▲ 1937 Indian Four 437. Imagine how it feels when you've owned the same motorcycle since 1967, and then put it up for auction. Or maybe you're not the sentimental type—which would be strange because most bikers (in our experience) are exactly that. Sentimental. Romantic. Nostalgic. Some bikers, we figure, would rather lose a limb than surrender their wheels. Sadly, however, there comes a time when we have to let go of stuff. And if it's any consolation, the chances are that your faithful old friend (or tired old tormentor) will find a reasonably decent home. This particular bike has every chance of ending up in a warm and dry garage and perhaps getting paraded every so often, or even ridden on club runs. Might happen. This 1,265cc IOE air-cooled inline four was, we hear, a present from the vendor's wife (which perhaps adds another layer to the sentimentality) and was used regularly until 1983, then restored the following year. But it was last road used in 1995, which was a million years ago. A V5C is present, plus a continuation logbook. It's been featured in at least one book (Harry V Sucher; The Iron Redskin). H&H Auctions will be offering it for sale on 9th June 2021 at the National Motorcycle Museum. Lot 61. The estimate is £45,000 - £50,000.



April 2021  Classic bike news


Motorcycle news | Biking headlines | Latest motor bike stories | Press


Motorcycle news


2021 Triumph Trident on the way

How to write a great motorcycle for sale advert

100 years of Alvis exhibition

Allan Jefferies BMW prize draw offer

Kickback Show: entries sought

Calling all coffin dodgers...

One liners - Vic Eastwood

Coventry-Eagle Flying-8 "tin" sign

Catalytic converter thefts on the rise

Poet's Corner: 1959

One liners

Incoming: nuclear hype from BMW!!

Harrison OK-Supreme to auction

2019 Brighton Speed Trials date

February 2019 Classic Bike News

H&H upcoming auctions reminder

One liners

Peter Halsten Thorkelson: 1942 - 2019

Charterhouse February 2019 results

59 Club May ride-outs to St Paul's

Nippy Normans "handy" airline tool

One liners

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

Sump news archive



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Italian brake firm, Brembo, plans to buy Spanish firm J.Juan. £60m deal

Highways England tests new anti-ageing, long-life bitumen "road cream"

For sale: Davidson Cottage, Scotland. £320,000. Ex-Davidson family home

Vespa scooter 75th anniversary. 19 million built. Almost 2 million last 10yrs

Northumbria PCC rethinks bike trackers (see: Sump News April 2021)


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Brough Superior Drophead Coupé


Story snapshot:

Eight cylinder, 4.2 litre Dual Purpose Coupé

To auction at Duxford, Cambridgeshire May 2021


It's not so widely known that Brough Superior also manufactured cars. But between 1935 and 1939 around 85 automobiles rolled off the production line at Haydn Road, Nottingham. Hudson (Canada) supplied most of the chassis and engines (4.2-litre eight-cylinder, or 3½-litre six-cylinder, both sidevalves).


The favoured coachwork builder was the near forgotten W.C. Atcherley (William Clive, 1885 - 1974) of 82 & 84 Sherlock Street, Birmingham who in turn favoured an aluminium body over an ash frame with steel mudguards. This prime example of the coachbuilder's craft boasts a fabric roof that neatly "disappears" into the body of the vehicle as opposed to sitting exposed/flopped on top—hence the "Dual Purpose" name.



George Brough, it's said, either draughted or suggested the radiator design, and evidently there's a hint of Bentley in the lines. Features include a 3-speed transmission, Luvax shock absorbers, a Smiths Jackall hydraulic jacking system, and 6-volts electrics upgrade to 12. Top speed is reckoned to be 90mph.


Claimed to be one of only 25 eight-cylinder cars made, the Coupé was originally purchased by Major Michael Wills of W.D and H.O Wills (of the world famous tobacco company founded in 1786).





Wills used the car for a couple of years until it was involved in an accident. The second owner, a certain Wing Commander Sykes of Buckinghamshire, drove it for a while and then replaced the eight-cylinder engine with a six-cylinder unit. After a ten year hiatus, the current vendor's father bought the car in 1960 and set about fully restoring it. As we understand it, the original engine was refurbished and replaced thereby restoring the originality of this car. And that just about brings us up to date, except to say that a new starter motor has recently been fitted.




