▲ 1936 Brough Superior SS100. This 982cc OHV roadster is carrying the highest estimate of any motorcycle lot offered at the Bonhams Bicester Winter Sale (which includes the National Motorcycle Museum reserve collection) on 11th - 12th December 2020. The auctioneers are anticipating £240,000 - £280,000. Why? Apparently it's because this machine is stamped with the lowest engine number of any Matchless powered Brough. The factory prototype, we hear, was number 1000. This example is 1001. But it's actually the seventh of its type to issue from the Nottingham works. Go figure. The bike was despatched to Brough Superior agents for Scotland, Rossleigh Ltd in Einburgh. The first owner was a certain James Shaw of Blantyre, Lanarkshire. Since then there have been a number of keepers. But post-1979 the National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) has owned it (and has evidently restored it to within an inch of its life). There's a huge list of features, but potential buyers are advised to "satisfy themselves with regard to its condition, completeness, correctness, or otherwise prior to bidding."  So if you want safeguards for the products you buy, try ASDA. Doesn't sound like the NMM is guaranteeing this one with a money back consumer promise.


November 2020  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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2021 Isle of Man TT cancelled


Story snapshot:

Uncertainty forces the shelving of this event for the second year running

It's unclear if the Manx and Classic will happen


There's nothing much to add to the headline. The coronavirus is still very much a feature of life in the UK (and of course in the wider world), and events such as the TT take many months to organise and prepare—and that requires what the poet T S Eliot would call "certain certainties". But such certainties are not forthcoming, and the promise of a vaccine will be too little, too late.


So the 2021 event follows the cancelled 2020 races and is off the boil. But the Classic TT and Manx GP are still up for grabs; or, to clarify, they haven't yet been cancelled. So there might yet be some racing on the island. But the big event simply ain't gonna happen.


That's the word direct from the organisers.



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SME forges an off-road/touring deal with RE and RE distributor Moto GB

Family of Harry Dunn loses "diplomatic immunity" High Court review plea

Government go-ahead for Stonehenge Tunnel. Ride-past days are numbered

Ducati announces Diavel Lamborghini limited edition. 630 units. Price TBA


CMX1100 Honda Rebel bobber for 2021. 86bhp @ 7000rpm, £9k - £10k


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"Hero dog" betrayed by its handlers


Story snapshot:

The troops stay in their fox holes

The mutt gets the bullet


Get ready everyone because we're about to upset an awful lot of people, and we make absolutely no apologies. We think a few people need heavy duty upsetting over this story, and we're in the bloody mood for it.


We're talking of course about the above mutt named Kuno, a handsome beast if ever there was one. Attached to the British Army, this animal is currently in the mainstream press after suffering "life changing" injuries in Afghanistan.


What happened? Well apparently, in 2019, a UK assault force got itself into trouble after attacking an Al-Qaeda compound. The Afghans were hitting back hard, and the Brits were pinned down and couldn't move without suffering serious casualties. In particular, we understand that there was this one Al-Qaeda fighter equipped with night vision goggles and a box of grenades, and he was plinking away big time with a machine gun.


Understandably, from the British point of view, he needed to be stopped.


So naturally, there was only one thing to do, and that was to enlist the services of the dumbest (but possibly most loyal) member of the squad and tell him to go sort it out. So Kuno the cute and canny canine was led forward, pointed at the opposition, told what to do, wound up and released.


The four year old dog answered the call exactly as he was trained to do and ran full tilt into the line of fire. Despite being shot in both hind legs, Kuno duly attacked the Afghan fighter and savaged the man. Soon after, the cavalry arrived to relieve the mutt from duty.


Since then, the animal has been honoured for bravery and has had the PDSA Dickin Medal pinned to his chest. This is a gong designed specifically for animals and is the equivalent of the Victoria Cross; i.e. the highest award you can get. So far, the other recipients have been ... wait for it, 35 other dogs, 32 WW2 messenger pigeons, four horses, and one cat.


Yes, messenger pigeons. 32 of them.


