Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Donald Campbell's Blue Bird Sunbeam Runs at Pendine Sands

I attended the event described in the article below, the top image and the engine detail were sketched in pencil on site. The inking, and the last two panels were done back in the studio using reference photos from my phone. Events like this are difficult to sketch at, but I thought I'd try something different with this one as it was such a special occasion. I will let the article explain the rest, hope you enjoy it....

Blue Bird Returns to Pendine (ink with digital colour)

Friday, 24 July 2015

VMCC Founders Day 2015

1912 Rudge 'Brooklands Special'

 (ink sketch)

This is a special machine indeed, 35 years ago the long time owner Dave McMahon rode to Brighton on his Rudge. Whilst having a rest a passer by started looking at his bike. Realising that it was a Rudge he told Dave that his son kept telling him about a Rudge that was rotting away in a hotel basement. Dave took his details and traveled back to see the bike. On seeing it Dave knew it was an early machine but it was in a bad state, it had been in a bad crash and it was rotting badly. He offered to buy it from the owners of the hotel who were, according to Dave, the biggest gangsters you ever saw. They turned up in a very fancy car, negotiated a price and split the £130 between them. Dave had to fix boards to the bike to get it out of the basement in one piece. Once on the trailer the journey managed to shake the machine down to half it's original height! 
Dave researched into the bike and found that the frame and engine numbers indicated that this was the first bike to break 60mph at Brooklands. Dave assumes that it was raced after this event and ended it's career with the crash and left in the Hotel Basement.

1931 Triumph 250cc Sprint Bike

(ink sketch)

My very first sketch of 2015 was a Scott Hill Climb Outfit built by Ossie Neal and still campaigned by his daughter Sheelagh. Whilst sketching the Rudge Sheelagh turned up with this fantastic Triumph. It was another of Ossies bikes which started was originally a road racer in the early 1950's. It was turned into a sprint machine in the late 1950's, with further modifications using BRM H16 parts in the 1960's.

The bike is still campaigned by Sheelagh where it's allowed as the exhaust emits 126 decibels which is too high for some events. It runs 14.5 second quarter miles on straight petrol, apparently it didn't like methanol. The compression is 7 1/2 - 8 to 1, and the bike doesn't have a power band it just provides straight torque all the way.
Sheelagh told me that her father always put coins on his machines as part of an Irish tradition.
Once she was asked to confirm whither a bike was built by her father. On seeing the bike she found a coin mounted on it and that answered the owners question.
Another distinguishing element of Ossie's machines is the colours, this particular colour came from left over paint from Cambridgshire County Council. It was the colour they used to paint their doors.
The other side of the Triumph.

Imme R100

(ink sketch)

Look closely and you will see some unusual things going on with this machine. Norbert Riedel worked on designing a starter engine for the Messersmitz 262 jet fighter. After the war he started to play around with ideas for a small production motorcycle. Steel was hard to get hold of and so he had to think of ways round this. He was told that he could have 3 meters of 40mm tubing per bike, and so he decided to make the frame, front fork and rear swinging arm / exhaust all out of this tube. This explains not only the minimal frame but the fact that the front fork only has one side and so does the rear swinging arm / exhaust.

The Exhaust also doubles up as the swinging arm!
The engine name also translates as 'Power Egg'!

More Photos...

The Taverners Section who run Founders day have a strong trials connection
It was great to see some great trials Bantams, as it always inspires to get mine finished!
There is always a jumbler at founders day who has some fantastic cycle motors. 

 A very smart van conversion of a Morgan 3 wheeler.

 The theme for the day was Mods and Rockers, there seemed to be more Rockers than Mods though.
My pick of the Rockers bikes was this TriBSA with Dustbin fairing.
 Last spot of the day was Rob with his newly completed Levis cycle motor.
The engine is New Old Stock.
The frame is a cycle master making it heavier duty than a standard frame.
The fuel tank is two fire extinguishers welled together, with a lawnmower fuel cap.
A very smart job and I look forward to see this a bit further down the road once he's run it in a bit!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Dirt Quake IV

4 years on and Dirt Quake is continuing to get bigger and better. Organised by Sideburn Magazine the event is not only a fun spectators sport as road bikes and choppers are ridden round the track. It also works as a fantastic way to introduce people to the world of flat track racing without having to invest in a race bike. Additions to the usual madness (See my reports from 2014, 2013 & 2012) were Ken Foxes Wall of Death, Flat Track Limbo and Davros entertained on the Saturday evening!

As well as the main Dirt Quake event the DTRA ran Round 4 of their ever growing race series which is getting not only bigger but more competitive. I urge people to try and watch at least one round of this fantastic sport at a racetrack near or far from you!!

Enough chat I will let the sketches and photos do the talking....

