XH558. 30th August

THE SAMMY MILLER RUN, SAMMY MILLER MUSEUM, NEW MILTON BH25 5SZ Over 100 Vintage, Classic and Modern bikes assemble for a pleasant Sunday run through the New Forest.

6th September WHEELS OF STEEL, THE TANK MUSEUM, BOVINGTON, DORSET BH20 6JG Dorset’s Newest Motorcycle Ride-In Event. Trade Stands, Classic Bikes.

Published by Matchless Management Services, Holly Cottage, Main Street, Bishampton, Pershore WR10 2NH

Issue 31 August 2015  

Matchless Vickers - Banbury Run - Minter Café - Coventry Transport Museum - CWS Federal Restoration

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