1918 BSA Model K. This elegant 557cc, 3-speed sidevalve, we're sorry to say, was the property of a deceased's estate—which is an increasingly familiar description in motorcycle auction catalogues. The late owner, we hear, acquired the bike in 1964 when he was just 18 years old. Together with his dad, he restored the Model K—and then (whoops) never used it. Instead, it languished in the garage while its owner gallivanted around on his 1928 349cc Humber SV. The bike now needs attention and re-commissioning, but looks to be all there (including some oversize pinstripes on the mudguards). At its Beaulieu Sale on 1st September 2018, Bonham had expected this flat tanker to sell for around £5,000 - £7,000. It sold for £5,980 including premium, which is right on the nose. Let's hope it sees some tarmac in the near future.



September 2018  Classic bike news


2019 BMW R1250GS & R1250RT
Dudley Sutton: 1933 - 2018 

Oxford Products Kickback Shirt

One liners

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport unveiled

Burton Leon Reynolds: 1936 - 2018

Comet Classics Open Day

H&H Auctions seeking consignments

One liners

Motus Motorcycles is bust


June 2018 Classic Bike News

One liners

Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

"Governator's" Harley-Davidson sold

Car Builder Solutions recommended

Dirtquake VII 2018 at Arena Essex
One liners
Mecum Auctions at Monterey 2018
H&H NMM auction shapes up further
Chris Chope gets 'em in a twist
Daniel David Kirwan: 1950 - 2018
Reg Allen Motorcycles is closing
One liners
World Motorcycle Rally 2018
Glynn Edwards: 1931 - 2018
Den Hartogh Museum Sale
Grip-Tite Sockets, tried & tested
Donald Trump's US trade war starts


May 2018 Classic Bike News

The Daily Not News

IOM jaywalker in the hoosegow

Rare Norton Hi-Rider to auction

Clint Walker: 1927 - 2018

Ducati Museum Hailwood exhibition

Tougher protection for cops mooted

One liners

New London-Brighton Run route

April 2018 Classic Bike News

Bonhams Spring Stafford results

Royal Enfield Interceptor NMM raffle

60th International Motor Scooter Rally

New Honda "Monkey Bike" for 2018

Carole Nash's dangerous roads

An Austin Anthology from Veloce

Bonhams Stafford Sale reminder

One Liners

Bradford Dillman: 1930 - 2018

Stolen Vincent Comet & BSA Bantam
Spirit of '59 Triumph Bonnevilles
We've been adrift, but we're back in port

Autonomous Tesla claims a cyclist

Motor insurance premiums fall

March 2018 Classic Bike News

Watsonian's GP700 & Indian Chief

Bonhams Stafford Sale April 2018

One liners

We Ride London new demo date

Dee Atkinson & Harrison March Sale

Bull-it Men's SR6 Cargo trousers

Franklin's Indians: Veloce Reprint

One Liners

Kenneth Arthur Dodd: 1927 - 2018

Carole Nash Google Petition

New Musical Express is out of print

1954 500cc Triumph-Matchless chop

1,800 bike collection to be auctioned

Art Exhibition at Sammy Miller's

2018 Cardiff Classic Motorcycle Show

John Lennon's monkey bike: £57,500

One liners

This day in history

February 2018 Classic Bike News

Foscam Wireless Camera system

Pioneer Run eBook: now £2.99

Oxford Clamp On brake lever clip

One liners

2018 Curtiss Warhawk unveiled

Here's the latest bike scam attempt

George Beale appointed H&H director

Next Kickback Show 7-8th April 2018

"Alley Rat" - 2018 UK BOTK winner

One liners

Defeat the online scammers with Skype

Triumph Hurricane scammer alert

CCM Spitfire-based Bobber for 2018

Cafe Racer Dreams: 8 bikes stolen

Coys' Feb 2018 London Excel Auction

Thieves ransom Triumph Thunderbird

Harley-Davidson recalls 251,000 bikes

"Police biker" banker convicted

Bringsty Grand Prix Revival 2018

Two new Weise wax cotton jackets

Murderous solicitor is still on the books

£7k - £10k Triumph 'X-75 Hurricane'

Retro wireless GPS speedometer

"Anvil Motociclette...

2018 Triumph Speed Triples launched

Royal Enfield Flying Flea stolen

Brühl Twin Turbine Motorcycle Dryer

January 2018 Classic Bike News

Laser Power Bar Extension Wrench

One liners

Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City

Online traffic accident reporting plan

Silverstone Auctions February 2018

12th Annual Dania Beach Show

Black Lightning sells for $929,000

Online motorcycle scammer alert

One liners

AJS Tempest Scrambler for 2018

Charterhouse's February 2018 sale

Can anyone add info on this rider?

HJC FG-70s Aries Yellow helmet

One liners

Peter Wyngarde: 1927 (ish) - 2018

Death Machines of London - Airforce

Lancaster Insurance; reality check

One liners

"Fast" Eddie Clarke: 1950 - 2018

Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale reminder

Ban on credit/bank card charges

December 2017 Classic Bike News

Information on this picture wanted

Levis Motorcycles set for comeback?

One Liners

Oops, we screwed up [again - Ed]

H&H December 2017 sale at the NMM

Immortal Austin Seven from Veloce

Triumph T140V for sale: 237km

Irresponsible journalism from MCN?
Hagon Triumph Bobber mono-shock
Bruce Alan Brown: 1937 - 2017

MCN closes its biker forum

Arm rural UK coppers suggestion

Bought a Sump T-shirt? Check your email...

Falling bike sales, 11 straight months

Triumph Birmingham is set to close

New electric black taxi breaks cover

Semi naked girl straddles an Indian!!

November 2017 Classic Bike News

Riding Japan; new touring website

British motor racing anniversary day

Triumph T140 restoration guide

Ratchet handle taps & dies - Chronos

White Helmet Triumphs reach £12K

H&H's first timed automobilia auction

Goldtop £50 off gloves—limited offer

London pillion rider ban idea

Ford Design in the UK - Veloce

Thruxton Track Racer Kit offer

Want to post a comment on Sump?

New Davida "Koura" full face helmet

One liners

NMM BSA Gold Star winner details

Norton 650 twin scrambler planned

RE travel book: Hit the Road, Jac!

Stoneleigh Kickback Show April 2017

Brough Superior Pendine racer

One liners

H-D Battle of the Kings 2017 winner

New Royal Enfield 650 twins launched

NMM's 2018 Speedmaster prize

Meriden Off Road Tiger Cubs

One liners

Andy Tiernan's 2018 calendar

Scrappage scheme classic car poser

Norton launches the California

Scooter gangs face new response

One liners

September 2017 Classic Bike News

Bobby Vee: 1943 - 2016
EX-WD 500cc BSA WM20: £6,325
Essential autojumble sweatshirts
Mahindra has bought the BSA brand
Dave Cash: 1942 - 2016
BSA M20 "Blueprints" back in stock

New BSA M20 "Blueprint" T-shirt

VMCC Pip Squeak Run April 2016
Ed "Stewpot" Stewart: 1941 - 2016
Calling British spares manufacturers
Stupid biker gives away his KTM 690
Festival of Motorcycling autojumble

December 2015 Classic Bike News

Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister: 1945 - 2015

"Motorsport" CBE for John Surtees

Rare Vincent 2-stroke Uniflow Engine

Mick Grant replica 961 Norton racer

Old Biker's Mantra T-shirt from Sump

Evel Knievel's XL1000 movie bike

H&H Chateau Impney Sale results

Broughs of Bodmin Moor to sell

Flying Tiger Moto Man poofy soap

Petrol drops to £1 per litre

Porsche Sunbeam S8 special to sell

Ural gets on the scrambler trail

Anthony Valentine: 1939 - 2015

Huge UK government tax disc loss

Optimate 5 Voltmatic charger on test

Watsonian Squire T100 sidecar

November 2015 Classic Bike News

Redesigned Sump Triumph T-shirt

Great service at Welders Warehouse

Ural's 2016 Dark Force combination

Wheelrider project seeks backers

Andy Tiernan's 2016 calendar is here

A blue plaque for Triumph founder

Victory Ignition Concept custom bike

Matlock Bath Mining Museum appeal

Swedish Italians head for France
Side view assist tech from Bosch

David Beckham's Outlaw movie

New Triumph Speed Triple for 2016

Steve McQueen's Chevy camper van

Kickback Show London Dec 2015

George Barris: 1925 - 2015

NMM to raffle a 1959 T120 Bonnie

Royal Enfield splined clutch drums

"Led Zeppelin" chop sold at auction

Have you seen this Ford Mustang?

Bonhams Hendon Sale Dec 2015

Movies we love: The Family Way

Bonhams 2016 Las Vegas line-up

Triumph's new Bonneville line-up

October 2015 Classic Bike News

Mark Howe Murphy: 1932 - 2015

Comet Classics' Pride at the NEC

Stand up for Owen

Old Empire Motorcycles Gladiator

Record money at Bonhams' Stafford

Richard Davies: 1926 - 2015

Gear Gremlin bandana fleece thingy
Yamaha 125cc Resonator concept
Odd things are happening on Sump...
Weise "affordable" Lima gloves

Triumph's 2016 Bonneville teaser

Another Hayward T140 belt failure

Second generation HUD for bikes

Marzocchi closes. It's official

Gordon Honeycombe: 1936 - 2015

Indian Scout IKON shocks

Harley-Davidson XA to Wheatcroft

The Complete book of BMW Motorcycles

So who's answering the Sump phone?

September 2015 Classic Bike News

Fat bastards. And skinny dudes

Fonzie's Triumph to auction. Again

Urban rider's workshop initiative

The NMM opens its doors for free

Great speedo cable fix from Venhill

BAD-ASS BIKER T-shirts are in stock
Buying a crash helmet; a Sump guide
Romney Marsh Classic Bike Jumble
New Goldtop silk scarf

Worst Netley Marsh autojumble ever?

New Kawasaki W800 buyers guide
Bonhams Beaulieu 2015 results
Lord Edward Montagu: 1926 - 2015
Triumph's $2.9 million US recall fine
New Fab Four coffee table book
Dean Carroll Jones: 1931 - 2015
Harley-Davidson test ride competition
Still awaiting your Skully AR-1 lid?
Two rare Italians headed for Stafford
Sump BAD-ASS T-shirt coming soon
Who the hell can you trust anymore?
Austel Pullman 1300 combo to sell
Oldtimer Motoren Museum
£4m government grant for Norton
BSH sells out to Mortons Media
Sammy Miller Run August 2015

August 2015 Classic Bike News

Jake Robbins Royal Enfield custom

Music we love: Everyday Robots

Ebay: Rare 1956 250cc Indian Brave

For sale: Ex-display team TRW?
91 English & Welsh courts to close?

"Tougher and darker" HDs for 2016

Yvonne "Bat Girl" Craig: 1937 – 2015

Confederate P51 Combat Fighter
Subscribe to Sump - it's free

Cheffins Harrogate Sale August 2015
Lambeth Council bans nitrous oxide
TRF's £10,000 green lane appeal
Harley Street 750 set for Sept launch
Trouble: Triumph bobber on Ebay
Great new T-shirt designs from Sump
George Edward Cole: 1925 - 2015
Sammy Miller at Donington Classic
185,272 Harley Baggers recalled
Fifth Classic Car Boot Sale, London
Mecum Harrisburg results Aug 2015
Mecum Monterey Sale August 2015
Ace Cafe Beijing has opened
Free disc locks courtesy of the Met Police

July 2015 Classic Bike News

Where BSAs Dare

Rare 1912 Pierce at Netley
7 pence per minute to talk Triumph
Cheffins Cambridge Sale: 25th July
Matchless sunglasses: "Only £299"

Cool BSA Bantam diesel special
Brighton Speed Trials 2015 reminder
New Royal Enfield despatch bikes
M.A.D X-ray Art Exhibition Matchless
1964 Speed Twin bobber on eBay
Chris Squire: 1948 - 2015
Movies we love: Smokescreen (1964)
Road race & exhibition for the gents

June 2015 Classic Bike News

Christopher Lee: 1922 - 2015

Triumph Motorcycles: 1937 - Today

News about Roy Bacon

France bans earphones on the road

Road deaths up: first rise for 14 years

Daniel Patrick Macnee: 1922 - 2015

Tri-Cor is now Andy Gregory

Matchless-Vickers to stay in Britain

Samsung truck video safety tech

First middle lane "road hogger" fined

Brando's Electra Glide to auction

Pulford® wax cotton jacket, in "sand"

James "Hansi" Last: 1929 - 2015

Suzuki's UK café culture campaign

Disappointing Historics June Sale

DVLA "paperless counterpart" fiasco

Classic face masks, Boken style

Vibrating steering wheel idea for dozy drivers


May 2015 Classic Bike News

Council streetlight switch-off warning

Twinkle: 1948 - 2015

Historics' Brooklands sale draws near

Classic bikes for sale reminder
Hope Classic Rally: all for charity
Riley "BB" King: 1925 - 2015
Grace Lee Whitney: 1930 - 2015
Stondon Museum April sale results
RE buys Harris Performance Products
Geoff Duke: 1923 - 2015
Classic Motorcycle Restoration and Maintenance
NMM's winter raffle winner details
Stafford Sale: "£2,262,109: 86% sold"

April 2015 Classic Bike News
Norman Hyde polished T100 headers

Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Harley's "Job of a lifetime" winner details

John Stuart Bloor is now a billionaire

BSMC Show, Tobacco Dock, London

"Rusty Blue" Route 66 motorcycle kit

Erik Buell Racing closes its doors

One of the Love Bugs is up for sale
Ronnie Carroll: 1934 - 2015
Sixty museum bikes to be auctioned
Goldtop classic fleece-lined gauntlets
Harley-Davidson Kansas lay-offs
Mecum's Walker Sign Collection results

March 2015 Classic Bike News

Ted Simon's website is "hacked by Isis"
Frank Perris: 1931 - 2015
ULEZ Zone charges for motorcycles
We're all down with a nasty disease
Eric "Shaw" Taylor: 1924 - 2015
E J Cole Collection at Mecum's

Rare 500cc Linto for Duxford Sale
Classic Car Boot Sale final reminder
DfT road safety website is to be axed
Autocom GPS bike tracker is "coming soon"
Jem Marsh: 1930 - 2015
New Triumph Thruxton book from Panther Publishing

New drug-driving regulations are here

HMS Sump is torpedoed!
New £350,000 Jensen GT for 2016

RE Continental GT, soon in black

February 2015 Classic Bike News

Lincoln bans legal highs in public places

Leonard Simon Nimoy: 1931 - 2015

Cheffins Cambridge Sale: Apr 2015

Race Retro Feb 2015 auction results
£4.7 million grant for Brooklands

Full size "Airfix" motorcycle kits
Two Francis-Barnett bikes "launched"
Gerry Lloyd Wells: 1929 - 2014

Harley-Davidson's "dream job" offer
Road accidents & preventable events
The velocity of money? What's that?
ACA auction Saturday 7th March 2015
Sump's new road safety stickers
Kickback Stoneleigh to be televised



January 2015 Classic Bike News

1948 Land Rover manufacture exhibit
UK Triumph Scrambler sales jump
Mecum Kissimmee Sale results
Ikon Basix shock absorbers
Sump BSA M20 metal sign—£14.99
Another great Marlboro Man has snuffed it

Mixed Bonham results at Las Vegas
Stolen Norton appeal for information
The Reunion by Jack Elgos
VMCC December 2014 raffle winner
Brian Horace Clemens: 1931 - 2015
Metal classic bike signs from Sump
Rod Taylor: 1930 - 2015
Derek Minter: 1932 - 2015
Tiernan's looking for a Flea crate
Jerry Lee Lewis Duo Glide to sell
"Killer drivers" sentencing review
Harley-Davidson recalls 19,000 bikes
Cutaway engine bonanza at Bonhams

Sump news archive



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Charles Nicholas Hodges: 1943 - 2018


Story snapshot:

The frontman for the band Chas & Dave has died

He was 74


You might be forgiven for thinking that this guy did little else with his professional life aside from sit in a pub, drinking beer, hammering a piano and singing corny cockney themed ditties whilst fronting the cheesy London pop duo Chas & Dave.


That's certainly how we first viewed him. Downmarket. Not to be taken too seriously. Good for a laugh. But we were wrong because Charles "Chas" Hodges was in fact a highly accomplished musician (piano, banjo, guitar, ukuelele) and a shrewd and sophisticated songwriter; a man who backed some of the biggest names in pop and rock music. We're referring to Roy Wood, Phil Lynott, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mike Berry, Cliff Bennett, Albert Lee and Ritchie Blackmore. Chas & Dave even opened for the likes of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and from all accounts did a good job of warming up the "room" for the forthcoming rock gods.


