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Issue 33

March 2016

NEWSLETTER OF THE BRITISH MOTORCYCLE CHARITABLE TRUST

London Motorcycle Museum The British Motor Museum Cosworth Challenge MusĂŠe Andre Baster Show Reports British Scooter Collection New Brough Superior


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s most enthusiasts know, at one time London boasted a large number of motorcycle manufacturers - right into the 1960’s - prior to the final demise of the whole British bike industry. Now though, the UK’s capital city is just home to the London Motorcycle Museum which houses nearly 200 examples of the once-dominant British bike industry and brings British motorcycle history alive. Located in West London in an historic building - close to the A40 and many of those pioneer manufacturers premises and not to mention the famous Ace café - it

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considerable success at home and abroad. When Meriden closed in 1983, along with the remaining four dealers, Bill formed Lectra Manufacturing to ensure a reliable source of Triumph spares. Employing ex-Meriden personnel, they sourced parts from the original suppliers and supplied the trade here and in the USA until demand dropped and the company had to fold. Bill was then appointed a Norton Rotary dealer and had a few profitable years servicing fleets owned by the MOD, the AA and the BBC to name a few. Obviously Norton too eventually folded and he took up the Royal Enfield

collection is now heavily augmented by many other loan machines from collectors and donated bikes, and, while the Triumph marque dominates, many other once everyday machines can be found gracing its ever changing displays. It is well worth a trip to see prototypes that are not found elsewhere displayed in a period, atmospheric building that is a museum and not a mausoleum. It would be nice to say that we had reached the end of the story but, history has a habit of repeating itself as the future of the Museum is in doubt after its landlord, Ealing

Bill Crosby, LMM Founder

traces the history of two (and three) wheels and, thanks to a large number of totally unique prototypes, also shows what might have been. Like so many others the museum is the result of one man’s drive and determination, and it could be argued obsession in collecting Triumph machines. Bill Crosby is perhaps better known as the proprietor of Reg Allen (London), but he is also the founder of the London Motorcycle Museum and, despite being in his eighties, still the driving force. Many have asked how the museum came about and it is a long and complicated story and stems from Bill having lost a leg in a motorcycle accident after having completed his National Service. Due to ending up unemployed and being unable to pursue his trade as a plumber he started a motorcycle shop in West Ealing, the same one he still occupies to this day - albeit a larger version! Obviously in those days it was British bikes he worked on although he has been an agent for Mobylette and also NSU Quickly machines as well having an agency for Excelsior. It was though his association with Triumph that he has become best known, but it was not until 1977 that he actually became a Main Agent! As well as the regular repair work, over the years he built a lot of Choppers and Tritons with the RAT (Reg Allen Triumph) name on side of the tank. In addition competition machinery was also his passion and he became a sponsor of riders taking part in Grass Track, Speedway, Trials and later Road Racing with some

franchise for a while, as well as continuing with supply of Triumph parts for the Meriden machines which he still does to this day. As one might imagine, over the sixty year plus of trading Bill was quite often offered bikes for sale and gradually purchased some of the best and most unusual for himself. In 1974 a friend asked him if he would display some of them alongside a small collection of sports cars in Syon Park, Brentford. Ironically in 1979 increasing council rates meant that Bill had to find a new home for his then growing collection which by then included many Meriden prototypes that had not seen the light of day for many years. So the sizeable collection of bikes and memorabilia moved northwards to that well-known bikers haunt at Matlock Bath and that is where it stayed for three years before moving again to the next village until 1988 when they had to be moved again. A convoy of vehicles then brought the bikes back down to the south where they were crammed into garages and any spare space while a permanent home was again sought. Despite the pressure of storing the bikes, he was determined that his collection would not be split up and sold off. Finally, in 1997 he heard about the old council yard at Ravenor Farm in Greenford, not too far from his shop, and eventually a deal with the council (who owned it) was done and renovation started with the bikes being moved in and a grand opening taking place. Since then Bill's personal

