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14th June 2004

Norman Day

The Norman Club regularly take their two-strokes tilting at windmills. Roy Workman peers through a blue haze to join them...

Many years ago I owned a Norman motorcycle and I have always had an interest in them. I read in the MZ Riders' Club Magazine that there was a Norman Club, which I subsequently joined a couple of years ago. The club is run by Gary Pilcher and a group of friends and they have their main meetings at Willesborough Windmill, just off junction 10 on the M20. Gary told me that the club now has a membership of nearly 150, with some members from overseas.

Gary Pilcher, on the blue bike. The man in the cap is asking Gary if his bearded chum could perform a demonstration of mid-eighties break-dance moves.

Being a Round Britain Rally participant for the last 10 years I saw this as a opportunity to gain a few points in the rally and attend the club's meeting at the same time. I had a nice run down from London, with just a few spots of rain on the way. I managed to find the toll booth that I needed to photograph for the rally; this was close to Ashford and then I rode on to the windmill.

Just off camera, the break dancing has attracted considerable interest.

The club had quite a nice display of bikes. A couple of members had even turned up from Norway and brought their machines with them. There were fewer of the B4 sports model on display this year than last; however there were more singles, including some 150/125 cc models. Somebody had brought along a Rambler autocycle. The Rambler name was used by Norman for their export models to Canada, America, etc.

B4s, afterwards.

The local newspaper came along to take some photographs and write an article on the event, which would be of interest to their general readers as the Norman machines were made in the town. Several people turned up who had worked in the factory. It was interesting to talk to them -- they are all getting on a bit now as the factory closed in the early Sixties.

One chap brought along a few pieces for sale, including a Corgi engine for 30 and a Norman bicycle -- another factory product.

More classic British Two Strokes - a brace of Ariel Arrows

One club member who I spoke to mentioned that a classic dealer was offering a B4 model machine for sale at 3000. The member said that he had four of these bikes, so that made him a little better off than he expected! However he said that the main part was the enjoyment that he had from keeping these machines running and riding them over the years.

The blue haze happened when some of these Villiers-engined bikes were started up, as you can imagine...

A James, which may or may not be owned and/or ridden by someone called Norman.

The Friends of the Windmill Society have raised 20,000 so far in their efforts to get the mill working fully again. Pat White of the Friends told me that the mill is now registered for civil weddings and these are proving to be quite a success. This venture is helping to fill the restoration funds. They have 10 weddings booked for this year already.

Next to the mill is an old barn which does teas coffees and light snacks, and one corner of the barn is devoted to the Norman factory and its products. This could be a different day out for you and maybe your club; a day with classic bikes and a tour of the windmill all rolled into one.

People To Speak To

  • The Norman Club:
  • Willesborough Windmill, Mrs Pat White, 01233 733416

    Tea, anyone?

    Why are there so few two-strokes on our Bike Profiles page?

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