▲ 1930 AJS Model S2. This 996cc sidevalve V-twin has had a mildly chequered history—which is what you might expect, or at least hope for, with a machine that, in one form or another, has been around for over 90 years. Originally this UK registered motorcycle carried the registration number PO 3338. It's not known where it was first registered, but by 1947 it was in Chichester, West Sussex with an attached sidecar. In 1959 it arrived in Felpham, East Sussex. In 1983 it was in Hailsham, also East Sussex. Apparently the bike was bought as a project (and possibly used as a boat winch in nearby Peacehaven) and was re-registered as DS 9578. The current owner, son of vintage restorer Spike Holman, bought the AJS in 2005 and returned it to a more fitting state, as seen above. The bike has new cylinder sleeves and pistons, a new big end, and a rebuilt magneto—but hasn't been run for some time and needs fettling. The bore and stroke is 84mm x 90mm. The transmission is 3-speed (with foot-operated clutch). Wheels are 26-inch. The weight is 375 lb. Numbers match. A V5C is available together with various manuals and documentation. And we're advised that it might be possible to have the original registration number re-applied. The S2 will be auctioned by Spicers of Driffield, Yorkshire on 13th March 2021. The plan is to have a live auction, but that might be scuppered depending on the Covid-19 situation making it an online sale. Either way, viewing should be possible. The estimate for this very attractive twin—a genuine Stevens Brothers machine (as opposed to an AMC bike)—is £18,000 - £22,000. Price new? £63.


February 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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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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January 2021


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Brough Superior Bert Le Vack tribute model. 997cc. 100bhp. Mid-2021

Motorcyclist and charity fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore dies at age 100

Joe Biden administration refuses Anne Saccolas extradition (Harry Dunn)

EU flag removed from all UK number plates & licences (1st January 2021)

International driving permit not needed for EU (inc Switzerland & Norway)

Norton Motorcycles opens new manufacturing plant in Solihull, West Mids

Stafford Show shifted (again) to 5/6th June 2021 (was 24/25th April 2021)

Motorcycle racer & engineer Peter Williams dies aged 81 (1939 - 2020)

Long established AMC man Ernie Merryweather dies aged 86 (1934 - 2020)


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1961 Norton Dominator 600cc in dove grey


Canterbury Auction date shift


Story snapshot:

1961 Dommie 600 and a 1951 AJS 500cc Model 18 to sell

But note the change of date from Feb to April


The Canterbury Auction Galleries has announced a change of date for its next auction. It was to take place on 6th - 7th February 2021. But Covid-19 has had something to say about that. So it's been shifted to 10th/11th/12th April 2021—subject to whatever government anti-virus regulations are in force (and if any of us are still alive).


Two highlighted bikes include the immediately above 1961 600cc Norton Dominator 99, and the immediately below 1951 500cc AJS Model 18 CS replica. Both are being sold by a hardcore VMCC man who's clearly kept these two gems in fine fettle.


1951 AJS Model 18 CS Replica


Fifty years ago the Norton was bought by the vendor from Alan Trow Motorcycles of Welling, Kent. Listed as "in stunning original condition", the bike has matching frame and engine numbers, plus its original registration number, plus its original Dunlop steel wheel rims, plus an optional extra fully enclosed rear chaincase and a pair of original Paul Dunstall Gold Star silencers that were fitted from new. It's not exactly a "time warp" motorcycle. But it's nevertheless a beautiful example of the marque, and it's gotta hurt the vendor by letting it go. If we were the kind of people who went around saying stuff like "I really feel your pain, man," we'd probably say something exactly like that. But we ain't, and we won't.




Back in 1961, this dove grey classic cost £317 2s 10d including tax (£288 5s 10d pre tax). The lesser known auction house reckons that it will sell for somewhere between £5,000 and £7,000.

