June 2012  Classic bike news


Above:   Lately, we've spotted a few Sunbeam's that appear to be selling at below expected prices. Certainly, the price curve for these stately 487cc shaft-drive twins seems to have flattened over the past twelve months or so. This De Luxe example was first registered in Glasgow on 1st October 1951, and it goes under the hammer on 29th June 2012 at Bonhams' Goodwood Sale. The bike is said to have had just two owners and has reputedly covered less than 800 miles. Comes with instruction manual, its first tax disc and buff logbook. The reserve is £4000-£5000. Sounds like a bargain. Also in the sale is a black 1952 Sunbeam S7 (from the same owner and with the same reserve). Note that both bikes were registered on the Isle of Man, but now carry mainland UK registration numbers.


May 2012 Classic bike news

Ted Simon's new book
SatNav death verdict: "accidental"
Hyde Bonneville America pegs
Raleigh Chopper designer dies
Rare Triumph TSX on eBay
Robin Gibb: 1949-2012
MOT scrapped for pre-1960s vehicles
Rare Crossley SD42 bus restored
Carroll Shelby: 1923-2012
Funky Made in Britain sidecars get MP approval
Honda dealers are revolting...
California dealer sales tag woes
Triumph top of the league again
The shape of bikes to come?
Texting drivers insurance woes
Save the British pub

April 2012 Classic bike news

H&H Duxford sale lacks lustre

Bert Weedon: 1920-2012

Norton set to race at the 2012 IOM Senior TT

Three Crockers head for Stafford

New Genuine Sump T-shirt - £15.00

Antique Bike Day at "mythical Montlhery"

H&H Hurricane to sell at Duxford

80th Royal Enfield birthday party

Dirt Quake: motorcycle mayhem

Radical new parking tax introduced

Continental wax cotton jacket from
Chequered Flag

Thames water "pride" initiative

2012 Festival of 1000 Bikes

Jim Marshall, OBE: 1923-2012

New Triumph Bonneville T-shirt

Frank "Radco" Farrington has died

Think Bike, Think Biker "a success"

Supercool Sump "Goggles" T-shirt

1939 Triumph Speed Twin on eBay

The Humber Bridge scraps bike tolls

March 2012 Classic bike news

Ex-Brian Verrall Vincents to sell

Somerset targets faceless bikers

£80,000 Brough Superior SS120

An end to rural petrol stations?

Interesting BSA WM20 3-wheeler

Jampot Spares scheme has rebranded
Interphone Motion Cam
Willie G Davidson retires
Big release of US oil reserves expected
BSA M20 & M21 T-shirt—£15.95

Mick Walker: The ride of my life

British bike magazines losing sales

Bonhams Bristol Sale: Sold out. Almost


February 2012 Classic bike news

Brightspark "EasyCap" Condensor C03

"Autopilot cars within 10 years"

Derek and Don Rickman: The Métisse Story

Norton Transformer video

DVLA set to close all regional offices by 2013

In search of Mr Nelk

1,000,000 UK drivers are aged 80+
Spare some change for the BNP?
Drivesafe goes live
Dennis Slaughter gets an MBE
"Time warp" c1917 BSA 4¼hp sold at Bonhams' February Paris Sale
OEC-Anzani replica outfit
Girder Fork & Classic Motor Cycle Club
Kevin Schwantz to ride at the 2012 Festival of 1000 Bikes


January 2012 Classic bike news

AP Racing brake calipers are back on sale.
But not just yet ...

BMW to fit Datatags as standard
£65.72 KLG spark plug (and tin) on eBay
London Mayor Johnson opens Red Route bus lanes to bikers, permanently
8th Hotrod Hayride
Daylight saving bill thrown out
"Mandatory French high-visibility vests" to be replaced by armbands?
"Dayglo" e-petition gathers support
France bans SatNav speed camera warnings
Eighty bikers quiz MEP Pete Skinner
South of England RealClassic Show & Bikejumble Sunday 11th March
Du Pont Vegas sale hits $1 million
"High visibility jackets" to become
compulsory in France

New Tiger Cub on the way?
New winter classic show gets off to
a warm start

New Raleigh bicycle book
Continental time for British bikers?
MEP Pete Skinner's biking surgery
Triumph to build bikes in India
Carole Nash free iPhone app(lication)
VMCC July-Dec competition winner
"Wrong way" cycling to be legalised?
Dealer decals from Val Emery

December 2011 Classic bike news

Manx Norton screen for Thruxton Bonnies

2012 Andy Tiernan calendar

Top five UK biker gripes revealed

Harley-Davidson sued over "dodgy" ABS warning light

London bus lane victory for bikers

JVB Brit Bobber—yours for €15,000

Annual SORN to be scrapped. And V5Cs too?

