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Issue 27

June 2014

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 Jet Age Museum Opening Haynes Museum Makeover Revealed The Motorcycle Story at Beaulieu Ernie Lyons Tony Benn Daytona Win for Triumph CWS Federal Friends Reunited


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ne of the more unexpected sights at the Official Opening of Gloucester’s Jet Age Museum on May 10th was the arrival of a horde of motor scooters ridden by men in bowler hats preceded by a gentleman whose own machine looked vaguely like those following, but a little bit older. This was in fact the grand arrival of the Unibus, an early motor scooter made by the Gloster Aircraft Company in the early 1920s as they diversified after the First World War. One of only three left in the world (the other two are in Italy) it has been restored to pristine running order by Mike Webster, who has generously given the machine on long term loan to the museum, where it will be displayed in a custom built case funded by the BMCT. Designed by Harold Boultbee and marketed as “the car on two wheels”, the Unibus motor scooter was a feat of engineering. Incorporating new innovations and technology, it was decades ahead of its time but the complexity led to an eye-watering price of 95 guineas, equivalent to around £25,000 at today's prices. Sales never materialised and only around 15 are thought to have been produced.

Photo courtesy of Rich Clarke The Unibus arrives at the Jet Age Museum ridden by restorer and owner Mike Webster, escorted by members of the Cheltenham Vespa Club. Mike is attired in the type of dress Unibus featured in their advertising (inset), hoping to attract City gents to their product.

The new museum is the result of years of effort by a dedicated group of volunteers since their aircraft collection lost its previous home in 2000. The new building on the edge of Gloucestershire Airport was officially opened by Captain Eric Brown, a former Royal Navy pilot who at 95 is the last survivor of those brave men who flew Britain’s first jet aircraft, the Gloster E28/39. The superb Jet Age Museum can be found at Meteor Business Park, Cheltenham Road East, Gloucester GL2 9QL. It’s open at weekends and Bank Holidays, admission is free, and there is free parking, a café and a shop. Their phone number is 01452 260078.

The Unibus safely tucked away in the custom built display cabinet funded by the BMCT

Captain Eric Brown in front of a replica of the Gloster E28/39 that he once flew.

An aerial view of the Jet Age Museum (in the foreground) on Opening Day

Front cover photo: One of the imaginative displays in the new “Story of the Motorcycle” gallery at Beaulieu. See p. 4-5


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nder cloudless skies early in April, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP with Founder John H Haynes OBE cut the ribbon to fully re-open the Haynes International Motor Museum after its two year facelift. Originally built on the site of an old sawmill in Sparkford, near Yeovil, the museum first opened its doors in July 1985 with 33 cars donated by the founder. The museum was established as a charitable trust to ensure it remained a nationally owned collection that could be enjoyed by enthusiasts, families, tourists and schools alike. With the addition of a British motorcycle hall (which was funded by the BMCT) and an ever growing collection of motor cars, the museum has grown over the years, and was bursting at the seams. Following a £5m investment the museum now boasts a collection of over 400 cars and motorcycles from all over the world, dating from 1885 to the present day. Most of them are in

working order and are exercised regularly on the adjacent museum test track. The new Motorcycle Mezzanine features a display of iconic bikes, together with the

The new Motorcycle Mezzanine is home to the BMCT’s Brough Superior SS80 with Petrol Tube sidecar and our New Hudson 4½ hp Standard Combination.

The superbly interpreted Forshaw Speedway Collection is a must see, featuring many rare speedway bikes

stunning Forshaw Speedway Collection. Further exciting developments planned include a permanent exhibition of the BMCT’s important British Motor Scooter Collection which is due to open in the Spring of 2015.

Just inside the museum is this pioneer, a 1901 Ormonde, made in West London with a Belgian Kelecom engine mounted under the saddle.

The comfortable new Café 750 is just off the main entrance foyer, and is the perfect place to relax and recharge the batteries!


