Wednesday, 22 May 2013

BSMC Event at the Shorditch Studios 2013

Myself at the BSMC Event courtesy of

The BSMC held their inaugural bike show at the Shorditch Studios over the weekend, this is an event that I'd been looking forward to for a while and it certainly was a blinder of a show. Over 2000 people visited on the Saturday alone giving the event an incredible feel with a constant buzz of people and of course bikes coming and going. The main hub of the show showcased a great range of custom bikes from various builders including Deus Customs, Barons Speed Shop and Old Empire Motorcycles. Along side the bikes was a great range of artwork adorning the walls from the likes of Ornamental Conifer, Corpses from Hell, Death Spray Custom and Sam Christmas. Last but not least Sidburn Magazine were in attendance flaunting their wares for all to buy. The show was a great amalgamation of all aspects of the current custom scene, not just the bikes. 

I attended of course with my trusty sketchbook and pen.....

Yamaha Bobber

(ink sketch)

This was sketched on the Saturday of the show when Imperial Customs were in attendance. This bike was definitely a ridden example with all the signs of the rider adding and changing elements as time has past. For me this makes a more organic machine where the bike and rider reflect each other... perfect.

Deus Grievous Angel

 (ink sketch)

Deus Customs were in attendance via their UK connection Black Closet. Their bike of choice for the show was their Grievous Angel a custom based on a Yamaha SR400. I love how clean this bike looks, it's not intentionally attention seeking but it has such a minimal feel it certainly makes you look twice.

Old Empire Motorcycles, Vulcan

 (ink sketch)

I've been wanting to sketch an OEM bike for a while now and seeing that I was on a run with the Jap customs this was just the ticket to finish off my weekends sketching. This was the Vulcans first outing and it looked great. I loved the compact solid nature of the build, hence cropping my sketch down to the heart of the bike. The button seat is a work of art too.


Based on a 2008 Royal Enfield Electra the Pup brings the motorcycle back to the simpler days of motorcycling whilst utilising some more modern components without making it too complicated.

Here's some more shots from the weekend, the bike park at the show was a constant carousel of various machines as riders came and went...

The Guzzi's were in strong attendance on the Saturday

I fell in love with this Sunbeam twin

BMWs seemed to be a popular choice both in the main show and the bike park.

Kevils BMW R100/7 "BMonda"

Great Early BSA Single

East London Chop Shop Triumph Bobber

I was hoping to have time to sketch this 750 four but time was not on my side.

Harley JAP Hybrid
Using a new JAP engine.

Last but not least Death Spray Custom's GSXR 1100 with She One tag.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Wiscombe Park Hill Climb 2013

It all comes round too quickly and before I know it I'm back at Wiscombe for the 500 Owners Association and Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) hill climb events held over the same weekend (11th - 12th May). There is always a plethora of incredible and sometimes exotic machinery at these events. 

500 Owners Association

On the Saturday the 500 Owners Association plays host to a variety of 500cc machines like Coopers and Starides as well as a contingent of motorcycles of various ages and types. The event is a relaxed affair with drivers and riders fettling their machines and generally enjoying the great social aspect to the sport of hill climbing. It is a competitive sport but people are very generous with their knowledge and people  are always willing to help their fellow racers achieve their dream time.

1971 BSA B25

(watercolour over ink sketch)
A great hill climber featuring an NSU quickly tank. The bike was set up on a dyno and the exhaust and carb pipes have been matched to give optimum torque.

1953 Staride Mk3

(watercolour over ink sketch)
The Staride was developed in the early 50's and a few production models were produced through 1953. This Staride is currently running a JAP 500 but has and will be running a Norton 500 which is a more rugged engine more suited to track racing. The JAP speedway engines are only meant to be run for shorter periods making them ideal for hill climbs, relatively cheap too.

More Machines...

Cooper with Super Charged Jap V Twin
1932 Velocette

 Home brew trike hill climber.

Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC)

The Sunday is more of the same but a busier affair as the VSCC members fill the pits with a huge range of vintage cars ranging from standard sports cars to exotic specials and race cars. I always enjoy this event as it is busy enough that there is always something going on but not so busy that it is impossible to sketch. Well saying that a few of the sketches weren't finished on the weekend as with hill climb events unless your quick enough the machines are off up the hill before you know it.

KN IV Special

(watercolour over ink sketch)

Kenneth Neve built a series of specials using combinations of GN and Morgan chassis and coupled them with various motorcycle engines. An earlier version used two Douglas engines strapped into a GN chassis with a Morgan front end. This is his fourth special hence the name KN IV, it utilises two Ariel Square Four engines in a GN chassis. It was originally built in the 50s and was last seen out in the 90s, Wiscombe was it's first outing since.


1924 Vauxhall 30/98

(watercolour over ink sketch)
My main sketch of the day was this gorgeous Vauxhall. the bodywork is all in original condition and hasn't been touched since the 30's after it was modified to make it a more usable machine. The suspension has been dropped and a large fuel tank added to the rear. The manifold is a custom job too all from the 30's. It had been stored away in the 60's and was bought by the current owner who made the decision to keep the bodywork intact and just get the mechanical bits working. This all makes this a rare machine as many of these Vauxhalls have been renovated back to their original condition.

1926 Sunbeam 3 litre twin cam

 (watercolour over ink sketch)
My last sketch of the weekend was this Sunbeam. A family owned car which has now been raced by two brothers. The family are big sunbeam fans as they also own the Sunbeam pickup I featured in my report from Beaulieu last year.

Here's more pics from the day...

 "Granny" Morgan Chassis Special

 Morgan 2 speeder 
 Lea Francis
(used for trailing and hill climbs)
 KN IV alongside the incredible Hudson Super Six
 Madame Jo Jo
Supercharged Austin Seven Special
 Semmence Special with US Dirt Tracker behind
 GN, Granny and GN GNAT Special
 Riley Brooklands (I think)
Brough Superior 
 Fraiser Nash
 Bull Nose Cider Van

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Abbey Hill Steam Rally 2013

After my first visit to the show last year, I decided it would make a great family outing in the truck, and so the family piled into our 1947 Dodge pickup (now with new tonneau) and braved the Somerset hills to reach Yeovil for the Abbey Hill Steam Rally.

1939 AJS Grass Track

(ink sketch)

My only sketch of the weekend was this fantastic AJS which was built using a Silver Streak no less, so that's two Silver Streaks in two weeks (see Stafford Show report).

 The fuel tank is from an Atco mower.
The rider Len Isaac rode for the Exeter Falcons.


 James Trials
Brockhouse Corgi


 1891 Gents Tricycle
 Tricycle Tandem
Rudge and Royal Enfield ladies bicycles


Trusty Steed
Able to pull a weight of 1.5 tons and a tight turning circle due to independent drive to each rear wheel, what else do you want from a small tractor?


 There was a great lineup in the steam this year.
Foden Wagon with Garrett Tractor Engine
Marshal Roller

 Working Field

 Huge timber saw powered by a traction engine
Bedford truck used to load the logs on to the saw.
Two Man Chainsaw
Unfortunately I didn't see this running.




 Austin Trials Special
 2cvs and an Austin A40
1967 Fiat 600d

 Stationary Engines

1927 Lister L
This engine has a fantastic radiator, the water runs over a grate before going back round the engine, in order to cool it down.


1929 Chevrolet Wrecker
Fordson Thames 7v
Hillman Utility

Frank our 1947 Dodge WD21 having a well deserved rest.