Tuesday, 1 October 2019

October 2020 Update

After a long break the blog is back. A busy schedule both in the workshop and out on the road means that it is often difficult to also get stuff down on paper. I recently asked Rick Parkington how he manages his seemingly endless record of activity. His answer was " I don't". Whilst on the subject another prolific practitioner is  artist Martin Squires. Just how he manages to produce so much material is beyond me. I put the same question to him whilst he was launching his Banked Track Heros project and the answer was characteristically modest. More on Martin's Project in a future Blog, but in the meantime  I intend to fire of a few words when I can and leave the rest to be picked up on the Instagram and Twitter feeds at @Fenlandclassics 



Hollis Motorcycles

The Hollis Type 'A' Motorcycle


Jumping right back to the beginning of the year, I was getting to know the team behind the Hollis Type A Motorcycle. 

Steve Hayes joint owner explained that he met Custom Bike builder and business partner Steve Lowe a few years ago and they got talking about re-creating something old, but built using modern techniques. It started out in theory as an Edwardian pioneer motorcycle, but as these idle thoughts moved to more serious discussions about the feasibility of producing a machine more relevant to the current market, the Hollis Type ‘A’ was born.
An early Type 'A' taking shape in the Hampshire Workshop


Sketches became drawings, and the detailed drawings slowly became a concept build. That, it transpired was the easy bit.  They soon realised that if they were serious about going into production they would have to get involved with the DVLA. However, their intention was always to bring the vintage classic up to date with the latest state of the art suspension and brakes, so the rigorous standards applied by current legislation in these areas was unlikely to cause any concerns.

The Steve’s were clear about the goal, which was for a practical bike for the twenty-first century. Something stylish to run down to the pub, whilst not compromising on the heritage styling which was inspired by a 1930 Model 18 Norton. Steve Lowe recalls Steve Hayes’s obsession with the design detail, such as the straight line of the exhaust and the subsequent challenges of manufacturing the pipe’s exit from the engine. “We would send out the pattern, only to get it back in the post a few days later with a can’t do it note” Steve Lowe went on to explain how nobody seemed to be able to achieve what manufacturers had done as a matter of course back in the day, so they decided to fabricate it themselves. Steve Lowe’s modest “can do” attitude is built on a solid foundation of good old fashioned craftmanship and knowledge built up over 20 years of experience creating custom motorcycles.

The completed bike earns its place on the iconic Brooklands Race Track


Castle Coombe

The AJ leads the pack as Camera Bike, during a filming session

In April I got the Model 22 AJS out on track at Castle Coombe, Its only 250cc, but it was an opportunity to see what happened when it was given its legs. Well the result was predictable, and I was overtaken a few times! However, I had planned ahead and fixed a rear facing Go-Pro which made for some interesting footage on what was a specially organised track session for eight vintage and classic bikes. 

Vintage Revival Montlhery


The Auto-jumble is full of Veteran Gems

In May I was proud to represent Brooklands Museum as on of the Motorcycle Team at the Montlhery Vintage Revival. We were planing the trip against the background of a Brexit in March, but that didn't happen and the Journey was much more straght-forward than expected. 

We arrived for scrutineering on  Friday 11 May setting up the Brooklands Paddock before retiring. Following biblical rainstorm overnight we were greeted by a collapsed Gazebo. Luckily non of the 10 bikes we had bought were damaged and the organisers quickly stepped in with a replacement  and the offer of further shelter if required.


As one of the riders who had attended  the last event on 2017 I was worried that this was going to be another wet event. However, the sun quickly broke through and although we lost the Saturday morning sessions, there was time for an impromptu photo-shoot and interview session with The Vintagent (Paul D'Orleans) before getting everyone out on the track after a bit of creative accounting.