Born in North London, a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan and a keen gardener, Hodges' early musical career was working as a session musician for legendary record producer Joe Meek (Johnny Remember Me; Telstar, Just Like Eddie).


Following a spell with the British rock group Heads Hands & Feet (which broke up in 1973), Hodges developed the idea of a two-piece combo working the London pub gig circuit and addressing the highs and lows of ordinary folk, notably cockneys.


As with Ray Davies of the Kinks, Paul Weller of the Jam, and any number of British punk bands, the notion of singing in a US accent was anathema for Hodges. He wanted an English sound that was better suited to British idioms, and he soon found a kindred spirit in bassman Dave Peacock.


What followed was their "rockney" style of music; a grass roots mix of rock, pop, pub singalong with a touch of the old time music hall thrown in—and plenty of contemporary social comment. Their rise seemed meteoric. But as is the norm with overnight successes, it was actually years of hard work playing night after night for a growing local audience and then reaching out across the country and the world to spread their musical message, such as it was.


Notable success came in 1979 with the song Gertcha which hit number 20 in the UK chart. In 1980 Rabbit made it to number eight. In 1982 Ain't No Pleasing You reached number two.


Album-wise, One Fing 'n' Anuvver was released in 1975, but failed to chart. Rockney followed in 1977 but also failed to chart. Ditto for Don't Give a Monkey's. Of the succeeding 13 albums, Street Party in 1995 ranked highest and made it to number  3.




But Chas & Dave wasn't really about massive chart success. These guys were always more comfortable on smaller stages with their tongue-in-cheek beer and sawdust music for the common man—and we don't mean that in any disparaging way. They spotted a niche which suited their tastes, and (like Deep Purple and Zeppelin) they became masters of that niche.


In 1983 Chas & Dave enjoyed a short-lived variety show that featured artists such as Eric Burdon, Lulu, Linda Lewis, Rocky Sharpe and the Replays, Clarence "Frogman" Henry and Lonnie Donegan. But once again, it was the wrong platform and looked contrived and stilted. After that, it was back to where they wanted to be which was gigging, touring, writing new songs, and enjoying the celebrity that rightly found them out. And Hodges, of course, also found plenty to do in his much loved garden.



Following the death of Dave Peacock's wife in 2009 there came the announcement that it was all over for the band. But music will generally find a way, and old habits and associations have their own momentum, hence a reunion in mid 2011 for a final tour. That led to a number of follow up appearances. However, in 2017 health issues for Chas Hodges began to intrude, and the duo wound down professionally. And yesterday, 22nd September 2018, we got the news that Hodges had died.

We were never the world's biggest Chas & Dave fans. But we've tuned into their music numerous times over the years, we've enjoyed pretty much everything we've heard, and we've revised our opinion of these guys. In hindsight, it's clear that Chas Hodges and Dave Peacock were simply great performers who slipped noisily into the hearts and minds of the British people (in particular) and rightfully earned their place at the microphone.


Chas Hodges was 74. He's survived by his three children and Joan, his wife of 52 years.





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Suzuki Motorcycles from Veloce


Story snapshot:

The classic two-stroke era: 1955 - 1978

Author: Brian Long


We have to confess our ignorance here. Suzuki two-strokes are not our strong suit. We remember them well enough during the sixties and seventies, mind. And in our time we've ridden one or two. But none of us here in Sumpland has never been initiated into the two-stroke fraternity, Suzuki riding or otherwise. So we've approached this book in the full glare of our aforementioned ignorance.


Nevertheless, we know a thing or two about books having written a few, and having designed a few, and having read more than one. And this volume looks like it's going to broadly satisfy both softcore and hardcore two-stroke Suzukistas.


The author is Brian Long. We don't know him, or know of him. But he confesses that his first love with regard to Suzuki products are actually Suzuki cars. That said, his motorcycle interest has apparently been slow cooking for years, and more recently it's boiled over into ownership and restoration, and he's since drawn in a lot of slack.


Based in Japan, Long has clearly expended a huge amount of effort researching the material, decoding it, collating it and re-presenting it in a logical and incisive manner. The years covered are 1955 to 1978. The book is divided into six chapters, plus an introduction, acknowledgement and index. The photographic quality is good, but never exceptional.


The writing is direct and straight to the point. There's no flowery prose here, nor does there need to be. Instead, there are facts, technical insights, model exposures and acres of publicity information. However, much of the reproduced publicity material is in Japanese—which is fine if you've already built a UK-centric library of Suzuki two-stroke books or relevant sales literature and want to expand your understanding with Japanese source material. However, it's a little frustrating if this is the first volume in your collection—unless you can read Japanese. But even then, the reproduced brochures are generally too small to study in detail.


Meanwhile, there's plenty of insight into Suzuki's two-stroke racing years with something to say about Barry Sheene, one of the greatest Suzuki pilots of them all. But we don't have much knowledge of the motorcycle competition scene either (least of all from Suzuki's vantage point) in order to pass further comment on the accuracy of the information.


Actually, we can't comment either on the accuracy of the rest of the material. But having read a couple of chapters, and having dipped in here and there, we're satisfied that Long is a fact fiend and genuinely cares about the detail.



Design-wise, there's nothing much to get excited about. The caption font is too large for our taste (and the formatting is klunky in places). The body text is also too large—and there's not much air (white space) on the page. We would prefer a little more breathing room and we'd happily sacrifice a font point or two for that. But if you're interested in the source material, you probably won't much care about these considerations.


And one more relatively minor point. The title, we feel, really ought to make it immediately clear that this is a two-stroke volume. Yes, it says that on the sub-heading. But ideally, buyers will want that up front when browsing a library or book shop. And search engines will pinpoint the book more easily.



The 1955 to 1978 classic era





The Classic Two-stroke era

1955 to 1978


Beyond that, it's clearly a book aimed directly at Suzuki two-stroke fans. Here are the salient features as highlighted by Veloce Publishing:

• Definitive history of the two-stroke Suzukis
• Sales in all major markets covered in detail
• Written by a recognized author and historian
• Racing exploits covered year-by-year
• Written with the full co-operation of the factory
• Handy reference charts throughout
• Detailed production figures, including exports
• Unravels what is indeed a very convoluted story
• Contemporary photography to help owners with authenticity issues
• The author is an owner of vintage Suzukis


All that sounds about right (albeit from our ignorant POV, remember). The book dimensions are 250mm x 250mm. There are 160 pages with colour throughout. The covers are hard. And the ISBN is 978-1-787112-12-4.


Veloce is asking £35.




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2019 R1250GS BMW


2019 BMW R1250GS & R1250RT


Story snapshot:

More cubic centimetres, more horses, more torque

Introducing BMW's revolutionary ShiftCam concept


The BMW GS series of motorcycles are modern classics. That's hardly news. But what is new are the freshly revealed R1250GS and R1250RT models that will be coming our way for the 2019 season.


At a glance, you'll be forgiven for thinking that these are the same bikes, but different. And broadly speaking, you'll be right. But the difference is ... well, different, and it focuses around BMW's novel take on the variable valve timing concept with a system that we haven't seen before.


Check the link below for a closer look at the new boxer. It's not merely still a contender. it's the champ and looks unbeatable.


Sump Motorcycle News 2019 BMW R1250GS


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The Leather Boys movie - Dudley Sutton and Colin Campbell


Dudley Sutton (left) and the late Colin Campbell at the Ace cafe in The Leather Boys (1964). The Smiths used scenes from this movie for the band's Girlfriend in a Coma music video.


Dudley Sutton: 1933 - 2018


Story snapshot:

Norton riding co-star of The Leather Boys has died aged 85

He also famously appeared as Tinker Dill in Lovejoy


He was almost always something of an offbeat, suspicious and slightly shady on-screen character. It wasn't just his looks—although that was the greater part of it. It was also in the way he carried himself. The heavy-lidded eyes. The way he delivered his lines. And the subtle sophistication in his voice. We're talking about actor Dudley Sutton who died yesterday, Saturday 15th September 2018.


Most folk will probably remember him as Tinker Dill in the TV series Lovejoy which ran for 71 episodes between 1986 and 1994. More recently, TV viewers might remember him for the roles he played in EastEnders, Casualty, Father Brown, Emmerdale, and Doctors (not necessarily in that order).


But hardcore biker movie fans and pretty much anyone who was a rocker in the 1960s—and can still remember being a sixties biker—will associate Sutton with the part of played in The Leather Boys (1964).



Actress Rita Tushingham took first billing in this film. Dudley Sutton took second. And actor Colin Campbell (1937 – 2018) took third. The Leather Boys was a reasonably convincing "kitchen sink" drama (mostly without the sink) that revolved around the degenerating marriage between Tushingham (as Dot) and Campbell (as Reggie). Dot quickly discovers that the realities of working class life are not exactly what she signed up for when she said "I do", and matters are further complicated by Reggie's developing and suspicious relationship with Sutton (as Pete).


We're not going to spoil the plot here, not that anyone would mind very much now, but there's a reason why Dudley Sutton's image on the film poster is inverted—and it's got nothing whatsoever to do with poor repro work.


The Leather Boys was set in and around London. The Ace Cafe takes a prominent position along with The Tidal Basin Tavern in Canning Town, Harbut Road in Wandsworth, Kingston Cemetery, and (further afield) the Esplanade at Bognor Regis, West Sussex.


But The Leather Boys wasn't Sutton's first movie outing. He was born in Surrey, was educated in Devon, served as a mechanic in the Royal Air Force, became a member of RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in London, and joined the legendary Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop group.


His inaugural on-screen appearance came in the 1958 movie, A Night to Remember. This tale, starring Kenneth More (correct spelling of "More") recounted the last days of the ill-fated (but well-fêted) RMS Titanic that went down in 1912. Dudley Sutton played a lookout who saw what was coming at them, but the producer never gave him a credit for his farsightedness.


After a spell in theatre (to which he returned many times in later years), Sutton revisited to the screen in 1962 as Boy Lover in the movie Go to Blazes (not to be confused with the 1942 Will Hay propaganda film of the same name, but with a very different "plot").


Go to Blazes (1962) was a comedy about an inept bunch of English crooks who decide to use a fire engine as a robbery getaway vehicle. The movie was replete with familiar British character actors (Dave King, Robert Morley, Daniel Massey, Dennis Price, Norman Rossington, Maggie Smith, David Lodge, Arthur Lowe, and John Le Mesurier), but it's almost forgotten now.


That same year (1962), Sutton appeared in The Boys, a gritty-ish tale about four young men on an evening out in London town who are subsequently put on trial for the murder of a night watchman. Sutton played Stan Coulter and gave a pretty good account of himself in this still watchable courtroom drama—which is also an interesting insight into British youth and social mores at the dawn of the sixties.


Over the next two decades, Dudley Sutton popped up in a variety of TV and movie productions including The Avengers, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), The Sweeney, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, The Prince and the Pauper, George & Mildred, Porridge, Orlando, and The Football Factory. In fact, if you wanted someone slightly menacing, manifestly dubious and/or mysterious, you simply called Dudley Sutton's agent and filled the part.



The main cast of Lovejoy. L to R: Chris Jury, (the late) Malcolm Tierney, Phyllis Logan, Dudley Sutton, and Ian McShane.



Ian La Frenais's 1986 production of Lovejoy saw Sutton playing second fiddle as barker/tout to Ian McShane's titular role and in doing so enjoyed a significant on-screen presence, albeit one that (typically) became a little stale with its predictable repetition. This light-hearted contemporary prime-time tale of a roguish antique dealer (Lovejoy) operating from the more quainter leafy and stately haunts of the county of Suffolk has since become something of a British classic and has travelled the world scooping up fresh audiences—and didn't do anything to hurt Ian McShane's later celebrity.


Interestingly, during his career Sutton has played a lot of "boys", starting with the movie The Leather Boys, and then the character Boy Lover in the aforementioned Go to Blazes. Then he appeared in the movie The Boys, and then (in a Sweeney episode) he played Golden Boy.


Later still, to add fuel to a questionable fire, Sutton can be found on YouTube lamenting the demise of the gentlemen's public lavatories of London.


But does any of this really add up to anything? We don't know, and we don't much care. We're happy to accept Dudley Sutton simply for the characters he played on screen and the decades of quality entertainment he gave us. And he's right. These day it's tricky finding a decent public convenience in British capital—and elsewhere in the realm come to that.


Dudley Sutton married four times and fathered one child. The most recent acting outing that we can find for him was in 2015 in the movie Tin set in 1895 in a Cornish mining village; a tale of a swindling bank and the damaged caused to a small rural community.


A year ago Dudley Sutton's health began seriously deteriorating and he knew that he was enjoying (for want of a better word) the last few scenes in the production of his life.


As an example of a genuinely quaint, offbeat, intelligent, urbane and charming English gentleman, you can bring the curtain down behind Dudley Sutton and tell the other hopefuls that the part has been cast.


He was 85.


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Oxford Products Kickback Shirt


Story snapshot:

New black or military green casual padded shirt

List price £99


Everyone knows that when you sally forth on a motorcycle, you really ought to be wearing a crash helmet, heavyweight jacket, protective jeans, boots and gloves. Etc. But realistically, there are occasions when it's either too hot for all that palaver, or it just takes too much time to gear up—especially if you're just nipping down the road for a pint of milk. And then there are other moments when you just feel like throwing a little (but not too much) caution to the wind and prefer to travel light. And cool.


Most of us have been there at some time, and that's what we like about this Kickback Shirt from Oxford Products. It nicely fills the gap between riding with only a T-shirt on your upper body, and riding in an armoured trenchcoat.


This shirt feels very well made. That's the first thing that struck us. Being the cynics we are, we were expecting something thinner, lighter and more flimsy. Or, alternately, a piece of shaped cardboard bulked out like a straight jacket. But that wasn't the case. This Kickback is very comfortable and reassuring, doesn't billow in all the wrong places, and gives you the kind of hug you used to get when you were young and pretty and desirable.



The main fabric, we're advised, is heavyweight cotton. It's lined with 100% DuPont ™ Kevlar®. There's hidden "structure stitching" and "nylon bonded coat threads", but most of that techy stuff goes right over our heads. Suffice to say that it ain't likely to fall apart any time soon. We gave ours a pretty severe beating, and there was no surrender.


The outer fasteners are press studs and feel like decent enough quality. There's a YKK zip on the end of each sleeve to keep the wind out, and there are press studs at the wrist too for extra comfort. Meanwhile, those cuffs have soft edges and are pretty snug (for us anyway). So if you've got abnormally large hands or unusually thick wrists, you might be struggling a little. Check that aspect carefully.


Other features include two outer pockets, with two more tucked away inside. You won't want to (or be able to) stuff those pockets with too much junk. But you can accommodate an average size smartphone or wallet without spoiling the look (if that matters to you). And there's a handy belt loop down below to keep the shirt snug.



This shirt isn't waterproof, and it doesn't pretend to be. But Oxford tells us that it does have a water resistant coating to help keep you dry through a mild shower. Twice we put that to the test, and it lived up to expectations.


There's no armour supplied. But there is provision for elbow, shoulder and back protection. That said, it's worth reiterating the general thickness of this shirt. That aspect might not be so obvious when you wear it loose. But tuck it into those pegged jeans, or cargo trousers, or purpose-built riding jeans and you'll feel the pinch. So ideally, you'll want looser leg wear to accommodate it. Even in its basic form, it'll help soften any blow.


But like we said, this shirt really suits a more casual, loose approach, and that's how we'll be testing it further (and will report any deficits).


There are another four fabric designs in the Kickback range, all of them boasting real or contrived tartans. However, we like the plain and simple black shirt (which wrongly looks slightly blueish here) and we like the military green shirt (which is actually more like khaki). Sizes are S to 5XL.


The shirts are machine washable, by the way. So wash 'em at 40 degrees centigrade. But don't tumble dry. Just let the shirts air-dry away from bright sunlight.




Overall, we genuinely like this Kickback shirt, and when it wears out we'll probably go and buy one if we can't blag another for review. The list price is £99.99, and we think that's more than fair. We can imagine this shirt lasting many years and will no doubt offer reasonable protection in a relatively minor spill.


Try one, and there's a good chance you'll buy one.




