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26th August 2015

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Where BSAs Dare! by Norman Vanhouse

Back in 1952, three workaday BSA A7s beat the world to win gold medals in the ISDT and secure the Maudes Trophy. This new book tells the inside story, written by one of the competitors...

This is a real gem of a book, centred around the BSA factory’s ambitious entry of three bog standard 500cc Star Twins in the 1952 International Six Days Trial and subjected to official ACU scrutiny for a marathon test. Selected from factory stock and ridden to the trial venue in Austria as a running-in process, they completed the trial without loss of marks to win three Gold Medals in an event that torrential rain made one of the toughest for years.

Riders Fred Rist, Brian Martin and Norman Vanhouse then headed north for Oslo, still under observation, where the bikes were all tested for speed, exceeding 80mph on the lower sidecar gearing chosen to make life easier riding through Austrian forests. By the time they rode back into the factory in Birmingham, they’d covered over 5000 miles and earned a place in history, surviving one of the hardest trials of the year when many special factory prepared competition bikes had failed. The company was awarded the coveted Maudes Trophy, presented for an outstanding achievement by a manufacturer.

Where BSAs Dare! by Norman Vanhouse
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Norman Vanhouse had written the story years ago and his script was discovered by son Graham when he was clearing up his late father’s effects. There was also a history of the Maudes Trophy from its inception in 1923 to the last time it was won, by Suzuki, in 1994. Together this makes a fine adventure story, written by one of the leading characters, plus the history of both successful and failed attempts to win what used to be one of the industry’s most meritorious trophies. The book runs to 188 information filled pages with 72 illustrations including lots of period photos plus the author’s own time sheets from the trial. It’s due to be launched at the October Stafford Show and is cracking value and a cracking good read.

RC reviewer: Jim Reynolds

Where BSAs Dare! by Norman Vanhouse is available from Panther Publishing and includes a foreword by Jeff Smith MBE. RRP £14.95, ISBN 9781909213210

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