Sunday, October 7, 2012

Last Sunday was the USCRA's Pewter Run.  This is a road ride for pre-1950 (and some 'like design' post '50) motorcycles.  I had done this a few times in the past on my '53 Moto Guzzi Airone Sport, which is substantially the same as when this model was revised in 1949, but it's apart at the moment awaiting my attention at the end of the racing season.  But, Mark Gibson, founder of the Pewter Run, came to the rescue.  He arranged a ride for me on Tony Lockwood's 1936 Excelsior Manxman 500.

Tony Lockwood and me with his '36 Excelsior Manxman 500
 Tony is an ex-pat Brit who has lived in this country many years.  He brought four beautiful bikes to the Run this year.  He rode the oldest, a 1913 Motosocoche 2C7, which edged out Mark Turkington's 1914 BSA as the oldest bike in the event.
Mark Turkington's 1914 BSA
Tony let his friend ride his 1925 Norton 16H.
1925 Norton 16H in the forground and 1913 Motosocoche behind 2C7
Tony's daughter Melanie Herman, rode his 1955 Norton Dominator 500, and won the long distance award, coming from Virginia for the event.  I sort of feel that I got the pick of a very fine litter.  Tony says the Manxman's 2nd owner bought it in 1938 and, while he was in north Africa during the war, dreamed of how he was going to modify it.  So, in the late forties, he replaced the girder forks with Matchless telescopic and made his own plunger rear suspension.
The Matchless forks required a special brake anchor.
Home made plunger rear suspension which eliminated lugs for the prop stand, so this period accessory stand was added And he installed a Vincent seat.
Tony had rebuilt the motor using a VW Beatle piston (1mm oversize) and had replaced the points in the magneto with an electronic trigger.
There were three length courses depending on how old the bike was and how far you wanted to ride.  I rode the longest, which was nearly 50 miles.  We started in light rain, but it stopped raining toward the end of the route.
ready for to start.  Bill Burke photo with Bill's NSU Max Spezial in backround
The motor was superb: very flexible but quite quick when given some throttle.  The Albion gearbox worked well and had good ratios.  The riding position was very comfortable.  The suspension, while not plush, was undoubtedly better than original (though I'm curious to try an original now).  The brakes were O.K.
The route was great fun and very well arrowed, and I didn't look at the route sheet once.  The colors hadn't peaked yet, but were getting there.  I passed a cop going the other way early on and he waved to me.  Once I got familiar with the bike, I gave it some stick and rode it the way it was intended.  Therefore, I was the first to finish the long route, despite my number being 26, and was promptly DQed  for being too early.  No bother; it just gave me more time to smooze with the riders who had already finished the shorter routes.  One of these was Carlton Palmer who rode a terrific 1928 Norton CS-1 that had come out of Portugal years ago.
Carlton Palmer's 1928 Norton CS-1.  Bill Burke photo

After everyone got back, we had some lunch in the Penacook Historical Society bldg., then prize giving.  Tony won his class and the oldest combined age of bike and rider.  Carlos won his class on his 1928 Indian 101 Scout.
Carlos Escudero's 1928 Indian 101 Scout
This is a bike he found in Pawcatuck, Ct. that had been sitting in a basement for 40 old years.  It has some period mods and Carlos had to repair the fuel tank, but is largely as he found it and as it was last ridden in the '50s.
Rich Snyder won the '39-'49 class with his 1949 Matchless G-80S.

Rich Snyder's '49 Matchless G-80S
Pierce Reed was 2nd in this class and won the Good Sport award for best period attire.
Pierce Reed on his 1946 H-D EL. Bill Burke photo
Mark Gibson, who was riding the Pewter Run for the first time since Shane Rivet had taken over running the event from Mark, won the Hard Luck award, and the magneto failed on his Brough Superior, and he came back on the sweep truck.
Mark Gibson with his 1934 Brough Superior 680SV

Thanks to all who made this event happen.  It's a joy to see these old bikes used.
Carlos Escudero photo

1 comment:

  1. The bikes are beautiful! The motors!!! The mechanics!!! And they are still on the road!!! Ditto too your blog on the Canon Ball Run. Congratulations all around. Thanks. h