1949 500cc Triumph 5T Speed Twin.

If you owned just one British classic bike, Edward Turner's seminal parallel twin would address most of your requirements. Touring. Commuting. Racing. Parading. Polishing. Posing. The 5T will do it all with aplomb and panache. At the recent Bonhams Las Vegas January auction, a 1938 Speed Twin once owned by Steve McQueen (Lot 53) sold for $175,000 (£133,550). Yet another '38 Speed Twin in that sale (Lot 92, not once owned by McQueen) sold for $42,550 (£32,596). But the above '49 example (Lot 99) changed hands for just $10,350 (£7,928)—and that's a huge difference when you consider there's only a girder fork, a panel tank and a few years between 'em. Plus, of course, the odd Hollywood A-list movie star. A cool bargain, wethinks. No?

Feedback comment:  Now that’s what Triumph’s recently introduced Speed Twin should look like, and surely easy for them to do based on the basic Bobber frame and engine, But then, again me wonders if Triumph has got that scenario on hold and will introduce it further down the line? If so, it needs to be in the exact colour too, yes?—Selwyn

February 2019  Classic bike news


Motorcycle news

February 2019 Classic Bike News

New classic car metal garage signs

2019 Kickback Show seeks sponsors

Bauer print sales take another dive

Australian cops speed camera poser

One liners

Henry Cole wants your shed

London Classic Car Show 2019

Christopher Chope's FGM backlash

Albert Finney: 1936 - 2019

International Motobécane gathering

One liners

Charterhouse Auctions reminder

Bud Ekins' Husqvarna MX360 Viking

2019 Bristol Classic Show postponed


Henry Cole's Motorbike Show returns

Oxford Bradwell wax cotton jacket

Norton Commando Winter Raffle

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 details

80 years of AMC with Colin Seeley

One liners

A blue plaque for Rex McCandless

"Barn find" RE Constellation to sell

Kawasaki Zed series restoration manual

Bonhams Stafford Sale hits £3 million

Weise®  Boston Jeans tried & tested

One liners

Star attractions at Barber Sale

Andy Tiernan 2019 charity calendar

Zhongneng buys Moto Morini

Bonhams Autumn Stafford preview

Charles Geoffrey Hayes: 1942 - 2018

Mark Wilsmore's bikes to auction

2019 Street Twin & Scrambler boost

Two Wheeled Tuesdays invitation

Bonhams Alexandra Palace Sept Sale

NextBase 312GW dashcam tested

Charles Nicholas Hodges

Suzuki Motorcycles from Veloce

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

Sump news archive



We've got plenty more classic bike news for you to enjoy. Check out the links below.


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Ford Consul Capri 335 coupe


New classic car metal garage signs


Story snapshot:

Four new examples of automotive printed "tin" from Sump

£14.99 each plus P&P


At Sump, we love classic bikesand, come to that, pretty much all bikes. But we also get our kicks from many other kinds of locomotion including bicycles, tractors, trucks, buses, trams, classic cars and steam & diesel trains. As far as we're concerned, if it rolls, it rocks. And if it flies, we're up in the clouds with it.


So it was perhaps inevitable that sooner or later we'd address our lateral interests in some appropriately commercial manner thereby helping keep afloat the good ship Sump (and all who sail in her). And all that brings us neatly to these new classic car signs.


Ford Escort Mexico rally car


We've been working on these for a few months, and we're just about to take delivery of our first batch. There won't be very many of each. For now, we're still debating whether or not this will be a limited run, or open ended production (you have to rationalise purchasing costs and stock room space, etc). So if you're also into classic cars (and we know that plenty of you Sumpsters are), you'd better order one sooner rather than later.


We're still sorting out payment buttons and stuff, so for the time being you can express your interest via email and simply ask us to reserve one for you. You won't be expected to pay until your sign is in stock. Just hit the link below and we'll confirm that we've got your order and do what has to be done.


Triumph Spitfire sportscar


The price for each is £14.99 plus P&P. They're printed direct-to-metal. They're reassuringly heavyweight steel. And the mounting holes make 'em ready to hang on whatever dull and dismal space you need to fill. If you keep them out of direct sunlight, they should last for years or even decades. Just remember to let them age a little. They look better when the elements have been having a nibble.


MGA sportscar



Meanwhile (largely for the benefit of the roving search engines), we need to actually mention the names of the four signs in production:


Ford Consul Capri

Ford Escort Mexico

Triumph Spitfire



As you'll see, these classic cars are all prime examples of British engineering—and we certainly wouldn't throw any of them out of our garage if we had any space left what with the bikes, the kit cars, the benches and the sundry junk.


And no, we're not planning to change Sump from a motorcycle magazine to a car magazine. But if you're a regular visitor, you'll know that our interests are wide and varied, and often a little offbeat.


Finally, we design our signs largely because we hang 'em on our own walls with our motorcycle signs, and we're happy to decorate the inside of Fortress Sump with these latest examples of classic lowbrow art.