▲ 1935 Hudson Terraplane. The small text reads: "The present mileage on my car is 11,000 and the total repair cost for the period is $1.00 giving an average repair cost per mile of approximately 1/100c. The original tyres are on the car and apparently will go another 11,000 miles." The Hudson Motor Car Company (1909 - 1954) was based in Detroit and was one of the world's most innovative and forward thinking automobile manufacturers. Its engines and chassis were adopted by many other marques. In 1926 Hudson established a British factory on the Great West Road in West London. The nearby Chiswick Roundabout used to be called "Hudson's Corner." Makes you think.



Meanwhile, this 1935 Brough Superior 4.2-Litre Dual Purpose Drophead Coupé (coupé with a toupeé?) is to be sold at Duxford Museum, Cambridgeshire on 26th May 2021 courtesy of H&H Auctions. The estimate is £60,000 - £80,000. A current V5C is present along with assorted paperwork including a sale brochure promising "Ninety in Silence".


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Sump's Events Page update


Story snapshot:

Organising a classic bike event?

Great. Get in touch


It's been a long time since we listed any events on Sump. The coronavirus was simply causing too much disruption, and we were taking them down almost as fast as we were putting them up.


But at last, things are starting to move along, and if the country (and the wider world) behaves itself, we might enjoy a half decent biking season before the year's out.


At the time of writing, we're listing just two events on our events page. But that will soon change. So check us out when you have a moment. And if you're organising an event, tell us and we'll tell the world. Just remember to include full details (check our page to see how we handle things).


Meanwhile, while we've got your attention we're happy to give the Taunton Autojumble a plug. Here are the details:


26th June 2021, Saturday

Taunton Autojumble

The 37 Club, Woolavington Road, Puriton, Bridgwater TA7 8AD

Described as an "easygoing event with a bar, burgers, cap parking—and all trade stalls (from £10) on hard-standing.

Open: 8am

Admission: £3

Contact: Pete on 07977643852



Sump Classic Bike Events


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"The Classic Car Boot Sale is back!"


Story snapshot:

Well-established vintage event is headed for King's Cross

Mid-July is the planned date


"Start your engines...tentatively! The Classic Car Boot Sale will return to King's Cross, London on the 17th and 18th of July 2021!" That's exactly what it said on the email we received.


And note the word "tentatively".


If the event goes ahead as planned, it will quite likely be a great day out for a lot of people, weather permitting. We've visited the show a few times, and on each occasion it was fun—although, as with any event, there's always the issue of diminishing returns. But if you just visit every other year or so, you can probably still get a few thrills out of this eclectic gathering.


The organisers focus their lens on a range of classic/vintage/trendy/post war interests and ephemera including fashion, homeware, furniture, records, record players, old radios, classic cars, classic motorcycles, classic scooters, old camper vans, music, dancing and all kinds of fringe attractions.







Year on year familiar traders turn up, each with their own tasteful, oddball or merely engaging spin on a scene that still isn't very clearly defined (which makes it all the more interesting). But the atmosphere is always relaxed and carefree, and you're invited to turn up and parade your own ideas and style (fifties rocker, teddy boy, sixties hipster, hippy love child, kinky fashion icon, bon vivant, Pearly King or Queen or whatever). Or maybe you're into up-cycling or collecting old bicycles or simply stuffing your face with exotic food. The point is, classic cars are at the centre of this gathering, but really it's all about people. Faces. Personalities.


It's hard to imagine how anyone would have a bad day at this event. So take that as further recommendation. At the time of writing, we can't see admission price details. But we can't remember that it was a particularly expensive event. Just check for yourself nearer the day.


Whatever else happens at this gathering, you'll meet some of the most interesting, colourful and characterful people you're ever likely to see.


Classic Car Boot Sale on Facebook


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Rare Sparkbrook V-twin to auction


Story snapshot:

Only three V-twins from this manufacturer are, apparently, left

H&H Auctions is to offer this motorcycle for sale on 9th June 2021


You'd think that Sparkbrook Motorcycles hailed from the Sparkbrook district of Birmingham, West Midlands. But in fact the spiritual and physical home on this near-forgotten manufacturer was Paynes Lane, Coventry; about ten or fifteen miles to the south east—and just a stone's throw from Triumph's Meriden Works, actually.


The Sparkbrook Manufacturing Company Limited was established in Coventry in 1883. The outfit began trading in 1872 as the National Arms & Ammunition Company. As with BSA, the firm soon diversified into bicycle manufacturing and was acquired by William Hillman (1848-1921), and that's the same William Hillman of the Hillman Motor Car Company.


