SUPER SPECIAL THE RIGHT WAY? One woman’s Triumph build
Norton Navigator trend follower
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Number 11, November 2018 UK Off-sale date 02/11/2018
green Douglas flat-twin
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TRACK DAY SWAP SHOP
Velocette and Morini at Cadwell Park PLUS WEST KENT RUN BULTACO SHERPA T 250
BSA A10 TOURS SCOTLAND 1953 MOTORCYCLE SHOW REG ARMSTRONG PROFILE TRIUMPH REBUILD
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My cousin Pete came over from Australia to ride with dad and I in Ireland for the ‘National’, which necessitates a whole, horrid, long van journey, during which of course we talk about all sorts, though often back to motorbikes. I invariably say: “I’d quite like one of them” about pretty much anything motorcycling, as well as various other cars, vans, pick-ups, motorhomes, bicycles, and anything else (garage snacks!) encountered. At one point Peter said something along the lines of: “Jeez, is there anything you don’t want?” in his Australian-intonated (he’s been there 20 years) accent. Though it did make me think a bit, mainly that it’s perhaps I’m just ‘suggestible’ in the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ manner… Anyway, owing to transport issues (the original hire van broke; a long, frustrating – and expensive – story…), we took one bike each to Ireland. For me it was my 1927 Long-stroke Sunbeam. When it seized within the first hour of the first morning, it looked like being a fairly miserable trip. Still, it freed off, I got it going again and though there were a couple more glitches, it kept running all week. Basically, the Best and Lloyd pump casting had started to disintegrate, so I was hand-pumping the oil in directly (happily it has a supplementary hand-pump) and as I got used to as and when, it improved no-end. In the end we had a great time, a couple of other minor issues (dad had a puncture, the engine shock absorber made a dive into the hedge off Pete’s (exposed primary drive) bike but that aside, all was well. The next weekend cousin Peter and another cousin Dan joined us for a lovely ride out around the Norfolk coast, with several other pals joining us too for my 40th birthday. The only disappointment of the day was the lady had run out of fresh crab at our allotted lunch stop, so I had to make do with whelks, shell-on prawns and crayfish tail sandwiches. Having abused the Sunbeam thoroughly in Ireland, it was the turn of the Rex-Acme, while Pete was able to get some miles on his 1928 K10 ‘cammy’ AJS, having borrowed dad’s K8 (ohv) for Ireland, owing to the K10 being freshly restored and unproven. But it did 120-odd miles with only a couple of minor hiccups, and as Pete has returned to Aus, it is staying over here for a while now – so I’ll be putting some miles on it too, and there will also be a feature coming up.
JAMES ROBINSON Editor
Tim Britton, Rachael Clegg, Jonathan Hill, Roy Poynting, Richard Rosenthal, Martin Squires, Jerry Thurston, Alan Turner, Andy Westlake, Steve Wilson.
Contributors this issue
Chelsea Borchert, Michael Davis, Roger Houghton. 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 email@example.com
CONTENTS ISSUE | NOVEMBER 2018 Archive photograph .......................................... 6 News ................................................................... 8 Letters ............................................................. 10 West Kent Run ................................................ 14 Douglas Mk.V ................................................. 18 Subscribe and save ........................................ 24 Rickman Triumph Metisse............................ 26 Bressurie GP ................................................... 32 Morini and Velocette ‘swap’.......................... 34 Norton Navigator ............................................ 41 Classic TT/Duke Velocette ............................ 46 James Pineapple .............................................. 51 Ivor Gilson profile .......................................... 56 BSA A10 in Scotland ....................................... 62 Closer look – 1953 Motorcycle Show............. 68 Men who mattered – Reg Armstrong ........... 74 Triumph 3TA/5TA rebuild ............................. 76 Roy Poynting column .................................... 80 Jerry Thurston column................................... 82 Sketchbook travels ......................................... 84 You were asking .............................................. 86
Restoration guide – Bultaco Sherpa T .......... 90 Technical feature – pistons, cams and tuning .......................................................................... 92 Diary ..............................................................110 Next month ................................................... 113 Classic camera.............................................. 114 POST: The Classic MotorCycle, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
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TT racing – American style
A different take on ‘TT racing’ is presented to a British audience.