Join us, why don't you?





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2019 Kickback Show seeks sponsors


Story snapshot:

We're talking about the custom bike building National Championships

15th- 16th June 2019 is the date to watch


The Devitt KICKBACK Custom Show is scheduled for 15th - 16th June 2019 at the Preston Bike Festival, and that's where the 2019 National Championship (for custom bike building) will be staged.


To that end, the KICKBACK organisers are looking for sponsors to help stump up the costs of the trophies. Sounds a little mercenary putting it like that, but that's what it boils down to. Hard cash.


There will be five classes plus a Best-in-Show award. Sponsors, aside from getting their name mentioned on publicity material and on social media platforms, will also see their corporate branding engraved on the trophies; specifically on the 1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes.


Additionally, sponsors will be invited to "jump up on stage" and hand over the awards in person. Or persons.


Interested? Talk to organiser lorne@rwrw.co.uk and see exactly what the pitch is.






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Bauer print sales take another dive


Story snapshot:

Motorcycle News has lost nearly 16,000 weekly sales since 2015

Bike Magazine bucks the trend with very modest growth


Latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) show that Bauer motorcycling print titles, with one exception, are further sliding into oblivion. That exception is Bike Magazine which showed a modest monthly rise in sales.


Firstly, the hard numbers:


January to December 2018 audited Bauer sales:

Motorcycle News (MCN): 56,839
Classic Bike: 30,646
Bike: 35,098
Ride: 29,434
Practical Sportsbikes (inc Performance Bikes): 15,678


We haven't been watching these sales too closely over the past year or two. But we do have 2015 figures for comparison:


January to December 2015 audited Bauer sales:

Motorcycle News (MCN): 72,607
Classic Bike: 37,135
Bike: 34,387
Ride: 32,866
Performance Bikes: 15,674


By our reckoning, MCN has over the past three years lost 15,768 weekly sales. Classic Bike has lost monthly sales of 6,489 copies. Bike Magazine has gained a negligible 711 more copies per month. Ride Magazine has lost 3,432 copies per month. Practical Sportsbikes (which now incorporates the effectively defunct Performance Bikes) is harder to analyse because we have no earlier figures for this publication.


Note that these are all average sales, and note too that these numbers don't include digital sales which represent a relatively small percentage of the print numbers (i.e. a few thousand or so per magazine).


As ever, there are no figures for Mortons Media motorcycle magazine sales. That's because the company still refuses to have its sales audited. So you take a guess at whatever number you like and double it or halve it or something. But it's almost certain that Morton sales aren't performing much better, if at all. Historically, Bauer has generally outsold rival Morton titles.


So what's behind the decline? Well, the biggest reason is simply that the UK economy, like most western economies, is still struggling at the moment. But close on the heels of that are the online publications such as Sump that are mopping up tens of thousands—if not hundreds of thousand—of readers. Meanwhile, the online motorcycle club websites, along with Facebook, Twitter, etc are also having a large impact.


We're probably not looking at a complete collapse of motorcycle magazine print sales; not in the near future, anyway. But Performance Bikes and Superbike are dead (although Superbike still has an online presence), and we expect to see one or two more motorcycle magazines close or merge in the coming year or so as the publishers adjust their perspectives and rationalise their production and associated costs.


It's not just the loss of revenue from magazine and newspaper sales, note. It's also the reduced revenue from advertising that's hitting the "traditional" publishers. To stay afloat, most of the print magazines have reduced their crew to little more than the captain and a bloke below decks stoking the boiler. The hope now is that post-Brexit (if it ever happens), the economy might get some kind of spending boost and even stage a recovery.


But don't hold your breath.


See: Sump Magazine February 2016 for more on UK bike magazine sales



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Australian cops speed camera poser


Story snapshot:

Down under camera very obscura comes under fire

Moralists should sit this one out; the matter has been decided


It never ceases to amaze us these days how people steadfastly refuse to take any responsibility for their actions and lives—and it never ceases to amaze us how the friends and relatives of anyone who's bought the farm or has otherwise come to grief through personal foolishness, recklessness or just bad luck immediately look for someone else to blame.


Anyone else. For instance:


"My son took an ecstasy pill and died. I blame the bastard who sold it to him."


"My 16 year old daughter went climbing in the Himalayas and fell to her death. I blame the tour guide who took her up the mountain in a snowstorm."


"My son died fighting in Afghanistan. He should have had more protection."




The modern blame culture seems to know no limits. But the fact is, people who die after taking recreational drugs are generally perfectly aware of the implied terms and conditions, and by swallowing the pill or smoking the spliff they've tacitly agreed to those terms. People who go mountain climbing under any conditions know pretty much all there is to know about gravity, and most of what there is to know about snow. Meanwhile, people who volunteer to fight in far flung wars are perfectly aware that the ammunition generally flies in both directions.