The firm was mostly associated with pedal cycles and lightweight motorcycles, notably of 250cc and 350cc. But large capacity V-twins featured at the top of the range, and as with all Sparkbrook products the bikes were well built, reasonably priced and aimed at a wide cross-section of society from tradesmen to private owners looking for stolid, reliable and competitive transport.






Sparkbrook employed a range of engines from the likes of Bradshaw, JAP, Barr and Stroud, and Villiers. The company broadly followed contemporary lines and ideas. But as with all motorcycle manufacturers, the engineers had their quirks and distinctions. Sidecar outfits also featured in the company catalogues. In 1925 the business was purchased by Singer and the marque came to a close.


This 770cc Sparkbrook is said to be the only 1914 V-twin known to have survived, but there are other Sparkbrook V-twins still motoring around or, more likely, languishing in sheds and garages.


On Wednesday 9th June 2021, H&H Classics will be offering this bike for sale with an estimate of £22,000 to £24,000. The venue for the auction will be the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull (appropriately enough just a couple of miles from the old Sparkbrook factory).


The bike will need some "light re-commissioning", but it appears to be all there and a V5C and pioneer certificates are present and correct.


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Ogri: Exhibition of Lost Originals


Story snapshot:

102 opportunities to own a piece of Ogri

17th - 22nd May 2021, near Hastings, East Sussex


Seems that we're not the only people who put things down for a few seconds, minutes or hours and then rediscover them months or years later. Paul Sample, fêted creator of the illustrious Ogri comic strip, apparently put down a few of his etchings at some point in the cosmic clock and recently found them again much to his delight.


At least, we assume he was delighted.


The hoard of etchings, sketchings and whatever numbered 102; all original minor pen & ink masterpieces worthy of the best that Ogri has to offer. To add a little spice to an already piquant sauce, two of said artworks have never been seen in public. That's the skinny.


In 2017, the aforementioned "Lost Originals" were discovered just in time to become included in Sample's book: Now to make my Getaway—The Complete Compendium of Ogri Strip Cartoons.


Well, now you've got a chance to lay your grubby mitts on one of the lost originals because they'll be up for sale from Monday 17th May 2021. All you need to do is motor along to the blackShed Gallery where all will be exhibited for your delight and edification. The show finishes on Saturday 22nd May 2021. So remember that your choice will be diminished as the event runs down.


Also on display will be a display of Paul's sketchbooks, art equipment and his "trusty Sunbeam", now owned by son, Robert.


The blackShed Gallery can be found at Russet Farm, Robertsbridge TN32 5NG. And yes, that is the correct form for the gallery's name; lowercase "b" and uppercase "S". Don't ask us why. There are more pressing mysteries in the universe worth considering. Meanwhile, you can find Robertsbridge ten or twelve miles north of Hastings (or, if you're into Nietzschean metaphysics, Robertsbridge will find you).


Pretty much everyone enjoyed Ogri. Here's another chance to own a piece of him.


See also: "Now to make my getaway": The complete Compendium of Ogri strip cartoons 1972 -2013



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SOS app from Triumph Motorcycles


Story snapshot:

Automatic notification of the emergency services

Available for all motorcyclists


"Seconds save lives." That's the simple message from Triumph Motorcycles which has released details of a new app designed to direct the emergency services to your location as and when you need some immediate aid. Better still, you don't have to own or ride a Triumph to take advantage of the tech—but the Triumph boys and girls can enjoy a free three month trial (validated via the vehicle's VIN). The app, we're told, will work in the UK, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.


Note that riders will need a smartphone (Apple or Android) to avail themselves of the app. The SOS software runs in the background and, it's claimed, uses very little power. And when you stop, a pause function kicks in.


But on the move, the hard-wired motion/inertia sensors built into all smartphones will interrogate the software and examine factors such as acceleration, deceleration, orientation and suchlike and then decide whether the rider is still on the move or lying in a ditch or a hedge or something.

The app has built-in checking protocols that, if necessary, will try to make contact with the owner of the bike. After repeated tries, and if the software doesn't receive a cancellation notification in good time, the emergency services will get their leads jerked by whatever Public Service Answering Point (or PSAP) is on station. The system, Triumph tells us, has been rigorously tested, and false alarms are minimised—whatever that means in a real world situation.


