2013 Banbury Run Part 2
James Robinson, and his Rex Acme. He is the editor of my favorite magazine, and this is a special R-A that was one of the factory race bikes built for the Isle of Man TT races. Wal Handley laid out the bike design, with a few interesting features in the chassis geometry. Later in the summer James asked me to ride the machine and give him my thoughts, which was great fun!
The frame features dual top tubes over the fuel tank extending from the headstock to the rear axle. The tube under the tank has to curve around the head, like many of the 1920’s OHV and OHC bikes. Typical accessories include the Pilgrim oil pump, 76 AMAL carby, round M-L magneto, Burman gearbox, etc. The bike was restored recently, and James has been working out the little bugs that always appear on such a project. Now it runs as good as it looks.
This special was on display at the Banbury. A Francis Barnett frame and a James V twin motor I think. It looks very handsome in raw metal, with the various brazed joints and dinged up paint visible. The frame is built from a multitude of straight tubes, bolted together at various points to create triangulated support. Have fun trying to count the number of tubes! I got up to 16 not counting the forks or rear stand. A wonderful bike, but I didn’t have time to find out the name of the builder. If any readers have more info, please leave a comment.
Another wonderful machine. The place was filled with them! I didn’t have time to photograph all 600+ bikes, but this one is a DOT. Note the scalloped joint on the bottom of the petrol tank. The tank bottom piece has the scalloped edges so that when it is folded up over the side piece there is additional surface area for the solder to adhere to. It helped to prevent cracks and leaks. Norton and Husqvarna used this method too, among others. (the web tells me that Husqvarna is spelled with a Q without a U! )
Looking very nice is this Premier of Nick Jonckheere from Belgium. It has a countershaft gearbox with footstarter, and is a 1914 model. My ‘13 has the 3 speed rear hub without a footstarter but it otherwise similiar. Premiers featured the little kangaroo on the fuel tank logo until they stopped production during WWI. The 500cc models had the novel auxiliary exhaust port to breathe out the hot exhaust and lengthen the life of the main exhaust valve. About 100 machines remain today.
I sure had a great time. Here we are very early in the morning before most of the bikes had been moved into their starting positions in the parking lot.
Isn’t this NUT beautiful? They were often painted this brown color, but I think that I’ve also seen one colored grey. The nickel plated straps to mount the fuel tank are punched with a series of holes, which is very eye catching. This one has a nice Tan Sad pillion seat and a later front brake added.
Ivan Rhodes is chatting with Dai, standing over the very first KTT Velocette. The radial ribs can be seen on the crankcase to support the main bearings. This one was raced on the Isle of Man, and while it is the first bike to have the new crankcases, it wasn’t actually stamped KTT for the motor number. They did that on later bikes. Ivan is the Chairman of the Velo Club, past president of the VMCC and the Association of Pioneer Motorcyclists, etc. And he’s the author of Velocette, Technical Excellence Exemplified. Don’t pay $200 for a copy though. I’ve heard that he is working on a new revision that should cost a lot less!
This early Triumph was very shiny!
The left foot controls the little toe-and-heel lever for the magneto timing, as well as the rear brake. And the foot lever to open or close the exhaust is just below the footrest too. Plus the left foot does some pedaling to start the motor and for LPA on the hills. Also note the Davison sight glass in the fuel tank, Triumph’s own two barrel carby, the leather water shield over the mag, etc.
What a wonderful Odd Engineering Contraption. The OEC front suspension was novel, there is no doubt about that. It looks good, and works well, but as Phillip Tooth wrote a few months ago in TCM, they really like to go straight!
A Henderson 4 and an Ajay at the bottom of Sunrising. I spent a bit of time here and was able to see a lot of neat machines ride past.
Kim and her mount for the day, the AJS 500 of the Robinson family. She loved it so much that we are now on the hunt to find a similar bike!
A 1920’s two stroke Velocette looking good before the start.
Dave Masters and I. Thanks again Dave for the invite to the Banbury! What a great time.