April 2014 Classic bike news


1929 Ascot-Pullin.  This 496cc, 3-speed Sports Utility is Lot 178 at Bonhams' Spring Sale at Stafford on 27th April 2014.  "The New Wonder Motorcycle" was introduced in 1928 by the Letchworth, Hertfordshire-based Ascot Motor & Manufacturing Company. Cyril Pullin, the 1914 TT winner, was the mind behind this radical machine. Pullin felt that the car industry was headed in the right direction when it came to mass production, hence the pressed steel frame, pressed steel "dashboard", and numerous other non-motorcycle features of this machine. The price? Bonhams is anticipating £20,000 - £25,000 for this rare creation. Commercially speaking, Cyril Pullin got it so wrong. But we think that in various other ways, he got it so right. Images courtesy of Bonhams. www.bonhams.com. See more of the Ascot here: Ascot-Pullin feature from Sump.

April 2014 news

New political T-shirt from Sump
Mark Upham nabs Brough's Brough
Ex Hailwood/Surtees Sportmax sells
Reunion of the Rockers, 3rd May 2014

u r txtng. stp drvng u mrn
Looking for a Stafford alternative?

Another implied classic bike threat from London Mayor Boris Johnson?

Houston Motorcycle Auction results

Government to scrap camera cars?

Cheffins Vintage Sale: 26th April 2014

The Stranglers Bonneville raffle

Rare DKW SS250 leads Duxford Sale

BSA C15, B25, B40, B44 & B50 aficionados look this way
Johammer electric motorcycles
Death comes calling at Bonhams
Wal Handley's Lagonda to sell at H&H

Vincent Series C Rapide raffle

Classic British Bikes book

Stuff we like: Bell Bullitt Helmet - TT

Triumph Model P from Andy Tiernan

Foundry First Anniversary Ride In
April - Houston Motorcycle Auction
Ernest "Ernie" Lyons: 1914 - 2014
UK campaign to reinstate .22 pistols

March 2014 news

Introducing Stephen Hill, pop artist

Classic bike tax discs are on a roll
Kempton Park bike jumble sells out
BSA Bantam 3-string steel guitar
Boris Johnson to ban classic bikes?
Gruppo Bertone's in trouble. Again
Paris bans cars and motorcycles
Southend Shakedown & Margate Meltdown:
2014 biker diary dates

Rabers British motorcycle parts
Agostini and Cooper to headline
Mallory Bike Festival

Second Classic Car Boot Sale rocks
Anthony Wedgwood Benn: 1925-2014

Hinckley bullish about 2014 sales
UK bike parts distributor now accepts bitcoins

New BSA M20 T-shirt from Sump

New AA-Halfords "safety" campaign

Bandit 9 customs - Made in China

Secret British Government webcams
in the home...

Anglia's first classic sale "success"

UK magazine sales continue to drop

De Bruir Parachuter leather backpack

February 2014 news

New Lotus Bike: Not Made in Britain
Met set to pay out huge rape compensation
Any information on this outfit?
National Motorcycle Museum appeal
"Whole life sentences" ruled legal
Brian Hampton appeal bid update
Tom Armstrong Manx Norton for sale
Martin Squires Sketchbook Volume 4
ACA's first classic motorcycle sale
New Rocker T-shirts from Sump
Alex Botwright steps down as Fenman Classic Bike Show chairman
"Droves" at Bristol Classic Show
Kool new Davida candy coloured lids
Rare 1930 MGC makes £15,297
Nobody hurt in small earthquake
Royal Enfield "Valentine's Day sale"
Chris Bushell takes over Nourish
SPS Harley-Davidson "Speed Demon"
New 69 Club T-shirt from Sump
Mr & Mrs Oil Drip: under the hammer

January 2014 news

Vintage Boot Sale, London
Chelsea Bridge tea stall petition
Stylish café racer T-shirt from Sump
Triumph again tops UK big bike sales
2014 Brighton Speed Trials is back on
First British motorway pub has opened
Hurricane tank from Burton Bike Bits
1936 Brough SS80 and chair on eBay
General Jumbo control freaks ahead
Festival of 1000 Bikes is cancelled
New congestion charge "con"
Bonhams Sale: "New records set"
Twenty jobs at Triumph Motorcycles
Cafe racer rival for Triumph Thruxton
Phil Everly: 1939 - 2014
Stuff we love: Vanishing Point (1971)
Derringer electric board track bicycle
Illegally fingerprinting the kids



New political T-shirt from Sump


Now this is likely to upset a few people. We certainly hope so. But we make no apologies for it. Over the years, we've carried dozens of items of political news on Sump; some of them challenging, and some of them even more challenging.


Life, after all, is politics, and politics is life, etc. That's what underpins everything in the UK right back to Magna Carta, and beyond. And that's why we've been working on a range of political T-shirts intended to stir up a little healthy debate and clarify some of the muddy thinking currently polluting the river of British consciousness.




As we write, this tee is in production. It's designed to be provocative. It's designed to be challenging. It's designed to raise eyebrows. And isn't that the best kind of T-shirt?


This particular rag asks a simple question: Are you British? Or British? Some, naturally (and—yawn!—predictably), will see it as racist. But we can't help that. Other folk will be less sure.


But this is actually more about the erosion and hijacking of culture and national identity, and that's the real issue facing not just the UK, but other nations around the world.


We'll leave the race card to the BNP and, possibly, UKIP. Around here, we're playing a different hand.


The T-shirt costs £19.99. It's printed right here in the UK on a good quality pure cotton shirt. We generally despatch within a day or two, but we've no idea what the demand for this is going to be, and reprints take us around 5 days. So if you like the tee, and can wait that long, press the BUY button below. Sizes are small, medium, large, extra large, and extra-extra large. The T-shirts are available in black only.


Enter size(s)


When buying, we don't collect your private financial data, and we don't want it. It's all handled by PayPal (and God only knows what they do with the information). But generally, we've never had a problem with the system we use. You don't need a PayPal account. Just a credit or debit card.


At present, and for fairly obvious reasons, this offer is available only to UK residents. But if you're from overseas and want one, send us an email and we'll sort something out.


Not everyone is going to be comfortable wearing this. But we've got a suspicion that those who do, will wear it with a little pride. Let's not be afraid of asking the important questions, huh?


UPDATE: This tee is sold out

— Dexxion




Mark Upham nabs Brough's Brough

It used to belong to George Brough and now it belongs to Mark Upham, arguably the current leading authority on the marque, and the man who launched the new Brough SS100 in the UK (See Sump December 2013).


This 1939 998cc SS100 V-twin went under the hammer at Bonhams' Sale at Stafford yesterday (Sunday 27th April 2014) and sold for £253,500, including buyer's premium.