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Visiting Brussels? LEZ registration now required for all vehicles, inc foreign

2018 Classic TT "a washout". Fewer IOM Steam Packet bikes and visitors

New BMW self-riding GS [We'd be happier with a self-fixing example-Ed]

Two new 2019 Kawasakis. Ninja 125 & Z125. 14.8bhp liquid-cooled singles

Inventor Fred Spaven to ride electric RE Bullet. Land's End - John O'Groats

Bristol Big Bike Theft Awareness Ride on Sunday, September 16, 2018

2019 Moto Guzzi V85TT 850cc, 80bhp adventure "enduro" bike revealed

Bike Stop free Biker Down course. Saturday 20th Oct 2018. 10am - 1pm

Motorcycle Action Group claims Birmingham CAZ bike charge exemption

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2019 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport


Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport unveiled


Story snapshot:

853cc Bobber variant on the way

54bhp @ 3,000rpm


We've never been overly impressed with the original Moto Guzzi 853cc Bobber launched in late 2015, and we're not crazy about this new Sport version, either. Just seems like too little, too late and generally it doesn't convince us as much more than a token offering.


But we've penned a few choice words on the bike on our Motorcycle News pages. Check the link below and see if you share our views.


2019 V9 Moto Guzzi Bobber Sport


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Burt Reynolds is more closely associated with Harley-Davidson, but during his high school years he's been quoted as saying that he owned an Indian Scout—which his father used to sabotage to prevent him riding.



Burton Leon Reynolds: 1936 - 2018


Story snapshot:

Star of Deliverance and Smokey and the Bandit has died aged 82

He was actor, producer, director ... and an occasional biker


For us here at Sump, the John Boorman movie Deliverance (1972), was Burt Reynolds' greatest acting moment. It was certainly the point where the cinema world (as opposed to the TV world) began to take him seriously. But most folk will associate Reynolds more closely with popcorn films such as Smokey and the Bandit (1977), The Cannonball Run (1981) and possibly the sleazy piece of celluloid entitled Boogie Nights (1997).


Either way, his was a compelling presence on the screen, an actor who generally kept our attention, gave good value for money and played the role he was supposed to play whether dramatic, ironic, comedic or sordid.


Burt Reynolds was born either in Waycross, Georgia or Lansing, Michigan depending on which account you favour—and Reynolds himself has been quoted as highlighting both locales.



Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight (the "Midnight Cowboy") in John Boorman's Deliverance (1972). The movie is remembered largely for the famous "Duelling Banjos" scene, and for the moment when actor Ned Beaty (as Bobby) is raped by the hillbillies. But as with Lord of the Flies, the theme revolves around how society can, in the right/wrong circumstances break down with devastating consequences. A movie landmark.



He came from mixed ancestry which included Dutch, English, Scots and Irish—and some biographers record that he also claimed a few drops of Cherokee Native American blood. But was that simply to add credibility to two memorable acting roles such as John Hawk in the US TV series Hawk (1966–67) in which he played an Iroquois detective working in New York City, and/or Navajo Joe (1966), the spaghetti western directed by Sergio Corbucci? Either way, he looked fairly convincing in both parts and earned some acting plaudits which added to the developing Burt Reynolds mystique.


Acting wasn't his first career choice, however. As a high school graduate he had played American football and looked forward to turning professional. But a (typical) knee injury followed by injuries in a serious car crash put paid to that notion. What followed was a sidelong shift into acting (mostly on New York's Broadway) underpinned by a series of everyday jobs including waiter, dishwasher, truck driver and door security.


In the late 1950s he took a number of small television roles. His first real break came with the US TV western series Riverboat (1959–61) in which Reynolds co-starred with Darren McGavin. It's said that Reynolds was chosen because of his (evident) similarity to Marlon Brando. Regardless, he lost the part midway through the series following personal conflict with McGavin and was replaced by Noah Beery Jr, aka "Jim Rockford's dad".


More TV appearances followed, and in 1961 Reynolds took a role in Angel Baby, an unmemorable production that nevertheless pushed Reynolds into Armoured Command (1961). Then it was back to Broadway for a spell.


Other US TV series roles included Naked City, Ripcord, Everglades, Route 66, Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, Bonanza, Flipper, Branded, FBI and 12 O'Clock High. In fact, you could sit in front of your TV set for a couple of months or more and watch Burt Reynolds pop up each day in a different old favourite.


His last TV role (voice over) was in 2012 in Archer, an animated US production featuring a bunch of half-assed secret agents. The show regularly invited guest stars to caricature themselves, and Reynolds happily took the bait and kept his flame alive.



Movie-wise, the list of appearance is huge, largely being overshadowed by Burt Reynolds' more popular films (Smokey, Cannonball, etc). But overall, he took roles in almost 100 movies, his final appearance being in Defining Moments (2018) which is yet to be released. Actually, he had signed up to appear in Quentin Tarantino's latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), but Reynolds died before his scenes could be filmed.


His personal life was replete with sensational, scandalous and merely newsworthy relationships with women such as Dinah Shore, Sally Fields, Judy Carne, and Loni Anderson—the latter two of which he also married.


In his private life, Reynolds established numerous commercial ventures (with mixed fortunes), was heavily involved in NASCAR racing, suffered various and serious health problems—one of them as result of accidentally being hit in the face by a metal chair during filming. That led to him becoming addicted to pain-killers, a habit which he later broke.



There's so much more to Burt Reynolds including bankruptcy and his "shocking" nude centrefold appearance in a 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan—which happened shortly before Deliverance was set for cinema release (read into that what you will). There was also the films he directed; his brief singing interlude with Dolly Parton; his co-authorship of a children's book; his numerous high-profile friendships; the tales of his womanising shenanigans, and the whole living, breathing, headline-grabbing Burt Reynolds experience.


In short, he was simply excellent at being Burt Reynolds, and more than once he commented on that fact. He was 82 when he died, and from all accounts he lived every single one of those years right up to the red line.


Burton Leon Reynolds is survived by Quinton, the son he adopted together with ex-wife Loni Anderson, and a very large number of women who, we hear, also knew him pretty well.


He's also survived by millions of fans worldwide, and in a low-key way we count ourselves among them.


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Comet Classic Motorcycles


Comet Classics Open Day


Story snapshot:

Sunday 9th September 2018 is the day

Southbourne, Hampshire is the place


Well we just checked the weather forecast, and it looks as if this coming Sunday, 9th September 2018, is going to be warm and dry—if a little cloudy—down in Hampshire, England. And that's good news for Comet Classics which is holding an Open Day & Coffee Morning and is inviting along anyone with an interest in old bikes, old petrol pumps, and classic motorcycle ephemera.



Doors open at 10am. We're advised that up to 100 bikes with be present (and possibly correct), with a few clubs and even the odd celebrity in attendance (and we use the word "odd" advisedly). There's no charge to drop in, and it will be over when it's over.


Comet Classics can be found at: Unit 6 Clovelly Business Park, Clovelly Road, Southbourne Industrial Estate, PO10 8PE. You'll find this locale a few miles east of Havant, and a couple of miles north of Hayling Island.


Tip: While you're down there, go check out the cool art deco houses on the island—if you're into that kinda stuff, of course. You might have to hunt around a little. But they're there.


The contact is Ray on: 07540 776 888.




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H&H Auctions seeking consignments


Story snapshot:

11th November 2018 is the auction date

So far 48 motorcycle lots are listed


H&H Auctions reckon that it's rare to see a Sun Wasp scooter (image immediately above and below) in this prime condition. And we agree. In fact, we can't remember when we last saw one this sorted. The bike is just one of the lots going under the hammer at the firm's sale on Sunday 11th November 2018 at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull B92 0EJ.


Sun Motorcycles grew from the very fertile soil of the 19th century bicycle industry. It was based in Aston, Birmingham. The origins can be traced to 1885 and James Parkes & Sons. This company made brass fittings and carbon lamps for the lighting industry—hence the later "Sun" name—but soon moved into the bicycle components market which one was of the hot tickets of the day.


The following year (1886), the Sun Cycle Fittings Company was founded and the first complete bicycles were manufactured. By 1911, the company moved into motorcycle production, but continued its outstanding interests in cycles and fittings.



Over the next five decades Sun Cycles designed and built a range of bikes from mopeds to roadsters to scooters. Proprietary engines were obtained from JAP and Villiers. Other (typical) suppliers included Webb (forks), Armstrong (forks) and Lucas (electrics). The machines were all fairly conventional in design, but well built and fit for purpose.


Notable models include (in no particular order) the Cyclone, the Tourist, the Overlander, the Hornet, the Challenger, and the Geni. Engine configurations were sidevalve, OHV and two stroke.


The Parkes family owned and ran the company until 1961 when they sold the business and rights to Raleigh, which promptly dropped the Sun name.


This Wasp scooter is said to be in running condition and features an electric starter. The estimate is £3,000 - £4,000, which isn't unrealistic. But naturally, this lot is more likely to suit the collector—and that market is steadily shrinking as advancing years claims more and more of the old enthusiasts.



Other interesting bikes at this sale include:



1958 247cc Moto Guzzi Lodola Regolorita. Never seen one in the wild, but from where we're sitting this quarter litre Italian off-roader looks pretty coolisimo. Two-valves, four-strokes, 68mm x 68mm, 17hp @ 7,500rpm, 24mm Dell'Orto carburettor, 18-inch front wheel, 17-inch rear wheel and a top speed of around 80mph. These are the basic numbers for this rare piece of dirt-dishing kit that, we hear, was featured in a 1991 issue of Classic Bike magazine. The estimate is £4,500 - £5,000.


1953 MV Agusta Pullman

1953 MV Agusta Pullman. H&H tried to sell this bike at its July 2018 NMM sale, but no buyer came forward. The estimate was £4,500 - £5,000. That's since been re-estimated at £2,000 - £3,000. We still love the look of this motorcycle, but it doesn't quite fit our current requirements. However, at three grand, it's gotta be tempting someone.

1974 T150 Triumph Trident

1974 Triumph T150. H&H also offered this triple at the July 2018 NMM Sale, but it didn't sell. The earlier £10,000 - £12,000 estimate has been dropped to £8,000 - £10,000, and the bidding starts at £4,000. Check the description carefully if you're seriously interested. The bike was a Category C insurance write-off, but there could be a bargain here. Clearly, the bike wants to be gone. Tip: Sorted Triumph Tridents will make your beard black again, and you won't been needing that Viagra after a long ride.

1913 Precision. This 499cc V-twin is well known in the Pioneer motorcycles circle. It's been a regular entrant on the annual Pioneer Run, and its now being offered with a dating certificate and a comprehensive history file (sadly, it sounds like someone just won't be needing this bike anymore, if you follow our depressing drift). It looks to be all original, but has been fitted with a 3-speed Sturmey Archer rear hub. Over the last few years this motorcycle has been unused, so it's no doubt begging to get back out on the road. The estimate is £7,000 - £9,000. Precision (later Beardmore Precision) was founded by Frank E Baker in 1906. Bicycles were the firm's initial product. By 1910 the first motorcycle engines were built, and complete bikes came along in 1912. This was a great company, both in terms of size and products—notable a huge range of proprietary engines that other manufacturers employed. The company is almost forgotten now. But this bike could turn out to be quite a revelation.



Meanwhile, if you're looking to sell a bike, H&H would like to hear from you asap. Lot numbers have yet to be assigned to this sale, and there are only 48 motorcycles presently listed. But we expect that to pick up over the coming weeks.


We've checked through the other lots, and we see a lot of pre-war stuff there, much of it carrying pretty conservative estimates.


Will keep you posted.




UPDATE: We had earlier wrongly said that Sun produced a Dayton and Panther model. This was totally incorrect. In fact, Sun Motorcycle shared some bodywork with Dayton and Panther. Apologies for the confusion.


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Reminder: Saturday 27th October 2018, 5th Museum Live Event at the NEC

Bonhams has been sold to private equity group, Epiris (undisclosed price)

Indian Scout Bobber custom


NASA employee wins Indian Scout Bobber build comp. $10K prize

"Pavement road signs needed for careless texting pedestrians"—TRL

Average UK petrol up 13p since July. Now £1.30 per litre. Four year high

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Motus Motorcycles


Motus Motorcycles is bust


Story snapshot:

Niche American V4 sports-tourer manufacturer has run out of road

Customers have been informally notified


The headline pretty much says it all for most of us, and there's not a lot more detail at present, anyway. But what we do know is reported on Sump's Motorcycle News pages. Follow the link if you're so minded.


Shame that another bike manufacturer has gone.


Motus Motorcycles is bust


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August 2018


Watsonian GP700 and Triumph Rocket Three


Watsonian's GP700 for Rocketeers


Story snapshot:

Triumph's Rocket III gets hitched

£7,545 is the total price


The GP700 chair is the largest in Watsonian's Grand Prix sidecar range. Introduced in 1966, the body (we're told) is "made from aluminium with a gelcoat finish". That doesn't sound quite right to us, but we ain't arguing*.


Regardless, it's a wide body design, and you can fit either an adult up front with fair amount of luggage (185 litres) at the rear, or replace the adult with a couple of brats.


Triumph Rocket Three and Watsonian GP700


The real story here, however, is that you can now buy this chair with specially engineered tubular attachments for a Triumph Rocket III—and if the Rocket's liquid-cooled, 2.3 litre, triple cylinder engine isn't enough power for you, better nip out and buy a Volvo or something.


The rig is, of course, British made and manufactured in Watsonian's factory in the North Cotswolds. Prices for the GP700 sidecar start at £6,295, and you'll be expected to fork out another £1,250 for the fitting kit.


Call Watsonian on: 01386 700907




UPDATE: *We've since been advised that the body is in fact fibre glass.


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Ethanol fuel pumps


Increased ethanol in petrol mooted


Story snapshot:

Time is running out to complete an important survey

E10 unleaded looks to be on the way


The 5% ethanol already added to UK petrol has caused no end of damage to classic vehicles, specifically with regards to rubber seals, rubber hosing, fibre glass fuel tanks and so on. Moreover, the water content in ethanol will naturally attack iron and steel, and doesn't much care for aluminium. And now we hear that the Department for Transport (DfT) has issued a consultation document with a view to increasing the strength of the brew.


Currently, the E5 unleaded fuel in the UK is laced with 5% ethanol. Under new plans, that could increase by another 5% thereby creating E10 (or 10% ethanol), and that could wreak even more damage—or so warns Roger Bibbings, convener of the VMCC (Vintage Motor Cycle Club) Regulatory Action Group.


Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not doubling the ethanol actually does double the damage. It might be that beyond a certain threshold, it makes little difference how much C2H60 is flowing through your motor. Either way, we'd just as soon see ethanol phased out in favour of some more agreeable substitute.


FBHVCMeanwhile, the Federation of British Historic Vehicles Clubs has developed a survey aimed at owners of cars, bikes, buses and trucks, etc, that run on petrol and are 25 years old or more. The idea of the survey is to collate info from interested parties and then formulate a suitable (and timely) response to Her Majesty's Government.


Normally (or at least sometimes), Sump gets early warning of this kind of stuff, and we post the story asap. But these guys haven't tipped us off at all. Instead, we got this info through another party. And what that means is that the deadline to complete the survey is ... wait for it, tomorrow. 31st August 2018 (and these are the guys supposed to be protecting the interests of the classic vehicle community, gawd 'elp us...).


The Department for Transport, meanwhile, is talking positively about maintaining E5 for the foreseeable future. But the DfT must have a very cloudy crystal ball, because that future stops at 2020, just two years away. And further down the line, we've been advised by Roger Bibbings, we could be facing an even more evil concoction which will be called E30—and you can figure out for yourselves how much ethanol is in that.


"Do your bit to defend our right to ride vintage and classic motor cycles!" proclaims Roger. So take a look at the survey, if you will. But quick. And while you're doing that, the VMCC and the FBHVC will be twisting the government's arm and forcing the department to maintain a "protection grade" of E5.


That's the plan, anyway. But the thing to remember with old crocks and old crockers like us is that we're essentially history. That sounds a little defeatist, we know. But there are powerful environmental forces out there, and even if the government does allow E5 to remain available at certain pumps, what do you suppose will happen to the price? Look what happened to leaded petrol.


But the fat lady hasn't sung, so come on chaps and chappesses. If we have to go down, let's do it fighting rather than whingeing, huh? So check the survey (if you've got time) and all hands to the pumps. And keep an eye on the FBHVC website for more on this—and we'll monitor it too and will tip off ourselves next time.


Meanwhile, we've just received an urgent email from NASA telling us that a humping great asteroid is coming right at us in about ... oh whhhhhat? ...



FBHVC survey

Frost Automotive ethanol fix


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Hi, I tried really hard to do the government survey, but lost the will to live. They definitely do not want us to do the survey (you are asked for options which are not on the form).—Ian Clare

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You've heard of the Magnificent Seven? Well, to many H-D fans here are the Magnificent Thirteen. These ex-AMF execs liked the company so much they bought it. That's CEO and chairman Vaughan L Beals Jnr bottom right. And that's Willie G Davidson standing behind him.