Royal Enfield Crusader info wanted

"Joint enterprise" bikers cleared

50-plus classics found in a hall

BBC online road death map

Warning: London Low Emissions Zone, 2012

November 2011 Classic bike news

Royal Enfield Bullet Desert Storm

Bonhams to auction WW11 POW

One hundred years of Watsonian

Newly minted Commando bearing shells from Andover Norton

Du Pont Collection to be auctioned

New McQueen photo book

Hot Work by Hepworth & Grandage

2012 Triumph Speed Triple R

Brussels protest ride gathers pace

Von Dutch Bonnie: last chance to buy

Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200

Rollerburn picks Davida

$250,000 Brough offered online

MoTs to be scrapped for pre-1960s bikes and cars?

October 2011 Classic bike news

Classic "Rode Safely" YouTube vid
VMCC BSA Rocket Gold Star raffle closing...
Steve McQueen T100 Bonneville
Moby Dick fails to reach estimate
Bonhams back in Harrogate
Grand Prix helmets set for launch
Sammy Miller's honorary membership
New law is set to target dangerous drivers
$13,975 for a BSA M20?
Indian production re-started
London Motorcycle Museum expansion plans
2012 AJS and Matchless owners club calendar
Riders Digest is bust
Fonzie's Bud Ekins Triumph sale

September 2011 Classic bike news

80mph limit back on the agenda?
Diabetes driving licence woes
Thirty years of the Suzuki Katana
John Favill to talk at Coventry
Tell it to Penning
Thomas Humber gets a plaque
10th anniversary of the Davida Jet
"Gus Kuhn" Commando: £6,670
Wideline Featherbed from Andover
Mike Wheeler: new Royal Enfield dealer
2012 Triumph 675 Daytona unveiled
1936 Panther on eBay - £14,999
Three dead at the 2011 Manx

August 2011 Classic bike news

Hughie Hancox:1938-2011
John Howard Davies: 1939-2011
Radical shake up of the MOT regulations?
Custom BSA takes World Championship freestyle second
MOSI's Customising, Culture and Harley-Davidson exhibit
Cheffin's T140 Bonneville bargain
Mick "Hesketh" Broom hospitalised
Solicitors from Hell
Gary Nixon: 1941-2011
Vince Cable's Norton Loan
Bill Saker's new venture
Rick Edwards: 1967-2011
Rockingham Classics & Sports have closed

July 2011 Classic bike news

New DVLA organ donor rules apply

Davida "fighter pilot" visor

Unique DOHC 250cc Velo sale

Scott Hardy UK charity bike ride
H&H Buxton auction results
Captain America's Harley on show
Avon Tyres unearths Vincent film
Coventry-Eagle Flying-8 at Quail
Braking News
New Ariel badges from Draganfly
Last ever Brough Superior SS100
H&H's Rare Brough Superior racer
Harley-Davidson shares intrigue
Frost Automotive's "ethanol fix"
Coventry Transport Museum exhibit pays homage to the Ace Cafe
Classic Vespa ACMA on eBay
Hightown Crows


June 2011 Classic bike news

Don Godden :1936-2011

Ted Simon Foundation

Norman Vanhouse

Romney Marsh Bike Jumble

"2000 visitors" at Enfield Weekend

"Gold Star number one" on eBay

Ugly Fish biker specs from Down Under

£45,600 for a British Anzani V-twin engine
Road Safety Minister Penning launches new "Think!" initiative
Draganfly's 35th birthday
Andover Norton Commando production racer head steady
Roy Bacon dating certificates doubts
New T120 & T140 pistons from Norman Hyde
First Daventry Motorcycle Festival
Travelling with Mr Turner


