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BMCT News Newsletter of The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust

June 2010

STAFFORD CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE SHOW Trustees Peter Wellings (Chairman) Steve Bagley Paul Barnes John Handley Mike Jackson John Kidson Ian Walden OBE Registered Office and Administration Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore WR10 2NH

The 30th annual Classic Motorcycle Show at Stafford saw vast numbers of enthusiasts flock to the County Showground for a show that yet again had something for everyone. The mostly fine weather made it easier on the autojumblers out in the elements, while inside the halls the quality of the club stands was superb. Best of them all was the display mounted by the Vintage Motor Scooter Club (right) which was an amazingly detailed replica of a sixties scooter shop, while elsewhere

Registered Charity No. 509420 Registered in England Company No. 01445196 Contact details Tel: 01386 462524 Mob: 07754 880116 E-mail: info@bmct.org


there were oddities like this Killeen (above) with its Velocette Viceroy mechanicals and retractable stabilisers. The

Inside this issue: Stafford Show


Bonhams Stafford Auction


AJS Centenary




Diary Dates


Banbury Run


Coventry to Brighton Run


Members’ Page


Obituary - C E Allen 6

VMCC stand featured a host of interesting machinery, like this Grindlay-Peerless JAP (above) ridden by J D Potts in the 1929 Senior TT. First prize in the Concours competition was taken by a beautifully restored Vincent Black Shadow, but the DMW 197cc trials (below) deservedly took the award for best competi-

t i on m ac hi ne. Made i n Wolverhampton, it is currently owned by the son of Harold Nock, who was Works Manager of DMW. Ivan Rhodes latest restoration made its debut at Stafford - Whiffling Clara (below) is a supercharged KTT which was ridden by Les Archer at Brooklands, and was ridden twice in the TT, by JJ Lind and Harold Willis. Only just finished in time for the show, the bike

had yet to be run, but is a testament to the engineering skills of those who worked on its restoration, not least the enthusiasts who made the complete supercharger from scratch. Look out for the story of the restoration in a future BMCT News. Outside the halls were the usual selection of oddities

for sale, including this nicely executed Cagiva/Triumph 500 (above) and an intriguing special (below) with a Honda 750 four engine shoehorned into a Norton Featherbed frame.

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“the technologically eccentric


extremely rare 1921 Wooler 2¾hp Model B (below) sold to

With 266 machines on offer, Bonhams auction at The International Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford on 25th April was the largest for many years and equally successful: 85% of lots selling for a premium-inclusive total of £1.6 million. The customary eclectic mix of machines encompassed almost the entire span of motorcycle development, ranging from the circa 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller to the 2008 MartinTriumph. Despite travel difficulties resulting from the volcanic eruption in Iceland, buyers from all over the world packed the saleroom on the day.

unrestored machines, whatever their condition. Purchased by its late owner in 1956, the 1935 AJS 500cc Model 10 sold for £16,675 – almost double the top estimate – while the technologically eccentric and extremely rare 1921 Wooler 2¾hp Model B – known as the 'Flying Banana' on account of its fuel tank's shape and colour – sold to The Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum for £14,950. Less uncommon but considerably more useable, the 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100 v-twin on offer (below) turned in the sale's best result. A restored, 'matching numbers'

Manufactured in Germany, the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller (below)

The Sammy Miller M o t o r c y c l e Museum


£14,950. “

is of the utmost historical significance as the first powered two-wheeler to enter series production, and is the first such vehicle to which the name 'motorcycle' was ever applied. The 'barn find' example offered had been in the ownership of the vendor's family in the USA since at least the early 1930s, which is when it last ran. Presented in original, unrestored condition, this wonderful machine returned home, selling to a private collector in Germany for £86,200. Other 'barn finds' turned in some of the sale's most notable results, confirming the continuing healthy demand for original,

example that had been in its late owner's possession for 40 years, the machine had been test run occasionally but not licensed for the road since 1959. The Brough sold to a UK private collector for £157,700 against a top estimate

This sale was also unusual for its strong Velocette representation, there being no fewer than 17 of the Hall Green marque's machines on offer. Top seller among the Velos was the 1967 Venom Thruxton 500cc Production Racing Motorcycle that incorporated the engine from Neil Kelly's TT-winning machine, which sold for £21,850, while the above-estimate £10,350 fetched by the 1947 350cc KSS MkII, roughly double what it would have made five years ago, confirmed the increasing demand for good e xam pl es of V el oc et t e' s charismatic 'cammy' roadsters. A m o n g t h e m em o r a b i l i a highlights, the collection of competition trophies amassed by the late Marjorie Cottle, Britain's most famous lady motorcyclist of the inter-war years, sold for £1,955.