That's not to say that sympathy is wasted on such victims. Most deaths are tragedies—in the true, Shakespearean sense of the word (meaning that such victims have in some way shaped their cruel ends).


Nevertheless, when you refine all the arguments and distil the propaganda and stick what's left of the atomic truth under the scrutiny of the social and philosophical microscopes, people make millions of decisions in their lives, and sooner or later one or more of those decisions will put them on a collision path with fate. After that it's all down to providence.



Yes, there's a cop somewhere in that bush, or so we've been advised. But while he's deep in the dirt, he's also said to be on morally very shaky ground.



So we were amused/interested to find the following commentary on the Motorbike Writer website. This is an Australian 'site that appears to do a pretty good job of monitoring local biking news and interests, albeit with a fair amount of idle speculation and off-the-cuff guesswork.


The story involves an Australian traffic cop "caught" hiding in the bushes with a radar gun and looking to bolster the civic coffers with a few extra fines—the implication being that the cop ought to be out there on the road preventing motoring offences and not simply hiding behind a gum tree and capitalising on the excesses of the speedsters (never mind the lateral argument that riders/motorists might well be far more cautious in their speeding habit when in an area known to be rife with hidden radar guns than on a familiar stretch of highway where all the cameras are well and truly plotted by Google and chums, and where all the cops can be seen a mile off. And never mind the fact that local authorities need to raise revenue somehow, either through direct or indirect taxation).



Anyway, Motorbike Writer poses the question:


We ask: "How would the officer in the bushes feel if he clocked a speeding rider on his hand-held TruCAM laser digital camera and the rider crashed and died further down the road?"

"And how would the rider’s widow feel when she received the offence notice in the post a few days later knowing a police officer could have pulled over her speeding husband and saved his life?"


Need we say more?



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John Haynes, founder of the Haynes Publishing empire has died aged 80

Gloucester Police riders to be equipped with Alpinestars/BKS airbag suits

Billy Joel orders a £38,000 limited production Nmoto Nostalgia BMW

DVLA launches UK vehicle anti-tax evasion drive. No mention of bikes

"Be open minded about the sound of our electric bikes - Harley-Davidson."

New Oil in the Blood motorcycle culture documentary. No UK dates yet


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Henry Cole wants your shed


Story snapshot:

TV presenter is filming again "later this year"

Can you fill a spot in Henry's life?


If you haven't yet had your 15 minutes of fame on TV, TV presenter Henry Cole could be riding to the rescue. Most of us know him from The Motorbike Show and Shed and Buried. Well, he'll be filming again later this year, and he's looking for interesting sheds to feature. And "shed" also means lofts, barns, cellars, garages, nuclear bomb shelters, and anything else where tools, motorcycles, old petrol pumps, enamelled railway signs or whatever have been squirreled away.


No special acting skills are required. Just let Henry have a look at what you've got, smile, dodder around looking senile (which many of us do these days) and you've got the job—subject to the aforementioned interesting shed criteria.


"I'm interested in lots of different types of stuff - tiny trinkets and big bits too!" says Henry. "It's not the size of the shed, it's the way you fill it!"


Tautology notwithstanding, that's the whole pitch right there. So who's first in line?





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London Classic Car Show 2019


Story snapshot:

14th - 17th February 2019

London's Excel is the venue


Remember the 1969 movie The Italian Job? Specifically the scene where the Italian gangsters, resenting the English moving in on their territory, use a bulldozer to wreck a couple of E-Type Jags and then shunt an Aston Martin drophead over a precipice?


Well that Aston thing never actually happened, we're advised. The car that did the air dance was in fact a Lancia Flaminia. The Aston Martin was quietly switched, and will be on display at the London Classic Car Show which will take place on 14th - 17th February 2019 at London's Excel. That's the story, anyway—and why should anyone make this up just because there's an awful lot of money at stake?



The reason for displaying that Aston Martin is because 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the robbery caper movie The Italian Job starting Michael Caine, Noël Coward, and Raf Vallone.


Yes, in 2003 a very poor remake starring Mark Wahlberg, Donald Sutherland and Edward Norton hit the big screens. But as everyone knows, the original 1969 version is the only one to watch. Would we lie?



To mark the occasion, a number of appropriate vehicles from the film will be on display at Excel. We're told that all are original except the famous Minis which went west, east, north or south yonks ago. Instead, visitors will be treated to an eyeful of Mini recreations which, for us, doesn't really diminish anything. A classic Mini is, after all, a classic Mini, and in these days of rampant fakery, suspending a little more disbelief is no great strain on the brain.


Here are the vehicles you can gawp at if you run along to Excel:


Lamborghini Miura
Aston Martin DB4 Convertible
Jaguar E-Type Coupe
Jaguar E-Type Roadster
Bedford Val Coach
OM Furgonato Sicurezza ‘Bullion’ Van
Plus various red, white and blue Mini Coopers


There's no word on whether or not (Sir) Michael Caine will put in an appearance, but you never know.



