Page 1

Prettty with purpose HAN NDSOME MATCHLESS G11

Solid single






Forgotten triples Alf Hag Hagon interview West Kent Run W Kop Hill Climb Classic TT

Intercepttor Royal Enfield’s top twin



Number 11 Novvember 2017

The art of

American progress Sophisticated Henderson four

Editor’s welcome



This month has involved lots of miles on several different motorcycles, once again underlining that, for me, diversity is the spice of life. From my annual jaunt to the Irish rally, to a couple of club runs, as well as shows and visits, it has been a fairly frantic spell, where, as always happens, I realise my ability to become enthused about any old motorcycle is seemingly unbounded. My 350cc side-valve Sunbeam had a moment in the limelight, and I duly decided that was all any classic enthusiast could want – until I borrowed dad’s 500cc ohv flat-tank AJS and decided that, actually, was the epitome of old motorcycling, and I’d really, really like one of them. A day out on another of dad’s stable, this time his 1966 MSS, made me realise that I actually love riding big Velocette singles too and having rear suspension can be a comforting experience. This month I’ve also ridden several V-twins (ranging from a 1925 Zenith to a new Aprilia), been to hang around at the National Motorcycle Museum to look at the fore-and-aft Brough twins (and predictably become all enthused about William Brough’s products) and journeyed to Kop Hill Climb, where I was thrilled to see Nigel Hewitt’s ohv Blackburne-engined Neracar; I’ve never seen another with that engine, but as it’s thought the Hewitt family example is the only one, that’s hardly surprising. Just along from the Neracar we had an unofficial meeting of the (unofficial) Rex-Acme owners’ club, with I think half a dozen of us Rex-Acme custodians converged around Tony Heyworth’s example, making excited plans to bring together as many of the Coventry-built marque as we can… Obviously, buoyed by my Brough reunion a few days before! So what’s the resolution of all my musings and considerations? As usual, very little! Though I have decided to get a bit ‘hands on’ over winter – I’ve a Velo Viper engine lurking on a shelf, that really wants something doing to it; that might be first – plus a few other bits and pieces are coming back/together, so that perhaps we can progress with some of the other projects too… There’s only one or two riding events left (the NMM’s Model 90 will be getting an outing at a pre-31 run in Norfolk in early October, for example) then Stafford, the classic NEC, and, then, that’s pretty much it for 2017. Blimey, where’s another year gone?





Contributors Tim Britton, Alan Cathcart, Rachael Clegg, Jonathan Hill, Roy Poynting, Richard Rosenthal, Martin Squires, Jerry Thurston, Alan Turner, Phil Turner, Andy Westlake, Steve Wilson. THE CLASSIC MOTOR CYCLE (USPS:710-470) is published monthly by Mortons Media Group Ltd., PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ UK. USA subscriptions are $63 per year from Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. Periodical Postage is paid at Bancroft, WI and additional entries. Postmaster: Send address changes to THE CLASSIC MOTOR CYCLE, c/o Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. 715-572-4595


CONTENTS ISSUE | NOVEMBER 2017 Archive photograph .......................................... 6 News ................................................................... 8 Letters ............................................................. 14 Subscribe and save ........................................ 18 Royal Enfield Interceptor .............................. 20 Henderson four .............................................. 28 Andy Tiernan dealer profile .......................... 34 Matchless G11................................................. 40 West Kent Run ................................................ 46 BSA M33.......................................................... 50 Kop Hill Climb................................................ 56 Mick Cooke interview.................................... 58 Classic TT........................................................ 64 Closer look – forgotten threes ....................... 70 Alf Hagon interview ....................................... 76 Men who mattered – Count Agusta.............. 78 Roy Poynting column .................................... 80 Jerry Thurston column................................... 82 Sketchbook travels ......................................... 84 You were asking.............................................. 86 Restoration guide – postwar Panther



lightweights .................................................... 90 Technical feature – crankshaft rebuild ....... 92 Classic components – valve springs ............. 98 Diary..............................................................110 Next month ...................................................112 Classic camera.............................................. 114 POST: The Classic MotorCycle, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ EMAIL:



Everyissue issuewill willbebesent senthot hotoffoffthe thepress pressand anddelivered deliveredstraight straighttotoyour yourhouse house » »Every You’llnever nevermiss missananaction-packed action-packedissue issueororsupplement supplementagain again » »You’ll THE CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE | NOVEMBER 2017


Scottish sojourn Two sidecar outfits and a car head off on tour, taking their occupants for a weekend’s diversion from the ongoing conflict.


utside the Tummel Bridge Hotel, a party seeking ‘…a short respite from the conditions of war’ recounted a Scottish trip, published in the October 26, 1916 edition of The Motor Cycle, made in the three vehicles pictured – a 6hp Sparkbrook, a 6hp Royal Enfield and a Napier car. “At 12.30 one Saturday morning (sic) a 6hp Sparkbrook and a 6hp Enfield, carefully loaded up with petrol, provisions, and the necessary implements for catching fish, set forth from Dundee for Tummel Bridge Hotel. “The Napier, with its load of five, probably to ensure arrival before the dinner had entirely disappeared, had set out an hour before, and our object was to overtake it in the neighbourhood of Dunkeld.” The route from Dundee to Dunkeld would be around 30 miles, though the journey didn’t pass without incident. “Purring along delightfully in the Enfield… some pot-holes [proved] impossible to avoid [which] almost led to a disaster.” Basically, the spare petrol can on the rear of the Enfield (“Strapped and corded so securely… that even Hudini (sic) himself could not have removed it inside 15 minutes.”) bounced off, meaning that “...we saw our two-gallon tin following us at the end of eight yards of rope and strap, and at each bump leaving a little circle of moisture on the parched road.” But soon things were back on track (“ was only on the appearance of veal and ham pies, etc, that peace was declared.”) before an outbreak of punctures struck – first the ‘Spark’ succumbed after it had passed the Enfield (“…a phizz made us look and the man in a hurry was forced to draw to the roadside with a deflated tyre.”) and then the Enfield. This allowed the writer to consider the ease of changing tyres on both of the JAP V-twin powered outfits. Reading between the lines, it seems it was easier to remove the rear wheel from the Sparkbrook! By now, the Napier was well ahead, and in fact was caught only when at rest – luckily it was packed with plenty of food, so a good lunch was enjoyed, before the tour was



continued. Eventually, the party reached Queen’s View, Loch Tummel, and there was much excitement to see the spectacular view. Unfortunately, the writer reflected: “Had there been a visitors’ book we could have copied the entry of a Ben Nevis climber under similar circumstances who wrote: ‘I’ve seen the mist but ‘mist’ the scene.’ ” Then it was on to the Tummel Bridge Hotel, as pictured. Said our writer, taglined ‘A Sidecarrist’: “One of the benefits of motorcycling that is not sufficiently emphasised is the glorious appetite and sound digestion that always mark a long run, and the waiting maid at Tummel Bridge Hotel would bear eloquent

testimony to the efforts of our party at the dinner table.” There follows some description of fishing, smoking and breakfasting (“Tummel Bridge is famous for its ham and egg breakfast.”) before leave was taken and the party headed for home, negotiating some ‘ferocious’ climbs on the way. So what of their modes of transport? Nearest the camera is the 6hp (771cc) Sparkbrook V-twin. ‘CR’ is a Southampton registration number, so the Sparkbrook had travelled some way from where it was registered. It looks to be a fairly recent model, made in Coventry by the now almostforgotten firm, which took its name from

Classic aarchive

an area of Birmingham, often leading to confusion. Basically, the firm was formed there, though moved early on, well before motorcycle manufacture (guns and then cycles preceded) commenced. Sparkbrook didn’t make its first motorcycles until 1912, announcing a one-model range – that single model being the 6hp JAP-powered sidecar job, with two-speed gearbox, chain-cumbelt drive and Druid fork. It was joined by an 8hp version, then a 269cc Villiers model, with just the little one built in 1916, before war stopped production. Postwar, it was all smaller proprietary engined machines; Villiers, JAP, sleeve-valve Barr & Stroud and oil-cooled Bradshaw among them.