The motorcycle (FTV 702) used to have a chair attached. On the 28th May 1939, George Brough registered the outfit and rode it in the London-Edinburgh Endurance Run. The journalist Henry Laird, writing for Motor Cycling was in the chair and covered the event in the June issue.


There are some inconsistencies with the manufacturing documentation, such as an out-of-sequence engine number and the fact that there's no mention of the Brough on the factory record cards. But there's no doubting the provenance of the motorcycle. This is the one that George Brough himself rode from the English to the Scottish capital, and subsequently toured Ireland on and used for general road testing.




▲ George Brough (left) and Henry Laird on board FTV 702. This SS100 has just changed hands for a quarter of a million quid. And that's a lotta dosh for a motorcycle—and we're not even going to mention the starving masses of the third world...


In 1945, the Brough was advertised for sale in Motor Cycling for £200. In 1961, it was sold again for £70. The Brough (minus the chair) was used as a commuter and a tourer until 1967. After that, it was stored. Eric Checkley, a long time Brough Superior fan and then owner of the machine, gave the SS100 to his son who kept and maintained it until, some time after Eric Checkley's death, it was offered for sale.


It's easy to see why Mark Upham, who's based in Austria, would be interested in this particular machine. But was he buying for himself, or for one of his many customers? We don't know, but when we next see him, we'll be sure to ask.


But how much money did Bonhams (who supplied the images) turnover at this auction? A cool two million quid.





— Dexxion



NSU Sportmax


Ex Hailwood/Surtees Sportmax sells


But for how much? £69,440. In the 1950s, both John Surtees and Mike Hailwood notched up their first International Grand Prix wins on this motorcycle, we hear; Surtees at Ulster, and Hailwood at the TT.


The 247cc NSU Sportmax, Lot 44, features a 69mm x 66mm bore and stroke, a pressed steel frame and fork, an Amal GP carburettor, a 9.8:1 compression ratio, a 4-speed gearbox, geared primary drive, and 210mm drum brakes.  Maximum power is a claimed 28hp @ 9,000rpm


H&H logoJohn Surtees bought the Sportmax in 1955 and raced it for a season or two (details are vague). In 1957, Surtees sold the NSU to Stan Hailwood, father of Mike. The Sportmax went to South Africa with Mike and racer Dave Chadwick. Over that winter, a lot of racing experience was gained, and Hailwood, we're advised, won every race he contended.


Upon the return of the NSU to the UK, its history isn't clear, but it passed through various hands until the present owner employed Sportmax Specialist Harold Nuttall to restore it (1996). As we understand it, the NSU started out in black factory livery, was refinished by Hailwood in its red Ecurie Sportive livery. Soon after it was painted black again, and subsequently refinished in red. A replacement seat is fitted to the bike. But the original seat was included in the sale.


It wasn't the top selling lot at H&H Auctions recent Duxford Sale (24th April 2014). That honour went to Lot 30, the 1951 Vincent Black Shadow (below) which sold for £82,880.


Vincent Black Shadow


Overall, H&H fielded 52 lots at Duxford, Cambridgeshire of which 17 went unsold and 2 were withdrawn. That's a better result than some expected, but H&H will no doubt be very disappointed at the lots that didn't sell, notably a 1938 DKW (est: £100,00-£120,000), a 1955 Vincent Black Knight (est: £45,000 - £50,0000, and a 350cc  BSA XB31 (est: £9,000 - £11,000) didn't sell.


Velocette Venom


▲, Lot 41. This 1960 Velocette Venom sold for a very modest £5,040. Velocette prices are fickle. They're great to ride, but you need to make a serious commitment, which relatively few people have.


Triumph Trident T160


▲ Lot 37. 1975 T160 Triumph Trident. Sold for £7,280, which is on the nose for a late Meriden triple. "Running perfectly." V5C supplied.


Meanwhile a clean 1986 Harris Bonneville and a clean 1977 T140J Jubilee Bonnie, unregistered until 1979, and with "only" four owners to its name, failed to sell. The Jubilees were once tipped as investor fodder. But it doesn't seem that many people want to put their money there today.


The Harris Bonnie has a PR problem of its own. It wasn't built at Meriden, so diehard Bonneville fans generally don't want them. But many, if not most, of the Harris machine were better built, and certainly have a higher specification. To our eyes, a sorted Harris Bonnie is a Bonnie worth having. Currently, you might expect to pay around £4,000 - £4,750 for a clean example, and about the same for a Jubilee. We'd pick the Harris every time. See further down this page for more on this auction.



— Del Monte



rockers reunion event 2014


Reunion of the Rockers, 3rd May 2014

This event hardly needs an intro, but we'll assume you really never have heard of Len Paterson's Rocker Reunion gatherings. This year, it goes down at Wallington Public Hall, Stafford Road, Wallington, Surrey SM5 9AQ. The date is 3rd May 2014, and that's a Saturday. Actually, a Saturday night. Doors open at 7.30pm, and you'll be booted out at midnight, drunk or sober, alive or dead.


Music, greasy old rockers, film shows, booze and suchlike is on the agenda. Tickets are £12.50 on the door, or £10.00 in advance (plus a £1 cheque processing fee). Check Sump's main events listing for more details (press the button at the top of this page).


Telephone: 01424 253952. Mobile: 07810 273600


— Girl Happy



dangerous smartphones-iphones

u r txtng. stp drvng u mrn


The writing isn't only on the wall; it's long been on the screens of Apple's iPhones and similar smartphones. We're talking specifically about texting on the move which is supposed to be:


(a) almost as dangerous as drunk driving

(b) as dangerous

(c) more dangerous


depending on who you ask.


Well Apple has finally been granted a patent for technology that, we hear, will "lock out" a driver if he or she tries texting at the wheel. The system involves:


(a) checking if the phone is actually moving

(b) checking that the car is actually moving

(c) running algorithms that figure out if the person doing the texting is actually at the wheel or sitting in the passenger seat

(d) "talking" to the car's onboard sensors and "interrogating" the phone's accelerometer to foil attempts to beat the system

(e) photographing the occupants of the vehicle and using face recognition software to work out what's going on


Naturally, the system really needs a BIG FIST that pops out from behind the screen and wallops the mobile texter. Or at the very least, the phone should explode and/or fry its chips. Nevertheless, the updated tech looks like a move in the right direction.


Moreover, Apple (which actually filed the patents way back in 2008) is said to believe that the tech could lead to mobile phone anti-texting legislation, which would be necessary to keep all manufacturers on the right side of history. And profit.


Seems to us that if the government simply imposed instant driving bans and licence revocation for anyone caught texting at the wheel, that would have a pretty immediate deterrent effect on the vast majority of drivers. Better still, the government might consider imposing a bounty on offenders which would certainly put a lot of money in our pockets because we see this activity going on twenty times a day. Or more.


