▲ 1973 Yamaha TX650. Have you reached the age when all you're really hoping for is
one more great summer, just like the summers you used to know when you were young and
eager and fearless and energetic? We haven't quite got there yet, but we're definitely on the road—and it's motorcycles like this cool Japanese roadster that remind us of how good most of those years were (and how we took them for granted). The SOHC XS650 parallel twin was an instant classic when it was launched in 1969. It gave BSA, Triumph and Norton a serious jolt, and it probably made Harley-Davidson a little nervous. And Joe Public bought these (or later variants) in their tens of thousands. It wasn't without its faults, notably vibes and twitchiness. But it was a great bike at the right time, and it stayed in production (in one form or another) until 1983. This TX650 variant will be offered for sale by H&H Auctions on Wednesday 9th June 2021 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull. The bike has minor cult status, and this example is anticipating £7,000 - £8,000. Forget the price tag, we say. Just think about summer...


June 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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June 2021


"Mick Hemmings laps Silverstone"


Story snapshot:

The late Mick Hemmings, that is...

A few words on the ritualisation of death


Either way you look at it, this story is bound to upset a lot of people. But if we wrote only about stuff of which everyone approved, we'd never write a word. Yes, we've said that before on Sump, but it bears repeating. Some things we write will hurt. And some things need to hurt.


This story concerns the late Norton engine and gearbox specialist, Mick Hemmings, who died in May 2021. As reported in the motorcycle trade magazine, British Dealer News (see image immediately above), Hemmings managed to complete two full laps of Silverstone Racing Circuit on his way to the crematorium. That's the long and short of it.


His coffin was loaded into the rear of a black Ford Transit van (private ambulance) that was driven by friend, Tim Abbott, and together with son Steve Hemmings and ex-race commentator and MotoGP race champion Keith Huewen, the cortège (such as it was) made its grim way to Silverstone (where Mick had spent many happy hours astride various motorcycles dating back half a century). After a couple of circuits and a few words of eulogy, the coffin was taken to Northampton Crematorium.


Now, some folk evidently feel that this was a great send off for one of Britain's—if not one of the world's—best known and most respected Old Nortonians. Certainly, Hemmings' widow Angie has been quoted as saying, "It's a good job we're all mad," a comment presumably made in support of the day's itinerary.


But others, no doubt, would consider this event not so much mad as tasteless in the extreme, mind-numbingly mawkish and even bordering on gruesome. Indeed, some might also reference the black comedy Weekend at Bernie's and/or Vladimir Lenin's mausoleum which ... well, let's not go there.


However, we also hear that this was exactly how, following a grim pact made with the aforementioned Tim Abbott, Mick wanted to go. True or false, it underscores our often bizarre attitude to death in which we think and act as if the deceased still occupy their bodies and lie around for centuries in cemeteries or urns long after they've shuffled off into oblivion.


The dead are dead. Full stop. At some point in the future there might be a second coming and a resurrection (but don't bet more than a fiver on it). In the meantime, when the living pop off, they pop off everywhere. They're gone. Defunct. Vaporised. Evaporated. The personalities dissolve into the ether and into history, and all the black feathered horses and crisp suits and oak coffins and carved headstones and hymns are mere trifles, baubles, and bagatelles in this relentless and unforgiving world and have no place in the other.


We were sorry to hear about Mick Hemmings. From all accounts, and from what little we personally knew of him, he was decent bloke who served hid time on Earth and paid his way. But the idea of lapping Silverstone in a box in the back of a Transit van leaves us as cold as ... well, death.


Around here, we've got a different attitude. When we're gone, we're gone. Chuck what's left in the flames. Get a dustpan and brush. Walk away. Move on. Forget or don't forget. But spare us the dignified Transit and all the other Bible black Victorian affectations. And if you carve anything on whatever unlikely memorials remain, just write GAME OVER or something.


All that really matters [warning: preachy indulgence incoming] is how we treat the living. We need to get that right before we get too funereal about those who are past caring. And ritualising death, some would say, simply ain't healthy.


Or wait! Maybe the Silverstone last gasp is in fact the right way to handle these things. And maybe there is no right and wrong. Maybe the naysayers should simply say nowt and look the other way while the mourners do whatever it is they need to do to close the book on their private grief.


Your views on this, dead or alive, are welcomed.


British Dealer News story


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Hi Sumpheads. You nailed it. Tacky in the extreme. Great mag. Best around by far.—Loose Bruce, Oxon

In a perfect world we'd all live our lives exactly the way we want to. We would also exit the planet in the way we thought most appropriate. It's sad that we now live in a society where people feel it's fine to be judgemental even about an individuals chosen way to leave the world. If it doesn't affect us and it's not illegal then surely it's down to the individual, not us. If Mick Hemmings wanted to do a last few laps best of luck to him and I for one am pleased that somebody thought enough of the man to carry out his wishes.—The Village Squire

[1. Mick Hemmings, as we said, wasn’t in the coffin when the van lapped Silverstone. Mick was gone. He wasn’t anywhere. It was just his body in the van. You could argue that they might as well simply put one of Mick’s suits in the van, because he wasn’t in that either. Our news piece simply questions how we think of death, and how we treat human remains either by agreement/arrangement or otherwise). We’re questioning how we’re conditioned to think in certain ways, and behave in certain ways.
2. It’s fair to pass comment here because this event wasn’t private. It was made public when it was revealed to the biking press via British Dealer News. Therefore, it fairly invites fair criticism.
3. Judgemental actually implies rushing to judgement, and not simply making a judgement. One way or the other, we all judge things.—Ed]

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"World record for unrestored Vespa"


Story snapshot:

Early Douglas Vespa comes of age

£10,925 was the sale price


We don't know if this really is a world record, and frankly we don't much care. Records, after all, come and records go—and the only ones that really matter to us are the ones on our stereo turntable. This particular claimed record relates to a 1951 125cc Vespa scooter (Lot 24) which recently sold at the June H&H sale at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull and changed hands for £10,925.


The bike was actually imported by Bristol-based Douglas which, as a manufacturer, collapsed in 1957. However, the firm enjoyed a last gasp with these "rod type gear change" scooters (as opposed to cables) modified to suit UK tastes and regulations.




▲ According to Douglas-Vespa, these scooters were good for 45mph and could climb a 1 in 4 gradient. When launched, the price was around £100, plus £27s.15s.4d purchase tax (abolished in 1973 and replaced with value added tax, or VAT). However, judging from the "1960" on the road fund license disc, this soldier didn't actually see all that much action. Still, it looks like the bike's journey isn't quite over. A £10,000 price tag will ensure its survival for some years to come...


The first Vespas were designed by aeronautical engineer Corradino D'Ascanio. They were produced by Piaggio in Italy from 1946. This example, we're told, has had just one owner since 1955 who used the bike, among other things, to tour Scandinavia. The last UK Douglas-Vespa scooters were sold in the early 1980s.


We can't remember seeing other unrestored Vespa hitting the ten grand mark. But then, we don't pay as much attention as we might to these small wheelers—not that we've got anything against them. Regardless, let's hope that whoever bought it will do the decent thing and get it running and maintain its original time-worn patina.


Might happen. See below for more on the June H&H sale at the NMM.




