Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Royal Enfield's Bullet marks historic 70th milestone

Collection of Royal Enfield motorcycles on the grass.
Some of the many models of Royal Enfield parked in the Club Rally Area.
Story and photos by Mark Mumford
The 2019 Royal Enfield Owners Club International Rally was organized by the Royal Enfield Owners Club Midshires Branch (supported by members from the Home Counties and South Midlands branches), the event taking place over the weekend of 19 to 21 July at Stanford Hall in Leicestershire, Great Britain.

This charming country house, set in typical English parkland, has long been a home for motorcycle events and at one time hosted the Griffiths Collection of racing motorcycles (now dispersed).

The Sunday of the rally coincided with one of the biggest annual motorcycle events in the UK, Founders Day, named for the Founder of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club C.E. "Titch" Allen.

Vintage Royal Enfield motorcycle on display at event.
Flat-tank Royal Enfield with brass headlamp, bulb horn, fluted silencer and tank shift.
The Indian 350 Bullet in the background has the famed swing-arm rear suspension.
The event attracts thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts and their machines and usually has an overall theme — 2018 for instance was "military motorcycles" to commemorate the end of the First World War.

This year the Bullet was chosen, it being 70 years since the launch of the first post-war swinging arm Bullet, arguably one of the most innovative and influential machines ever built.

The Bullet name originated pre-war of course, in 1933, but was little used by Enfield in this period, machines most often being designated by a letter system. For instance the 1936 500 Bullet was the Model LF.

Close up for motorcycle fuel tank.
The earliest Bullet present, a 1934 Model BO 250.
The tank transfer (decal) actually features a speeding bullet,
a design only found on this model!
The aim of the organizers was to achieve 100 Bullets on the public open day on Sunday and despite worries that total was easily broken. By about mid-day over 200 Bullets were parked in the area of the Owners Club stand and the exhausted tallyman gave up the count!

Many more Bullets and other Enfields were to be seen elsewhere in the enormous event area so it's probably safe to estimate 400-plus machines.

Vintage Royal Enfield on display at event.
The 1934 Bullet's flashy styling included high-mounted silencers,
one on each side for its "sloper" twin-port motor.
Note headlight controls on the tank.
Vintage Royal Enfield on display at event.
The other side of the 1934 Bullet. Is that an Interceptor in the background?
Mark Mumford is a Royal Enfield enthusiast and member of the Royal Enfield Owners Club UK Home Counties Branch. For more photos of the Bullet's 70th birthday see the report by Andrew Papadakis of the REOC Greek Chapter.

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