Top selling veteran was this 6hp Zenith-JAP

100 YEARS OF AJS August 1910 saw the launch of the first „True‟ AJS with both cycle parts and engine manufactured by the Stevens family having formed the A J Stevens & Co Ltd (AJS) in November 1909. The AJS & Matchless Owners Club is promoting a series of events throughout 2010 to mark the centenary. The key event is a run for AJS Machines spread over two days on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th July linking Wolverhampton, the birthplace of AJS, to Plumstead in London the final manufacturing base in the „Classic‟ period. The run will be escorted by Club members throughout the route and can be

of £130,000. An older British vtwin - the 1913 Zenith-JAP 6hp forming part of the Basil Keys Collection - achieved the best result among the Veterans, selling for £20,125.

joined at any of the „Section Changeover Points‟ throughout the route. The run will end with a display at the old Woolwich Arsenal site opposite the former AMC Factory in Plumstead on Sunday 4th July. Events on the Sunday will include demonstration runs featuring a number of famous sporting products of Plumstead. Appearances by a series of special guests closely associated with the models through the years including runs on machines that made them famous. In addition a display – both static and running, of at least one machine from every year of AJS production throughout the 100 Years

VINCE COTTINGHAM We are sad to report the death at the age of 67 of a long standing BMCT member, Vince Cottingham of Finchampstead. A real enthusiast, Vince was an active member of the Bexleyheath and District MCC, and, although not in the best of health, he was still competing as recently as 2007 when won the Girder Fork class of the Jack Thompson British Bike Trial on his 350cc Matchless. Our condolences go to Vince‟s family and friends.

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June 2010

MARTINSYDE CONSERVATION CONTINUES Neil Sinclair from the Brooklands still “protect the rims” no one Museum sends this report: really wanted to ride it with old hard tyres, the museum policy is Martinsyde, a company local to to keep bikes in a running Brooklands Museum, Surrey, condition so they can be used on was founded in 1908 as an event days. We have also aircraft manufacturer and by the remade some control cables end of WW1 was Britain's third serviced the wheel bearing, biggest plane producer. After the brakes and other chassis war, like others in the aircraft components. industry, they went on to produce motorcycles. Starting We had left the engine alone, as with these Newman V twin at first glance it seemed to be engines they also produced OK, it was even a first kick smaller capacity machines and starter once the clutch had been had some success in races at adjusted and the lubrication Brooklands. A fire at the works in system checked. But with a 1922 added to financial closer look we decided that there problems and production ceased was far too much oil and smoke in 1923. BAT motorcycles coming out of the valve guides bought up the surplus parts and and maybe valves should not went on to build a few “BAT wobble so much as they go up Martinsydes”. In 2006 the BMCT and down? So the team of acquired this 1920 model at volunteers got to work on it. auction for display at Brooklands Barrels off, valves out and a full Museum. inspection; the highlights included about 60”thou (1.5mm) of wear on some valve stems with similar wear on the guides, the gudgeon pins are located by phosphor bronze pads, or as in this case old brass bolts! The pistons and barrels were in good condition so most of our work has been centred on the valve assemblies. Brooklands volunteers Dick Standing, Neil Sinclair and John Bottomley with the BMCT’s Martinsyde in 2006.