Meanwhile, the 1951 500cc AJS Model 18 CS (Replica) is advertised as being fully refurbished, certainly as far as the big bits are concerned. The bike has been around at numerous VMCC events, and it's been "extensively breathed on", and it's geared for road use. And if it matters to you, these wheels have "stormed the Hardknot and Wrynose Passes, and Snaefell on the Isle of Man!"


How that for cred?


The estimate for this motorcycle is also £5,000 to £7,000. If either interest you, call Dave Parker at The Canterbury Auction Galleries, on 01227 763337. Tell 'em Sump sent ya.



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2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS arrives


Story snapshot:

More powerful and torquier than ever

£15,100 is the price


The new Triumph Speed Triple RS has just been launched and is being hyped by Hinckley as the most powerful, lightest and best performing to date.


The engine, now completely redesigned, has been hiked from 1,050cc to 1,160cc (nominally 1200). The power has been boosted by almost 30bhp taking it up to 177.5bhp (180ps). Torque also gets a boost to 92lb-ft or 125Nm @ 9,500 rpm (that's an improvement of 5.9lb-ft). The redline has also been raised by 650rpm to—wait for it—11,150.


Ask the Triumph tech-heads and they'll tell you some other salient stuff, such the new Shift-Assist hardware, the new compact stacked gearbox, the Brembo Stylema brake calipers (with 320mm front discs), the Metzeler RACETEC RR tyres, the 198kg wet weight, the Optimised Cornering ABS, the switchable Optimised Cornering Traction Control (with IMU), the Front Wheel Lift Control, the Öhlins suspension, and the Cruise Control.


There is also a 5-inch TFT instrument display. Full keyless ignition. LED lighting all over (c/w self cancelling indicators). And, while we remember, the service interval is every 12 months or 10,000 miles.




So what's the downside?


£15,100, which is going to push this roadster well out of reach of many of the guys and gals who it's aimed at, and an engine note that's either a cracking, raucous, full-on trackster scream, or just a high-pitched whine without any of the boomy richness that some of us prefer. But then, at 11,150rpm you probably can't really expect much more.


It seems that Triumph has produced another fabulous update on a tried and trusted theme, and the Triple certainly looks every bit as good as it ever did (but, okay, without the initial cheeky in-yer-face impact of the first bug eye model). However, it just might turn out to be the right bike for the right people at the wrong time.


Meanwhile, take note that it's the only Speed Triple now in the Triumph fold. So either pay the fifteen grand, or sink your hook somewhere else.


The bikes are shipping by the end of Feb 2021. But Triumph dealers are standing by to relieve you of your deposits.



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Fire hits Austrian MC Museum


Story snapshot:

Top Mountain Crosspoint Museum has suffered huge damage

Over 200 motorcycles trashed


We've commented before about the obvious folly of putting hundreds of rare and collectable motorcycles in the same museum. But we take no delight in discovering that our prognostications (such as they were) have now been rewarded with a huge fire; in this case at the Top Mountain Crosspoint Motorcycle Museum which is located at Timmelsjoch Pass (linking Austria with Italy).


The fire, we're hearing, started at 4.40am. Local firefighters were summoned and arrived reasonably quickly. But the building was apparently already seriously ablaze.




Until the preliminary investigation is completed, the museum management is contemplating the loss of over 200 machines from Brough Superior to Vincent to Zundapp to Flying Merkel to Harley-Davidson to most of the usual suspects.


The museum was founded in 2016 by twins Alban and Attila Scheiber. Long time collectors of classic bikes and classic cars, the brothers dreamed of creating a suitable venue for display of their machines. The museum subsequently became known as the highest motorcycle museum in the world at 2,175 metres (for what that's worth to you). It quickly became a popular destination for "petrolheads" crossing the Italian/Austrian border.


The attractive Alpine style museum was designed by architect Michael Brötz who clearly wanted to invoke memories of board track racers from the pioneer days of the last century. Hence the copious amount of wood which is very easy on the eye, and even easier on a fire.