Vaughn LeRoy Beals Jnr: 1928 - 2018


Story snapshot:

The man who "saved" Harley-Davidson has died

He was 90 years old


Remember back in 1981 when Harley-Davidson splashed the momentous message across the world's business and biking media reading: THE EAGLE SOARS ALONE?


We remember it well.


So okay, the message wasn't exactly in the same league as VICTORY IN EUROPE or A GIANT STEP FOR MANKIND. But in the crucible of the motorcycle world, it was one of the most significant news items of that year.



Between 1969 and 1981, Harley-Davidson had been owned and controlled by AMF (American Machine and Foundry); a huge US conglomerate that manufactured anything from bowling equipment, to bicycles to nuclear reactors. Well since 1976, Vaughn L Beals Jnr was vice president of the AMF division that managed Harley-Davidson, and it was Vaughn L Beals who in 1981 led a management buy-out of HD and made it a private company once again, and in doing so restored the desperately waning fortunes of America's greatest motorcycle manufacturer.


Well yesterday we've received the unwelcome news that Vaughn L Beals Jnr has died aged 90, and that gives us pause for thought to reflect on his monumental achievements.


Vaughn L Beals Jnr was born in Massachusetts, USA. His earliest foray into the world of business was delivering Boston newspapers before running a small team of newsboys. After graduating from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), he moved into aviation and joined the staff of Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, in New York State NY where he met his wife Eleanore Woods Beals. In the early 1950s, he took a research post at North American Aviation and helped develop technology pertaining to carrier-based supersonic aircraft—a new and exciting field of research.


He subsequently moved to Cummins, the world famous US engine manufacturer, and from there he moved to AMF and became involved in motorcycle engineering.



To its credit, (much derided) AMF had kept "the eagle" flying at a time when it might otherwise have crashed to earth. But the AMF Harley-Davidson years were not good years, certainly not in terms of quality control and production efficiency. Most—if not all—of the motorcycles that rolled off the line were defective in some way and required remedial work, and often major work. Some of those problems were immediately obvious. And some took a while to percolate. Dealers complained. Customers complained. The accountants complained. Bankruptcy was looming.


The bikes themselves were for many exciting to look at. The XLH Sportster range. The FX Superglide. The FXS Low Rider. The FXB Sturgis. These were all rare machines in the UK and they were brutally expensive. A 1980 Sportster, for instance, was priced at around £3,600 OTR. That compares to roughly £1,400 for T140 Bonneville. A Harley-Davidson Superglide, meanwhile, would set you back around £4,800 or more.



1980 80-cubic inch (1,340cc) FXB Sturgis. Think of it as a Low Rider with both a primary belt, and a secondary belt. The name "Sturgis" meant little or nothing in the UK. But once you've been indoctrinated into the H-D fold, it all makes sense. These Shovelheads were not a great sales success, but the collectors are taking notice.



In 1981, around 130,000 motorcycles were being produced annually by AMF Harley-Davidson accounting for roughly $300,000 of sales. The company was still dominant in the domestic big cruiser market. But by the late seventies it had more or less given up on smaller capacity bikes being unable to compete with ultra fierce pricing from the likes of Honda, Yamaha et al.


Harley-Davidson had a few years earlier complained about "dumping" bikes on the US market, and the firm took its complaints to the United States International Trade Commission. After much deliberation the commission agreed that the lower capacity bikes were being dumped, but also ruled that H-D was not been commercially damaged—which was only partly true because cheap Hondas drew fresh blood, and when moving up to bigger machines, that blood generally stayed loyal to the brand.

Finally AMF, which had been advancing a programme of cuts and downsizing tentatively put H-D on the block. Vaughn L Beals Jnr saw the opportunity and approached CitiCorp for a loan. After much negotiation, $81.5 million was put on the table, and Beal became CEO and chairman of the new firm.


It wasn't until Vaughn L Beals Jnr had full control of Harley-Davidson that he was able to introduce modern manufacturing methodology, much of it borrowed from the Japanese who had refined the noble art of bike building.



1979 AMF Harley-Davidson Sportster. 1,000cc. Cast wheels. Siamese exhaust. And a huge airbox that no one wanted except the US EPA. The brakes were terrible, the generator was dodgy, and the bike clunked along occasionally weeping oil. But we liked it for its sheer presence and unapologetic charm. Some day, AMF-era bikes will be highly sought after, but probably not any day soon.



Willie G Davidson (grandson of co-founder William A Davidson) was among that 13-strong buy-out group, and his presence lent much needed credibility to the acquisition. Moreover, Willie G—one time head of design—also had much practical experience and brand sensitivity, and he was known and respected by rider groups.


Within a few years of the buy-out the first Evolution engines appeared marking a giant leap forward for Harley-Davidson. The workforce had, however, been ruthlessly slashed, but morale was suddenly high and the "Eagle" was soaring into new altitudes.


Vaughn Beals Jnr remained as CEO until 1989, and he stayed on as chairman until 1996 when he retired. He's since been added to the US Motorcycle Hall of Fame.


Beals is credited with introducing the just-in-time production orthodoxy, and he was largely responsible for the formation of H-D's HOG groups. Most of all, he's be remembered as the man who "saved" Harley-Davidson. And yes, had he not been there at the right time, someone else might have taken the reins and occupied his seat.


Nevertheless, Beals was the man who got the job done, and Harley-Davidson fans everywhere can doff their lids at that.


Vaughn Beals Jnr died in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. He's survived by his wife of 67 years and a small tribe of children and grandchildren.


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Ace Cafe marks its 80th anniversary


Story snapshot:

Three days of ridin' & rock'n'roll

7th - 9th September 2018


The Ace Cafe London is getting set to celebrate two significant anniversaries, and all and sundry are invited along to be a part of it. The dates to watch are 7th to 9th September 2018 (inclusive). The event is marking 80 years of the world's most famous transport cafe/biker haunt, and also marks the 25th annual Ace Cafe Reunion.


Billed as "Three Days, Three Rides, One Reunion!" the fun begins with The Continental Run Ride-In on Friday 7th September. This long haul motorcycle march begins a day or so earlier at the huge Glemseck 101 motorcycle event at Leonberg, Germany. It will hit the Ace just in time to start partying—and much of that partying will extend into the small hours. Expect a DJ and three live bands.



On Saturday 8th September, there will be breakfast at the Ace Cafe starting at 7am (whatever the hell 7am is). That will be followed by a Cafe Racer & Rockers Ride-Out from the Ace, with motors starting at 10.30am. The destination is Battersea Park, Central London, and that makes it a fairly easy jaunt of maybe 8 - 10 miles or thereabouts. What happens at Battersea isn't clear. So presumably you'll just have to hang around in the time honoured style and chin-wag and kick tyres and such like. Regardless, the ride will eventually head back to the Ace arriving at 2.30pm. And then it's party time again with a bike show and prizes, DJs, live music, food, drink, etc.



No, the Ace Service Station isn't where the cafe now stands. Redirect your peepers to the right of the image. That's the Ace Transport Cafe lurking behind the truck. Meanwhile, if you're from overseas, or otherwise uninformed, the locals like to pronounce the name as Ace "Caff" not Ace "Caff-ay," and it's best heard in a London accent. Just a word to the wise.



On Sunday 9th September, you can take part in the Brighton Burn-Up & Ride With The Rockers. This also departs the Ace at 10.30am and will culminate at Madeira Drive, Brighton, West Sussex. The route is: A406 (North Circular Road) to the A40, then around the M25 orbital to the M23, and then down the A23. That's an anti-clockwise ride around London before heading due south, and unfortunately it takes in a lot of dull, congested, and poorly maintained tarmac. The saving grace is the A23 into Brighton which (mercifully) is still an optimistic and upbeat route (well it is for us, anyway).



Beyond this, we don't have any more detail. Publicity for this event has been pretty poor, and at the time of writing we're still waiting (... and waiting) for more information on the Glemseck ride-in. So if that's the part that interests you, better dial-up the Ace Cafe and see if you have better luck squeezing the juice from this particular orange.


All this aside, if you're into mass ride-outs and stuff, it looks like a pretty fun way to spend the weekend—and need we remind anyone that when you're riding with the pack, try not to pack yourself in too tightly?


You can reach the Ace by phone on 0208 961 1000. The address is, The Ace Cafe, North Circular Road, Stonebridge, London NW10 7UD.


UPDATE:  We've since been advised that this year's run will last four days. It starts in Germany on Monday 3rd September and will motor through Luxembourg and France to the Ace Cafe in London. The riders—which will include TT rider Connor Cummins and Ace head honcho Mark Wilsmore—will arrive on Thursday 6th September.



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Supercharged Caledonian Bobber*


Story snapshot:

Glasgow Triumph showcases a pumped up Bonnie

120bhp at the rear wheel, claimed


Cruising around the motorcycle websites we stumbled across this hot-rodded Bonnie and decided to find a little space for it on Sump. Built by Glasgow Triumph, the bike was intended to showcase what can be done with the Bobber Black, and it's clearly aimed at anyone with a little loose change and a power complex.


The firm responsible for the supercharging was, as we understand it, TTS Performance at Silverstone. This company has form in (Rotrex) supercharging, not least with regards to Carl Fogarty’s Supercharged Thruxton R. The company website is irritating and dizzying, note, but the engineers there seem to know their stuff.


The power output of a standard 1,200cc Bobber Black is, according to Triumph, 77hp. Bolting on the supercharger has, we're told, upped that to 120bhp at the rear wheel. Meanwhile, the standard 78lb-ft of torque has been boosted to 98lb-ft.



Features include:


Customised airbox
Custom fuel map and electronic set-up
Custom built Intercoolers
Custom built supercharger
Unique custom headers
Uses end cans from a Thruxton R
White wall tyres
8 Ball custom painted fuel tank
Full black treatment from Triumph’s catalogue


At Sump, we'd be perfectly happy with a stock Bobber Black, largely because we're lazy, unhurried, back-road cruisers and haven't much enthusiasm for anything too fast for too long. But we've no doubt that some of you Sumpsters drink from a higher octane bottle. So talk to Triumph Glasgow if you'd like a piece of this pumped up action.


No word of how much it cost, but the standard Bobber Black retails for around £11,000. So that's the starting point for this particular ride. After that, how fast you spend it depends entirely on how fast you want to go.




*Apologies to our many Scottish and Irish Sumpsters. We earlier confused  Caledonia with Hibernia. We do know the difference, but we drink a lot.
Nuff said?


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It might also be worth contacting your insurance company. The probably substantial premium increase will have to be factored in as well. It may be that a different, faster, but unmodified bike would be a considerably cheaper and easier way to the same performance...Just saying...—The Village Squire

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Harley-Davidson FXDR Milwaukee Eight 114


Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 for 2019


Story snapshot:

New Milwaukee Eight® street dragster coming at us soon

Heavy use of lightweight materials


H-D is having a few problems lately, what with a struggling market and Donald Trump and the unions and production plant closures and so on.


And for that lot, the company has our sympathies. But that ain't why we're giving the firm plenty of space on Sump these days. We're doing it because (a) the company is fairly hot—or at least warm—news at the moment, and (b) we know we've got plenty of Harley riding Sumpsters around here somewhere, and (c) we just like Harley-Davidsons.


Meanwhile, there are a bunch of new Hogs on the way in for 2019, and we'll get around to detailing them in due course.


Meanwhile we're taking a closer look at the (immediately above) FXDR. But you'll have to switch over to our Sump [General] Motorcycle News pages to check it out. Just follow the link below, or click on the image above. Got it?


2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR


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Triumph Scrambler 2018


Selected Triumph 0% finance deals


Story snapshot:

24th August 2018 to 31st October 2018

Street Scrambler, Street Cup and Street Twin models


We can't imagine that there are too many owners of Triumph Scramblers who'll want to take their nine grand wheels onto a beach and cover them with salt and sand and sea slime and whatnot. But the imagery looks okayish—in a contrived, unlikely, marketing kind of way. And never mind that this guy might well be breaking half a dozen laws, bylaws or local ordinances whilst intimidating other beach users. When you're a Triumph man (or woman) on cam, to hell with the rest of the world. Are we right?


Regardless, if you fancy cutting a few donuts of your own in the mud, and if you've been hankering for a new Trumpet, now looks like a pretty good time to make your play.


From 24th August 2018 until 31st October 2018, you can get a 0% deal on the £9,000 Street Scrambler, the £8,800 Street Cup, or the £7,800 Street Twin.


You'll have the option of a maximum three year deal, and you'll need to sign up with TriStar finance (which is effectively Triumph's own outfit, backed by Black Horse Finance)—so no PCP deals. We spoke to a few Triumph dealers to check the position and offers, and amusingly one or two hadn't even read the Triumph press release relating to the deal. But that, apparently, ain't unusual.


Nevertheless, the offer is genuine, so try one and buy one if it suits your tastes and disposition. As for the above sandy antics, remember that (a) motorcycles don't float, and (b) large, flat, endless beaches are usually hit with very fast and very dangerous tides.


Buy British we say, even though these bikes are made in Thailand.


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David Silver Museum, Suffolk


Honda CB750-4 50th anniversary


Story snapshot:

David Silver Honda Museum to mark the golden occasion

50-plus bikes expected


David Silver is well known and well respected among the worldwide Honda fraternity. Since 1986 he's been buying and selling Honda spares, and more recently (July 2016) he founded the David Silver Honda Museum in Leiston, Suffolk.


Well from all accounts, that museum has gone from strength to strength. It currently displays models from 1948 to the 1992, and boasts over 150 machines—some of them very rare. But right now, the spotlight is on the near-legendary CB750 which is celebrating its golden anniversary.


Honda 750-4


So far, we're advised that over 50 CBs have already registered for entry, all of which will be taking part in one or more of eight competition categories. Further entries are welcomes, but there's a 31st August 2018 deadline.


The event itself will take place on Saturday 29th September 2018 at the Leiston museum. Three-times world champion Freddie Spencer will be in attendance. Admission is free to all.


Erling KleveAmong the competition entrants will be a one-owner-from-new 1969 CB750 sandcast model that's covered 620,000kms (385,000 miles). It's a Norwegian bike owned by Erling Kleve (image right), and has only minor modifications.


Kleve is a 70 year old ex-Honda dealer who, we understand, has attended 20 Krystall Rallies where temperatures drop to minus 41 degrees (though why anyone would want to inflict such masochistic pain upon themselves is a mystery to us). He'll be riding the Honda from his home in Molde, Norway to Leiston, Suffolk. If anyone out there can match—or top—that, David Silver will be pleased to shake your hand (and check out your wheels).


See also:

David Silver Honda Museum to open



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DVLA computers weekend shut down


Story snapshot:

Buying second hand vehicles this weekend can "lead to a fine"

No word of a DVLA amnesty


The RAC (Royal Automobile Club) has been warning UK motorists (and by implication UK motorcyclists) that if they buy a used vehicle this weekend (18th & 19th August 2018), they could find themselves liable to an £80 fine.


The reason is that the DVLA website is "down" for routine maintenance, and because in most instances it's illegal to drive (or ride) a motor vehicle without paying the road fund licence (road tax), purchasers of such vehicles are likely to find themselves on the wrong side of the law.


The basic fine for having an untaxed vehicle is £80 (reduced to £40 if paid within 28 days). But if a motorist/motorcyclist fails to pay in time, or disputes the offence, it could end up in court—in which case the maximum penalty is £1,000.


Under the old paper tax disc system (pre-October 2014) a taxed motor vehicle could be transferred between owners without further bureaucracy. The new owner would simple re-tax the vehicle as and when it became due (possibly a year into the future). But since Oct 2014, under the new digital system, the road tax stays with the owner who may or apply to the DVLA for whatever refund/rebate is due. In other words, the road tax is void once a vehicle changes hands.


Therefore, a new owner is obliged by law to immediately re-tax a purchased second hand vehicle before it can be used on the road. And because it's a weekend, and because the post offices close at 1pm on Saturday (normally offering an alternate taxing route), and because the DVLA server is not open for business, re-taxing can't happen.


In practice, we suspect that many people will go ahead and buy and sell vehicles without worrying too much about the ramifications. But some folk won't buy (or at least won't move) a vehicle until all the legalities are in place. It's bad for business.


It doesn't look as if the government or DVLA even thought about this issue before taking the servers offline. Certainly we haven't see any notification of a tax disc amnesty for this weekend.


