Friday, August 10, 2012

Royal Enfield's most famous rider reunites with bike

Photo of 1953 British ISDT Trophy Winning team with manager Len Heath. Riders from left are P.H. Alves on the Triumph; S.B. Manns on the Matchless; Johnny Brittain on the Royal Enfield; Hugh Viney on the AJS; and Jack Stocker on Royal Enfield. From Speed Track Tales.
UPDATE: From reader Mark Mumford: "David, you have reversed the identification of Johnny Brittain and Jack Stocker. Brittain was a young man then and continued to ride but Jack soon retired and became RE's competition manager. Johnny was later joined by his younger brother Pat. I was at the Redditch Revisited event when Johnny was re-united with his now restored bike. He said "it looks very shiny!" and his brother Pat quipped, "a lot shinier than when you finished with it!" Johnny is a real gent and still (with Pat and several other ex-RE works riders) attends RE related events."

Royal Enfield's greatest claims to racing glory in the postwar years are surely the trials victories of Johnny Brittain. His appropriate sounding name became identified with the brand and especially with its then new and very effective swinging arm rear suspension.

Brittain will reunite with the 1953 Royal Enfield he rode to victory in the International Six Days Trials at a prestigious concours Sept. 5 through 7 outside London. According to 3D Car Shows, the Salon Privé Tour d’Elégance will bring several notable riders together with their competition bikes, including Johnny Brittain and his 1953 Royal Enfield ISDT.

Brittain competed in the International Six Days Trials for 15 consecutive years, winning 13 gold medals. He was a member of the last British team to win the event in Czechoslovakia in 1953.

The Salon Privé calls itself the UK's most prestigious Super Car Show and the Chubb Insurance Concours d'Elégance is a glamorous garden party. Champagne, lobster luncheon and afternoon tea are part of the experience.

It's held at Syon Park, the London home of His Grace The 12th Duke of Northumberland (the place has been in his family for over 400 years). It is just 10 miles from central London.

Tickets can be purchased online if you can afford them.

A film by Gordon May, The Johnny Brittain Story is a less expensive investment if all you want to do is to learn about the remarkable history shared by Johnny Brittain and Royal Enfield.

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