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Issue 36

April 2017

NEWSL ETTER O F THE BRITISH MO TORCYCLE CHARITABLE TRUST


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The BMCT Board of Trustees gathered at the Haynes International Motor Museum in December for the Official Opening of the exhibition of British Motor Scooters 1917 to 1970.

Dear BMCT Members, Firstly, let me apologise for the delay in getting this issue of BMCT News to you. We were keen to include details of our discounted tickets offer for this summer’s Chateau Impney Speed Hillclimb revival, which meant extending our deadline a little while our negotiations with the organisers were completed. See details of the event on page 8. Recent feedback from members reveals that some admissions staff at our affiliated museums aren’t that familiar with the terms of entry for BMCT members. To confirm, producing your membership card (with another form of identification if requested) will allow you alone free entry to the museums we support. Any other members of your party who are not BMCT members will be asked to pay the full admission fee. If you experience any difficulty gaining entry, please let us know. Andy Bufton is the man to contact, and his mobile number can be found on your membership card. On the subject of membership cards, it seems that there have been instances where counterfeit BMCT cards have been produced by non-members to gain entry to museums. This is scarcely believable, I know, but has nonetheless been happening and the museums are getting concerned. We’ll be taking action to combat this by introducing a hologram into a redesigned card in the near future, but in the meantime, I urge you not to let your cards get into the wrong hands. Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll find news of the refurbishment of our Humber 350 OHC model. We hope, by the time you read this, that road testing will be well under way and the machine pronounced fit to undergo the rigours of the VMCC Banbury Run, so come along and cheer on Nick, our intrepid pilot!

The collection is largely the work of one man, Robin Spalding, who set out to acquire an example of every make of British scooter produced between 1946 and 1970. The completed collection was given its public debut in a successful exhibition that ran at Coventry Transport Museum over the winter of 2012 - 2013. Subsequently Robin offered the collection to the BMCT in the hope that the scooters could be kept together as a permanent record of how British industry tried - and ultimately failed- to emulate the success of lightweight scooters from Italy and the Far East.

Thanks to the vision of the curators and trustees of the Haynes Museum, our scooters now have a home in one of south west England’s premier tourist attractions. Our photos show (top) BMCT Chairman Ian Walden congratulating museum CEO Chris Haynes on the completion of the exhibition, and (above) the BMCT trustees examining the exhibits. Copies of Robin Spalding’s book “British Motor Scooters 1946-1970” are available to buy at the museum, and make an excellent souvenir guide for visitors to the exhibition.

Best wishes, Ian

Front Cover: The BMCT display at Race Retro, the Historic Motorsport Show, featured our Cotton Telstar and Jones 250 Twin


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In one of his very informative foreign museum reviews last year, Mike Ricketts (Our Man in France) referred to the interesting machines produced by the Nougier Brothers. This sparked so much interest from readers that we asked Mike for more detail, and here’s Part One of his article; The Nougier brothers were Jean Nougier (1909 - 1999) and Henri Nougier (1912 -

many things – Cars (they were a Citroen Agent), Bicycles, Tractors, General Farm Machinery and much more. A particularly significant event was that, from 1928, the Garage had become an Agent for Magnat-Debon Motorcycles. Many of the subsequent ideas and developments pioneered by Jean Nougier were to use Magnat-Debon machines as a base. Recognized by his

2002). They were born in Saint-Andiol, a small village near to Avignon, in France where their Father had created a General Garage/Workshop in 1895. The brothers grew up working in the family business and following the death of their father in 1942, and after their WW2 service, the brothers continued with the Garage. As is common with small village Garages, they turned their hands to

contemporaries as a genius, Jean was known as “le Sorcier de Saint-Andiol” The brothers first introduction to racing came in 1927 when they got hold of a Rovin 125cc fitted with an engine from Train. Jean prepared the bike and Henri rode it – the partnership that continued until Henri retired from racing in 1947. The Rovin however was not a success and in 1931, the brothers got hold of a