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London-Brighton Run motorcycles


Story snapshot:

Sunday 7th November 2021 is the date

Note that TfL and H.M Customs have some requirements


Not everyone is aware that both cycles and motorcycles can take part in the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run—provided that said vehicles fit the entry criteria which means being manufactured before 1905. Of course, pedalling an Edwardian era pushbike, or labouring an Edwardian motorcycle is likely to be hard work. But for 2021 there are fifteen participants from each class already signed up to cover the 60-odd mile route between Hyde Park Corner, London and Madeira Drive, Brighton. And the organisers, we hear, are happy to see a few more motoring masochists join the throng.


But note that if you're coming from Europe, the UK's recent Brexit has put an obstacle in your path that you ignore at your peril. Specifically, you'll need to download a C110 customs form and register your vehicle as a tourist bike, tourist pushbike or tourist car.


Also (and this makes us want to spit, so join us around the spitoon if you will), you need to open an account with Transport for London (TfL) and beg an exemption from the demands of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ). So much for the fabled emancipation credo which lies at the heart of this event (look online for Locomotives on Highways Act 1896). But it's not the organiser's fault; the organiser being the Royal Automobile Club (RAC). And while we remember, 2021 is the 125th event.


Meanwhile, here are some links:


1. TfL page on historic vehicles

2. Post-Brexit Euro transportation rules

3. Veteran Car Run entry regulations


We've no idea how long these links will stay alive, so if you check out this page at some future date, you might have to do your own legwork.


Meanwhile, the date to keep in mind is Sunday 7th November 2021. That's when the run kicks off. But you need to get your entry in without delay to be assured of a place.


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H&H NMM results June 2021


Story snapshot:

Decent, if largely unspectacular sale

But an Indian Four and a Sparkbrook drew big money...


£95,450. Ninety-five grand. Plus change. That's the (OTT?) price paid for the top selling lot at H&H's recent sale at the National Motorcycle Museum on 9th June 2021. The image immediately above is the bike in question; a 1,265cc 1937 Indian Four 437 (Lot 61) that looks dangerously close to being over-restored. We posted a small item on this machine on our Classic Bike News page for April 2021.


A month or so ago the £45,000 - £50,000 estimate sounded plenty to us. But the market evidently had other ideas because the bidding sailed past those numbers and ended just shy of £100,000—so now we're hastily searching the Sump garage just in case we're got one or two of these squirreled away in there (which we know we haven't).


As much as we like Indian Fours (which is less than we like Indian V-twins) we're surprised to see that kind of money being thrown at one (not without some weighty celebrity/industrial/racing provenance). But in these increasingly polarised times, there seems to be no end of folk with whacking great chequebooks endlessly over-inflating the price of pretty much everything on wheels that's more than ten or fifteen years old. Then again, you have to bow to market forces.


There were 150 bikes in the sale, of which 25 didn't find buyers. By our maths, that's a conversion rate of around 83%, and that's respectable enough.



One bike that's perhaps worthy of a passing mention is Lot 13; a 1969 750cc Triumph Hurricane "evocation"—meaning, in this case, a BSA Rocket Three dressed up in Triumph livery. The sale price was £13,800 which is some way short of what you'd now expect to pay for a genuine Hurricane (which would usually fetch around £25k, and often asking a whole lot more).


However, in the Sump neighbourhood we'd be perfectly content with a good quality Hurricane "evocation" as long as it walked and talked and otherwise chugged like the duck it was pretending to be. And yes, that's old-fashioned riding talk as opposed to shrewd investor talk. But we don't care. You can get carried away with this genuine-original thing. Are we right? Moreover, the Hurricane is a BSA Rocket Three. So it's almost as if fate is trying to set the record straight [Steady on there—Ed]. Meanwhile, we have to mention our X-75 Triumph Hurricane metal garage signs. We've still got a few of these in the box if you're quick and willing (see image immediately below).





Another well built "evocation" is the above 1923 Bradbury racer (Lot 120). There's not a lot of detail on this "between the wars" velocipede, but we'll give you what we've got. It's a single-port 350cc OHV single. It was fabricated in honour of the "1923 TT machine".  Except that we can't see that a Bradbury racer got anywhere near the winner's podium in that year. If it had, this one would have been in the 350 Junior class, and that was won by Stanley Woods on a Cotton (and followed very closely by Harry Harris (AJS) and Alfie Alexander (Douglas). Any info on this would be welcome, Sumpheads.


Bradbury Motorcycles hailed from Wellington Works, Oldham, Lancashire. The company, which dates back to 1852 when it manufactured sewing machines, built its first motorcycle in 1902. The firm was both adventurous and ambitious (weren't they all?) and launched the Peerless brand in 1903. A range of engine configurations were subsequently deployed from vertical singles to horizontally opposed twins to V-twins. The largest machine was 750cc, and if you were a racing man, or woman, you would have seen Bradbury's successfully taking part in hill climbs, endurance events and speed trials.


But the 1923 TT? Maybe we need to look a little harder. It happens. Meanwhile, we note that the bike was estimated at £20,000 - £22,000, but failed to launch. As for the company, it ceased motorcycle production in 1924, but wound up all its interests five years later (1929).


Other bikes sold include:


▲ 1943 750cc Harley-Davidson WLC V-twin (Lot 130). Sold for £14,950.

▲ c1940 350cc Triumph 3HW (Lot 97). OHV single. Sold for £4,830.



▲ Lot 45 1914 Sparkbrook 770cc. We featured this on Sump Classic Bike News April 2021. The estimate for this rare machine was £22,000 - £24,000. But it topped out at £43,700. And note that Lot 104 was a c1912 Sparkbrook V-twin which sold for £18,975 (see the bike immediately above).


▲ Lot 137 1949 500cc Sunbeam S8. A decade ago these technically interesting, if slightly ponderous shaft-drive inline twins, were fetching around five grand, sterling. The balloon-tyred S7s, meanwhile, were priced slightly higher. But over the past decade prices appear to have stagnated. Actually, they've dropped a little both in real terms and in relative terms. This example, which appears to be in prime condition, carries a lot of receipts from Sunbeam S7/S8 specialists, Stewart Engineering. Finished in the correct Polychromatic Grey, the bike has collected a few awards, but needs light re-commissioning. It sold for £5,175.


▲ Some folk would say that this creation is a bit pointless. This machine, owner-badged as a TriGrumph, carries a 500cc Triumph twin motor in a Greeves Hawkstone frame. Ergo, more power, better handling. That's the plan, anyway. But the bike also carries more weight, which ain't so good. At Sump we'd prefer a fresh-from-the-crate Greeves two-stroke single or twin, but then again, the half-litre Triumph twin is such a good engine with plenty of feel—and it sounds a whole lot better than a smokin' ring-dinger. The frame is from 1974, so that's the year of registration on the V5C. The bike was built in 2019 for long-distance trials, but has actually covered 100 test miles and needs a little debugging. It sold for a lowly £2,760. Not a lot for a lot of fun in the dirt.


Overall, it looks like H&H had a pretty good day, especially in view of the pandemic which is still manifesting itself in all kinds of ways. We're still studying the lots and will post anything we feel like mentioning.


The next H&H Sale (motorcycles) will be the A | B | C Live Auction Online scheduled for Wednesday 11th August 2021 at 12 noon (A | B | C means Automobilia, Bikes and Cars).