Meanwhile, there's also a 100 Years of Citroën celebration (actually it's technically only 99 years)—and Citroën, with its track record of technical innovation, industrial daring and design imagination, can make a very convincing argument for being the greatest motor company of them all.


The firm, founded by André-Gustave Citroën in March 1919, has produced over 300 models. Its progress has been marked by vehicles such as the Traction Avant 11CV introduced in 1934; the world's first mass-produced front-wheel drive car—which also features unitary body construction and independent suspension all round. Around 760,000 examples of all types were built until the model was discontinued in 1957.



Not to be outdone, the Deux Cheveaux—or 2CV—arrived in 1948. This wonderful piece of rolling Meccano kept France on the move post-WW2. Moreover, the car achieved more than the French Revolution ever did when it came to communizing the nation. Peasants loved 'em. So did the upper classes, the fashionistas, the intellectuals and pretty much everyone else. Over 8 million of the once ubiquitous 2CVs were built, and although you don't see too many on the roads anymore (have you noticed?), you know that they're all out there lurking in sheds and garages patiently awaiting an appropriate Sunday afternoon.



Moving on, the Citroën DS arrived in 1955, and this was an astonishing piece of motoring art and a magnificently bold and original expression of Gallic style and extravagance. Hydraulic suspension. Directional headlights. Ride height adjustment (for fording rivers, changing tyres, crossing the odd North African desert, etc). Front wheel drive. Power steering. Semi-automatic transmission. Inboard front brakes. A fibreglass roof (to lower the centre of gravity). And many other innovations. If you've ever driven or just rode in one of these elegant cars, you'll know exactly how smooth and refined they are.


So much for the history lesson. The point is, you can see all this and more at Excel. And if that ain't enough to wet your whistles, Edd China ex-Wheeler Dealer TV series man will be in attendance chin-wagging about some of the legendary aero-engined racers of yesteryear such as "Babs" (aka Chitty 4, aka The Higham Special), the 27-litre V12 Thomas Special as driven by racer John Parry-Thomas which in 1926 set a Land Speed record of 171.09mph.



As you might recall, Parry-Thomas was killed whilst driving that car, following which the two ton monster was ceremoniously buried on the world famous beach at Pendine, Wales, later to be unearthed (or unsanded) and "restored" (and we use that term advisedly).



Naturally, there will be plenty of other classic cars, and possibly one or two classic bikes on display. And although Excel doesn't have ye olde worlde vibe of Olympia or Earl's Court, it's reasonably accessible by road and public transport—and by air if you can afford it. But keep in mind that car parking fees are very expensive. So if you can parachute in or something, make the effort.


Might be worth it.


See also: Douglas Slocombe (The Italian Job film director) obituary



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Christopher Chope's FGM backlash


Story snapshot:

Ex-Transport Minister is embroiled in another row

The usual mob has daggers drawn


Seems that our second favourite ex-Roads Minister* is in the doghouse again, this time over the very topical and explosive issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).


We reported last June (2018) on how Christopher Chope, MP for Bournemouth, had blocked an "upskirting" bill proposed by a fellow member of Parliament. Well now he's blocked the passage of an FGM bill simply by crying "Object!" at the appropriate moment. That, after all, is all it takes to remove a private members bill from the parliamentary list.


Consequently, the daggers are out, and the feminist hoi-polloi (et al) is spitting blood (no pun intended) whilst hoping to get Chopey deselected, for starters, and then probably killed and eaten.


More worryingly, much of the British press—and notably the still-not-fit-for-purpose BBC—has been happy to spill half the beans of this tale whilst frequently (and irresponsibly) overlooking the underlying reason for Chope's objection. But we'll be happy to put that straight right now.


Christopher Chope, who's no friend of ours, isn't against outlawing FGM per se. Far from it. That, at least, is his claim. But he is (once again) against blithely waving through a private member's bill without due parliamentary scrutiny. The bill in question was tabled by Lord Berkeley, and it was sponsored by Tory MP Zac Goldsmith (see image below: Berkeley left, Goldsmith right). The aim of the bill was to drive through a law which, forthwith, would amend the Children's Act. That amendment would allow UK judges to issue a protection order if and when social work or medical professionals suspect that a child is likely to become another FGM victim.


Sounds reasonable in principle. But since when was it ever wise in this country, or any other country, to safely give powers to the social workers, doctors or related professionals without fully exploring the implications? Fact is, many—if not most—of these people are simply not to be trusted and need to be kept on a very short leash. That's a hard, unforgiving and unpopular truth, and we recognise that many other such professionals are nothing less than modern day saints.


However, the list of screw ups attributable to lesser practitioners of these occupations (along with many professionals from pretty much all walks of life) is huge and growing.