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175cc Zurcher. Jean set about preparing this bike by fitting a sleeve to reduce the capacity to 125cc. The bike (shown left) was heavily modified by Jean with many pieces being manufactured in their own Garage. Their first National successes came in 1932 and thereafter the brothers had prewar success with a variety of bikes. In his racing career, Henri started 115 races, spread over 4 classes (125cc, 175cc, 250cc and 350cc) winning 65 in total with a further 23 second or third places, all on bikes prepared by Jean. Over three quarters of these victories came before the War and in 1938 there was the small matter of 4 World Records set by Henri on a Magnat-Debon 125cc that Jean had converted from a 175cc by again manufacturing a sleeve to reduce the bore.

The record breaking 125cc (shown above) was based on a Magnat-Debon/ Terrot 175cc Model LCP. Jean converted it to a Double Overhead Camshaft, driven by a series of gear wheels (la cascade de pinions). In French this is known as Double Arbre à Came en Tête (DACT).

M A K E With a bit more time on his hands since retiring from his post as Curatorial Director at the Haynes International Motor Museum, BMCT trustee Mike Penn is nearing the end of the restoration of his unique Readhead motorcycle. Readheads were a Victorian engineering company which finished up as a haulage business in Salisbury. They made just 6 of these early clip on engines from 1904 to 1905. This is the only survivor and has taken ten years of research to get this far. You won’t find this make in Tragatsch! Well done Mike, can’t wait to see you on the Pioneer Run.


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Father and son team Dick and Mike Davis took the best in show award at Shepton Mallet with their 1924 New Imperial 6A Super Racer, restoration of which was finished on the Friday morning of the event. Said Mike; “It was a joint effort, though dad’s done a lot more than me!” Powered by a 350cc ‘dog-eared’ JAP racing engine, as far as the owners know it is the only example of this model in existence. There were some interesting machines being offered for sale by Charterhouse Auctioneers in one of the side halls. This very tidy 1960 Norman Cyclemate (below) was complete with a period set of panniers, and a spare new/old stock engine and petrol tank. It sold for a reasonable £1,000.

Courtesy of Mortons Media

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14th May

Classic Motorcycle Show, Dover Transport Museum, Whitfield, Dover CT16 2HQ A great ride-in event with prizes in all categories. Phone 01304 822409 for more details.

18th June

VMCC Banbury Run, starts from British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Warwick CV35 0BJ Said to be the largest gathering in the world of pre-1931 motorcycles and three-wheelers. The first of the 500 competitors (including Nick Jeffery on our own Humber 350 OHC) sets off at 10.00 am.

17-18th June

Brooklands Double Twelve Festival, Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0QN Celebrating 110 years of Brooklands Race Track. A two-day extravaganza featuring Speed Trials, Driving Tests, the prestigious Double Twelve Concours and Test Hill ascents

18th June

Black Country Festival of Vehicles, Black Country Living Museum, Dudley DY1 4SQ Wheeling into its 15th year, this annual gathering of cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles all built in the Black Country will see over one hundred models on display across the Museum.

24 - 25th June

Tankfest 2017, The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset BH20 6JG The world's biggest and best live display of historic armour, living history, and much more at the Home of the Tank . Also your chance to see this year’s stunning Tiger Collection exhibition.

25th June

Bike Life Classics Day, Sammy Miller Museum, New Milton, Hampshire BH25 4SZ Hosted by BMCT members Heidi and Anth Andrews in support of local charities. Prizes for Best British, European and Japanese Classic Bikes.

8-9th July

Chateau Impney Speed Hill Climb, Impney, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire WR9 0BN Over 200 competitors take on the challenging course. Motorcycle demonstrations throughout the day, come and say hello to us on the BMCT stand.