All in all a fantastic weekend and the opportunity to ride a diverse range of bikes ranging from a 1921 ABC to the 1930's Cotton Jap. See Tim Huber's piece on the event on the Vintagent Website

Paul D'Orleans with the Brooklands Zenith, whilst we wait for the surface water to clear on track

Brookland's Perry (Pezpix) Barwick takes a chicane on the Freddy Clarke Tribute Triumph



Martin Gegg keeps it low and slow on the Brooklands ABC
An impromptu photo shoot after the Cotton JAP decided to stop half way into the session for the second time




Bikes prepare for another session at the iconic track

Banbury Run 2019


Bikes in the Gaydon Car park after the Run

In just over a months time we were at Banbury. But not on the 1928 Model 8 Sunbeam, which was still without wheels as I had planned. Instead I supported my co-rider Tony Baxter on a 1927 Sunbeam, whilst I filed a report from the event for Old Bike Mart, a summary of which appears on the OBM Website (12 July2019) This years event was cloudy with a few scattered showers, but the roads had been affected by very heavy rainfall over the previous days. As for the 28 Sunbeam, the wheels are almost done and it should be on the starting line for 2020. 

Competitors out on the Road just outside Banbury

Tony Baxter has just dodged a shower with a light lunch at the Brasenose Arms, Cropredy

Next Time:


Brookland's Motorcycle Show, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Shere Hill Climb and More.


Old Timer








Monday, 30 July 2018

July 2018 UPDATE


The VMCC Banbury Run

Competitors led by Michael Barter on a 1930 H31-8 BSA come to terms with the Traffic
 at Banbury Cross (c) FCM Library

It was an early start on 17 June as I made my way to Warwickshire for the VMCC’s 70th Banbury Run. The event has been a regular date in the diary for many years now, and this is the third year that I was attending on behalf of Old Bike Mart. The first year was easy as the brief was get some pictures of the event and so I followed convention by attending the start/finish point at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon got loads of pictures and a few background stories. Last year I decided to get out on the road to get some images of bikes during the run. This year was a challenge because I was keen not to just recreate last year’s pictures and in any event the course (which is not published) can change each year.

Noel Whittle on a 1913 Triumph Model C at Banbury Cross (c) FCM Library & Mortons Archive

This time I was not in contact with any of the riders, so I was out on the road with my scout, Tony on his Moto Guzzi. The first promising signs of spectators at the side of the road turned out to be for a Cycle Race. As the peloton sped past on the other side of the road at 40mph with outriders and team cars in attendance, I hoped that the Bike Race and Banbury Run organisers were aware of each other; I momentarily wondered about the consequences of the two events clashing down some single-track lane.

From Tony’s previous experience on the run we decided that Banbury Cross would be a good place to observe, and safely parked we waited for the bikes to arrive. I grabbed several pictures of the bikes in traffic and on the Junction. The light was not the best for photos and this was compounded by a little light drizzle. The conditions may not have been good for me, but they were ideal for the riders who had suffered in the heat last year. Once back on the road we made our way to a place we could safely park the vehicles off the road and caught sight of our mate Ian on a Royal Enfield Trials bike owned by ABC specialist Keith Sams. Later Ian explained that the set up was a bit of a handful as the bike was regularly used on off road events.
Brooklands Stalwart Ian Dabney on a Keith Sams prepared 1929 Royal Enfield Mod C
(c) FCM Library& Mortons Archive

After a few more locations, we made our way back to Gaydon, for a very late lunch, chat with the competitors and quick look round the Auto-Jumble and Museum. The paddock was an excellent place to hand out leaflets for the Brooklands Museum Great War Day on 30 September. We are trying to beat our 2015 record, by getting as many WW1 period bikes on the Brooklands site. If you have a bike made between 1910 and 1920 you will get a free entry for 2 and the bike so check for more details and to enter Here.
A Norton Rider on a Mission! (c) FCM Library
My Scout Tony Baxter chats to Phil Winks (1929 Sunbeam Mod 5 Light Solo) (c) FCM Library


Brooklands Motorcycle Show.