DTRA Rookie Bikes

(ink sketch)

Honda Flat Tracker 

(ink sketch)

Bantam Street Tracker

(ink sketch)

 Richard Baybutt's Honda Helix

(Garden Trug Mode)

(ink sketch)

Turtle Ninja, Dirt Vespa

(ink sketch)

 Turtle Ninjas in full effect alongside their arch enemy Shedder aka Maxwell Paternoster.


More bikes from the DTRA Rookie class

Vintage Speedway bikes were on display and on the track during the event. 
Here you can see some of Classic Race Jackets fantastic hand made reproduction speedway bibs.
 Eat The Rich's 'Old Blue' in it's 2015 guise

 Davida's 'Bird is the Word' ladies entry was more like a Peregrine Falcon on the track!
 Good to see a two stroke OSSA on the track.
 Good looking Matchless Competition
 Hard Luck Tattoo's Dirt Quaker.
 Honda Dax in the mix showing the variety of machines on the track.
 Harley Heavy Weight
 Norton Domi Racer one of fifty built, on the Krazy Horse stand.

In the Car Park

The Trip Out's amazing Econoline alongside another!
A couple of traditional flathead rods to finish.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

2015 British Grand Prix with Lotus F1 Team

On the 3rd July I was extremely fortunate to be granted access to the garage of the Lotus F1 Team. The day of my visit was a practice day, a busy day for the team as the cars go out for two 90 minute practice sessions and are constantly worked on during these sessions and in-between. 

During these practice sessions I did fairly quick loose sketches of the cars to get used to what was going on. I'd sketched at race meetings before but this was something very different to anything I'd experienced before.

In The Sketchbook

In-between the practice sessions the cars where worked on within the garage. I soon learnt how quickly the mechanics work and to what extent the cars get taken apart. 

(20 min pencil sketch)
(1hr 20 min pencil & ink sketch)
 (40 min pencil & ink sketch)

Panoramic Sketch

(ink sketch with digital colour)

After the last practice session the cars were stripped down and then rebuilt in just over 5 hours. During this time I decided to use my scrolling sketchpad to produce a panoramic sketch of the garage. I juggled sketching between the two cars trying to capture as much as I could of each section before it changed, second guessing what parts were going to be worked on next, in order to keep what I was drawing to a realistic goal. The end result shows the cars in a semi stripped state, no photographs were to be taken from the rear of the cars so I couldn't not rely on reference photos for use back in the studio. Technically they were never in the exact state as seen in the sketch, due to the time factor of using pen and paper, resulting in the piece representing many different moments in time composed so that they makes sense as a whole composition. I spent around 10 hours in total sketching in both the sketchbook and scrolling sketchbook. 

If I was to do it again I'm sure the piece would be totally different, due to a combination of now knowing what can happen in this environment and the fact that no two race meetings are the same.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

British Bike Bonanza 2015

Only a 30 min drive from my home this event is one that I'm now kicking myself about not attending earlier. The British Bike Bonanza take place in the Gloucester hills and has done for the past 35 years. Apparently this is the last time it will be held at the traditional site, as it is being sold off. The weekend consists of trials events on the Saturday including both motorcycles and cars, and classic scrambles on the Sunday with both solo motorcycles and sidecars. The racing was great fun to watch especially with a steep slope to the finish line.

1930 Velocette 250 MOV Trials

(ink sketch)

Built by Tommy Baker in 1956 this MOV was converted from a rigid to a springer in order to be competitive for trials. The only parts of the original frame are the front down tube and top tube, the rest was fabricated by Tommy to house the rear springs. It also sports a Woods Aluminium head, which is a rare sight. In the 80's it was ridden by Chris Scott. The MOV has always lived in the Stroud and Gloucester area, it now resides in Cheltenham, it's great to see that a bike like this has been built and is still ridden in the same part of the country since the 50's.

1954 Maico

(ink sketch)

Bought on German eBay for 350euros this scrambler started off life as a Maico Blizzard a standard 2 stroke road bike. It was then converted into a scrambler with a few changes such as the forks, fabrication of an air box, bash plate and a small snip to the end of the exhaust and the baffles being removed. This shows that you can have some pre 65 scrambles fun without spending a fortune.


(ink sketch)

I'd seen JAPSA's before such as Ewan Cameron's steed at Red Marley back in 2014, but I'd never seen a NorBSA before so this intrigued me so much I had to get it down in the sketchbook. It turns out that the builder and rider of this NorBSA was also the builder and previous rider of Ewan's JAPSA, the motorcycle world is a small one. The engine is a Norton ES2 and the frame is a B31 both from the late 50's. The engine has Jawa internals. A fine example of a purpose built motorcycle and that being scrambles.

More Photos....

 A strong team from Ireland were dominating the racing with their Rickman JAPs.

 Mick Andrew's Matchless
 Nettle covered JAP with a Wellworthy barrel.
 BSA Trials
 Tri BSA
 A four wheeled 500. Nuova 500
 Can-Am on the jumble
 Lastly a fantastic satchel sticker combo.