According to Hinckley, additional free features include:


Worldwide route recording, editing, and sharing
Full screen routes with ride stats
Export & share GPX files
Explore, discuss and share community recorded routes
Profile management


So how much for this app and where do you access it?  Well, you can get it on Google Play or at the App Store—and if you don't know how to do that, speak to your grand kids or the dog or something. The monthly subscription is currently £3.99.


Finally, Triumph also states that telematic data such as how fast you were going and which wheel was in the air when you entered the aforementioned ditch or hedge won't be recorded.


So believe or don't believe it. It might even be true.


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Bonhams acquires The Market



Bonhams buys www.themarket.co.uk


Story snapshot:

Leading auction house acquires established classic car website

No obvious connection with motorcycles. Yet


We have to confess that we'd never heard of www.themarket.co.uk (not that we can remember even half the things we've forgotten). But we have heard of Bonhams, and it seems that the latter has just gobbled up the former.


The Market sprouted from the roots of an online outfit called Patina Auctions. You can think of Patina (lousy name, yes/no?) as a kind of Facebook for the classic car world. That firm was created in 2013. The web address is, or was, https://www.getpatina.com—but note that we've disabled that link because it's probably all but history now (however, it was active five minutes ago when we posted this story).


The Market, meanwhile, was launched in 2017. Since then, we're told that the total value of vehicles sold is £13 million, and that turnover has increased by almost 300%. And note this line from the company website:


No buyer fees, just 5% + VAT seller fees (£6,000 maximum).


Bonhams has evidently seen an opportunity here to increase its reach—or, more accurately, to see off a major threat, and so the world famous auction house is now in the driving seat. We can't see any evidence of classic motorcycle sales on the platform. But given Bonhams' long established interest in two wheelers, it's possible that that might follow. So you may want to keep an eye on the site every once in a while.


The Market, incidentally, is based in Oxfordshire. It boasts a 13,000 square foot storage facility. The company also states: "The Market is today still the only online classic and collector car auction that is willing to provide transparency by publishing all of its results."


We don't know if that's true (or what the hell it actually means, come to that). But you can do a little legwork of your own if your interest, like ours, includes classic cars.


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Oh dear, it looks like Harley Davidson are getting shafted by their
'friends in Europe' even more than we Brits are. With friends like the
EU who needs enemies? I hope they can come up with a solution, or it
will be the end of Harleys in Europe and perhaps the beginning of the
end for the company as well
—The Village Squire.

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EU to slap new tariffs on MoCo


Story snapshot:

EU/US trade war threat delivers new blows for Harley-Davidson

Indian Motorcycles is also up against the wall


Harley-Davidson has long prided itself on being an all-American product. So the idea of creating a manufacturing plant in Thailand to build its legendary product would have been painful in the extreme.


Nevertheless, that was exactly what the company did back in 2018. Why? Because in response to the tariffs that ex-US President Donald Trump placed on imported steel (25%) and imported aluminium (10%) from Europe (and elsewhere in the world), the EU drew up a shrewd list of tariffs of its own, and Harley-Davidson—along with Levi jeans and Jack Daniels Bourbon—was caught in the crosshairs. Actually, it was more than merely "caught". These companies were targeted—as you'll see below.


Was it fair? You can decide that for yourself. Either way, importing Hogs from Thailand to the EU was one way of avoiding the punitive sanctions that were threatening to add around $2,000 per bike to the sales tag (and okay, H-D perhaps needed the excuse to create a Far Eastern manufacturing hub to better compete with the new contenders from China and India. In fact, MoCo was already well down that road when the tariff row flared up).


Well, what's now happened is that the EU has proposed a new round of tariffs aimed at a selected range of American products regardless of where they were actually made, and the onerous percentage figure is 56.



Back in 2018, that tariff began at 6% and rose to 31%. Harley-Davidson, mindful of its struggling market, made it clear that it was planning to absorb the extra costs, and in doing so hurried along its Thailand plant. The financial burden hurt the firm badly, but the Milwaukee based company weathered it (mostly), only to find itself once again in the EU crosshairs. And naturally, the impact of this could be tremendous unless some very shrewd and very fast settlement negotiating gets under way.