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Taiwan geriatric biker advert


Story snapshot:

Old gits back in the saddle in this "inspiring" video

Get your hankies ready...


We're reluctant to give this YouTube video a mention (let along a thumbs up). That's because it's pretty cheesy and sickly sentimental. But evidently a lot of folk take a more generous view and have helped rack up around seven million views.


As best we can figure it, the vid is an advert for Taiwan Cooperative Bank (aka TC Bank). The ad was created by Ogilvy & Mather, one of the world's biggest advertising and PR agencies with a fat list of blue chip clients (and a fair number of controversies notched on its belt).



It's not a new advert. But it's new to us. It was just lying there on the screen as a YouTube suggestion, so we swallowed the click bait and saw that it was created in January 2011. However, the "live now, die later" message is as valid today as it was a decade ago, and we figured a few people on Sump might want to see it—if they're not already aware of its existence.



We won't try to explain it. It will all become quickly apparent as you view. Just be aware that for some it will hit the right spot, and for others it will simply hit a nerve and depress the hell out of them. The advert is called DREAM RANGERS.


Watch it, or don't watch it. Different strokes, etc.




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Winter 2021 NMM Raffle winner


Story snapshot:

"NOS" Bonnie finds a new home

But is it "correct" (and do we really care)?


If your name is Ian Milford, and if you hail from Perthshire in Scotland, you don't need to be told who that is in the image immediately above, because it's you. And you don't need to be told why you're in the frame because you know that too. It's because you've just won a 1979 new-old-stock (NOS) 750cc T140D Triumph Bonneville Special in the National Motorcycle Museum's Winter 2021 Raffle.


The (black and gold) T140D was introduced in '79 shortly after the arrival of the (black and gold) Yamaha XS650 Special. One or two of us here at Sump remember the moment well. The SOHC Yam was a pretty cool looking motorcycle with similar performance, generally fewer vibes, and more features (that included an electric starter, a kick starter, and cast wheels). Also, it was cheaper. But Triumph was fairly quick in producing its own Special, and we think the (pushrod) T140D hit the spot, looked better, and felt better/gruntier.


Features of the T140D included a (then) fashionable gaiterless front fork, a 2-into-1 exhaust system, a (divisive) stepped saddle, and Lester cast wheels—which, on the machine above, are actually Morris cast wheels that didn't appear in the Triumph range until a year or two later.


It was 1980 when Triumph launched an electric starter on the T140 (but never on the Special; not as standard, anyway), and the bike was available in either Euro specification (low 'bars, square tank) or export specification (high 'bars, "peanut" tank). We also note that this example doesn't have the abbreviated T140D front mudguard which, along with the incorrect wheels, throws the as new/NOS claim into question. But let's not go there, except to say that in 1979 through to 1985, Triumph was serving up quite a few variations on a theme that you wouldn't find in the brochures).


Either way, it's a nice set of wheels, and Ian Milford is no doubt every bits as pleased as he looks. The winning ticket, incidentally, was: 0969073.




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Thor's Kermit wins Indian build-off


Story snapshot:

Custom building on a £3k budget

Cornwall based dealer comes out tops


We recently gave this dealer competition a very brief mention; brief because it's simply not all that interesting. Not to us anyway. But we didn't want to be mean and churlish. So we ran a single line and an image to mark the moment (it's on this page a little further down).


What we're talking about here is a basic a marketing wheeze designed to point a few more eyeballs at Indian Motorcycles and drum up sales. Nothing wrong with that, of course. However, it's more than a little passé.


Officially dubbed the Project £3K Challenge, the idea was to encourage UK Indian Motorcycle dealers to tart up a Scout for less than three grand. A sixteen week build time was granted, and the newly announced winner was Thor Motorcycles from Cornwall which created the bike immediately above; a bike named Kermit.


Features of this mild custom (for want of a better word) include mini-apes, stylised exhaust headers, a side-mounted number plate, an LED headlight, and a green vinyl wrapped finish. So okay, the bike looks decent enough. But the thing is, there's nothing remarkable about these creations. The ex-shop custom scene has long since become a little too easy and obvious. A few bits off the shelf. Crank up the welder. Open a fresh tin of paint. And spend a little time in the workshop on a restrictive budget moving some obvious atoms around.


Cruel words, perhaps. But they ring true. We've simply seen and heard it all before. Meanwhile, what we're really looking for at Sump is something different. Something inventive. Something surprising. Something else.


So okay, some of these ex-shop bikes are/were built by very talented hands. We know that. But without some seriously fresh thinking, it all pretty much comes out exactly the same.


What would be a lot more interesting would be, say, a competition to explore the things that people do with their bikes and the places they go. Not just so-called charitable rides, note, but life-building exploits and all that good personal karma hippy s#!t. Or maybe some amateur short films about people's bikes and their riding experience. Or some short motorcycle fiction movies made with smartphones. Or a competition in which people/dealers create homages to their motorcycles (artwork and stuff), or are tasked with devising a biking advert of some kind. The trick, of course, is finding novel/cost-effective ways to market these ideas.


Meanwhile, what we've got right now is the same old same old yah-dah-yah-dah wearing the same old groove. Nice bikes, but so what?


All that aside, congrats to Thor, etc. However, Déjà Vu might have been a better name for this one.




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I have to say I agree with the Sump editors on this one. These shop customs are getting very 'samey' and there's just not enough effort going in at the ideas stage. Custom bike styles are like fashion in clothes; you have to move on to something new every so often. These things are stuck in a rut. Punk was edgy and vibrant until you could buy it off the rack in Marks and Spencer and then it just died. If these people can't get away from 'formula build' bobbers and pseudo flat trackers and come up with something fresh we're all going to stop taking any notice. Personally, I already have.—The Village Squire.

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National NHS datagrab imminent


Story snapshot:

The UK government would rather you didn't read this

The biggest ever NHS information snatch is about to happen


You don't really need to remember the date above; June 23rd 2021. That's because if you care about this issue, you need to deal with it immediately. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But NOW.


Alternately, do nothing.


What's happening is that the UK government is about to copy a huge tranche of National Health Service patient data to a digital database where it will be available to researchers, government departments and (perhaps more ominously) private institutions. That's around 55 million names and records. Some or all of the data, we're told, will be anonymised. But you'll have to take the government's word for that—and if we've learned anything at all over the past twenty or thirty years, it's that you can't trust the state with digital data. Moreover, anonymised data can be always be reversed when it's politically expedient to do so.


Meanwhile, it seems that the collected data will include information relating to pregnancies, abortions, criminal convictions, drug use, alcoholism, relationship status and many other factors. Put simply, whatever you've got on your NHS record will go into the mix.


Officially, the title for this project is: General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR). But consultation has been negligible. Transparency is non-existent. And the plans have been hurried through, probably in the hope that no one notices.




A backlash has started, not least within the medical profession where numerous GPs are refusing to hand over their data. The London Borough of Tower Hamlets appears to be the focal point for this burgeoning revolt. But many doctors and other health workers elsewhere in the UK are said to be very unhappy with the proposed data grab. And note that there could be legal consequences relating to this refusal under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, but that's an issue for another day.


If this news troubles you, click on the link below for a template letter that you can send to your own GP. Also, we've supplied a NHS link which will register your interest, or lack of, directly to the government.