If this wasn't so sad, it would be richly funny. But it's not funny. What this story is really about is a bunch of guys who signed up for a fight in full knowledge of what they were doing and what they were getting into, and who suddenly got into trouble. That's either bad luck or bad planning, or both. But instead of ante-ing up and dealing with the problem directly, they sent in man's best friend to take the odd bullet for them. It's just a dog, after all. It's expendable. Disposable. And biodegradable.


And later, when Kuno had his paws amputated, they gave him an extra bone and a medal and told him and the rest of the world what a hero he was. But as you can tell, we don't see it that way at all. The dog was no hero (but he was clearly no coward). He was just a dumb (but dangerously adorable) military mutt programmed to take risks of which it had no real comprehension. In other words, the dog was a victim and shouldn't have been used in that way.


Perhaps if and when the British Army runs out of dogs, and when they need a minefield clearing, they can elicit the help of a few Alzheimer sufferers and pin a few medals on them when they get blown to bits staggering around a suspect patch of dirt.


Meanwhile, the mind boggles trying to figure out why the hell the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) put itself in this particular frame (as far back as 1943 actually). The organisation was founded in 1917 by Maria Dickin. Its remit was to offer care for sick and injured animals owned by the poor. A worthy cause. But recognising "gallantry" in creatures that are too stupid to understand how they're being used strikes us as cynicism in the extreme.


The UK is a nation that supposedly loves animals, not only when served up in the Sunday dinner or collected at KFC or McDonalds, but as family friends, pets and companions. But of course, we also love 'em when they're mob handed and chasing a fox or charging round a race track at Ascot or Epsom or having their brains experimented on while they're still conscious.


Kuno can rest happy now. After numerous surgical procedures, this abused and de-mobbed animal can take comfort in the fact that he's the first UK military working dog to be fitted with prosthetic limbs.


Isn't that something?


▲ WW2 anti-tank dog bomb. The Soviets trained pooches to carry mines and other ordnance on "suicide missions" specifically targeting German tanks. But it wasn't just the Russians who exploited animals in warfare. Pretty much all the major combatants devised their own weapons also using horses, mules, camels, dolphins, and bats (incendiary weapons). At least the Japanese Kamikaze pilots had a choice. Well, sort of...



The army folk who exploit these mutts are hardly worthy of the name "soldiers". Not in our book. And the use of animals in this way will eventually be outlawed. History is, as ever, on the move. Meanwhile, we can continue to make a glorified fuss over it. We can roll out the flags with the doggie stretchers, play Elgar on the loudspeakers and tell ourselves how brave these creatures are, but it doesn't hide the fact that the troops hunkered down, and the dumb mutt took the bullets.


At Sump we love dogs, and apparently a lot more than the British Army do. We love 'em alive, and chasing sticks, and even helping with home security—but we wouldn't send one to tackle an armed burglar, not when we were equally armed and able to hit back and take our knocks.


And while we remember, it's not that we think that dogs can't necessarily be used to support human activity. Mutts and men work well together and enjoy each other's company. But there are limits, notably when animals become little more than cannon fodder.


Meanwhile, what we particularly object to is the way society attempts to dignify what is, we repeat, nothing less than animal abuse.


Get writing everyone. Our mailbox is wide open.


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

What’s this got to do with motorcycles? If I wanted to listen to your pontificating I’d subscribe to the snowflake news. Stick to point of the website.www.dallaskeith.co.uk

It's got nothing whatsoever to do with motorcycles, except that it's written by motorcyclists who've got something else to say. Check our homepage. You'll see that Sump is a "magazine for motorcyclists", and not just "a motorcycle magazine". There's a difference. We've got around one million words on Sump. It's the biggest magazine of its type in the world. It's all free. It costs you absolutely nothing. We suggest that if you don't want to read about military dogs or political stuff or commentary on fringe social issues, then look at our other pages. No one stuck your nose in this piece and said "eat". And if you can't find something more to your taste around here, go someplace else, brother. Does that solve your problem?—Sump

Guys, Could not agree more. I felt sick when it was on the news. Well written, thank you.—Steve H