Council, recently reduced its rate subsidy, resulting in a potential yearly bill of £30,000 for 2016. Blaming the decision on government cutbacks, the council say it has no choice and it is not singling out the museum, recognising its contribution towards putting the area on the map and bringing tourism income to the area. However, kind words have not helped and the trustees have come to the difficult decision of raising entrance prices and launching an appeal to help pay the bills for the next year whilst working on other revenue possibilities for the longer term that will allow the museum to remain. They are reluctant to move outside London, where property prices and rates are cheaper, as Bill Crosby is passionate about providing a motorcycle museum for the capital – the only one in London. The news came as harsh blow as the museum volunteers recently put in a lot of work improving the inside of the old farm buildings to showcase the Derek Minter collection of trophies as well as being recognised by the National Lottery who had awarded a small sum of money to the museum to allow it to promote itself on a wider scale. The trustees have vowed to explore all legal options, but in the meantime are asking for donations, however small, to be made to the ‘Just Giving’ page that is accessible via Facebook and the museum website - or for people to visit the museum over the next few months and maybe donate directly. www.london-motorcycle-museum.org

Ian Kerr, MBE

Front cover: The New Imperial Owners’ Association always puts on a good show. Here’s their stand at Shepton Mallet featuring a barn-find 1936 Model 30.


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he Heritage Motor Centre, home to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, have announced a number of exciting new changes. The world’s largest collection of historic British cars is re-branding the name of its venue at Gaydon to the British Motor Museum, and undertaking a major refurbishment of its Museum this winter as well as unveiling a new £4m Collections Centre. The change of name to the British Motor Museum will more accurately reflect this Accredited Museum’s recently achieved Arts Council England ‘Designated’ status which confirms the national and international significance of its collections. An investment of £1.1m by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust will transform the Museum at Gaydon, which has been closed to the public since 30 November to allow the refurbishment to take place. The changes will result in a much more visually exciting and immersive display, designed to appeal to both current fans as well as new audiences yet to experience all that it has to offer. An introductory gallery within the new visitor entrance will set the scene and flow into distinctive new themed zones, including ones for movie cars, prototypes and sports cars. The popular ethos of allowing visitors to get up close to the exhibits will not change, but there will be different

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ways to view the cars, with many on raised plinths and some at eye level. Families and enthusiasts alike will be able to stroll along the Time Road, look under more open bonnets, and enjoy new interactive content including

sound, film and touch screens. Whether the visitor is 3 or 103 years of age, there will be something about each car and its history to fascinate. The final element of the multi-million revamp is the new Collections Centre. Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund,

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ammy Miller has a new exhibit in his Norton Hall, one of the engines from the illfated Norton-Cosworth collaboration in the nineteen seventies. In “First Principles”, his excellent biography of Keith Duckworth published by Veloce, Norman Burr gives this account of the engine’s development: “In 1973 Keith Duckworth (co-founder of Cosworth with Mike Costin) was approached by Norton, seeking the glamour of association with Cosworth to boost their image. Like the rest of the British motorcycle industry, they had been knocked sideways by the onslaught of sophisticated Japanese machines, and were in urgent need of a new project to replace the Commando with its ageing engine design dating back 25 years. Norton proprietor Dennis Poore reckoned that by farming out the engine development to Cosworth he could not only shortcut the process but also inject interest and credibility into the new bike. Keith Duckworth, a motorcycle enthusiast himself, enthusiastically agreed and took personal charge of the design. Poore’s specification called for a 360 degree parallel twin, in the classic Norton tradition, as narrow as possible, and mounted transversely, low down in the bike. He called it the

Challenge, though at Cosworth it was always known as the JA. The 750cc watercooled unit was to develop 75bhp in road trim (JAA), fuelled by a single carburettor, and the target for the racing version (JAB) with twin carbs was 90bhp. Parallel twins are notorious for vibration, and Norton’s existing engine was particularly bad in this respect. Duckworth paid great attention to minimizing this, eventually adopting the Lanchester principle and incorporating two balancer shafts, one each side of the engine. The rear shaft was gear-driven from the crankshaft, the front by the overhead camshaft drive belt. Apart from its use of a belt drive to the twin overhead cams the JA’s cylinder head design drew heavily on the successful Cosworth DFV Formula One engine, and there was another parallel in that the engine was to be used as a stressed member of the frame.