May 2011 Classic bike news

Lambeth Council redefines potholes

McQueen's Husky breaks auction record
New EC legislation threat to online
classic bike spares traders

Big Dog Motorcycles is bankrupt
Sheriff of Cambridge buys Hyde Harrier
Jubilee prototype

500,000th Hinckley Triumph arrives
Ultra rare AJS Porcupine heads for
Bonhams' Carmel Auction

Lambrettas back on the streets
The Norman Club is 10 years old
Electronic speedos and tachos from SRM
A Gagg & Sons is selling up
Cambridgeshire bike shop doubles as a
post office and grocery store

Cat & Fiddle cameras are switched on
Indian Motorcycle acquired by Polaris

April 2011 Classic bike news

£2 million netted by Bonhams at the 2011
Stafford Show

Judges throw out No To Bike Parking Tax case

Dymag relaunched

Tory MP moots dangerous and reckless
cycling law

Hailwood's TT Cromwell to be auctioned
Hobgoblin Enfield Bullet winner
New ethanol warning
T120, T140 & T160 clutch cush drive "rubbers" from Tony Hayward

MAG gets a grip
Harley-Davidson 883 SuperLow Sportster
gets a Watsonian chair

Two Norton racers added to
Bonhams' Quail Lodge auction

March 2011 Classic bike news

Kawasaki W800 suspension mods

Spring Veterama 2011

Cylinder Head Shop ties up with BLR
Engineering and G&S Valves

Francis-Barnett: The Complete Story
Bike death on Mike Hailwood memorial run
BSA A7, A10 & Ariel Huntmaster
dynamo belt drive kit

Captain America's chopper on the block
UK Government switches drink drive
emphasis to drugs

Shadows' bassist Jet Harris dies
Moto Guzzi celebrates 90th birthday
Pre-65 Motocross Club extra event
Electric bikes debut at the 2011
Red Marley Hill Climb

New rocker book from Mick Duckworth
Welcome to The Manor Cafe
Bristol cars go in administration
Battistinis Retro Revival
Steve McQueen bounds back on the big screen
1938 350cc Excelsior Manxman
sells for £26,640



February 2011 Classic bike news

Dave Degens at South of England Ardingly Classic Bike Show

Vinnielonglegs under the hammer

50 years of the Welsh Dragon Rally

Charge warning light driver

Round Kurland Latvian Rally

Mike Hailwood Memorial Run

Triumph Tiger 90 register

Crash Card launched at the Ace Cafe

VMCC raffles a T160 Triumph Trident for 2011

Harley-Davidson Sportster Custom

KLN 804, where are you?

Douglas: Light aero engines from Kingswood
to Cathcart

Bonhams' Paris Grand Palais
Auction draws near...

£144 Lucas ammeter on eBay. Sold!

BSA Golden Flash eBook from Sump

January 2011 Classic bike news

Record sales for Rolls Royce

1942 Royal Enfield WD/CO for sale on eBay

WW2 Waltham watch for sale

Steve McQueen Husqvarna for sale at Bonhams

New Royal Enfield V-twin denied

Carbon fibre T140/T120 frame

BSA-Indian bobber on eBay

VAT rise hides dealer price hike

Meriden blockade stepped up

Ealing to boot bikes from bus lanes?

Harley-Davidson share price rise

New Norvil Catalogue

Triumph leading UK big bike sales

Rare Megola heading for Bonhams' Grand Palais Paris auction

Draganfly John Bull knee grips & toolboxes

Hildebrand & Wolfmüller sells for a record $161,000 at Las Vegas

BSA Golden Flash eBook from Sump


December 2010 Classic bike news

$15,000 tin toys auctioned

Captain Beefheart 1941-2010

Two old Texans head for Bonhams' big one

Two more HD dealers hit the skids

Prince Charles: "I hate motorbikes"

1925 Brough Superior prototype set to smash marque auction record

Police supt changes speeding plea

UK blocks Euro wide motoring fines plan

"Select" MPs call for new drink driving purge

New old stock US container bonanza from Burton Bike Bits

US Government bailed out Harley with $2.3billion

April ‘Real Classic’ Malvern Classic Bike Show date change

Calling Panther owners...