What you wrote about Kuno could not have been put better. I remember the story about the prosthetic feet but hadn't read the details. As a dog lover myself I'm as disgusted as you.—Terry Lester

Giving bravery awards to animals is pointless and an insult to those combatants who really do make conscience decisions to put their lives on the line. Dogs, or pigeons for that matter, can never be brave, they just do what they do. The only criticism I would make of the army in this instance, is that they didn't put a bullet through the dog's head on the battlefield and put it out of its pain. I hope my taxes didn't pay for its surgery.—SB

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bill-snelling-motorcycles, mates & memories book


Motorcycles, Mates and Memories


Story snapshot:

Sixty-odd years of motorcycle sport—in Bill Snelling's own words

Down to earth, unpretentious, insightful


This book arrived just a few days ago in the post, and we stuck it to one side for a while to de-Covid it. But finally we got curious and spread some pages and put our feet up and started reading. And reading. And reading. And we like this book plenty. That's the long and short of it. It's a great collection of tales and truths and anecdotes.


We don't know motorcycle racer and biking author, Bill Snelling, and we don't have any connection with him. There's been little reason for our paths to have crossed. Different orbits, etc. But we know of him, and so do an awful lot of people—some of whom we do know. And so will you, no doubt.



Bill's long been a fixture on the British motorcycle scene campaigning sidecar outfits, competing in road trials, trying his luck at road racing, track racing, and off-road trials, plus riding in rallies and enjoying spills, thrills and dealing with the loss of one or two comrades.


He's worked as a mechanic and "grease monkey" for numerous motorcycle workshops in various parts of the country. Later he earned his coin as an ad-man for the original Motorcycle Sport publication ("not the Mortons magazine"). But we recognise his name largely from the 1980s with regard to his Despatch Riding column in the now defunct Motorcycling Weekly newspaper—a column that you'll perhaps remember if you were a regular or even occasional reader of that august newspaper periodical (and not to be confused with Motor Cycle Weekly magazine).


Bill Snelling hails from Kent, but is currently better associated with the Isle of Man where he took up residence (on and off) back in the 1970s and is now surgically attached to the place (there's a bad pun there, as you will see, but Bill won't mind. We hope). He's amassed hundreds of interesting, amusing, sad, and thought-provoking biking stories and has catalogued them in the numerous books he's penned, including this one.


The writing style is unflowery and simple—but by no means clumsy or naive. He simply gets on with the narration and shares with us insights into the places he been, the highs he's enjoyed, the lows he's endured, and all the other achievements and defeats of his life. He's ridden practically everything at one time or another, but clearly has a special place in his heart for Vincents and Velocettes, and pretty much anything else that rolls. Whatever else he is, he's no biking snob.


What we're left with is a feeling that his life has been "properly" lived, throttle wide open.



There are plenty of photographs, both B&W and colour, and pretty much all of them are too small for our taste and left us squinting or reaching for a magnifying glass. But you could enjoy this book without a single snapshot. The real imagery will be in your head.


If we had to criticise (and of course we do), the anecdotes are a little episodic and undeveloped. In other words, you start reading something interesting and looking for more depth and/or a bigger payoff only to find that that's all you've got; a few words on this, and a sketched tale about that. Fortunately, there's still enough meat on this particular bone to feel well fed. And, of course, many of the incidents that populate our lives do arrive in a flash of light and noise, and disappear just as quickly leaving us little except outlines. But a little extra effort here would have been welcome. It's something we've commented on before with other books.


Regardless, Bill Snelling has included those outlines and has committed them to print as tasters rather than snacks. Others can perhaps take these memories add some more colour to their own narratives. And if you're interested in the TT, particularly the Manx, Bill's got one or two tales to tell directly from the saddle,


The chapters are arranged so that you can dip in here and there while the kettle's boiling or during the TV adverts or whatever. Or you could spend the entire evening lying on the sofa with this book—but we doubt that many will get through this in a single sitting. Or a single lying.