Production slowed to a trickle and ended in the mid-1920s. Royal Enfield is of course a rather better known enterprise. TS is a Dundee registration number, with the model shown powered by the same 6hp JAP side valve V-twin engine as the Sparkbrook. Royal Enfield’s first production model on its re-entry to the market in 1909 (they had made some motorcycles earlier, starting 1901, ceasing 1905) had been a V-twin, with a Swiss MAG engine, and the configuration was to remain a mainstay of the Redditch firm’s range until the Second World War, with a mixture of JAP, Vickers and, lastly, own-made engines. The model shown is the

1912-introduced V-twin, with the same 771cc JAP engine as the Sparkbrook, and a twospeed gear, with chain final drive. Just behind the rider’s calf is the starting handle. As for the car. Napier built its first in 1900, with production steadily increasing until halted by the First World War, during which the firm built aircraft and boat engines, among other things. Napier car production restarted postwar, but the cars were expensive and by 1924 automobile-making had ceased, with the firm making marine and aviation engines. Rolls-Royce eventually bought the name and – like the Tummel Bridge Hotel, incidentally – doesn’t End seem to seem to be in use anymore.




News Events


Stafford spotlight on Slight Aaron Slight, the flamboyant Kiwi World Superbike star, will be guest of honour at The Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show at Stafford County Showground, over October 14/15. Slight’s name will be familiar to many, mainly as he was from the era when world Superbike racing was on terrestrial TV and with Carl Fogarty support running high, a real battle between all the Japanese ‘big four’ 750cc screamers and Ducati’s big booming 1000cc V-twins made for compulsive viewing. Slight’s aggressive riding, outspoken views and outlandish haircuts made him somewhat of a cult (and divisive) figure. He’ll be on stage through the weekend. Elsewhere, it’s business as usual for the fabulous show – though the focus is Japaneseaccented, there’s a huge diversity of machinery to be found. Pre-order tickets at or 01507 529529.

Bonhams’ Stafford extravaganza

The wonderful Pierce Arrow will be among the huge amount of machines offered at Stafford.

There are a whole host of exciting, interesting and occasionally jaw-dropping machines in Bonhams’ autumn Stafford sale, on October 15. As well as the clear headline acts – including the Henderson on p28 of this issue, the Pierce Arrow featured last month, and the Broughs and Vincents – there are some other less obvious interesting artefacts, a 1933 BSA ‘World Tour’ V-twin outfit for example, plus a 680cc V-twin Zenith and an ex-Bill Beevers Manx Norton. Details from 0208 9632817 or autumnstafford

Exciting addition to Yorkshire sale Reward of An interesting machine in Dee, Atkinson & Harrison’s sale on November 4, is a 1960 350cc Manx Norton, which was ridden by Bill Beevers in the 1960 Junior TT. It was then bought by the current vendor in 1966, who then finished a remarkable 21 Manx GPs on it, plus two DNFs, as well as racing it at plenty of other circuits, with a last Isle of Man outing in 1996. Its current owner raced the Norton in period, as a ‘modern’ racer, and as a classic too. Details from Andrew Spicer 01377 253151or 07841 051152.


£10k offered

Bill Beevers on the Manx, in the 1960 Junior TT. In his last TT (his first was in 1935) 54-year-old Beevers finished 44th.


Stolen from Epping on Tuesday, August 29, at 3am, was a pair of distinctive classic motorcycles. A £10,000 reward is offered for information leading to the recovery of these machines, which are an ex-Phil Read MV four (frame number MV4C75022177, engine number 77, registration WHJ 467M) and a Vincent Rapide (frame number RC/1/7896, engine number F10AB/1/4628, registration NNK 813). Contact ross.burnard@ clarkeinternational. com, ray.houldsworth@ or 01992 565300 or 07734 078892.