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Jaguar Land Rover and the Garfield Weston Foundation, as well as the two charitable Trusts involved, the £4m project will store around 250 vehicles from the reserve collections of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Heritage Trust. Many of these vehicles are one of a kind and most have never been seen by the public. A new team of volunteers will take visitors on a ‘behind-thescenes’ tour to view both the cars and the conservation work in progress in the historic vehicle workshops. Entry to the Collections Centre will be included within the Museum ticket price and tours can be booked on arrival. Julie Tew, Managing Director at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust said: “We are delighted to announce these exciting new changes which will significantly enhance our status and appeal. The Museum refurbishment and the new Collections Centre will enrich our visitors’ experience and showcase our collections to their full potential. Not only will our prized collection of 300 historic British cars be far more accessible, but our Museum will give people the chance to learn more about the past, present and future of the British motor industry, its technology and its people.” The venue will be officially known as the British Motor Museum when the Museum and Collections Centre reopen to the public on Saturday 13 February 2016.

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The gear-driven balancer shaft was hollow, and through it ran a quill shaft whose other end drove the gearbox via a Hi-Vo chain. The ‘box was in unit with the engine; its internals were supposed to be Norton’s responsibility, but Duckworth ended up redesigning it, and much else besides. On test, the most serious snag proved to be the water pump, which was driven off the end of one of the camshafts and proved vulnerable to damage from heat soak after the engine was stopped. Fixing that meant re-routing the water flow, which in turn would have meant changing all 25 sets of engine

castings that had been made so far. Instead, a hastily fabricated modification was welded into place on each engine. Duckworth later confessed: “When I designed it like that my mind had obviously taken a holiday”. The intention, of course, was to change the casting design before any more engines were built, but in the event only the initial batch of 25 were ever assembled because in 1975 Norton went under.” But that wasn’t quite the end of the story. In 1980 Cosworth became part of United Engineering Industries, of which one of the directors was Bob Graves, himself a former motorcycle racer. One day he walked past a row of dusty forgotten parallel twin engines in the Cosworth factory and asked Keith Duckworth what they were. “Don’t talk about those”, said Duckworth, “the only engine we’ve ever designed that hasn’t won a race”. They were looking at the JAB, the competition brother of the JAA. Graves was intrigued enough to take two of them away and design a chassis for what eventually became known as the Quantel Cosworth. After a long, difficult and expensive (for Bob Graves personally) development process, the end result was victory for the bike in the 1988 Battle Of The Twins race at Daytona, in the hands of Roger Marshall. Read the full story of the Quantel’s development in “First Principles”, available through Veloce Publishing.


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any of our members will remember that the BMCT and right). For some time now we’ve been working with acquired Robin Spalding’s important collection of the Haynes International Motor Museum to produce a British motor scooters after they had been shown to the permanent exhibit showcasing the collection, and we can finally announce that the British Scooter Collection Hall will open at the museum at the end of May this year. This exciting news means you’ll be able to see an example of every make of British motor scooter produced between 1946 and 1970, with some rare prototypes and earlier machines included for good measure. Apart from the better known manufacturers like Triumph and BSA, visitors will be able to see rarities like the Swallow Gadabout, Dayton Albatross, BAC Gazelle, DKR Capella, Excelsior Monarch, and many more. Staging a display of over 40 machines in a museum already packed to the gunwales has proved a mighty task public for the first time in a successful temporary for Mike Penn and his team at Haynes, but they’ve risen exhibition at Coventry Transport Museum in 2012 (above to the challenge and we’re eager to see the results.

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ow here’s an unusual concept, and one which we hope you’ll take on board. The lads at Dover Transport Museum are currently restoring a donated 1972 Honda CB500 K1 (right) which they are then offering as a raffle prize. Why should that interest BMCT members? Well the proceeds from the raffle will go into their restoration pot and be used to restore British bikes! Ironic, isn’t it? Tickets cost £1 and are available from the museum (tel. 01304 822409) or go to www.dovertransportmuseum.org.uk The winning ticket will be drawn out of the hat at the Museum’s Dover Classic Motorcycle Day on Sunday 4th September 2016. They’ll also be on sale at the Museum’s Classic Bike Show on 8th May (see events listing on p.8). The restoration can be followed on the musem Facebook page.

