Surrey Section at the Ardingly Show on Match 31st 2019

 

Peter Burden with his 1963 650ss on our plinth

 

Surrey Section at the Ardingly Show on Match 31st 2019

The Surrey section represented the NOC at the South of England Classic Bike Show on the 31st March 2019, at the South of England Showground in Ardingly. This was with special guest Rex Butcher, and the Surrey section was celebrating 70 years of the Norton Dominator. We were also celebrating the 60th birthday of the NOC.

The day did not start to well for me, as at about 6.45am it was raining. When I left, it had stopped, and by the time, I had got to the bottom of the hill, it was dry. Therefore, it had only rained where I lived. I took my 1958 dispatched 500cc Nomad, and this was the first time I had ridden it on the roads of the UK, after a very extensive and intensive rebuild. It is one of only four-500cc engine Nomads to be imported into the USA. My 500cc Nomad was the only 500cc Nomad that was imported by the Norton importer, Hap Jones, 2 Clinton Park, San Francisco, USA, Hap Jones at this address imported 181 Nomads and the other 180 were all 600cc Nomads. The USA from 1958 to 1959 only imported four 500cc Nomads, so this model of the Nomad is a very rare bike. In all, Norton America including Canada took, only 22 500cc Nomads. The importers McGill imported more 500cc Nomads as there was a racing class for that particular cc of bikes.

Anthony Curzon’s rare 500cc Nomad and John Blades’ Mercury

The ride to the Ardingly show being a good day to ride a bike, but as the motor had very low miles on it I was taking it slowly on the A22, going from 30 mph most of the time but up to 35 to may be touching 40 mph when on the flat straight part of the A22. When arrived at Ardingly, Julie Diplock’s team were very helpful, and efficient, as they always are, and off I rode to the main hall where the Surrey section had our stand. We already had our gazebo erected, and Chris Barraclough, Matt Creighton, Malcolm Smith, and our other members was getting our bike display plinth ready for Peter Burdon to display his beautifully restored 1963 Norton 650ss. The 650ss looks fast standing still, and as all Dominators they have an elegance of line that you can gaze at and be awed at by its timeless design.

The bikes kept arriving for our stand, and we had our banners that Ken Rawlinson our secretary had, had made hanging up erected in a very prominent position for all to see. These were displayed above the line up of Dominators, by the back wall.

The bikes that were displayed in their numbers, as Peter Burdon and I went around and counted them all and they were as follows

Norton Dominator 650cc 6

Norton Dominator 99 600cc 10

Norton Dominator 88 500cc 4

Norton Dominator 750cc Atlas 2

Norton 500cc Nomad, Desert Racer 1

Norton 1970 Mercury 1

Paul Dunstall, Dunstall Dominator 650cc 1

Norton Navigator 2 both of them were in blue

Norton Commando 750cc 5

Norton Commando 850cc 1

Paul Dunstall 1963 Domiracer 500cc race bike 1

Max Groves and Malcolm Smith, with the cake

 

 

Max Groves brought along his ex Isle of Man 1953 350cc Manx Norton racer and also his Norton Atlas. John Blades rode his ex Frank Westworth (editor of Real Classic magazine) 1970 Norton Mercury after a recent restoration and it was in a very standard condition. This bike had been off the road, for over 14 years, and it was the first time at the Ardingly show for this bike. Chris Barraclough’s Dominator 99 was previously sprinted by a former owner, with a timed quarter mile of 12.30 seconds with a 99 mph terminal speed. We also had members from the Kent and Essex branch’s of the NOC, on our stand, who displayed their bikes for us. One of the Norton Atlas’s on our stand had been given a pillion ride to Pa Norton’s granddaughter. I think it must have been Max Groves’s bike. Phil Hannam brought along his 650ss Manxman engine Dominator, as Phil had only just finished rebuilding the engine due to some engine problems.