hat was the heading (‘TT racing – gentleman Joe Leonard repeating his 1954 and 1956 80 cu in national championship American style’) on an article in wins, but before the meeting it became the September 19, 1957 edition known that Joe had broken a bone in of The Motor Cycle, in which American his foot racing ‘for peanuts’ on the small, Jack Mercer explained to the largely British rough half-mile track at Sante Fe in audience just what ‘TT’ meant in America. Chicago and was duly ruled out. The story was accompanied by pictures This was Everett’s first win and, added too, including this one, which shows to Gunter’s 45 cu in success, it meant both some of the Stateside stars in action, with big classes were won by BSA, though just Al Gunter leading the field on his Gold a week before Gunter had won a Dodge Star, ahead of like-mounted Dick Mann. City race on a Harley. It seems it was a case Number 84 is George Everett, on a Harleyof choosing which machine best suited Davidson V-twin, with Devon Wenger the class and conditions; there were cash aboard BSA number 21. This was in the prizes at stake and these hard men would 45 cubic inch (cu in) class, where 500cc do whatever was necessary, on whatever overhead valve engines were permitted to bike, to secure the best possible pay day. race against the 750cc side-valve HarleyGunter and Mann were friends and Davidsons. often travelling companions, and in fact “Revise your ideas, you Isle of Man the pair nearly missed the 1957 Daytona addicts, about TT racing,” was how Mercer began his report/introduction to this sport. 200 (where Gunter was runner-up) owing to them both being in jail, arrested after He went on to explain: “Here in the States being caught testing their race bikes on one of our most popular TT meetings is the road. BSA’s east coast president Ted held on the Peoria track, Illinois, where a lap is turned in 30 plus seconds and brakes Hodgson posted their bail, allowing them to be freed just in time to race. are almost useless. A clever thinker and innovator, Gunter “The rugged, oil-bound half-mile dirt – born 1933 in Houston, Texas – came up course is narrow and lies along a small with myriad inventions and ideas, and was creek bed. The layout forms a natural largely responsible for the first full face amphitheatre and a record crowd turned Bell helmets. Innovations included riderup on September 8 to see the 1957 to-pit radios (which were banned), disc titles decided.” brakes, while his engine tuning work was In the 45 cu in championship race, the lead that others followed. shown, Gunter brushed off a heavy By the late 1960s, he’d given up racing, practice crash to lead from flag to flag, but came back in the early 1970s before with Mann following him home. Everett a terrible crash at San Jose dirt-track left actually managed to get his Harley him paralysed from the chest down. In among the BSAs, to come third, Roger depression and despair, he committed Howk fourth on another Goldie, Ed suicide in 1976. Kretz fifth (on the leading Triumph) and A year younger than Gunter, Mann Wenger sixth. (from Utah) was a real all-rounder, Everett was to have his revenge in the excelling at dirt-track, road-racing, and 80 cu in (1300cc) though, but for this race more unusually observed trials and he switched to a BSA twin and had a right motocross. Perhaps his biggest success set-to with like-mounted Howk – from of all was when he won the 1970 Daytona Indiana – who held the early lead. Ed Kretz 200 on a Honda 750cc four, beating Mike and Everett battled for the honour of who Hailwood, among others. He continued would beat him. In the end, it was Everett to race until 1974, his 40th year, then who passed Howk on the jumps, setting the next year he rode in the ISDT on the fastest lap of the weekend in the process, leaving Kretz – Triumph – to come in third, Isle of Man, winning a bronze medal. He carried on in vintage racing for many ahead of Mann on another BSA. years, regularly winning, and still Most racegoers though had arranged to End retains an interest in motorcycling. come to the meeting fully expecting to see
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Museum Live coming soon
NEWS IN BRIEF BONHAMS’ OCTOBER STAFFORD SALE
Three overhead valve SS100 Brough Superior projects headline Bonhams’ Stafford sale on October 14 and the preceding day, Saturday October 13, sees the sale, at the same venue, of the fabulous and eclectic Adrian Reed collection. Details at bonhams.com or call 0208 9632817.
MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS SHOW
If you’re arriving by motorcycle for the NMM’s open day, parking is free – it’s a ﬁver for a car.