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I nwhoslikei todVintage e S o rClub y celebrate H e their a d70thl wners of Vintage and Classic bikes Motort Cycle give their steeds an occasional gallop on the anniversary this year, and coincidentally it’s also 50 track have two excellent opportunities in 2016. The years since their racing section, now called British Historic Racing, was founded. Their joint three-day celebration weekend at Cadwell Park from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th June will see a mixture of road bike parades and races for Morgans, scooters, solos and sidecars. Track time for the road bikes is plentiful, with parades scheduled for all three days of the celebration, which hopefully will mean the track won’t be too crowded. Racing (for special 50th Anniversary trophies) takes place on Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully this event won’t just be a one-off and could lead to the VMCC bringing back the Festival of 1,000 Bikes in a slightly different, less glitzy format. Entry forms will be available from VMCC HQ. The event that rose from the ashes of the 1,000 Bikes returns to Mallory Park at the end of July. The 2016 Mallory Bike Bonanza, now entering its third year, will be held over the weekend of the 30th and 31st of July, and will play a part in celebrating Mallory Park Circuit’s 60th birthday. The event, organised by the circuits management team Real Motorsport Limited, promises an array of interesting bikes and sidecar outfits that will be seen taking to the track in parades throughout the

‘ u n s i n eSaturday is all about PR5 road machines, weekend. with special classes for cyclemotors and pre-1935 bikes, whilst Sunday focuses on PR6 race machines, and the highly anticipated Mallory Masters parade. Away from the track, the Owd Codgers Motorcycle Club have confirmed their return to hold a Classic Charity Trial on Saturday. The trial will once again take place on the former Moto-X course, and with entries limited to 50 riders, it is expected to fill up fast! In addition to the track and trial activities, there will be lots more to keep you entertained during the weekend, including Club Central displays, trade stalls, live music, autograph sessions, licensed bar and an open paddock. For information on how to enter the parades, go to www.malloryparkcircuit.com or call 01455 502214. Entries close on 1st July.


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quick look at October’s Stafford Classic MotorCycle Show, and the Classic Motorbike Show at the National Exhibition Centre, part of the huge annual Footman James Classic Motor Show that takes place every November.

Although the focus of the Autumn Stafford Show is on modern classics, there were as usual some stunning examples of pre-1960s British bikes. This was judged the best example, a 1939 AJS Model 18, with bronze cylinder head.

The spacious surroundings of Hall 5 at the NEC gave us plenty of room to show off three bikes from the BMCT Collection. The Wooler and the Zenith Gradua attracted plenty of attention, but the undoubted star of the Show was our 1917 Matchless Vickers Machine Gun Combination.

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Thanks to the generosity of Mortons Media, for the first time the BMCT had a small stand at Stafford. Hopefully we’ll be there again this April, upstairs on the balcony in the main hall.

Sadly the number of motorcycle clubs attending the NEC show seems to fall every year, but those who continue to give their support make up for that with the quality and imagination of their displays. This is the Triumph Owners’ Motor Cycle Club’s effort.

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fter a gap of getting on for eighty years, it appears you can now buy yourself a brand spanking new Brough Superior, thanks to the efforts of Mark Upham, proprietor of classic bike dealers British Only Austria and Chief Executive of Brough Superior Motorcycles Ltd whose parent company, Netherton Industries Ltd of the British Virgin Islands, bought the rights to the name in 2008. The new incarnation isn’t as British as we might like, however, as the new bike is the production of a French company established by the head of Boxer Bikes of Tolouse, Thierry Henriette. It uses a 100 bhp 997cc V twin developed by competition specialists Akira Technologies in Bayonne, France. These new bikes are not to be confused with the SS100 “recreations” that Upham marketed until recently – they are completely modern designs made using modern materials and methods. The front brake, for instance, uses four 230mmm discs, small enough to give the initial impression it’s a drum brake, but powerful enough to stop on a sixpence from the very high speeds of which this bike is capable. The first bike to be delivered in the UK has gone to Eric Patterson, well known in old bike circles as the man who stages the Kempton Park Autojumbles, and who occasionally crosses the pond to set Land Speed Records at Bonneville on a slightly older model of Brough. Several versions of the bike will be available eventually, with prices starting at £45,000, relatively modest when compared to the six-figure sums being commanded by the originals.