Bikes on Test Hill


As a Brooklands Motorcycle Team Member I may be biased, but I think the Annual Bike event is one of the highlights of the year. This year the Motorcycle Show had a Triumph flavour. Dick Shepperd brought along some of his bikes from his iconic Triumph Factory Collection. Also in the paddock was Perry Barwick’s Freddy Clarke Triumph T80 replica which is nearing completion before becoming part of the Bike display at Brooklands. Sporting a lawnmower tank in place of the tank which is in the paint shop, it was easy to mistake it for a sprinter. Perry has painstakingly recreated this historically important bike at the Museum. The attention to detail has been outstanding. Speaking before the show Perry explained that he was very much indebted to those who had got behind the project, by supplying and making parts. These include our good friend Carl Wadkin-Snaith of Turnertec who recreated the Brooklands Can, Central Wheels who supplied and laced the wheels, Kellas Kat Customs handlebars, Flat Tank Engineering, Fuel Cap and brake parts, Graham Fulger, Rear stays, Brian Tillin Engine parts, Dave Wilkinson Mag & Air leavers, Rick Parkington advice and Taco counter drive. Not forgetting Brooklands Team members Michael Digby, Gatherth Pemberton, Peter Driver (Fuel Tank), Ralph Brough and Roger Bird and others who have contributed time and assistance.

The Freddy Clark on the original T80 record breaking machine at Brooklands in 1939

 
Whilst on Marshalling duties I met Ken Phelps from Traralgon in Australia. Ken said the Bike, a Norvin had come over a couple of months ago, whilst Ken arrived two weeks ago. He had just started a trip round Britain on the bike which is his daily commute back home. Incidentally the bike has 247k on the clock. When asked how he knew about the event, he answered, “just a couple of blokes down the pub” (in London). So I am afraid the couple who arrived from Wales 10 minutes before lost their status as travelling the farthest!
As the bikes were forming up in the sweltering heat for the first run up Test Hill I bumped into Steve Parrish who had popped in to have a look. That’s the thing about Brooklands is you never know who is going to turn up, apparently Damon Hill was there too.

After the first run I got a chance to chat to the guys at Hollis. They were over the moon having just sold a bike and on display beside my favourite bike was a Jap engined Steam Punk Special they are collaborating on. 
This Hollis now in full production, could be yours for a lot less than you would think.
(c) FCM Library

Sticking with the theme of British Manufacturers I headed over to see Mark Wardill. Earlier I had almost walked past his Wardill Prototype which I explained was a good thing, because it just blended with the other old bikes. There will be more on this bike later in the year, but in short Mark has re-launched his Great Grandfather’s company with the Wardill 4, which is a lovely period styled flat-tanker with a modern engine. The finished article will have to include road legal stuff like indicators etc. It promises to be a good-looking practical bike for the younger person who wants to dip their toes into  veteran bikes without worrying about the mechanics.
The Wardill 4 Prototype on show for the first time (c) FCM Library
In the afternoon I was down to ride the Museum’s OK Supreme, whilst Steve Parrish was offered a ride on the Ex-Denis Jenkinson 1935 Norton International. Also on track was Bill Whitely author of “The quest for King Dick” testing his AKD bike for a trip to France later in the month. Steve later went out on the OK whilst I tested some new film kit. All in all a brilliant if exhausting day and the museum later confirmed that almost 1000 visiting bikes were on site.



Straight-Liner Sheila Neal will leave anyone standing.
She started racing back in the good old days. (c) FCM Library

Grand Prix Rétro du Puy Notre-Dame

Its back into the workshop now to prepare the AJS for the Grand Prix Rétro du Puy Notre-Dame in a couple of weeks. The event format consists of the town of Puy Notre-Dame closing its streets for two days for daytime and evening sessions for cars and bikes. Entrants can also enjoy a tour through the French countryside with lunch on the Saturday. 

Brooklands Great War Commemorations 30 September 2018

There are still some free spaces for those with WW1 period bikes 1910-1920. Please check our website for more details or write for an entry form to events@Brooklandsmuseum.com

Thursday, 1 March 2018

March 2018 UPDATE


As this is posted the snow is coming down outside so get in the warm and read on.

Motorcyclists who Happen to be Women

Marjorie Cottle Pic Source Carole Nash

In 1918 women got the vote, but 100 years later there is still controversy over many aspects of gender equality, particularly in the workplace. We take a look at how women were early adopters of motorcycles and explore some extraordinary motorcyclists who just happen to be women.  