Eight Vincents on offer at Bonham's 1st Las Vegas sale

Simulated riding research "shock"



November 2010 Classic bike news

Penning's Triumph?

Royal Enfield Fury set to launch

Roberto Rossi Rivale Bonneville

Amazing key fob camera

White line warnings

1926 Indian Scout tops Bonhams'
18th Harrogate sale

Zero emissions racer hits cyclist

Fall in London bus driver assaults

120,000 tons of Aussie salt on the way

Off duty New York cop shoots bike thief

Rare AMC Rickman Métisse auction

1929 Scott 3-speed Flyer TT Replica

Michelin wants its windows back, please

5p off Shell V-Power—for one day only

Stolen bike recovery rate falling

Accident Exchange

Royal Enfield and Watsonian Squire
are flying again

Bike theft risk

Douglas: The Complete Story

High level Hinckley Bonnie exhausts

The end for Pontiac

Oxford speed cameras back in the frame

Bonhams to auction rare Hildebrand
and Wolfmuller

Norvin cafe racer from Sump Magazine

October 2010 Classic bike news

Low sun warning from the IAM

"Plain clothed" traffic wardens

100,000 anti terror suspects stopped in 2009: zero arrests

Bud Ekins memorabilia auction

Brough Superior makes a record £286,000

Triumph 675R Daytona tank badge intrigue

Philip Hammond criticised over insensitive
suicide remarks

EC rejects ABS "switch off" option

100 Years of AA Ireland stamp issued

Norman Hyde triple pistons

Norvin cafe racer auction result

Quarter of a million pound Brough?

Dave Aldana's Rocket for sale

Andy Tiernan Air Ambulance calendar

Big UK freeze on the way

Helmut Fath's URS outfit sells for
£102,700 at Stafford

New sliding gear for BA or BAP gearboxes

Triumph Trident and BSA Rocket Three oil pumps from Hyde

AJS 7R & Matchless G50 looking for £25-£28k & £28k-32k, respectively

Triumph Tiger XC images released

2011 Adventure Travel Film Festival

Keis bodywarmer

Eric Patterson at the Ardingly Show

Motorcycle Action Group organising
mass lobby of Parliament

Tom Swallow James Comet for sale

Mayor Johnson launches
motorcycle safety campaign

Sussex Police on TV

2011 ABS Triumph Speed Triple

Bonham's £12,000-£16,000
1939 Triumph Tiger 100

Norman Wisdom 1915-2010

New driving test rules take effect

125p per litre petrol soon?

New Rocker culture book

Legendary 100 Club set to close

Cycle lobby to challenge motorcycle
bus lane access

M4 bus lane now open to cars

Norvin cafe racer to fetch £29,000?

1931 500cc Sunbeam Model 9 Plus

September 2010 Classic bike news

New VMCC Devon section proposed

Michael Scott Wade

Pensioner jailed for assaulting Hells Angel

Schwarzenegger signs noise emissions bill

Harley-Davidson extended warranty offer

Biker cleared of filming hysterical gun toting cop

New buckles from Chequered Flag

Thefts at Triumph Live

£33 billion road safety economy drive

Norfolk Speed Cameras "facing the axe"

The "sun shines down" on Netley

AJS-Matchless Calendar 2011

Morgan to build cycle cars again?

Biking Brigadier's charity appeal

Blueye eyewear

BSA kevlar clutch plate kit

Bedford is next to open bus lanes to motorcycles

Stolen 1931 Sunbeam Lion

Francis Barnett trademark for sale

'53 Squariel sells strong for £11,900 at
Bonham's Beaulieu

Friends of Speedway film appeal

Triumph - Britain's largest automotive company?

Ariel Square Four repro 'rods from Draganfly

3D Wonderbra distraction

Police predict a riot

Johnny "Chester" Dowling

Easy Rider special screening

Scottish police need help

Repro Triumph Speed Twin forks

1937 Stevens auctioned for £12,980

Police officer guilty of killing 60s pop star's son

Canadian optical "safety" illusion

1200cc shaft-drive Triumph spotted

Councils cut the streetlight budget

Real Classic sold to Mortons Media

Helmetless bike thief dies in smash

Triumph X-75 Hurricane at Cheffins

Rare 1932 Triumph XO?