Tait three

Goodwood winners


Winners of the two-race aggregate decided Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy at Goodwood over September 9/10, were ex-GP racer Jeremy McWilliams, pictured, and Duncan Fitchett, on Andy Savage’s Manx Norton.

Mauger auction

The next H&H auction at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, is on Saturday, December 9. There are a few machine sales already confirmed, including an interesting and rare Scott Cyc-Auto. Details


Ivan Mauger in action, during the 1969 world final.

It is 50 years since the launch of the Norton Commando at The Earls Court Show in 1967, and so, at Ardingly on Sunday, October 29, at the suggestion of Surrey NOC, the anniversary is to be celebrated. Norton guru Peter Williams is guest of honour, and motorcycles to appear include his innovative original 1973 JPN monocoque, a genuine Thruxton Commando, an original 1963 500cc Dunstall Domiracer, one of the first fastback Commandos and a Seeley Commando. The show is at the South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex, RH17 6TL, with details from www. or 01797 344277.

The organisers of a track day at Lydden on Saturday, October 21, are willing to run a group for prewar machines. Cost is £89 and the man to contact is Richard Bott 07900 206634.


Celebrating 50 years of the Commando

Commandos of all shapes and sizes will be celebrated at Ardingly.

CHEFFINS SALE The Cambridge Vintage Sale of vintage and classic tractors, motorcycles, classic commercial vehicles, steam engines, spares and memorabilia at Sutton, Ely, Cambs, takes place on October 14. Details from

The Tait triple, with V-three format, a la DKW and Honda.

Look out for this unique, homebuilt machine at the Stafford show. It’s a 750cc three-cylinder two-stroke, with five-speed gearbox, leading front forks, and twin cam front brake. Designed by the late Bob Tait, circa 1980, sadly Bob was overcome with cancer before he could finish his project. It was sold to the Sammy Miller Museum, so that Bob’s lifelong desire to have this triple racer finished could be carried out. The machine, and the museum’s Gilera four, will be on the Footman James stand.


The collection belonging to speedway great Ivan Mauger will be offered by Bonhams at Stafford on October 15. Mauger won a record nine world championships during his career as a motorcycle speedway and long track rider. A winner of more than 1000 international events in 26 countries across the world,

Rare Lightning up for grabs Vincent Black Lightnings are rare, with under 30 made and land speed record-breaking ones are even rarer. Which makes Bonhams offering the ex-Tony McAlpine/Jack Ehret Australian history maker a special occasion. It’ll come to auction in Las Vegas on January 25, 2018. Details at

Mauger came from humble beginnings in Christchurch, NZ and arrived in the UK at 17. He raced for a host of British teams and he won his first world championship in 1968. Included in the sale are several of his championship-winning machines. Details at www.

There’s a new offering out soon from Frank Melling g called Ride of My Life. The book will be on sale at the Stafford show.

MECUM Over January 23-27, more than 1750 motorcycles will be auctioned by Mecum at its Las Vegas sale. Details from


New Events News

Broughs at the NMM On September 13, the National Motorcycle Museum played host to what is believed to potentially be the biggest collection of Brough motorcycles brought together since the factory closed its doors. Seven of the Nottingham-built machines were united, which represents all bar one of those in the UK, with it reckoned there are 14 extant worldwide. The seven collected were six fore-and-aft flat twins and a solitary single, which is a permanent resident in the museum. One of the flat-twins lives there too, while the other five were brought along to join their siblings. As well as the complete machines, there was also another engine, plus various other bits and pieces, including several original Brough steering heads. With many redundant William Brough castings, these were used as hardcore for a works extension undertaken by George Brough in the 1930s. In the 1980s the castings were uncovered when the yard had been sold off for redevelopment. One of these steering heads is used on Dave Clark’s machine, with the nickel tank, which heads the line-up. The engine is the original 500cc factory competition motor, timed at 84mph in 1922, and subsequently polished up and displayed in the works during the 1950s. Dave acquired it in 2012, building the rolling chassis – with genuine, exhumed steering head – over five months in 2003. The oldest machine is the only single, from 1912, with the oldest twin the museum’s 1914 example, a HS, with William Brough’s own two-speed gear, but no clutch. A 1915 example (model HC) features a threespeed Sturmey-Archer gearbox, two 1916 examples (a G and a

Line-up on the lawn. Dave Clark’s machine is at the front.