Visitors to The National Motorcycle Museum’s fifth annual free open day will be welcome to view the museum collection free of charge on Saturday, October 27. There
will also be a host of other free attractions including the ‘stars on stage’ feature and a large, indoor autojumble and trade area. The museum’s
2018 raffle to win a 1969 Royal Enfield Interceptor 750cc Series II will be drawn live on stage by John McGuinness during the afternoon of the event. There’s still time to
enter with raffle tickets being available from www.thenmm.co.uk or 01675 444123. For further Museum Live 2018 updates and timetable see www. thenmm.co.uk
Eurojumble a hit Thousands of visitors from across the UK and beyond basked in the sunshine after flocking to Netley Marsh on Friday, August 31 to Saturday, September 1 to enjoy two days of the Carole Nash Eurojumble, the UK’s largest bike autojumble. The Carole Nash Eurojumble, celebrating its 25th year, proved another successful event for traders, with all plots being sold out while Charterhouse sold over two-thirds of the lots at the on-site auction.
Sam’s V-fours at Stafford Courtesy of the Sammy Miller Museum, two fabulous V-four two-strokes will be at the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics show at Stafford over October 13/14, on the Footman James stand. The V-four Villa was built by Walter and Francesco Villa, though the FIM’s late 1969 eligibility changes ruled it out, while the V-four 350cc Jawa was reckoned to be producing 80bhp in 1969.
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Headline news for the October Stafford show, to be held over October 13/14, is the appearance of 11 Cagiva ex-GP racers being displayed together, on the central Mortons’ stand. Details and tickets 01507 529529 or staffordclassicbikeshow.com
GOFF BUSINESS MOVE
Electrics supplier and guru Paul Goff is moving home and business to larger premises on October 17, so there will be around two weeks’ disruption to the normal mail order service. The new address is 49 Chequers Lane, Prestwood, Bucks, HP16 9DR, while phone number 01494 868218, email and website (www.norbsa02.freeuk. com) remain the same.
WARCO’S NEW AND IMPROVED SYSTEM
Machine tools supplier Warco has installed a new telephone system, with more lines and better access to their technical section. Fibre optic lines will ensure improved clarity. The main number, 01428 682929, remains the same and callers can select from the options offered. Warren Machine Tools Ltd are at Warco House, Fisher Lane, Chiddingfold, Surrey or www.warco.co.uk.
THE WAY WE WERE IN
Peace and the future was the big topic – many had written ‘nothing will ever be the same again.’ However, the cessation of hostilities would mark a new era for motoring and motorcycling. The pre magneto days of trembler coil ignition and associated accumulator problems have been long swept away, replaced by magneto ignition. Likewise the adoption of gear systems and then countershaft gearboxes as the world was building up to war provided motorcycle flexibility and reliability hitherto unknown. If one regarded the pre magneto and multi gear systems as the first epoch of motorcycling, then the second epoch began a few years before the outbreak of war.
Wing Cdr James suggested to the House of Commons ‘the country should take the opportunity to change the rule of the road to driving on the right as in much of Europe and the rest of world.’ For the Government, Mr Noel-Baker (parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of War Transport) in a brief but
Tributes poured in following the tragic death of John Hartle (34), of Moulton, Northants, (formerly of Chapelen-le-Frith), at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, while accelerating up the steep climb after Mere Hairpin behind John Blanchard,
On display at the autumn motorcycle shows was the recently launched 120mph R1100GS dual sport BMW. It was the first GS model to use air/oil engine cooling
Had the war started a few years earlier, before the development of magneto ignition, gear systems, more powerful and reliable engines developed in part thanks to Tourist Trophy races and ACU trials, then the horse would have prevailed dispatch rider work and motorcycles would have remained on the sidelines. During the war, the 60,000plus machines supplied direct to the Allied military and the many civilian models pressed into service as the war started proved beyond doubt the tough, reliable nature of production motorcycles. Now, the motorcycle industry would be able to look forward to a secure future, providing machines for sport, leisure, utility and business roles. encouraging reply stated there would be advantages in uniformity in having the same rule of the road as many other countries, but it would require the reconstruction of omnibuses, traffic signals and signs. He then added it wouldn’t be practicable to change during wartime. whose Matchless Metisse suddenly slowed with a gearbox problem. The pair touched and both came off – Hartle slid into the bridge scaffold while Blanchard was unhurt. John Hartle was a great sportsman and ambassador for motorcycle racing. and with options including ABS, deliveries of the 80bhp, four-valve per cylinder head boxer twin were scheduled to commence early the next year Richard Rosenthal.