Superbike magazine sold to Vitality Publishing?

Two killed at the Manx Grand Prix

Hinckley Bonnie wheels

Crash proof Volvo?

Ace Cafe Reunion

Bike Parking Tax demo

Velocette M Series

War Department's 1940's day

BSA M20 bobber

Norton Commando hits 129mph at
Bonneville Salt Flats

Matthew Dieckmann killed in bike/car crash


August 2010 Classic bike news

Schwarzenegger to rule on noisy bikes
Northamptonshire police compensation claims
Kawasaki W800 is rolling
Interesting helmet research
Ace Classics to race at Goodwood
Bikers carjack celebrity wife
Taxi driver wasn't dead
New Amal parts for monoblocs
Val Emery Decals
Cameron & Clegg scrap pub plans
England gets the thumbs up
RoSPA's Communiqué
Villiers book
New three cylinder Triumph engine confirmed
Road pricing survey results
Drag Bike Racing - from Veloce
Road sign cull
The Fabulous Teddys
Davida 92
Draganfly's new plunger tubes
ID Document Bill
Morton's picture archive online
MO1 magneto replacement
Eddie Crooks
Triumph & The Stranglers
Royal Enfield Pub opens
Peter Williams Autobiography
Helmut Fath's outfit auctioned
Sammy Miller bikes on the block
8 Vincents auctioned
New V5Cs
TR3OC Breakfast
"Lewis Leathers" Enfield Bullet


Classic Bike Events



Andover Norton Commando gearboxes


These 'boxes, according to Andover Norton, haven't been available as complete units since Commando production ended. But now they're back in stock.


The original drawings, we're told, were used, and these units will suit both 750cc and 850cc bikes. Moreover, the materials have been upgraded to modern specifications, which makes these gearboxes better than original.


Here are some parts numbers:


06-0543, Commando up to serial number 306590 (low 2nd Gear)

06-5103, Commando up to serial number 306591-on (higher 2nd gear)

06-5206, Commando 850 Mk3 gearbox


The price is £1690, plus VAT, and that's a lot of dosh in these troubling economic times. But assemblies such as these have a relatively small market, and they don't grow on trees. We think the price sounds very reasonable.


If you're serious about your Commando and ride it the way it was meant to be ridden, better not cheapskate on the transmission. When they go south at anything above low velocities, the result can really make your eyes water (don't ask us how we know that).

Telephone Andover Norton on: 01488 686816 or visit them at their website.



— The Third Man




Cameron's British licence plan


It's nice to hear that David Cameron actually has an idea in his head. These days, he seems to spend most of his time bewailing the various troubles that the world is in and saying things like: "Someone needs to sort this out..." and "we need to do something about this..."


And lately, the things he wants someone to do something about are UK driving licences. Specifically, he wants to see the British Union flag, or the Royal Crest, or both, alongside the Euro logo.


British people (whoever the hell they are anymore), are said to be "proud of their national symbols", says Cameron,  but he wants to consult us on whether there ought to be an opt-out for the additional Rule Britannia graphics, and whether the Scots and Welsh can have their own flags or symbols pasted on their licences.


No mention, as ever, of Northern Ireland.


In 2015, UK licences are due to be updated with microchips, and that, says Dave, will be the time to muck around with the flags and national symbols. But for our money, we'd be happy to get that Euro thingy completely off the plastic.


Better still (and being classic bikers in the broadest sense) we'd like to roll back the years and reintroduce the old style red British driving licence and pretend we're living back in an age that most of us couldn't wait to get out of.


But no one listens to us, least of all the prime minister who appears to be on a heavy Nationalistic binge at the moment what with the Diamond Jubilee, the  imminent Olympic Games, and his recent inflammatory (with a capital Tory) comments to Argentine President, Cristina Kirchner.


Anyway, sooner or later HM Gov will be canvassing your views, and you might take the opportunity to remind them that the Franco-Germanic European experiment of forced integration and dissolution of National sovereignty hasn't turned out to be anything like it was all cracked up to be.