Need convincing? Okay. Check Google. Key-in SOCIAL WORKER and ERROR, or try MEDICAL and ERROR and you'll be rewarded with a worrying number of old and recent cases where intervention was either wholly mistimed, misjudged, misinformed or otherwise mismanaged. And in more than one instance, such intervention has proved murderous.


Social workers and medical staff are under huge pressure to find the right balance between action and non action. Or, if you prefer, intervention and non-intervention. They're routinely damned when they do, and damned when they don't. Nevertheless, arming these professionals with new powers that have been waved through on the nod in the white heat of popular protest and understandable public concern is simply winding up the elastic on yet another screw-up. Consequently, Chris Chope is blocking the bill and hoping that the matter will receive fresh attention with thorough scrutiny in both Houses of Parliament.


But wait, shouldn't we in the meantime have an interim law that protects young girls from what is essentially religious assault? Well that explicit option wasn't on the agenda. And besides, if we take that path, we might as well throw a noose over any number of other concerns, both relating to religious matters and to secular issues, and then knee-jerk 'em for all we're worth.


The bottom line (still no pun intended—not least because FGM simply isn't funny) is that all laws are riddled with unintended consequences. In this case, it's the risk of having children summarily snatched from their parents under the flimsiest suspicion and held for weeks, months or conceivably years in protective custody whilst the professionals attempt to justify their doubts, explore their actions and conclusions, and formulate whatever long term solution is morally and practically expedient.


And there are huge implications here for religious groups, not to mention the inevitable social, financial and (not least) emotional traumas faced by innocent parents deprived of their offspring, and otherwise perfectly safe and secure children deprived of their mums and dads.


Fact is, the FGM question should have been properly addressed decades ago. But just because we missed the starting gun, that doesn't mean we should now frame instant new laws without due parliamentary process. Remember this point, if you will, the next time this issue comes up for discussion, especially if it's the Beeb talking about it.


Finally, this kind of "reckless" Chopean objection isn't simply a bloody-minded attempt to frustrate a new protective law. Instead, it's a necessary fuse to remind us that we need to think very carefully before we act.


What comes around goes around, etc.



* Peter Bottomley MP takes the top spot



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Albert Finney: 1936 - 2019


Story snapshot:

Star of Saturday Night, and Sunday Morning is dead

He was 82 and leaves behind an excellent catalogue of work


One of Britain's greatest actors? He was certainly one of the most versatile, and definitely one of our favourites. Albert Finney, who has died aged 82, was equally adept in Shakespearean roles as he was in kitchen sink realism, crime yarns, political dramas, spy movies, comedy flicks, bawdy romances, rapturous musicals and the odd whodunnit.


He will perhaps be best remembered for Saturday Night, and Sunday Morning (1960), the archetypal angry/rebellious-young-man classic B&W BritFlick also starring Shirley Anne Field, Rachel Roberts, Norman Rossington and Bryan Pringle. Based closely on the Alan Sillitoe novel of the same name, this one hour and twenty-nine minute slice of celluloid is a totally convincing and highly entertaining exploration of the social mores and attitudes prevalent in 1960s working class Britain.


Finney plays Arthur Seaton, a jaded, cynical but fun-loving lathe operative working a tedious nine to five in a Nottingham bicycle factory. Young, virile, womanising, boozy and subversive, the film explores Seaton's personal conflicts with the wider establishment, his employers, his friends and family members—and the people he collides with as he charts a path towards inevitable conformity.



▲ Albert Finney in Saturday Night, and Sunday Morning. Cue a lot of boozing, a lot of loving, a lot of working, and a lot of frustration and anger. Alan Sillitoe (1928 - 2010) wrote both the (excellent) novel and the screenplay. He based the tale around the city he knew, which was Nottingham, home of Britain's bicycle industry. Finney's anti-hero (Arthur Seaton) set the template for many others to follow.



"Don't let the bastards grind you down," is his mantra along with the equally classic line: "What I'm out for is a good time. All the rest is propaganda." Over four decades later, the Arctic Monkeys borrowed yet another quote from this movie and used it as the title of the band's 2006 music album; Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.


It was Finney's second movie (after The Entertainer, also 1960) for which he received three film awards and launched a career that was to span five decades.


Other noteworthy movies include:


Tom Jones, 1963

Charlie Bubbles, 1968

Scrooge, 1970

Gumshoe, 1971

Murder on the Orient Express, 1974

Loophole, 1981

Annie, 1982

The Dresser, 1983

The Browning Version, 1984

Miller's Crossing, 1990

Erin Brockovich, 2000

Big Fish, 2003

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, 2007


His final movie roles were in The Bourne Legacy and Skyfall, both 2012.


Albert Finney was born in Salford, Lancashire. His father was a bookmaker, his mother a housewife. After attending local primary and grammar schools, Finney joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) from which he graduated in 1956. Soon he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and thus began numerous stage appearances that took him to London, Manchester, Nottingham, Paris and New York.