We don't want to comment further on this incident. It's simply not the right time for recriminations. And in any case, the facts are not yet clear. But the loss to the classic motorcycle world is likely to be very significant, and we're hoping that the management in similar venues take whatever lessons from this that they can and organise some contingencies.


In September 2003, the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, Birmingham UK was hit by a huge fire which damaged around 650 motorcycles, some of them irreparably so. Three of the five exhibition halls were wrecked. Many of the exhibits were, of course, irreplaceable.




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Oz actor-director-biker Hugh Keays-Byrne dies aged 73 (Mad Max/Stone)

New motorway tailgating cameras. 26,000 hits/2 months. Warnings given

NMM raffles 3 Triumphs. Covid-19 fund. Tickets "£6 each". Check details

New Triumph Speed Triple 1200RS expected by end of January 2021

Ducati California Mountain View office raided. "30 FBI agents" (17/12/2020)


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December 2020


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Interim leadership at Polaris [Michael Speetzen]

Triumph replaces defunct Three Cross Outlet [Destination Triumph Dorset]


Bucketlist: Ride a classic banked circuit

Get your stoppers gleaming: how to clean your motorbike's brakes

Major changes on the way for KTM 890 Adventure


How new Coronavirus lockdown restrictions affect motorcycling


Top 10 pioneering motorcycles that were way before their time

Bajaj Auto: world’s most valuable motorcycle manufacturer worth $13.6bn

First product of Triumph-Bajaj collaboration pushed back to 2023


The 2021 Bristol Veloce 500 Lands In the Philipines [sic]


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1925 Brough Superior SS100


H&H December 2020 sale results


Story snapshot:

The sell through rate was 83%

A 1925 Brough Superior tops a reasonable auction


In an ever changeable universe (coronavirus, Brexit, Donald Trump, etc), it's reassuring to know that there are still some constants—such as the (outrageous?) price of Brough Superior motorcycles. Case in point is the above 1925 SS100 (Lot 125) that was recently (19th December 2020) flogged off by Mssrs H&H at the National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) near Solihull, West Midlands.


The sale price for this hunk of motorcycling aristocracy was £184,000 and is apparently one of "possibly" 20 known examples—which, in BS terms (and we've mentioned before somewhere), makes it as common as muck.


But of course it's not muck. It's a very competent and stylish 1,000cc OHV JAP V-twin powered bike, and we wouldn't boot it out of the garage if it stumbled between our loving legs. But we wouldn't hand over £184k for it either. It just doesn't strike us as that remarkable and isn't attached in any obvious way to any celeb except, of course, George Brough himself who probably had his mitts on it at some time. But some folk have deeper pockets than us and evidently "know a bargain when they see one", so we'll leave it right there and will go and pick on someone else.


It looks like there were 175 motorcycle lots in the sale. Of that 175, 145 found buyers, with three withdrawn. That boils down to a sell-through rate of 83% (and remember our maths is lousy). And 83% is pretty good, especially during these troubled economic times (although we might mention that there are plenty of folk making a fortune these days, largely because of the pandemic and Brexit).


The next highest selling item was Lot 55, a 1936 Brough Superior SS80 which sold for £55,200. And we might mention a couple of other Broughs (one estimated at £70k - £80k, and one at £35k to £45k which didn't sell on the day, but are under offer).


1944 Triumph 3HW


1944 Triumph 3HW ex-WD


▲ 1944 Triumph 3HW. This handsome 350cc OHV ex-WD bike (Lot 149) was despatched by Meriden to Littlewoods in Liverpool for onward distribution to the British Army. There's some dispute about when it was actually built (1940 v 1944), but there's a V5C present. No history with the bike. It was part of the National Motorcycle Museum's reserve collection.

Dry stored. Ex-display bike. Needs recom. The price? £12,650. Not bad.



