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BMCT News Newsletter of The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust Issue 18

Winter 2011

The British Motorcycle Charitable Trust

Footman James Classic Motorbike Show at the NEC

Registered Charity No. 509420 Registered in England No. 01445196 Registered Office and Administration: Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore WR10 2NH Trustees: Peter Wellings (Chairman) Steve Bagley Paul Barnes John Handley Mike Jackson Nick Jeffery John Kidson Ian Walden O.B.E. Editor: Andy Bufton


Inside this issue: NEC Photos




Unlikely Racers


Stafford Show


Bonhams Stafford




Museum News


New Members


Diary Dates


G S Thomas


BMCT Collection


A record 48,000 classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts flocked to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre in November for the annual Footman James show. The halls were re-arranged for this year with the result that all of the motorcycle stands were concentrated in Hall 9, making it much easier for bike

fans to find what they wanted to see. The BMCT was represented as usual, and featured on our stand were two bikes from Sammy Miller’s museum, the 1928 AJS in-line four cylinder prototype and the newly restored 1938 Scott CycAuto. BMCT member John Walters loaned us his 1960 works experimental BSA A10

Super Rocket, and fellow member Pete Burrows brought along his Royal Ruby and a recently acquired Sparkbrook. The new logo and corporate image of the BMCT was well received, and it was good to meet so many of our members and enroll some new ones, too. If you couldn’t make it, be sure to come next year.


More photos from the NEC

Clockwise from top left: John Walters’ BSA A10/A7 hybrid: John Lay’s 1923 Coventry Eagle - JAP complete with shiny new spokes: No show would be complete without a Triton, and this was a beauty: Thundersprint organiser Frank Melling tries the AJS Four for size: An extremely rare export-only Norton Manxman: The Scott Cyc-Auto from the Sammy Miller Museum attracted much attention: Richard Duffin’s lovely 1931 Sunbeam Model 9.

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Issue 18

Ethanol in Fuel With the issue of biofuel additives being a common topic for discussion amongst enthusiasts, here’s some useful information from Frosts, suppliers of products for classic vehicle owners and restorers. If you use petrol for your family car, classic car, boat, motorcycle, quadbike, lawn mower, strimmer, rotavator, chainsaw, generator, pump or any other type of equipment that has a petrol engine, you need to know about ethanol in your fuel.

dependency on imported petroleum products. On the “green” side biofuels are aimed at improving air quality and reducing air pollution from fuel emissions. Permitted ethanol content in petrol is 5% which is to rise to 10% in 2013. However we are led to believe super market fuels may already have as much as 10% ethanol blended in. Apparently a 15% mix is on its way in the USA. While this is good for the domestic farmer and our environment, ethanol can cause serious problems to your engine and fuel system. Generally vehicles built after 1996 have been designed with biofuels in mind, but earlier cars and engines with carburettors are going to need help. What types of problems have been encountered?

Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colourless liquid. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a solvent and as an alcohol fuel. In common usage, it is often 1) Water accumulation in the referred to simply as alcohol or fuel tank - ethanol absorbs spirits. water from the air. The water condenses in the fuel tank Ethanol is sustainable and and will pull the ethanol out of domestically produced from suspension with the petrol. renewable resources such as This is bad news because it grain and potatoes. strips the octane out of the petrol, leaving you with a layer Ethanol is good for our of octane-poor fuel on top and agricultural economy and a water-ethanol layer mixture helps us reduce our on the bottom. If this gets

sucked into the combustion chamber, you will have poor starting and very rough running with potential engine damage. 2) Deposit is like to build up ethanol when mixed with water readily forms gums in the fuel system much quicker than fuel without ethanol. These gums coat fuel system components including filters, carburettors, injectors, throttle plates and will then form varnish and carbon deposits in the intake, on valves, and in the combustion chamber. 3) Lower fuel mileage, decreased performance and poorer acceleration. Ethanol contains less chemical energy than petrol does, and this means less mileage for the driver. 3-5% drops in mileage are expected. 4) Corrosion of internal engine components - water contamination may cause fuel system corrosion and severe deterioration. 5) Contaminants in fuel system – water, degraded rubber, plastic, fibreglass and rust may get drawn in. 6)