The original Brough badge.

More steering heads, engine top half twice over, and a trophy won by Brough.

H, though the H is fitted with a 1918 W engine) are similarly equipped, while another G is a 1919 example. Former employee Barry Robinson was among those present, sporting an original ‘Brough’ factory badge.

Above: The attendees and organisers. From left, Barry Robinson, Pete Staughton, Miles Soppet, Nick Jeffery, Mike Leatherdale, Vivvy Hanney, Howard Wilcox and Dave Clark. Left: Nick Jeffery and Dave Clark examine the single-cylinder Brough.


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Book Review “Behind the Scenes in the Vintage Years” Author: “Torrens” (Arthur Bourne) Edited by: Richard Bourne Published by: Troubador Publishing Ltd., 9 Priory Business Park, Wistow Road, Kibworth Beauchamp, Leics LE8 0RX Email: books@troubador. matador Tel: 0116 2792299 Softback, 140 x 215mm; 323 pages with over 35 photographs. ISBN 978-1-78589-852-5 £24.99 Born in West London in 1902, Arthur Bourne had been a motorcycle enthusiast from an early age and at 14 was allowed to ride his first motorcycle, a 293cc New Imperial, to St Paul’s School, where he received a classical education, before studying engineering at the Imperial College, South Kensington, from 1920. By 1923 he had the great good fortune to be engaged as engineer to the AutoCycle Union (the ACU was the governing body for motorcycling), which saw him as the official observer in the many long-distance reliability trials of the period. At Brooklands, he acted as ACU scrutineer for many record attempts, measuring engine capacities at the finish and dismissing riders whose exhausts failed to meet the regulations. He was also involved in the organisation and route planning of the first International Six Days Trial. In the 1920s, there were more motorcyclists than car drivers, records were being broken every month at the Brooklands racetrack in Surrey, roads were empty and motorcycles constantly broke down. In 1926, Bourne moved to The Motor Cycle and by 1928, not yet aged 26, he, unexpectedly, became

editor of this renowned magazine – a position he held for over 23 years. This was not an easy transition, but he threw himself into the job with gusto, writing up to a third of a million words a year himself, using five different pseudonyms, though countless readers knew him as ‘Torrens,’ when he provided weekly guidance with articles like “Workshop and the open road.” The interest he possessed in engineering meant he was quick to recognise and encourage the talents of young motorcycle designers like Edward Turner and Phil Vincent. By the Second World War he organised enlistment and training of dispatch riders and enabled the airborne forces at Arnhem to be equipped with the Royal Enfield ‘Flying Flea’ and the James ML lightweight motorcycles that could be dropped by parachute or flown in by glider. Arthur Bourne was a man of gravitas who built a loyal staff. ‘Behind the Scenes in the Vintage Years’ is a unique and fascinating record of an unrepeatable era in British cycling and engineering history. Edited by his son, Richard, the book is well illustrated and highly recommended. Book reviewed by Jonathan Hill






Expect plenty of motorcycles to ride in to the NMM, on November 4.

Museum open day Following the massive success of Museum LIVE over the last three years, Saturday, November 4, will see the museum host its fourth annual free open day, when everyone will be invited to view the museum for no admission charge. There will also be a host of other free attractions including an updated ‘stars on stage’ and ‘rider’s wives’ feature. Guests will include Carl Fogarty and Freddie Spencer

(and partners) while Steve Parrish will be present too. There’s also an indoor autojumble and trade area, meet the experts, plus race bike start-up. In addition, the draw to win a 1960 BSA Gold Star will take place live on stage. See details of the event at The National Motorcycle Museum is at Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 0EJ.

