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