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Irish motorcycle racer Charles B. Franklin, designer of the Indian Scout and Chief Authors: Harry V. Sucher, Tim Pickering, Liam Diamond, Harry Havelin Foreword by George Hendee Wells New paperback edition in the Veloce Classic Reprint Series. Previously published by Panther Publishing in 2011. Published by Veloce Publishing Ltd, Veloce House, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester DT1 3AR Email: email@example.com Tel: 01305 260068 Softback, 248mm x 192mm, 340 pages, approximately 160 photographs and illustrations. ISBN 978-1-787112-23-0 £30, $50 USA Charles Franklin, the first Irish motorcycle racing superstar, was born in Dublin in 1880 where he quickly became involved in motorcycle racing during the pioneer years. He rapidly established himself as both a rider and tuner, particularly of Indian machines. One of the instigators of the Isle of Man TT races, Charles consistently finished in the top eight and in 1911, riding an Indian, he claimed second place, a remarkable achievement in itself. But it was when he moved in 1916 to the Indian concern in Springfield, US, where he later became the chief design engineer, that his genius really became apparent. His design catapulted Indian back into the forefront of motorcycle design in the 1920s and 30s and his racing engines and motorcycles won much glory for Indian. The Indian Scout and Chief are two of the best known and best loved of all classic American motorcycles. The man who designed them, Charles was responsible for many advanced design concepts including remarkable improvements in side-valve combustion chamber design that pre-dated the work of Ricardo. Franklin’s 600cc Scout of 1920 was an all-new integrated design. Ground-breaking features included its double-loop full
cradle frame, unitised semi-unit construction engine with enclosed valves, and geared primary drive. On a ‘works’ Indian Freddy Dixon took second place in the 1923 Senior TT in the Isle of Man. Intending to stay in the US for only six months, Franklin never returned to Ireland, being joined by his wife and daughter in 1920. Tragically, this refined, enigmatic man died of cancer in 1932 at the age of 52. Charles was in the thick of all the engineering activity at Indian. He was still in charge of design engineering at the time of his death. The design work he performed or co-ordinated during the 1930-32 period laid the foundations for the new, modern Indians that would see the company out to the end of its day in 1953. This excellent book not only chronicles Franklin’s fascinating family history and life and times in Ireland, but also contains detailed descriptions of early TT races. Much new light is also shed on the history of Indian motorcycles and the often turbulent times of the Indian Motocycle (Sic) Company itself. It is an absolutely essential book for Indian enthusiasts and motorcycle historians alike. This is, in my opinion, one of the best motorcycle history books in recent years. Reviewed by Jonathan Hill.
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Readers’ Letters YOUR VOICE & YOUR OPINIONS
Memories of JABS JABS in period. Last we heard, it was owned by Norton guru Stu Rogers and made an appearance at Goodwood a few years ago.
I thought you may be interested in a photo I have of JABS, as built by Phil Webb in the 1950s. He made a lovely job of building it, similar to a Featherbed frame but lower. I first knew JABS when raced by Chris Williams. I remember him telling me how he decided to rebore and tune it, whereupon it seized at Silverstone and broke his leg. He was nursed by my then wife at St Albans City Hospital, which he survived… A few years later it was advertised by Comerfords in London for £100, so I rushed down and bought it. On dismantling it, I discovered the engine was ruined – beyond repair – so it stood in my scullery. I had the frame restored but eventually Chris Williams came round with a mate and bought it back for
£100. I would love to know its whereabouts now. When I owned it, it had been fitted with shortened Roadholder forks and was sprayed red – a lovely bit of the past. Talking of the past, I remember selling two prewar HRD Rapides (one DUR99, the road test one) to Richard Scudder for £100 – those days are long gone! I never paid more than £50 for a bike, except once paying £150 for a Vincent Black Shadow with a slight knock in the big-end! I would also like to know what happened to Chris Williams’ two-speed Scott, as tuned by Clive Waye. I remember someone telling me Chris entered the Scott at Brands in an all-comers race (of mainly Manx Nortons) and came fifth! J A Coulson, Bourne, Lincs.