The motorcycle volunteers at Brooklands Museum now have the rolling chassis of the Martinsyde up to standard. With some financial help from the BMCT we had the forks refurbished and straightened and purchased a set of tyres and inner tubes for the bike. While the old ones did

The front cylinder in now refurbished and the rear cylinder is almost done, so we are looking forward to a smoke free (well almost) ride soon. All the engineering work has been carried out by volunteers in the motorcycle section. While Brooklands Museum may be a big Museum in its physical size, (not may museums have space


to display 5 commercial airliners along with all the other car and motorcycle exhibits), there is no team of paid restorers, but many teams of skilled and dedicated volunteers. To find out more visit the museum‟s website at www.brooklandsmuseum.com

MARTINSYDE FRONT CYLINDER RECONDITIONED. New valve guides. Inlet & exhaust, New exhaust valve retainer. New rocker arm spindle. New inlet valve drilled for retainer pin. New spacer for inlet manifold.

The BMCT is extremely grateful to the volunteers of the Brooklands Museum for the work they are undertaking on our behalf to return the Martinsyde to good running order Replacement parts: Inlet valves & guides. spacers (Inlet manifold), exhaust valve guides, gudgeon pin end caps, rocker spindles, exhaust valve retainers

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY June 19th Banbury Run Auction, Bonhams Salerooms, Banbury Road, Kidlington June 20th VMCC Banbury Run, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwick July 4th Thunderbird Day at the London Motorcycle Museum, Greenford AJS 100th Anniversary, Woolwich Arsenal, London July 9th-11th VMCC Festival of 1,000 Bikes, Mallory Park, Leics. July 25th Festival of Black Country Vehicles, Black Country Museum, Dudley August 8th Graham Walker Memorial Run, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

The corporate members of the BMCT gathered at the Coventry Transport Museum in October to receive the 2009 annual report and accounts are (l to r, standing) Trevor Wellings, Sammy Miller, Paul Barnes, Steve Bagley, Chris Oliver (guest), Mike Jackson, Ian Walden, and (seated) John Kidson, Peter Wellings (Chairman), Graham Oxenbury and Andy Bufton. The annual report will soon be available to read on line at www.bmct.org

August 22nd Jeff Clew Memorial Run, Haynes International Motor Museum August 29th All Day Breakfast at the London Motorcycle Museum, Greenford

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IMPORTANT NOTICE Please remember that your BMCT card will not guarantee free entry to an affiliated

The 62nd VMCC Banbury Run will take place on Sunday 20th June 2010, starting once more from the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon, near Warwick. The format of the 62nd “run” will be similar to 2009 but with new routes and checkpoints to challenge the riders. Indeed, with 600 entrants the VMCC Banbury Run is the biggest gathering & road run in the world for machines manufactured before 1931. Operating over 3 different routes which all converge back on Gaydon the Banbury Run caters for those who wish to enter a timed event or those just enjoying the thrill of riding with so many other Vintage, Veteran & Pioneer bikes. Among the huge entry are BMCT members Ivan Rhodes (10, ex - Alec Bennett 1928 TT winning works Velocette KSS) , Sammy Miller (219, 1919 680cc Brough), Chris Oliver (403, 1927

museum if they are running a special event on the day of your visit. If in doubt please check before travelling.

Zenith 680cc) and Richard Duffin (420, 1926 Burney 680cc). The famous Banbury Run autojumble is always a favourite as one of the best sources of Veteran & Vintage Motorcycle spares. This is the third year that Gaydon has hosted the Banbury, and as in 2009 parking is close by the main entrance to the site which allows those visiting the autojumble to carry their purchases back to their vehicles

without too much of a hike! Following on from the enormous success of the first auction run in conjunction with the event Bonhams are having a sale of Pioneer, Veteran and Vintage Motorcycle‟s the day before the “run” on Sat 19th July 2010. The venue for the auction will be Bonhams prestigious Saleroom at Banbury Rd, Shipton on Cherwell, Kidlington, Nr. Oxford.

Expect scenes like this at Gaydon as 600 entrants prepare to start the Banbury Run

COVENTRY TO BRIGHTON RUN The weekend of 24th-25th April saw the running of the 49th VMCC Coventry to Brighton Run, organized by the Warwickshire Section‟s Ian and Kathy Alexander. Riding his Vincent Black Shadow/Steib combination with son James in the chair, this was Ian‟s 43rd consecutive time on the event, having started at

Not all Vincents are black! A 1930 Radco takes the start

(L to R) Ian Alexander, Peter Wellings and the Lord Mayor of Coventry address the competitors before the start.

provided a welcome breakfast for the 58 competitors before they were flagged away by Coventry‟s Lord Mayor on their journey to Brighton. As is customary the rider of the oldest machine in the event, Brian

Glover on a 1926 Indian Scout, carried a letter of greeting from the Mayor to his opposite number in Brighton. After a presentation of awards and an overnight stay in Brighton the entrants made their way home on Sunday.