Some would say that accessing this data could have huge benefits, notably when it comes to long term medical and social planning, and when dealing with issues such as pandemics. And naturally, a few people are likely to trouser a lot of money, no doubt in ways that we ignorant mortals probably haven't considered. Either way, it's a huge change and it's being steamrollered through by Whitehall, and that alone is a pretty good reason to hit the pause button.


And remember too that this data can and will be correlated with other data profiles already being bought and sold around the planet. Meanwhile, it's only a question of time before the database is hacked and cracked, etc, etc.


It's not the first time that this kind of grab has been tried. It first appeared back in 2013 and was quietly abandoned three years later. Well now it's back, and you might be interested to know that the plan was officially announced just six weeks ago. That's how fast this steamroller is moving.




Too much paranoia here? You can decide that for yourself. But here at Sump we'll certainly be dropping a line to .gov and suggesting that they include us out of this move. We can, after all, decide later to opt-in.


At the risk of overdosing on raw cynicism, it's a sly, underhand and duplicitous world out there. Most of us are already over-exposed with our data, if not voluntarily then simply by being too fast and loose with the personal information that we broadcast.


23rd June 2021 is D-Date. But right now is the moment.


GP opt-out template letter

NHS opt out link


UPDATE 1: We've just completed the opt out process via the link above, and it's fast and simple. Whether or not the government honours our decision remains to be seen. And we might change our minds (albeit unlikely). But for now, we've put the brakes on.


UPDATE 2: The government has since extended the opt-out date to 1st September 2021. However, if you want to opt out, we suggest that you do it immediately.


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2021 Triumph Speed Twin revealed


Story snapshot:

Slightly more power

Faster pick-up and sharper stopping


Triumph has just released details of the 2021 Speed Twin. It's all positive stuff, but we're still hoping that the original Amaranth Red might feature on the colour palette. But so far, there's only Red, Grey and Black on offer.


Meanwhile, head over to Sump's mainstream Motorcycle News Page for a few more details on the forthcoming arrival.


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Another claimed Captain America (Easy Rider) bike to sell. $300k-$500k

Moore Speed Racing Indian Scout

UK Indian MCs dealer competition. Custom Scout build for less than £3k

2021 CCM Maverick

CCM Maverick launched. 600cc. 55bhp. 43lb-ft.150kg. £9,995. Aug 2021

UK petrol rise. Average of 11p/litre since Feb 2021. Fourth month in a row

Ardonagh Insurance sells Bennetts for £22.75million (£3.25million loss)

Harley-Davidson LiveWire brand

Harley-Davidson to create new standalone LiveWire electric brand

RAC Remote Technician platform launched. Tech advice by smartphone

London Mayor Sadiq Khan reaffirms ULEZ size increase in October 2021

c1946 Ted Frend AJS Porcupine. Bonhams Stafford 2/7/21. £250k-£300k


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Mick Hemmings: 1944 - 2021


Story snapshot:

Classic Norton specialist has suddenly died

He was working right up to the end


Long time Norton motorcycle engine/gearbox specialist and ex-motorcycle racer, Mick Hemmings, has died. He was working at his workshop in Long Buckby, Northampton when he collapsed and was rushed to hospital where he failed to recover. He is survived by wife Angie and son Steve. There are no details yet regarding his funeral.


We have a feature on Mick Hemmings which will give you much of his professional and racing background, suffice to say that over the past few years he'd been steadily scaling back his activities and was largely dealing only with friends and personal acquaintances—of which he had many.


Mick Hemmings was 77 and will be missed by hundreds, if not thousands, of people around the world.


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Honda's reputation reinforced [strong financials over the past 12 months]


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to move ahead with ULEZ expansion plans

Brembo see the light: Concept caliper features LED mood lights

DGR to give away one-off Triumph Thruxton RS to lucky fundraiser

Norton: 110 employed as Solihull factory begins Commando production


Right Choice Holdings purchase motorcycle specialist Bennetts (Insurance)

Top 10 best motorcycles for taller riders
Top 10 best motorcycles for shorter riders


Biker brands smart motorways as ‘death traps’ after horror M6 crash

Singapore moves to ban old motorcycles from their roads by 2028


Singapore Releases New Emissions Strictures for Older Motorcycle Models

Harley-Davidson launches LiveWire as an electric brand


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EU pegs H-D import tariff at 31%


Story snapshot:

MoCo was facing a 56% tax

Company shares have risen 9%


Harley-Davidson has seen its share price rise by a significant 9% following the EU's latest decision regarding US import tariffs. Currently the tariff for H-Ds is 31% (a 6% general import tax with a punitive 25% hike). However, the EU had recently been considering sticking another 25% on top of that taking it to a whopping, and possibly unsustainable, 56%.


What's changed the position are the ongoing negotiations. There was a deadline for the new hike, and that was 1st June 2021. Since then there's been a shift in attitude (or at least in execution), and the status quo will remain for another six months.


But there's a sting in this tale. It relates to Harley-Davidson bikes built in Thailand. These machines are being manufactured in the Far East partly as a way to obviate the "Made in America" tariffs. Under the EU rules of origin, these motorcycles are subject to a 6% charge. However, the goalposts have now been moved, and Thailand-built Harley-Davidsons will be considered US made.


If you follow the link below, you'll find some more background to this story—an intrigue that actually goes even further back to a row over alleged state subsidies relating to Airbus and Boeing.


Meanwhile, H-D shareholders have seen a boost of 9% which translates into the highest share price in three years. The current value, as of 18th May 2021, is 50.72 USD.

See also: EU to slap new tariffs on MoCo


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Sump Tyres coming atcha


Story snapshot:

Avons for now. Dunlops, Continentals and others on the way...

Free delivery!!


We've been thinking about marketing tyres on Sump since—well, a long time ago. And we're talking years, not months. But as is the way of things (or, at least, as is the way of us), we were too busy doing other things (drinking beer, riding bikes and watching old westerns mostly). So we just didn't get around to it.


...which is a bit short-sighted, of course, because we've no doubt missed out on a lot of sales. However, we're doing something about it now. So angle your ears this way, if you please, and see what the deal is.



Our range of tyres isn't huge, and we really don't want it to be. You can spend your life checking and comparing tyres (and other stuff), and as often as not you simply end up being confused and undecided. So to help preclude that problem, we've started with a smaller selection of Avons that will suit a lot of people, and we'll be adding a few more tyres as and when we get around to it. Dunlops and Continentals mostly.


We're not pitching at the top price, and we definitely ain't in the bargain basement. We're simply offering good tyres at a fair/realistic price—and while we're talking about the basement retailers, you might want to check out why some tyres are so cheap. See the link you've just passed. Or check out this tyre warning.


Meanwhile, you might want to keep in mind that buying Sump products keeps Sump in business. We've already got over one million words online. With your patronage, we're aiming at another million. Or more.


Finally, note that we're not offering these tyres for sale outside of the UK. That's simply too expensive, and we figure that local suppliers are a better source.


That's it. Tread carefully.


Take me to the Sump tyres page


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The Distinguished Gents are back


Story snapshot:

"Classic and vintage motorcycles unite for men's health."

Sunday 23rd May 2021 is the date


Need we repeat what we've said many times about the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride event? Probably not; not if you're a regular visitor to this hallowed news portal. But if you're a fairly new arrival, and if our opinion even vaguely interests you, check the link below.