During the pioneer days the motorcycling press and readership seemed keen to encourage women into motorcycling. After 1911 ladies’ events were being held by motorcycle clubs, and after a few issues over types of motorcycle, power and weight women were soon competing against men on an equal footing. During the First World War, outside of the motorcycling world women proved that they were equally capable of fulfilling tasks that had traditionally and culturally considered as mens’ work so by 1920 we find women embedded in two-wheeled sport which compared with the more respectable sport of car racing, often found itself on the wrong side of the tracks in polite society. Here are just a few examples of the many women who made their mark in motorcycling history:


Agnes Muriel Hind


Agnes Hind is reputed to be the first female owner of a motorcycle in the UK and regular competitor in trials, including a gold medal in the 1906 24hr London to Edinburgh trial and a Bronze in the 6-day Lands End to John O’Groats event the same year. She went on to champion Ladies motorcycling writing columns and consulting in the design of motorcycles for female riders.

 Fay Taylour

Fay Taylour © speedtracktales.com


Born in Ireland in 1904, Fay became a champion Speedway rider competing all over the world, she too competed in trial events including the 1928 ISST trial. An article in the Adelade Register News-Pictorial in 1929 describes how “more than 16,000 people saw Fay Taylour, the English (sic) woman motor cyclist, show her skill at the Speedway Royale on Saturday night, when she won the four lap ‘A’ Grade Handicap in the fastest time for the season.”
In 1934 she took up car racing competing at Brooklands and the Mille Miglia.

Marjorie Cottle

Majorie Cottle continues to compete in the 1939 ISDT on the
 eve of WW2 Pic Source speedtracktales.com

A well known motorcyclist of the 1920's Marjorie rode a 1400 mile publicity trip on a Raleigh Motorcycle. She was taken up by the motorcycle industry to promote their wares and it easy to think she was a 'Poster Girl' However, she was a formidable biker competing in numerous events in the UK and abroad and was reported to be one of the best riders in the country. During the 1920's and 30's she won many prizes in events such as the ISDT and Scott Trial. During the 1939 ISDT held in Germany on the eve of WW2, Cottle refused to withdraw with other private entrants and continued with the British Military Team until they too were ordered to make their way to neutral Switzerland.  

Elsie Knocker Baroness T’Serclaes

Elsie Knocker  © National Portrait Gallery
A keen motorcyclist, member of the Gypsy Club and trials rider; Elsie, a trained nurse saw an opportunity to join up at the beginning of WW1. Initially denied a chance to serve on the front line by the British she became a London based dispatch rider with friend Mairi Chisholm (See Below), before they both signed up as members of Hector Munro’s Belgain Flying Ambulance Corps. Elsie frustrated at the number of men dying of their wounds set up her own treatment station with Mairi on the front line where under enormous danger they were able to treat and transport men to hospital. Awarded by the Belgains for their service the ‘Madonnas of Pervyse’ were featured in the press of the time. Elsie served in the RAF during WW2.

Mairi Chisholm

Mairi Chisholm © IWM Q105931
A keen motorcyclist, Mairi persuaded her parents that she should be doing her bit for the WW1 war effort. She signed up as a despach rider with friend Else Knocker (see above), before being spotted by Dr Hector Munro who was putting together a mobile Ambulance service on behalf of the Belgians. She was able to persuade Hector to include Elsie Knocker in the group. She went on to serve with Else Knocker at their field hospital close to the front line. Both women continued to ride motorcycles as well as their Motor Ambulances in Belgium. After the war she too briefly served with the RAF, but her heath suffered because of the gas attacks the women endured at the field hospital. She is reported to have later continued in motorsport by taking up car racing.
Elsie & Mairi at Their Forward Treatment Post
© IWM Q 106001


Miss L Ball*
Miss Ball (Right) at Brooklands 1925 Source speedtracktales.com

Won a gold medal at the 1923 ISDT riding a James motorcycle. The Motorcycle Magazine said “the most outstanding performance of the trial. Without losing a single point all week had excelled at Bushcombe and Alms, and had not been in any serious difficulty on any of the hills.”