A 1926 BSA is flagged away

the tender age of seven on the pillion of his father‟s 1928 HRD, complete with wooden blocks on the footrests in order for his short legs to reach! For once blessed with fine weather, the start was at Coventry Transport Museum, where the BMCT again

A delightful Triumph twin waits to start the journey to Brighton

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June 2010

MEMBERS’ PAGE BADGE ENGINEERING Member No. A258, Richard Glen writes: I enclose two photographs which I think may be of interest. A photo of my 1938 350cc AJS Silver Streak and a picture from Eltham Motor Club of a similar machine, a 350cc Matchless taken in 1940. The action shot depicts a trial or hill climb event. The normal six inch chrome headlamp has been removed and replaced with a small sidelight, a legal requirement during the blackout. How the rider got by the scrutineers is surprising, but he certainly got the bike in full flight. Possibly he was spectating with his girlfriend, got carried away and joined in!

NEW MEMBERS We welcome the following new members and supporters of our cause: Barry Coleman, Northampton

It takes me back to my teens in the nineteen fifties, we would sometimes go to the practice days at Silverstone to see Bob McIntyre and Geoff Duke practicing for the forthcoming race. Once the training session had finished and the works teams were packing up we would nip out on the circuit and do a few laps before being chased off!

Terry Bailey, Ashford Paul Clarke, Barnsley Norman Crump, Kidderminster Michael Stuart, Keynsham M. Hawkins, Swindon Terry Hughes, Romsey Andrew Atkins, Minehead Robert Wyse-Polson, Christchurch Michael Johnson, Christchurch Steve Woodland, Southampton Merv Forse, Exeter Adrian Paddington, Alresford Giovanni Orlando, Surrey Steve Bevell, Basingstoke Geoff Robe, Tadley


David Parish, Kent Neil Sinclair sent in these unusual images of his 1930 Model 2 350cc side valve New Imperial, taken at the 2008 War and Peace Show held at Paddock Wood, in Kent. Aviation enthusiasts among you will be pleased to know that the “crashed” Spitfire was in fact a replica, part of a display put on for the event by the East of England Tank Museum, and that no aircraft or bikes were harmed in the staging of this scene! Established in the late 19th century, New Imperial were a bicycle manufacturer who diversified into motorcycles in 1911. They occupied three factories in Birmingham, the largest being on a six acre site in Hall Green. Financial problems saw the firm close in 1940.

The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore United Kingdom Phone: 01386 462524 Mobile: 07754 880116 E-mail: info@bmct.org

Who are we…? The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust was originally founded in 1979 as a means of raising funds to establish what was to become the National Motorcycle Museum at Bickenhill, near Birmingham. By 1995 the museum was well established as a successful commercial venture, and it and the charity became separate organisations. A new board of trustees was appointed to manage the assets of the BMCT as it pursues its objective to preserve and promote British motorcycle engineering heritage. Our funding comes from bequests, donations, membership fees and interest on our reserves. We have an expanding network of affiliated museums that we assist with projects, and we also own a growing collection of rare and unusual machines which can be seen on display at various locations throughout the country. Our members enjoy free entry to all our affiliated museums for the very reasonable sum of £20 a year. To enquire about membership or to find out about how you can help the trust through a donation or bequest, please contact Andy Bufton at the address on the left.