▲ 1968 BSA A65 Spitfire Mk4. Here's Lot 137,  a restored 650cc Beezer twin fresh from the National Motorcycle Museum reserve collection. These motorcycles look as good today as when they were launched in the mid-1960s. But it's only in recent years that we've seen prices hit ten grand. But this one pipped that at £10,925. Needs re-commissioning. Matching numbers. Showing 734 miles (for what that's worth).



▲ 1955 Vincent Black Prince. This was Lot 35, and it didn't find a buyer. The estimate was £60,000 - £65,000, which is about right for these 1,000cc Series D Stevenage roadsters. But some folk simply can't get past the plastic, mentally speaking. So they're a bit hit and miss on the auction block. We like 'em plenty, simply for their oddness. But that kind of money is too much for any Vincent (in our grovellingly humble opinion). It was described as "well maintained", but close up shots suggest to us that it was actually a little tatty and leaky. Might still be available, so talk to H&H if you're a Black Prince kind of guy, or gal.



▲ 1939 Vincent HRD Series A Comet. The selling points were:


Correct numbers on its original registration
Restored by its previous owner in 1999/2000 to a very good standard
In good running order and used regularly
Comprehensive history file including photos/letters from previous owners, copy of original build sheet, Vincent Owners Club letter of authenticity, old MOT's, original manual and other associated paperwork
Fitted with dual front alloy brake plates
Current V5C and old RF60 continuation buff logbook
Described by our vendor as "a dream to ride and an easy starter".


Most of all, we think, it just looks so good. This pre-war 500cc single (Lot 68) found a buyer at £44,850.



▲ 1969 BSA D14/10 Bantam (Lot 9). Over the past five years or so we've seen some very unlikely prices being asked for BSA Bantams—which are still great fun to ride. Two grand. Three grand. Three and a half grand. We know of one bloke who spent somewhere around £20k having his Bantam professionally restored (there's a sidelong comment or two we could make about that, but we're feeling generous today and we ain't going there). So it pleases us a lot to see that this 175cc example was sold for a very reasonable £1,250. Ex-NMM. Needs the usual workshop inspection and prep before use. Pity we missed that one.



Overall, the sale doesn't look too shabby. Some stuff strikes us as a little low (when compared to, say, a year or two ago). But other classic stuff has moved up a notch or two, and that might simply be a matter of price adjustment in line with fashion. It happens.


H&H, meanwhile, is claiming a near £2million overall turnover and reckons that it shifted 100 percent of the NMM reserve collection. We haven't checked every bike (life's too short, and we're busy dodging the virus), but it sounds reasonable. Certainly the company is sounding pleased with the results of its final sale of 2020.

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Two Tyres is open for business


Story snapshot:

New(ish) Central London motorcycle tyre workshop

Buy online, or ride in for a fitting quote


As far as we know, these guys have been around since August 2020 (but don't quote us on that). The point is, they've only recently come to our attention—and it's always wise to stay in the loop regarding motorcycle services and related suppliers.


This outfit is run by Chris and Ben—Ben being Ben Cope who used to run Visordown but has since moved onto other projects. As far as we call tell, he's a pretty shrewd character and knows what he's doing. But he's no special friend of ours, so you can make up your own mind about this latest venture.


Two Tyres is based in the Lambeth area of London; think Battersea Park or the Oval sports ground. The business will flog you tyres online, or will fit whatever rubber you bring (subject to their workshop charges). They deal with all types of motorcycles from tourers to cruisers to crotch rockets to classics. Tip: ask about track tyres.


You can also enjoy these services:


Motorcycle puncture repair
Motorcycle battery supply and fit
Motorcycle brake servicing
Motorcycle, moped and scooter servicing
Motorcycle oil and filter changes
Replacing wheel bearings
Supply and fitting a chain and sprockets


We're not recommending these guys. But we're certainly not warning you. We wouldn't carry this story if we had any concerns there. Good enough?