Beatrice Shilling OBE, PhD, MSc, CEng

Beartrice 'Tilly' Shilling ©University of Manchester


Women such as Beatrice Shilling were competing against men during the glory days of Brooklands. In August 1934 Beatrice, a brilliant engineer, lapped her self-prepared Norton at 101.02mph and in doing so not only won a Brooklands Gold Star, but later that day became the first woman to be handicapped against all her male entrants, leaving the starting line last. In this race she beat her own time to win a further Star at a lap speed of 101.85. 

She is reputed to have refused to marry her future husband until he too had earned a Brooklands Gold Star. She went on to design a critical component of the Merlin engine during WW2. Her modification allowed a steady flow of fuel to the carburettors preventing the engine, used in Spitfires and Hurricanes, stalling during particular manoeuvres. She was still competing in trials until later in life.

Theresa Wallach

Theresa Wallach (seated) at Brooklands Source themotolady.com

Theresa Wallach, Brooklands racer, engineer and adventure motorcyclist. On 11 December 1934 she set off with Florence Blenkiron on a motorcycle trip from London to Cape Town arriving on 29 July 1935. She later lived in the USA touring and running a business specialising in British bikes. She was riding until the age of 88. The first Vice-President of the Women’s International Motorcycle Association, she was inducted into the AMA hall of fame in 2003.


Florence Blenkiron

Florence Blenkiron (left) with Theresa Wallach at Brooklands
Source themotolady.com


The first woman to hold the 100 mph record in 1934 and later that year travelled to Cape Town with Theresa Wallach (see above)



   *Despite further research we have not yet been able to find her first name, please get in contact if you have any further information.   

 
The Quest for King Dick By William Whiteley


Of, course we all know about King Dick. I remember first giggling about the name in the infant’s School. ‘King Dick’ tools of Abingdon, and yes they also built bikes. However, William Whiteley’s research over many years has uncovered the fascinating story of the Abingdon works, the people who worked there as well as the tools and many other products they created. Like many others out there, Bill’s years of research was not originally intended for publication but was studiously collected as both as part of his role as Abingdon Expert for the VMCC and interest in the history of the people involved. His fascination in the history of the works led him to it write up and in November he finally published the book.
Just before publication I asked him what the title was, he said “The Quest for King Dick” I said “are you sure; the search engines will have fun with that”. But the title was already set in stone and now it is available to buy. He did however have a few problems initially as the publisher’s website had hidden it from public view marking it as ‘Adult Content’. I also believe that it is not currently available on Amazon as two of the images do not meet their standards for clarity. No doubt the negative side of artificial intelligence has intervened, but I can assure you there is nothing wrong with the quality of any of the images. Personally, I would rather have a poor image of a historical subject than a description. 

The Book tells the story of the Abingdon Works and the people who made it.  Whilst many know about the tools and possibly the bikes; the book explains how they also made guns, armaments, Bicycles, a car and a vacuum cleaner. Bill explained that the book was published as a result of many years of painstaking research into the history of Abingdon. The many pages of notes gradually came together in the form of a book and then with the assistance of Annice Collett, formally the VMCC Librarian it was finally published. It is an excellent read which includes hundreds of illustrations and images. It is an essential resource for those interested in any aspect of the Abingdon Works history and includes the specifications of all known Kerry, Abingdon, Kerry-Abingdon, Blumfield, Abingdon King Dick, and AKD; Cycle, Tri-car, Cycle-Car, Motorcycle, Tricycle and Engine combinations from 1903 until 1932.

As for Bill he can often be seen riding his Kerry Abingdon Motorcycle which is on long term loan to Brooklands Museum.

The Quest for King Dick: An Exploration of the Abingdon Works and their Products (ISBN 9780244645625) is available from the Fenland Classic Motorcycles Bookshop £15.00 plus P&P.

MARCH
4 March Brooklands British Maques Day. This is a new event for 2018 featuring cars and bikes.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

February 2018 UPDATE

The Winter months have given me a chance to do a bit of reading and catching up on biking DVDs, but I should really be out in the workshop getting my hands dirty. Anyway this month we have a review of the recently restored 1957 film I Fidanzati Della Morte.