More about Roy Battson Interesting contribution about RKB by Mike Knowles in the October issue (p12) and it is good that, perhaps, his 1959 AJS survives. This was, I think, the last bike he owned, and one of his earliest was a 1925 Model 18 Norton, bought new from Guildford dealers Crow Brothers. He said in his biographical memoir: “It was I think, the best of the 14 bikes I have owned in my life... It was, for its day, one of the finest motorcycles ever offered to the public.” Of course, I agree wholeheartedly with this viewpoint! I attach a scan of typical publicity from the period. Simon Grigson, via email.
Readers’ Letters WRITE TO: The Classic Motorcycle, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s all OK
What a thrill to see ‘my’ 250cc OK Supreme in you piece on Graham Crowley on p56 of your October issue. It has certainly moved on from the time I bought it over 50 years ago. In the 1960s, one of my roles as a draughtsman with the local electricity board was to visit sites and measure up cable positions. I used to talk motorcycles with VMCC member Keith Lewis, one of the substation fitters, whenever our paths crossed. He was keen for me to join the Vintage Motor Cycle Club but my excuse was always that I didn’t have a suitable bike. One day in 1967 I encountered Keith working at an electricity substation in Skidby, west of Hull. He suggested I take a walk down the alleyway at the back of the substation and look over a particular garden fence. Up against a wall was a pile of coke and poking out of the coke was a pair of girder forks and
The OK Supreme now owned by Graham Crowley, as discovered in 1967. The receipt is from when Stewart Would bought it.
a front wheel! I tracked down the owner and established the whole machine was there. He said that he had intended giving the rusty bike to the local scout group but I could have it for £2. It turned out to be a 1937 OK Supreme DKH 856 with a 250cc ohv JAP engine. When I attended my first VMCC meeting, my choice of bike was met with derision, as it was far too modern! The club was stringently pre-1930 then. (Eventually, of course, the rules were changed to accept over
25-year-old motorcycles on a rolling annual basis.) When I eventually got around to rebuilding the OK Supreme in the early 1970s, I built it as a trials bike. I entered post-vintage trials on the famous Post Hill course south of Leeds and realised it’s nowhere near as easy as it looks. Other than the occasional run around a field, the OK got little use. It was around 2014 that I listed the machine on a well-known internet auction site and Graham was the lucky
Beart and Morini appreciation Really enjoyed reading your piece on the Francis Beart 350cc Norton and, like yourself, I think the Francis Beart big singles are exquisite, to use your phrase. At the Bonhams auction at Stafford in October 2013, another Beart 350cc Manx was sold; this one was reputed to be the one ridden by Joe Dunphy at the 1966 TT races. This bike was fitted with the Oldani front brake, not the Gilera unit. I saw a Beart 500cc Manx a few years back being paraded at a classic meeting at Mallory Park. Also giving my age away, I can just about remember Terry Shepherd riding the Beart 500cc into second place behind Mike Hailwood at the 1960 Mallory Park Race of the Year. With your latest passion being for the Morini, I thought you might appreciate the enclosed
winner. He has kept me fully in the picture right throughout the re-creation process, for which I am really grateful. And what a stunning result – a million miles from the heap I discovered all those years ago! I attach a photograph of DKH 856 as found, after removal from the coke heap. I also managed to find the original receipt in my archive. I hope you’ll find something of interest in my ramblings. Stewart Would, Rolston, East Riding of Yorkshire.
Blackbird in America
Writing from Abington, Massachusetts, saying that we really follow your magazine every month and we wonder if we can offer to display our beautiful Triumph Thunderbird Blackbird. Thanks again! Marcelo Villada, via email.
The wonderful 250cc Morini racer. Provini oh-so-nearly beat the mighty Honda fours with it in 1963.
photo I took of this 1963-era Moto Morini GP racer at Stafford 2013. It was a shame no one cleaned the mud off the tyre before the sale. The photo makes the bike look quite big but in
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the flesh it was small. The 250cc single was ridden by Tarquinio Provini and Giacomo Agostini among others. Terry Birch, Bulwell, Nottingham.
The handsome Blackbird version of the Thunderbird, at home in America.