Meanwhile, the news is that the hirsute heroes and whiskered warriors will be suiting up for the 2021 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, and as before it's a worldwide event. It's set to happen on Sunday 23rd May 2021, but unusually there will be three riding formats. This is because different cities/countries are carrying different restrictions regarding the on-going coronavirus pandemic.




Here are the three riding options:


Normal Covid-Safe Ride

Route-Only Ride

Solo Ride


So you need to pay attention to local government instructions and select your option accordingly. Just note that there are all kinds of rules and lines of guidance and registration issues and whatnot in play. So you'll need to check with the Gents via the website and see how things square up for you.



▲ Distinguished man and distinguished boy. How we love to raise our young in our own image (gawd 'elp us). And how the young love to emulate dad. What was it that Wordsworth said about the child being the father of the man?


Alternately, you can stay at home and simply donate some money to one of the relevant charities—and on that slightly sour note we can report that almost $29 million has so far been raised for various men's health causes. That's the word, anyway.


But hey, we've been mean enough about this event, and a lot of folk get a lot of pleasure from it. So we'll move onto to other things. If you do attend, we suggest that you bring a suitable coronavirus mask (if there is such a thing) just in case you get up close and personal with anyone.



Distinguished Gentleman's Ride—Sump News, September 2014


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April 2021


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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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Another tough year for Triumph

MAG and TFL share safety agenda

Venhill Engineering changes hands


Share your biking obsession: Get someone back on two wheels

Ducati 'looking at synthetic fuel' for future models ahead of electrification


Why won't my motorbike start?

Motorcyclists: How to NOT get pulled over by the police


Segway Apex H2 Hybrid hydrogen electric motorcycle concept

MAG launches petrol engine survey for motorcyclists

Royal Enfield Slide School & 2021 Flat Track Racing with Gary Birtwistle

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2021 date confirmed [23rd May 2021]

Top ten motorcycle riding Royals | From Prince Philip, to King Carlos


The best motorcycles to come out of America

The 5 biggest changes in motorcycling over the past 5 years


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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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March 2021




Gillbert Sills, Cretingham Crank Co, is retiring. £20k. Contact Andy Tiernan

Sir Ralf Speth (ex-JLR) becomes Norton parent (TVS Motor) chairman

Graeme Murray Walker, commentator and MC racer has died aged 97

Suffolk/Bedford Police seize 11 bikes/1 quad in "day of anti-social action"

Moto Guzzi: 100 yrs manufacture. Factory celebration 9th-12th Sept 2021

UK government urges bikers to sign up for post-Covid-19 MOT reminders

Ryan Morrissey: H-D Chief Electric Vehicle Officer. New position created


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H&H March 2021 online auction


Story snapshot:

45 motorcycles

10 didn't sell


That's a 1959 500cc BSA DBD34 that you're ogling (immediately above), and that bike was the top selling lot at the H&H online sale held on 24th March 2021. Restored in 2008 to "a very good standard", the Beeza was part of a private collection. It carries a BSA Owners Club dating certificate, and has been dry stored for the past few years; consequently, some re-commissioning might be needed. All the correct parts are present, including the highly desirable RRT2 gearbox. There's a V5C too, so this classic is ready to roll ... straight into another garage. Let's hope it also gets a little action on the tarmac. Bikes prefer it that way. The BSA was Lot 110 and sold for £20,250.


Overall, there were 45 motorcycles (as distinct from motorcycle lots) in the sale of which 10 went unsold. Notable failed-sales include Lot 128 which was a 1950 Vincent Grey Flash Evocation (replica) using some original parts. The estimate was £45,000 - £50,000, but nobody raised a hand. Can't say we're totally surprised at that price.


Also unable to find a buyer was Lot 113, a 1958 Norton 350cc International. This bike was one of just a handful produced, we hear. It was estimated at £17,000 - £19,000.


▲ Lot 119 was a 1937 Norton International which sold for £18,083. We're told that this bike was featured in the book "Norton International Super Profile" by C. J. Ayton (on the front cover and inside). V5C and continuation logbook.

Lot 111 was listed as a 1965 BSA M20, but is almost certainly a much older bike, probably from the 1940s. We suspect that "1965" was when the motorcycle was demobbed. That's the usual story. It looks to be all there, more or less, but clearly needs a little attention. It has apparently seen some film work, and it sold for £5,625.


Overall, it looks like a reasonably respectable sale with prices that are generally lower rather than higher—and certainly it seems that most of the high priced stuff didn't sell. Seems that there's still plenty of scope to pick up "a bargain", whatever the hell that is anymore. 


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2021 Pioneer Run date confirmed


Story snapshot:

Sunday 3rd October 2021 is the date

But Madeira Drive is off the boil


The date for the next Pioneer Run has been confirmed as Sunday 3rd October 2021, and the location has also been confirmed as Brighton City Airport—which most people will perhaps better recognise as Shoreham Airport.


The starting point is once again Tattenham Corner at Epsom Downs. 8am sharp. But riding down to Madeira Drive in Brighton is ... well, history. A new route has instead been worked out that will avoid most, or all, of the pinch-points that, due to modern traffic flows and pressures, were becoming too dangerous to pioneer era crocks. So the organisers have re-thought the journey which will feature more sedate highways and byways.


That's the plan, anyway.


It's a pity that Madeira Drive is no longer the end point for the run. At Sump, we're by no mean big on tradition. But there is a certain "cosiness" and welcome familiarity in returning to old territory, so to speak. But for the foreseeable future, riders will have to get familiar with Shoreham Airport.


And that's not actually a bad place to visit. It's got form. The airfield dates back to 1910. The main (art deco) terminal building was opened in 1936. The airport was militarised during WW1, and militarised again during WW2 when it operated largely as an air-sea rescue station (also utilising high speed air-sea rescue launches based in the nearby harbour).


If you recall the infamous and (arguably) failed Dieppe Raid (Operation Jubilee, 1942) when allied forces landed at Dieppe in Northern France to test and probe German invasion defences—and got a heavy duty response for their troubles—you might be interested to know that Shoreham Airport (or Airfield) played a significant role in the fiasco. Later in WW2, the airport/airfield played a role in the 1944 D-Day landings.


In more recent times, Shoreham Airport has been a popular flight training school and a charter base both for fixed wing craft and rotary wingers. Numerous clubs of all kinds have staged events there, and it's a fitting venue for a few thousand motorcyclists to congregate in the usual aimless but enjoyable way. And if Madeira Drive is important to anyone, you can take a 4 or 5 mile jaunt east along the A259 and make your own pilgrimage to the sacred tarmac.


The Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club is still the organiser of this event. So if you're interested either as a participant or a more general visitor/wowser, these are the guys to talk to.


And once again, if you attend this event and follow the route, please remember to give the old crocks plenty of elbow room. These bikes are over 100 years old, and some of the riders aren't much younger. So have a heart and give way. And need we say that various Covid-19 restrictions might still be in place come the autumn? It ain't over until it's over, etc.


Finally, we should mention that two event trophies have gone missing, and the club would like to see them returned. One is the Kennard Trophy. The other is the Comerford Cup. Both were last seen in 2016. The financial value is typically very small. But the historical value is more significant. If you've got them/nicked them/or spot them on an autojumble stall or something, please contact the SMCC to arrange for their safe return. Someone out there has probably still got 'em.


