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BMCT NEWS Newsletter of The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust

Winter 2010

NEC CLASSIC MOTORBIKE SHOW Trustees Peter Wellings (Chairman) Steve Bagley Paul Barnes John Handley Mike Jackson Nick Jeffery John Kidson Ian Walden OBE Editor Andy Bufton Registered in England No. 01445196 Registered Charity No. 509420 Website:


Inside this issue:

NEC Show


Stafford Show


TTRA Lunch


Auction News


1,000 Bikes


Museum News


Members Page 5 Wooler


The Classic Motor Show has been a regular fixture at Birmingham‟s NEC for a long time and the last few years have seen the gradual introduction of classic motorcycles to the event. To start with bikes were mixed in with the cars, then they had their own halls, and this year for the first time they had their own dedicated show. Halls 8 and 9 were designated the Classic Motorbike Show, and visitors could choose whether to pay to see just the bikes, or pay a bit more and get entry to the Classic Motor Show as well. The system seemed to work well, and the crowd certainly seemed to be made up of more motorcycle enthusiasts than in previous years. The BMCT was represented in Hall 8, (above) showing our Whippet motor scooter, sectioned Velocette LE, Triumph Tiger 80 and Wooler Flat Four. All four of the bikes attracted a lot of interest, and the Wooler even received an award from RealClassic magazine. Many old and new faces stopped by the stand for a chat, and a significant number of new members were enrolled. The new format was a great success, don‟t miss it next year.

This Hyde Harrier was a real eyecatcher at the NEC

The Velocette Model O on the Footman James stand

A classic big bore café racer Triton on the Ace Café stand

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STAFFORD CLASSIC MECHANICS SHOW The Stafford County Showground attracted its usual bumper crowd - estimated by the organisers at 34,000 for the annual Classic Mechanics Show in October. As this is a show aimed mainly at Japanese and European marque enthusiasts, the British clubs have a generally lower profile, but even so there were some delectable machines to be found. One of the nicest had to be this Comet engined Egli Vincent (right) - less glamorous than its v twin bigger brother perhaps, but no less desirable to many eyes. A 1969 Bonneville won the award for Best 1960s Machine , and a „68 Bonny was judged Best British Bike. Best in show was a 1968 Kawasaki A7 Avenger. Most Original Bike at the show was Roy Bellett‟s 1955 Matchless G9. Graham Nock had brought along his beautifully restored Sun Wasp Twin (also known as the Overlander) one of the last to leave the Sun factory in Birmingham before production ceased in 1957 (below left), and a very nice Triumph Tiger Cub (below right) was a feature of the display put on by the Wolverhampton Classic Motorcycle Club. Away from the main hall, the Classic Dirt Bike Hall had plenty of British iron on display, and the Grand Prix Paddock echoed to the sound of racing engines being revved for most of the day. An excellent event, and thankfully for the autojumblers, the weather held


John has just ridden his TT winning bike into the lunch - at full noise - accompanied by the smell of ‘R’ !

BMCT trustee and former chairman John Kidson has been elected president of the Isle of Man TT Riders‟ Association for 2010-2011. John‟s TT career spanned 23 years, having first ridden in the 1961 Lightweight 250cc event where he finished 15th. He also rode in the Manx Grand Prix from 1986 to 1990, scoring podium finishes. John‟s finest hour in the Island was winning the TT Formula II race in 1977, and with it the World Championship in that class. For many years he gave sterling service as secretary of the TTRA, and the presidency is a fitting tribute to his efforts. In our photo John is receiving the chain of office from former president Neil Tuxworth in front of 450 guests at the TTRA annual luncheon at the National Motorcycle Museum, watched by MC Nick Jeffries.

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Winter 2010

AUCTION NEWS Highlight of the H&H sale at The Haynes Museum at Sparkford was undoubtedly the huge price fetched by a Brough Superior SS100 which went all the way to a jaw dropping £286,000, smashing the previous record for a Brough Superior by an astonishing £120,000. This was a well known bike with a long history and in nice condition, having been restored some ten years ago. At the same sale another Brough, a less original 1150 model, made “only” £30,500, illustrating the gulf between the prices of overhead and side valve bikes, although a matching numbers SS80 did get to £66,000. Other British bikes to sell well at Sparkford included a Matchless G45 at £38,500, a 7R at £31,900, and a Matchless G50 at £27,000. However the ex-works BSA Rocket 3 racer which was expected to reach £140,000 failed to sell, with bidding stalling at £120,000. Elsewhere in a busy auction season, Bonhams Stafford sale brought out the customary large entry for this event, with some 202 lots being offered, of which 87% found new homes. Top seller was the Helmut Fath built URS 4 racing sidecar outfit which sold for £102,000, way over the £70-80k estimate. Second highest seller, and most expensive British bike was – predictably – a Brough Superior, this time an Overhead 680 model, which stopped the clocks at £93,900 (above right).

marque to expand their collections, there being no fewer than eight consigned. In the sale four of the Vincents made the top ten results, the best performer being the 1954 Black Shadow Series C which fetched £47,700. One of the highlights of the sale was the spirited tussle between two telephone bidders - both in Australia - for the one-owner-fromnew 1967 Velocette Venom Thruxton, which eventually sold for £21,850, well above the top estimate of £18,000.