Other makes of smart phones, we're advised, can already access apps that perform a similar function. But Apple's phone hardware has not been as "accommodating" as it might. It could be that that's about to change.


Apple currently enjoys around 31% of the UK smart phone market (depending on who you ask).

— Del Monte



Looking for a Stafford alternative?

Not everyone is headed for the 34th International Classic Bike Show at Stafford this weekend (Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th April 2014). If you're anywhere near Brighton, West Sussex there's a Jukebox & Retro Fair at the racecourse. Expect old bikes, Yankee cars, and, of course, old and new jukeboxes and associated paraphernalia. We've never been to this show, but it looks like a lot of fun, and it's definitely different. Come to think of it, we just might get along there and enjoy a day at the seaside too.


Meanwhile, if you're in the West Midlands, there's a motorcycle Ride-Out on Sunday 27th April 2014. It's the 4th Bike4Life charity run covering a 23 mile jaunt from Shrewsbury to RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton.


A little further north and east is the Bikers Gearbox 2nd Memorial Ride-Out from the Cat and Fiddle Pub to Matlock Bath, Derbyshire (Sunday 27th April 2014).


And then there's a celebration going on down at Riders of Bridgwater in Bridgwater, Somerset. They've been at the sharp end of Harley sales for thirty years and they're having a party to celebrate (Saturday 26th April 2014 and Sunday 27th April 2014).


You can get more details on these and other events if you click the SUMP EVENTS button at the top of the page, or click the SUMP EVENTS link you've just passed.

— Big End




Another implied classic bike threat from London Mayor Boris Johnson?


At Sump, we try not to add to national scaremongering. There's enough of that going on already. But we also try not to leave our heads buried in the sand for too long, which is why we've popped up long enough to take a closer look at this.


It's London Mayor Boris Johnson's Transport for London (TfL) Motorcycle Safety Action Plan (MSAP) which has just been launched. The idea is to cut London's overall deaths and serious injuries by a whopping 40% by 2020.


Achievable? Maybe. But more specifically, TfL has put motorcycling squarely in the spotlight. Or is that gunsight? And it just might be getting trigger happy. But first some hard numbers ...


2012 figures


629 motorcyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) on London's roads.


This number represented 21% of all KSI in London for that year.


2.3%. This was the average vehicle kilometres travelled by bike in London.


£220million. This was the nominal total cost of those accidents to society.


Note that these are Boris's figures. We don't know how the data was collected or how reliable it is, but we're not challenging it. We haven't the means. Or the brains. But we're not taking the stats for granted either. The term "bike", incidentally, refers to all forms of powered two wheelers, but not cycles.


In simple terms, Boris and his Crew want to make London safer. Hooray for that, etc. To that end, he's planning a new London-wide safety campaign and has got various usual-suspect interest-groups on board. So far so good. But...


The worrying bit


There's a section in the TfL MASTER PLAN that has potentially worrying implications for lovers of oily old iron. Read it for yourself:


"The number of motorcycles registered in the Capital (sic) has steadily increased in the past decade. But the number of new motorcycles being sold has steadily decreased since 2000. This suggests that there are likely to be a growing number of second hand, and therefore older, motorcycles on the road. Because of this trend, the rate of uptake of new safety technology, such as motorcycle anti-lock braking systems, in London’s motorcycles may slow."


Couple this statement with Boris Johnson's breezy plan to clean up London's air (see March 2014 Sump), and you can perhaps read the invisible writing on the wall.


Something and nothing? Maybe. Now read this:


"The actions in this plan reflect what we know about how, where and why motorcycle collisions occur. Activity will be targeted to reduce speed-related collisions, reduce right-turning vehicle collisions, increase compliance with the rules of the road, increase the use of Personal Protective Equipment by motorcyclists, and improve motorcyclist skill and riding behaviour. We know that these challenges need to be addressed to reduce collisions involving motorcyclists. We also know that changes to the behaviour and awareness of other road users, as well as those riding motorcycles, will be important."


It's the line about safety equipment, which we read as anything from anti-lock brakes, to airbags, to body armour, to full faced lids, to daytime running lights, to crash bars, to a guy walking in front waving a red flag.


The point is, biking fatalities in the UK, and elsewhere, are still grossly out of proportion as a percentage of the population, and also in terms of vehicle miles (or kilometres) travelled.


Unfortunately, the stats include younger "tearaways" on scooters and moped who make biking for older, more mature riders seem far more dangerous than it is.


TfL is no doubt aware of this. But all the same, if you're a biker in general, and a classic biker in particular, we think you should download the pdf from TfL and have a butchers (Translation for Sump's overseas visitors: Butcher's. Butcher's Hook. Look. Cockney rhyming slang. We know it's stupid, but the tourists love it).


Note that we're not saying that the end is nigh for older motorcycles in the British capital. But we are suggesting that you might want to keep your goggles clean and look a little further ahead than you usually do.


Boris might well be a bit of a laugh and a love-him or loathe-him fool. But he's smart, effective and can be dangerous too, and he's clearly got an agenda.


Clean air and road safety. Think about that.



— Sam 7




Houston Motorcycle Auction results

The top seller at the recent Mecum Houston Motorcycle Auction held on Sunday 13th April 2014 was the above 1949 Vincent HRD Black Shadow which sold for $105,000 (Lot U72). The engine number is: F10AB/1B/2655. The Shadow is said to be one of the last to carry the HRD name before HRD was dropped in favour of, simply, Vincent. 



The next top selling two-wheeled lot is the above 1928 Henderson Model K-Deluxe which sold for $62,000 (Lot U65). The Henderson has been restored and upgraded. The engine number is: D17529A.



The third highest selling lot was this 1926 Harley-Davidson JDH-8 Valve Board Track Racer which sold for $57,000. We're not sure if the Harley was restored, or built from parts (there's some confusion in the phrasing of the listing). Either way, we hear that it was "sympathetically" done to look authentic.


Overall, the motorcycle sale raised $1,337,965. There were 174 vintage and antique bikes, of which 125 were sold. That represents a 73 percent conversion rate.



The motorcycle auction was preceded by a collectors car sale that raised $33,633,058 with a sell-through rate of nearly 70 percent. The top selling vehicle was the above prototype 1964 Ford GT40 which alone sold for
£7 million.


Here are the top ten car sales:


1. 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype GT/104 – $7,000,000
2. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe – $725,000
3. 1968 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro RS/SS – $450,000
4. 2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia Coupe – $170,000
5. 1934 Cadillac Fleetwood V-12 All-Weather Phaeton – $165,000
6. 1968 Toyota FJ-44 – $150,000
7. 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Huntington Limousine – $145,000
8. 1960 Porsche 356B Cabriolet – $145,000
9. 1970 Plymouth Superbird – $135,000
10. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible – $127,500


Mecum’s next classic and collector car auction will be held at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri on 24th - 26th April 2014.