Here's an address and other contact details:


Two Tyres

15-17 Clyston Street



0207 205 2205



One final word. Go and check your tyres before you next ride your bike. Better that you discover an accident waiting to happen before that accident actually happens. Are we right?


Happy new year if we don't speak to you again before then. And try and stay locked down until the vaccine's rolled out everywhere. It just might say your life.



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Urgent Action Alert from BBW


Story snapshot:

Big Brother Watch has launched a new petition

A recall of Parliament is demanded


The boys and girls at Big Brother Watch (BBW) have been in touch again, this time appealing for signatures on their latest petition. This relates to Prime Minister Boris Johnson who's effectively "cancelled Christmas".


BBW feels that Johnson needs to explain his latest diktat and justify it before the nation's MPs. And once again, we should point out that we've got some misgivings about BBW. But then, we've got misgivings about pretty much everything. So we're always listening to what they have to say even though we're not necessarily persuaded by all their claims and arguments.


The organisation, however, certainly has a valid point that Boris has left himself wide open for much criticism regarding his recent failed promises to (a) give Xmas the go-ahead, and (b) his refusal to criminalise anyone wanting to celebrate or otherwise mark the festive season in the traditional way. And in a parliamentary democracy, there has to be full accountability where possible.


On the other hand, poor old Boris, who's since cancelled the festivities, is going to be damned for acting too slowly, damned for acting too quickly, damned for being in control, damned for not being in control, and damned for doing pretty much anything. You'd think he was personally responsible for the arrival of the virus (although okay, he does have a few more questions to address regarding the government's anti-virus strategies over the past year).


Overall, we think he's doing the very best he can, and it's hard to see who else is in the frame who could do a better job. Certainly not Keir Starmer.


However, you've no doubt got your own views, so sign the petition or don't sign it. But whatever else you (and Santa) do this Christmas, make sure you STAY AWAY FROM US! This new variant of Covid-19 might well be over-hyped (as some are saying). But we're keeping well locked down until the boffins agree on what's going on and how to deal with it. Not that they ever agree about anything. And that's no bad thing.


As we write, a little over 4,100 people have signed the petition. But 10,000 sigs are needed to trigger an official government response. We're not sure that that will directly lead to a parliamentary recall. Nevertheless, it might indirectly help speed things along.


Stay safe, peeps.



Recall Parliament petition


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Maybe they should have a petition suggesting people stay away from each other a bit more. Quite frankly, we're in the position we are because too many people are carrying on as if there is no virus (like lemmings in other words). Packed beaches in the summer (remember?). Packed shops for the sales. Packed pubs and other venues before each restriction. And packed illegal raves and parties. Slack PPE behaviour at every turn. It really is a great way to control a pandemic. Never mind looking to Boris for  excuses. The BBW people should look to themselves for accountability
and so should everyone else.
—The Village Squire

Dear Sumpers, your Orwellian friends [They're not our friends—Ed] are perhaps a bit too easily riled. My advice to them is; "pick your fight". The Village Squire represents the views of much of the population I suspect, and now may not be the time to challenge the decisions made to protect lives. Follow Keir Starmer's lead, you can attack Boris and his competence, (which is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel on so many fronts right now) but appearing to counter decisions to save lives is a not a winning position. However come the revolution brothers...—Phil Cowley

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Brough Superior SS100 1936


Bonhams 2020 Winter Sale results


Story snapshot:

Once again, we're seeing some significant price adjustments

But overall, classic bike prices continue to fall


We counted around 258 motorcycles at the recent Bonhams Winter Sale at Bicester, Oxon—plus many other items of memorabilia. It's hard to give precise numbers because Bonhams hasn't yet sent us a statement of the event, and we've got too much going on at the moment to spend valuable time counting and recounting each and every bike and checking the small print (withdrawn, etc). But roughly speaking, we think we that 237 motorcycles were sold, and 21 weren't. We're talking about complete bikes (with two 3-wheelers and two 4-wheelers in the list from the likes of Morgan, Douglas, AJS and BSA). So 258 lots covers it. But if exact numbers are important to you, you'll have to do your own counting.