A meander round the garden International West Kent Run, at The Friars, Aylesford, is a truly eclectic affair, with a strong continental ﬂavouring. Words: ALAN TURNER Photographs: ALAN TURNER AND RALPH TURNER
he West Kent Run (this year August 2-6) has grown steadily to become one of the biggest events in the Vintage Motor Cycle Club calendar. The concept came about through the efforts of Alex Brett and Alan Abrahams. No strangers to overseas motorcycling adventures, they decided their country also ought to have a gathering that would transcend frontiers with motorcycling as the common interest. It has certainly stood the test of time as this year marked the 34th run. European politics may dominate the news elsewhere, but motorcycling seems happily free of such constraints. With almost 400 riders taking part, more than 60 entered from at least nine other nations. The Netherlands was best-represented, with around half the continental visitors calling that country ‘home.’
Unsurprisingly, many overseas riders also ride machines from manufacturers that are less familiar in Britain, adding to the enormous variety that the run succeeds in encouraging to have an enjoyable interlude along the roads of the event’s eponymous county. Wandering the lines of bikes on display in Sunday’s public exhibition, it would be just about impossible to find two identical models. There is a 30-year cut-off rule for entry and owners – some bikes will have had many – will have added personal touches. For instance, Ian Watkinson’s Sunbeam S8 was well restored, but eschewing sombre factory colour choices, it looked splendid in a striking shade of blue.
While the run has been based at several locations during its long history, in recent years The Friars, the Aylesford Priory, has served the event extremely well. With social runs on the Thursday and Friday preceding the main run, the camping grounds start to fill quickly. The French riders maintain an imposing presence, as many enter under the APAPA club banner (Association des Pétrolettes Anciennes du Pays d’Auge, since you asked) of which membership is a matter of considerable, and often demonstrated, pride. At 9am on the Saturday morning, the first riders were despatched from The Friars.
On a run for older bikes it seemed quite appropriate that a steam train provided a temporary pause for this Triumph rider at the Kent & East Sussex Railway.
International | West Kent Run
Left: Terry Soan had this rare 1948 BSA M33, an early example of when the factory was marrying longestablished M20 cycle parts with the new B33 engine.
Right: John Reader and the rare Matchless Model M that spent years buried beneath a collapsed shed.
Chris Tullet looks like he’s enjoying his ride out on his 1938 Panther Redwing outﬁt. His passenger looks less convinced.
The entire event was blessed with atypical British weather and some riders had novel approaches to balancing the need for safety with staying cool. Aylesford is close to Maidstone, Kent’s congested county town. The route of the run is varied each year and, avoiding Maidstone, once again succeeded in finding more scenic lanes, including a brief stretch of the Pilgrim’s Way, before everyone headed in a southerly direction. There were level stretches, there were undulating roads. No legendary heights to scale, but enough variation to hopefully secure the link between road, rider and surroundings – the essence of motorcycling. The coffee stop, at approximately one-third distance, was at Lashenden Aerodrome at Headcorn. The marshalling for both coffee and lunch stops was courtesy of the local section of the Triumph Owners’ Club, an organisation that has marshalled the run for some time. When the West Kent Run first went to
Colin Ellis pronounced himself very happy with the well-used 1956 Velocette MAC he has owned for some 15 years.
Lashenden, in 2015, the dedicated parking area was soon overwhelmed. This time, ample space had been allotted. Parachuting is a major activity at the aerodrome and was literally in full flight, offering a colourful distraction to riders as they queued for refreshments and the rare sight of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota, in military colours, was a welcome bonus as it took off from the grass runway. There was more picturesque scenery to come, arguably some of the best that the ‘garden of England’ might offer. The variations between long and short routes were combined for a final loop around the long-reclaimed Isle of Oxney before arriving at the acres of decorative gardens of Hole Park, at Rolvenden. With a whole field available for parking bikes and the capacity to deliver welcome refreshment, Hole Park proved another good choice. The remaining miles took riders along the top of the High Weald to Goudhurst, another
village steeped in history, before the drop down across the Weald and the return to The Friars. Remarkably few did not complete the run under their own power. They were looked after by a recovery crew led by Brian Southam. In the true spirit of running older bikes, a mechanical casualty was regarded as a challenge and Brian and his crew managed to sort out most problems, returning to The Friars with just a couple of bikes with which they had had to admit defeat.