Following that is the 27th Original Spring Classic in Indianapolis on 13th - 18th May 2014.



— The Third Man



Government to scrap camera cars?


The Local Government Association (LGA) is in a flap about the UK government's threat to ban the use of UK camera cars.


According to the LGA, which represents 370 national councils, camera cars are an essential tool in their arsenal to prevent careless or thoughtless parking which, they say, directly risks public safety—such as parking close to school entrances, or on bus lanes, etc.


Now the LGA is calling on Whitehall to "to convene a working group of councils, charities, road safety campaigners and motoring groups to rewrite the current statutory parking guidance and revise the rules on the use of CCTV." Which sounds suspiciously like: We've been caught at it, so let changes the rules. But maybe that's unfair.


In defence of camera cars is said to be the following organisations:


National Association of Head Teachers
Disabled Motoring UK
Living Streets
Royal National Institute for the Blind
Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety
Confederation of Passenger Transport UK
Passenger Transport Executive Group


On the other side is:


The government

Big Brother Watch

Pretty much everyone else


UK councils claim that the camera cars account for just 2% of parking fines and are not being used simply as revenue raising tools. Yet according to Big Brother Watch, the councils are refusing to reveal exactly where the offenders are being caught, and it's that refusal to audit their activities that's fuelling suspicion.


Additionally, it's the random data mining (collecting vehicle number plates, locations, and times) that's alarming the civil liberties groups. Coupled with mobile phone data, internet data, static street camera data, and other more discreet forms of data collection, cradle-to-grave tracking is a very real possibility (if not probability) for millions of UK citizens.


In the USA, many states have fairly recently introduced measures to combat random data mining.


Sound like Big Brother's plot-against-humanity is finally unravelling? We're a long way from convinced, but jerking the leads of the army of secret people watchers in the UK is long overdue.


In December 2013, Sump carried a story about the UK government's new camera car consultation document. You can read that story here.


— Del Monte




▲ Lot 1544 is a 1968 250cc Greeves Wessex. Rare trials model made for one year only. The estimate is £3,000 - £3,500. No more details. Pretty piece of kit, but desperately in need of some heavyweight mud action.

UPDATE: The Greeves Wessex sold for £3,000.


Cheffins Vintage Sale: 26th April 2014

There are 53 bikes on offer at this sale which will take place this coming Saturday at Ely, Cambridgeshire. We've had a peek and can't see much of special interest here. But once again, we note how difficult it is to navigate the Cheffins website and get the information we want at a glance.


But if you've got a strong will, a good temper and a lifetime to spare, you can check it out for yourself. See the link below.


Whingeing aside, we've highlighted a few lots here that for one reason or another have caught our attention. But keep in mind that this auction is really for vintage agricultural equipment, which is what Cheffins is famous for. The old motorcycles are not so much an afterthought as an addition.


Anyway, there's a reasonable assortment, but nothing to give you palpitations. That said, there might yet be a few bargains here, so give Cheffins some consideration if you're looking to put some bounce in your spring.




▲ Lot 1543. Don't confuse this with the Wessex above. This one's a 250cc Greeves Anglian, but the estimate is the same at £3,000 - £3,500.

UPDATE: The Greeves Anglian didn't sell.



▲ Lot 1506. This 500cc 1952 motorcycle is described as a Triumph T100 Tiger "bobber", but we can't see much serious bobber here. Looks likes a not-too-artfully mucked around Trumpet with a missing headlight. But you might view this "tastefully modified" machine through different goggles. The reserve is a modest £3,000 - £4,000. Nice, but not very naughty.

UPDATE: The Triumph T100 sold for £2,800.



Lot 1510. 1962 restored 750cc Norton Atlas. In its day, this machine was as big as it got, and it earned a reputation for major vibration. But many Atlas owners paint a rosier picture and speak instead of smooth power. The reserve is £6,000 - £7,000 which looks about right. Think Featherbed Commando. Could be good investment material.


UPDATE: The Norton Atlas didn't sell.



— Del Monte



the stranglers triumph bonneville-raffle


The Stranglers Bonneville raffle


Weird spooky co-incidence day. We were just finishing off the details of our FREE Stranglers and Creedence Clearwater Revival CD offer when we happened upon this raffle from time-served Ashford, Middlesex Triumph dealer Jack Lilley.


Jack's been creating special edition Triumphs for longer than any of us around here can remember. Some of his concepts are pretty cool. Some are not so cool. But this one has a special appeal (to us, at least) because it's built to commemorate the formation of The Stranglers.


We can't tell you how many years that is because that's part of the raffle, and the answer to the question is currently being guarded by a shoot-to-kill SAS team lurking inside a vault in the Bank of England.


But if you think you know the answer anyway, here's the hurdle you've got to clamber over:


Which anniversary are The Stranglers celebrating this year?

A: 20 years
B: 40 years
C: 50 years

Send the text JACKA or JACKB or JACKC to 66365 to enter.  You'll be charged £1.50 plus your standard network rate.



the stranglers-bonneville-side-coverThe Bonnie, take note, has been directly signed by all current members of The Stranglers, and they'll be presenting the Bonnie to the winner on 11th September 2014 which is the anniversary of when the band was formed.


To enter, you have to be a UK resident, you have to be over eighteen, and you will have your photographed splashed around the media. The last entries will be accepted on 31st August 2011. The draw takes place the following day. And some lucky bastard is going to bag himself, or herself, a 2014 Triumph Bonneville signed by four demi-Gods.


We were about to say "good luck", but we hope you all have rotten luck because we'll probably have a go at this one for ourselves.



— Big End




Rare DKW SS250 leads Duxford Sale

The estimate for the above "over the counter" racing split single DKW is £100,000 - £120,000. This 1938 motorcycle goes under the hammer on Thursday 24th April 2014 at the Imperial War Museum Duxford in Cambridgeshire which houses Britain's largest collection of military aircraft.


Or maybe you already know that.


Either way, the SS250 DKW (introduced in 1935) is the big money auction lot, not least because it's one of only six known to survive and represents the cutting edge of pre-WW2 two-stroke technology, and still looks pretty competent today. The lot number is 34. The engine number is: 429363.


But what exactly is a split single? Well, it refers to an engine in which two pistons share a common combustion chamber. The pistons be connected to a single crankshaft, or operate via two crankshafts, the underlying idea being to improve exhaust scavenging without (at the same time) dumping the incoming petrol/air charge. And if that doesn't make much sense, you first need to read up on basic two-stroke engine principles and focus on the various porting arrangements.