He always brought something fresh and original to his performances, sometimes by daring underplay (Eddie Ginley in Gumshoe and Andrew Crocker-Harris in The Browning Version), and sometimes by gross and engaging exaggeration (Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express and Leo O'Bannon in Miller's Crossing).


Consequently, he was a very difficult actor to pin down, stylewise and genrewise. He turned down numerous movies (including the starring role in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, 1962), and throughout his career resisted typecasting. That said, for a long time he found it hard to shake off his lead performance as Agatha Christie's Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot.



▲ Albert Finney in Miller's Crossing, the hard-boiled, gun-toting, stylishly overblown homage to US gangster flicks as enjoyed by the Coen Brothers. Here, Finney's character Leo O'Bannon shows that he's "still an artist with a Thompson." Forget The Godfather. This is a superior movie.



Albert Finney also shone in memorable theatre plays such as John Osborne's 1961 production of Luther, and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1967). Between 2001 and 2003 he enjoyed a popular but short-lived stint in the British TV series Uncle Silas based on the H E Bates novel of the same name. Meanwhile, music fans enjoyed watching his performance as The Judge in Roger Waters' The Wall – Live in Berlin concert staged in 1990 to mark the fall of the Iron Curtain.



▲ Finney and the late Billie Whitelaw in Gumshoe (1970). He's a bingo caller by night, and a detective by day (and sometimes night). Liverpool is the town. Murder is just one of the crimes. Gumshoe is a drama with comic overtones. So stand aside Sam Spade, Eddie Ginley is on the case...



▲ If you have an aversion to thickly greased hair and waxed moustachios, avoid Murder on the Orient Express. Albert Finney gave Agatha Christie's fictional sleuth a good airing in this 70s whodunnit, but it's not our favourite Finney flick. Nevertheless, it clues us in nicely to the width and depth of the man's acting ability.




▲ Finney as Churchill. He received four awards and two nominations for his portrayal of the cigar-chugging prime minister who, for many, was the greatest Brit of all time.



Further evidence of his versatility is marked in movies such as A Man of No Importance (1994) in which he played Alfred Byrne, a gay bus driver; and The Gathering Storm (2002) in which he played Winston Churchill. And although he was never short of film industry accolades, plaudits and awards for his stage and screen performances, he pointedly refused a CBE in 1980 and in 2000 also turned down a knighthood believing that both honours did little but perpetuate the social snobbery of the British establishment.


Albert Finney married three times and fathered one son. The last few years of his life were marked by ill health, as a result of which he died on 7th February 2019. And death, of course, changes perspectives, which means that the next time we see Albert Finney on the screen, the context would have altered irrevocably, but the quality of his work will no doubt be undiminished, if not enhanced.


He was not, perhaps, a "great" actor in the Laurence Olivier, John Giegud, Charles Laughton, Peter O'Toole or Ralph Richardson style of greatness. But as an everyman actor in the mould of John Mills, Michael Caine, Alec Guinness and Richard Attenborough, Albert Finney was one of the best and we're a long way from being tired of watching him.




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International Motobécane  gathering


Story snapshot:

Everyone is welcome to this club meeting in Pluvigner, Brittany

Mark your calendars for 22nd & 23rd June 2019


There was a time when Motobécane was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in France. Founded in 1923, this imaginative and ambitious Gallic firm produced a varied range of machines from 750cc heavyweight inline-four shaft drives, to lightweight two-strokes, to everyday bicycles—and even a pedal car for basic transportation during a period of very limited petrol supply.


The company's most famous product, however, is the humble and utilitarian Mobylette moped of which over 14 million were manufactured; a design that was produced under licence from England to India. But Motobécane also campaigned its performance products on the race tracks, and in 1939 the company won the Bol d'Or 24 hour endurance race.





1938 Motobécane 100cc B1V2 military motorcycle. Originally a civilian mount, the French army used these until the fall of France (June 1940). Then the Germans put these bikes to work on airfields mostly as runabout. Top speed 31mph. Sturdily built. Unpretentious. Bonhams sold this example in 2010 for £1,610.


Motobecane inline four


Motobécane flirted with 500cc and 750cc inline, four-stroke, shaft drive sidevalves. It's not clear exactly which model this is, but we think it's a prototype model built around 1930. If you know better, please tell  us.



Stylish, sophisticated and well made, much of the Motobécane story reads like the rise and fall of the British motorcycle industry. Cheaper cars slowly ate into the sales and profits of the French motorcycle trade, and by the 1960s the Japanese had arrived on mainland Europe with new thinking and fresh energy.


In 1981 Yamaha bought the company, refinanced the business and relaunched it as MBK which currently manufactures a range of motorscooters. The Motobécane name, however, is still in use by various firms around the world thereby helping dilute the heritage in much the same way as Matchless or Belstaff fashion clothing.