The book dimensions are A5 (210mm x 148.5mm). There are 150 or so pages. There are 202 pictures. There's a price tag of £16.99 direct from Veloce Publishing—but check their website to see what deals they're currently running, if any.


The bottom line (or finish line if you prefer) is that this is a great little book busting with nostalgia. But don't take our word for it. Just buy it. There's every chance you'll enjoy it.




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New series of The Motorcycle Show (started 11/11/20. 6 x 1hr episodes)

Fantic to buy Motori Minarelli

New EU bike derogation law passed (modifying Euro4 end-of-season rules)


Ducati announce track-focused Panigale V4SP in 2021 superbike range

Covid-19 and motorbikes: Lockdown riding confusion reigns

Boxer goodies: Polish custom house stunning café racer BMW R100RT


Can you use a mobile phone in a car or on a motorcycle?

How new coronavirus lockdown restrictions affect motorcycling

Norton video exclusive! New boss on the future


Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride switches to May date [Sunday 23/5/21]

Police warn of threat of thieves targeting Facebook sellers


Could India Harley Dealers Sue Harley-Davidson?


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UK built electric Beezers on the way?


Story snapshot:

A new range of £5,000 - £10,000 bikes has been mooted for 2021

Production is planned for a site "near Small Heath"


We placed a question mark at the end of the headline for this news story because it's yet another speculative tale promising the advent of new 21st century BSA motorcycles.


The latest press teaser has just appeared in The Guardian newspaper which has been chin-wagging with Anand Mahindra, head honcho of the huge Indian Mahindra group.


Supposedly, the first of the new bikes will be built from a range of "bought-in" parts and assembled in a factory "near Small Heath", West Midlands. Exactly how near is anyone's guess at present. But it stands to reason that any company investing millions of pounds into the resurrection of a defunct heritage motorcycle brand would in all probability want to recommence manufacture as close as possible to the brand's most recent spiritual home. Ask John Bloor who re-established Triumph production at Hinckley, Leicestershire just 26 miles from Meriden Works in the West Mids.


Meanwhile we note that the decision to manufacture in the UK might be at least vaguely connected to the fact that a £4.6million UK government grant has apparently been made in the hope that a few hundred British jobs might be created.


So okay, £4.6million isn't actually very much in industrial terms, and it's mere pocket fluff for Anand Mahindra who's reputedly worth over £1billlion. But no doubt there will be other significant concessions from the relevant local authority that will make any deal even sweeter. On the other hand, the money has been granted to bolster development in electric motorcycle technology, and who's to say where that development will take place, and whether any of it will really support British jobs?


Not us.


Meanwhile, as we understand it, the Beezers will indeed be manufactured here in Blighty. That's the plan. But in a world of hardnosed accountancy and commercial pragmatism, we're a long way from convinced that the new BSA brand can pull this off—not unless it moves into higher end bikes, which apparently isn't the plan. The current promise is for motorcycles costing between £5,000 and £10,000, which puts the brand in direct competition with Triumph—and we recall Triumph waxing lyrically about British bikes being built in Britain.


As opposed to Thailand.


Mahindra already owns Jawa which was re-launched in 2018. And depending on whose numbers you believe (if any), Mahindra has ramped Jawa production up from 30,000 units annually to over 50,000.


No doubt, after some delay in moving the BSA project onward, the company has also been buoyed by the huge success of Royal Enfield which continues to grow and consolidate its position in both domestic and foreign markets.


Our view on all this? Switch off your engine for now and save gas. It might all happen, but the market is pretty crowded and it's not clear if the numbers are likely to stack up in a Covid-19 world where some huge financial challenges are coming at us.