▲ Split-single engine technology, DKW style. You might need to go back to basics to understand this one. But when it works, it works.



Adalberto Garelli patented the split single concept in 1912. Numerous engineers around the world flirted/experimented with the idea, but the huge DKW factory in Zschopau, Germany took a particular interest and invested a lot of time and money making it work effectively.


By the end of the 1930s, this firm, we hear, had 150 engineers working in its racing department. It was a decade that saw the Germans snatch their first victory on the Isle of Man when Ewald Kluge won the 1938 Junior TT.


The trouble with the split single two-stroke engine is that it's only marginally more efficient that a conventional piston-ported two-stroke, and it's generally more cost effective to simply manufacture a twin.


But you don't need to know all this techno-babble to appreciate this Hermann Weber designed bike. Features include a supercharger, twin carbs, disc valve induction, plunger rear suspension and girder forks. The bike has been restored by German DKW specialist Bernd Kohler.


Beyond this machine, H&H Auctions (at the time of writing) is fielding 49 motorcycles (a mix of European and Japanese bikes). The next big money item is Lot 30 which is a 1951 Vincent Black Shadow. The estimate is £65,000 - £75,000. The registration number is: RFC 447. The frame number is: RC8069B. The engine number is: F10/AB/1B6169.



But arguably more interesting is (the above) Lot 43, a restored 1955 998cc Vincent Black Knight that's carrying an estimate of £45,000 - £50,000. The Black Knight, and the Black Prince, represented Vincent's attempt to claw back rapidly diminishing sale by radicalising its core product. Legend has it that this was exactly what the public wanted (when canvassed by a focus-group of the day), but subsequently refused to by the product when it was presented to them.


Consequently, production numbers of these "all-enclosed" fibreglass tourers are low. According to www.thevincent.com, 101 Series D Black Knights were manufactured in 1955. That same year, 132 Series D Black Princes were built. However, both figures, we feel, actually represent a fairly respectable number in view of the fact that Vincent Motorcycles was a relatively small manufacturer. Nevertheless, the figures fell way short of Phil Vincent's target, which was probably thousands of units.


The registration number of this example is: EEJ 501. The frame number is: RD12910F. The engine number is: F10AB2B11010.



▲ Lot Number: 27. 1956 350cc BSA DB32 Gold Star. The estimate is £7,000 - £8,000. To us, this looks about the right price.



▲ Lot Number: 29. 1947 350cc BSA XB31 Trials Works. Ex-Irish trials and road racing star Terry Hill. The estimate is £9,000 - £11,000. We think this one is pretty cool and would fill a vacant spot in the Sump garage.



There's nothing much else in this sale that fires our motors; just some fairly general stuff, one or two items of which looks to have cooled in price. But we'll keep watching in case something we've overlooked catches our attention. Or you can check the link below for yourself.


Duxford is a pretty cool place from which to run an auction. We recommend it, but not necessarily for this sale.



— Girl Happy



BSA C15, B25, B40, B44 & B50 aficionados look this way


...and for that matter, fans of the Triumph TR25W might want to look this way too. Panther Publishing has recently sent us a press copy of the long awaited Volume 2 of Rupert Ratio's literary tour de force on B-series Beezer unit singles.


Here at Sump, we run a TR25W, and we've been reading this book with great interest. And if you're running any of the above listed bikes, this block of expert printed paper is ESSENTIAL reading.


We're not going to wax lyrical here about the detail of the book because it's currently on special offer to Sump visitors, and you can read out thoughts when you follow the link below. But we will say that we're hugely impressed with the sheer amount of effort that's gone into creating and publishing this one.


Just go check the RUPERT RATIO OFFER, then buy the book (or books if you haven't already got Volume 1). These are unquestionably among the best motorcycle manuals we've ever seen. Highly recommended.


The book has a soft cover, has 338 pages and boasts approximately 500 illustrations including an 8-page colour section. The dimensions are: 172 x 244mm. The ISBN is: 9781909213142. The book will be launched at the International Classic Motorcycle Show at Stafford on 25th-26th April 2014.


The list price is £22.95 including UK postage, but follow the RUPERT RATIO OFFER and knock a little money off of that. Better get your copy while it's still available.



— Dexxion





▲ Remember the 1968 movie The Girl on a Motorcycle? Well this could be the sequel; The Girl on an Electric Motorcycle. Introducing the Johammer.


Johammer electric motorcycles

It's built in Austria. It runs on electric. It's fitted with an 11kW motor. It's said to be good for around 75mph. It's got a claimed maximum range of 125 miles (or so). It costs between € 23,000 - €25,000. And it's definitely not kickstart.


But who's going to buy it? Well we can imagine quite a few people, but not enough (at that price) to make it mainstream. At least, not yet. But the future is bright. And the future is most certainly electric.


johammer-electric motorcycle


▲ The instruments are built into the rear view mirror. The view behind is the past fading away into the future. Electrics are on the way.


The Johammer is being marketed as a chopper, which is a bit odd really as you might expect a bike like this to feature more effective streamlining complete with clip-ons, a fairing, a screen, etc.


With its corrugated bodywork and spindly wheels, it actually puts us in mind of an early Citroen 2CV. But this, as you might expect, is no low tech farmer's trolley. Features include hub centre steering, regenerative braking and a single-geared brushless AC motor that's all torque, and therefore offers plenty of instant action.




▲ It dares to be different, and it is different. Batteries are included.




▲ We hear that it take just 2.5 - 3.5 hours to recharge to 80% capacity depending on which version you choose. If that's true, it's shockingly quick when you consider the 125 mile (or so) range.




▲ The motor runs in an oil bath, so these electrics could some day end up leaking the black stuff all over the garage floor. Cool, huh?




▲ Is that all it is under the skin? We could have done that...


In the rush to clean up the planet's atmosphere (or, at least, move the smoke away from population centres), machines such as this are the collectable iron and silicon of tomorrow.


In the early days of biking, only wealthy gentlemen could afford them. Well that wheel has turned a full revolution, only this time it's being spun by an electric engine rather than a petrol-powered two- or four-stroke motor.


This motorcycle was originally introduced in May 2012 as the Biiista (yes, the spelling of that name is correct). Built by Austrian firm Hammerschmid Maschienebau, the first generation models had significantly lower performance and "mpg", but the company has since significantly improved its product—but is still lagging a good way behind the leaders in the electric motorcycle field.



— The Third Man





1937 BSA B24.  Lot 104. The estimate is just £3,000-£4,000. That's about twenty to thirty percent less than we'd expect for this very desirable three-fifty single. But we ain't telling Bonhams how to price bikes.


