Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ralph the Royal Enfield had a brother named Roy

"Ralph," the Royal Enfield motorcycle that became a running heirloom for Myles Attewell, was not the only MX Bullet to earn a human name from Pete Snidal and his friends back in the '50s.

I'd enjoyed reading Pete's story about Ralph, and was delighted to receive a recent "update" on it from Myles. When I wrote Pete to say that I'd heard from Myles, he had another surprise for me:

"Now for the coincidence of the week," Pete wrote. "I've had a small stack of photos lying on my totally messy desk for a month or two, and just yesterday decided to pop them onto the scanner and immortalize them for as long my hard drive lasts.

"One of them is of Myles' dad, John, aboard Ralph's 'bother'!

"Yes, there's more to the story. Ralph and his brother Roy were two of five MX Bullets imported into Vancouver by a just-starting Enfield dealer in early '57.  The dealer, Frank Carr, sadly succumbed to cancer that year.

"Ralph and Roy were ordered by two good buds in the Kickstarters Motorcycle Club, Bill Squelch and Bill Hawryluk, both keen competitors in the local scrambles, hill climbs, trials, and enduros in the area, as well as sometime road riders. They both also had cars, so their bikes were strictly fun-time vehicles.

"You already know the story of how I revived Ralph from his last legs. I haven't mentioned that, a few years after letting Ralph go, I got back into local competition events — mostly trials, and, tiring quickly of the smell of two-stroke oil (this was the age of the Bultaco, Ossa, and Montesa), went searching for Ralph.

"I didn't find him at first, but did find Roy, whom I took home, got running, and refinished as best I could.

"Roy was pretty far gone, though. Very loose everywhere: engine plate holes were all oblong, swingarm bushes were kinda shot, everything was bent, and I kind of lost interest, and so sold him to my friend John (Myles' father), who was just getting started in scrambles, and just wanted something sort of competitive to race at the new track called Totem Raceways, in Aldergrove BC,

"One of my pix I found yesterday was of John on Roy.  Here it is:

John Attewell rides Royal Enfield named 'Roy.'
"It would have been about 1966-'67 at Totem Raceways. CMA scrambles event of Totem Motorcycle Club.

"I don't know what happened to Roy after that. Scrap, I'd imagine — the bike was pretty shot/timed out."

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