And no, we can't simply look at where the lots begin and where they end because they're not consecutively numbered. Regardless, once again we're seeing some very low prices (when compared to what classic bikes were fetching a decade ago). And it points to a little readjustment as some bikes have moved up in terms of appeal and therefore value, while others have clearly moved down.


But let's get the top selling lot out of the way first, and that bike was the immediately above 1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS100 (Lot 232) which sold for a whopping £276,000 including premium. Special factory-fitted features of this machine include:


Foot gear control
Separate oil tank c/w filter and C&S cap
Battery on engine pin bracket
Detachable carrier – not fitted
Small type curved top pannier bags
Non-valanced rear split guard – Wasdell
Wasdell front guard – with flap
Alum oil bath front chain case
Top & bottom rear chain covers
Amal handlebar fittings – R & LH internal twist grips
LHS brake pedal
Pillion footrests
Dual silencer & fishtails


What makes it more valuable than many other SS100s is that this bike carries the lowest engine number of any Matchless (AMC) powered Brough Superior (see Sump Classic Bike News November 2020 for more on this). Bonhams had estimated £260,000 - £280,000, so they got this one spot on at £276k (or are there other factors at work here?).


This machine had been part of the National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) Reserve Collection. But it's been flogged off like the family silver largely, if not entirely, because of the coronavirus hitting museum visitor numbers. That's the "official" dope, anyway.


1979 Triumph Bonneville T140


And there were plenty more motorcycles selling for much less impressive numbers. Such as a 1950 Vincent Meteor for £12,650, and a 1952 Vincent Comet for £13,800. Or a 1979 Triumph Bonneville T140 with just 7 miles on the clock for £5,750 (Lot 222, see image immediately above; also part of the NMM Reserve Collection).


1959 Triumph T120


Or how about a 1959 T120 Bonnie (Lot 218) for £11,500? A few years ago these Trumpets were asking, and often getting, £15,000. Granted that this one has been unused for some time. But it has been fully restored by noted experts and is showing just 500 miles or so since that rebuild.


And there are many other examples of cut-price British classics. But okay, it went the other way too. For instance a 1957 498cc Triumph TRW was expected to sell for £4,000 - £6,000, which we thought was perhaps a bit mean. But the bike (Lot 224) actually sold for an impressive £10,120. Much more than we expected.


Meanwhile, Lot 205 was a Royal Enfield Series 1 Interceptor that fetched £10,350, which looks like a fairly decent price (although we don't see enough of them for sale to be certain of that). We suspect that the wider resurgence of Royal Enfield has had something to do with what appears to be rising prices of these classic twins.


Other interesting lots  (pricewise) are Lot 207, a 1939 599cc Ariel Square Four which sold for £20,700, and Lot 208 a 1935 Ariel Square Four 4F 601cc which realised £25,300.


Lovejoy TV series BSA A10 646cc

Lovejoy TV show motorcycle


▲ 1960 646cc BSA A10. This was the motorcycle combination used in the first series of the Lovejoy TV show starring Ian McShane (as Lovejoy, right) and Chris Jury (as Eric, left). The bike has had a lot of modifications (much by SRM Engineering), and it was restored ten years ago. A new tank has been fitted, but the original is available. A V5C is present too. The bike sold for £5,750 which is about average for a BSA A10. But we might have expected this motorised antique and TV star to do a little better. No?


c1938 Triumph Tiger 70


▲ Grasstracking ain't our thing. But if it was, at £1,610 we might be tempted to take home this c1938 249cc Triumph Tiger 70 once owned by noted motorcycle racer and enthusiast Peter McManus. No docs, but it looks pretty much all there. Cheap pre-war off-road fun—and there were many more at similar prices where this came from.



c1955 Cimatti motorcycle


▲ c1955 160cc Cimatti. Founded in 1937 by Olympic gold medal cyclists Marco Cimatti, the firm started with bicycles and late made a variety of lightweights and three-wheels. Never such a big name in the UK, these bikes were popular in the USA. The business went to the wall in 1984. No docs with this one. Restored. Stylish. Very. £2,530.