See also: Sump Classic Bike News October 2016


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Mash MCs appoints (Dutch owned) Motomondo UK as a new distributor

Benelli brand reviver Andrea Merloni has died aged 53 (9th November 2020)

Triumph Motorcycles tease new 850 Sport. "Global reveal on 17th Nov 2020)

Royal Enfield 350cc Meteor announced for Far East. Euro bikes "soon"

Royal Enfield also announces new [350 Meteor] Tripper satnav system

 New UK smart M-way sections coming. 32mi/M13. 17mi/M6. 23mi/M1


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NMM summer 2020 raffle winner


Story snapshot:

National Motorcycle Museum waves away its 1977 Jubilee Bonnie

Winter 2020 raffle is another Triumph


That's Dr Graham Hagan in the image immediately above. His winning ticket (number 1172017) earned him this 1977 750cc Triumph T140J Silver Jubilee Bonneville, a bike that carries the ignominy of never having been ridden. The prize draw was to have taken place at the museum's LIVE event. But Covid-19 concerns meant that Velocette aficionado Ivan Rhodes did the honours from elsewhere in the biking universe.


Mr Stewart Bentley from East Yorkshire took the second prize and walked away with a Sealey Retro Style Combination Tool Chest (ticket number 5103343).



Meanwhile, we learn that the NMM is now offering a 1979 Triumph T140D Bonneville as the top prize in its Winter 2020 Raffle (November 2020 - April 2021) which is open to UK residents only. And this bike is also offered in unmolested, untried and un-enjoyed condition—at least as far as gainful tarmac in concerned. Tickets are £10 for 5 (and you have to buy a minimum of 5), and the NMM is accepting payments only by debit card. One more thing, check the raffle T&Cs before you buy; residents of some regions are excluded by UK or local gaming laws.


And we ought to mention the news that the museum has recently been denied a Heritage Lottery Grant to help offset the impact of Covid-19 (Culture Recovery Fund). The NMM had applied in the sub-£1million category, but the purse holders and accountants have favoured other cultural assets. We're hearing that this is a major blow for the museum which has launched an appeal and is asking for your support.


Not for the first time, and taking a less partisan view, we might mention that the NMM is (for us at least) unquestionably the most boring motorcycle event or establishment we've ever visited. Moreover, we once again question the wisdom of putting so many prized motorcycles in the same location (reference the September 2003 fire which damaged over 650 bikes, many of them destroyed).


But many folk disagree and enjoy the museum and its activities, so we're happy to support the appeal for money. If you're feeling generous, hit the link below and/or buy some raffle tickets for the T140D.


Someone's gotta win it.




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Dear Team, Thank you for the link. I have entered the raffle. If I win it, rest assured I will be riding the bugger to extinction, summer and salt season, as I don’t do cars. I was at technical college when it was originally launched. I could not afford it at the time as I was a British Rail Engineering workshops apprentice on a good for the times £50 a week. Still not enough. I had to settle for a Yamaha XS250 SE “boulevard cruiser” which was a learner clone. It was rather dull in comparison and I was a bit smaller then, so the silhouette was acceptable. I think the silhouette will look ok now as life has turned out quite proportionate in many ways. Thus my interest. (Christ, I’m sounding more like Mark Williams nowadays).
—Chris Taylor

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On the road to totalitarianism?


Story snapshot:

Ride a motorcycle for fun and, as from today, you're a criminal

New lockdown measures passed with barely a protest


This is a tricky one because almost no one wants to see people get sick or die as a result of Covid-19. Consequently, the vast majority of us have been happy, or at least willing, to adhere to the various forms of lockdown restrictions that have been inflicted on us this year.


But evidently, the UK government's coronavirus counter-strategy isn't working. We're now motoring rapidly into the "flu season" which typically manifests itself in an increased take-up of NHS hospital beds and generally keeps the undertakers busy, and Covid-19 is rampant.


The latest outbreaks have led to a very stringent lockdown for the next month (at least) starting today 5th November 2020 and (supposedly) ending on 2nd December 2020. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is anticipating it will all be over by Christmas, but evidently he's been smoking too much hopium. There's clearly a very long haul ahead.


Arguably, however, even more worrying than the "Chinese disease" (to paraphrase US President Donald Trump) is the fact that the British people have pretty much surrendered their liberty to the legislators with barely a protest. We've blithely accepted home incarceration as a necessary short-term evil without publicly considering the wider implications. In short, we're on a road that ultimately leads to a totalitarian state. Yes, in the British mindset that's all but unthinkable. We fought the bloody Nazis, etc. But wearing compulsory face masks, maintaining a two metre distance from each other, avoiding members of our families, shutting schools, shutting down the airlines, locking down students in dormitories, washing our hands every time we touch something in public and isolating ourselves for weeks or months on end would have been unthinkable this time last year.


