Monday, 25 September 2017

August 2017 UPDATE

July is the month for the Brooklands Motorcycle Show and this was the first event since the reopening of the Start/Finish Straight.

Anticipation builds for the start of the Test Hill Runs

The WW2 Bellman hanger, now a Grade 2 listed building, and the last of 10 temporary hangers built on the site, has now been restored and relocated to the side of its original position, revealing the original 1907-1939 track beneath. The contractors removed the hanger floor and found the track was still intact if a little lumpy in places.

There was as usual an array of bikes from all eras ascending Test Hill, whilst builders and manufacturers displayed bikes in the paddock area.

During the lunchbreak attention switched to the clubhouse paddock where the Grandsons of Bert Le Vack, Nigel Spring and Bert Denly were acquainted with their Grandfathers’ motorcycles.

Museum volunteers Roger Bird and Perry Barwick were instrumental in bringing the Grandsons together. Roger has researched the Norton racing heritage of the Spring and Denly families for many years, whilst Perry had a chance interaction via Instagram which led to Dale being united with the Brough Works Scrapper on which Herbert “Bert” Le Vack set a record of 129.06 for the flying Kilometre in 1929 at Arpajon in France. Perry said “For Roger and I it was a once in a lifetime event, seeing the grandsons together on the bikes in the paddock where their grandfathers raced some 90 years ago”

Paul Denly (left) Dale Le Vack, (centre) Johnathan Spring (Seated) and Tim Spring (in sidecar) soaked up the atmosphere as they were interviewed about memories of their famous Grandfathers whilst sitting astride the from the Brooklands Museum Collection made famous by their grandfathers.

Paul Denly interviewed aboard the Spring Norton MT3501 one of the 1927 Spring Norton Team Motorcycles.

Bert Denly with Norton MT3501 at a Brooklands Society Reunion in June 87 (c)Roger Bird

The Motorcycle Show event provides a unique opportunity for visitors to see the continuing marques of Triumphs, AJS’s, Francis Barnett’s and BMW’s against the bikes that made those brands famous back in the 20s and 30s.

Steve Hayes (R) with a Hollis Motorcycle & New Owner

Also at the show was a growing band of new builders such as Steve Hayes of Hollis Motorcycles. As we walked onto the banked circuit, Steve told me about the Hollis project explaining he prefers the term “new vintage” to refer to their bikes which use state of the art engineering to produce a modern bike inspired by a Norton Model 18. Look out for news more news about Hollis later in the year and if you can’t wait that long check out the Hollis Website here.

The Hollis on the Brooklands Banking
Return to Fenland Classic Motorcycles Home

Old Timer

Friday, 8 September 2017

July 2017 UPDATE

So much is going on there is less time to get a few words down on paper.

The Banbury Run

It was way back In May that I shot off to Banbury to do a bit for Old Bike Mart. This time I thought it would be good to get out on the road and see some of the bikes in their natural habitat. Here are a few shots that did not make the final cut.

John Surtees Tribute

Participants line up for the Photoshoot

In July I got the opportunity to see the Surtees Tribute at Mercedes Benz World in Surrey.
Triple World Champion rider Freddie Spencer, former Grand Prix Motorcycle rider, and Saloon Car driver Stuart Graham, Journalist and former TT Rider Mat Oxley and Norton Motorcycles CEO Stuart Garner took to the track at Mercedes Benz World on 11 July in a fitting tribute to John Surtees, who passed away in March this year.
Freddie Spencer led the pack round the MB World Track

Damon Hill 

On track later were a number of Surtees race cars driven by Damon Hill, Derek Bell, Alexander Simms, Scott Malvern and Oliver Turvey.
Mat Oxley
The tribute was part of the annual Henry Surtees Foundation Team Karting Challenge at the Mercedes-Benz World Circuit in Surrey.

Stuart Garner Norton CEO

Inside MB World was an exhibition featuring cars and bikes owned by John.

A Surtees owned Mercedes at MB World

Its been said before and it will hopefully will be said many times more “This man was an epic hero and true legend, the like of which are unlikely to ever be seen again”

I was lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions and he was so matter of fact about succeeding to the highest level on bikes and in cars. It would seem to me from speaking to some of his friends that he had a keen eye for bikes and was continuing to build his collection up until his death.
HS Foundation's Michael Digby Fires up the MV Augusta

His legacy will of course be his own sporting achievements, but going forward these will be matched by the wonderful work of the Henry Surtees Foundation that was founded by John following the tragic death of his son Henry, killed aged just 18 years old whilst competing in Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch in 2009.
Their primary objectives are to assist people with brain or physical injuries caused by accident to return to community living by the provision of support for equipment and facilities. We also seek to provide education and training associated with motorsport-related programmes in technology, engineering, and road safety instruction for two and four wheels.