So why pick on Harley-Davidson? Because, as we understand it, the EU aimed its tariffs largely at the US states that backed Trump—the idea, naturally, being to undermine Trump's powerbase and embarrass him (as if anything could embarrass him). And that was why Indian Motorcycles, built by rival Polaris Industries, were also hit. Polaris, however, chose to keep its motorcycle production facility entirely on US soil (possibly, or at least partly, as a way of undermining H-D's kudos).


But beyond that, Polaris has been fairly tight-lipped about its plans and strategies. However, the company has a greater international production base for its huge range of mobility products. Consequently, it's better placed to subsidise its motorcycle division if and when the accountants and financial planners feel it necessary.


Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson has stated that it's now urgently looking at legal/political remedies which may or may not exist. The implementation date for the new tariffs is set for June 2021, and that's just a few weeks away.


Trump is gone and has left in his wake a lot of issues that need resolving. The hope, no doubt, is that President Joe Biden will now set some new wheels in motion and cap these tariff issues. But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of strands to this issue; strands that involve much bigger names than Harley-Davidson and Indian.


There could be some wriggle-room, mind. The EU has in the past issued waivers (some fairly secretive) for firms citing "irreparable harm" concerns. But this is a tricky and sticky area best left to the lawyers.


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Tag 'em and bag 'em plan mooted


Story snapshot:

Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner wants bike trackers fitted

Clamp down idea re motorcycle crime and anti-social behaviour


This is essentially a silly season story and is therefore barely worth the digital paper upon which it's printed. Certainly it's nothing to get excited about. Yet. But we're going to give this gal a little publicity oxygen just to mark her spot.


The basics are this: Kim McGuinness is the incumbent Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC). She's an elected official whose remit is to oversee police activities in the area and help steer policy, etc, etc. Her salary is £86,700 per annum. She was elected to the job in July 2019 at the age of 34, and she's a lefty.


But wait! Does being a lefty make a difference to the forthcoming story? You tell us, but either way she's lately hit upon the idea of installing mandatory trackers on all "non-law abiding" motorcycles in order to keep an eye on reckless riding, speeding, criminal activity, and all forms of anti-social behaviour.


Naturally, the notion is half-baked and is rightly drawing a lot of flak from the various motorcycle pressure groups and biking press, all of whom have been happy to point out the manifold shortcomings.


Specifically, the usual suspects aren't likely to worry too much about tracking devices on bikes, not least because a tracker doesn't actually tell you who was actually at the helm when said offence/infraction was being committed. Also, trackers are easily removed by pretty much anyone with a few basic tools. Then there's the problem of working out exactly who needs to be tracked and traced, how often, and how intensively. Then there's the question of enforcement which, at best, is generally feeble and inconsistent. And then there are any number of civil liberties issues with plenty of scope for bringing legal actions against the fuzz as and when they get things wrong.


Here's what Kim says more generally about her role and her hopes:


"As your Police and Crime Commissioner, I’m here to give you a voice on police and crime matters. My job is to oversee our police force because that’s what it is – our force.


Thanks to everyone who took part in my huge public consultation recently on fighting crime and preventing crime. With your help, we now have a new four year plan for policing priorities in our region.


I will make sure Northumbria Police delivers on these commitments to keeping you, your family, and your community safe. This is not just a plan for the now but for future generations and has been designed to see us through a crucial period of recovery that will follow the Covid pandemic.


The plan was officially launched on Friday 12th February 2021, where I was delighted to be joined by the Chief Constable to talk through the plan, what it means for our communities and what residents can expect to see locally.


We committed to making more information available to the public, sharing how we were delivering the plan and answered your questions on the topics that mattered most to you. You can watch the launch here.


Along with my team, I look forward to working with Northumbria Police to put this plan into action and you can keep up to date with all the work that is happening via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also contact me via email enquiries@northumbria-pcc.gov.uk


Keep in touch."


It's unlikely that this tracking idea will grow legs, let alone run. But it's worth keeping an eye on the more naive among us who have positioned themselves in influential places and involve themselves in matters that are broadly beyond their competence—which is generally the default for elected officials everywhere.


Meanwhile, you can tell Kim what you think of this notion via the details given above.


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Covid "certificates": BBW warning


Story snapshot:

Do we want Covid-19 passports?

Or are CSCs (Covid Status Certificates) a civil liberties step too far?


Big Brother Watch (BBW) has launched its much expected anti-coronavirus certificate campaign, and this increasingly strident UK civil liberties organisation has garnered the support of over 70 cross-party MPs and rights groups. The campaign also made it onto BBC national news—although we can't remember that BBW's name was actually mentioned. But maybe we don't hear so well these days.