The day the show opened to the public and obviously a popular destination as a stream of visitors continued to arrive until late in the day. The gymkhana arena was the main focus of activities, with the marquee, housing the competition bikes at one side and the other three sides being lined with the bikes that had been on the previous day’s run. It was also the day for the concours competition.
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The array of competition bikes covered most popular disciplines. One notable display was that of Godden Engineering. Don Godden became a 1960s track racing legend and started a precision engineering company in premises not far from The Friars. Godden engines, and complete bikes, notched up some high profile successes in track racing. Race engine development continues, among many projects. The company is also involved in making parts for Vincents. In the Avenue of Clubs the enthusiasm was almost palpable. Numerous marques were represented with owners always ready to talk of their choices. For those less partisan, there were organisations such as the British Two Stroke Club, or the Adler to Zundapp with some less-familiar German machines. The Sidcup & District MCC caters for both road and sporting interests and the Raleigh Safety Seven and Reliant Club maintained three-wheeling interests. Some wonderful machinery to admire and many an owner who could provide detailed knowledge. Pausing for an ice cream and watching the antics involved in the arena gymkhana sessions kept a good crowd of spectators amused. Some of the competition bikes were also demonstrated. Guest Eric Patterson made a few laps on one of the new build Brough Superiors as well as the Norton-JAP with which he had enjoyed success at Bonneville. Meanwhile, the concours judging continued. With deliberations concluded, the awards were given out at 3pm. The earliest bikes were together in the ‘Machines up to 1930’ class. The top two had both required full restoration, having spent many years of suffering similar
Never afraid to play to the crowd, Den and Christine Etheridge display their enthusiastic teamwork in the gymkhana with their Ariel VB outﬁt.
circumstances. The unusual 1926 Matchless 600cc Model M single of John Reader took the premier award, but runner-up was Ted Rowland, with a 1930 Raleigh MH30 Sports. John Reader’s bike came from the collection of a car dealer in Devon, who had the reputation of never selling anything. After he had passed away, the remaining stock was advertised in Motor Sport magazine. The Matchless was the sole motorcycle listing, apparently discovered beneath a collapsed shed. This had provided conduits for rain to gradually erode away much of the sheet metalwork. Reinstating the fuel tank was a big problem as the front anchorage for the saddle passes through it. The local technical college came to the rescue, managing
Peter and Eliza Buchmann rode this A65 from Switzerland. Their efforts garnered the ‘Long Distance’ award.
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to fabricate a complete new tank. Like its owner, Ted Rowland’s Raleigh came from the Isle of Wight. It bears the ‘DL’ registration mark, respected, even coveted, among Island folk. Ted’s former boss had abandoned the machine many years before and the shed that once protected it eventually collapsed on top of it! Ted had felt a moral obligation to do something with the bike and once he started the project, he kept to very high standards. Nicholas Field’s 1931 500cc BSA took the award for bikes from the next decade. A rare model now, the sloper side-valve has styling cues found on many later BSAs. A third of the entry rides bikes from the 1950s while the next decade also provides a significant number. Classes are divided into five-year periods. This resulted in two awards for the Sharman family, as father and son each had a Triumph Trophy, but one was 1959, the other 1962. It was hard to believe that Peter Watkinson’s superb R51 BMW had ever been started, let alone ridden. Black, silver and totally immaculate. The ‘Best Special’ was worthy of note. With ingenuity, anything can be made to fit anything, but the art of the special is to make it look as if a factory designed and built it. Andy Montgomery’s efforts certainly looked convincing. He started with a 1937 Francis-Barnett 250cc Stag engine and mixed a cocktail of parts to create a purposeful-looking, motocross styled ride. Identifying the constituent bits made an interesting challenge. Event chairman Ron Wright presented the awards and declared he was very happy to record this year’s event had run smoothly. On January 1, 2019, entries open and next August another West Kent Run will roll around – whatever else End happens in Europe!
I fy oul i k ewhaty ouâ€™ v e r eads of ar ,whynot s ubs c r i be,ort r ya s i ngl ei s s uef r om:
www. c l as s i c magaz i nes . c o. uk
See more: https://www.classicmotorcycle.co.uk/