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he BMCT was heavily featured in the January 2016 edition of Old Bike Mart. Editor of the subscription-only paper, Pete Kelly, met Andy Bufton initially on the BMCT stand at October’s Stafford Classic Mechanics Show, and plans were made for the two to meet again at Coventry Transport Museum. The ensuing two-page spread, very well written by Pete, covered all aspects of the Trust’s work and answered a lot of questions the general public might have about who we are and what we do. As soon as the paper came out we were inundated with membership and other enquiries, which might indicate that the days of printed magazines aren’t quite over yet. Thanks to Pete Kelly and Mortons Media for such a splendid bit of publicity. And by the way, we welcome Pete as one of our newest members!

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In the humble view of your editor, you are looking at the epitome of the 1960s British parallel twin - the Rickman Interceptor, a beefy 736cc Royal Enfield motor in the sublime nickel plated Métisse frame. Those Rickman brothers really had an eye for style, didn’t they? Seen on the Footman James stand.

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Our friends at Bonhams took their usual stand to get exposure for some of the stars of their upcoming sales. This barn-find Brough Superior 11-50 will probably set you back around £20,000 when it goes under the hammer at Stafford in April along with another seven Broughs in similar condition discovered in a barn near Bodmin in Cornwall last year.

Chris Martin’s BSA “Bleader”, a prototype made in 1969 as what was left of the British motorcycle industry sought desperately for an answer to the Japanese lightweight invasion. Modified Bantam frame made to house the Ariel Arrow/Leader 250cc engine. This bike was restored by the late Pete Sole This lovely looking 1956 Norton Model 30 International (above) was being shown by restorers British Classic Motorbikes. It was “restored” once before, in 2000, using a more modern Dominator frame, but has now been reunited with its original frame and fully “re-restored” to original specification. Hooray! The weekend of the Bristol Classic generally provides decent weather, but this year’s event saw the worst conditions for many years when storm something-or-other blew through on the Saturday. Gale force winds, driving rain and freezing temperatures meant you had to be tough to sit it out on an autojumble pitch, but this guy put a lot of younger stall holders to shame, refusing to retreat into the comfort of his van (right).


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From Mike Ricketts, Our Man in France:

Following on from my report on the Monet-Goyon Museum, this time I am highlighting another French motorcycle museum that contains considerable British interest. The Musée Andre Baster is based in Riom, just north of Clermont-Ferrand and is ideally placed on a north-south route to the Med. The museum is basically one man’s collection and it is an obsession that encompasses bikes from around the world, spanning a period between 1905 and 1985. The collection also includes a large number of sidecars from a wide range of manufacturers. In addition to the bikes, there are preserved versions of different petrol pumps, manufacturers’ advertising panels and a big display of oil cans. There is a relatively rare 750cc V-Twin BSA Model Y13 (right) that dates from 1937, in the middle of the 3 year production run for this model. The bike is coupled to a French manufactured Precision sidecar (the Precision emblem being a micrometer). The collection also includes this stunning 650 cc Matchless G12 CSR (below). The Musée Baster collection is at:: Musée André Baster 101 Rue de l'Ambène 63200 Riom Latitude : 45.8882512 Longitude : 3.1341953 Information: +33 (0)4 73 63 09 51 http://museebaster.fr/