microbial growth in fuel. Ethanol being organic and hygroscopic may allow the growth of fungus. 7) Short “shelf life” for fuel - as little as 90 days. 8) Corrodes plastic and rubber ethanol is a strong, aggressive solvent and will cause problems with rubber hoses, o-rings, seals, and gaskets. These problems are worse during extended storage when significant deterioration could take place. Hoses may delaminate, o-rings soften and break down, and fuel system components made from certain types of plastics could either soften or become hard and brittle, eventually failing. Fuel system components made from brass, copper, and aluminium may oxidize. The dissolved plastics and resins now in the fuel could end up in blocked fuel filters or gummy deposits. 9) Melts Fibreglass - bikes and boats with fibreglass fuel tanks can have structural failure as the Ethanol will break down and pickup some of the materials the tanks are made from. Again this material, dissolved from the tank, can be carried through the fuel system and can cause damage to carburettors, fuel injectors and can actually get into the combustion chambers.

Unlikely Racers Part 3 - Royal Enfield Bullet For several years, Flitwick motorcycle dealer and Isle of Man regular Steve Linsdell has been striving to achieve the first 100 mph lap of the the Mountain Circuit by a British pushrod single - and this year he finally managed it with this 500cc Seeley-Royal Enfield (left). On his way to 4th place in this year’s Classic Manx Grand Prix Steve averaged 102 mph with a fastest lap along the way of 102.5 mph. Now that’s consistency ! Steve first took an Enfield to the Island in 1981, finishing second in the Newcomers’ race with a fastest lap of 95.67 mph. The current bike was built in 2009 using a 1959 Bullet engine as a base, fitted into a Mark 3 Titchmarsh Seeley chassis, and the heady 50 bhp output is transmitted through a belt primary drive to a PGT five speed gearbox. Maximum speed recorded on the Sulby Straight this year was 129 mph, although Steve has been timed at 133 mph when the bike was wearing a lower screen. We salute Steve’s achievement and wonder how he’ll follow it...

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2011 Stafford Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show The 2011 Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show at Stafford Showground was once again blessed with decent autumn weather, encouraging large numbers of enthusiasts to turn out for this event which is slanted at fans of more modern classics than the April event. Summing up the spirit of the show for us was this intriguing combination (right) which featured a modified 1955 BSA B31 frame into which the intrepid builder has slotted a new-oldstock dohc Honda 750 engine. Forks are short Norton Roadholders and stopping is taken care of by a Suzuki front brake coupled with a Triumph rear. The chair is a 1965 Watsonian Mark I,

and the entire build took only 18 months to complete. Peter Andrews deservedly took the prize for Machine of Most Technical Interest for the bike. Best pre-1960s bike was John Guy’s 1926 James 500cc

Sports Twin (left) while the overall Best in Show award went to Charlie Owens with his 1975 Kawasaki H2C. The 1966 BSA GP Victor of Andy Watkins was voted Best Competition Machine.

Bonhams Stafford Auction

“Any machine with good history and a high level of originality (regardless of condition) was keenly contested by discerning collectors and enthusiasts”

Bonhams' sale on Sunday, 16th October 2011 at the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show at Stafford was a resounding success with a sale total of £1.7million and 84% sold by value. The top lot of the day was the 1929 Brough Superior SS100 known as 'Moby Dick'. Hailed in its day as 'the fastest privately owned machine in the world suitable for road use', this magnificent motorcycle attracted multiple bidders. Tested by Motor Cycling magazine in 1931, 'Moby Dick'

achieved a top speed of 106mph, a staggering achievement at a time when very few road vehicles of any sort were capable of reaching three-figure speeds. Further tuning of the modified 1,142cc v-twin engine later raised that figure to 115mph in top (third) gear, with 109mph achievable in second. Sold but later repurchased by the vendor's family, Moby Dick was restored in 1998 and since then has continued to delight and

