SNOC at Brooklands Bike Show 2023

Surrey Branch at the Brooklands Motorcycle Day, 2 July 2023

The day started with Robert Tuck meeting me at my house with my P11A Ranger 750 waiting for him on the drive. The day before it started first kick, and ran perfectly fine. In the morning, it stubbornly refused to start, and even trying to bump start it, it would still not go. Robert gave it a big boot, and it burst into life revving at over 3000 rpm. This at 7.15am on a Sunday morning did not go down very well with my neighbours. It being a desert racer with loud exhaust pipes. I got on and rode off to top up with petrol in Forestdale, and adjusted the throttle stops down half a turn while Robert loosened off the throttle cable. Roberts magic hands did the trick, and madam behaved her self all day after that. The ride through South London was easy as on a Sunday morning as there is barely any traffic on the roads, going up to and through Epsom, then out onto the A3, and then onto Weybridge the home of Brooklands.

The Surrey branch represented the NOC at the Brooklands Motorcycle Day on a very warm and sunny Sunday. The weather stayed kind for us all day  Our super group of volunteers had the display set up and organised in a remarkably short time, which then gave most of our members a chance to buy tea or coffee and a bacon roll. Emphatically proving the saying that “many hands make light of the work” David Brown, Bill Plummer, Graham Holcombe, Phil Hannam, and Ken Rawlinson completed all this, along side Simon Smith, helping to erect our stand and all our associated banners. They had arrived there earlier to unload it all from Simon Smiths trailer. Without Simon, the Surrey branch would not have a stand, as Simon brings his trailer to all our events. Two nearby two long wooden bench seats were pulled inside our gazebo, to give extra seating, and Phil provided a gas stove to brew some tea after Max Groves magically produced a kettle from out of his van.

We had our stand to the right of the entrance of the Brooklands clubhouse fencing, which was a bit of a pain to find. However, this part of Brooklands turned out to work in our favour with hundreds of visitors passing by our stand in order to get to some of the other big attractions at the show.  Opposite us to the left of our stand was the Concord, under which was there was a huge display of Ducati motorcycles. Opposite us in another shed was the replica of the Atlantic crossing Vickers Vimy, from 1919, and the Hawker VTOL aircraft. Consequently, loads of visitors, anoraks and admirers, who stopped to look at our collection of Norton’s, to also take photos and ask many questions. By 11.00am, we had 15 Norton’s, of all ages, on the stand with the only obvious gap in the model ranks being a Lightweight. Two more Norton Dominators joined us briefly during the afternoon and I counted another dozen plus Norton’s dotted around the show ground as part of other clubs or groups, of bikes on display. We had four OHC Norton’s on display to the right, and on the left, we had our twins. We had between 15 and 18 Norton’s depending on exactly when they were counted, with lots of public interest, and we welcomed new members Kathy and Richard to our Branch. In total, we managed to sign up three new members to our Branch that day. 

The idea was to have the bikes displayed in their year of manufactured order. Each bike had a display card, in front of it, while Max Groves had a large display board that the wind would continue to blow over so many times, in front of his Manx.

We were honoured with not one but two visits from Paul Smith, the NOC Chairman, and also several Classic Bike journalists dropped by to check out our display. Thames Valley, Kent and the Solent Branch members came and chatted with our own Norton owners. The big news of the day was Martin Clegg, The Brooklands Classic Bike Day organiser, arrived to personally thank the SNOC for its contribution but also to invite us to return as part of a Norton themed event for 2024. Which he hoped would include a display of the newer 961 bikes.

I like to be able to talk to those members that come along with their bikes to get some background and history behind the Norton’s that they own and ride. The ever-dapper Barry Stickland came on a 1956 Norton International, Model 30, 500cc, which was in a Manx frame. The story behind this particular machine is extraordinary. This bike was left to Barry in a will by the deceased owner. Barry met the owner, when he was out on another of his other Internationals, and he passed Barry in his MG. When they had stopped off further on, and the then MG owner came over and explained to Barry that he had always wanted an OHC Norton. He finally managed to buy one, and contacted Barry about the bike that he had bought. It was not in that good a condition, and Barry did some minor work on that bike to make it rideable once more. This included the overhaul of the magneto and he went through, the rest of the bike. This was many years ago, then one day he had an official solicitor’s letter delivered to his home. This was to inform him that the then owner Ed had passed away, and he had left the bike to Barry. To keep Ed’s memory alive Barry rides the International as much as he can.

There was Richard Cornish who arrived on his 1939 Manx GP spec special International. Richard has been a member of the NOC for over 25 years. The bikes early history is unknown, but what is known is that the original engine was one built for racing. That particular engine was removed in about 1951, and it was then put into a 1950 Manx Norton. The engine from the featherbed frame was a DOHC Manx engine that was then put into a Formula 3 Cooper racing car. The engine now in the frame is a 1932 500cc Model 30 International engine. It was registered for the road in 1951.He bought the bike in 1998, from then chairman of the Bournemouth section of the VMCC.