The "new" vehicle taxation rules have been very unpopular with bikers and motorists. It all makes buying and selling that much more complicated, and it can lead to double taxation on a vehicle—which, naturally, is viewed as unfair. But the government claims it's saving millions each year by not having to print and send old style paper tax discs. Also, it's quicker and simpler to check the taxation status of a vehicle during a police roadside check.


We've been perusing the motoring and motorcycling forums. There's actually not much talk about this issue so far (seems that many people are totally unaware of the DVLA computer shutdown). But there have been a few critical comments—most of them referring to government "scams" and incompetence. However, our favourite so far comes from Leonard Gore on the RAC website who, apparently, wrote:


"Yet another piece of nonsense legislation dreamed up by civil servants with their heads where the sun doesn't shine. I hope some of them at least will trip over their own clumsy feet."


Trip over their own clumsy feet? Tough talking there from a clearly disgruntled voter. Anyway, it's another screw up from the DVLA, but we're taking it in our stride. Where the hell would we be as a nation without a regular Great British Balls-up?


Meanwhile, if anyone actually falls foul of this systems breakdown, we'd be very interested to know. So tip us the wink, will ya?


Also see: October tax disc changes crash DVLA website


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1980 Suzuki OR60 Chopper


Wayne Plit Collection at Coys


Story snapshot:

South African classic vehicle collection to sell

18 motorcycles, 75 cars


We're a little slow off the mark with this one. We blame it on our recent trip to mainland Europe that (a) for a week kept us away from computers and phones and contacts, and (b) the severe bout flu that hit us afterward like a brick and more or less laid us out flat.


But we're out of the oxygen tents now, and we're catching up with beer'n'stuff. And right now we're looking at the Wayne Plit Collection of classic cars and bikes that was recently put under the hammer by Coys of Kensington.


However, the sale wasn't in Kensington, or anywhere near it. Wayne Plit is a South African from Jo'Burg, and that's where the deals were done.


The auction took place on 11th August 2018 at Steyn City. We had known the sale was coming up, but nearer the date (for reasons mentioned above) we just lost track.


Lot 137, 1950 XK120 Jaguar estimated at £116,000 - £127,000


Wayne Plit had built up a collection of over 250 vehicles; 93 of which are up for sale. He's been quoted as saying that he has a team of five looking after/exercising the cars and bikes, most of which are fairly modern classics.


We're talking about such exotica as a 1963 Maserati 3500GTI (Lot 143) which carried an estimate of £155,000 - £178,000; a 1964 Volvo P1800S (Lot 146) which was estimated at £25,000 - £29,000; and a 1990 Lotus Elan M100 SE TURBO (Lot 127) estimated at £15,500 - £17,500.



▲ Lot 138, 1966 Ford Cortina Mk1 "Historic Race Car". These Dagenham 'Tinas were sensational when launched in 1962, and today good examples with pedigree are highly sought after. Therefore, the £11,000 - £12,000 estimate for this Alan Mann Racing example made no sense—until way down in the copy we stumbled on the word "replica". Still, it's a nice piece of kit if you're into this kinda stuff.

▲ Lot 156, 1931 Ariel Sloper SB31. The £10,000 - £12,500 estimate for this 500cc motorcycle sounds about right. This handsome 557cc mount with its 30-degree sloping sidevalve engine and twin-pipe set-up is often overshadowed by its SF31 OHV stablemate. But for many, sidevalves have a special, chuffing, relaxed feel, and this motorcycle is all you need for back road touring. Expect to be another 20 - 30% more for the SF.


▲ Lot 147, CB450 Honda Black Bomber Cafe Racer. Clean example, but no special merit points, hence an estimate of £8,500 - £10,500. Still sounds a little steep to us, though...


Suzuki OR50 Chopper


But perversely, it was Lot 109, a 1980 Suzuki OR50 Chopper that lit us up the brightest (image immediately above, and main image on this story). Plenty of guys and gals like us started out on small bikes such as this, and for many (or most), the days spent in those saddles were the best days of our lives.


Suzuki marketed the OR50 as the "Whopper of a Chopper", and although it boasted just 5.5 horses, it weighed just 148lbs (67kg) and was all you needed to hit the neighbourhood tarmac and strut your stuff. With its ape hangers, extended front fork, banana saddle and cast wheels all you needed was a bedroll, some ciggies and a little juice for the tank, and you were living as high as you were ever gonna get.


The estimate for this baby Easy Rider motorcycle was £1,300 to £1,600. And we'd like to tell you what it sold for—and also give you a heads up on other sale prices—but at the time of writing (Saturday 18th August 2018), Coys still haven't published the results. Moreover, the last time we asked Coys to give us sale results, it took them almost a month (and four phone calls) to get around to it, by which time the news wasn't just stale, but mouldy.


Anyway, watch this space. We'll follow up this story as and when we can—unless, that is, the flu we're still recovering from mutates into something worse.


It happens, amigos and amigas. Meanwhile, stayed tuned, but don't get too close...




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French secondary road speed limit cut from 90km/h to 80km/h (1/7/2018)

Nextbase (dashcams) has launched direct-to-police footage upload scheme

Eddy Marley of Greyhound Motors (Croydon riots victim) has died aged 92

The 2018 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride will happen on Sunday 30th Sept

Australian bikers petition for reform of outdated handlebar height laws

BMW ups unlimited mileage warranty from 2 to 3 years (excl HP4 RACE)

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Triumph Scrambler 1200 2019


Triumph teases new Scrambler 1200


Story snapshot:

New bike to be unveiled in October 2018

Check YouTube for the teaser video


We haven't provided a direct link to the YouTube video. That's because we don't want a dead link on this page. But you're not missing much anyway. However, if you're desperate to see the teaser, Google SCRAMBLER + TRIUMPH + 1200 + YOUTUBE. It worked for us when we just tried it. Just scroll down the list a little.


The simple story here is that a new bike is on the way and should be officially revealed on 24 October 2018. It's not clear if the bike will be shown at Intermot at Cologne on 3rd to 7th October 2018, or if it will appear at the EICMA Show in Milan on 6th to 11th November 2018. But we're assuming that Hinckley won't want to miss either opportunity.


Then again, we make lots of false assumptions, so we'll just wait and see.



Meanwhile, we see that Intermot is providing a Ladies Only hall. This will be Hall 7, stand number C 040/E 045, indoor "...where all lady bikers can meet – and embark on a tour of the fair centred on biking for women. In addition, the programme includes clubs, associations and interest groups as well as events and information to do with touring, technology and sport, geared specially for women."


Now is that patronising? Or discriminatory? Or sly? Or cynical? Or shrewd? Or just a little extra feature at the event and nothing to get excited about?


You tell us. We'd love to know.

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If it were announced that there was to be a men only hall, all the do gooders would come screaming out of the woodwork.—Ian Clare

As a rule I think women-only events almost offensive, given the strident opposition to men-only events. On the other hand, in men-predominant areas I can understand that an all-women special makes it easier for them without feeling outnumbered. On the third hand, if women need a separate event that implies they’re not really equal, because if they were they could cope with a mixed event. But I’m a bloke so what do I know?
—Peter Stokes, Cheltenham

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Sundown Cinema


Sundown Cinema set to return


Story snapshot:

IOM outdoor cinema will be back at the Classic TT

Star Wars (A New Hope), Grease and Quadrophenia to screen


The 2018 Classic TT starts on Friday 24th August and will last four days until Monday 27th August. Highlights of the event include the Paddock Carnival, the Show & Shine display, the Comedy Club, the Festival of Jurby, and of course some of the most exciting classic racing on the planet. But if you're a movie fan (and a general lover of all things 1970s), the return of the Sundown Cinema will be an extra shot of excitement.


First up on the big screen is the 1977 movie Star Wars. We're big fans of the original film, but the rest of the franchise is a major disappointment. The 1977 movie is the original, but has been re-badged as: Star Wars: A New Hope. That's because a couple of prequels have been added to the series, and that's pushed movie number one into third place—if that makes any sense.


Anyway, this is the original film which, if you recall, put both sci-fi and swashbucklers back on the big screen and (a) gave us a pretty exciting 121 minute joyride across the galaxy and (b) helped boost the career of Harrison Ford who, of course, later became even more famous as Indiana Jones—possibly the greatest adventure hero in the history of cinema.


But we digress.


Star Wars will be showing on Friday 24th at 9pm. The movie Grease (1978) will be showing on Saturday 25th, also at 9pm (though gawd only knows why the organisers think that anyone would want to watch Grease). The film Superman (1978) is scheduled for Sunday 26th (this is the first outing for Christopher Reeves and is still faintly amusing in places). And last up is Quadrophenia (1979) which pretty much everyone has seen half a dozen times, but is still an amusing romp through the fictional lives of a bunch of working class scooterists and gives us a slice of history that's as true as it's false. It's a nice look at Brighton too, if that's of interest.


We ought to mention Bennetts Insurance which is backing the Classic TT this year. And we have to tell you that this year is the 40th Anniversary of Mike Hailwood's comeback. To mark "Mike the Bike's" 1978 Formula One TT win following an 11 year absence, 23 time TT champion John McGuinness will be parading the original Ducati that Hailwood piloted to victory four decades hence.


If all this sounds like an occasion worth enjoying and remembering, you'd better scoot over to the Islands and put your atoms in the appropriate places.


You've got just one week to make your plans (if you haven't done so already).




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We've been on mainland Europe...


Story snapshot:

Your favourite biking journos have returned

We'll be catching up with the news imminently


... but now we're back. We mention this in passing because we haven't posted any news, events or features for the past four or five days, and to us it seems like a very, very, very long time.


But then, when you've been off your beat for more than a couple of nights, it usually feels like you've been away for longer. That's how it is around here, anyway.


We've been out flying, driving, biking, walking and doing an awful lot of eating and drinking in some of the lesser explored regions of Eastern Europe. We've also been dodging some of the worst drivers in the world and ogling some of the best looking girls since Adam first bumped into Eve and said; "Hey! Better stand back. I don't know how big this thing is gonna get."


So much for the good stuff.


However, as a result of industrial disputes at Ryanair, we've also endured a painfully long return flight delay, and a painfully long delay at British passport control. We're hot, exhausted, discomposed, disoriented, dehydrated, and generally discombobulated. But we're relieved to be back on home turf.


Tip: Avoid Ryanair if you possibly can.


Anyway, we're now trying to catch up with the news and stuff, so bear with us a while longer. Your favourite motorcycle magazine is on the case.


Meanwhile, merci beaucoup, grazie, danke and so on to all you (patient) Sumpsters who've placed orders for T-shirts and whatnot. We've had a much better and busier summer than usual, and we've got an orders backlog (that you're more than welcome to add to). It's our products, after all, that keep Sump viable. Remember that, if you will.


Stand by for a news update...


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4th & 5th August 2018, Llangollen Motorcycle Festival (Wales) reminder

Kent M-way sign info beamed direct to vehicles in 5G mobile tech trials

Moto Tattoo launches "unique" dealership helmet graphics design booths

Average UK unleaded petrol hits 128.8 pence per litre (£5.79 per gallon)

Piaggio to fit trackers to some scooters until October 2018 (T&Cs apply)

BP buys Chargemaster, UK's largest EV charging network (6,500 points)

Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler rescuer/merger exec has died aged 66

Harley-Davidson developing "rider-assist" autonomous braking with override

Lee Munro (Indian streamliner) is back at Bonneville aiming for 200mph

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For a Yorkshireman, Bernard Hepton was a pretty good German. Auntie Beeb and Universal Studios co-produced this once prime time WW2 POW drama which we know as Colditz. It's dated and a little wooden, but somehow still watchable.



Bernard Hepton: 1925 - 2018


Story snapshot:

Co-star of Colditz (TV series) and Get Carter has died

He was 92


His real name was Francis Bernard Heptonstall, and if you remember anything of the 1970s, you might know him better as the weasel Thorpe (or Thorpey if you prefer) in the British gangster movie Get Carter (1971), or perhaps as the Kommandant in the British TV series Colditz (1972), or even Toby Esterhase in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979).


But Bernard Hepton, who has died aged 92, was a man of many more names and was well known to theatre goers, TV viewers, movie audiences and radio listeners. He could be dour and forbidding when he needed to be. He could be comical, untrustworthy, steadfast, heroic, pathetic and tragic. But he was always a welcome presence on the screen or airwaves, an actor who never attempted to steal a scene or overshadow the lead; a reliable thespian of the old school.


He was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire and came from relatively humble "mill worker" stock. He narrowly missed WW2 military service (due to poor eyesight), and instead trained as an aircraft engineer and draughtsman. He also became a fire warden and, during this period, took his first steps into acting—as much through chance and boredom as intent. But once he discovered the world of drama, it became clear to him that that was where he most wanted to be.


He was never in the starring role, however; at least, not in any major production. He was invariably a supporting cast member and always convincingly acquitted himself, often without audiences being able to put his real name to his face.


His early years were largely spent in repertory theatre where he developed an unusual skill as a fight choreographer, notably in period and Shakespearean dramas. For a brief period he was also the director of the Liverpool Playhouse. But it wasn't a satisfactory gig and saw him in conflict with the old guard (or at least the conservative guard), and he moved to the BBC to work as a producer.


In the 1960s, he took roles in numerous classic dramatisations from Charles Dickens (Great Expectations) to George Eliot (Middlemarch), but his big acting moments came in the 1970s when the dramatic BBC TV series Colditz (1972 - 1974) hit the small screens.


Jack Hedley, Robert Wagner and David McCallum got the highest credits in that production. You might recall that it had a filmed-in-a-BBC-closet vibe and made Anthony Valentine (as the slimy and sinister character, Major Horst Mohn) something of a national bad-guy-we-love-to-hate.


But Bernard Hepton, as the very human and civilised prison camp Kommandant, suggested to us that it was possible to be both a German soldier and a decent human being. Pity the producers of Colditz never thought to give his character a surname and revealed only that his Christian name was "Karl"—or perhaps that was deliberate for reasons upon which we can only speculate.


Bernard Hepton and Jan Francis in The Secret Army—and if this image reminds you of René Artois and Yvette Carte-Blanche in the BBC WW2/French resistance sitcom 'Allo 'Allo! (inset image), you're on the right track. The Secret Army drama became more farcical as the series developed, and then it seems someone had a bright idea...


In 1979, Hepton had further opportunities to reveal new facets of his acting talent when he took a role as Toby Esterhase in John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, this time with Alec Guinness hogging the limelight and being underpinned by worthy acting notables such as Ian Bannen, Hywel Bennett and George Sewell.


During that heady period, you might also remember Bernard Hepton for parts he took in I, Claudius (1976), The Secret Army (1976 - 1979), An Inspector Calls (1982), Mansfield Park (1983), Bleak House (1985), The Woman in Black (1989), The Old Devils (1992) and Emma (1996).


Indeed, one of the things that characterised Hepton's work was his near invisibility with regard to his personal identity. In other words, he never played himself in theatre, TV, radio or movie productions. He was always the person that the director needed him to be, and perhaps for that reason he's largely overlooked as one of the great supporting actors of his time.


Bernard Hepton married twice and survived both wives, but he fathered no children. He was 92.


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July 2018


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Harley-Davidson's radical shake up


Story snapshot:

Milwaukee is taking giant steps with new biking platforms

Sports bikes, adventure bikes and electro sleds are "on the way"


You know how it is in the movies when the lead character (Steve McQueen if you like) is way deep into a high stakes card game with all his money piled high on the table and has a bunch of tough, dangerous and ruthless hombres gazing at him from all sides?


Sure you do.


In this movie, he's also just thrown into the pot the Shelby Mustang that his dad gave him on his 18th birthday, grandad's old gold watch, the house, a '54 Strat, and his kid's inheritance. Now there's only the wife's virtue up for grabs, and the other players are getting impatient.


Well that's how it feels with the latest news that Harley-Davidson is planning to field 21 new motorcycles over the next three or four years in a massive corporate move intended to deliver a knock-out blow to the competition and restore H-D as the go-to brand, especially for the all-important global demographic that's currently somewhere between puberty and middle age.


Because that's where Harley-Davidson needs to be. Urgently. Its traditional core market of baby boomers are dropping like flies, and naturally that's impacting sales. The competition (Honda, Indian, Triumph, BMW, Ducati and others) have all been nibbling away at the balance sheet. The V-Rod didn't do as well as the company hoped. The other bikes in the H-D range, despite the fairly recent addition of the Milwaukee Eight platform, are looking more and more marginalised. Buell was, at least in part, a mistake. H-D's lucrative range of products and accessories is struggling against both the legitimate competition and the international pirates. And to cap it all, President Donald Trump has fired the first shot in a trade war that's hitting Milwaukee hard in the pocket.