One last note. There are many who were pushing for a knighthood for John. However, the honours system is steeped in tradition and process and I personally believe that the reason he was not knighted, was that he got a foot on the ladder early on. Once in the system its seems to me that you have to work your way up, which he was doing with the more recent CBE.

To find out more about the Foundation visit

Saturday, 29 July 2017

June 2017 UPDATE

Montlhѐry Vintage Revival 2017

The Montlhery Pits

There can be no better feeling than getting an old bike running; or so I thought until I got an old bike back on a banked track with some 300 other 1920 & 30s vehicles at the Montlhѐry Vintage Revival on 6-7 May.

Waiting with Tony Baxter Brooklands Museum (L) & James Hewing (R) Nat Motorcycle Museum
The event is held every two years at the Montlhѐry Autodrome, a Brooklands type oval, banked circuit just outside Paris. So it was particularly fitting that I was part of the Brooklands Motorcycle Team who were there to showcase the ABC Marque as guests of the organisers Vincent Chamon & Jean-Frѐddѐric Frot.

The sun was shining as we unloaded the bikes on Friday, but this all changed on Saturday morning when the rain appeared. I was riding the Brooklands OK Supreme in the Motos GP and Racing class and we took to the drying track for a sighting lap behind the safety car, before being left to our own devices. 

The Racing circuit peels off outside the main oval after the Start/Finish straight and Turn one was a bit damp but ok on what was an excellent tarmac surface more used to providing a test-bed for modern French cars. Oil flags were waving as I approached Virage du Fay a sharp hairpin, behind a smoking Brooklands Earle Cotton Jap. The wet and oil soaked surface had been spread with sharp sand which only added to the drifting sensation we felt as we tip-toed both bikes round.

Found some grip on the Start/Finish Straight

I found the grip as I accelerated down the straight into the chicane that led out onto the banked section of the circuit which only really works at high speed. The height of the banking is awesome, but mindful I was on a borrowed bike and the state of the weather I kept it sensible as I continued the session.

Fred Wade (BSA Empire Star) & Mike Digby (Triumph L2/1) of Brooklands Museum
wait in the pits for their Run

It was a truly memorable experience despite the challenging conditions and I hope to be back in better weather for the next Revival in 2019.

The Banking has to be seen to be believed 

Old Timer

Sunday, 4 June 2017

April/May 2017 UPDATE

As the clocks go forward and the sun appears from behind the clouds; Bikers start to emerge from their sheds after a long winter hibernation. 

We are starting to think about this year’s events and how we can bring you closer to the action. For example, last year we had some stunning action clips but there were just not enough hours left in the day to get them uploaded. The answer we think is to go for shorter highlight clips and expand later into a review of the year.

The Banbury Run

Brooklands Motorcycle Team Member at last years event

Last year saw the first road event for the 1927 Sunbeam light Tourist owned by Brooklands Museum. This bike had some issues even before it reached the start line in the shape of a worn kick-start quadrant. However, with the aid of a mechanical starter and a few pushes it performed very well. In-fact so well that it was the only Brooklands Motorcycle Team related entrant to finish the course.

The Sunbeam has been entered in the 2017 Banbury Run. There is little prospect of getting the quadrant fixed for June so we will be relying again on the starter and a push start if needed out on the course.

The preparation continues during May with some adjustment to the 1927 Sunbeam’s forks before a pre-Banbury independent check in the form of an MOT Test. The test gave Banbury entrant Tony Baxter about an hour road time. Now the paperwork is completed we will carry out some final adjustments including an oil change nearer the Banbury Weekend.


L’autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry, located about thirty kilometers south of Paris

We will shortly be off to France for the 3rd Biennial Vintage Revival. Check in later for Images and film. 