David Brown, one of the very enthusiastic members of the Surrey branch who is always there to help with the stands, setting up and taking down, explained to me the on going story of his own café racer. David has got the Dominator running, but he explained that it has some sort of oiling problem. David wants to return the bike to the road, but it does not have any lights. There is the option of adding a Lucas dynamo, as the engine is from a Model 77, or fitting a later alternator crankshaft. David, has decided to add a battery, to operate the lights. He can fit the lights with out the provision for charging the battery. David can then take out the battery, and charge it when it is required.

Peter Burdon was there with his immaculate 1963 650ss that was imported from South Africa, where it was originally sold by the then importer Jacks Motors of Johannesburg. Peter has since added a non-return valve to the oil feed pipe to stop the engine-wet sumping. There is a Kingpin oil switch with an electrical cut out, fitted. The front forks have had the damping improved with the Covenant conversion damping up grade, with the longer fork bushes. Peter has also added a revcounter. This pattern revcounter gearbox leaks so he has had to modify it to stop it leaking. The heat shield of the revcounter cable was rubbing on the exhaust pipe, so Peter very cleverly repositioned it to clear the exhaust pipe. He fabricated an adapter himself so that the cable and drive gearbox points rearward. This has got around the problem of the cable rubbing on the exhaust pipe. Peter has done the normal maintenance items, to keep his 650ss, in sparkling, and in an amazing condition. Peter is always on our stand to display his bikes for us.

Kevin Barham from Oxford brought along his 1966 650ss. His engine number has a /P behind it, denoting that it was built at Plumstead, which Kevin did not know about, or what the /P meant. The reason behind him buying this Norton was that his dad had been a ton up boy in Ealing in West London, in the 1960’s. Kevin took his dad to the Kempton Park auto-jumble, and they were looking at all the bikes and parts on display and being sold. They saw a Norton 650ss, as that was the Norton that his dad had owned when he had met Kevin’s mum. She had worked in the café that his dad and his friends frequented back then, so he knew what type of bike his dad had back then in the 1960’s. They saw a 650ss for sale on a dealer’s lot, and his dad was very enthusiast about seeing it. The family photos did not have pictures of the registration number, so Kevin could not trace the actual bike that was owned by his dad. He has a friend who had a collection of Norton’s and he also had in his collection a 650ss. Kevin wanted to buy his friends unused future 650ss, project. He talked his friend into selling the 650ss, so that he could buy it for his dad’s, 80th birthday celebration. His dad now lives in Spain, and when he came back to the UK, the bike was presented to his dad for his birthday. His dad had a very emotional response to receiving the bike, when he was presented with it. His dad stroking the petrol tank must have brought back so many memories for him. His dad has arthritis, so Kevin rides it for him, with his dad on the pillion. As they say, a motorcar drives your body, but a motorcycle drives your soul.

Huge thanks for the efforts of Dave Cooper our Secretary, and Phil Hannam, our Chairman who arranged for us to all be at the Brooklands event. Between them securing 8 complimentary tickets via the Brooklands Bike Show organiser Martin Gregg and coordinating the membership attendance. During the day, we had some of our other Branch members come along to support. Including John Summerfield who could not ride his bike due to a very server case of Gout. He came along with John Hurst.

Those members that brought along their bikes to display them on the SNOC stand were as follows.

Phil Hannam 1961, frame with a 1962 Manxman 650cc engine

Robert Tuck 1960 Dominator Deluxe 600cc

Simon Smith 1973 750cc Commando Roadster

Anthony Curzon 1968 P11A Ranger 750 desert racer

David Brown 1958 Dominator 600cc café racer

Peter Burdon 1963 Dominator 650ss

Henry Dulat 1963 Dominator 99 600cc

Kevin Barham 1966 Dominator 650ss

Barry Stickland 1956 International Model 30, 500cc in a Manx frame

Richard Cornish 1939 Model 30M 500cc to race specification

Dave Gibson 1935 Model 40 350cc International

David Cooper 1932 Model 30 500cc International

Max Groves 1953 Model 40 350cc Manx which is an ex Isle of Man TT bike

Max Groves 1964 750cc Atlas

Carl James 1959 Dominator 99 600cc

Ken Rawlinson 1965 Atlas 750cc

Can I express my thanks and gratitude to all of you who came along to our Brooklands event and displayed their Nortons.  To all of you, we rocked it totally.

Anthony Curzon

Other Upcoming Events
Jul
23
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Jul 23 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]
Aug
27
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Aug 27 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]
Sep
24
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Sep 24 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]
Oct
22
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Oct 22 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]
Nov
26
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Nov 26 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]
Dec
24
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Dec 24 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]
Jan
28
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Jan 28 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]
Feb
25
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Feb 25 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]
Mar
25
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Mar 25 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]
Apr
22
Tue
7:30 pm Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Surrey Branch Club Night new dat... @ Stepping Stones Westhumble
Apr 22 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
All Norton enthusiast are welcome to our monthly branch meetings at The Stepping Stones pub at Westhumble, very close to Box Hill just north of Dorking in Surrey. A programme of activities includes guest speakers,[...]