amaze enthusiasts wherever it appears. Three other Brough Superiors made it into the top ten. The 1924 980cc SS80 represented a rare opportunity to purchase one of the earliest surviving and most original examples of the model, and after spirited bidding realised £100,500 (estimate £75,00095,000).The 1930 Black Alpine 680 restoration project sold for £40,550 (estimate of £25,000-35,000), and the 1933 '11-50' that took the 'best original in show' award at the BSOC Rally in 2004 fetched £34,500 (estimate £32,000-38,000). Other significant results include a 1906 Minerva 4½hp V-Twin (£26,450), a 1911 Douglas 2¾hp Model D (£18,400), 1953 Matchless 498cc G45 (£36,700), 1955 BSA 500cc Gold Star 'barn find' restoration project (£8,280), a 1972 Triumph X75 Hurricane (£24,150), and a 1979 Ducati 864cc Mike Hailwood Replica (£12,075). Any machine with good history and a high level of originality (regardless of condition) was keenly contested by discerning collectors and enthusiasts.

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Issue 18

The Bradbury

Correspondence from Mr Dent dated December 1958

“Bradbury were inundated by requests to bore out to Malcolm Shaw of Oldham has sent us some interesting correspondence that took place in the nineteen fifties between his father, who worked at the Bradbury factory in Oldham, and Richard Dent who was himself restoring a 1910 Bradbury. As part of the research into his bike, Mr Dent compiled a brief history of the Bradbury make, some of which is reproduced here. The photo above shows Richard Dent with his newly restored machine in 1957. Bradbury were founded in Oldham in 1852 as manufacturers of high grade lathes, punching and stamping machines and sewing machines. The directors of the company were mainly cotton men who were not well known in engineering circles. The factory was well equipped with plant and equipment which included a foundry with heavy duty power hammer, extensive machine and assembly shops as well as plating and enameling facilities. Bicycle manufacture started around 1890, and in 1901 it was decided to introduce motor bicycles into the product

range. Initially “clip-on” engines from the likes of Minerva, Zedel and Kelecom were used in the “Peerless” motor bicycle and the finished machines were reported as being of the highest quality and specification. In 1902 Bradbury began to use their own 2.5 and 3hp engines mounted immediately in front of the conventional pedal cycle bottom bracket which still carried the pedaling gear. With the exception of certain parts that were of a specialised nature, all cycle and engine parts were made in the works in Wallington Street, including frames, engine components and crankcase assemblies. In 1904 a 4hp watercooled three-wheeled forecar was introduced and won a Gold Medal in the MCC 100 mile passenger trial of that year. By 1909 the tricycle had been dropped, and a new engine was exhibited at the Stanley Show in London with a stated 87x87mm bore and stroke. This unit was used with much success in hill climbs and reliability trials of the day before it was discovered that the dimensions were in fact

89x89mm, giving Bradbury an advantage over their smallercapacity rivals. The deception was uncovered at the 1911 Spion Kop Hill Climb and led to suspension by the ACU. It is reported that instead of this having an adverse effect on sales, demand grew stronger when details of the more powerful engine came to light, and Bradbury were inundated by requests to bore out to 89mm cylinders which already had that dimension! In 1911 the manufacturing rights for the NSU two speed pulley were obtained, and many of these were made through the years until 1920, when chain finally ousted belt for final drive in the Bradbury range. Another brush with the ACU led to more sanctions when unauthorised repairs were made to a machine taking part in a Six Day Trial. The outcome was the nonappearance of Bradbury at trials where the War Office were seeking to select machines for use by the Armed Forces. The loss of this business was a significant blow and in 1923 Bradbury went into receivership.

89mm cylinders which already had that dimension!”