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he BMCT is proud to be a major contributor to the funding of a Motorcycle Sport. Whether it is on road, track or grass, the brand new exhibition at the National Motor Museum – “The world of motorcycle sport was and continues to be a fast and Motorcycle Story”. glamorous one. Motorcycles have been used in competitive events almost since they were invented. This area of the Motorcycle Story The Motorcycle Story immerses the visitor in a ride through has exhibits from Isle of Man TT races, Moto GP, Motocross, Trials motorcycling history and the human quest for freedom, individuality and Grasstrack. and the desire to win. For the first time, machines are displayed in their historical and cultural context; tying technological develop- Performance Bikes. From a 1970 Honda CB750 KO, Honda's ments to changing trends in fashion, style and sport. first four-cylinder road bike, to a 2007 Yamaha YZF-R6, voted 2006 bike of the year by Bike Magazine, see some fine examples of Supporting artefacts include clothing worn and trophies won by performance motorcycles. sporting greats in displays which cover varied racing disciplines, as Motorcycling Icons well as road safety, British 'Mods and Rockers' youth culture of the Wall of Fame. Over 1950s and 60s and the Ace Café. 7,000 public votes Central to the new display is the Motorcycling Icons Wall of Fame. A were cast between gallery featuring the top twenty riders as voted for by the public. February and April Over 7,000 votes were cast, both online and at motorcycling events 2014 to establish across the South of England. Britain's official Top Twenty Motorcycling The Motorcycle Story covers key periods in the evolution of Icons. BMCT member motorcycling: Sammy Miller MBE, who figures in the top Early Years. By 1914 there were around 200 British motorcycle 20, helped to unveil the manufacturers. This area of the Motorcycle Story includes some of wall with ladies trials the earliest examples of motorcycles which evolved from the bicycle Sammy Miller and Becky Cook reveal the Wall of Fame champion Becky Cook. craze of the 1890s including a BAT 5/6hp with a wicker sidecar . The Meccano Bike. In an episode of James May’s Toy Stories, In Service. Since its creation, the motorcycle has been used in ‘The Motorcycle Diary’, he built a full-size road-legal motorbike and a wide range of important jobs, from delivering telegrams for the sidecar out of Meccano! The bike used fifteen thousand pieces of Post Office, as roadside patrols for the AA and RAC, serving in the Meccano and on it May and his passenger, Oz Clarke, completed a armed forces in two World Wars to their use today across the lap of the famous Isle of Man TT circuit – eventually. emergency services. The Motorcycle Story raises the profile of motorcycles at the Rock 'n' Roll Years. During the 1950s and 1960s, motorbikes National Motor Museum to new heights and is sure to prove a star remained an economic form of personal transport for many. The attraction. It represents the culmination of much work by the period saw a growth in popularity of the scooter. Influenced by National Motor Museum and the BMCT and we are delighted to movies and popular music, youth culture in Britain adopted either have been involved with the project which our members can of motorcycles or motor scooters as their preferred method of course visit free of charge. transport.

Murray Walker OBE, Sammy Miller MBE, The Hon Ralph Montagu and Becky Cook cut the ribbon to open The Motorcycle Story

The BMCT’s display cabinet gives visitors an insight into who we are and what we do

The 1950s and 1960s section features, amongst others, models from Norton, Ariel, Velocette, BMW and BSA


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Story Opens at Beaulieu

This enormous display cabinet is an integral part of the Motorcycle Story and contains many rare items that have been painstakingly restored by the Beaulieu Collections Centre. The majority of these objects are now on display for the very first time. Inset is part of the Rock ‘n Roll Years section showcasing the most popular motor scooters of the time and fronted by the BSA Sunbeam that was restored with grant aid from the BMCT.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu flanked by BMCT trustees John Kidson, Mike Jackson, Peter Wellings and chairman Ian Walden OBE

Many of the display areas, like this one, have machines raised and inclined to allow easier and better viewing


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rnie Lyons has passed away just short of his 100th birthday. Ernie will forever be remembered for his victory in the 1946 Senior Manx Grand Prix on a Triumph twin, vanquishing the Norton mounted hot favourite, Ken Bills. The weather forecast was for wet conditions, prompting the Lyons’ team to fit a touring style front mudguard in place of the abbreviated racing pattern. It was clever foresight, and was a contributing factor in his first place in the diabolical conditions that prevailed. His win had the effect of forcing Triumph to somewhat reluctantly market a replica of Lyons’s machine. It eventually emerged in 1948 as the Triumph Grand Prix, a fully-fledged racer that was available for the private entrant. Ernie had one other notable win with the Triumph - in October 1946 he beat the great Raymond Mays et al to take FTD at the famous Shelsley Walsh hillclimb. Ernie Lyons pictured with his 500cc Triumph twin at the 1946 Manx Grand Prix