Kempton Bike Jumble


20th January was an early start as I crawled out of bed and into the van for a 7am start at Kempton. The back to back December/January Jumbles are always the most difficult for the sellers as we set up in dark freezing temperatures. Some also brave an overnight stay, but we are lucky to only have a 40-minute drive to the venue. With rain forecast for most of the day this was set to be an uncomfortable time. However, the rain was lighter than expected and the people who had made it out were keen to snap up a bargain, so we had a great day catching up with news of winter projects.


One Man and His Cub: James Crosby's Epic Journey

The Cub revisits its birthplace: Site of the Meridan Works


The London Motorcycle Museum, located in Greenford is the home of many unique bikes and well worth a visit if you have not already done so. As is the case with so many privately-run museums the LMM continues to run into funding challenges. This has also been compounded by a constant risk of losing their home.

In 2017 museum’s Chairman James Crosby decided on an ambitious plan to gain publicity and raise funds for the Museum. James explained that the plan was to emulate leading Triumph designer Edward Turner’s Gaffers gallop trip made in 1953 on a Triumph Terrier. However, James intended to also visit the most easterly and southern parts of Britain in addition to the Lands End John O’Groats trip undertaken by Turner. James was also going to attempt the journey unsupported on a Tiger Cub which is the bike that evolved from Turner’s Terrier. So with only an AA Membership for company he was off.

The Tiger Cub was rebuilt and prepared for the run, and on 7 October he set off from the Museum. You can read how he got on next month. 

In the meantime please support the work of the museum by visiting James Crosby’s Just Giving Page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/one-man-and-his-cub He really does deserve more for his mammoth efforts…..and the museum needs your help.



I Fidanzati Della Morte (Engaged to Death)



I Fidanzati Della Morte (Engaged to Death) is a tale of love rivalry and passion set in the 1950s it’s a drama which also documents Motorcycle Racing during the 1950’s. Shot in colour and released in 1957 it provides a unique insight into what many regard as the golden age of motorcycle racing.

Using actual footage of the last ever Milano-Taranto and the Monza Grand Prix. Contemporary racers Geoff Duke, Stanley Woods, Reg Armstrong, Dickie Dale, Ken Kavanagh, Bill Lomas, Enrico Lorenzette, Pierre Monneret and Walter Zella all appear in the film which also features bikes with their period iconic “Dustbin” fairings which were due to be banned in Italian racing the year after the film was released.

After distribution across Europe in 1957 it was consigned to oblivion until Alessandro Marotto and Silva Fedrigo rescued and restored this masterpiece in 2017 as part of a crowd funding project supported by Fenland Classic Motorcycles.

Having eventually got to see the film I was amazed by the race sequences. These days we have become used to very quick flashes of the action in films. However, this was made at a time when the viewer could become immersed in the moment; given the time to understand what was happening. The opening sequence filmed at a moto-cross circuit would never be this long if the film was made today. This is no ‘Trick shots with bikes on trailers’ film. The camera angles during the road race scenes place you right in the action and for Italian bike aficionados there are also shots taken in the Moto Guzzi factory and wind tunnel at Mandello del Lario. As for the bikes, the film features the Gilera four cylinder posing as a fantasy marque and the ZV motorcycles are quite clearly Moto Guzzis.

The DVD pack also includes a 50 page booklet (Italian with English translation) which contains informative articles such as Luigi Rivola’s piece The Battle of Innovation, covering the development of 1950’s race bikes.

Click Here to visit our shop and see clips and Journalist, Author and Biker Melissa Holbrook Pierson talking about the film. 

Bikes out again at Brooklands     


Brooklands Test Hill in Use

Our friends at Brooklands Museum have just announced another event featuring bikes. The British Marques Day will Celebrate the best of British manufacturing on 4 March 2018.  Alongside Austin and Morris there will be a whole host of British-built cars, motorcycles, vans and commercial vehicles from pre-War Alvis, Sunbeam and BSA right through to the latest Jaguar model. Motorcycles will be taking part in the action on Test Hill in the afternoon and other vehicles will be taking to the Mercedes Benz World track.