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We welcome the following new members and Frank Goodall, Eastleigh supporters of our cause: David & Margaret Geary, Luton Hoo Susan Cook, Swindon Joseph Gaymer, Gosport Michael Pearson, Dunstable Clive Green, Winchester Phil Taylor, Clifton on Teme Thomas Cowling, Lewes Geoff Oliver, Stafford Niki George, Reading Gerry Edwards, Pinner John Brewster, Dorchester Jeffery Rea, Pinner Robert Ellis, Crawley Michael Gallafent, Dartford Martin Winfield, Luton Michael Waugh, Southampton Neil Vanstone, Sidmouth Mark Pope, Melton Mowbray Peter Sherlow, Bognor Regis Sheelagh Bishop, Melton Mowbray Christian Skelton, Selsey Tony Pashley, Bridgwater Sean Walsh, Twickenham John Wildish, Lymington Stephen Vine, Southampton Brendan & Lisa Schooling, Yeovil Carol Hann, Sherborne Angela Gould, Worthing Gary & Sheila Leese, Preston George Hunt, Hagley Paul Tunnicliffe, Stafford Pete Kelly, Spilsby Mick Payler, Daventry Donald Bartlett, Poole Robert Malvern, Birmingham

Tony Pitt, Northampton George Kitson, Huddersfield Steve Corbett, Tonbridge Brian Vale, Pulborough Ken Cody, Farnham Andrew King, Beckenham Derek Saunders, Burnley David Thomas, Ellesmere Port Ian Hopkins, Gosport Ian Locke, Yeovil Lee Smith, Ilchester Barry Sexton, Farnborough Sam Morrison, High Wycombe Frederick Ellis, Sherborne Russell Burgess, Wellingborough Matt Nineham, Southampton Paul Arnold, Gillingham Kevin & Su Parrish, Crawley

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THE BRITISH MOTORCYCLE CHARITABLE TRUST Registered in England No. 01445196 Registered Charity No. 509420 Secretary: Andy Bufton Registerered Office: Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore WR10 2NH UK Tel: 01386 462524 Mob: 07754 880116 Email: info@bmct.org

www.bmct.org

Preserving the past...for the future

The Trust was originally formed 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 preservation and promotion of British motorcycle engineering heritage through a network of affiliated transport museums throughout the country. We run a membership scheme which is open to all and allows free entry to all the museums in the scheme. Our funding comes from membership fees, bequests, donations and income from investments. Please direct any enquiries to the secretary, Andy Bufton, whose contact details are on the left.

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

D a t e s Now in its third year, the Northants Vintage and Classic Bike Show (below) has a new venue. The 2016 event will be at The Lilacs Inn, Isham, Kettering, NN14 1HD on Saturday 20th August, starting at mid day and running through to the evening. Organised by Stuart MacDowell in aid of the BMCT, this is a really friendly show, and there are sure to be plenty of outstanding motorcycles to lust over. Save the date.

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20th March 25th Shropshire Classic Bike Show & Jumble, Wistanstow Village Hall, Craven Arms, Shropshire 76th Sunbeam MCC Pioneer Run, Tattenham Corner, Epsom to Brighton. Start 7am. 27th March Rock Shocks Red Marley Classic Motorcycle Trial, Great Wiley, near Worcester WR6 6JJ 28th March Red Marley Classic Motorcycle Hill Climb, Great Witley, near Worcester WR6 6JJ Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show & Jumble, Ashford Market, Orbital Park, Ashford, Kent 2nd April Heritage Transport Show, Kent Showground, Detling, near Maidstone ME14 3JF 3rd April South of England Motorcycle Show, South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex 10th April Classic Car and Bike Breakfast Club, The Flowing Spring, Playhatch, Reading. Starts 9.30 am 23-24 April 36th Stafford Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford Showground ST18 0BD 1st May Autojumble at the Sammy Miller Museum, Bashley, New Milton BH25 5SZ 8th May Classic Motorcycle Show at Dover Transport Museum, Willingdon Road, Dover CT16 2JX 12th June Top of the Town Classic Car/Bike Show, The Playing Field, Bisley Old Road, Stroud GL5 1NL 19 June VMCC Banbury Run & Autojumble, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Warwick 24-26 June VMCC & British Historic Racing Celebration Weekend, Cadwell Park, Louth, Lincolnshire

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

BMCT News - March 2016  

The London Motorcycle Museum Cosworth Challenge British Motor Museum New Brough Superiors British Scooter Collection Dover Transport Museum...

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