Preserving the past...for the future


We are saddened to report the death of the catalyst for the formation of a „Vintage VMCC Founder Charles Edmund “Titch” Motor Cycle Club‟ –the great stimulus being the Allen OBE, BEM on Thursday 18/03/2010. series of articles on the adventures of tracking down and acquiring „old bikes‟ written by CapWhere „Historic Motorcycles are discussed, the tain Jim Hall in the magazine” The Motor Vintage Motor Cycle Club and the name Cycle” The idea was Jim‟s but it was the work of Charles Edmund „Titch‟ Allen are sure to be of Titch and Jess that got the club off the drawn into the conversation. This extraordi- ground with the historic inaugural meeting on nary man was a strong influence on the growth the Hog‟s Back on April 28th 1946. The ideals and the development of the „old „bike‟ Titch envisaged were those of a sporting club movement, not only in this country but also where sporting, historic motorcycles would be throughout the world. used in competition – an ideal that came to be Born in May 1915 in rural Nottinghamshire, frustrated. Titch claimed to have been born with oily It was at this time that Titch began his life-long fingers and that his favourite plaything at the love affair with the Brough Superior marque age of two was a hammer. Totally negative and when he made a complete career change, experiences with father‟s milk float horse moving into the world of motorcycling as a sparked off an interest in two-wheeled sales representative for Jim Ferriday, the transport that soon transferred to his first irrepressible owner of the „Feridax‟ motorcycle motorcycle when he was twelve years old, a accessories company, which led to all kinds of two-stroke „Clyno‟ in the form of a box of bits. adventures and experiences –and many opporDespite a grammar school education at tunities to enlarge and enrich his collection of Loughborough, he left school at 16 with no real motorcycles, qualifications other than a „gift for the written His involvement with the emerging and word‟ an attribute that has never deserted him developing Vintage Motor Cycle Club was, at – along with his „gift for the spoken word‟. His times, a tempestuous affair, with numerous ambitious and forceful Mother secured a confrontations with equally strong-minded position for him as a trainee reporter on the individuals at various stages of the Club‟s local paper. development. Titch admitted that his singular His experiences and the contacts made during devotion to old motorcycles and motorcycling those years included a succession of lead to the breakdown of his marriage and thoroughly dreadful cars and motorcycles and subsequent separation from Jess. which lead indirectly to his meeting and There was tragedy in the loss of Roger, his marrying Jess in November 1937 and be- eldest son, in a freak road-racing incident in coming deeply involved with the resurrection of the Isle of Man in 1992 and then to lose the Loughborough Motor Cycle Club Barbara, his eldest daughter, to cancer in As did many other motorcyclists, Titch 2005. Over the years Titch had lost many close responded to the appeals for dispatch riders in friends and associates through motorcycle the motorcycling magazines the „Blue‟un‟ and related accidents, but to many who were close the „Green„un‟ and signed up to the “Motor to him, it seemed as if the death of Roger left a Cyclist‟s Army Register” and after many trials permanent scar from which he never really and tribulations actually served as a DR recovered. concluding the war as a sergeant and with the Titch‟s relationship with his wife was back on BEM. friendly terms for the latter period of her life His obsession with motorcycles never left him before she succumbed to terminal cancer in in these tempestuous times and he claimed 2002. that the acquisition of a 1930 Scott in 1942 was

Recognition of his contribution to Motor Cycle Heritage came in the form of an OBE in 2004. The presentation ceremony took place, most appropriately, at Donington Park - a racing venue he had been associated with for 75 years Reluctant to give up „competitive‟ motorcycling, nevertheless, Titch retired, first from road racing and finally from sidecar racing on „the grass‟. His interest and enthusiasm never dimmed, however and a „posing‟ sidecar outfit was prepared for special occasions – of which the most celebrated must have been his appearance in the Past Masters‟ Parade at the revival of the Festival of 1000 „bikes in 2006 at the age of 91. Never afraid to voice his opinions on Vintage motorcycles and motorcycling anywhere and at any time, he was frequently controversial both within the Vintage Motor Cycle Club and elsewhere. Sometimes he was proved to be wrong, on other occasions to have been correct. But his dedication could never be questioned. There can have been very few people who have been able to indulge a life-long obsession to the full whilst earning a living and raising a family and leaving behind a remarkable legacy to remember him by. Obituary – C E Allen OBE, BEM: 06/05/1915 – 18/03/2010.

Edited and published by Matchless Management Services, Holly Cottage, Bishampton, Pershore, WR10 2NH

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BMCT News Summer 2010  

Stafford Show report

BMCT News Summer 2010  

Stafford Show report

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