Death comes calling at Bonhams


Property of a deceased's estate. Depressing, huh? But we're hearing those words more and more often as private collection after collection, and at an accelerating rate, re-enters the bike market.


Usually the most interesting/coveted lots are cherry-picked and sold at good-to-top money, with the "also-rans" exchanging hands for almost trivial prices.


Bonhams's Spring Sale is fielding plenty of bikes from both ends of the desirability scale and we'll be watching with interest as the (generally) immaculately-presented remnants of someone's life are rolled onto the platform, gawked at by all and sundry, and flogged off for whatever they'll make.


Yes, that's life. Get over it, etc. But all the same, we wouldn't complain (much) if these collections were buried along with the deceased, albeit in airtight, vacuum-sealed bags so that after a decent period of mourning (say, a hundred years) they could be "repatriated" to the land of the living, and we'd all carry on pretty much where we left off.


That ain't gonna happen, of course. And Bonhams (which supplied the images here) is simply going to do what it has to do. But we can take some comfort from the fact that most, if not all of these bikes, will pass on (if you'll pardon the pun) to good hands.



1925 Douglas 2¾hp Model CW.  Lot 104. The estimate is just £3,000-£4,000. That's about twenty to thirty percent less than we'd expect for this very desirable three-fifty


Unless we're reading the Bonhams catalogue details wrong, there are 285 bikes in this sale. The lots cover a wide range of styles, eras, conditions, etc, and there's a lot of very interesting stuff in there. We're still poring over the detail trying to work out which way the prices appear to be heading (according to Bonhams' expectations). But of course, what matters is what they fetch on the day.


Classics have been struggling a little lately. Yes, dealers are talking it up as much as they can/dare, but there's no question that generally speaking, there's been a lot of cooling; certainly for the more run-of-the-mill stuff. Consequently, we think there are going to be some great bargains on the day because the old bike trend is always upwards.


Well, so far, anyway.


Our advice? Put a little spare cash aside and make your play. This Spring Sale might just put an early summer in your life. Meanwhile, check out some of these offerings...




Lot 106. 1925 Excelsior Ladies Model.  The estimate is £3,800-£4,800 for this JAP sidevalve single. Bonhams sold this bike in October 2010 for £5,175.




  Lot 217. This 1939 5T Triumph 498cc Speed Twin is carrying an estimate of £9,000 - 11,000. We think that's more like £11,000 - £13,000. But what will the market say about the grand-daddy of the modern twin?




Lot 156. Plenty of "Jap crap" at this sale, including this built-from-spares-but-never-used circa 1963 Honda 125cc CR93 racer. The estimate is £13,000 - 15,000.



Lot 171. 1906 Fontaine. The 3hp, 401cc "Pioneer" sidevalve is believed to unique, but is currently listed with the Sunbeam Club as a 1904 machine. Emil Fontaine lived and worked in Le Havre, France.



— Big End




Wal Handley astride a 1937 BSA Brooklands Empire Star. By this year, his motorcycle racing days were behind him. But car racing and high
flying was firmly on the agenda. And it was flying that killed him.


Wal Handley's Lagonda to sell at H&H

The relatively rare 1934 M45 T8 Lagonda (below) comes up for auction this month at H&H's Duxford Sale on 24th April 2014. Aside from being a fairly desirable Lagonda, the car's other claim to fame is the fact that it once belonged to Walter "Wal" Leslie Handley.


Born in 1902, Wal Handley was a four-times Isle of Man TT winner notching up his first success in 1925 in the Ultra Lightweight class (Rex-Acme) and his last at the 1930 Senior (Rudge) He also campaigned bikes built by BSA, OK-Supreme, Motasacoche, Excelsior and Velocette, and he raced cars by MG, Riley and Alfa Romeo.



▲ Established in 1906 by US ex-pat Wilbur Gunn, the name "Lagonda" refers to a creek near to Gunn's birth town of Springfield, Ohio. In 1947, Lagonda was assimilated by Aston Martin, but the brand is still active.



Handley was killed in 1941 at the age of just 39 when he was involved in an air crash whilst serving with the RAF as an air transport pilot. He was flying a P-39 Bell Airacobra. But at some point in the late 1930s, Handley became the owner of  "BLP 494" before lending it to a friend who removed the 6-cylinder Meadows petrol engine and used the vehicle as a test bed for a diesel engine project.




By the mid-1960s, the diesel engine was removed by the current owner and a replacement engine of the correct Meadows-type was re-installed. Therefore, the vehicle in all probability does not have the originally-installed 4410cc, 6-cylinder power unit (unless some quirk of fate brought car and engine together again).


Double sacrilege.


The car hasn't seen asphalt for around thirty years, and it's been Royally mucked around with in various ways since it rolled out of the Staines, Middlesex factory. The engine number on the VIN plate below, we've been told, does not in fact refer to a specific engine, but refers to an engine part number. Lagonda, apparently, didn't record such crucial information. How true that is, we don't know because we're beer specialists, not Lagonda experts. But there's a distinct smell of toffee in the air.



▲ The original engine is said to have been a 4410cc 6-cylinder Meadows unit. We've since been told that the capacity might well have been 4467cc.



Additionally, a replacement gearbox has been fitted. Ditto a new radiator, dashboard, shock absorbers, chrome work, SU carburettors and wiring—all of which means that along with a switched engined, it doesn't sound like much of the original vehicle is still available.


Regardless, H&H (who takes the prize this month for the worst-written press release to land on the Sump doormat) is still anticipating interest at around £60,000 - £80,000. That's a large slice of wedge for a mucked-around motor. But then, a Lagonda isn't any old pile of bits, is it?


In 2008, Bonhams flogged a 1933 M45 tourer for £133,500 (including buyers premium).



— The Third Man





Now what kind of people would raffle a Vincent? The National Motorcycle Museum, of course (there'll be questions in the House
about this).


Vincent Series C Rapide raffle


The National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) is gearing up to raffle the above 1951 1000cc Vincent Series C Rapide as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations.


We're not supposed to mention this raffle without also mentioning THE BIG DATE which is Friday 31st October 2014. That's when the NMM is having a BIG PARTY with BIG MUSIC from a BIG NAME rock band and BIG ENTERTAINMENT from BIG CELEBS, etc. The following day will see the draw for the Vincent.


The press release was a little over-hyped. But you can't blame 'em for trying, and clearly James Hewing (late of the VMCC, and the new broom at the NMM) is making a big push to increase the museum's exposure and boost its (probably flagging) finances.


But you can blame 'em for flogging raffle tickets so that any old pleb (like us lot here at Sump) can get his or her greedy mitts on a prime cut of Vincent. Everyone knows you have to be a right-wing, brandy drinking middle Englander to own and/or ride one of these (or have we been misinformed?).