However, the UK Tory government currently enjoys (in every sense of the word) a very large working majority and is able to push through a lot of legislation without working up much of a sweat. So it might be that CSCs, or Covid Status Certificates, are coming at us regardless.


So what exactly are CSCs? Well put simply, these are documents attesting to a person's coronavirus status. They might be paper. Or they might be digital. They might arrive as tags, swipe cards, or on smartphones. The government, we hear, is currently examining various responses and plans from around the world.


The idea behind CSCs is to get the economy back on track by weeding out the high risk individuals from the low risk people and thereby restrict/control entry into clubs, arenas and any number of other establishments so that some kind of safe and meaningful commercial/social activity is re-started.


And such passports might not be a bad idea if only it was actually possible to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Because, quite simply, it isn't. Not in any reliable way, anyway. And why not? Because as any bloody fool knows, a test only tests a specific matter or issue or skill or condition at a given time, in a given way, at a given place, and which might not be reliable at any future point.


For instance, a driving test doesn't really tell us anything about who is going to be a good or a bad driver further down the road. All a driving test does is tell us who simply made it through the test, and who didn't. So okay, a driving test, you might argue, is at least a rough indicator of who ought to be behind the wheel. Few driving instructors will, after all, put forward a candidate who doesn't know his clutch from his (or her) accelerator. But beyond that, a driving licence is a crude test document that's barely worth the paper on which it's printed. Ditto for academic examinations or employment assessments or whatever. The world is overstuffed with highly qualified idiots who, for various reasons, can't do their jobs properly.


▲ You might want to take a peek at Sump Classic Bike News September 2020 for more on how the UK government has been handling the Covid-19 crisis.



It's the same with any current test for Covid-19. Such tests only examine a subject at a given point. Moreover, the tests aren't 100 percent reliable, and they might be entirely invalid the following day. Additionally, it isn't clear if being fully vaccinated actually stops onward transmission of the virus, and it seems likely that a significant percentage of those who have been fully vaccinated aren't actually protected at all. In other words, they might have had both jabs (where appropriate) but still haven't generated sufficient antibodies to keep themselves protected.


Then there's the question of false positives, and false negatives. And then there will inevitably be the question (and cost) of enforcement and policing.

And then there's the thorny question of exactly what information will be required for a passport (Name? Age? Address? DOB? Photograph? Fingerprint? PIN? All of the above?). And how do we accommodate people with genuine medical concerns? Or allergies? Or religious concerns? And how often will the passports need to be updated?


And then there would no doubt be a thriving black market in false documentation and suchlike.


"The passports are discriminatory and divisive." We're hearing that phrase a lot. But then, the tests are designed to discriminate and divide. That's precisely their function. To choose. To differentiate. The more meaningful question is whether the passports actually do what they're supposed to do, and whether or not they're fair.


All this is happening against a backdrop of personal and commercial insecurity which asks some fundamental questions about how much responsibility we carry with regard to each other. In other words, should one section of society have the right to discriminate against another section? Should the fit (or presumed fit) have the right to sideline others who are in effect suspected of carrying the virus, but might actually be entirely clear of it?


And it's worth mentioning that we already discriminate against people in all kinds of social or commercial situations. We separate adults from teenagers from kids. We separate the wealthy from the less wealthy simply through, say, admission prices. We separate people by dress (tuxedoes, ties, jeans and trainers). We separate men from women. We implicitly separate people racially (black discos, for instance). We separate people through private clubs. The police discriminate against people during stop and search campaigns. The list goes on.


Meanwhile, if or when the CSC's arrive, they probably will have an impact on businesses and livelihoods, and they'll impact personal relationships and general enjoyment, and will inevitably lead to all kinds of unintended consequences.


Of course, all of us should do what we reasonably can to protect others (note the word "reasonably"). But as we understand it, there's no current way of knowing which of us is absolutely safe with regard to Covid-19. If we don't actually carry the virus in our bodies, we might well be carrying it on our hands or possessions, etc.


BBW clearly has one view, and the organisation doesn't want Covid passports—certainly not without some heavyweight parliamentary scrutiny and time limitations written into law. Meanwhile, there are many in the government and in the business world and in law enforcement and in medicine who see it differently and want the passports yesterday.