13th August

Graham Walker Memorial Run, starts from the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu SO42 7ZN Veteran, vintage and post-vintage of all makes built before 31 December 1940, will be displayed in the grounds in tribute to the late Graham Walker, one of the founders of the Sunbeam Motorcycle Club in 1924. After he retired from racing he became Editor of ‘Motorcycling’ and went on to become the first curator of the Montagu Motor Museum - forerunner to The National Motor Museum.


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F A K E Congratulations to the Malenotti fashion empire for their services to the history of British manufacturing. In an impressive feat of historical research, the Malenotti dynasty has discovered that the longdefunct British motorcycle manufacturer ‘Matchless’, whose brand they purchased in 2012, was already in the business of producing protective motorcycle clothing in the 1920s. As the born-again ‘Matchless London’ firm states in the ‘Heritage’ section of its website: “Thanks to the foresight of its entrepreneurs, Matchless was the first motorcycle company to work on rider safety, creating a department of studies where clothing was designed to protect the motorcyclist (clothing was then tested by the best riders of the time).” This impressive piece of historical research has astonished a number of enthusiasts of the old bikes, who had never previously heard of the endeavours of Matchless in this area, let alone laid their eyes upon any Matchless motorcycle clothing dating from the 1920s or 1930s. Similarly, the new historical findings have surprised those interested in the history of motorcycle protective clothing, who’d previously been focused on things like the helmet, in the apparently mistaken belief that it was more important to safety than fashionable leather attire. One of those most surprised by the new historical findings is author Bill Cakebread. Bill worked at the Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) factory that produced Matchless bikes, and has written books on the history of Matchless motorcycles and the Collier family that originally owned Matchless and AMC. Based on research to inform his new book The Matchless Colliers, Bill has had ‘direct contact with the descendants of the Collier family and access to their family archives’. Based on his research, Bill reports '...no record or memory of such clothing whatsoever’ and observes that: “It is strange that not one member of the Collier family nor any former employee has any knowledge of the

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Company's involvement in the manufacture, design or promotion of clothing of any kind. What is known of the protective clothing that they did use, e.g. crash helmets, was that it [was] bought in from outside suppliers.”

nonsensical mock-ups, featuring random photographs (some from decades later) and including no details of actual items for sale or prices. In these parts, though, the ants and cockroaches often get into the electrics, so this could be the problem.

Similarly, the Vintage Motor Cycle Club (VMCC) don’t have any records of You might think the rarity of material and Matchless motorcycle clothing archival evidence supporting the claim to catalogues in their archives. a protective clothing department at Matchless in the 1920s would have caused commentators to pause before elevating the claims of a fashion house to the realm of historical fact. Perhaps, for example, sceptical commentators might have cynically suspected that Matchless London was just inventing some tradition and authenticity that would help them sell overpriced clothing to impressionable, cashed-up fashion victims in places like London and Milan? Fortunately for British industrial history, no such over-zealous fact-checking has waylaid commentators from the process of setting the record straight. And indeed, why go through the tedious process of visiting a boring, dimly lit, silverfish infested archive (in which you won’t even find the catalogue you’re after) when you can rely on such an august source as the ‘Heritage’ section of a fashion website?

Obviously, this makes the historical research undertaken by the new owners of the Matchless brand, for uncovering what no one else knew existed, all the more ground-breaking. The ‘Heritage’ section of the Matchless London website (cited above) even includes electronic examples of the extremely rare motorcycle clothing catalogues, dated 1927 and 1928, along with the information that: ‘During the same period, Matchless developed a deep know-how of leather clothing, with specialities in clothing for motocycle [sic] racing’. Admittedly from here, the catalogues posted on the website look like

At last, some good news about our 350 ‘Cammy’ Humber. It’s now UK registered (it was repatriated from Australia in 2006) and ready to be used on the road again for the first time in many years. The recommissioning process has been fraught with difficulty, as some parts of the lubrication system were missing, and information on setting up the engine after its rebuild was hard to come by. The carburettor fitted to the bike when we acquired it