Irritatingly, the NMM press release doesn't tell us the price of the aforementioned raffle tickets, but we have to assume that they won't exactly be throwing them out like confetti. Someone, after all, has got to pay for the Vincent. But at almost any typical raffle ticket price, this is going to be one hell of a bargain for someone.


Our advice? Watch this space, keep an eye on the Museum and be lucky.


The 2nd Prize, by the way, is a 1952 125cc BSA D1 Bantam. The 3rd Prize is a Classic Weekend Break for two (includes VIP Museum tour, 2 night B&B stay at the luxury Windmill Village Hotel, Golf & Leisure Club plus a round of golf & spa treatment) www.windmillvillagehotel.co.uk




That sounds distinctly like a booby prize to us, so just focus on the Vinnie, huh? We're advised that more events will be slowly revealed as the year progresses. Let's hope James manages to earn his keep (which we're sure he will).


You can start buying the Even Plebs Can Own a Vincent tickets on 28th April 2014 from the NMM shop.



— Big End




Classic British

Bikes book


We're taking this at face value because we haven't seen it up close and we don't know the seller. But at £2.79 (buy-it-now) including postage, you ain't gonna get much cheaper. Or are you?


We've got a sentimental attachment to this book, by the way. We bought a copy about ten or twelve years back and we soon stumbled upon a picture of a BSA WM20 (P102). Girder forks. Rigid frame. Olive drab. And we looked at that motorcycle every day about ten times and ogled it, and mentally undressed it, etc, and finally decided that we definitely wanted one, and damned if we didn't go out a few weeks later and buy one (which we've still got).


And soon after that, we decided we also liked the picture of the C15T (P150) and so went and bought one of those too. Now we're looking at the picture of the BSA Rocket Three (P164), and you can guess what we're thinking ...


Written by Andrew Kemp and Mirco De Cet, it's not a bad book, and it's a useful one for quick classic motorcycle references. It's hardcover with a matching dust jacket (slightly scuffed). You'll have to satisfy yourself that you can trust the eBay vendor. But he looks okay to us (on face value, remember?).


And  £2.79? Including postage? Bargain.



Tel: 01970 822355




Stuff we like: Bell Bullitt Helmet - TT


This lid isn't particularly new. But it's available, and that's pretty much the next best thing. We spotted this helmet on the British Customs website and fell instantly in love. So okay, we've seen 'em around before. But love is a tricky thing. You never know when, or where, Cupid's little dart will strike.


This helmet, we're told, is a modern take on the very first Bell Star Helmet. And being modern, it's got an ultra low profile composite shell and is aimed at open faced guys who want full faced vintage protection. At it hurts us to admit that we love this one because we're open faced guys and girls around here.


But look, if we really had to wear an all-over, BBC2 television brain bucket, this is probably the one we'd pick (but we'd eventually have to take a hacksaw to the cissy chin guard bit).


British Customs in Gardena, California is offering these lids at £399.95. For that, you get a removable and washable liner, various vents, other technical bits, a windscreen, a 5 year warranty, and a whole lotta cool.


Most of all, you get that wonderful creamy colour (plus another three options that are almost as nice). So don't wait. Buy. Wear. Prance and pose. And remember to keep a hacksaw blade handy.



— Girl Happy





The Triumph Model P. Easy on the eye. Easy riding, vintage style.



Triumph Model P from Andy Tiernan


We've known Andy for years, and have ridden more than a few of his motorcycles. This flat tanker is on offer with a whopping £400 discounted exclusively for Sump visitors (now £1,750 discount).




Firstly because we had the bloody cheek to ask him. And secondly, because if you're in the motorcycle trade, you have to keep stock moving, free up cash, and make space for new machines. And Andy Tiernan, who trades from Framlingham, Suffolk is always buying bikes and selling bikes and making deals, so you've got yourself a chance here to get yourself a good deal before he changes his mind.




This 500cc Model P Triumph is an excellent vintage steed. This example was built in 1925 and was registered on 28th July of that year. The last owner, we're advised, was an Aston Martin engineer who bought the Triumph in an unrestored condition from a work colleague, and set about undoing years of use or neglect.

The Model P is being sold with the latest DVLA V5C registration document, is MOT exempt, and has historic road tax until 31/10/2013.


If you're new to flat tankers, this is as good a starter as you can get. The Model P was very popular in its day, and it's popular now. You can still pick up a few spares here and there, and they're tough motorcycles, perfect for vintage runs.




Andy is also offering this 1950 5T Triumph Speed Twin at £6,500. The motorcycle has just arrived at his premises, and looks to be in very good condition. In fact, Andy sold it four years ago, and it's come round again.



We'd buy that Model P ourselves (or maybe the 5T above), except that we've just emptied the Sump piggy bank, bought two bikes and a vintage bicycle, and had to hammer the garage shut to keep it all in. But maybe you've got a little more space.


Interested in either machine? Okay, talk to Andy on: 01728 724321. And remember to ask him about that £400 discount (now £1,750) on the Model P. It applies to Sump visitors only. Mention the code: 5831TRI



— Girl Happy



Foundry's first Anniversary
Ride In

The above poster tells you most of what you need to know about this event. But in case you've lost your calendar, it's now Monday 7th April 2014, and the Ride In goes down on Saturday 12th April.


Five days into the future.


If you turn up, you're promised great coffee, good company, BBQ nosh, cool motorcycles and a photographer on hand ready to immortalise you in digital celluloid. So ride something appropriate if you can, and wear your best duds. You'll feel better for it.



Brat-style BMW courtesy of Foundry Motorcycle engineering. Is it just us that hates the term "brat", or are there others out there?



Foundry Motorcycle occupies a spot just outside Chichester on the South Coast on England. The postcode for your SatNavs is PO20 2EU. But when we checked on Google Maps, we ended up at a kiddies nursery. So you'd better call first for directions and ask them to hang out a couple of flags or something.


UPDATE: We've since been advised that if your satnav gets you to Woodpecker Nursery, you're in the right place. Foundry is "out the back with lots of bike parking".



— Del Monte




April - Houston Motorcycle Auction


We don't have a lot of detail about this one. But it might be worth checking out if you're in that neck of the woods around the appropriate time or fancy taking a punt online.


The date is Sunday 13th April 13, 2014. The time is 11.00am. The venue is The Reliant Center, Houston, TX 77054.


Mecum Auctions is running a number of sales over that weekend ranging from cars to motorcycles to automobilia to whatever comes along. The cars (around 1000 of them) will be sold between 10th and 11th April. Two wheelers go under the hammer the following day. Sunday.