There was also an ex Paul Dunstall 1963 500cc Domiracer, with a Norton Lowboy frame, that was brought along by Mike Braid. This was the bike that was in the Fire-Up paddock, at 10.30am out side the Queens Jubilee Show Hall, where the Surrey section had our stand.  Mike Braid always supports the Surrey section with some very immaculately restored and amazing bikes to add to our displays at the events that we attend. This hall had over 200 bikes on display. There was at 11.30am in the Stockman’s Building a question and answer session that was hosted by Brian Crichton, the ex Classic Bike editor. This comprised the special guest star Rex Butcher, and friends, the ex Paul Dunstall racer and Dave Degens. There was a chance, to question Rex and

From L to R, Paul Smart, Rex Butcher and Colin Seeley cut the cake

Dave, the men who were there at the time.

There was another chance to hear and see the race bikes, as there was another Fire up Paddock at 1.30pm. The prize giving was at 2.30pm, for all those had won an award for their bikes.

Guest of honour was the very entertaining ex top racer Rex Butcher who was on the stand as well as his good mate Paul Smart and our very own Colin Seeley, to cut the cake celebrating the 60th Anniversary, or Diamond Jubilee, of the NOC, that Julie Diplock had made for us. The West Sussex branch handed over the Eric Cox trophy to the Kent branch on our stand. After the Kent branch it will then be our turn, the Surrey section to take the trophy out for rides, at least we should have this during the summer months where as poor Paul Smith managed the extra 1200 miles he put on the trophy during the winter months so well done Paul.

The Surrey section stand was mobbed by all those looking at the bikes, and those members of the public, that wanted to know about joining the NOC and the Surrey section. We had run out of our cards to give out, and luckily, I had my own supply in one of my trouser pockets when asked by a prospective new member. There was so many questions that we answered, and our stand was amazingly busy and crowded for most of the day. Simon Smith who with out whom we would not be able to have our stand, brought along all our equipment as well as the tea, and the coffee. Max Groves so very kindly brought along a large plastic container full of sausage rolls for us all. We all had some of that very large cake that was also given out to the other exhibitors in the hall.

There were 150 traders and stalls, and the oldest bike at the show was an 1897 Leon Bolle Voiturette. This was built during the reign of Queen Victoria, and this machine has completed many Pioneer Runs. In all there were five indoor halls that were, jam packed with bikes and so many spares that those that came along to the show could look through for that very illusive part for their own restorations. Zoe Cano had a stand, selling her books, of her extraordinary bike riding travels, and adventures, across the USA, and last year she rode along the length of NZ. Zoe has agreed to come along at a future date to give the Surrey section one of her talks, about her latest amazing bike rides, and adventures.

The Surrey section had a picture of our line up of bikes, in an article in the 3rd April edition of Motorcycle News. This also featured in this edition of MCN was in their Best of British section, which featured Mick and Angie Hemmings, and it was titled, still tuning Norton’s at 75 years old.

There was an amazing Matchless G12 with CSR heads, and this was called “The Throwback” and it was a 1980-styled Arlen Ness low-rider. Rex Butcher presented the best Dominator at the show to Derek Isaacs.

At the end of the show a prospective owner of a Nomad came over to see me about my Nomad, and told me he had been trying to find one for a long time, as he really wanted a Nomad. He had a company searching North America to find him one.

There is also a YouTube video : Great must-watch video from the March 2018 event at Ardingly. Julie Diplock and her team do an amazing job of running this event, and it due to all their hard work and combined efforts that the event has become such an amazing success for the classic bike enthusiast.

The Surrey section was awarded the best stand, and my own 500cc Nomad was awarded a second-class award, in the 1950/1959 Competition and Special Class at the show. Can I take this opportunity to thank all those that came along and displayed their bikes for us? For all your help, assistance, amazing bikes, and for being there, and helping the Surrey section make this for us such an outstanding event for us all. We rocked it totally, on that Sunday

The Surrey section has many events that we have planed that we shall be attending this year, as well as many up and coming talks, ride outs, and organising events to represent the NOC.

The Surrey section will be at the next Ardingly show on Sunday 27th October 2019.

Anthony Curzon Press Officer Surrey Section.

 

 

 

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