British Historic Racing Final Rounds 2018


Dave Henshaw is a Royal Enfield restoration expert and racer. The Henshaws purchase Royal Enfield Parts from Burton Bike Bits for their customer restorations and their racing Enfields. Below is a record of the final rounds of the British Historic Racing competition.


Royal Enfield British Historic RacingIan Henshaw ‘Henchy’ has been having a quiet time in 2018 with only one machine to ride instead of the usual three, in the pre 1962 class he is the championship leader on the 350cc shortstroke ‘Big Head ‘ so going to Anglesey Circuit he was really up for it as he was two tenths off the lap record last year. The first race he completed on the Saturday he was one tenth off the record which was set by Tim Jackson on a very fast AJS 7R at 1.25.71 in 2009, on the Sunday he told myself and big brother Paul ‘Bullet Whisperer’ he was out to break the record. The race was a three class race with pre 1973 350cc Ducatis and Honda K4s at the front followed by the pre 1962 machines though on his lap times Ian was 5th on the grid. ”Henchy’ got away in fourth place and was definitely going for it; on lap three he broke the record putting in a time of 1.25.59, on lap four he came round posting 1.25.24 and on lap six passing all the Ducati and Honda riders bar the leading Ducati he put in a 1.25.61 and finished second overall and wining the pre1962 class by nearly 40seconds and taking almost half a second off the lap record which has stood for nearly ten years.


British Historic Racing Ian HenshawOn a weekend when most of the rain we have been lacking fell at Pembrey Circuit! Llanwrda motorcycle racer Ian Henshaw was battling to keep his British Historic Racing Pre 1962 class championship lead. In the three class 350cc race made up of Pre 1983 Japanese machines, pre 1973 Ducati’s, pre 1962 350s along with pre1973 125cc single cylinder two strokes, all the races were held in appalling wet conditions with the exception of the last race on the second day Sunday when in the late afternoon the sun came out and dried the track.
In the first race starting from 5th on the grid Ian came round leading the whole group; this lasted for four laps of the eight lap race until he slowed and dropped to 3rd place but winning his pre 62 class it turned out he had to slow down due to his helmet visor misting up. The next race was ‘Henchys’ most outstanding; he was in the lead from the off giving a display of wet weather riding that has earned him the title of ‘The Welsh Rain Master’ crossing the line and taking the chequered flag over a second ahead of Ducati champion Ritch Hawkins and lapping five riders in the eight lap race.
Having a minor control problem in the third race after taking the overall lead once more he had to give Ritch Hawkins the honours this time, in the final race. Ironically after following Hawkins back wheel Ian had a couple of major moments when an oil leek blew oil on his rear tyre, this race turned into a damage limitation race, Ian coming home in 3rd place behind the Manx Norton of Jack Hebb. But three wins out of four races and a 2nd place gave him 58 points out of a total available of 60. This now gives him a championship lead of 47points over his nearest rival going into the final round at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire on the 29th/30th of September.


Ian Henshaw ‘Henchy’ on the flying Performance Classics Royal Enfield ‘Clipper’ won the British Historic Racing 2018 Pre 1963 350cc championship with three races still to go in the final round at Cadwell Park Lincolnshire on the 29th. ‘Henchy’ only managed three 2nd places but one was enough as he raced against the Molnar prepared Manx Norton of Mathew Hebb. The Clipper after an Engine rebuild due to the big end seizure after breaking the 2009 lap record at the Anglesey circuit two rounds before, was being restricted to 8000rpm instead of the usual 9500rpm. But 2nd places were good enough against a £30,000 replica Molnar Manx as after an horrendous nine hour drive from Wales the decision was taken to go home early which took just under six hours!

The 250cc ‘Cotrell Crusader’ had a test outing on the basis the engine was not to be reved over 8000rpm rather than the usual 9000 rpm even so it was in a constant battle for a podium with Geoff Mills on his 250cc Ducati loosing out by a wheel to take fourth. The 500c Fury after a rebuild and a long wait to have pistons maufactured went out only to come in with electrical gremlins causing a misfire which was sorted by brother Paul, however Ian went out again and after starting from the back of the grid passed about sixteen riders before coming in once with a ‘horrible’ noise coming from the engine. The decision was made to take it home with a suspected big end failure! But on inspection today it was found to be a broken tooth on the timing pinion. So all three bikes will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.
Dave Henshaw
Performance Classics, Photos by Lee Hollick

1959 Triumph T120 Bonneville Pre Unit

1959 Triumph T120 Bonneville Pre UnitA bit late we may be, but this month we are featuring the 1959 Triumph T120 Bonneville Pre Unit as our bike of the month. As it is the 50th anniversary of the bike we are featuring Bushy Bester’s bike in New Zealand as well as some history which he has kindly put together for us. We have supplied lots of Triumph Pre Unit spares for this restoration.

“My Bonneville is number 1387 of 1875 originally South African now living in peaceful retirement in New Zealand.

This is a single down tube T120 Bonneville and was manufactured on the 10th of April 1959. It was dispatched ex-works fitted with a “Quickly detachable rear wheel” and solo gearing on order number 3326.