The Mike Doyle Museum Collection gets the star billing on the motorcycle platform and boasts over 100 lots. Doyle, who hails (or hailed) from Dixon, California, amassed a huge private and very eclectic collection of motorcycles. We don't know if he is alive or dead, but the collection is surplus to requirements.


The machines include various Harleys, BSAs, Triumphs and Ajays; a Mustang or two; plenty of Hondas; an Ivory Calthorpe; a Benelli; a tribe of Indians and ...well, all kinds of obscure stuff. You'll get dizzy checking the list.




▲1946 486cc Scott Flying Squirrel. Doyle Collection. "No British motorcycle collection is complete without a water-cooled Scott." We like 'em plenty, but they're very much an acquired taste, and best served rare.




▲Lot U67 1942 Indian 841, one of 1,000 built at the request of the US War Department. Shaft drive, 4-speed, transverse V-twin, the 841 (like Harley's rival XA model) was not a success and helped put Indian in the poor house. That'll teach 'em to muck around with a tried & tested formula...



▲Lot U16. 1960 T20 Tiger Cub. Doyle Collection. A run of the mill Cub filling a Cub shaped hole. Much of the collection looks similarly unfocussed, but represents a lot of obsessive dedication. It is possible to have too many motorcycles. Ask Doyle.



▲ Lot U41. 1953 Mk2 Ariel Square Four. Clean, but sadly long dormant.


Also in the weekend sale are a number of "road art" lots, notably a collection of guitars signed by bands such as Aerosmith, Eagles, ZZ Top, Van Halen and the Rolling Stones. Plenty, if not most of the lots, have no reserves, so there could be a real chance of snapping up a bargain here. We've got our eyes on Lot J24, below, which is a Strat-style guitar autographed by the Rolling Stones. We could certainly find a spot on the Sump garage wall for that.




— The Third Man




Ernest "Ernie" Lyons: 1914 - 2014


Irish Grand Prix racer Ernie Lyons died in February this year aged a very respectable ninety-ninety.


A farmer from Dublin, Ireland, Ernest William Lyons won the 1946 Manx Grand Prix Senior 500cc, a moment that's particularly well remembered by fans for the fact that (a) it was lashing rain, and (b) that some way into the race, the front frame down tube on his Triumph Tiger 100 snapped. Undeterred, Lyons pressed on and both took the winners prize and set the fastest lap.



▲ Bonhams sold the above Triumph Grand Prix in 2009 (not Ernie Lyons' racer). The machine fetched £17,250 including premium. It's thought that around 150 - 200 Triumph Grand Prix motorcycles were built.



Much modified by himself and fellow racer Fred Clarke, this machine's aluminium top-end was taken from the now equally famous Triumph WW2 all-alloy radio-generator rig as used by the RAF on Lancaster bombers.


This prototype racer deployed a Tiger 100 bottom end and was fitted with twin carbs, lightened & polished valve gear, high-compression pistons and race cams. The (then) "state of the art" projectile subsequently became known as the Triumph Grand Prix model and entered production two years later.


Ernie Lyons, we understand, spent his last months in an Irish nursing home and died just shy of reaching the "magic ton"; a feat that, in view of his fabled riding prowess and determination, seems something of a pity.


— Big End



UK campaign to reinstate .22 pistols


This one is bound to be highly controversial. People, after all, still remember the Dunblane Primary School massacre in Scotland, in March 1996, where Thomas Hamilton, armed with four pistols, shot dead sixteen children and one adult before committing suicide.


And people still remember the Hungerford, Berkshire massacre in August 1987 when Michael Ryan let loose with a couple of semi-automatic rifles and a pistol and murdered sixteen people and wounded fifteen others, also before committing suicide.


There have other shootings such as in 1989 at Monkseaton, North Tyneside (one dead, fourteen wounded) and in 2010 at Cumbria (twelve murdered, eleven injured).


But it was Dunblane that had the biggest impact on Britain's handgun laws when, in 1997, the Tory government banned all privately held pistols except .22 calibre weapons and historic & muzzle-loading guns, and then the New Labour government came along later that year and banned the .22s as well.


That's an oversimplification of the law, but that's essentially what led up to the 1997 Firearms Amendment Act. And almost immediately, handguns were rounded-up, and otherwise law-abiding gun-owners were treated with contempt and/or suspicion and, in some instances, arrested and jailed for failure to surrender their "Dirty Harry" hardware.




▲ In the UK, we've got a love/hate relationship with firearms. Trouble is,

it's not always easy to tell who you can trust with them...



As a consequence of this knee-jerk law, the UK Olympic Shooting Team suddenly found itself on the wrong side of history and was obliged to keep its weapons under lock and key in neutral Switzerland (of all places) and nip over to Zurich and pop away at cuckoos, or whatever the training-target of the day was.


In the UK 2012 Olympic Games, special dispensation was granted allowing the aforementioned limey gunners to start blasting away again on British soil. But the Olympics are over, and it's back to Zurich.


Well now there's a campaign to reinstate .22 rimfire, as opposed to centrefire, pistols (minor technical difference). It's led by Firearms UK which wants the weapons to be permitted under the current Section 1 certification system.


The group certainly has a lot of heart, but not an awful lot in the way of compelling rational argument for its cause, except (it seems) that shooting at cardboard bullseyes is "fun" and "sociable" and that "disabled people can also participate" (depending, of course, on the nature of the disability).


But don't get us wrong. We're not sneering. Far from it. Shooting at cardboard targets isn't our idea of fun (although we can think of a few people we wouldn't mind plugging). But it's a big world out there with many and various ways to get your kicks (ask Thomas Hamilton and Michael Ryan). And the UK firearms laws have done absolutely nothing to stem the flow of illegal weaponry in this green and often bloody land. We can't see anarchy breaking out if measured changes were made.


In the USA, there's a gun lobby slogan that reads: IF THEY OUTLAW GUNS, ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE GUNS. And that's perfectly true. Tip: check out Harwich Docks, Port of Tilbury, anywhere in South London and pretty much all of Manchester (aka Gunchester).


Only, we live in hysterical times with a hysterical law enforcement apparatus that won't be at all happy about a nation in which pistols are legally owned and discharged (not that the British coppers have a gun safety record to brag about).


Still, you might feel differently and want to lend your support to this campaign—and we know of one or two bikers out there who've got more than a couple of .22 calibre pop guns in the garden shed. And wasn't BSA and Royal Enfield founded on weaponry and munitions? There's bound to be a certain amount of cross-over interest.


Yes, a .22 can kill you easily enough too. We know that, and we ain't sneering about that either. But the chances of the UK government loading up their magazines and firing-off a few clips of common sense are, in this instance at least, probably very low. Unlike the USA, the government has got the guns, and here at Sump, we'd be very surprised if they start handing them back.



— Dexxion






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