VMCC Black Mountains Run

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In July the Vintage MCC again held its Black Mountains Run, but with a depleted entry this year, a reflection perhaps of rising costs, which ACU fees do not assist. Observing from where the 50-mile route crossed a cattle-grid and began to climb on to a common as the riders skirted the mountains, we were reminded of days long ago, when motorcycles were humble but absorbingly fascinating machines you could tune in the home workshop or in the kitchen or back bedroom, and when there was pride and rivalry among owners as they rode British machines along the deserted, gravelled Welsh country roads. A twin-cam, disc-braked Kawasaki 900 in the car-park at the start had served as a reminder of how complicated it has since become. . . .

Reverting to the vintage fraternity, there was soon plenty of the joyful sound of lusty single-cylinders pulling strongly, reminiscent of the days when motorcycling meant being in the close company of compelling but simple machinery. Evans-the-Triumph appeared first, and changed-up on the gradient, on his sporting 1935 250. A Norton with pillion passenger took it in top, as did Davies’ 1927 Triumph, likewise two-up. Jones’ vee-twin Royal Enfield, with an engine 382 c.c. bigger than that of the Fiat car it seemed appropriate for us to use that day, climbed in company with a 1933 Matchless and Bodford rode a 500-c.c. Vincent sidecar-outfit. Two 350s, an AJS and a Velocette, were more noisy, Morris’ 492 Sunbeam seemed high-geared, a 1928 Zenith two-stroke ascended in a slight haze, reminder of the kind of motorcycles Rodney Walkerly road-tested for us in the late 1920s, and Cummings’ big BSA combination, fully loaded and all the way from Swindon, elected to change-down.

Lewis’ 1929 Scott was surprisingly quiet, Skinner chugged up steadily on his AJS, after stretching his left leg for a moment, without footing, and Cooper’s 1930 “sloper” BSA was commendably quiet and sedate. It was nice to see the sidecars out, including Skinner’s very smart khaki-hued o.h.v. single-cylinder 1926 Matchless, a big BSA with rim brakes, the passengers of both protected behind mica screens, and Kelly’s 1939 Brough-Superior SS100 with sports aluminium “chair”, etc. Kelly’s 1928 mount was imperiously lettered on its tank The Sunbeam, a gas-lit Norton commenced readily, Weekes had a 1916 Calthorpe, and a fourcylinder Matchless Silver Hawk had come from Carmarthen. The VMCC Saundersfoot two-day event is scheduled for September 13/14th.—W.B.

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V-E-V Odds & Ends.—The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu proposes to allow those who have never driven a vintage car to try their hand round a small circuit, at the wheel of a 1919 Chevrolet. The engine and chassis from a 24 h.p. Wolverhampton Sunbeam. Reg. No. AXR 830, formerly a saloon, have ended up in Wuppertal, and the new owner seeks a carburetter and a water pump. The VCC holds its Firth of Clyde Rally, based on Rothesay, on September 13/14th and its Shakespearean Rally starting from Stratford-on-Avon on September 27/28th. A Fiat 509A, at present with truck body, and a 1938 Wolseley 10 h.p., the latter in Holland, are being restored by readers who seek information.

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