July 21st 2016
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VMCC 70th Anniversary at Cadwell Park
The Vintage Motor Cycle Club celebrates its seventieth birthday this year – in style. Richard Jones reports...
On the 28th April 1946, 38 classic motorcycle enthusiasts met up at the Lounge Café on the Hog’s Back near Guildford for the official launch and inaugural meeting of what was decided, after an excellent lunch, would be called the Vintage Motor Cycle Club (VMCC). Among those present was the man who was behind the formation of the club, CE Titch Allen OBE BEM, as well as journalist Cyril Quantrill and Brooklands record holder Ivan Wicksteed. 70 years later the VMCC commemorated this anniversary with an event at Cadwell Park along with British Historic Racing (VMCC) who were celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first event which was held at Cadwell in June 1966.
As the sun was shining for a change, Mrs J and I decided to go to Cadwell for the Friday of what was a three day event. I had not quite appreciated how far Jones Towers is from the circuit and, finally, after 130 or so miles and missing the circuit – signposting is not its strongest point – we arrived. I have to say that Cadwell is very impressive. It truly is a parkland setting which provides a great backdrop for the circuit, distance from car park to track is negligible and there are excellent facilities provided including a play area for children who may not be quite so enthusiastic about the day’s events as the adults.
There was plenty to see in the paddock before the action started on the track.
These two pieces of Italian exotica, classically red, were brought to Cadwell by Graham from Retford to take part in the BHR races on Saturday and Sunday. The one on the left is a 500cc Moto Guzzi Gambalunga from 1948 whilst its stablemate dates from 1970 and is described as a 500cc Moto Guzzi Seeley. This apparently uses replica Dondolino engine castings with a secondhand crank and Dondolino internals, with one of Mr Seeley’s frames. Regrettably neither was on track on the Friday as they would have been a fine sight to see.
Another Seeley, this time with the more expected 496cc Matchless G50 providing the forward motivation; owned by Peter from Barnsley, this one dates from 1974.
The Silk 700S first saw the light of day in 1975 and was the brainchild of George Silk who produced a 653cc engine based on the Scott water-cooled twin with its forward inclined block but updated with all new internals. The gearbox had Velocette-type internals and the whole was enclosed in a Spondon frame, this firm also supplying the fork and brakes. It’s believed that about 135 were built and this fine example had been brought from Derbyshire by Richard Silk who, it seems, continues to run the family business but now designing and manufacturing the Mirage range of portable machine tools rather than motorcycles.
I’d like to be able to tell you something about this machine that firmly caught the camera lens but the only No 61 in the programme was a Ducati 450cc which this clearly is not. The decals on the tank say ‘Norton’ and ‘Scott’, with the engine from the former and the frame from the latter. Any ideas out there?
And so to the action on the track. This is Richard who had come all the way down from Linlithgow to show how it’s done on his 500cc Rudge Special – as you can see the knee is very close to the tarmac. His father, Douglas, was also on the track with his 1939 500cc Rudge Ulster but this unfortunately ground to a halt just by yours truly; still it was chance for a chat with him as he waited to be collected.
This one is from even further afield than Scotland – the programme had the hometown for this 1927 250cc Cotton Blackburne racer as Switzerland which, as we all know, is a long way from Lincolnshire. Hopefully it was worth the trip and I really enjoyed photographing it on track and in the paddock.
This is Roger Moss aboard his 1934 640cc Scott Flying Squirrel going through Hall Bends. Roger is the founder of Moss Engineering who ‘offer a comprehensive one stop shop for people who require precise solutions to engineering problems’ so it’s no surprise that this is what he is riding.
Roger Lee’s 1962 250cc Ariel Leader caught Mrs Jones’ eye, not least because of the fact it appeared to be carrying a briefcase at the rear. Perhaps this is where the camping equipment was stowed – I think we should be told.
Racing sidecars are always good for an action photo and here we see, if I have interpreted the programme correctly, Steven Kemp and Simon Clover doing extraordinarily daring things on board a 1979 950cc Moto Guzzi Le Mans powered outfit. Rather them than me.
I think we should finish off this brief report with a quintessentially British motorcycle so here, for your delectation, is Roger’s immaculate 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R with its lusty 650 parallel twin powering him around Cadwell.
For an extensive selection of Richard’s images from this and other classic motorcycle events, see www.flickr.com/photos/cerrig_photography/sets/
The VMCC welcomes classic motorcycle enthusiasts to its events and club meetings around the UK: www.vmcc.net
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