The record breaking Brough Superior SS100

The Brough Superior 680

As we go to press we hear that George Brough‟s own prototype Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sport will be auctioned at Phillips de Pury & Company‟s Design Masters auction in New York on 15th December. The bike (right) was used by Brough himself from 1925 to 1926, then sold to Prince Chagla in India. With an estimate of $600,000 $700,000 it will be interesting to see if this machine rewrites the record books yet again.

Vincents are always in demand and Forthcoming auctions: this sale provided plentiful opportuni- 06/01/11 - Bonhams Las Vegas ties for devotees of the Stevenage 24/04/11 - Bonhams Stafford

This Matchless Silver Hawk sold for £36,500 at Stafford

George Brough’s own SS100 will be auctioned in December

2011 FESTIVAL OF 1,000 BIKES After another record breaking event in 2010 the VMCC‟s Festival of 1,000 Bikes returns to Mallory Park on the weekend of 8th-10th July 2011. As in previous years the event gives enthusiasts the opportunity to ride their own machines in multiple track sessions over the weekend. Road machines are catered for on the Saturday of the event, with classes for the earliest veterans through to machines of the superbike era. A discounted entry fee is available for riders of pre-1925 bikes. With more lenient noise limits, Sunday is the day for riders to display their racing machinery in special track sessions throughout the day. It is now recognised that this unique event provides the best line-up of “Past Masters” and famous machines assem-

bled in the UK. The 2011 event will be VMCC HQ or logging on to the no exception as the continued d e d i c a t e d e v e n t w e b s i t e a t assistance of Simon Hartland at the www.vmcc.net/1000bikes. National Motorcycle Museum will help provide more unique machines and star riders than any other historic two wheeled event in Europe. The weekend‟s programme includes Public Road and Race Bike track sessions, Past Masters and Star Riders parades, Pre-65 Trials, Historic Grass Track, Historic Sprint demonstration, the Avenue of Clubs (over 50 clubs attended in 2010), Trade Stands, Autojumble, and a Real Ale Bar with live bands. To avoid disappointment as the event is always oversubscribed the VMCC have Andy Bufton taking part in a track sesintroduced a facility for riders to pre- sion at Mallory Park on the BMCT’s register for entry forms by contacting Triumph Bandit

...track session tickets are expected to sell out quickly...

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MUSEUM NEWS Recently donated to the Sammy Miller Museum is a huge collection of scrapbooks, photo albums, bound club journals, yearbooks and the like, all the former property of the late Ralph Venables, doyen amongst motoring journalists. Sammy has assembled all this into an area of the museum now

known as the Ralph Venables Reading Room, where visitors can sit in comfort while they pore over the huge amount of material. A recent visitor was BMCT Founder and Life Member Trevor Wellings, and our photo (below) shows Trevor and Sammy examining some of the gems to be found there.

A cutaway showing the workings of a Barr & Stroud sleeve valve engine, on display at Sammy Miller’s

Another exciting project nearing completion in Sammy‟s workshop (below right) is a very special works AJS - the very machine that Gordon Jackson rode when he won the Scottish Six Days trial with just a single dab in 1961, one his four victories. The bike had been hidden in a private collection for 40 years and was in a poor state when Sammy discovered it, but the restoration is nearing completion and the machine will soon take up residence in the museum, which of course our members and their families can visit free of charge.

(Below) Seen outside the museum are (left to right) Bob Stanley, Andy Bufton, Sammy Miller and Trevor Wellings with the BMCT‟s Wooler Flat Four. Coventry Transport Museum is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. The unique collection was started by Cyril Scott, and in three decades has grown from just a handful of cars and bicycles into the largest collection of British vehicles anywhere in the world. The museum now consists of hundreds of iconic exhibits including cars, commercial vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles, the majority of which were made in and around Coventry. Our photo below shows Gary Hall, Chief Executive of the museum and Mrs Sue Scott, widow of Cyril, with a celebratory cake baked to mark the occasion.

London Motorcycle Museum has been able to improve its visitor facilities thanks to grant aid from the BMCT. The toilet block has been refurbished, and new doors have been fitted to the 200 year old barn that will form the museum‟s “Home of Triumph” when completed next year. Bill Crosby, founder of the museum, is pictured (left) with Peter Wellings, BMCT Chairman, in front of the new doors. Peter is handing over our cutaway 1949 Mark One Velocette LE which has been placed on long term loan at the LMM, another of our affiliated museums which BMCT members can visit free of charge. The museum, at Greenford in West London, is open at weekends and on Bank Holidays

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Winter 2010

MEMBERS’ PAGE G‟day, thought my bike may interest members for viewing. I am a member of the Shoalhaven Classic Motorcycle Club here in Australia and have this little machine registered on club plates and have attended several rallies on it covering over 100 km each day. I believe it may be the only one that is in use on public roads although I know of

several others that exist. Even though it is a 2 speed it surprises me with its capabilities once mobile and can cover most terrain but prefers the flatter roads as it will go through the fuel if forced to use 1st gear. When found the frame and inside tool box and even under mudguard ribs had been painted light green and tank had been chrome or

