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7th June 2006

Classic Bike Charity Ride

STOP PRESS - Ride Cancelled!

Keeping a 1972 BSA Thunderbolt going for 24 hours non-stop is a tall order, but Geoff Danher has accomplished stranger things in the past. However, he needs your help to make his 2006 ride a real success...

Last year, RC Clubman Geoff Danher rode his Enfield Bullet 1500 miles in just 36 hours to raise money for charity. This year, the scheme is slightly more complicated - but there's plenty of scope for other people to join the fun.

Geoff's plan is for his 1972 BSA Thunderbolt to travel in a loop around Dartmoor for 24 hours, (nearly) non-stop, over the weekend of July 29th and 30th 2006. It's going to be a test of endurance - but for the bike, this time, not for Geoff! There will be a rota of riders who'll swap the hot seat in the town centre at Lloyds Square in Newton Abbott. There will be a small 'pit stop' zone where folks can gather to support the riders, display their own classic motorcycles, fix the A65 when it breaks (no, surely not!), socialise, eat Jaffa Cakes, and help to raise money for Geoff's chosen charity which is the Devon Air Ambulance.

Why do so many classics have seats that don't quite fit?

The run will start at noon on the Saturday, and then finish at noon on the Sunday. Each lap will be about 60 miles long, and will take a circular route around the Dartmoor countryside. The idea is not to set any kind of speed record but instead to get the Beesa through the 24 hours in one piece - so Geoff and his fellow riders will have to treat the old beast carefully! Geoff has been fettling and riding the 650 twin to get it into shape, although this week he revealed that; 'the A65 didn't make it the three miles into town today, so maybe there's a little more work required!'

Geoff, an ex-BSA worker, has long wanted to own an A65 of this type. 'This bike was built at BSA's Small Heath factory only a month before production ceased. The engine had been in production for nearly 10 years but the frame, brakes and electrics were all new in 1971. When I worked at the factory, I would ride Thunderbolts, the touring bike in the 650cc line up, regularly and knew that this was the model to buy.

Geoff gives us a rare glimpse of the right hand side of his bike.
Random BSA Stuff on

'I was young at the time and instead bought myself a Spitfire Mk IV, the fastest Beesa of the day. The Spitfire was very fast but also very fragile and I spent many hours rebuilding the engine!

'So it was 2005 before I actually owned my own Thunderbolt. It took a lot of searching to find this one-owner-from-new example, but I am so glad that I took the trouble. The engine is in a lower state of tune than the other 650s and is much smoother as a result. The bike feels very light and small compared to modern machines and is rewarding and fun to ride.

See what I mean about that seat?

'The Thunderbolt was stored for 11 years prior to my purchasing it and, although I drove the bike home to Devon from Potters Bar, quite some time and effort has since been put into getting the machine to become a reliable bike. Electronic ignition and a beefed up charging system have been fitted but other than that the bike is in standard, unrestored condition. The fairing was fitted in the bike's early history and I found the 1960s luggage on eBay.'

Even back when the Thunderbolt was new, getting a BSA 650 to run non-stop for 24 hours would have been something of an accomplishment. Nearly 35 years later, we reckon Geoff will have his work cut out for him - and he may indeed need some support from RC readers at Pit Stop central! So he'd be delighted to see you in Newton Abbott when he thunders into town.

'We have a town centre location which will be great to show off the bikes and raise funds for the charity. Other classic bike owners will be invited to join in for all or some of the laps or just to park their classic in the square although they will be expected to make a small donation to the charity for this.'

Are we having fun yet? Looks like Geoff is, at least...

So do get in touch with Geoff - find out more at And we wish him the very best of British luck; the A65 should cruise through it, Geoff, no problem…

STOP PRESS - Ride Cancelled!


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