Currently, the Motobécane Club de France boasts around 1,000 members. To that end, an appropriate gathering (the 24th) is being organised by Autos, Vintage Motorcycles - Atlantic Club (AMECA). The venue is the Espace Saint Michel in the commune of Pluvigner, Brittany which is in the Morbihan department. The date is 22nd & 23rd June 2019.


You don't need to own or ride a Motobécane motorcycle, scooter or moped. You simply need to turn up and enjoy the festivities. The event notification that we received appears to have lost something in translation, so we suggest that you contact the organiser to clarify dates and other details. But it's a given that you'll find food, drinks, entertainment and probably some trade activity. We note also that 2019 is the 70th anniversary of the Mobylette.


Meanwhile, if you need an excuse to go motorcycling around France, which is generally pretty cool biking country at almost any time of the year, here's a suitable opportunity.





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Bob Trigg (Norton Isolastic engine mount co-designer) has died aged 81

Driverless cars "will permanently cruise" to avoid parking fees, warning

British heritage bikes feature. BBC Radio You & Yours programme, 8/2/19

Kawasaki promises "Dazzling New Range" 2019 London Motorcycle Show

Police: UK breath tests down 42% past 6 years. Test kit shortages cited

"A Bonneville Adventure" talk. David Harper. Saltire MCs. 2/3/19. 7.30pm


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Charterhouse Auctions reminder


Story snapshot:

100 bikes are listed in the imminent sale

Rescheduled event looks finally set to happen (see text)


Charterhouse Auctions has sent us a reminder of the firm's next sale which will happen this Sunday (10th February 2019, 3 days hence), so we're duly passing on the message. And note that this sale was originally listed for 3rd February 2019 in conjunction with the 39th Carole Nash Bristol Show. But both events were cancelled due to bad weather (snow). Consequently, the auction has been rescheduled for 10th February 2019. The 39th Carole Nash Bristol Show will now be held on 23rd - 24th February 2019.


We mentioned the Charterhouse sale last month, particularly with reference to a pair of Tritons that caught our fancy. Well, there's some other stuff there that we wouldn't chuck out of the garage including a 1970 650cc Triumph TR6 Trophy (Lot 86). The bike comes complete with a very stylish lime green Avon fairing, lime green tank and 'guards, and 60,000-odd miles on the clock (see image immediately above).


We like this Trumpet firstly because it's what bike dealers would describe as an "honest" machine. Meaning plenty of miles, and signs of wear and use—but apparently well maintained with a very practical fairing to give this motorcycle relaxed all-weather touring credentials.


The original Lucas headlamp is included in the sale should the next buyer want to convert the bike back to standard. But why would you buy this machine only to change it? We wouldn't. The estimate is £7,000 - £8,000 which might be just a little strong in the current volatile market. But it's probably not far off the mark.



Next up is Lot 41; a 1976 Z900 Kawasaki (image immediately above). So okay, it's not the original classic Z1 launched in 1972. Instead, it's a slightly later follow-up model—and as a rider's bike (as opposed to a collector's/investor's bike) we prefer it.


Still sporting a tough and durable 903cc, DOHC, transverse air-cooled four cylinder engine, the Z900 came with a few revisions over its predecessor including 26mm carburettors (compared to 28mm), various engine refinements and twin front discs. It's still good for 130mph at the top end, and 42 years after it was launched ("launch" being the appropriate word) it's still an impressive mid-range projectile.


This example has covered just 29,000 miles and is reported to have been well looked after by its owner (there's a history file included in the sale). The estimate is £6,000 - £7,000. Japanese classics still haven't kicked-off the way we'd once expected them too. But sooner or later the prices will no doubt start a high altitude climb. Meanwhile, we're not sure that this particular motorcycle is a sure-fire investment project. Not in the short to medium term, anyway. However, we prefer to see 'em on the street wearing out the tarmac. And this Zed will do that very satisfactorily.





Finally, we wanted to mention this 1991 Triton (Lot 13) that caught our attention. The engine is a 1971 650cc T120R engine rebuilt "to race specifications". The frame is a Norton Slimline. The front fork is a Norton Roadholder unit. Wheels are Borrani. The exhaust is a traditional sweptback megaphone set-up. And you can figure out the other major parts. But it's that powder blue paint that does it for us.


Tritons, of course, are simply timeless. Every new biking generation comes along and immediately "gets" the concept and adopts these classic rocker mounts, and even if this example isn't the most authentic, it's obviously got heart and spirit and we'd consider putting in a bid if we knew how to give it the high speed thrashing that it deserves.


Charterhouse reckons it will sell at between £7,500 - £8,500, and we'll be watching to see how it fares. The venue for the auction is Royal Bath & West Showground, BA4 6QN. Viewing is on Saturday 9th February 2019. Around 100 bikes are promised, and there will be around 50 cars.


Time is rapidly running out, so check Charterhouse's listings sooner rather than later.