Warbike Project

I would like to take an opportunity to say thanks for all those people who have bought the bike and continue to support the project with information. Sales worldwide have exceeded expectation, but please continue to contact us with information about Military Motorcycles from 1919 to 1945 which is the next phase of the research. Please contact

Saturday, 4 March 2017

MARCH 17 Update

It seems as if winter really did mean winter this year and some days in the workshop have been painfully cold, or maybe I am just getting old. I got the chance recently to help out on a 1903 Peugeot being recommissioned for a private client at Brooklands Museum.

I cleaned the oil pump and oil ways which turned out to be a much quicker job than anticipated. These early bikes are very simple in some respects. However, they have had a lot of time to be "modified" and consequently you don't really know, without a lot of research what is right, and what may have been bolted on or bodged at a later date. The pump appeared original and extremely simple. It worked fine on a bench test, so we will try it again on the bike in a couple of weeks time. In the meantime Tony the project lead has also got rid if the Red HT Lead and removed the screwdriver holding the front mudguard in place!

1903 Peugeot at Brooklands Museum

Also just arrived in our workshop is a Model 22 AJS rescued a while ago. This is a very original example and one that will need a sympathetic restoration to retain its unique patina.

AJS 250cc Model 22

Also just in is a 1962 D7 Bantam which again looks a nice original example. However, the previous owner was trying to save on a new engine sprocket which had worn oval. whilst cleaning I also found evidence of a broken chain link embedded in the casting. The engine is cleaning up nicely and a new con-rod and bearings all round will give it a new lease of life. Check in for more on the D7 rebuild next time.

D7 hiding a secret in the gunk

WarBike Offer

For March we are running an exclusive offer via the website. Warbike: British Military Motorcycling 1899-1919 is available for just £8.50 including postage. This is currently the cheapest price for a new copy of the book anywhere. This is a limited offer so  get in fast before the stock is gone. To find out more go to To buy go direct to the book shop

Previous Events

Work behind the scenes has meant that the last few events have got lost so here is a brief round up of events to date.

Shere Hill Climb

Shere Hill Climb back in 2015

In September 2016 we were back at Shere for the charity event which is an excuse for lots of exotic machinery usually found gathering dust in Surrey barns and garages to get out on the road. I was there once again supporting Brooklands Museum Trust and we were able to rig the on board cameras to give a feel of what its like to run up the hill. Incidentally you can run up the hill any day of the week; but then you are likely to face Cyclists and traffic coming towards you. Take a look at the clip of one of the runs.

Brooklands Great War Commemoration

In September 2016 I was asked once again to gather some period WW1 bikes for the Brooklands Great War 100 commemorations. Again the weather was kind to us but fewer turned out due to other events. We used the opportunity to recreate some images of testing that took place prior to WW1. These images will be used to publicise the final commemoration of WW1 motorcycles at Brooklands in 2018. If you have a 1910-1920 motorcycle it is not too early to get in touch if you want to take part
Original Image of Military testing in 1912

Our Recreation in 2016

Don't for get to visit the website for more information about the project and get your copy of WarBike: British Military Motorcycling 1899-1999.

Kickback Motorcycle Show

In December we went as part of the Brooklands Motorcycle Team to Kickback Olympia. Here there was an opportunity to meet the designers, builders and owners of some stunning custom machines. We made some lasting friendships and I hear that some will be making a visit with their machines to the Brooklands Motorcycle Show in July 2017.

Bristol Show Feb 2017

This was my first visit to the show and I was impressed with the standard of bikes and stands. The best had to be the The Wells Classic Motorcycle Club complete with bar.

Two Pints of Lager and a packet of crisps

This 293cc 1914 New Imperial Light Tourist  was typical of  the diverse range of bikes on the Club stands.

Old Timer

Sunday, 1 January 2017


Events in 2017

Its the time of year to start planning events and as always we will be at the Kempton Park Bike Jumble. The dates for this year are:

11 March
20 May (Includes Southern Classic Motorcycle Show)
22 July
16 September
21 October
2 December (includes Southern Classic Off Road Show)

More details of the event can be found at

On 6-7 May we will be off to France for the Vintage Revival at Montlhery in France. Well worth a visit and check out the video below.

July is the Chateau Impney Hill climb  and in September we will once again be participating in the Shere Hill Climb. watch out for more news on these later.


The website has been somewhat dormant over the last few months, but work continues in the background to build a shop and to include some more interactive content. This blog will also find its way onto from this month forwards.

Next Month we will bring you up to date with events covered in the last couple of months.

Old Timer