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Tony Benn gets stuck into John Rosamond’s book about the Triumph Co-op

MCT member John Rosamond writes: “It is with great sadness that I learned that 88 year old Tony Benn had passed away peacefully in his sleep on 14th March 2014, his family at his bedside. Without Tony Benn's total support as Labour Government Secretary of State for Industry, the Meriden Co-op would never have had the chance to demonstrate what a totally committed group of British workers could achieve with the support of a true conviction politician. Tony not only believed in the potential and commitment of the Triumph Meriden workforce, but as a Minister of State invested in them! The result of this belief and investment was that Triumph

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enthusiasts across the world were provided with new classic Triumph twin cylinder motorcycles that would otherwise not have seen the light of day. All who knew Tony Benn and those who only knew of the massive contribution he had made during his very active 50 years in British socialist political life, recognized that his was not the normal politicians' political life. He certainly did not mellow or become less militant regarding the socialist principles he had always believed in, and as the years passed by he became more committed and principled not less. He will be sadly missed.”

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n 15th March Danny Eslick gave Triumph their first win in the Daytona 200 since Gary Nixon won the prestigious American race for them 47 years ago. Eslick, from Oklahoma, led away from pole position on his 675 Daytona and stayed in the lead for much of the afternoon, taking the win by just over 10 seconds from Yamaha-mounted Jake Gagne. To rub salt in the wounds of the previously dominant Japanese factories, there were four of the Hinckley made Triumph 675s in the top ten at the end of the gruelling race.


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Stephen Hartley kindly sent us the interesting story of his CWS Federal:

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he Co-operative Wholesale Society, or CWS, formed in 1863. In 1873 they expanded into manufacturing making 4-stroke 'Federation' motorcycles between 1918 and 1937 at the Federal Works in Tyseley, Birmingham. From 1921-29 the CWS also manufactured 2stroke 'Federal' motorcycles at Tyseley. This machine was a lightweight version of the 'Federation'. The CWS marque was distinct from Polish manufacturer C.W.S. (Centraine Warsztaty Samochodowe) which manufactured cars and motorcycles from 1918. In July 1922 this Federal was first registered as 'AJ 8519' in North Riding, Yorkshire. It has the original frame, petrol tank and is powered by a Villiers Mark V 269cc engine with 2-speed Albion

gearbox. The machine is the standard 'push-start' variant - see photo of the original sales brochure for the full specification and options. The Victorian hamlet of 'Erimus' used to sit alongside Stockton racecourse. My grandad, John 'Jack' Russell (Villiers Agent, Thornaby-on-Tees), heard from one of his many friends that the terrace was to be cleared for post war redevelopment. In 1957/8 Jack went for a look and found the Federal and other motorcycle parts in boxes in a derelict house or shed. I guess that you could call it a 'barn find.' Jack and his good friend Malcolm 'Mac' McArthur collected the find in a box sidecar and took it back to Jack's cycle shop in Mandale Rd, Thornaby where it went into the cellar. About 10 years later the Federal surfaced and Mac took it away to rebuild in his garage. The machine was virtually complete except for the clutch adjusting mechanism, which Mac remade. The engine was stripped, cleaned and rebuilt, the frame wheels and

mudguards refinished with stove enamel, and the nickel parts replated. Mac photographed the tank artwork and sent it away for repainting. The 'Gough' leather saddle was in a sorry state and had to be rebuilt. It took about a year to restore the Federal to running order. Mac rode the machine in a one or two rallies and showed the machine at Redcar where it attracted attention. In 1980 Jack sadly

died and the Federal went into storage with Dorothy Russell (widow) and then Ian Instone (son-in-law); it has been in the family ever since. In 2008 the Federal underwent some minor repairs - a new tyre and re-lined brakes - at (Russell) Armstrong's Motorcycles in Middlesbrough and was issued with an MOT. A year later the registration plate was changed to 'BF 5047.' In March 2014 the Federal moved to its new home in Bedfordshire for cleaning and restoration. The CWS Federal remains in the family and is one of five machines that are still known to exist. Stephen has also started a Facebook page to chart his restoration: https://www.facebook.com/pages/VintageCWS-Federal-Motorcycle-1922Restoration/461811350615197