Richard Dent with his Bradbury on the front cover of the VMCC Journal, January 1958

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Museum News

The revamp of the interior of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has greatly enhanced the accessibility of the motorcycle collection. A new bridge from the main entrance leads across to a new mezzanine level from which a short flight of steps leads up to the motorcycle gallery. A lift is provided for wheelchair users.

When we last popped our heads round the door of the workshop at the Sammy Miller Museum, Sammy and Bob were hard at work on their latest restoration, a 1929 Norton CS1 which enjoyed a long and successful career racing on the Irish road circuits.

New Members Welcome to the following new supporters of our cause: Christopher Griggs, Colchester Martin Hargreaves, Cleethorpes Andrew Savage, Maidstone Jennie Hall, Southampton Lynette Hall, Southampton Barbara Chapman, Southampton Leonard Meads, Dorking Robert Anthony, Farnham Paul Martin, Bournemouth Daniel martin, Bournemouth Emma Cumberbatch, Ashford Tim Jefferies, Christchurch Gordon Barton, Southam Tony Monk, Christchurch Ronald Scrase, Lewes Adrian Barker, Lymington Hugh Wareing, St Helens Roger Deane, Southampton M W Morris, Banbury Richard Hall, Rugeley Robert Thomas, Bewdley Melvyn Larner, Hook Roger Barnes, Bilston S H Lee, Thatcham Jim Crow, Lymington

Dates for your Diary 2012 January 7-8

Classic Bike Guide Winter Classic, Newark Showground

February 18-19

Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show, Shepton Mallet

April 28-29

International Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford

May 12-13

Great Scottish Bike Show, Lanark

June 17

VMCC Banbury Run, Gaydon

July 6-7-8

VMCC Festival of 1,000 Bikes, Mallory Park

September 7-8

Eurojumble, Netley Marsh

October 20-21

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Stafford

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Issue 18

G S Thomas of Kidderminster

Member number A647 Robert Thomas visited the BMCT stand at the recent NEC Classic Motorbike Show with some interesting material concerning his grandfather, Mr G S Thomas of Kidderminster. The main photo above shows Mr Thomas with a motorcycle fitted with a single cylinder engine of his own manufacture and clearly bearing a Kidderminster registration number. Robert also has some old drawings, wooden patterns and office stationery, together with a v-twin engine and a gearbox with the

Thomas name cast into them. None of the reference books we have consulted have any record of a motorcycle manufacturer named Thomas from Kidderminster, so it may be that they made engines and gearboxes for other motorcycle manufacturers. Or it could be that these were just one-offs. Either way Robert would like to find out more, and would eventually like to recreate a Thomas engined motorcycle like the one in the photo, using the parts he has as a starting point.

NEW! BMCT Members’ Badge Members who are paid up for 2012 will find their free BMCT badge enclosed with this newsletter. Others will be sent as renewals are received.

If you have any info on the Thomas, Robert can be contacted via the editor

About the British Motorcycle Charitable Trust...

Preserving the past...for the future Contact us:

Phone: 01386 462524 Mobile: 07754 880116 E-mail: info@bmct.org

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 Charity dedicated to the promotion of British motorcycle engineering heritage through a network of affiliated transport museums throughout the country. Membership 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.

We’re on the web www.bmct.org

The BMCT Collection - 1914 Coventry Challenge

Coventry Challenge motorcycles were constructed from 1903 by a cycle manufacturer who fitted various engines into his heavy duty bicycle frames and completed them with bought in parts, including engines from Minerva and Fafnir, and later JAP and Precision. In

1914 they produced this model, with a Villiers engine of 269cc, and after the war they returned to JAP power with singles and Vtwins until 1922 when they reverted to bicycle manufacturing. This Villiers engined example was supplied new to a firm of auctioneers in West Wales

and used by them until replaced with a car in 1923. The machine was left in storage until 1997, when it was restored by Roy Poynting of Salisbury. The BMCT acquired the bike in 2008 and it is now on long term loan to the Coventry Transport Museum.

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

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BMCT News Winter 2011  

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