7th August 2015
Home -> Events -> Ride and Event Reports ->
Mallory Bike Bonanza 2015
If you don't mind missing out on the parades of star riders, then the Saturday at this track event is less hectic than the Sunday. Richard Jones grabbed the opportunity to photograph oodles of old bikes and classic motorcycles...
Real Motorsport’s second Mallory Bike Bonanza was held over the weekend of the 11th and 12th of July. At this time of year there are so many events available to visit that the ageing photographer needs to choose carefully so I opted to transport the camera up to Mallory for the Saturday session, Sunday being reserved for an event closer to home.
When I arrived I thought I had chosen the wrong day as there appeared to be rather a low attendance but the brighter side sooner revealed itself. No problems parking, no long queues for a bacon butty and coffee, no one standing between the camera and the motorcycle – it was bliss. So, selfishly, Sunday may be the day the stars come out at Mallory but Saturday was a great day to sit in the sun and watch the bikes.
A stroll down Club Central brought me first to the Italian MC Owners’ Club and this rather special Motobi with the delightful model name of ‘Spring Lasting’. Perhaps Giuseppe Benelli, eldest of the of the brothers from the eponymous marque, wanted something truly memorable when he broke away and set up Moto B Pesaro in 1949 (it became Motobi in 1955). The Spring Lasting was part of a line of this new manufacturer’s machines, and the egg-shaped motor and the 200cc twin cylinder, two-stroke engine with its twin carburettors, high compression, wet clutch and four gears could be described as ‘sporting’.
The capacity was later enlarged to 250cc with rotary valve induction and then from the mid-1950s Motobi developed ohv four-stroke 123cc and 172cc engines which, when turned into racers, had a great deal of success in Italian championships. Giuseppe died in 1957 and his two sons, Marco and Luigi, continued the marque even after the company was reunited with Benelli in 1963. The last identifiable Motobi was built in the mid-1970s after which the name disappeared.
Next stop was the AJS & Matchless Owners Club stand where this 1960 Model 30 was on display, presumably polished to a high state of shine as it is the prize in the club’s upcoming raffle. Tickets are £1 each from www.jampot.com/raffletickets.asp - the draw is at Motorcycle Live at the NEC on 6th December so buy now whilst stocks last…
The large parking area opposite the bridge to the paddock is always a good place to find something different and so it was this year when I spotted this James Superlux Autocycle ‘waiting in the weeds’ (sorry – I’ve been listening to the Eagles a lot recently and couldn’t resist). Although numbered there was no mention in the programme so I can’t tell you what year it is but apparently they first appeared in the James catalogue in November 1949 and continued in production until 1953. The specification provided for a Villiers two-stroke motor and carburettor, single gear and 4-inch brakes front and rear. A look at the engine case tells us that Villiers were suggesting 1 part SAE 30 oil to 16 parts of petrol, so now you know.
This machine was also parked opposite the paddock – at first sight it appears to be one of Craig Vetter’s triples but a closer look reveals the absence of a third exhaust. It is in fact a 1980 T140 Bonneville which has been treated to some of Mr Vetter’s styling cues – I liked it.
Into the paddock and I come across this Gillette Special motorcycle I photographed at Mallory some years ago but was unable to find anything meaningful to write about it. Having met the owner I now know that it was a project he started in 1978 and which has been ongoing to the present day although he says it’s now about finished. So why Gillette? Well its three cylinders, providing a capacity of 195cc, come from Mobylette autocycles and the frame is courtesy of Gilera so what else but Gillette (Mobylera would just be silly). I can only imagine the amount of time and expertise that has gone into producing this beautiful little machine but it has all been worthwhile, particularly when you see it being ridden out of the hairpin.
Whilst not ten-a-penny, 1930s Norton Manx Internationals are not unusual at this type of event but this one is a little bit special. It was raced by one Ray Allen in the 1934 Manx Junior race where he came 11th in three hours, 19 minutes and 39 seconds at an average speed of 68.05mph. Given he was competing against the likes of Crasher White, Doug Pirie, Austin Munks and Freddie Frith, this was a very creditable result as was the 14th place he achieved in the Senior the same year. The machine was restored by Eddie Kirkham and it was sold to the current owner on the basis that it would be used and not become a museum piece – from what I saw this request is being met to the full.
Next off to the hairpin to watch the action and where bikes are moving relatively slowly so some of the photos are actually in focus. The Brooklands Parade produced some of the older machines on the track and this determined gentleman is riding a 1935 Triumph Tiger 70, pushing its 250cc for all they’re worth. In 1932 Triumph hired Val Page to be its new chief designer and by 1934 he had modernised the marque’s range, introducing 18 new models using a system that we now call modular design, using one basic model and adding to it to produce different variations. The range included the 250cc L2/1 which was manufactured between 1934 and 1936 but was then developed into the Tiger 70 by Edward Turner and ran until 1939. As this example is from 1935 it must have been a very early T70. There’s more about these machines in RealClassic magazine Issue 106 and here: realclassic.co.uk/triumph_l2 _250cc.html
One of the attractions of this event is seeing classics running alongside far more modern machinery; here we have a 1952 Sunbeam S7 Deluxe 487cc mixing it with a Suzuki SV650. If I was the Sunbeam rider I’d ignore the upstart too.
The only other time you would see the underparts of this 1970 Triton Dresda Special would be if it was on a stand – masterful and speedy around the corners.
Here we see a different approach, equally spectacular in its own way; this machine was not mentioned in the programme but looks like a Bantam.
The article wouldn’t be complete without an Italian machine on track, this being a Ducati 900SS being ridden with panache by its pilot.
In the interests of balance here’s one from Japan. It takes a brave person to pilot a 1980 six-cylinder CBX 1,000cc around the Hairpin and I’m glad it wasn’t me
Finally I have to include this one as I am unlikely to be able to take such a photo ever again. Do you think the owner of the 1974 Bonneville meant to do this?
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/
|Like this page? Share it with these buttons:|
|Get ready for next year, with a bike that's on Right Now...|
Bikes | Features | Events | Books | Tech | Magazine | About | Messages | Classified | Links
Back to the Books menu...
© 2002 The Cosmic Motorcycle Co. Ltd / Redleg Interactive Media
You may download pages from this site for your private use. No other reproduction, re-publication, re-transmission or other re-distribution of any part of this site in any medium is permitted except with the written consent of the copyright owner or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.