Put simply, tinkering with the licences are the least of our worries. Maybe we should just GET THE HELL OUT of the EC and instead heap some belated coals on the neglected bonfire of the British Commonwealth.


Non-EC Iceland, after all, appears to be doing very well these days with annual growth at around 4.5 percent just four years after their banking system collapsed, whilst here in Blighty we're back in the recession that we never really got out of.


True, Iceland is about as pally-pally with Brussels as it can get, and is also a member of the European Internal Market and is signed up to the Schengen Agreement. But the tiny, rocky, fishy, volcanic country of just 320,000 frozen souls hasn’t (yet) completely sold out and is doing well enough to repay its IMF loans ahead of schedule.


Draw your own conclusions.

— Dexxion




Glen English AJS-7R. £2,625. Sold


That price includes buyers premium. But keep calm out there. This isn't a full-sized 1962 AJS-7R but a beautiful, pint-sized 1:4 scale model sold by Bonhams' at its sale of Collectors' Motorcycles, Motor Cars and Related Memorabilia & Spares at this year's (2012) Banbury Run.


The bike was built by Glen English (2003 FIM World Classic Champion, 2003 350/500 British National Classic Champion, 2000 Senior Classic Manx GP Winner, and Isle of Man TT competitor) and is number 30 of a limited edition run of 50.


It's fabricated from 400 parts and was sold with a perspex display case and a certificate of authenticity.


We still have trouble fixing a puncture, but some guys are not only accomplished racers but ace engineers too.


Classic stuff, huh?

— Sam 7



French breath

test kit



In case you missed it, from July 1st 2012 motorists, and motorcyclists, travelling in or through France are obliged to carry a breath test kit or face a fine of 11 euros (£9). Moreover, the kit must be approved to French standards, which means it must carry a blue NF logo (equivalent to our British Standards device).


Le Gendarmes have said that there will be a period of "grace" until November this year, but after that you'll be reaching into your wallet.


France has a pretty lousy alcohol related accident rate, and the French government thinks that it can mitigate the worst of the carnage if everyone self-regulates outside their favourite wine bar or restaurant.


Speaking for ourselves, when we've had a skin full, self-regulation is way down the list of priorities (after crawling from the gutter, trying to find the bike keys, and managing to press the carb tickler the requisite number of times).


That aside, the French have a lower legal alcohol limit of 50mg per 100mls of claret (ours is 80mg), and that means that even on the morning after the night before, you can feel as sober as a judge, but be as drunk as a skunk (legally speaking).


What with the new fluorescent bib/armband regulation (plus the requirement to carry a warning triangle, both parts of your driving licence, insurance certificate, and have a GB sticker or euro plate), is it any wonder that France has fallen way down the Sump list of MUST RE-VISIT countries, and is now in 119th place behind Kasakhstan, Uzbekistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo?


To ensure you've always got one handy, you ideally need to carry a couple of these alco-testers (currently priced on eBay at around a fiver a pair). But one is all the law requires. Make sure you also carry a spare set of bike keys in case the urge to ride on regardless is just too great.


If, on the other hand, you do manage to find yourself in France in an alcohol related traffic accident of your own foolish making, contact us immediately for our Do-it-Yourself Self Arrest Kit with Built In Kangaroo Court and Inflatable Prison.


On the other hand, Spain (via Portsmouth or Plymouth) is nice this time of the year.


Viva la Espana, etc.

— Dexxion



New fixed penalties planned


Mike Penning, UK Road Safety Minister, is planning to hike the price of various fixed penalty notices from £60 to £90.


He's looking at offences including speeding, using a hand-held mobile phone behind the wheel, and failure to belt up.

Additionally, Mike wants to take the majority of careless driving offences away from the magistrates and apply fixed penalties to them too. Why? Lack of police resources probably, coupled with general cuts in public services (courts, prisons, Crown Prosecution Service, etc).

Therefore, under these new proposals, a minor careless driving offence would lead to a £90 fixed penalty, whereas a more serious offence will be dealt with by the courts in the traditional manner.

Interestingly, it shows that the government feels that failure to wear a seatbelt should carry the same penalty as driving like a twit. We don't agree, but we're not in the driving seat, politically speaking and otherwise.