1954 Vincent Comet 499cc


▲ 1954 499cc Vincent Series C Comet. Not super cheap at £16,100. But the steady rise of Comets over the past 5 - 10 years appears to have slowed and even slipped a little. Some still see these machines as second fiddles in the Vincent orchestra. But in fact plenty of Comet owners feel that you can push these (lighter) 90mph singles much harder on the road than the twins and therefore get more fun from them. A copy V5, part V5C, and the original logbook is available. Six private owners from new.


The upshot of all this is that, as we said, there's some price adjustment going on. But overall, it seems that many classic bike prices are still 25 - 30 percent down on what they were ten years ago.


Some of those adjustments strike us as perfectly "fair" and reasonable. Triumph TRWs for instance, have long been under-valued. And (dare we suggested it?) 1959 T120s were overvalued.


Beyond all that, another apparent change is the price of flat tankers which seem to be struggling a little, but not desperately so.


As ever, we'll be taking a closer look at this sale and trying to work out exactly which way the wind is blowing. The bottom line is that we can't take prices for granted (as if we ever really could). There are some clear "bargains" around if we're patient and keep a weather eye on the auctions.


If we had to say, we think that we haven't yet hit the bottom, pricewise.


See also: Sump Magazine Bonhams Winter Sale, Dec 2020


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I see that the1979 T140 7 push miles only that sold for £5,750 at Bonhams is now for sale on Ebay at £13995! —Roy Cole

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Moto Guzzi 2021 V7 range updates


Story snapshot:

Two models in the line-up

Capacity raised from 744cc to 853cc


Moto Guzzi has released details of its revised V7 range, and aside from a fairly decent power increase and a few styling tweaks, there's not much to get excited about. But check the details and decide for yourself. So if you're so minded, flip over to our Motorcycle News page and see if anything grabs ya.


Sump Motorcycle News December 2020


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Bike broker buys into artificial intelligence [Principal Insurance]

NMDA Comment on November motorcycle registrations

Ride free with Bennetts [90 free Compulsory Basic Training courses]


Royal Enfield Meteor 350 could be the ultimate budget city bike

Camden shock: Council plans extortionate bike parking charges


New Royal Enfield Meteor 350 launched in Europe

Exotic tie-in creates MV Agusta Superveloce Alpine


Norton Commando 961

Norton Interim CEO releases statement regarding 961 deposits

Royal Enfield Meteor 350

Official specs and price for UK-bound Royal Enfield Meteor 350


Honda 350 Scrambler

Honda could come out with CB350 Scrambler soon


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H&H NMM December sale reminder


Story snapshot:

Saturday 19th December 2020 is the date

The NMM is the venue


Here's a reminder that H&H will be holding a live auction on Saturday 19th December 2020 at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull (B92 0EJ). We've been checking the 174-lot catalogue, and there's some very decent stuff there including British, European and Japanese classics. We're talking about six or seven Vincents, at least three Broughs, plus some other pre-war exotica. There's some plastic racer stuff that doesn't appeal much to us. And there's a fair range of flat tankers if you're into pioneer era bikes. Also see the 1937 Triumph 6S De Luxe at the top of this page. We've got our eye on that, but the garage is pretty full.



Interesting/rare bikes include the immediately above 750cc 1934 Douglas Z1 Powerflow (Lot 163). Can't remember that we've ever seen one of these in the wild, and possibly not in captivity either, come to that. This example is unregistered and is an incomplete barn find, so it's probably for hardcore Douglas fans only. Then again, pretty much all Douglas motorcycles are for hardcore Douglas fans, aren't they?