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12 July Triumph Live 2014, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon 20 July VMCC Founders Day, Stanford Hall, Lutterworth 20 July Cotton 100th Anniversary, Brooklands Museum, Surrey

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N e w M e m b e r s Welcome to the following new members and supporters of our cause: Stephen Smith, Bromsgrove Stephen Hartley, Ampthill Shaw Beattie, Nailsea Nicola Beattie, Nailsea Ian Poskett, Brockley Mary Poskett, Brockley Peter Wilson, Weymouth Rob Woodfoerd, Ware S. Festorazzi, High Wycombe Mark Yates, St. Albans Ian Wilson, Creekmoor Debbie Wilson, Creekmoor Tess Wilkinson, Northleach Robert Dean, Solihull Susan Winson, Arundel Julia Dyson, Shoreham-by-Sea Graham Rashleigh, Weymouth Nigel Young, Chippenham Jim Davison, Malvern Arthur Reid, Reading Arthur Shepherd, Bloxham Ronald Festorazzi, High Wycombe Geoffrey Belcher, New Malden Paul Simpson, Weymouth Ian Nunn, Manningtree Jacqueline Nunn, Manningtree Charles Nelson, Binfield Tim Siggs, Barton-on-Sea C. Coombs, Lymington Arkadiusz Szlaszynski, Bishop’s Stortford Lin Rowe, Lymington Alf Bateson, Hook Christine Bateson, Hook Ray Boulton, Blandford Forum Ann Boulton, Blandford Forum Frank Hosford, Feltham Brian Le Cornu, Addlestone Alan Stringer, West Byfleet

Our apologies to Sarah Orton of Gloucester Folk Museum for making her nearly invisible in the photo we printed in issue 26. So here’s a better one of the lady herself with John Kidson and Councillor Colin Organ. And we don’t want any complaints about not being able to see all of the bike, thank you!

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26 July Kempton Bike Jumble, Kempton Park Racecourse 27 July South of England Classic Superbike Show, Ardingly, W. Sussex 24 August The Sammy Miller Run, Sammy Miller Museum


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The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust Registered in England No. 01445196 Registered Charity No. 509420 Registerered Office: Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore WR10 2NH

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here was hardly a dry eye in the house on the opening day of April’s Carole Nash Classic MotorCycle Show at Stafford, when BMCT member Colin Seeley unexpectedly came face to face with his father’s old Series A Vincent Rapide, which he hadn’t set eyes on in years. Colin actually passed his test on the bike (below right) which has just emerged from an expert twelve year restoration at the hands of Glyn Johnson (on the right above, with Colin). ProBike Art won Best Trade stand at the show for their display which featured the Vincent. More photos from the Stafford Show next time.

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

Preserving the past...for the future www.bmct.org

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ne reason for the high price of the Unibus was its well engineered but costly to make and complex rear suspension layout (above). Other aircraft makers diversified into motor scooters post World War 1 - at Brooklands in 1919 Sopwiths were collaborating with ABC to produce the Skootamota, a rather more rudimentary design with fully exposed engine, but equipped with lighting and horn. There was no compartment for luggage, and weather protection was somewhat lacking compared to the futuristic Unibus. The Skootamota seen here (above right) was being offered by Bonhams at their Banbury Run sale in June. In the mid-1920s AVRO had a go with their 2½ hp Monocar (right) featuring more weather protection and a lower, more car-like, riding position. A V Roe himself used a prototype as his personal transport for many thousands of miles, but it never made it into production. Published by Matchless Management Services, Holly Cottage, Main Street, Bishampton, Pershore WR10 2NH

BMCT News Summer 2014  

New motorcycle gallery at Beaulieu, Jet Age Museum opens

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