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A very cold start to the New Year, but there are still some brave classic bikers braving the salt for some good riding in the crisp winter sunshine. In December we caught up with two more classic motorcycle record breakers that have been braving the salt.
The book is beginning to look like a finished work, but there are still some editing and images to work on. During the research we discovered more about the part played by Brooklands Race Track during WW1. This included testing motorcycles for the War Office, and a previously un-discovered scratch meeting held in September 1914 by a group of workers from the Royal Aircraft Factory. This has resulted in a spin off publication for Brooklands Museum, part one of which has just been published in the Museum Trust’s Magazine with a further piece planned for later in the year.
A summary of the early history of military motorcycling has already been published in the October edition of the Classic Motorcycle and we hope to be commemorating the three 1915 Brooklands motorcycle events later in the year in conjunction with the Brooklands Museum. At this stage I would also like to thank the Manx Aviation & Military Museum for providing some stunning images of Dispatch Riders which are to be included in the book.
Southern Classic Off Road Show
Kempton Park Race Course was the location of EGP Enterprises second show of the year and crowds flocked to the ever-popular event which was bolted on to the December motorcycle jumble. Organiser Eric Patterson took time out from his busy schedule of Record Breaking and events management to explain that the Jumble is one of the few that is organised by bikers for bikers. He recalled the first events in a Village Hall which had to be closed down because of overcrowding. He then moved to Ascot Racecourse before arriving at the current venue. If you have never been, you need to get down there as it is a unique experience. There are some who say that a Jumble is a Jumble, but somehow Eric manages to retain that Village Hall vibe on a large scale. In the relaxed atmosphere it seems that you will always run into old mates for a chat; and twice a year there is the bonus of a bike show for an extra quid on the ticket price.
On a 15 minute look round the December Jumble we found a very original (Knackered!) WW1 vintage combination, a restored BSA WW1 military Bicycle, a twin engined French Barn find and custom Cafe Racer seats.
This neat Norton won Best in Show & Sounded great too!
It was back to the Grandstand for a bit of an impromptu Engine run by some of the Bikes. We had transported the Brooklands Museum Exhibits and rather ironicly spent what seemed like hours the night before draining the tank of The Tommy Meeten Francis Barnett, there was no way we were going to go through that again, so it stayed on the stand. A beast of a grass track combination finally roared into life together with a selection of other track and field machines.
Back in the hall the Brooklands Tommy Meeten Francis Barnett had a visit from Sam Lovegrove, builder of the 2013 Alan Cathcart/Henry Cole record Breaking Brough Superior featured on The Travel Channel’s Greatest Motorcycle Journeys .
Sam Lovegrove Chats about the Francis Barnett
Sam took time out to chat with the volunteers about the rebuild of the Francis Barnett which itself holds an endurance record. In 1927 this plucky little 172 cc 2-stroke was able to fend off the big boys by staying out on the track with its three petrol tanks averaging 50 MPH over a six hour period.
Tommy Meeten on the 172cc Fanny Barnet
The Rebuilt 1927 EW Douglas
Meanwhile, other visitors to the stand were learning about how a Cement Mixer engine, an old frame and collection of bits were born again as the 1927 EW Douglas featured in April 2014’s Classic Bike Guide. Incidentally the Brooklands Volunteers are currently working on a re-creation of an outer circuit racer which should be ready later in 2015.
It was soon time for prize giving and Peter Allan won the prize for the best Record-Breaker with his bike “Epsom Salt” built by Baron’s Speed Shop.
Prize-winner Peter Allan with "Epsom Salt"
The prize was a small consolation for a challenging year. Peter explained that he was all set to do some more runs at Bonneville in August but was thwarted by appalling weather after which the lake bed returned to being a Lake! The event was called off and he returned empty handed.
The next Kempton Jumble is on 24 January 2015 and the next show at Kempton is the Southern Classic (Road) bike Show on 23 May 2015. See the EGP Enterprises website for more about the Motorcycle Jumbles and Eric Patterson’s Record breaking machines.
The excitement regarding tax discs has died down a bit, but don’t forget that you still need to SORN or “Tax” your classic even if there is no fee to pay. It seems a bit daft but the DVLA still need to record “Tax” or SORN against the vehicle for it to remain legal. It seems to us that it is better to “Tax” than SORN as this provides the greatest flexibility for bikes that are nil rate tax.
For those who miss the experience of a soaked ink run disc on the bike Greg Powell can provide you with a reproduction disc for your empty holder from 1921 to 1986. You can even get the date stamp of your choice. See more at poplargreg.com.