Consequently, owing to such modern and efficient data verification approaches, the revised history of Matchless as an early manufacturer of motorcycle protective clothing has already been endorsed, confirmed and enshrined across a range of sources ranging from online motorcycling and fashion sites to a Routledge publication on ‘Sport in History’. Full marks to the Malenotti history team for achieving public recognition of the glorious sartorial truth about the hallowed Matchless brand in the face of such a scarcity of evidence. Maybe future research will also reveal that Matchless bikes neither vibrated nor leaked oil? - Rod Nixon

was from a 1917 Triumph, the gearbox casing and internals were in very poor condition, and the front forks were dangerously worn. Thanks to the efforts of BMCT trustees John Kidson and Nick Jeffery, assisted by members John Walters and Chris Hurworth, the bike is ready for a little gentle road testing before taking part in the VMCC Banbury Run on June 18th, ridden by Nick Jeffery. Hopefully our next issue will report on a satisfactory conclusion!


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M U SN EE OW MMOE TMO B EB RA SR C E L O N A Another missive from Our Man in France, (or rather Spain this time): In the July 2016 issue I reviewed the Museum at Bassella in Cataluña, Northern Spain and mentioned that it was part of a

and Japan on offer. As with the Museum at Bassella, the displays are very well laid out and well lit. The individual caption boards with each exhibit are informative and there are some interesting items displayed on the walls. Being part of a Group, they can rotate their exhibits and have some temporary displays on different themes. British interest exists. In addition to the 350 Manx (left), on my visit there was a 1934 BSA J12 500cc, shown below. This compact Museum is well worth a visit if you are in Barcelona and is located at: Museo Moto Barcelona Carrer de la Palla, 1008002 Barcelona Tel. +34 933 186 584 Pedestrian street GPS: 41.383297, 2.174454

group. Another of their Museums is in the Catalonian Capital of Barcelona. The Museum is in the centre of Barcelona, just 200 metres off the famous La Rambla boulevard and very close to the Cathedral. The entrance is narrow, amongst a row of mixed shops and easily missed. On entry, you have a reception area and shop and then pass a barrier into the Museum proper. The building is a bit of a "Tardis" and clever use of panels and N Sdistinct I D display E S areas. T O partitions have created a flow,I with As you might expect, there are a lot of Spanish bikes on display, particularly understandable as Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa all originated in Barcelona. Yet, despite this, the display inventory is varied, with bikes from across Europe

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- Mike Ricketts

JOHN SURTEES CBE (11 FEBRUARY 1934 – 10 MARCH 2017) We are saddened to have to mark the passing of one of this country’s greatest motorsport personalities. John Surtees, 1964 World Champion driver and four time 500cc World Champion motorcyclist passed away in hospital last month at the age of 83. John’s achievements have been well documented elsewhere, as has the mysterious lack of a knighthood for one of our greatest achievers and ambassadors. At this year’s Race Retro there was a tribute display to the great man, featuring one of his Surtees F5000 cars alongside a replica of the Vincent Grey Flash which took him to his first race win at Aberdare Park. John was also frequently seen helping Sammy Miller open new halls of his museum (below). RIP “Grande John”.


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Rich Johnston (A657) reports: Hi, and Happy New Year, quite a variety of old bikes at the Talmag this year. The first one is Ivan Haskell one of our members from Christchurch he is riding the ex-Jack White Ariel 350 from 1931, and apart from folding footrests it’s as it was. The two side valve specials were nice and there was an Indian twin with hand change - not easy to ride! The Talmag trial is well organised event in the spirit of motorcycle trials in the 1950s and 60s. The format is the same as trials run in the golden era of large capacity four stroke machines of which most were modified road bikes. Years of running the trial this way has been vindicated by the 200 competitors and 2,000 spectators. Usually blessed with good weather, this event is a fantastic opportunity for enthusiasts and families to enjoy a step back in time to the post war heyday of motorcycle sport.