At the moment, Penning is merely consulting with interested parties, road groups, safety fascists, etc. But that ends on 5th September 2012.

You can pretty much guarantee that the consultation is merely Her Majesty's Government paying lip-service to the hoi polloi and will go ahead with its plans, regardless. So if you generally fall into any of the above categories, put a few extra pennies in the piggy.

It's worth remembering, incidentally, that implicit in any fine is the fact that motoring fines, or any fines, can simply be viewed as charges. Therefore, if you don't mind paying the man, you can  break the law as much as you can afford to.


For our money, we'd like to see careless driving offences be treated a little more seriously than a £90 fixed penalty, especially when that careless driving occurs within the vicinity of any of our bikes.


But as there's hardly anyone left to enforce the law one way or the other, it's a moot issue.

— Dexxion



Eddie Rickenbacker Quail sale


Cleveland, Excelsior, Harley-Davidson, Henderson, Indian and Reading. These classic, blue-chip, US motorcycling marques are just some of the machines that Bonhams will be auctioning at its two-day Quail Lodge Sale on August 16th 2012 at Carmel, California.

But if Yankee iron isn't to your taste, the auction also includes bikes from Ariel, Monark, Moto Guzzi, Motosacoche, New Imperial, Nimbus, Peugeot and Triumph.

Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973) was a US fighter pilot who received the Congressional Medal of Honour for his exploits during World War One. He flew 300 combat hours and achieved 26 aerial victories. Post war, Fast Eddie, as he was known during his earlier motor racing days, founded the Rickenbacker Motor Company (1921-1928), and later bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He went on to become head honcho at Eastern Air Lines, and died aged 82.

But wait. None of the above mentioned bikes actually has much to do with Eddie Rickenbacker, the man. Not directly, anyway. That's because they form the collection amassed by a certain Norman Hobday—aka Henry Africa—who created the "Fern Bar" concept in 1970 in San Francisco (think fake Tiffany lamps and huge pot plants and yuppies singles).

Norman (who legally changed his name to Henry Africa after the bar he founded) was a great fan of Eddie Rickenbacker and later named a bar and grille after the fighter ace. To decorate this bar, Norman/Henry bought an antique Indian motorcycle, hung it on the wall, and soon realised that he'd caught a wave that drew in a lot of fresh blood. Other bikes followed, and eventually Norman/Henry ended up with 30 machines.

He died earlier this year (25th February 2012), which is where Bonhams stepped in to handle the two wheeled spoils of the estate.

The fate of the erstwhile Rickenbacker bar and grille isn’t known (and we’re too busy to check), but the bike collection is set to be split up and shipped all over the world. So if you want a part of the Norman Hobday/Henry Africa/Eddie Rickenbacker history, talk to Bonhams and register your interest.


— Girl Happy



Norton wins Motul team award...


... for technical excellence, actually. And Norton boss Stuart Garner is said to be chuffed to bits, not least because the firm, unlike in 2009, at least managed to qualify this year.


Runcorn-based Norton rider Ian "Mackers" Mackman was set to ride the SG1 (Stuart Garner 1?) in the 2012 Isle of Man Senior TT, but due to the much-reported adverse weather conditions, the race was cancelled.


Of course, some are saying that this bike wasn't a "real" Norton at all, anyway; that it was simply an RSV-V4 Aprilia lump in a Spondon frame with a Norton badge slapped on the tank (see April 2012 Sump). But we're staying out of it. If Garner says it's a Norton, who are we to argue?


The Motul Team Award, incidentally, was created last year (2011) to give the best TT team (in Motul's opinion) a good slap on the back. However, some might say that Norton really deserved a slap across the chops for not sorting out the engine timing issues before they landed on the island, but we're keeping out of that one too.


Twenty years ago, Steve Hislop piloted a Norton to victor in the Senior. Better luck next year, huh, Stuart?


— Del Monte


Michigan repeals helmet law. Partly.


It's the 31st state in the US of A to do so, and it can only add fuel to the fire of discontentment still smouldering among many American bikers who demand the right to ride free in the "land of the free".


