Monday, July 1, 2013

British motorcycles just "Press On, Regardless"

This "Flying Crate" style motorcycle evokes wonder.
Artist Ian Cater has a gift for capturing the heart of great motorcycles, including Royal Enfields. He recently emailed this photo of the astounding "hand built" motorcycle above, with the following explanation:

"I was at a 'Ton Up Day' on Sunday at the Brooklands Museum, which is housed in the remains of the legendary Brooklands banked race track a bit west of London. It had its heyday in the 1920s and '30s. A number of historic racing machines of the day were being given a blast up their hill climb track, among them this home made 'beauty' first raced in about 1928.

"I contend that only an Englishman could have built something like this and seriously entered it in competition. Frenchmen looking on would have shrugged and rolled their eyes, Italians would have collapsed with laughter, Germans scoffed with utter disbelief.

"Mind you, those streamlined wheels were probably far ahead of their time, even if the execution was a bit shabby. But this is the stuff that made Britain nearly great during most of the 20th Century, a would-be world beater typically fashioned from a random collection of bits of other things, assembled for almost no money and ridden by a bloke called Blenkinsop or Merryweather.

"Fair makes you proud..."

Searching the web, it appears the machine was created by Doug Earle as a replica of a Cotton with a 1928 JAP speedway motor that would have raced the outer circuit before Brooklands became a defense factory site for World War II.

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