And look at H-D shares. In May 2014, they were trading at $72. Today, that value has dropped to around $42. Of course, if you're an investor there are many facets to share trading, meaning that canny minds can often ride this particular roller coaster and still make a decent profit. But despite an occasional rally on the stock market, the trend is downward, and we're hearing a little too often the phrase, "it's not as bad as we thought it might be."



But Harley-Davidson is a tough cookie and is fighting back with the news of these brand-expanding bikes. The big question is, of course, whether or not the gamble is going to pay off, or whether the new moves will simply become a house of cards.


Among the new contenders are the immediately above 1250cc Custom. Clearly, there's more than a hint of Indian in the recipe, but it's also got H-D poise and the raw streetwise look that's currently in vogue (but might well have fallen out of fashion by the time this bike sees the end of a production line). We're advised that a flat tracker, scrambler and a sports bike are on the way, all based on a modular concept of mix'n'match (or pick'n'mix) engines, frames, swinging arms and forks. And if that sounds as if the accountants are leading this manufacturing charge, we can tell you that that's how it's always been. It's just more obvious when the "modular" word rears its head.



The Harley-Davidson Livewire concept takes another step towards full scale manufacturing with this new development (image immediately above). But the electrification gambit will also include a range of battery powered bicycles and entry level bikes intended to inculcate the H-D ethos into the hearts and minds of what the firm hopes will be its emerging market. Whether these Eveready machines enrich the family sauce, or merely dilute it, remains to be seen.



Our concern would be that a small and dedicated market would no doubt make a rush for these new age Hogs, but that might not be a large enough stampede to pay for development and return a profit on production—not least because the general electric infrastructure simply isn't yet mature enough and might never become mature in more remote areas of the world. In other words, you might well see a few of these machines loitering on urban street corners. But you probably won't see many zooming through the hinterlands. Not soon, anyway.



Next, the adventure bike market, as we understand it today, has not been an arena that Harley-Davidson has bothered with (not withstanding the fact that for many guys and girls, the shift up to the huge H-D lifestyle and culture is pretty much the biggest adventure of all).


But to cater for the more conventional adventure market, Harley-Davidson is looking at the immediately above 1250cc Pan American. It's a bold move for Milwaukee, but the adventure playground is already pretty well catered for with some very compelling bikes from BMW to Aprilia to Triumph to Ducati.


And more.


So okay, it's probably not an uncrackable nut, but we think H-D will need a bigger sledgehammer than this. It's certainly hard to see many Harley-Davidson diehards trading up (or down) for these knobbly wheels, and that leaves only the new blood which isn't likely to have any residual brand loyalty and will judge contenders entirely on merit. Yes, Harley can play catch up. But the competition won't be standing still.



Finally, this 975cc Streetfighter is aimed somewhere between where the Buellists were, and where the Diavelists currently are—with more than a hint of Yamaha thrown in. It's not a bad looking bike (if you like that kind of thing), but it's hardly the most distinctive kid on the block, and H-D is already fielding its Street 500 and Street 750 range—and these bikes (if they continue in production) are perhaps likely to tap much of the sales sap.


And hey? Isn't the "Streetfighter" identity beginning to take on that lost-in-the-back-of-the-fridge-smell? Meaning that we expect something more original and evocative from a firm that gave us "Glides", "Sportsters", "Evolution" engines, and "V-Rods".


Meanwhile, the established range of V-twin cruisers and tourers are going to stay in production, certainly for the foreseeable future. But the company is said to be looking intently at how it markets its products, possibly via a new range of boutique stores and even online sales.


One way of looking at the whole Harley-Davidson-in-the-21st-century scenario is this: Globalisation is continuing to shift the financial centre of the planet. It used to be firmly in the west, notably the USA, Britain, Germany, France and Italy. But it's been relentlessly shifting east (from a British perspective), or both east and west from an American viewpoint.


As the money shifts, motorcycle production is shifting with it. India and China are the prime targets (not necessarily in that order), and there's new cash to be had in the southern hemisphere too, meaning Brazil. We may not like the changes that are coming, but until someone or something puts the brake on globalisation, the changes are likely to be coming thicker and faster.


All this is arguably a desperate high stakes gamble. But Harley-Davidson is quite probably doing exactly the right thing. However, looked at from a "heritage" perspective, it feels about as wrong as it can get.


Also see:

Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City


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H&H NNM July Sale results


Story snapshot:

Auction house turnover tops £1.2 million

A claimed 81% of lots sold


It ain't a great picture (immediately above), but the other image supplied by H&H Auctions was no better, so we made a choice. Regardless, this 1955 Series D Vincent Black Knight outfit (Lot 92) was the top selling item at H&H's Sale at the National Motorcycle Museum on 26th July 2018. The bike sold for £51,750 (from a £50k to £60k estimate) and was one of five Vinnies that found new homes. The others were:


Lot 44, 1951, Series C Comet 998cc upgrade, sold for £24,750

Lot 24, 1951 Series C Rapide, sold for £15,187

Lot 61, 1949 Series C Rapide, sold for £38,250

Lot 165, 1947 Series B HRD Rapide, sold for £39,375.


Overall, H&H is pleased with this sale. The turnover, we're told, was £1.2 million; the highest ever for an H&H bike auction. Apparently, 550 buyers had registered to bid for the 290 motorcycles on offer. Around 1,000 visitors attended the sale. The conversion rate was 81%—and if you're not familiar with this term, it means simply that 81% of the lots were sold.


1974 T150 Triumph Trident


But we note that the immediately above T150 Triumph Trident, estimated at £10,000 - £12,000 didn't sell. You might recall that last month we ran a piece about this machine that laid pretence to carrying a prototype Hurricane engine. Well it looks as if the buyers weren't convinced either.



Meanwhile, the immediately above 1969 BSA Rocket Three (Lot 146) was aiming at a £14,000 - £15,000 estimate, but also didn't sell. Rockets have been struggling a little lately, we note; especially these ray gun and breadbin tank models. Designed by Ogle (a big London studio), the motorcycle world (or indeed BSA) was never too enamoured with this "futuristic look" which lacks the grace and poise of, say, the bikes designed by Edward Turner, Phil Vincent or Craig Vetter.


But we think they have a certain charm that's very much of its age. A more realistic price, however, is around £11,000 to £12,000, and we've seen them asking less than that. Just keep in mind that these Rockets, by anticipating £15k/£16k, are closing in on, say, Hurricane prices—and Hurricanes are a safer investment. And there are other higher kudos classics which are equally a safer bet. We wonder if setting the estimate a little too high might well have frightened off a few potential buyers.


Phil Kersey Suzuki TR50


Ex-Phil Kersey 1967 Suzuki TR50 (Lot 47). Kersey hailed from Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk. He ran a motorcycle shop, was a very active sprinter and set a few world records on his 125cc Bultaco. Born in 1943, he died in September 2017 aged 74. The estimate for this Suzuki was a vague £10,000 to £15,000, but nobody went that high, and it remained unsold (also see image below). Another Kersey bike (Lot 51) sold for £9,000, also from a £10k - £15k estimate.




1978 Triumph Bonneville T140J. Or, if you prefer, Jubilee Bonnie. H&H estimated £4,000 - £6,000 for Lot 33, and it sold for £6,187.50. Despite one owner from new, just 1,200 miles on the clock, and an original certificate present, we're a little surprised it made as much as it did. There's surface rust here and there, and the aluminium alloy looks powdery indicating disuse and possible neglect. Moreover, Jubilees were also a little fraudulent with a "limited" manufacturing run of 1,000, and then another 1,000, and then another 400 or so. They're not particularly attractive, and the chromed engine outer covers are prone to flaking. Not Meriden's greatest moment.



This Mist Green 1951 500cc S7 Sunbeam (with a flat tyre, Lot 27) was estimated at £5,000 - £6,000, which sounds about right (or maybe a little mean). But it sold for £9,337.50 which could suggest that these inline air-cooled twins are continuing their steady rise in value. But wait. Check the number plate. If that's transferable, that might have helped hike the price.



Overall, it's hard to draw any firm conclusions from this sale regarding which way the classic bike market is headed. But if we had to say, we think that buyers are looking for more "traditional" bikes and are moving away from the more quirky or left field machines. That might be at least partly due to dealers looking for fresh stock, and shying away from motorcycles that might be slow sellers. However, this is simply us thinking aloud. It's sometimes hard to identify trends until they're behind you.


Beyond that, we'll be adding to this story over the next day or two after we've had a closer look and discussed it a little. That aside, H&H are sounding very content and have raised the bar considerably for the firm's next motorcycle outing on 9th November 2018, also at the NMM.




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Romney Marsh Classic Bikejumble


Story snapshot:

... with Ride-In Show and spares auction

16th September 2018


Yes, we admit it. This month we've posted quite a few details of shows and events. More than usual. And that—as we've mentioned once or twice recently—is partly because "good news" whatever that is to ya, is thin on the ground lately. So we have to fill space and keep it moving along.


But we don't post just anything. We post only stuff that interests us, or stuff we think might interest our visitors, or stuff that demands to be aired. Beyond that, we like to help businesses move along and give you people reasons for living.


So all this is leading up to the Romney Marsh Classic Bikejumble (with Ride-In Show and Spares Auction) on Sunday 16th September 2018. Pre-1990s motorcycles are on the menu along with side dishes of motorcycle spares, club stands and a garage clear out offer (make sure you book a space sooner rather than later). And naturally there will be grub and something to drink and a helmet park.



Bring the mutt and missus (or mutt and hubby). Don't forget the mutt lead and muzzle where applicable. And if you're on mainland Europe, grab a ferry or take the tunnel. Can't think of a better place on earth in the Summer than England—and Romney Marsh has a special vibe that will get its hooks into you sooner or later. Tip: bring a bottle and take home some Kentish coastal air. It's luverly.


This is an independent show (but not the way Mortons talks about independence, mind). Julie Diplock at Elk Promotions runs this one (and a few others throughout the year), and yes we know her, and no, we ain't running this story just because we know her. We're running it mostly because she made the effort to send us complete details in a timely fashion (take a tip other organisers).


Anyway, that's it. Tickets are a fiver, incidentally. And that's cheap for a day, or even an afternoon, out on the tarmac and grass.

Telephone: 01797 344277
Email: events@elkpromotions.co.uk
Website: www.elk-promotions.co.uk


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Hi Sump. Totally agree with your stance on charity rides. I live in the north east where we have more than our fair share of toy runs, air ambulance runs, local hospice runs and rides out for every disease under the sun. IMHO, if bikers really want to do something for charity, they should do something more practical just as your article says. Most of these runs spend more on petrol than on the good cause they're supporting. I was on such a ride out a coupla months back. Forty or fifty riders raised just £196. —Greg, Middlesborough

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Bob Rabers and Triumph TT


Bob Raber of RPM is retiring


Story snapshot:

Long established California dealer is flogging the lot

NOS, bikes, engines, gearboxes, frames, tanks, etc


Bob Raber (image immediately above) has decided to retire and "spend time with his lovely wife, Betsy". That's the word on the street.


If you live in California, especially the Bay Area around San Francisco, and if you're into British bikes, you'll know all about Raber's. Actually, if you're into British bikes anywhere in the USA, you'll probably recognise Raber's name. He's been in the motorcycle business for six decades having started in 1958 working for Monterey Area bike dealer Ed Brooks.



Ed Brooks traded primarily in BSAs, but also handled Triumphs, Nortons and whatever else came his way. Over the years, Brooks moved the business once or twice; first to Salinas, and then to San Jose. Rob Raber, steadily accruing skills and responsibilities, went with him. And in 1984, when Brooks retired, Raber bought the business, lock, stock and barrels. From that point, operating at 1615 Almaden Road, San Jose, California, he traded as RPM, or Raber's Parts Mart.



Dee & Jerry Woods run a respectable auction, we're told—and we've no reason to doubt it. They operate from Florida and have another motorcycle auction in September 2018, and again in October 2018.



Over the years, as rival traders and suppliers retired, went bust, downsized, rationalised, died or gave up, Bob Raber bought their shop inventories. These businesses included ex-Indian dealer, bike racer and parts supremo Hap Jones (who died in 1989), GP Cycle Works* in Washington State, and Cycle Hub in Portland, Oregon operated by Cliff Majhor AKA The Sandy Bandit (who, a couple of years back, also died). We're also told that Raber bought a lot of stock from a Triumph/Norton importer from Kuwait.


So much for urban myth and legend.



Regardless, Raber has a huge amount a rare stock, NOS, complete bikes, engines, gearboxes and ... well, more stuff that he's had a chance to check out. It just came in over the years and bowed the shelves and overflowed the bins, and now it's time to move it along.


To that end, auctioneers J Wood (boasting 53 years in the business and specialising in motorcycles) has been engaged to handle the sale of everything. Jerry Woods tells us that his firm is a respectable auction house (ain't they all?) and they don't engage in bumping, secret bids, bidding against the wall and similar shady auction tricks and practices.


"Our goal," says Jerry, "is to give everybody an even shot at this treasure. Riders, dealers big and small as well as major distributors." We'll take him at his word if you will. We've no reason to think anything else.






They're tagging all the big bits and will try to make up "kits"—meaning combined frame, engine, gearbox/transmission lots. Other items will probably sell by the box load or shelf load. You have to be realistic when handling this much stock, and there are only so many years in your life.


Apparently we're looking at 15,000 square feet of parts, much of which is "priceless"—except that Jerry Woods will no doubt establish a suitable selling fee and get it all shifted. There are 40 bikes up for grabs (including the 1966 Triumph TT 650 at the top of this news story). The total value of stock is reckoned to be around $2.5 million.


The sale is scheduled for Saturday 4th August 2018. The venue is Raber's Parts Mart at 1984 Stone Avenue, San Jose, California USA. Ample parking (for cars, vans, trucks, semis, etc) is available about one mile away, and a shuttle service will be organised. Buyers premium is 10% (plus tax where applicable). The balloon goes up at 9am. And if you want to preview the stock, be there on Friday 3rd August 2018.



The notion of retiring and bringing such a huge part of your life to a close can be both depressing, confusing and a relief. But it looks like Bob and Betsy (image immediately above) will at least have a couple quid with which to enjoy their autumn years. Chances are, however, that Bob Raber will sooner or later find himself at a swap meet or similar and maybe buying a few things for a new collection. You know how it works...


Note: *GP Cycle Works (if its the same firm) is still trading in Harley-Davidsons.





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Assembly Chopper Show 2018


Story snapshot:

We screwed up with this one

But better late than never, huh?


We don't know what the hell went wrong. It's as simple as that. We received the email about three weeks ago, and it looked interesting and worthy of a mention on this page. So we told ourselves that we'd sort it out.




But we forgot.


The email slid silently down the screen until it was no longer immediately in view, and July 14th and 15th came and went, so we didn't give you a heads-up on the event. But had we been a little more compos mentis (and sober), we would have told you that Assembly was founded in 2017. It's a London centric custom bike show that boasts support from DiCE Magazine (founded in 2004) and The Great Frog (founded in 1972).



DiCE needs little introduction. Founded by Dean Micetich and Matt Davis, the magazine chills us satisfyingly with custom bikes, hot rods and funky bicycles and stuff. It's thin on detail, heavy on style, and the founders know how to party. Except that Matt Davis is no longer around. He died in early 2017 in Los Angeles after a long battle with his failing health. But DiCE is still where it's at for plenty of folk. We check in every once in a while.


The Great Frog, meanwhile, is one of those firms that's evidently been around for a long time, but we've never heard of it. That will perhaps shock some of you guys and girls, but you can't look everywhere at once—and like everyone else on the planet, we've got our own agenda.


Besides, we haven't got any use for jewellery, and that's what The Great Frog is all about. Established in "swinging" Carnaby Street, London, it seems that our froggy compatriots have been busy handcrafting gothic knuckle-duster rings and heavy metal body bling, and everyone who's anyone has bought one or two pieces (Jagger, Lemmy, Mickey Rourke, God, etc). The company has sprouted all over the planet, and at this moment (23rd July 2018) they're looking for a couple of jewellers, a couple of sales assistants and an office manager (so you can see where the money is these days).



Anyhow, the venue for this year's Assembly gathering was the House of Vans in Lambeth, London SE1 8SW; an über trendy brick, concrete and neon neverland catering to the needs and whims of skateboarders, artists, street culture-vultures and pretty much anyone with attitude and desperate for attention. The two images immediately above are from last year's show.