W E L C O M E Clive Jarvis Craig Chalk Nigel Ellis Michael Martin Mikey Pack Charles Middleton Dorothy Hickman Michael Hickman Roger Hammett Trevor Reeve Peter Dutton James Cook Sean Hopkins Mick Welch David Middlewick Josefa Young I N Nicholas Dyer Andrew Walton Martin Ryan Lois Clark Martin Dipper Gerrit Shaw Marta Wrigley Kay King Lorraine Horne Willow Shaw Lesley Clarke

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Andrew Bale Charlotte Bale Tracey Hunt Mark Higgs Paul Wirdnam Nick Whitfield Jackie Herring Martin Burridge Bob Fellowes Andrew Parrott John Broadley Russell Cope John Lawson Maxine Lawson Charlotte Middlewick S TPhillip O R Y H Ian Alan Collins Tony Martin Roger Coote Martin Hall Paul Jordan Roger Messum Paul Gibbinson Stuart Robson Barry Allington Paul Wood Ronald Buxton

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Graham Redrup Rob Charman Steven Beard Anthony Ward John Miller Steffan van Molendorff Gordon Smith Andrew Crome Barrie Mann Michael Durham Graham Jeffery Susan Savin Gary Thomson Alan Sachse Terry Sessions LAnne I N E Sessions Norman Green Christine Green N Shadbolt Alan Howells Yvonne Howells Mr K Orr Tony Orr Graham Kingstone Lesley Kewley Kurtis Gallagher David How

M E M B E R S Andrew Atkins John Tynan Allan Tullett Michael Turner Paul Selleck Eileen Selleck Genya Savin Steve Smith Chris Hurworth William Oetting Barry Heath Claire Onions Julian Carter Tony Hill David Cruickshank Clive Pelerin Steven Westhead Benjamin Thornton Stephen Bielby Christine Bielby Barry Winnett Paul Scrogg Bob Thomas William Istead Peter Etherington Mike Chaffey

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T H E B R I T I S H M OTO R C Y C L E C H A R I TA B L E T RU S T Registered in England No. 01445196 Registered Charity No. 509420 Registerered Office: Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore WR10 2NH UK Life President Trevor F. Wellings Trustees: I N Walden OBE (Chairman) P J Wellings T P V Barnes J F R Handley M Jackson J N Jeffery J E Kidson M Penn

The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust (BMCT) was originally formed in 1979 to facilitate the building of the National Motorcycle 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 motor cycle 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 our investments. Please direct any enquiries to the secretary, Andy Bufton, at the Registered Office address on the left.

Our affiliated museums are: Black Country Living Museum, Dudley British Motor Museum, Gaydon Brooklands Museum, Weybridge Coventry Transport Museum Dover Transport Museum Gloucester Life Museum Haynes International Motor Museum Jet Age Museum, Gloucester London Motorcycle Museum Manx Museum, Isle of Man National Motor Museum, Beaulieu Sammy Miller Museum, New Milton Stroud Museum in the Park The Tank Museum, Bovington

Secretary: Andy Bufton Tel: 01386 462524 Mob: 07754 880116 Email: info@bmct.org

www.bmct.org

Preserving the past...for the future

We’re pleased to announce that the BMCT will be in attendance at the annual revival of the historic hill climb in the grounds of the stunning Chateau Impney, near Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire, just off Junction 5 of the M5 motorway. The competitive element of the event centres around vintage and classic racing cars, but there will be a number of interesting motorcycles being demonstrated by the BMCT and also by our friends from the Brooklands Museum. BMCT members can get discounted entry, too. Just quote code BMCT17 when ordering tickets on line or over the phone to get 10% off!

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

BMCT News - Issue 36  

Scooter Exhibition - Readhead - John Surtees - Nougier Brothers - Fake History - Bristol Classic Show - Chateau Impney Hill Climb

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