And now, once again, venturing beyond the perimeters of our homes without "good reason" (i.e. for shopping, to go to work, for educational needs, etc) means that we're breaking the law and can be fined by a growing army of clipboard enforcers on the prowl checking our habits and movements, issuing fines and hounding us off the streets.


The maximum fine in England increases to £6,400. And yes, the cops can arrest you if they think it is proportionate and necessary. That's straight from the Metropolitan Police.



▲ This is a scam. We're hearing that around £1million has already been fleeced from people who, presumably, committed some minor extra-domicile transgression and believed that they'd been caught. But the cops are also ready to hand you up to a £200 fine for a first offence—and much more if you're a serial liberty-lover. Meanwhile West Yorkshire Police have been leaving these warnings on vehicle windscreens (see image immediately below). Park the bike. Switch on the TV. You're grounded, son.




Don't misunderstand us; we're in favour of population lockdowns where and when it's reasonably possible. But there's a world of difference between voluntary compliance and government diktat. Consequently we're wondering if it's time to entirely abandon lockdown compulsion in favour of a different system.


Such as what, for instance?


Well, such as encouraging the more vulnerable members of British society to voluntarily self-isolate, and fully support that isolation, and then allow the rest of the population to simply take a hit and behave "normally" as they see fit—albeit with all the usual advice and encouragement to stay safe. And unless a vaccine is found soon and successfully deployed, that's exactly what has to happen (not that exposure to Covid-19 will lead to long term immunity). The virus needs to burn itself out just as it did with Spanish Flu way back at the beginning of the last century. But that's not happening. Instead, we're keeping it percolating in the pot, and that's no way to deal with any epidemic or pandemic.


Part of the key here is viral load. NHS workers, it seems, have been disproportionately dying of Covid-19 largely because of the increased amounts of virus to which they've been exposed. That needs to be better addressed, possibly with the new generation of breathing equipment. But for the population at large, moderate doses of the virus generally leads to either no symptoms or low symptoms. In other words, low doses of the virus is survivable by the vast majority of people.


And it's worth reminding ourselves in passing that the average age of a coronavirus victim is still around 82, and death usually occurs only where there are underlying conditions. To be blunt, you have to be half dead in the first place before you can get the other foot in the grave.


Meanwhile, Test & Trace is pure nonsense. It didn't stop the Germans, or the French or the Italians or the Spanish from introducing new full or partial lockdowns. Only a few Far Eastern countries have made that idea work, but mostly by a full-on, hardboiled, heavy duty no exceptions lockdown. That seems to work. For some. But a (relatively) softly-softly approach, UK style, is simply stirring the pot.


Micromanaging the economy from 10 Downing Street is manifestly leading to all kinds of anomalies and seriously disrupting the economy and creating a debt bubble that sooner or later is going to burst. Ultimately, that will lead to the biggest public financial liability since WW2. It's happening, and if any of you reading this live long enough, it's going to hurt.


So why have we published this story? Because today we received an email from our old "friends" at Big Brother Watch (BBW) detailing the recent vote in the Commons that saw 516 MPs vote for Lockdown 2, and only 38 against it (while 21 Tory MPs had no vote recorded). And these are shameful and worrying numbers for a bunch of civil servants charged with the responsibility of, above all else, defending our liberty.


Check that word again: Liberty.


Feel like protesting that vote? Well you can't. Not for another month, and perhaps not even then. The government removed your right. We're prisoners of our own complacency. We're getting exactly what we deserve. We did the crime and now we're doing the time.


Our advice is to visit the BBW website. Get talking to your MP and check his or her stance. Reconsider your response to these half-hearted percolating lockdowns and start lobbying for a fresh approach.


Full on totalitarianism might be unlikely, but it's become an increasing possibility.




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