Also see: 2020 Pioneer Run cancelled


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Triumph TE-1 electric motorcycle

Follow the link for a larger image of the Triumph TE-1 electric


Triumph TE-1 electric roadster nears


Story snapshot:

New electric concept on the road by October 2021

Three established high-tech firms partner Hinckley


Triumph Motorcycles has firmly nailed its colours to the electric motorcycle mast with the firm's current EV project, the uninspiringly named TE-1. Hinckley might have called it something like the Voltster, or the Ampster, or the Electrospeed Triple or something of that ilk. But no, the official moniker is the aforementioned TE-1; so we'll just have to like it, or suck it up.


That aside, electric bikes are, if not the entire motorcycling future, at least a significant part of it—and if Triumph wants to be in the game (which it clearly does), it needs a very compelling hand of cards, and a clear strategy.


Triumph TE-1 electric concept motorcycle


The brains behind this project are (aside from Hinckley's own engineers) Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), Integral Powertrain, and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) which is based at the University of Warwick. Meanwhile, much of the money is the result of a grant from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles. And if the government is handing out taxpayer dosh, why would you not want a slice of it?


Williams is a specialist in electric battery technology with clients in the bicycle world, the automotive world, the motor racing world, the bus transportation world, the aviation world, the defence industry and the nautical world (among others). Motorcycles are a new departure, but Williams has promised to rise to the challenge of presenting the best compromise possible between weight, size, range and aesthetics using available technology. That said, this is a company that always pushes boundaries rather than merely follow them. WAE is based in Wantage, Oxfordshire.


Integral Powertrain hails from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. The company has expertise in electric motors, controllers and inverters. The firm is also new to motorcycles and has been tasked with producing a power unit that looks good, weighs little, provides excellent performance, whilst promoting energy efficiency (thanks to cutting-edge silicon-carbide switching technology).


We've already mentioned where Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) is based (hint: Warwick), and we can also tell you that this outfit is handling computer modelling for the entire project—whilst also helping cement the build stages via its related expertise. What it means is that much of the developmental work is handled virtually as opposed to actually. Consequently, the designers and engineers can rapidly progress through the various concept stages without so much as looking at a lathe, a milling machine or screwdriver.


That just leaves Triumph to handle the rolling chassis, the bodywork, the riding ergonomics and suchlike. As you can see, the proposed styling isn't out of step with contemporary thinking. But the absence of an exhaust system and silencer, or silencers, leaves a gap in our expectations.



Triumph TE-1 electric motorcycle motor


The motor, we're told, produces 130kW which equates to nearly 180 horsepower (actually about 177), and that motor carries a weight burden of only 10 kilograms. No details have emerged regarding the all-up weight. But it will probably be fairly high—and unfortunately, batteries (unlike conventional fuel tanks), don't get any lighter as the miles roll by.


The range of the proposed bike is currently a maximum of 120 miles. That's not bad for a sporting roadster, but it's a long way short of what many—or even most—riders will demand. That said, this is a prototype, and the technology is almost daily taking huge leaps. And if you do need a fast charge (and who doesn't from time to time?), Triumph reckons that the batteries will accept an 80 percent boost in just twenty minutes; about the time it takes to have a cuppa and a sandwich at a roadside cafe—assuming the cafe has a fast-charging facility, which is another hurdle slowing the electric motorcycle uptake.


So when will this bike be ready? And has it really even progressed from the computer screen to anything you can actually straddle? Well to answer the second question first, Triumph has apparently got one of these (or most of one) in the workshop right now being assembled. And that leads us to the second question which revolves around factory rider testing which will happen by October this year (2021). Or so we're told. Therefore, and this is pure speculation, we doubt that the finished bike will be ready for marketing this year. But it might.



Actually, there's one more thing we ought to mention. The price. And of course, Triumph hasn't got one. Yet. And you can't blame 'em. Not at this stage. But the firm is acutely mindful of the fact that price is a MAJOR issue. However, perhaps equally important is the fact that riders want something that simply looks fantastic. That's the thinking at Hinckley. And we agree. We've had many bikes that were functional rather than pretty, and they didn't get ridden too often. Meanwhile, we've owned a few that technically were left wanting, but just looked so good. And these were the machines that racked up the miles. Yes, focussing on looks is pretty shallow. But give us a few beers and see how deep we can get.


Whatever price tag gets hung on this one (which is apparently a pretty accurate representation of what's currently in the workshop) it won't be cheap—but perhaps not as expensive as some of its rivals. Triumph clearly wants to nail this one, and we'll be surprised if we're not surprised, pricewise, when it finally hits the showrooms.


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RAC launches DriveTag insurance


Story snapshot:

Pay-per-mile instead of monthly or annually

A smartphone is required

You'll soon be seeing plenty of the above little doo-dahs affixed to British car windscreens. At least, that's the hope of RAC insurance which today, 17th March 2021, launched its latest "pioneering" insurance wheeze.


The idea is simple enough. Instead of paying for a year's insurance based upon a set block of miles (i.e. 10,000 per annum, or 6,000 per annum), this DriveTag gizmo records your mileage and adjusts your premiums accordingly.


Of course, there will be a basic set-up costs. At present, that's said to be a £50 one-off activation charge—plus an unspecified fee per month (Parked Premium, apparently). As for the mileage cost, the RAC tells us that we're looking at as little as 4p per mile. But remember; that's the lowest figure. No doubt that will rise in line with whatever personal risk factors you're burdened with (drunk driving convictions/speeding fines/age/health/etc).


If you're driving less than 6,000 miles per annum, the DriveTag concept could be for you. Or so we're told. What makes it perhaps a little more convenient for drivers is that the RAC is promising "no cancellation costs", and reckon there's no 12-monthly contract to wrestle with.


You'll need a smartphone (Android or iPhone) which will pair itself with the DriveTag and fire-off the mileage information. And supposedly, that's all it will record. Believe that if you feel like it. We're undecided, but dubious.


Also, it's not yet clear if the tag is switchable between vehicles. And there's no word on whether motorcycles will at some point be included in the scheme. We did contact the RAC to ask, but not untypically, nobody (after long and tortuous waits) knew anything about anything.


If you're thinking of making enquiries of your own, you might want to know that general RAC insurance policies are handled by a firm called BISL (Budget Insurance Services). The new DriveTag scheme is, we hear, handled by a firm called Wrisk Transfer Ltd, or just Wrisk. But the path to contact either of these companies is too long. So we gave up when we saw the breadth and depth of the undergrowth.


Maybe you're made of tougher stuff.




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2021 Rocket 3 GT Triple Black and R Black revealed. 2,500cc. 165hp

National Motorcycle Museum "initial reopening" Monday 17th May 2021

Highways England launches "GO LEFT" emergency breakdown campaign

UK petrol 4th month in a row price rise. Avg 123.38 ppl (diesel 126.47 ppl)

Anne Sacoolas (Harry Dunn) "will accept community service" (UK? or US?)


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2021 Classic TT is cancelled

In November 2020 we brought you the unwelcome news that the 2021 Isle of Man TT had been cancelled. At that point, the word was that the Classic TT would however be going ahead. But that's now changed, and the "fish is off", so to speak.


It isn't just the problem of insufficient visitors, lockdown fears and event insurance. Or so we understand. It's also the problem of generally recruiting enough marshals, medical staff and sundry volunteers. Things, after all, will take a while to return to the old normal.