At Sump, we haven't a fixed idea of who's ultimately right and who's wrong. Chances are that there is no absolute answer. However, the first business that asks us to produce a CSC will immediately lose a customer, at least until the emergency is over. Yes, that might be irrational, but these are largely irrational days rife with knee jerk reactions. And as with Covid-19, we're not immune to that either. Not as far as we know, anyway.


For the foreseeable future, we'll continue to treat EVERYONE with friendly and respectful suspicion. We've had out first shots and are awaiting the boosters. And note that we ain't exactly crazy about taking the vaccine, either. But our health accountants tell us that on balance we're better off with some coronavirus protection than with no protection whatsoever—assuming, that is, we actually are generating the requisite antibodies (and assuming there isn't something nasty waiting for us further down the line). If we've got it wrong, that's our own bloody fault. We'll live with it.


Or otherwise.


Consequently, we won't be looking to acquire CSCs until we absolutely have to—and it looks like they will arrive sooner or later, if not for smaller establishments such as pubs and restaurants, then for larger gatherings such as sporting meetings or airports or motorcycle shows, etc.


As for those biking shows, we've got nothing listed on our personal calendars, and there's practically nothing going on anyway. That said, most bike shows are outdoor events, and the health/risk balance might be better accommodated in some sunshine and fresh air as opposed to climbing the walls at home and wallowing in depressive isolation.


As for needed motorcycle parts, we'll continue to buy online—and it's not as if mail order is exactly a new idea.



BBW has produced an in-depth document detailing its Covid passport position. The UK government has been canvassing for your views. But note that the official consultation period lasted just two weeks and was closed on 29th March 2021. Read what you will into that very small and poorly publicised window.


Back at Sump, we're still scratching our heads. Right now, our general feeling is simply that a compelling case hasn't been made for Covid passports. And as the infection numbers fall (if they continue to do), so the case for passports will weaken, not strengthen.


If you've got a view on the matter, you might consider directly supporting BBW and/or writing to your MP without delay. Or give Boris Johnson a pat on the back and encourage him to hurry up. But from the sound of things, we may not have a real choice anymore.


UK Government Covid Status Certification Review


Big Brother Watch Access Denied document



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What an interesting article, very eloquently put as well. It's depressing how many governments and politicians are w*****s in the world.
I frankly can't understand anyone voting for the slimy self-serving tories.
Best wishes
—Ian Crickmer

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Google carbon footprint AI map tech


Story snapshot:

Ride the green highways

Or carry the guilt on your pillion


Checked your footprint lately? No, we're not talking about the ones at the far end of your legs, and we're not talking about the ones at the bottom of your wheels. We're talking instead about your carbon footprint which, as you're no doubt aware, is a hot topic these days with the whole planet desperately trying to get on message and outperform everyone else with low-energy this, and carbon-capture that, and ever stringent levels of sustainability.


Everyone except us, that is. Because we're not playing that particular board game of guilt; a game for two to eight billion players and suitable for all ages (just follow the rules and throw the dice, etc). We're simply adhering to the old adage of "everything in moderation", and to hell with the new age socio-political fascists.


Well now we hear that Google, arguably—or at least potentially—one of the most dangerous forces on Earth is adapting its route map software with a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm designed to work out the lowest carbon footprint route between whatever A we choose to start from, and whatever B we want to get to.


In other words, when the new software arrives you'll be able to opt for the dirty route (environmentally speaking) and help wipe out low lying nations and kill babies or something, or take the squeaky clean, on-message, doggy-trained greener route safe in the self-righteous knowledge that you're minimising your impact on everyone's favourite ball of confusion.


These "eco-friendly" routes will, we hear, factor in stuff like traffic congestion, and switchback roads, and straight roads, and inclines, and (presumably) declines, and suchlike. And then the AI will factor in the way we're likely to ride or drive on said routes with regard to fuel consumption and acceleration and so on.


Of course, the greenest route might well be the longer route, so there will be an alternate route suggested. Meanwhile, the software will warn you about up-coming low emissions zones and will suggest alternate modes of transport through such areas (such as park & ride schemes). No special mention for motorcycles, mind. But that's usual enough.


Alphabet Inc (Google's parent) has been talking to the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab to help develop its thinking, artificial or otherwise. And while America will probably see this technology ahead of everyone else, it should be coming our way (i.e. the UK and mainland Europe) sometime this year.


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