#1

Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:15 pm
by Aaron Calder | 3.738 Posts

Last year someone happened to mention that Ernie Allen (my 85 year old neighbour) had been a motorcycle sidecar champion in his youth when he worked for the Vincent motorcycle company as a machinist. So I did a bit of digging around on the Internet.

The curator at the National Motorcycle Museum sent me this picture of Ted Davis and 'passenger' (Ernie) taken in 1952, a huge enlargement of which is prominently displayed in the museum. Ernie was a bit miffed because although he owned the bike with Ted as a 50:50 partner and rode with him in every one of his races, only Ted as driver ever got a mention. That was the way they did things in those days.

Edward Davis Rider Ernie Allen Passenger.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)

The next thing I did was to contact the Secretary of the Dorset Branch of the Vincent Owners' Club who invited Ernie and me to attend one of their monthly meetings when Ernie gave a very interesting talk about his racing career and the people he'd known including John Surtees who was a close friend.

A few weeks ago, out of the blue and due no doubt to behind-the-scenes activity within the Vincent Owners' Club, Ernie had a phone call from a man who said, "I now own your old bike. Would like me to bring it over to your house?"

You can imagine the response. Unfortunately, due to crossed wires, the bike arrived last Wednesday while I was away in York (curses!) but Ernie took some pictures, a couple of which you can see below.

P1010385.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)

P1010377.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)

The bike is a Vincent 1000cc twin "Lightning" that Ted and Ernie owned jointly and rebuilt from a fire-damaged insurance write off. It was fitted with a Watsonian chair which sadly no longer exists but there are plans to fabricate a replica. Ted and Ernie were very successful in the early 1950s and even entered the first Isle of Man TT after the War in 1954. Unfortunately for them the rules had been changed limiting engine capacity to 500cc so they had to ride a rapidly cobbled together Matchless combination that couldn't compete with the works Nortons and they finished in 12th place.

Ernie has also been approached by a well-known motoring journalist who wants to write an article about his racing career and a couple of days ago he received through the post a beautiful book on sidecar racing signed by the author, another champion rider (whose name has slipped my memory). In the accompanying letter, the author relates how as a teenager he had begged his dad to take him to watch Ted and Ernie racing as they were his heroes and inspiration - and there's a picture of them in action in the book to prove it.

One other coincidence was that when Ted and Ernie built their new combination in 1950, their very first race, which they won, was held at the Blackburn Aircraft works at Brough in East Yorkshire of all places, where my dad used to work.

When Ernie and Ted gave up racing due to Ted's injuring his arm in an accident, they sold the bike for £180. With its racing pedigree it must now be worth in excess of £50,000.


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#2

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:33 pm
by crow (deleted)
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That is interesting, I met Difazios mechanics that made the hub centre steering
of his unique racing bike. I also worked with Steve Bush who was a rather quick
sidecar racer.


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#3

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:13 pm
by Agger (deleted)
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There is a guy who I see in the garden centre (Highfield) not far from the summer meet, I don't know him other he once asked me to photograph his unique motorcycle a Vincent black shadow which he had for a very long time and had recently retro fitted disc brakes to it (which I believe he made himself) He was a lifelong member of the owners club.

I'll keep my eyes open for him and show him the above if I do


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#4

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:13 am
by MCINND (deleted)
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I've no real interest in motorcycles but can say that this is one of the most interesting posts I've read in many a year.
Brilliant!!!

David


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#5

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:53 am
by crow (deleted)
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I was very lucky in that my best mate had a father that knew people
in the motorcycle trade when Bristols Gloucester Road was full of
thriving motorcycle dealers. These dealers sponsored circuit racing,
Scrambles, Trials and Grass track racing.
I can remember seeing a well known specials builder, riding a British Anzani
3-cylinder bike and later a Hillman Imp engined (Coventry Climax Fire Pump engine!) special


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#6

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Sun May 04, 2014 10:58 am
by Aaron Calder | 3.738 Posts

So, you thought spare parts for Eribas were expensive, eh?

A couple of days ago the current owner of my neighbour's old racing bike brought another bike from his collection of 12 Vincents (yes, twelve) to show him, this one an HRD 'Lightning'. In conversation he told me that a replacement 150 mph Smith's speedo now costs between £1,000 and £1,500 and a rev counter would be over £500.

P1010007.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)

P1010009.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)

I decided there and then that sadly, collecting old Vincents was not for the likes of retired public sector workers.


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#7

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Mon May 05, 2014 1:26 pm
by crow (deleted)
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Have a look at the Scott Flying Squirrels http://www.scottownersclub.org/scott_machines_in_profile.htm
Some terrific photos on google



Last edited Mon May 05, 2014 1:27 pm | Scroll up

#8

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:10 pm
by Aaron Calder | 3.738 Posts

I'm resurrecting this old thread because yesterday a car pulled up outside my house towing a rather decrepit looking motorbike on a trailer.

The driver had come to show my neighbour Ernie the latest addition to his collection that he'd bought at Bonham's Stafford auction a few days previously and just collected. It's a 1956 Vincent Comet 500cc, one of only seven built that year and consequently a rare beast indeed. The new owner let me take some pictures and told me all that was wrong with it and which parts he would have to replace to get it back to as new condition. The forks are wrong for a start and the engine is an unknown quantity due to the primary chain being broken. It's going to take a lot of money and expertise but in the right hands it certainly has potential.

We think new Eribas are expensive but when this bike has been restored the total outlay would have purchased three brand new Trolls complete with all the extras.

It's a different world.

Vincent01.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte) Vincent03.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte) img053.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)

The third picture is of my dad sitting astride a mate's Comet in the early 1950s which is why I became interested in the marque.


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#9

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:18 am
by Islay Corbel (deleted)
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What a great story!


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#10

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:18 pm
by T & C (deleted)
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My favourite Vincent was the Black Shadow. I didn't really move in the circles of people that owned them so never had an opportunity to ride one but I will never forget seeing one kicked into life - the sound it made was fabulous.

Tony


ERIBA Puck L 230 pushing a Citroen C4 Picasso
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#11

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Sun May 01, 2016 11:32 am
by Skoderiba | 208 Posts

It was said that Vincents were so slow revving that at 100 mph they fired once every lamppost


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#12

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Sun May 01, 2016 11:38 am
by Skoderiba | 208 Posts

And if you think the Vincents at Bonhams auction were expensive, check out the prices the Brough Somerset 'barn find' achieved.
http://www.bikewale.com/news/23182-barn-...s-32-crore.html


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#13

RE: Reunited after 60 years - absolutely nothing to do with Eribas

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Sun May 01, 2016 2:54 pm
by Aaron Calder | 3.738 Posts

For anyone who might still be interested, you will recall my saying that there were plans to build a replica Watsonian racing chair to put my neighbour's old bike back into its original track specification, well here are a couple of pictures that Ernie brought round for me this morning together with that picture of them racing in 1952 for comparison purposes.

Vincentandchair160.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte) Vincentandchair161.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte) Edward Davis Rider Ernie Allen Passenger.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)

I dread to think what the combination must be worth now.

Ernie has been invited to take part in a parade lap in the chair at a meeting of classic cars and motorcycle combinations at Silverstone in July. Prior to that it will be going to Blyton Park near Gainsborough for track testing and setting-up.


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