Paul Phillips, the TT Business Development Manager, commented:


"Obviously this is yet another disappointing announcement for us to have to make, but as with the cancellation of the 2021 TT Races, it was important that an early decision was made to give clarity and certainty to the thousands of visitors and individuals that come together for the Classic TT.

"A two-year break from racing on the Island is not what anyone would have wanted, but our Motorsport Team have been hard at work to ensure that the TT and Classic TT return stronger than ever in 2022 and we look forward to sharing some of these developments in the coming weeks and months."


The event had been scheduled for Sunday 22nd August and Monday 30th August 2021. So you'll have to find something else to do over that weekend (assuming the government deems us ready to be let loose again).


Might happen.


2021 Isle of Man TT cancelled


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Brough Superior Lawrence launched


Story snapshot:

Here's a new spin on the contemporary SS100

Titanium, aluminium and carbon fibre cruiser


There's a new Brough Superior model on the prowl looking for buyers—and we suspect that it won't have to look too hard. Named in memory of T E Lawrence (Brough's most illustrious customer), we've penned a few details of this latest machine for your interest and edification. But you'll have to follow the link below to our Motorcycle News page.


Brough Superior Lawrence




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Can I be next for the vomit bucket please? So someone with too much money buys a highly regarded long dead British brand has it built in France out of mostly French/German components then puts a Voxan engine in it and calls it a Brough? Sacrilege!!!!!!! And there was me thinking T E Lawrence went to Nottingham to buy his Broughs.—MC

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Kickback Show "back for May 2021"

Lorne Cheetham, organiser of the Kickback Custom 'N' Retro Show, has contacted us with the welcome news that the event has been dusted off and reset for May 2021. In light of the current Covid-19 uncertainty, we're tempted to say that we'll believe it when we see it. However, sometimes you simply have to take things on faith—meaning that if you're in a hole, you have to start climbing or digging.


Or stay there.


However, the coronavirus emergency will be having an impact at the show. Specifically, there can be only a half capacity operating at any one time in the venue hall. So, there will be a morning session and an afternoon session, and it's an all ticket event with limited visitor numbers. So if you want to attend, book sooner rather than later—and expect to bring a face mask (and keep some suitable alcohol hand wash in your pocket, just in case, etc. You know the drill).


The venue will be the "beautiful regency town hall" in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1NQ. The date is Sunday 23rd May 2021. The show is open from 10am - 1.30pm, and 1.30pm - 5pm.


As ever, expect some very high quality custom motorcycles including bobbers, cafe racers, chops, brats, retros and whatnot. And of course, The Cotswolds is prime riding country. Refreshment-wise, there's a licensed bar and a cafe.


For tickets, visit http://www.ticketsource.co.uk and just enter kickback in search button.



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February 2021




2021 production Harley-Davidson Pan Americas revealed. 1,250cc. 150hp

UK gov scraps Vnuk [compulsory MC private land/racing insurance] plans

French 5yr MC lane-splitting experiment. 12% crash rise. Splitting banned

E10 petrol in the UK by summer 2021. E5 Super grade "also be on sale"


"2022" Indian range (116ci/1,890cc Chief Bobber Dark Horse shown)


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Further sales slide for UK bike mags


Story snapshot:

Motorcycle News' figures are worse than ever

Classic Bike is also shedding large numbers of readers


We used this cheeky image back in 2014 when the story was that Motorcycle News (MCN) was facing a large fall in its average weekly circulation (down from 94,941 in 2012 to 85,651 in 2013—a 9.78% drop). But we think our graphic can stand another viewing. That's partly because we see from the latest ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) figures that 2019 - 2020 is no exception to the remorseless decline.


Check the chart immediately below for 2019 - 2020 Bauer Publishing ABC figures which detail the circulations of the four biggest motorcycle print publications in the UK*. The numbers in brackets are last year's figures.


MCN: 44,241 (48,525)
Bike: 31,191 (31,813)

Classic Bike: 26,213 (30,776)
Ride Magazine: 24,831 (28,057)

Now check the figures for 2012 - 2013. Despite the fact that there's still a fairly healthy interest in motorcycling in the UK, it seems clear that the print magazines are steadily losing ground—no doubt largely because of the internet motorcycle sites, forums and suchlike that (arguably) better serve people's current needs. Then again, when viewed in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, the publications are not doing so bad. But it's not good.


Publication 2013  2012 Change
Motor Cycle News85,65194,941  -9.78%
Classic Bike39,12541,191-5.02%
RiDE 35,27640,434-12.76%
Performance Bikes16,384 18,811-12.90%
Practical Sportsbikes20,27720,895-2.96%
Fast Bikes17,62620,553-14.24%


It's also worth remembering that twenty or so years ago, MCN was somewhere north of 150,000 copies per week. And we well remember Bike and Performance Bikes at two or three times the average monthly sales numbers they currently enjoy (for want of a better word).


Where things are biting even harder now is the chronic loss of advertising revenue which, unless there's a rapid change in fortunes, will ultimately send more than a few UK motorcycle print publications to the wall. It can only be a question of time—or will they simply bumble along at a new and barely sustainable low?


We'll see.


Meanwhile, we'd like to give you some circulation numbers for Mortons Media Group motorcycle publications. But typically, the Lincolnshire-based outfit refuses to have their sales figures independently audited. However, historically speaking the Bauer rags (previously owned by EMAP) comfortably outgunned Mortons—but, of course, we invite Mortons to spin us a different tale. And Mortons, we see, is also suffering the repeated cancellations of its breadwinning shows and must therefore be facing serious financial worries.


Among the classic bike community, confidence in Morton's shows is currently very low. And what with the privations of the current lockdown (that under the auspices of Project Boris wasn't supposed to happen), it's difficult to see how these events can be soundly re-established in 2021.


* Note that having no clear evidence to the contrary, we're assuming the aforementioned Bauer titles are still the UK's largest. But it's possible that one or more Mortons motorcycle titles has a greater circulation. However, we doubt it. If you know differently, let us know please.


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A new dawn for Fantic

How the European bike market coped with covid

Motorcycle Live to rise like a phoenix [re-scheduled for 4th - 12th Dec 2021]


Interest in collectible bikes climbs during covid

Harry Dunn: [US] Judge dismisses Sacoolas objections [civil case pending]

Leaving the EU reveals new hidden costs to move bikes [Carnet issue]


Buell is back [EBR Motorcycles "regains rights" to Buell name]


Custom R.E Continental GT 650. Anthony Partridge of Goblin Works

Win a brand-new Triumph Trident 660 with Apex 66


Lane filtering study has shock results

Are bike shows and press launches dead?


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Russell Motors:  READ CAREFULLY!


Story snapshot:

Scammers are at work again

Fake Facebook page created re long established London parts dealer


We have to take great care when writing news stories such as this. That's because we're often getting (dozy) emails from folk who have read what we wrote, and then promptly picked up the wrong end of the spanner having totally misunderstood what we were talking about. And that could lead to damaging misinformation being bandied around.


So let's start by saying that Russell Motors in Battersea, London is a good classic bike parts business that's been serving the motorcycle community well for decades. Yes, their bedside manner could use a little Solvol (and it pains us to say that). But when the business is on form, people speak highly of Russell's who have many times helped folk out of a jam.