Harry Pearce Harry Pearce has a unique place in Brands Hatch history. He won the very first road race at the famous Kent venue in 1950, taking a 250cc heat on his very rapid Triumph. He is also the 250cc class grasstrack lap record holder in perpetuity, on the same machine in its earlier guise. He came to prominence preparing his machine at work in Tommy Atkins’ engineering business in Hook, Surrey. Tom was himself a 1930s Brooklands racer of note on a Douglas and was widely known for entering a host of star names in his Atkins Cooper cars. When Harry moved on to a Mk.VIII KTT Velocette it received the same treatment and proved to be very fast, winning the 350cc class at the 1952 North West 200 and impressing the factory enough for them to offer a winter check at Hall Green, when Harry was unofficially told he had more power than the works models. He went on to race an AJS 7R and Matchless G45 twin for


Harry Pearce in action on the grass at Brands Hatch. On the same Triumph, he won the first road race at the Kent circuit.

dealer Angus Herbert before retiring from competition and working with a range of motor racing stars in the Atkins cars. On one frantic weekend he drove Bruce McClaren and the Atkins Cooper back from a successful Good Friday visit to the Nurburgring in Germany to reach Brands Hatch in time for a Saturday practice and qualifying. Harry died aged 94 in Poole Hospital on July 17. The order of service at his funeral included a copy of his amazing life story, as told to The Classic MotorCycle many years ago. Words: Jim Reynolds


Up to now, the British police hadn’t used motorcycles for their duty. But the Tokyo police office had bought three Indian Powerplus motorcycles, so was it a case of the west lagging behind the east? Despite the ongoing war,


The Lowestoft Corporation had officially written to the Ministry of War Transport suggesting front numberplates


Swiss racer Luigi Taveri finally announced his retirement from motorcycle racing at all levels. In later years favouring the under 250cc classes, Taveri hadn’t been internationally active in 1967, and learned Honda had no intention of returning to the under 250cc classes while attending the Japanese GP at Fuji on October 15, 1967. On November 5, Luigi confirmed his decision to retire with this definitive statement: “I will not race any more. I will stop completely. No small races, nothing.” Born in Horgen, near Zurich, the then 38-year-old professional racer began his career as sidecar passenger for older brother Hans. He scored his first World Championship points at the 1954 season opening French GP, Reims, finishing fourth in the 500cc race. Later in the season he was fourth in the 250cc Swiss GP, Berne on a Moto Guzzi. For 1955, Taveri signed


Despite the European Commission and all 12 Governments agreeing a 100bhp limit for motorcycles, all 518 members of the European Government voted

some British motorcycle and components makers continued to record satisfactory profits. Brampton Bros Ltd announced a 10% dividend on its ordinary shares and the Self Sealing Rubber Co Ltd announced a 12.5% dividend.

on all vehicles should be dispensed with. These plates could then be used as scrap for the war effort.

for MV Agusta, winning the season opening 125cc race at the Spanish GP, and ended the year runner-up in the ultra lightweight title chase. He continued with MV until 1958, when he switched to Ducati, the following year Luigi raced MZs with a second in the IoM 125cc TT and Ducati, then back to MV for a disappointing 1960. Ready to retire, his wife Tilda had other ideas, leading to Honda offering him rides on second string machines. After useful places in 1961, he rewarded Honda’s faith by winning the Swedish GP ahead of team-mates Kummitsu Takahashi and Jim Redman. The first of his three 125cc world titles came in 1962, following six consecutive wins and some places. He again secured the 125cc world title in 1964 and 1966, his last season in his favourite class. During his Honda career, he variously competed in the 50cc, 250cc and 350cc classes.

against this limit stating: “There is no justification whatsoever in this proposal from the Commission.” And they accused the commission of meddling. Richard Rosenthal.

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The Classic Motorcycle November 2017  

The Classic Motorcycle November 2017 preview

The Classic Motorcycle November 2017  

The Classic Motorcycle November 2017 preview