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24th August 2015

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Founder's Day 2015

Every year, the Taverner's section of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club celebrate the club's beginnings with Founder's Day, a giant jumble, gymkhana and grand day out. Richard Jones reports..

Once again it was time to set off for the VMCC Taverner’s Section Founder’s Day event at Stanford Hall in south Leicestershire – where is the year going to? Tessie was loaded up with camera, water and cigarettes and we set off bright and early to avoid the crowds; some chance of that.

Founder's Day 2015

This was the crowd around the Brough Superior display and if you think this was hemmed in then you should have seen the autojumble – very large and very popular indeed. After a rather overcast start the sun came out and the crowds came in. Loads of bikes to see and too many to write here about but let’s try for an interesting selection (interesting to me that is: selfish as ever…)

Founder's Day 2015

A very patinated 350cc Rex Acme said to date from c1926 and all yours for £12,000. Assuming it takes at least the same amount to restore it, will it be worth £24,000 when it’s finished? This example has a Blackburne engine and Burman gearbox, liberally coated with ferrous oxide. It was manufactured in the same period that Wal Handley was having considerable success racing these machines in the TT so there is this cachet too.

Founder's Day 2015

This BSA bobber was parked by the tea and coffee van where it was exciting quite a lot of attention, so it took me a lot of patience to get a clear photograph. The engine number reveals that the motor probably came from a Gold Star B34 Daytona of 1954 vintage – or perhaps not as I couldn’t see the serial number after the letters. If you’re the owner I would be fascinated to hear more about this machine.

Founder's Day 2015

What more can I say other than glorious? Well there are a lot more superlatives I could use for this example of MV Agusta’s 750S but you would just get bored. Four cylinders, dohc, five gears, shaft drive, Ceriani forks and 4LS 9-inch front brake and, above all, oodles of style and charisma.

Founder's Day 2015

The only other example of this marque that I’ve come across was in the National Motorcycle Museum and was a V-twin. Elliston & Fell built these in London’s Perry Vale – presumably leading to the name PV – from about 1911 to 1924 using, in the early days, JAP V-twin and single engines. The prominent ‘Spring Frame’ logo refers to a system whereby the rear wheel was carried by supports that pivoted at a point ahead of the rear wheel spindle. The front of these supports acted against springs fixed to the seat tube to form a pivoted fork (with grateful thanks to Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth whose excellent book ‘The British Motorcycle Directory’ provided this succinct description). Engines other than JAP used by PV Motorcycles Ltd., as they became known, were ABC, Villiers and Barr & Stroud although this one has a Bradshaw power unit linked to a Burman gearbox.

Founder's Day 2015

I must show you a couple of Bantams, the first being this 1971 GPO machine – not a recreation but the last Bantam used by the Post Office in Newbury which the current owner restored. Regrettably the original leg guards were broken but he faithfully recreated the replacements you see now and it is really this red. Stunning.

Founder's Day 2015

I’ve included this Bantam ‘Trail Bronc’ because of its rarity value rather than aesthetic appeal, and apologies if this offends aficionados of the model. Apparently Hap Azina, an importer in Oakland, California, asked BSA to build this for the US market.

Regrettably Yamaha, rather unsportingly,  introduced the YG1 80cc trailbike at about the same time and the Trail Bronc did not sell. Moreover the 8hp 175cc engine, although ‘Ideal for those who want to go wilderness wandering, for hunting trips, or just exploring off the beaten track’ according to BSA’s sales brochure, was never going to be large or powerful enough for riders more used to 500cc trail bikes.

Personally I think the Bushman looks a whole lot better and doesn’t have that huge gap behind the engine.

BSA Bantams on Now...

Founder's Day 2015

Bridgestone’s 100 G/P two-stroke was a well-finished machine with chrome cylinder bores, two stroke oil injection run off the crankshaft and rotary valve induction with a four-speed gearbox that apparently allowed kick-starting without having to be in neutral. Producing slightly less than 10hp it’s not going to be too fast off the mark but it does look good.

Founder's Day 2015

Spotting a Welsh flag I ambled over to the British Motorcycle Preservation Society which is based in Llandudno, not far from the Jones’ home town, and had a chat with chairman Gordon ‘Monty’ Davis. On display was this French Jonghi which dates from 1951, a marque that I had not encountered before, and which was the outcome of a partnership between Italians Tito Jonghi and Giuseppe Redmondini who set up business in 1930 La Courneuve, about five miles from the centre of Paris. As well as winning the 350cc class of the 1932 European GP, a 346cc side-valve model also broke 10 world records at Montlhéry the following year. After the war Jonghi unveiled a 125cc construction single featuring a gear-driven overhead cam housed in a sprung frame as well as building a range of lightweight two-stroke machines of which this is presumably an example.

Founder's Day 2015

Monty suggested I have a wander over to the AMC Hybrids Association stand where I would find a rare AJS. On display was a 1964 Model 33CSR which AMC produced to sell to the USA with the big twin 750cc Norton Atlas engine dropped into the AJS/Matchless frame (although badged AJS it is said importer Berliner would put Norton badges on and call it the S/S 750). The AJS version was finished in polychromatic blue and it is said only 50 were manufactured by the time production ceased in 1967, which makes this one rather rare to say the least.

Founder's Day 2015

I came to a stand housing a selection of German machinery, some of which was new to me including this Tornax (I did ask that child to move away but it was deaf to my demands, possible because it was a mannequin). Tornax made its reputation in the 1920s with well-built JAP powered models and were spoken of in the same sentence and with the same respect as Brough or Zenith. After WW2 the firm focused on two-stroke machines, single and twin, with capacities up to 250cc and I’m assuming this is an example from this range, possibly the V200.

Founder's Day 2015

Let’s finish with a puzzling special – I’m sure this says ‘AJS BSA’ on the tank but whatever it is it certainly caught the eye…

Further info about the VMCC Taverners section and next year’s Founder’s Day event can be found at www.thetaverners.com

You’ll find more photos from this event and many other motorcycle rides and shows at Richard’s archive: www.flickr.com/photos/cerrig_photography/sets/


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