Sunday, 19 September 2021

Jimmie Guthrie

-JdK- Provided by Barry, with a note to Joe Craig.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Penrith Speedway, New South Wales, Australia

-SG- Way back in early 2012 we were sent a photo of  Alan Lewis and Jack Kerr with their 1928 Model 19 outfit in period speedway trim - with braced front forks and inward sloping side-car wheel.  The Australian magazine Old Bike Australasia recently published an interesting article about the track - which no longer exists - as a result of which I was able to contact Grant Barrett in Australia.  He has kindly sent me a scan of a photo in his collection showing Alan and Jack with plenty of awards - and, of course, their outfit BUT it seems not to be the same machine!  This one has a saddle tank - albeit seemingly rather shallow - and I assume  either the actual machine was changed to a 1929 version or the original was modified in some way to accept a saddle tank.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Hubert Beech and Norton telescopic forks


-SG- Way back in the now distant fifties and sixties, I was friendly with Frank Pearce in Ottershaw, Surrey.  Frank ran a business dealing with used motorcycle parts and minor maintenance for those not able to 'do-it-yourself!'  For about ten years, from 1967 on, he was good enough to let me ride his two ex-works 250cc TT New Imperials in post-vintage racing events.  Another visitor to his emporium at the time was Johnny Beech who lived locally near Fairoaks Airfield.  Occasionally, he was accompanied by his elderly father - none other than Hubert H Beech.  H H Beech was in partnership with D R O'Donovan in the twenties and their Norton oriented business was in Great Portland Street, London W1.  O'Donovan's other business activites in the later twenties and thirties seems to have resulted in him being less - if atall - involved in the London business but I am under the impression H H Beech continued to trade until WW2.

All those interested in pre-war Norton racing activities will be aware that the 1938 Works machines were fitted with telescopic forks - see photo of H L Daniell and his 1938 TT winning mount - and it was reported in the press at the time that handling with the new forks was vastly improved.  They were not incidentally hydraulically damped  but used internal compression rebound springs.  I do not personally know if their design was in any way similar to that of the racing BMWs of the same period but I well recall Frank telling me that HHB told him that he was contacted by Joe Craig in 1937.  Joe apparently asked him  what he could find out about the BMW design and HHB obtained some useful information from the London BMW agents at the time, which he duly passed on ...

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Freddy Frith


-JdK- ... another one of Freddy Frith, Joe, Stanley; not sure about the where and when. (Pic provided by Barry)

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

1924 TT bikes and brakes ...


-SG- In one of his anecdotes, related to 'Titch' Allen in the '70s, Walter Moore said he bought forty Model T Ford brake sets so that the 1924 works bikes could be fitted with a better rear brake than the dummy belt rim type previously used.  Certainly the  few photos of Bennett on his TT winning machine show a rear drum brake of generous proportions and indeed this may well have been partly Ford in origin.

But ... it looks rather as if it was only the 8 inch Ford drum that was used as the car version was just a parking brake and the original shoes did not have any linings! So perhaps Moore organised for appropriate shoes and back plates to be made. At this stage it is difficult to be sure. Certainly by 1925 the Enfield rear hubs had 8 inch brake drums but these were integral with the hub and carried the spokes on the outer edge. Detachable 8 inch drums came into use in 1928.

Thanks are due to Chris who owns a couple of Model T Fords, for photos of an original brake drum and a scan, from a company making replica T parts, of the shoe set-up.  I notice these do now have linings! 

Monday, 9 August 2021

Garreau's bike again


-JdK- Daniel in the UK found another picture featuring Clement's Model 30. This looks like the shed of a collector in the postwar years. Note there are at least 28 spare petrol tanks in this photo.

Friday, 23 July 2021

John Wilkinson and Stan's Norton ...


-SG- Grateful to well known Velo authority Ivan Rhodes for giving me the OK to post his photo of the late (and very successful) John Wilkinson on Stan Johnson's  1937 OHC Norton.  As far as I recall - despite the fact that it may look like a Model 30 - it was in fact a Stan creation using a '37-ish ES2 frame. This had the advantage of using a 19 inch rims as standard and thus readily available racing tyres of the sixties would fit with no problem. Some time after Stan's death, the bike finished up with an enthusiast in Basingstoke but what has become of it now, I do not know.

... and more photo's taken at the same event provided by Pierre below. Pics were made by Christian Olivaux.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Mid twenties Model 18 Norton

-SG- Thanks to Mike for forwarding this period shot of Mrs Shearman in NZ. Her son Ray who died a few years back was an enthusiastic member of the VCC in NZ and specialized in Vintage Indians.

This Model 18 has a small front brake which makes me think it might have started life in 1924/5 but the Druid forks which are fitted didn't come into use until 1926 ...

Sunday, 20 June 2021

David Taylor and Bonhams sale

-SG- Those with an interest in current motorcycle auctions will probably be aware of Bonhams upcoming Stafford sale (2-4 July) which includes (lots 116 to 451) my good friend David Taylor's large collection of  Vintage Nortons and parts.  Some of these have been featured on the web site before and I am pleased that I was able to help him over the years with manufacturing details, engine/frame numbers etc. While I have no financial axe to grind, I have every confidence in saying that any purchaser of one of the rebuilt bikes can be assured of the accuracy and quality of the work carried out.  David was a stickler for accuracy and was a life-long engineer. Sadly he died early last year, after suffering considerable health problems over the last few years. None the less, these did not stop him from attending VMCC events such as Founder's Day or the Banbury Run. Well worth having a look at the biographical notes and details of his collection in the catalogue, if only for interest's sake!

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Trial Nortons, 1938

-JdK- Dennis kindly sent us the pics with the following words: "Morton’s Motorcycle Media in Horncastle, Lincs. are the holders of the photo/literature archive of the old “MotorCycle” and  “MotorCycling” magazines.

In the archive are quite a few brown paper large scrapbooks that contain pasted in photos from staff photographers of the time ... the sort of “spares” from a photo shoot. The page I have attached for you indicates the photos above are from the 1938 Eastern Command Trial and the pic below is the Norton Team from the 1938 Scottish 6 day trial."