Advance tickets available HERE at the discounted rate of £11.50 until 2 March 2018.

Old Timer

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

January 2018 UDATE

As I crawl out of hibernation once again it is time to review all the jobs that did not yet get finished over Christmas. As we all know the workshop just seems too cold in the winter, but we do need to crack on with the restoration of the AJS. However, first we need to decide how we want it to look. I favour an oily rag look so I think its looking as if it will be based on the WW2 period with perhaps a blackout light filter and white paint on the mudguard leading and rear edges. This particular bike lends itself to that look as it is very original and I don’t really want to replace any of the existing pieces unless I have to. One example is the original two-part mudguard. It is very dented and rusty, but I really don’t want to get a new mudguard. I think the steal will clean up fine and then I can finish it in satin black. Still enough thinking about it, I better get on and do it! 

There was a lot going on in 2017 so the updates were a bit hit and miss. Here is a catch up on a couple of events that missed the blog. 

The Goodwood Revival

Close Racing into the Chicane (c) FCM

Last September I was able to spend some time at the Goodwood Revival and although there was some rain we still got a good look at this amazing spectacle. In particular I was keen to check out the Classic Bike Racing. This event is run over two days with two riders competing on each bike. Day one starter is second rider on day two. There was a mix of regular classic racers and invited guests, but all had superbly prepared bikes. This was no parade, and all were there to win. Steve Parrish, commenting on one of my pictures said that it showed the paint from the chicane wall on his Helmet, just in case there was any doubting his commitment. 


Steve Parrish (c) FCM

New dad, TT Racer and now TV Celebrity Guy Martin went out first on Day one, but had a DNF on day two after his co-rider had an off. 

Guy Martin (c) FCM
The eventual Sheene Memorial Trophy winners were, 1st: Jeremy McWilliams and Duncan Fitchett, Manx Norton 2nd: Gary Johnson and Mick Grant, MV Agusta 3rd: Bill Swallow and Michael Russell, Manx Norton. 

Jeremy McWilliams & Duncan Fitchet Celibate victory (c) FCM



GP Retro du Puy Notre-Dame 



One Event I was not able to attend was the GP Retro du Puy Notre-Dame. Some of you may have seen the write up in the Classic Motorcycle Magazine. This is defiantly on our list for 2018. I have never heard of the event, but 2017 was the 21st time the streets of the little French town roads had been closed to make way for pack of 1920s and 30s machine to tear round this challenging track featuring chicanes and random Parvѐ.

Parc Ferme at du Puy Notre-Dame (c) E Wade

The event is expected to be held again in July 2018 so I will be looking out for an entry form. Check out the action from the 2017 event below.




I Fidanzati Della Morte


In 1957 Italian Film Director Romolo Marcellini released I Fidanzati Della Morte (Engaged to Death). The film went on general release in Italy and had a limited release in Europe and the UK. This film was particularly interesting as it included footage filmed at real race meetings and also included top riders of the day such as Geoff Duke Bill Lomas and Stanley Woods. Motorcycle Journalist Paolo Sormani said its like Valentino Rossi, Marquez, Lorenz, Dovizioso, Pedrosa, Zarco, Innone and Crutchlow just turning up as extras on a film today. 


The film disappeared until Motorcycle Film Makers at Rodaggio Film found a copy and decided to restore it for general consumption. The project which was beyond the financial means of the company was eventually financed via a crowd funding exercise. Fenland Classic Motorcycles got involved as we felt that the film represented an important snapshot into 1950’s racing culture. The film was also documented the last ever Milano-Taranto race as well as Motor- Cross racing which was just getting underway in Italy at this time. As soon as the likes of Giacomo Agostini and Paul d'Orleans got behind the project there seemed little doubt it would succeed and so in 2017 the film was completed and had its first screening in 60 years. I think it is important that we commend the people at Rodaggio film and all those out there who are saving our motorcycling heritage for future generations. There will be a review of the film itself in a couple of months, but The DVD which includes a 48 page booklet is available from our Bookshop.


The Fenland Classic Motorcycles Book shop is now fully up and running and the February Update will feature reviews of some of the products available.


Old Timer