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BMCT News Newsletter of The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust

September 2008

BANDIT IN THE PARK Trustees John Kidson (Chairman) Malcolm Aldridge Steve Bagley Paul Barnes John Handley Mike Jackson Peter Wellings Ian Walden OBE Registered Office Rodborough Court Stroud GL5 3LR Registered Charity No. 509420 Administration Andy Bufton/MMS Holly Cottage Bishampton Pershore WR10 2NH Contact details Tel: 01386 462524 Mob: 07754 880116 E-mail:

Inside this issue: Bandit at Mallory


Coventry Challenge 1

Pageant of Power


New Trustee


New Members


Bonhams Sale Report


AJS S3 V-Twin


Mystery Bike


The annual VMCC Festival of 1,000 Bikes at Mallory Park gave us the opportunity to give enthusiasts a rare chance to see and hear a Triumph Bandit being used in anger. The bike formed part of the BMCT display in the Avenue of Clubs over the weekend, and was one of the major attractions of the event. Most people passing by glanced at it, then stopped and did a double take. Many had never even heard of the Bandit (or its sister, the BSA Fury), and a fair number thought it was a special made up of a Japanese engine in a Triumph frame! Several more knowledgeable types knew what it was, were thrilled to see it, and were bowled over to learn that it was a runner and would be demonstrated in

the track sessions over the weekend. Needless to say the Bandit drew a large crowd wherever it went on the site and one onlooker even went as far as to say he thought it the rarest bike present at the Festival. On track the bike went very well, revving easily and smoothly with plenty of power for its 350cc. The handling was superb, giving no cause for alarm through the fast 180 degree Gerard‟s Bend with the only limiting factors being the centre stand which grounded a little too easily on right handers, and the narrow nineteen seventies style tyres that were fitted. This is quite a small machine and the riding position felt a little cramped, but on the positive side the conical hub drum brakes

pulled the bike up easily for the hairpin and showed no sign of fading after half a dozen or so enthusiastic laps. The five speed gearbox with its left side change lever was light and positive to use, and performance seemed to be on a par with most of the 500cc British singles that were circulating at the same time. It seems a pity that this innovative bike never made it into production. Another case of what might have been, or perhaps “too little, too late”!

Enthusiasts examine the Bandit. In the foreground is the Coventry Challenge

CHALLENGE FOR COVENTRY What is thought to be the sole survivor of the littleknown Coventry Challenge marque has been acquired by the BMCT for exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum. The 269cc Villiers engined lightweight was purchased new in 1914 by a firm of auctioneers in West Wales and used by them as company transport before being replaced by a motor car in 1923. It subsequently lay unused in their barn until the mid-nineties when it was discovered and sub-

sequently beautifully restored by Roy Poynting, the well known and respected classic motorcycle journalist. Roy completed many Pioneer

Runs on this bike with no trouble at all, but now feels that a bike with a clutch would be much easier to manage on club runs!

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PAGEANT OF POWER Cholmodeley Castle near Malpas in Cheshire recently played host to an interesting new event on the classic calendar – the first annual Pageant of Power. This was a Goodwood Festival of Speed – type event run on a narrow and twisting 1.2 mile sprint course in the stunning grounds of the 19th century castle. Although the event was mostly carbiased, the organisers had assembled a fair selection of interesting bikes, among them some ridden by BMCT members. John Kidson was out on his 350cc Moto Guzzi racer (not British, we know, but an interest-

ing bike nonetheless), Sammy Miller brought two bikes from his collection, a Brough Superior SS100 and 500 cc v-twin Husqvarna Grand Prix bike, while Ivan Rhodes cantered a KTT Velocette and a Big Port AJS. The other bikes present ranged from early Nortons to modern Triumphs and everything in between. Adding another dimension to the show were demonstrations of helicopters and powerboat racing on the adjoining lake. The boating types were probably the only ones unaffected by the weather on the Saturday which was unrelentingly wet, causing

one or two mishaps on the slippery track, but fortunately there were no injuries to report, except perhaps to pride. One gentleman in particular found his Gulf Porsche 917 a bit of a handful and managed to wipe the nose off within 200 yards of the start on his first run! Sunday gave much better conditions, allowing the pilots of some rare and sometimes priceless machinery to attack the course enthusiastically in an attempt to set the fastest time of the day. The event is sponsored by Bentle y, who have agreed a four year deal, so look for it next August.

Some images from the Pageant of Power

Waiting to take the start at a very soggy Pageant of Power are BMCT members (l to r) John Kidson, Ivan Rhodes and Sammy Miller


No, not that one!

Michael Jackson has joined the board of the BMCT, bringing the number of trustees to eight. Mike has competed in trials and motocross events at the highest level in the UK, Europe and USA. He began racing in 1954 on a Francis Barnett, James, Greeves and AJS machines, winning numerous events whilst at the same time working for Greeves Motorcycles and later AJS. He was appointed General Sales Manager for Norton Villiers Corp. in 1970, moving to California and taking part on his AJS in

NEW MEMBERS long distance desert races like the Barstow to Vegas and the Elsinore Grand Prix. Returning to the UK Mike continued his career with Norton Villiers Triumph, becoming Sales Director and then Marketing Director, and in 1981 he became owner of Andover Norton International. Mike sold the business in 1995 and now works as a journalist and consultant for an auction house. He was elected President of the Norton Owners Club in 2006 and lives in Hampshire.