Although technically not a Powerflow (the name wasn't used until 1935), this bike is nevertheless essentially the same flathead 76mm x 82mm flat twin that was intended as a sidecar hack. Customers could opt for a 4-speed foot change or 4-speed hand change gearbox, this example being the former.


There was no sump on this engine. The oil was carried in a compartment in the petrol tank and fed by gravity and a gear driven pump. Moving the oil from low to high, incidentally, was a shame because some earlier Douglas engines featured a beautiful finned sump beneath the motor. But Bristol based Douglas (1907 - 1957) had been struggling for survival in the 1930s, and cost cutting was demanded to keep the marque afloat. That's a Lucas magdyno above the intake manifold, incidentally.

UPDATE: This bike sold for £7,875.



▲ By 1937 the British Aircraft Company had taken over Douglas and reconfigured the business as Aero Engines. Pride & Clarke, a London distribution and retail firm that was always quick on the trigger when it came to new marketing opportunities, became the sole agent for the marque and assembled machines directly from stock. But the 750cc bikes didn't survive and were supplanted by more cost effective models.



Performance was on par with rival machines from other manufacturers, but Douglas still had plenty of street cred thanks to its various TT successes, and these fore-and-aft flat twins carried their weight low (minimising wind resistance) and generally delivered smoother mustard than many rivals.


Bonhams flogged a very clean example (with a chair) back in 2013 and realised £8,050. H&H is anticipating £5,000 - £7,000 which sounds realistic.


Other lots include:



▲ Lot 172. 1929 Morgan Super Aero fitted with an 1,100cc water-cooled JAP engine and, we're guessing, a 3-speed plus reverse gearbox. The estimate is £32,000 - £36,000. Cool pre-war seat-of-the-pants motoring.

UPDATE: Sold for £57,500 (way above our expectations).



▲ Lot 155. 1950 Triumph T100 with rare Meriden factory touring kit. If you're looking for some laid back classic touring, you could so much worse than this stylish 500cc Trumpet. Dry-stored. Will require some re-commissioning. Ex-display bike. Estimate: £5,000 - £7,000. UPDATE: Sold for £8,625


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Glasgow Ducati-Triumph is bust


Story snapshot:

Creditors force closure

Bad day for Triumph, and even worse for Ducati


Last year (2019) this dealership turned over a very respectable £8.9 million. This year, with the impact of Covid-19, the nine month accounts to 31st October turnover fell to £5.5 million. So the creditors (said to be Clydesdale Bank) have pulled the plug. Lack of spare cash/working capital appears to be at the root of this particular evil.


Sounds like something else is going on here? Maybe. We're no accountants. But it seems that given the status quo, it doesn't appear that this company has actually done that badly—and the signs are good that 2021 will see a big general improvement in the UK economy. Hence our uninformed feeling that this closure is premature.


So where does that leave the firm? Well, it appears that the creditors are looking for some kind of commercial continuity, and they're hoping that someone will come in at the fire-sale level, if necessary, and keep this ship afloat. And that reinforces our (ignorant?) suspicion that there's another "person of colour" in this particular woodpile [oh-oh, we could get a reaction over that comment—Ed].


Triumph also enjoys Scottish dealer representation in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. But Ducati Glasgow is the only Ducati dealership north of the Scottish border.


Someone will surely take up this opportunity; probably one of the bigger combines looking to consolidate its grasp on a few more throttles. And if so, a Christmas bargain is possibly to be had.


UPDATE: This business has indeed since been bought by DMG (Ducati Manchester Group).


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A good turnover, but that was also probably a big loss. It's all about
profit, not turnover. No doubt the finances weren't too good. They
probably won't be the last as many newer dealerships set out with large
debts (overheads) from day one
—The Village Squire

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November 2020



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.


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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

Why disrespect the British soldier? I suppose the worst thing that can happen to journalists to ruin their day is their Biro leaks. Get in the real world.—Philip Jackson

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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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