For details of other bikes that we like, also check: Charterhouse Sale, Feb 2019





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Bud Ekins MX360 Viking - 1967 model


Bud Ekins' Husqvarna MX360 Viking


Story snapshot:

H&H Auctions is offering this ISDT bike for sale at the NMM

The estimate is £10,000 - £15,000


In a thousand years there will be folk songs and campfire tales about how Bud Ekins stole from the rich and gave to the poor, and how together with Steve McQueen he faced down the Clanton Brothers at the OK Corral.


That's how legends work. A few grains of truth, a little embellishment, a few hundred re-tellings, a little exaggeration and a smidgen of literary licence, and there you have it. History neatly re-spun and adjusted to cater for popular appetites.


We mention this minor social phenomenon because the Bud Ekins legend has already got a fair pair of legs on it—or should that be a fair pair of wheels? And we see that one of his bikes is coming up for auction on 2nd March 2019 courtesy of H&H.


But don't misunderstand us. We're not sneering at Bud Ekins. Far from it. We're simply observing the fact that someone who lived his life in a relatively ordinary and fairly down-to-earth way has since been elevated to the status of nothing less than a minor motorcycle God walking in Steve McQueen's shadow and is now a familiar name on the lips of classic bikers pretty much everywhere.


As most of you will recall, it was Ekins who made the now world-famous prison camp fence jump in The Great Escape; the leap into the cinematic history book that McQueen wanted to handle in his own style—except that the movie company (for obvious reasons) refused permission. That said, there's a counter-story (or a spin-off from the legend) that McQueen persuaded film director John Sturges to hire Ekins as a stunt rider in the film for which Ekins was paid $100 per day.


1967 ISDT Team with Bud Ekins


Regardless, there was a lot more to Ekins than that. He was a long time all-round biker, racer, bike builder, stuntman and—more pertinently to this news story—a member of the 1967 USA ISDT (International Six Days Trials) Team. During that event at Zakopane, Poland, Ekins rode his 1967 Husqvarna MX360 Viking as part of Team America. And damned if the team (pictured immediately above) didn't ride away with a gold medal.


But wait. You have to look closer at what that really means. The top prize (The International Trophy) actually went to East Germany. The Trophy is awarded to national teams riding nationally-built motorcycles such as Germans riding German-built bikes.


The second prize (the Silver Vase) went to Czechoslovakia. This is awarded to national teams riding whatever make of bike they favour, regardless of where the bike was built.


Gold, silver and bronze prizes are subsequently awarded to other team members depending on how many points they lost. Or, to use the vernacular, dropped.


Bud Ekins was born in 1930 as James Sherwin Ekins. Hollywood, California was his birthplace, and it was in the hills around his home that he learned to ride motorcycles and handle the dirt. His first ISDT was in 1964—and that was a special year because an American team had never entered this august event (although individual US riders had participated). Steve McQueen, famously, also rode in that trial.


Overall, on seven occasions Bud Ekins competed in the ISDT. He was awarded four gold medals and one silver (all of them whilst riding Triumph motorcycles, fact fiends). Which brings us back to the above Husqvarna MX360 Viking which is the machine he deployed on that occasion.


We're told that his brother, Dave Ekins, has verified the provenance of the Husky, and we're also told (oh-oh) that the bike has been restored to a very high standard.


Bud Ekins Husqvarna MX360 Statement or Origin


Want more facts to add to the legend? Okay. In 1966, the MX360 retailed in the USA for $360. Only ten examples were imported that year (no info on 1967 model prices and import numbers). And this bike is estimated by H&H to sell at £10,000 - £15,000. Incidentally, we don't know how the motorcycle came to be here in the UK (or if we did, we've since forgotten), so you'll have to make your own enquiries if need be.


Bud Ekins, you might also recall, featured prominently in the Bruce Brown-directed documentary film On Any Sunday, which also featured Steve McQueen. It's arguably the best movie ever made about motorcycle sport.


Ekins died in 2007 aged 77.


1967 Husqvarna MX360 Bud Ekins


The H&H sale is scheduled for Saturday 2nd March 2019. The venue is The National Motorcycle Museum (NMM), Solihull B92 0EJ. There's plenty of documentation with the bike, and the engine/frame numbers match.


So if you want to be part of the legend, scurry along to the NMM, register your interest and make your play. Meanwhile, did we ever tell you about Bud Ekins' time with 617 Squadron when they raided the German Dams with that bouncing bomb, thingy?


No, well it goes something like this ...



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2019 Bristol Classic Show postponed


Story snapshot:

Snowy conditions prevail in the South West

The event has been rescheduled for later this month


Mortons Media has announced the postponement of the 38th Carole Nash Bristol Classic Show. The event had been scheduled for this weekend, 2nd & 3rd February 2019. But the current snowy weather conditions, we're advised, have forced a reschedule.


So if you're planning to attend, the new date is 23rd & 24th February 2019. Advance tickets are still valid.






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