Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Classic Motorcycle Show at the Birmingham NEC

1969 Harley Davidson XR750 

Werner 'Prototype' Flattrack Racer

I was really pleased to come across this bike, as it is a true part of flat track history. Over 25 years ago Alastair was restoring what he thought was intending to be a stock bike. He knew the engine he had was special as its number is 69XR001. One day out of the blue he had a call from the states from a owner of the original Werner frame, who proposed they swap frames. Alastair headed out to the states and the deal was done. From then on Alastair commenced a very faithful restoration of this very important machine.

This bike was built by Bill Werner a Harley Factory Team Mechanic in 1969. The bike predated the production XR and was raced separately from the Factory Team. What Bill learned from this bike then influenced the know how for the Team bikes. The frame was a one off built by Bill and his brother, and a lot of other parts are nowhere near stock. Sid Carlson rode the bike as No.73. Bill Werner went on to be the sports most successful tuner. The XR-750 itself is the most successful racing motorcycle ever and descendants of the 'Prototype' are still winning today. With all this I would have been stupid not to spend time with this machine.

1928 Rex Acme TT / 08


I first saw this bike in the metal at this years Kop Hill Climb.  The bike has TT history, but recent investigation by it's current owner has shown that the bike was once owned by Mad Jack Chruchill who is known for fighting throughout WWII with a longbow and a Scottish Broadsword!

More Photos...

 On the BSA Owners Stand was another of Alastairs immaculate Flattrack builds,
a 1971 Trackmaster, BSA A70L

 Well this Patricks bike has changed a bit since I sketched it at Mallory Park in 2013!

 1905 White & Poppe.
 This bike has always completed the Pioneer Run since 1989.

 I'm not sure???
 1972 Velosolex 6000
 Bantam Todd Racer
 1968 Derbi Gran Sport
 Norton Manx TT

There was a car show on at the same time...

 Jet Peel Trident, top speed 78.42mph

Jaguar SS

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

International Dirt Bike Show 2014

Another show that I've been meaning to attend is the International Dirt Bike Show, at Stoneleigh Park. This is a mostly modern bike show but I was up for something different and I certainly had a great time sketching some up to date dirt bikes....

Honda Buildbase 2015 CRF450R


This was my first and last sketch of the day, due to security moving me on as a fire risk! 
This CRF450r is seen in it's 2015 guise. I especially like the bash plate. I was especially pleased that David Thorpe, 3x World Champion and Honda Team Manager, was impressed by the sketch. David not only manages the Honda MX team, he also runs motocross lessons at the David Thorpe Off Rad Centre in South Wales.

David Thorpe, with the sketch and bike.

Jonny Walker KTM 250EXC

This is one of Jonny Walkers many KTM factory bikes, apparently this is most likely to have been used in an enduro. Jonny Walker is an E3 Class Enduro rider and Extreme Enduro Rookie for KTM. Jonny came 1st in both the Red Bull Hare Scramble and the Red Bull Romaniacs in 2014.

I sometimes (stupidly) assume that modern bikes aren't as complicated as the veteran and vintage bikes I'm used to. I was wrong there is still a lot going on in the exposed areas, and the livery adds to that complexity. There is also some tricky angles going on with the fairing too. I decided to crop this bike down to the main fairing and engine as it really works as a composition.

Mark Cossar's GSXR1000 Grastrack Sidecar

(ink sketch)

I love these grass track sidecar outfits, and this one is no exception. It looked great with the GSXR engine sticking out.

Mark Cossar is the current British Speedway Champion and has 4 British Grasstrack Championships.   The Cossar team also travelled to Australia to compete over there. After 5 months of competing nearly evey week the Cossar team finished the tour with a win at the Black Chrome Sidecar Speedway Grandslam.

More Bikes....

Antonio Cairoli's 350 SX-F

1974 Bultaco Alpina
Sammy Millers No. 1 Bultaco Sherpa
Jeff Smith's Works BSA Motocross Machine
1965 BSA C15 Trials & 1984 Aprilia Sidecar

Monday, 20 October 2014


Stafford is now permanently on my calendar and twice a year at that. The shows are becoming not just a sketching trip for myself but a great chance to catch up with motorcycle friends old and new. I spent just as much time talking motorcycles as drawing them, which is a great balance.. I also have a chance to see if I can find the missing bits for my current projects, and resist buying new ones!

More information on the Classic Bike Shows at Stafford and elsewhere can be seen here:



(watercolour & ink)

The Flying Merkel was the star of the Bonhams auction and fetched a staggering £104,540 (incl premium). There were some great elements on this early machine including the rear suspension setup, seen in more detail in the photo below. Also an intriguing tap on the front exhaust as it exits the barrel, thoughts from people I spoke to ranged from just a plumbing fitting that worked for a fix at some point to an exhaust whistle.... any thoughts please comment.

Bonhams had this to say about the bike's history:
"This rare Veteran-era American classic was discovered in an Ohio barn in 1956 by one Mort Wood, who sold it on to a fellow 'antique motorcycle' enthusiast, Emmett Moore. It appears that ownership reverted to Mort Wood, for it was from him that the machine was purchased in 1994 by the late Bernard Thomas, proprietor of Antique American Motorcycles. In original condition when acquired, the Flying Merkel has been treated to a mechanical and light cosmetic rebuild but otherwise remains untouched."

Read the full Bonhams write up for more information on this stunning machine.


(watercolour & ink)

1929 Ariel Model G Sprint Bike

(ink sketch)

Running on pure methanol this Model G sprint bike looked right, and so I had to sketch it. A lot of tuning has gone into the engine making this a true sprint bike. A great touch is a Norton positive device has been added to the original Ariel gearbox. A positive stop means you cannot push through more than one gear at a time, which is pretty handy on a sprint bike.

Ducati 600 Supersport

(ink sketch)
The October Stafford show is geared more towards more recent classics like 80's Japanese bikes and sports bikes rather than my usual fair of vintage and veteran machines. I was asked to sketch this Ducati which I was glad to do and actually found that there is just as much to draw on a modern Ducati as there is on a classic bike. It was tricky to fit the details between the frame as there is only small sections visible. I really enjoyed drawing something different to my normal choice, and learnt a lot from the sketch. 

Sprint Bikes

 My choice from the jumble would have been this 80's sprint Bantam. By chance I met with the builder of this great machine Ron who told me that it was doing sub 15 second runs and topping out at 90mph which is pretty impressive for a 175cc running with 25% methanol. At one meeting the bike came second to a Norton Dominator which show that Bantams in the right hands are real contenders!
One of Rons more recent creations was this Bowns Autocycle sprint bike, styled on a Brooklands racer. I love this sort of thinking and hope to see more of it. The Villiers engine has been tuned beyond it's 2hp origins and in it's previous bike won the Coast to Coast run last year. So the owner has good hopes for it in the National Sprint Association next year.

 More Sprint Bikes were to be found in the jumble and auction, such as these Rudge and Norton examples...

Trials and Dirt Bikes

Another bike on my wish list turned up as a pair of consecutive numbered 1956 competition factory built AJS Trials machines being sold as a pair! Unfortunately I didn't have 6 odd grand.

 Interesting Villers powered mud plugger


Intriguing Aermacchi Harley Davidson

1953 TT Sprint, Norton JAP

Cycle Motors

Nice New Hudson!
Possibly the most over ambitious price for a Power Pak at £325!!

Vintage and Veteran

 1920 New Hudson Deluxe Touring Model, for sale at Vintage and Veteran