We are pleased to welcome the following new members: Mr W D Hardy John Bolt John Evans Ron Hatch Chris Taylor Phil Haywood Mark Mitchell John Slade Robert White Richard Allen Leslie Mallen Andrew Williams Philip Church Keith Mansfield Martyn Ashwood Alan Emery Roger Went Allan Kerley Bernardino Paglia Simon & Naadia Porter David Jones We thank you for supporting our cause.

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September 2008

BRITISH BIKES SET NEW RECORDS The sale of the Brian R. Verrall Collection at Bonhams in New Bond Street on 1 September broke two world records before a packed saleroom of 300 enthusiastic bidders in the room as well as bidders on the phone from all over the world.The first record broken was for lot 264, the ex-Roland Martin, Brooklands, 1927 ZenithJAP 8/4hp Championship Motorcycle Combination which sold for £177,500. This result set a new record for the sale of a British bike at auction, as well as being a record for a motorcycle with a sidecar. But the record was not to stand for long...five minutes later, lot 267, a 1939 Vincent–HRD 998cc Series-A Rapide crashed through the new record with a price of £214,800. The Bonhams sale confounds the current economic news as motorcycle enthusiasts of all ages from around the globe ensured a complete 100 per cent sell-out for the auction totalling £1.3m The Brian R Verrall Col-

lection was considered to be one of the best collections of veteran and vintage motorcycles in the country. The 26 motorcycles collected by the late Brian Verrall, a wellknown and highly respected m o t o r c yc l e dealer, included many rare machines that have never been seen at auction before. Ben Walker, Head of Bon-

respect it was due yesterday. The auction was a wonderful testament" Brian Verrall started collecting motorcycles in the late 1940s, establishing the London showroom „Youngs of Tooting' in the 1960s, which soon gained a worldwide reputation as the first and finest dealers in veteran, vintage and classic motorcycles. It later became known as the eponymous Verralls of Tooting. In 1991 Brian moved to Handcross in West Sussex and continued his business in larger premises – a range of 18th century buildings comprising showrooms and workshops.

The Brooklands Zenith-JAP

“a 1939 Vincent Series A Rapide crashed through the new record

The record-breaking Series A Vincent

hams Motorcycle Department, said: "I am absolutely delighted with this results achieved. It must also be acknowledged that the success of the sale had much to do with the discrimination and good judgment Brian Verrall had when he built this outstanding collection. His knowledge was paid the

with a price of £214,000”

This 1911 Scott sold for £27,600

RARE 1930 AJS V-TWIN RETURNS The recent sale of the Fritz Ehn Collection by Bonhams contained quite a few gems, including Vincents, Brough Superiors and other highly desirable British classics. Some of the machines were presented in immaculate condition, and others were incomplete and in need of a lot of restoration work. In the latter category was the AJS S3, a very rare and unusual transverse v-

twin of 500 cc. The bike was in a fairly sorry state when we first set eyes on it, being without hard to find parts such as carburettors and oil tank, and missing the entire cast aluminium drive train enclosure. An incorrect front wheel had been fitted (probably just to make the machine easier to wheel around) and all of the instruments in the tank top binnacle had been lost.

We were lucky to have Sammy Miller with us at the sale, and his expert opinion was that the bike was restorable, so we entered the bidding and were lucky enough to secure it. The bike is now at Sammy‟s workshops in New Milton (right) and will hopefully emerge in the near future, back to its former glory. When the restoration is complete the bike will be housed in the

Black Country Museum, representing the closing chapter in the history of a oncegreat Wolverhampton marque, and taken out for demonstrations around the museum‟s grounds.

The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore Worcestershire Phone: 01386 462524 Mobile: 07754 880116 Email:

Preserving the past...for the future

Who are we‌? The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust was founded in 1979 by Roy Richards and others, including Life Member Trevor Wellings, as a means of raising funds to establish what became the National Motorcycle Museum at Bickenhill, near Birmingham. In 1995 the museum and the charity went their separate ways and the funding raised by public subscription to build the museum was returned to the BMCT. A new board of trustees was then appointed to manage the assets of the charity and to pursue its objective to preserve and promote British motorcycle engineering heritage. Our funding comes from bequests, membership fees, donations and interest on our reserves. We have an expanding network of affiliated museums that we assist with projects, and 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 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.

Visit our website at: COME AND SEE US ON STAND MC4 AT THE CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW, NEC, BIRMINGHAM ON NOVEMBER 14-16 MYSTERY BIKE A BMCT member has sent us this photograph of a relative taken, we believe, in Warwick in the nineteen twenties. The bike appears to be a Sunbeam, but the exact model is something of a mystery. Can any of our members help? If so, please drop a note, e-mail or text to Andy at the address above.

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

BMCT News Autumn 2008  

Magazine of the British Motorcycle Charitable Trust