Thought your readers might be interested in my rare BSA motorcycle. This is a 1941 WB30, one of only three or four of an original contract of fifty known to survive and probably the only one with all the original parts unique to this model. Most of the fifty machines were allocated to the British Army, however three went to the United States, two to Canada and one to AMC who would fit teledraulic forks to it. A further

NEW MEMBERS We welcome the following new members and supporters of our cause: Steve Dowling, Bishampton Lee Gooden, Highclere Ray Gooden, Highclere John Taylor, Mulbarton Katrina Savill, New Milton Paul Humphries, Coventry Ray Jones, Wolverhampton Paul Long, New Milton Peter Lockwood, Stockport Alan Hancock, Emsworth Roger Barnes, Bordon Damian Cummins, Christchurch Gregory Cummins, Hertford Dave Washington, Gerrards Cross Bryan Marsh, Dunstable Rosemary Garvey, Hall Green Peter Burrows, Stafford Stephen Parsons, Ferndown Jeff Peace, Flyford Flavell Stephen Clark, Hythe Mark Prickett, Abington Martin Banfield, Amersham Peter Howell, Ashford David Blane, Selston Stuart Bailey, Solihull David Franklin, Guildford John Forshaw, Preston Martin Brown, Booker

large order was placed by the War Office but was withdrawn without prior warning and changed to the supply of 10,000 M20‟s. This was probably due to foreseeable problems with spares and servicing. This bike can be seen at the London Motorcycle Museum where it is currently on loan. - John Moore

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 12-13 February 2011 Alan Wright‟s Classic Off Road & Racing Show, Telford 19-20 February 2011 Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show, Shepton Mallet 25-27 February 2011 Race Retro Classic Motorsport Show, Stoneleigh 26-27 February 2011 International Classic & Custom Show, Alexandra Palace 23-24 April 2011 International Classic Motorcycle Show, Stafford

nickel plated which is unusual as my bike is now painted in what I believe is correct. (It still was a pile of rust but was complete). The engine has been repaired 3 times due to various failures but think may be ok now but don‟t know what I‟ll do should it fail again as there is so few useable parts left but better to use it than just gather dust, and if it fails again then maybe it will then become a static display. The tyres made a huge difference in negotiating suburban intersections while still in top so is more useable but has lowered top cruising speed to about 40kmh. - Ian M Theobald

MYSTERY ENGINE The London Motorcycle Museum are keen to find out about this engine (left) which is now part of their collection. It appears to be of Norton origin, but the shaft drive marks it out as something out of the ordinary. The crankcase is stamped T1CO1. There‟s a free year‟s BMCT membership on offer to the first person who can tell us what the engine is, and what it was used for. Contact Andy Bufton, details on page 6.

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.

Registered Office and Administration Matchless Management Services Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore WR10 2NH Tel: 01386 462524 Mob: 07754 880116 E-mail: info@bmct.org

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 to improve their motorcycle exhibitions and we also own a growing collection of rare and unusual British 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. Visit our website at:


THE BMCT COLLECTION Number 1. 1955 Wooler 500cc Flat Four John Wooler‟s first motorcycle made its debut at the 1911 Olympia show, and was powered by a 2.75hp two-stroke of his own design, with a horizontal cylinder and external connecting rods operating through an extended gudgeon pin. This unconventional approach was to characterise many of the motorcycle designs to spring from Wooler‟s fertile mind for the next 45 years. His first machines also had plunger front suspension, a feature which was still there on the last of his designs, the 500cc Flat Four you see here. Another characteristic which was to carry through the entire lifespan of the Wooler marque was the fuel tank which extended forward of the steering head. Wooler‟s main problem was that once a prototype had been built he wasn‟t as interested in the business of putting it into production, so most of the models that made it into the hands of owners were actually manufactured by firms like Wilkinson Sword and P&P. After an abortive attempt to produce a bizarre transverse four with a beam engine, in 1952 Wooler announced the 500 Flat Four with a more conventional overhead valve engine and a boast that the entire machine could be stripped down with the use of only one spanner and a screwdriver! Interesting touches abound, like the interchangeable wheels, the lack of a top yoke for the forks (a la Norton Lowboy), a car type single plate clutch and a toolbox integrated into the aluminium gearbox casing. Sadly it proved difficult to productionise and only a handful of prototypes were made. The bike you see here, is one of the jewels of the BMCT Collection, and has been fully restored to running order by Sammy Miller after years of neglect by a previous owner. See it on display in the BMCT section at Sammy‟s museum near New Milton, Hampshire. Edited and published by Andy Bufton at Matchless Management Services, Holly Cottage, Bishampton, Pershore, WR10 2NH

Profile for Andy Bufton

BMCT News Winter 2010  

NEC Classic MotorBike Show

BMCT News Winter 2010  

NEC Classic MotorBike Show

Profile for bmct.org