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War Bike Project
The history of the military motorcycle is fascinating and it is often difficult to stay focused on the key facts. For example many of the pioneer motorcyclists of WW1, not content with risking life and limb on the roads of France and Belgium, were drawn to the excitement of flying and joined the RFC. Sadly many of those who did not get shot down fell out of the sky in aircraft that were essentially still under continuous development.
During the early part of 1915 the Motorcycle magazine was advertising for men to join the newly formed Motor Machine Gun Service. The concept was highly mobile units able to move quickly to where they were required. However, the concept behind this new service was soon overtaken by events on the Western front as both sides dug in bringing to what had been a mobile war. Many of those who signed up to the MMGS subsequently found themselves attached to units in the trenches.
Below is a short film which shows this mobile force during WW1.
Still on the subject of Combinations, I was privileged to view the ledgers of Westerdick & Sons who manufactured sidecar bodies for Phelon and Moore. A member of the family had read my article on Brooklands during WW1.
Originally a firm of cabinet makers, they branched out into manufacturing after one of the sons designed and manufactured a sidecar body. The Father was not keen on the new departure, but the son proved that it was more than just an extension of his love of motorcycles by obtaining contracts to supply many manufacturers with Sidecar bodies.
The long and boring final stages of the book are going well and I must thank Mortons Media who have tracked down some wonderful images which will help bring the words to life.
AJS Model 22
We have recently rescued a 1938 250cc AJS Model 22. The bike is in reasonable condition having been dry stored for many years. The engine still has compression and everything looks complete. The 250 is a twin port which has had one of the ports closed off. This was apparently not uncommon for trials riders or those who just wanted to save a few bob on Exhausts. The priority was to check out the fuel tank, which whilst damaged was not leaking. The gloppy liquid mess inside was drained, and seems to be old petrol rather than a degraded tank liner. Next on the list will be to clean out the tank then remove the carburettor for cleaning. Watch out for further updates over the coming month.
BBC's excellent series Racing Legends included (at last) the living legend which is John Surtees. John Surtees really is a living legend and an old school gentleman. These days he devotes his time to building up a collection of Cars and Bikes which are paraded and displayed to raise money for the Henry Surtees Foundation founded after the tragic death of his son. If you missed the programme or don't live in the UK click below (NO LONGER AVAILABLE).
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Cafe Racer of the Year 2014
This is your chance to vote on the top ten Cafe Racers featured on Cafe Racer TV
Fenland Classics TV
This month we have trawled the Internet to find what we think are the best bike related films online.
Cafe Racer (BMW R90 S by Sebastien Beaupere) A Short from Cafe Racer TV Slightly Spooky computer assisted narration but excellent images.
WINGS - a film about the retro motorcycle. A moody short by Stephanie Meffait
The Way of the Desert Sled A short from Cycle world showcasing Triumph Trail Bikes
Chelsea Bridge Boys- Rockers An insightful period documentary film by Peter Davis and Staffan Lamm
Kott Motorcycles 1971 Honda CB750 Custom Cafe Racer. Street footage from the Moto Channel.
Bike World Series 8 Episode 7 More from Suzi and the gang at Bike World