The repeal of the Michigan helmet law was signed into state statute this April (2012). But there are catches. A rider wishing to forego his or her lid has to be over 21 years of age; has to have passed a motorcycle safety test, or have been on the road for two years or more; and has to have at least $20,000 worth of medical insurance (and what are you really going to buy with that aside from a death certificate?).


Additionally, passengers must also have at least $20,000 of insurance cover.


The US riders rights organization, ABATE, has for decades been campaigning against the mandatory helmet law. Interestingly, it seems that Michigan introduced its helmet bill in 1967 to qualify for federal funding. But times have changed, and that requirement is no longer a prerequisite for a few extra federal sponduliks (read what you like into that).


The bill was sponsored by republican Phil Pavlov (St Clair, Michigan). Instructions have since been issued to the Michigan State Police advising them that they are not empowered to stop a helmetless motorcyclist purely to check compliance under the law. Neither is a rider required to carry proof of his entitlement to "ride free". Riding without a lid, in Michigan, is not a criminal offence but a civil infraction.


Numerous studies have suggested that US states that have repealed the helmet law have seen no rise in fatalities or in insurance costs for motorcyclists. But naturally, this claim has been challenged by the naysayers who feel it's their moral (and, more likely, financial) duty to demand that others adhere to their personal idea of safety on two wheels.


Here at Sump, we think the news is wonderful—not that any of us would care to ride lidless even if we knew how to. But that ain't the point. If you have the right to risk your life drinking, smoking, mountain climbing, surfing, cycling, and going into armed combat in various unsavoury corners of the planet, it seems only reasonable that you should have the right to set your own level of personal security on a motorcycle.


The day they repeal the helmet law here in the UK (and don't hold your breath), you'll know that the right to enjoy the "free and peaceful use of the Kings Highways", as enshrined in Magna Carta, has been restored.


— Dexxion



Superbike up for sale. Again.


Less than two years after Superbike magazine was acquired by Vitality Publishing, the troubled sportsbike rag is up for sale again.


IPC Media had struggled to make the title profitable, but finally flogged the problem to Vitality—who bought three other titles in the deal. But falling ad revenues and plummeting sales have now forced Vitality to call in the insolvency experts.


The firm's debts are said to be around £1million. Superbike's latest ABC figures are a little over 16,000 copies monthly, down from around the claimed 30,000 monthly sales in late 2010. In a contracting market, it's hard to see who's going to want this one. But as ever, it ain't over till it's over.

— Del Monte



"Drugalysers" in use by 2013


The British government is asking medical and scientific instrument manufacturers to submit designs for the new "drugalysers" which have been earmarked for introduction by the end of this year (2012).

The first devices will be used in police stations where officers will be empowered to take a saliva test and check to see if any of a wide range of drugs has been used recently regardless of whether that usage can be shown to have impaired driving.

"Drug driving" will be a new offence that removes the requirement for police to prove that a driver was both "drugged and incapable" (as is the current legal position). Instead, it will be sufficient to show simply that a vehicle operator had been using drugs beyond a set level.

But what constitutes an illegal level, and exactly which drugs will come under the scope of the law, isn't clear. A panel of experts is going to decide that. But PM David Cameron had been quoted as saying: "We want to do for drug-driving what drink-driving laws have done for driving under the influence of alcohol."

By 2014, handheld devices will be available to the police to enable them to carry out roadside tests.

According to the Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL), drugs were a factor in a quarter of motoring fatalities. But that statistic (take note) no doubt includes a large number of drug-fuelled people/revellers/pillheads/hippies who had simply wandered into the path of an oncoming vehicle, which means that TRRL figures are routinely "spun" by the government to bolster whatever propaganda it's currently espousing.

Regardless, Her Majesty's legislators are on the warpath with this particular aspect of the Crime and Courts Bill and has promised maximum sentences of up to six months in clink with a mandatory one year driving ban.

So if you're partial to the odd spliff, snort, toke or whatever, here's another reason to stay away from your wheels until it wears off, huh? Drugs are a victimless crime only until some other innocent so-and-so gets caught up in your nasty little habit.

— The Third man





▲ Top


Classic bikes for sale

Cafe Racer T-shirt:
Vivo ergo veho

(I think, therefore I ride)


£15.99 plus P&P

[for details, click here]



Copyright Sump Publishing 2012