If you attended, you would have been faced with 50 of the "highest quality custom built choppers from around the world showcased for one weekend only." You would also have seen and probably enjoyed a chopper photography exhibition, visited a chopper retailer market, eyeballed a few curated cinema screenings, and spent some dosh at a motorcycle swap meet.


But like we said, we forgot to mention all that before the event happened and now it's too late. However, we're mentioning it now, and we'll try and do better next year. And we did mention last year's show before it happened.


So it goes...




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Andover Norton logo

Andover Norton Factory Open Day


Story snapshot:

One day social event comin' atcha

... and make sure you take a gander at the tractor


If you're a Norton rider you might be interested in this news item (if not, you'll perhaps want to look elsewhere, brother/sister). The skinny is that Andover Norton, which claims to be the world's largest producer of genuine/classic Norton spares (and that sounds like the truth), will be throwing open its doors on Saturday 28th July 2018 and inviting all you old Nortonians to come along and eat and talk and show what ya got. You can also meet the staff, check out a few display bikes, and take a gander at the tractor.


That's right.


The tractor, singular. That's what it says. This vehicle probably has some greater significance in the annals of Norton motorcycle history, but it means nothing to us [It's fitted with a Norton Industrial engine, dummy—Ed. See the image below].


Regardless, you can collect any "pre-ordered" spares (whatever the hell "pre-ordered" means), but it's a non-trading day. So don't expect staff to run around the aisles filling your parts needs. It's a purely social occasion, so attend on that basis, or not at all. And you'd better order double quick. You've got just a day or so to sort it out (and it's already Tuesday 24th July).


Norton tractor


You can find Andover Norton at Unit 4, Brunel Gate, Portway West Business Park, Andover, Hants SP10 3SL. And that's England, of course. The opening hours are 10am to 4.30pm—and there's some fabulous scenery in that part of the world. So if the weather holds, we recommend that you get out and play.


Finally, the press release doesn't specify that only Norton riders should attend. Consequently, we're taking this as a general invite—and wouldn't it be interesting 500 or so Triumph turned up for a burger and chin wag?


Might happen, if we make it happen.




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23rd July 2018      


1903: The Ford Motor Company

flogged its first car on this day 115 years ago. The car wasn't the famous Model T (which sold over 15 million units). Instead, it was a Model A built at Ford's Mack Avenue Plant in Detroit, and it was bought by a Chicago dentist. Unlike the Model T—which was supposedly available in any colour "as long as it was black"—the Fiat-powered Model A was manufactured only in red. The basic price was $750 which was considerably more expensive than many of its contemporaries, and it was anything but reliable. Regardless, it was a modest beginning that prompted Henry Ford to radically rethink his manufacturing ethos. He quickly shifted from a team building orthodoxy to mass production. And the top speed of the Model A? A heady 28mph.

1929: The Italian fascist government banned the use of foreign words and the teaching of foreign languages thereby establishing a policy of "Italianisation". The idea was simple enough. Italy had become a unified country, or nation state, in 1861. That was just 68 years earlier. In 1929, only 12% of the country spoke Italian (as we might understand it). The rest of the populace communicated in regional dialects and/or foreign languages. So Benito Mussolini made a shrewd move to stamp it out. Later, these ideas of censorship and language control would shift to the Spanish fascists, and that was perhaps where George Orwell (who in 1936 fought with the Republicans against Franco's Nationalists) developed his ideas for his dystopian novel, 1984.

1942: Treblinka Extermination Camp was formally opened by another bunch of fascists, notably the Nazis, and specifically the SS. Second only to Auschwitz in terms of the numbers killed, Treblinka (in north-east Poland) sent anything from 700,000 to 900,000 Jews, Romanis and homosexuals to their deaths—and this number includes many other groups and minorities who didn't fit the Germanic master race profile. Whilst no one with any true notion of civilised humanity would condone the mass executions and bestial treatment of the "chosen people", it's increasingly difficult not to have your sympathies tempered in the light of the current treatment of the Palestinian people in Israel.

1982: US actor Vic Morrow and two children (not his) are killed whilst filming an episode of The Twilight Zone. If you watched the movie The Blackboard Jungle (1955) starring Glenn Ford, you'll perhaps remember Morrow as one of the juvenile delinquent pupils. Or maybe you remember him from Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) starring Peter (Easy Rider) Fonda and Susan George. He also popped up everywhere on US TV shows and appeared in dozens of other films, notably Men In War (1957). How did the accident happen? Well it seems that whilst filming a Vietnam-era drama, some special effect explosions (or similar) negatively affected a hovering helicopter. The aircraft came down and ... well, we don't want to go there. It was nasty.  Vic Morrow was a great actor, and (in our opinion) underestimated.

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Vintage to Voltage "charity run"


Story snapshot:

London to Paris by Triumph and Zero

Four day trail ride


First, let's introduce the players. That's Julie Diplock on the left. She runs Elk Promotions which organises biking shows and autojumbles across Kent and Sussex. She's interested in motorcycles old and new, but has a particular interest in Velocettes generally, and her 92 year old Triumph Model P, specifically.


On the right is Carla McKenzie. She's the managing director of MYA Consulting based in Stroud, Gloucestershire. The business specialises in giving advice to the hotel and catering industry. She's also the owner of a Zero electric motorcycle.


These two women have recently hitched upon the idea of riding from Westminster, London to Paris, France. More specifically, the dynamic duo are planning to ride the trails as much as possible and leave the tarmac well alone. The limiting factor, distance wise, is the range of the Zero. Fully charged, it's good for around 70 miles or so depending on how it's ridden. So the 286-odd mile journey is likely to take around four days.


The beneficiaries of the ride are three charities:


The Lt Dougie Dalzell MC Memorial Trust (DDMT) which offers support and assistance to soldiers who are currently serving, or have served, in the Armed Forces.


The Kent, Sussex, and Surrey (KSS) Air Ambulance.


The Joan Seeley Memorial Trust which provides pain relief and medical equipment for hospitals and hospices throughout the UK.


Finding petrol for the Triumph might not be too difficult (and Julie can haul a spare gallon or two for emergencies). But the Zero will need a few charging points along the way—which underlines the current weakness of electric bikes. As such, we recommend that the girls either carry a tow rope, or stick a spare battery pack on the Model P. We're also advised that "the trip will highlight the evolution of the motorcycle over the past century."





Yes, the girls have swapped bikes for a change. The press release, we note, didn't actually explain that there will be four other riders in this group. That's mentioned only on the "giving" page. But two girls on the move arguably gets a bigger headline, wouldn't you say?



The start date is 18th September 2018. The finish date is expected to be on 21st September 2018. And if all that sounds worthy, we ought to mention that there's another angle here that bears deeper exploration. Specifically, some more cynical folk might say that doing something that you like to do, and then hanging a charitable hat on it hugely diminishes the philanthropic credibility.


It's the difference between, say, being sponsored to clear a filthy canal for the RSPCA, Red Cross or the local hospice, and sitting on your sofa all summer drinking beer and watching movies for Mencap, Oxfam and Barnados.


We're not doubting that there are genuinely good intentions at the heart of this, but hardcore charitable work has more lasting benefits than a backwoods biking jolly from Blighty to France.


We know Julie Diplock, and we're sure that we'll upset her with this piece (can't speak for Carla, but we're guessing that she won't be smiling). Nevertheless, the biking world is full of charitable rides, runs and suchlike. And as we've said, the flip side of such benefaction deserves a closer look, if only to ensure that we get the balance right between serving the needs of others, and serving our private and personal needs.



But wait? Isn't it reasonable to get a little something for ourselves too when expending time, energy and enthusiasm for the needy and less fortunate? Well yes. Kind of. But real charity is its own reward, and when we put ourselves at the centre, the subject of our good intentions has to shift to the margins. And for many, that has a very sour taste.


Finally, we note that there were two web links on the press release that we received. One was a link to donate money. The other was a link to Carla McKenzie's consultancy business.


Let's leave it there, shall we?




See also:

Dambusters Charity Ride

Hope Classic Rally: All for charity


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Hi Sumpsters, Thanks for the write-up of the Vintage to Voltage trek. I understand your position on the charity angle. Maybe I should’ve pointed out that we are self-funding the trip; all money raised will go to the three charities, as we are paying our own way apart from DFDS Ferries which have come back with some sort of sponsorship for the boat (details to be finalised). I didn’t think the part about self-funding needed to be stated, but obviously it did. There are 2 other Zeroes taking the trip with us, again details to be finalised. My personal beef with charities is that a lot are doing work I think the gov should do (e.g. lifeboats, air ambulance) but I take a pragmatic approach. Yes the trip raises our profile but also the profiles of the charities concerned, so thanks for publishing. FWIW Carla had taken the link to her business out of the most current press release, but I didn’t have this to hand.—Julie Diplock, Elk Promotions

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2018 Brighton Speed Trial reminder. 1st September 2018. Entries open

Motorcyclist killed, two others injured. 2018 Devon Air Ambulance run

McQueen Vincent Black Lightning & Husqvarna to auction 6/10/2018

Travis Pastrana completes three Evel Knievel jumps in Las Vegas (yawn)

London bikers to be canvassed by police over security issues, 19/7/2018

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2019 New Zealand bike trip offer


Story snapshot:

Forget the British February ice and snow, it's sunny down under

Limited places left for this Kiwi motorcycle sojourn

It will happen in February 2019, it will last 4 weeks, it's open to any rider on any bike, and you need to book a place sooner rather than later.


It's being organised by the World Association of Triumph Owners Clubs (WATOC—not to be confused with The World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists) which has earmarked a shipping container and aims to fill it with bikes for a month long trip across New Zealand. Aside from great air, great roads, plenty of sunshine, friendly natives, miles of coastline and some of the best scenery on the planet, there will be biking events along the way.


One such event is the Burt Munroe Challenge in Invercargill. Another is the TOMCC National Rally in Hamner Springs. If you sign up, you'll be travelling on both the north and south islands.


Remember that February is roughly the equivalent of August in the UK, so leave your snow shoes at home. And note that they also drive on the left side of the road in NZ, British style.



The shipping firm engaged by the WATOC is, we understand, experienced in motorcycle transportation—and we should hope so. The ride is a not-for-profit venture, and the idea is to keep shipping costs below £700. Insurance is "optional", but we think it's essential. Your bike gear and camping gear can go in the container, and that tells you something about the kind of accommodation envisaged (but if you send your bike gear on the boat, what will you use when the ship's chugging through the Suez on a month long voyage?)


Anyway, this sounds like a pretty good way to spend February in the UK. Check the contact details below, and read a book on New Zealand and see if it suits your disposition and aspirations.


And here's an important note: You don't have to be part of the group tour. If you prefer, you can take advantage of the shipping container offer and then work out your own riding destinations, itinerary, accommodation, etc, and enjoy a solo trip, or ride two-up.


We'd take this trip ourselves, you understand. But who's gonna look after the UK while you're down under having fun?


Geoff Walton: 07473 090138



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Scomadi The Who scooter


The Who Limited Edition scooters


Story snapshot:

Scomadi announces marketing tie-up with top London "mod band"

British designed scooters are on song


No, the image immediately above ain't the design for a new range of scooters from Scomadi. That's just something we threw together in Photoshop, and that's because the new designs still haven't been finalised. Or, at least, released. But the story is on the loose, and we needed a suitable illustration. So we did what we had to do.


If you're unfamiliar with Scomadi, the company was formed in 2005 by Frank Sanderson (of Scooter Innovation Ltd) and Paul Melici of (PM Tuning Ltd). These guys are boasting 60 collective years riding hairdryers. They operate from Galgate, Lancashire (near Preston), and the scooters they design and market are manufactured in Thailand.



Paul Melici (left) and Frank Sanderson; the men behind Scomadi Scooters. The short history of this firm is long and complicated (and litigious) and involves Chinese company Hanway, Piaggio and Royalloy. Suffice to say that Scomadi is fighting a rearguard action in an effort to protect its interests. The Scomadi name, by the way, is derived from SCOoter MAnufacturing and DIstribution.



Apparently, the bikes were originally produced by the Chinese. However, the Chinese have chronically underdeveloped/dodgy business and intellectual property ethics and ... well, let's not go there. The upshot was that Scomadi cut the Chinese out of the loop and shifted production.


We don't need to tell you anything about The Who. But we will anyway because (a) we want to, and (b) it doesn't pay to take much for granted in this life.




The band was formed in 1964. The classic line-up (as per the image at the top of this news story) featured left to right Pete Townshend (guitarist of no mean talent), Keith Moon (drummer exceptionnel), Roger Daltrey (he can wail), and John Entwistle (ace bassman).


Everyone knows The Who is one of the greatest London bands ever (the others being The Stones and The Kinks). But until you take a long look at the back catalogue, it's easy to forget just how good The Who was. And is. Check this singles list:

My Generation (1965)

Substitute (1970)

Happy Jack (1966)

I Can See for Miles (1967)

I Can't Explain (1969)

Pinball Wizard (1979)

Won't Get Fooled Again (1971)

Squeeze Box (1975)

Who Are You (1978)

Join Together (1990)

I'm Free (1990)


And there's more.


Meanwhile, Pete Townshend also wrote the rock operas Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), the latter of which became the musical backdrop for an entire generation. And yes, the 1979 movie Quadrophenia actually missed the mod era by a decade or so, but you'll be hard pressed to notice. It convincingly captures the mood, vibe, angst and spirit of those times, and is still one of the most watchable youth culture explorations ever—and there are one or two amusing biker moments worth another look.


Keith Moon (one of the most self-destructive personalities in rock music) died in 1978. John Entwistle died in 2002. Both Townshend and Daltrey have forged successful solo careers, and if you ask any number of current musicians to name their influences, The Who will be somewhere in the list—and in many cases near the top. There have been numerous band reunions, but we have no word on the next outing.


Understandably, The Who's name and style plastered over the side of a scooter is a real prize, and certainly Scomadi—which like many manufacturers in the current climate is struggling to develop sales and market penetration—could use the boost. The Who's marketing company, Bravado, will be handling details of the venture with, we hear, input from Daltrey and Townshend.



▲ Quadrophenia (1973). That's actor Phil Daniels on the bike. And check the faces in the mirrors (top to bottom): Townshend, Moon, Entwistle and Daltrey. The album is one of the soundtracks to our lives and is well worth another listen.



Scomadi began with a limited run of hand-built 250cc carbon fibre scooters. The present stable includes models ranging from 50cc, through 125cc to 250cc and 300cc. A 400cc bike is on the way and set for launch in October 2018. The current target is to ramp up production to 20,000 units per annum. Scomadi scooters are currently available in numerous world markets from Nepal to Australia to Colombia. And, of course, the UK and Europe.


If you fancy downsizing to small wheels, the new Scomadis with The Who branding are expected to be available this autumn (2018). We're hoping that this British company has plenty of miles yet to travel. Certainly, the management appears to have the right instincts.




See also: "Quadrophenia Lambretta" to auction


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Morris Minor: 70 years on the road


Story snapshot:

Covers all models from 1948 - 1971

Also references the Morris Six and Morris Oxford


Britain's favourite classic car? You could make a very strong argument in favour of that suggestion—although fans of the Austin Seven and the BMC Mini might have something to say about that. But nobody, as far as we know, is arguing against the notion that the Morris Minor is both a great classic, and a legend in its own lifetime.


The design is rooted as far back as 1943 when (Sir) Alec Issigonis, famed for the creation of the aforementioned Mini, began work on a new "big small car" intended to revolutionise British motoring. That prototype was dubbed the Mosquito. The finished vehicle was finally launched as the Minor at the London Motor Show (Earls Court) in 1948. The basic price was £280 plus £78 purchase tax. And it was a sensation.


With its 918cc sidevalve engine, low level "transatlantic" headlights, split screen, independent front suspension and monocoque construction, Issigonis was largely developing design and engineering principles that were by no means new, but were the motoring exception rather than the rule.


Intended to accommodate "four adults between the wheels", the Minor was roomy enough to squeeze in a fifth passenger at a push. It was easy to drive, economical (by the standards of the day), airy, reliable, stylish and competitively priced.


Almost immediately, the frontal design was changed from low-level headlights to high-level. Why? Because the legislators in California, USA had recently mandated that all vehicles sold after 1st October 1949 must have headlights positioned "not more than 54-inches, nor less than 24-inches above the surface of the road upon which the vehicle stands". These dimensions were measured from the centre of the headlights.


Issigonis, we're told, was disappointed with the demand to revamp the design—perhaps even more disappointed than when his original concept of a flat-four engine was rejected by the board at Morris which favourite the straight four flathead. Nevertheless, the design was changed almost immediately to accommodate the Americans, but the low-level headlight styling continued in the UK until 1951.