However, we've been tipped off that someone is covertly operating a Facebook account in the name of Russell Motors, and what we're hearing sounds like an ongoing scam. Certainly, Russell Motors hasn't progressed beyond the telephone and fax machine stage when it comes to business communications.


In short, there is no legitimate website or Facebook page associated with this company. But there's always another very plausible scammer (often with some or lots of knowledge of classic motorcycles) waiting to suck up your money. There is a mobile telephone number associated with this Facebook page. Don't use it. And don't buy from this page. You've been warned. And naturally, we're not directing anyone to that page. 


Meanwhile you can still do legitimate business with Russell's, but telephone only using the number below. Repeat, telephone first. Or take a trip there and buy/collect across the counter.


So let's re-state our message for anyone who still hasn't got it:




Here's the correct address for Russell's:


125 Falcon Rd, Battersea, London SW11 2PE


And here's the correct telephone number:


0207 924 4273 or 0044 207 924 4273 from overseas


And one more thing. Don't even take our word for it. Check around elsewhere, do some legwork, be suspicious, and make sure you know who you're dealing with—especially if large sums of money are concerned.


Come to that, let's not give the scammers any small change either. What do you say, people?


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Hi, I’ve been using Russell Motors in Battersea for many years and the service I’ve received has been first class. Les has invaluable knowledge of the parts and bikes and has always advised me well on my many visits to his shop. —James (the cabbie).

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Harley-Davidson dumps Amazon


Story snapshot:

Milwaukee is pulling the apparel plug after just 2 years on the platform

Amazon is yet to respond


It was back in 2018 that Harley-Davidson announced that it was partnering with online shopping giant, Amazon, and would be flogging its branded apparel through the controversial Seattle-based multinational.


Here's what H-D senior vice president of marketing and branding, Heather Malenshek, said at the time via a press release. "The reach Amazon offers is critical to building stronger customer relationships, inspiring new people and creating an integrated online and in-dealership retail experience—all of which leads to profitable growth and a stronger brand."

Sounds promising and upbeat. The tie-up was intended to address the problem of continued falling sales of H-D branded T-shirts, baseball caps, sweatshirts and the like. But the deal has since soured, and MoCo has now pulled the plug and said adios to Amazon citing price-bashing issues that were undercutting its established dealer network profits.


But wait a minute? What about letting market forces set the prices? Isn't that the American way?


Well yes. But arguably only up to a point. The fact is Amazon's entire ethos is to disrupt the market for pretty much everyone else and not merely "compete fairly" in the more orthodox way. So much so that as a public company, Amazon took years to make a profit whilst artfully squeezing tens of thousands of honest/established/traditional businesses clean out of business.


Meanwhile, old skool bricks-and-mortar businesses, which pay their civic rates and expect (or at least would like) some protection from the huge players who have effectively rigged the market by dominating giant sections of the www, have long been pretty much hung out to dry.

Well, Harley-Davidson has seemingly made a move in the right direction, and its dealers are naturally said to be pleased. But whether or not Milwaukee, in the current nose-diving economic climate, can afford to stay out of Amazon's clutches remains to be seen. And we should say that there's much about this story that we don't understand; notably exactly how H-D has been operating its pricing on Amazon's platform, and what terms and conditions were being applied—and what the hell MoCo really expected with the (unlikely?) union. As ever, there's usually much more going on than you read in the headlines.


Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz has been quoted as saying: "We want to have a fully integrated, digital e-commerce business with our dealers, Amazon was not really something that got our dealers into the mix."


Given the amount of poor quality knock-offs and poor trading practices that go on out there in Consumerland, it's amazing that anyone still buys anything from Amazon, not least from the big name firms. But of course, the lure of low-low prices is powerful voodoo for even the best of us, never mind that the long term consequences of backing or indulging the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook, YouTube et al is little more than a self-inflicted economic wound, and in that regard we're already seeing the blood flowing.


Vive la revolution, as we're fond of saying (if it ever comes). We're vainly hoping that everyone dumps Amazon. But it probably ain't going to happen.


Not soon, anyway.


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Harley currently reminds me of VW in that when the Beetle finally reached the end of the road, Adolf's car company struggled to find a place in the market with new products. I think the various machinations taking place at Harley Davidson now are all part of them trying to find their way again as the V-twin they've produced for so long is approaching its demise—along with the Harley owners that love it. Frankly I wish them well. To date they've survived a few crisis situations and I hope they survive this one. Life without Harley Davidson? It's a hard concept to take on, even though I've only owned one myself.—The Village Squire

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Big Brother Watch: 5 Things video


Story snapshot:

Another warning from the self-appointed guardians of liberty

Madeleine Stowe shares a few misgivings


Civil liberties campaigning group Big Brother Watch (BBW) has asked us to share the above You Tube video, and we're happy (or at least willing) to oblige. The video is catchily titled: 5 Things You Need To Know About The UK's Current Lockdown.


It's a six minute diatribe by BBW's Madeleine Stowe expounding on some of the darker issues relating to the UK government's handling (mishandling?) of the current Covid-19 emergency, and on the face of it it doesn't look like too much to get excited about.




Yes, there could be some significant smoke building here. But we don't see any flames yet. However, as ever we think we should err on the side of caution, etc, and we've got our own reasons for questioning the antics of the British police who feature widely in this footage (and, as we've said before, we're not anti-police per se—we just think they should be kept on a very short leash).


There's background music throughout this video that irritates the hell out of us. But if you can stomach that, have a listen and (where appropriate) share your own experiences with BBW.




5 Things You Tube Video


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Dear Sumpers, Again you are sharing very dubious content from the fringe tin foil hat minority. There's nothing wrong with fringe or with tin foil hats off course [sic] but this is a one sided argument and if you are genuine about what you are as journalists you should be more balanced and verify the views you share. The policing of public discourse is everywhere in a state of chaos. Footballers and film stars are deluged with anonymous abuse. Mendacity about corona-virus, not reasonable scepticism, is allowed free rein at any cost to lives and liberty. Fake news feeds mob rule without restraint, correction or retribution. People are dying in huge numbers and many many people are ignoring public safety advice to reduce risk and follow guidelines. Self policing isn't working and so sadly in the absence of self policing, rigid enforcement has become necessary. The argument fell on the floor with seat belts, speed limits and helmets; if the public won't act in the greater good then enforcement will inevitably follow. For every video of police over zealousness I can show you 100 of irrisponsible [sic] individuals putting lives at risk, shirking their responsibilities so threatening all of our safety and by consequence our liberty. Are you going to start showing videos of empty hospital corridors?—Phil Cowley.

No. We're just going to let people make up their own minds. It's stupid and impractical to suggest that we, at Sump, must verify everything that comes our way. It's up to individuals to do that and check as many sources as possible. We think that it's you that's backing a one-sided argument and trying to censor opposing views. We're not saying that BBW is right. We're simply letting people know what they are saying. But you go on and suck up all the propaganda you want. We're keeping an open mind and just watching.—Dexxion

Really enjoy SUMP news and articles but please don’t put these videos of the likes of BBW on here, we are about bikes and bikers, we don’t want to here about these hippies that have nothing better to do than complain about everything, probably claiming all the benefits, not paid a penny in tax. Round them all up and put them in the forces.—Philip Jackson

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