The engine was upgraded in 1952 to an 803cc OHV in-line four. In 1958 a 948cc OHV engine arrived, and in 1962 that was enlarged to 1098cc. Over the years, the cars were offered as two door, four door, convertibles and estate cars.


The description "MORRIS MINOR STATION WAGON" sounds a little odd to British ears more acquainted with the term ESTATE CAR. But these Morris Minor Travellers were exported to numerous overseas markets including the US, and they were assembled overseas too in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. But the spiritual home is, of course, Cowley, Oxfordshire.



Written by Ray Newell and published by Veloce, this book is a substantial insight into the design, development and marketing of the Minor, and takes us into the hearts and minds of the men and women who built it, lived with it, and loved it—many of those from cradle to grave.


If you're not much of a reader, beware. The font size is fairly small, so reading glasses will be required, and there's plenty of text to wade through. Then again, there are also hundreds of illustrations, photos, original sketches, diagrams and adverts to study, and that makes it easy and enjoyable dipping into it every once in a while (Tip: keep it by the TV remote control device).


Beyond that, it's one of those books that makes you want to rush out and buy the product—and fortunately, of the 1,300,000 or so "Moggy Minors" that were built, there are still thousands on the road worldwide, many still in daily use, and one or two having covered phenomenal mileage. Meanwhile, there's a thriving industry out there capable of supplying the majority of parts for this car, straight off the shelf.



Newell's writing is straight-to-the-point and unflowery. The images are clear and colourful. The story of Morris and, it's successor, BMC is embedded in the tale. And we get numerous behind the scenes glimpses of factory work, all of which adds up to a pretty compelling package.


Here are the specifications:


Paperback • 25cm x 25cm • 192 pages • pictures
ISBN: 978-1-787112-07-0


If we have to criticise, which we do, we think this book deserves hard covers rather than soft covers. Beyond that, we've got no complaints. It just a great book that will appeal to owners of Morris Minors, and also to pretty much anyone else interested in becoming part of the vehicle's history.


Veloce Publishing is asking £35 plus P&P, and that's fair money. Hard to see how you won't feel happy with this purchase.




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1974 T150 Triumph Trident


When is a Hurricane not a Hurricane?


Story snapshot:

H&H 1974 Triumph T150 Trident with dubious provenance

But National Motorcycle Museum chief restorer has validated it


We ran a small news item on this motorcycle last month, and we don't recall that, at the time, there was any mention of this bike running a pre-production Triumph Hurricane engine. But there might have been. We miss a lot of stuff. Then again, we often harvest information from H&H Auctions (and other auction houses) when the listings are pretty basic and haven't been finalised. Frequently, we see that lot numbers haven't even been assigned, etc.


Either way, the "Hurricane" reference went by us. But we've since been contacted by a Sumpster questioning the authenticity of this bike, and we've got a lot of questions of our own that are unresolved.


Firstly, here's what H&H said about the bike:


• Matching numbers
• Restored with assistance from Colin Wall from National Motorcycle Museum, who believes it is a pre-production Hurricane engine in a MKI Trident
• Interesting history, built by Triumph employed road tester in period
• New carbs
• In running order
• Complete with old MOT's and associated paperwork
• Previously recorded as a 'Category C Insurance Loss' in 1998 & 1999




So we contacted Mark Bryan, motorcycle expert at H&H, and asked about the provenance of this machine. We explained that it's hard to see any Hurricane connection with this bike. We explained that, as far as we were aware, all Hurricane engines were BSA Rocket Three motors (canted forward 15 degrees). We explained that the bike looks to be a late 1960s (possibly 1970) T150 Trident. We explained that the Hurricanes were built in '72 and '73. We also highlighted our concern that this bike is listed as a 1974 machine. Could he explain all that?


Bryan pretty much repeated what was written on the firm's website, and he said that he couldn't see what our problem was regarding the provenance. So we explained that a genuine pre-production Hurricane engine would be of great interest to Hurricane or Triumph collectors. But this one simply doesn't look convincing. He said the bike was probably registered some time after the engine was manufactured, which is possible.


However, we batted it around a little and got nowhere. So we called the National Motorcycle Museum and spoke to director James Hewing.


First we explained our misgivings. Then we asked if we could speak with Colin Wall, chief restorer. Then we were told that Colin Wall works off-site, and we couldn't have his number. All enquiries, said Hewing, should go through him. Hewing said that he wanted to look into the matter personally, and Wall's number was private.


So we asked if Wall could contact us. The offer was refused.


So we asked for Wall's email address. That was also refused, and we were told that Wall is now in his late seventies, meaning that he wasn't really into email (we later checked and saw that Colin Wall has a Facebook page, and he can evidently manage that). We also suggested that if Wall was still the chief restorer, surely he could handle email?


Once again, we were blocked. But James Hewing promised to make his enquiries, and he came back quickly enough with the news that Colin Wall is standing by his claim. It all happened a long time ago, we were advised. Wall helped a friend build the bike. There was some mention of a Hurricane cylinder head. And ... well, that was it. A pre-production Hurricane engine in a T150 Trident frame—which doesn't satisfactorily explain the fact that the engine and frame numbers match, or the X75 suffix, etc.



We've since checked with numerous people who, we believe, know a lot about Triumph Hurricanes. It seems that the very early bikes (just a few) didn't carry the X75 suffix on the engine case and frame. They carried V75 (these were BSA engines, remember). The X75 suffix came later. The consensus was that this motorcycle is simply a bitsa with unreliable engine/frame numbers.


Nobody we spoke to has been able to point to a single component that's definitely from a genuine Hurricane, and we can't find anyone who can shed any further light on this. Nor have we been able to talk to Colin Wall or the person who built the Trident.


Meanwhile, the bike and the Hurricane claim is still on the H&H website, and the Trident comes up for sale on 26th July 2018 with an estimate of £10,000 - £12,000.


It might all be true. Then again ...


See also: H&H fake Indians sold


UPDATE: This Trident didn't sell


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It all sounds a bit far fetched and unsubstantiated to me. If the vendor can’t provide any guaranteed provenance for the story then it would seem anyone can claim any history they like on the slimmest of evidence. There are already plenty of ‘fakes’ out there; Thruxton Velos, Gold Stars, Rocket Gold Stars, Trophies, etc, etc. I personally know of one definite fake on display in a well known museum which has been claimed as original more than once by the proprietor. It’s a long story but involves a close family member, so I do know the ‘real’ facts of that machine's history. The real fact is suggesting provenance, history or whatever adds value, and where there’s money to be made there’s often a chancer. Park it over there with the others mate—The Village Squire

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Triumph Mechanic Workshirt

Sump Triumph Mechanic Workshirt


Story snapshot:

£26.99 long lasting cotton twill

Printed to order, usually within 7 days


These are a totally new product from Sump, and we've got a few others in the pipeline—so stay tuned to this channel. You already know what a Triumph is, and you know what a workshirt is, so you can figure out what's going on here. The shirts are 100% cotton twill, which means it's a tougher than usual weave and has all kinds of technical properties that makes it ideal for the garage or shed, or just for wearing to your favourite bike show.


The colour of the shirt is black, but we've brightened it a little to make it visible on the page, etc. The design (as you can see) appears on the rear of the shirt only in the traditional way, and the print quality is very good and will last until the shirt falls off in tattered threads—and that will be later rather than sooner.


We wear these shirts, and it's only a matter of time before we're all arrested for clothing abuse—meaning that these are holding up well, and so we're confident enough to market them on Sump. We're asking £26.99 plus P&P, but you can pay lots more if you want to. Sizes are SMALL to 4XL.


Check the link below and treat yourself to a clearer view and hit the BUY button when you're ready.


Okay, let's check out the Triumph Mechanic Workshirt

Also see: Sump workshirt

Also see: BSA workshirt


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Made in Poland Indians mooted


Story snapshot:

Trump's tariff war has also got Indian on the warpath

Harley-Davidson warns of "the beginning of the end"


It ain't exactly on the cards, but it ain't off the table either. In the wake of Harley-Davidson considering shifting production of Europe-bound bikes to India and/or Thailand [see Sump: Trump & Harley-Davidson Toe to Toe, June 2018], we have confirmation that Polaris Industries—which manufactures Indian Motorcycles—is mulling over the notion of shifting Europe-bound bike production to Poland.


According to Jess Rogers, Polaris spokeswoman, "Nothing is definitive. We're looking at a range of mitigation plans."


And "mitigate" is exactly the right word because much damage has already been done both politically and industrially as Harley-Davidson and Indian struggle to reconcile the balance sheets whilst staying faithful to its market.


Indian Motorcycles are currently built at the firm's Spirit Lake plant in Iowa. Around 650 people are employed there. The company also operates a plant in Opole, Poland where it manufactures off-road vehicles. Opened in 2014, the facility covers 345,000 square feet and is now considered mature. The factory can accommodate approximately 500 workers.


However, shifting motorcycle production to Poland would be expensive in terms of re-equipping the operation and hiring or re-training existing staff. And it would (arguably) be a lot more expensive in terms of brand devaluation. Indian Motorcycles are built in America. Full stop. Or so goes the boardroom, showroom and living room thinking. The notion of adulterating the 117 year heritage by shifting the focus to Europe (even for purely European marketed machines) is all but unthinkable. Nevertheless, the Polaris bean counters are having to do exactly that.


An additional concern is that midway through any relocation plans, Trump could simply change his mind forcing Indian (and Harley-Davidson) to change theirs.



How many Poles does it take to make a motorcycle? Sounds like another racist joke coming, but this one isn't funny. Not for Indian fans, anyway. The Poles, however, love motorcycles as much as anyone else and would no doubt build great machines. But that ain't the point. Meanwhile, is the truth simply that H-D and Indian have been presented with a great excuse to off-shore production and are now softening the market?




Triumph Motorcycles has already largely faced down this problem of "foreign manufacturer" and builds all of its Bonneville models in Thailand with no obvious/measurable/significant loss of sales. At least, any resultant sales losses are considered by Hinckley as acceptable.


Harley-Davidson, meanwhile, manufactures its Street 500 and Street 750 models (and other models in the range) in India. But these machines are aimed at the burgeoning Asian market where, it's believed, questions of production origination are of more limited importance. In fact, the idea of "home built" or (if you prefer) "native built" Harley-Davidsons is considered by many industrial pundits as a sales bonus in those peculiar markets.


Harley-Davidson has said that it will absorb any tariff costs thereby ensuring that in Europe (H-D's second biggest market after the USA) customers won't see any price rises. But the reality is that the firm simply won't be able to underpin this largesse indefinitely. Somewhere down the line hard choices will have to be made.


Indian is (arguably) in a stronger position. Bike sales are smaller than H-D, and Indian is backed by the huge Polaris organisation. Nevertheless, the Polish option is being publicly considered—if only as an implied threat to Trump that his "Made in America" mantra could turn very hollow.


Last words go to Harley-Davidson which has recently been quoted as saying that building European-bound bikes overseas will be "the beginning of the end."


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2018 Festival of Bikes


2018 Oily Rag Co Festival of Bikes


Story snapshot:

Display bikes are still being sought

£10 visitor tickets for either or both days (Saturday & Sunday)


The above poster will tell you most of what you need to know. Festival of Bikes Show. 8th and 9th September 2018—not to be confused with the Festival of 1000 Bikes. But the underlying story is simply that the organisers are looking for more display bikes of all disciplines; i.e. bobbers, cafe racers, chops, modern classics, etc. There's an email link below, so do what you have to do. You're asked to initially send a photo of your bike for consideration.


If you're planning to attend as a visitor, tickets are £10 for either day, and if you visit on the Saturday, that ticket will be good for a return visit on the Sunday. Additionally, you can buy a ticket online and enjoy a 20% discount.


The headline sponsor, as you can see, is Oily Rag Co. Cheltenham Town Hall is the venue (Imperial Square, Cheltenham GL50 1QA). And we're advised that all the display bikes will be under cover.


Good enough?





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Netley Eurojumble


"Netley" & Beaulieu 2018 reminder


Story snapshot:

Carole Nash is sponsoring the 25th Eurojumble event

Usual date clash with Beaulieu


No, we ain't in cahoots with The Empire (i.e. Mortons). But details of this event came down the wire a day or two ago, and because it's scheduled for 31st August/1st September, it sobered us up a little and reminded us that with the solstice out of the way, the end of Summer is already in sight and will have come and gone before we know it. And chances are that none of us would have done even half of what we planned to do, or been half the places we meant to go.


And we're enjoying this Summer.


So we thought we'd give this event an extra plug (it's on our events page), not least because Mortons also had the foresight to supply a few pictures (see image immediately above—with the dreamy like blur that for no obvious reason we Photoshopped in) and made the effort to get noticed, etc.


We haven't been to "Netley" for years (officially Eurojumble). The last time we attended we were in two minds about whether we enjoyed it. Generally, the show had a tired feel—or maybe that was just us projecting our usual discontent with the world or something. You get days like that?


Anyway, we're advised by regular goers that there's still some good stuff being thrown up at Netley, but the dealers always slip in quick and early and grab the best bits, and there ain't much you can do about that except suck it up. Maybe Mortons should review that policy?


You've just seen the dates, and that will be a Friday and a Saturday. If you plan to attend, Mortons want you to get in touch and book a ticket or something. However, if you turn up at the gate with cash, think they'll turn you away?



Meanwhile, the car-focussed Beaulieu Autojumble is set for 1st & 2nd September 2018, meaning that, as ever, there's some overlap with Netley. That's always struck us as a little odd because it drains much of the energy out of the Mortons event. But what the hell do we know? Probably makes it more convenient for long distance travellers who want to cram as much as possible into the weekend, of course, and maybe Mortons needs to cling to Beaulieu just to keep this event going.

Anyway, Beaulieu (just down the road from Netley Marsh) is boasting 2,000 jumble stands and the largest crowd of autojumblers on this side of the Atlantic. Bonhams will be there flogging vehicles and motorbilia. Check the link below for event details.


Telephone: 01507 529529




UPDATE: We've just noticed that the Beaulieu Autojumble is carrying a TBC (To Be Confirmed) notice. So better check nearer the day.


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Honda Datatool TrackKING offer



Honda's free Datatool TrakKING offer


Story snapshot:

Buy a new bike and get tracked by a satellite

Existing Honda riders haven't been overlooked


Buy a new Honda from July 2nd 2018, and Honda will wire-in at no extra charge a Datatool TrakKING device supposedly capable of quickly locating 90% of stolen motorcycles. Meanwhile, if you've already got yourself a Honda, you can visit your local dealer and get a TrakKING fitted at a discounted rate.


The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA) is taking much, if not all of the credit for this. But the fact is, the MCIA has been woefully slow, if not completely flaccid and impotent in tackling the chronic problem of motorcycle theft. And Sump, along with other biking magazines, has been banging on about this for years to little or no avail.



We were secretly hoping that Triumph would take the initiative on this—and hoping too that Hinckley would take it a stage further by providing bikes with an entirely new range of security devices. But maybe Honda's move will encourage the other manufacturers to match this offer.


Underlying this, however, is the current "scooter crime epidemic" which has rattled plenty of cages in Whitehall and London's City Hall and is throwing a very bleak light on the motorcycle community as a whole. And the cops, understandably, already have enough crime and terrorism issues to deal with and are looking to the bike manufacturers to ante up.


The TrakKING software follows a motorcycle in real time and allows an owner reliable playback both in the event of a theft, or just for fun, etc. The coverage extends across Western Europe, and the Datatool kit is accessible via both IOS and Android smartphones. The only maintenance cost to riders is a £10 per month subscription to Datatool. And that's cheap. And if you want some reassurance on the fitness of the kit, we hear that the rozzers and Thatcham both approve it (whatever that's worth to you).


Buy British, we're fond of saying. But not this time.


See also: Sump police watch bike cover

See also: Bike theft petition

See also: Scooter gangs face new response

See also: The answer to bike-jacking & theft?


Want to comment on this story? Okay. Hit the icon on the left and email us. Note that we moderate this field to weed out the more obvious cranks. feedback@sumpmagazine.com

Hi Sump, the motorcycle trade has for years been fobbing us off with very poorly secured bikes, and we've been mug enough to keep buying them. I'm about to test ride with a view to buying a new Triumph Speedmaster and I shall be asking some very pointed questions about security, and if I'm not happy (which I'm sure I won't be), I won't be buying. Not yet anyway. Everyone should punish the bike trade like this and send a message to the complacent manufacturers. Bike theft can be almost entirely eradicated.—Robbie Darrow, Bristol

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