The receiving dealer was T. Foster & Sons, Port Elizabeth, Cape Province, South Africa. This was one of a batch of 401 machines built between 10th and 20th April 1959. In total, there were 1875 of this model for this year manufactured and possibly only about 60 or 70 left in the world today. I have records and photos of 51 known 195 Bonneville’s collected over15 years and dealing with dealer’s worldwide.

I have most of the information including build batch numbers and dates, but not all the other information and need help from other owners of the ’59 Bonne’s to help solve queries and provide information for other owners of ’59 Bonne’s.

One of my life’s quests is to try and determine when the colour change from Tangerine and Pearl-gray to Azure blue and Pearl-gray took place by date of manufacture and engine number, as you may know there were 2 colours for the 1959 Triumph T120 Bonneville Pre Unit season.

By listing your bike and providing engine, frame numbers and original bike colour to my data base by either emailing Danny of Burton Bike Bits or me with your detailed information, we can all benefit. This information is not for the general public use. Please email a photo of the engine number and a coloured photo of the bike.”

Contact Bushy with your bike’s details

The Son of Sam, Triumph Trident Production Racer

Son of Sam Triumph Trident Production Racer

The Son of Sam is a Triumph Trident 1975/6. The bike was a replacement for Slippery Sam.

The bike was ridden by a number of racers including Percy Tait, Alex George and Martin Russell in the Isle of Man TT.

Later, the bike was twice ridden in the Beezumph Rally by Mark Walker.

The Bike was owned by Burton Bike Bits from 1981 until it was sold to John Young. Below is John Young’s story of taking the Son of Sam to The Netherlands.

Now let me make this clear from the very beginning, this seemed like a good idea at the time!

The Netherlands Triumph Club were holding a one day rally to “celebrate” their 30th anniversary as a club. The highlight of the day was to be the drawing of the raffle to win a 1971/72 Bonneville and the person doing the draw was to be Les Williams. Amongst the other attractions was a display of Triumphs both Meriden and Hinckley.

So my plan was to ride “Son of Sam” over to the rally to put into the display. Over the last couple of years, I’d got to know several of the Dutch guys and it seemed like a worthwhile idea to help support their rally. Sonia was going on her T100 Bonneville, so we had the capability of taking our luggage (and tools) on that.

Having given both the Bonneville and “Son of Sam” a thorough check over, including installing the kit that converted “Son of Sam” from racer to tourer (see photo), Thursday afternoon saw us setting off for the chunnel. The plan was to stop Thursday evening at a travel lodge just north of Folkestone and catch an early train the next day. With “Son of Sam” having no lights, the journey to and from the rally needed to be conducted in daylight hours. All went fine until the M25 where we hit some serious traffic. Filtering for some 10 miles or so through solid motorway traffic is bad enough at the best of times, but on what is effectively a full blown proddie racer, with tall gearing, clip-ons and rearsets, the task somewhat taxes your riding skills. Trying also to keep my eye on Sonia following on her bike is also more than a little difficult when you have no mirrors and the ability to move your head no more than a few inches either side due to the riding position. However, after what seemed like an eternity we rode out of the traffic and on towards our planned stop. Of course, the unexpected delays on the M25 meant that the daylight was rapidly fading and by the time we turned off the M25 onto the M26, dusk was already upon us. There was nothing else to do but press on hoping that we could reach our digs before darkness totally engulfed us.

As the M26 filtered into the M20, the last vestiges of daylight disappeared. 40 miles to go and all we had was the headlight of the Bonneville and whatever light my reflector beneath my number plate gave off to traffic following me. We kept to the nearside lane since I was well aware that I?d be all but invisible to the lorries trundling their way southwards.

It was with blessed relief that junction 9 appeared and a short journey along an unlit A20 saw us arrive in almost total darkness at the travel lodge. Still, part one of the journey done. We could now have a good nights rest, and I needed it. Proddie racers are probably reasonably comfortable when you’re twentysomething, slim and fit. I’m fortysomething, fat and unfit ….

However, after a good nights sleep, the world always seems a better place. By 8 o’clock the next morning we were on the shuttle and heading towards France. We were sharing our compartment with amongst others, 3 guys on Hinckley Tigers who were somewhat bemused by what we explained we were doing and what exactly “Son of Sam” is. However we explained it, the words “yeah, but it’s a 30 year old racing bike”, kept coming from them.

As we left the train, the 3 Hinckley riders turned off southwards sitting on their gel seats, holding their heated handlebar grips, twiddling with their satnavs. Myself and Sonia struck out for northwards; no gel seat, no heated grips, no satnav. I mean, the total creature comforts on “Son of Sam” is an aftermarket horn fitted to satisfy the MOT tester once a year ??..

France became Belgium, Belgium became the Netherlands and it was time for another stop. I found I could comfortably ride for 75 to 100 miles before I needed a stretch and as we entered Holland, I was now again at that point. We stopped for petrol at the first service station inside the Netherlands. So far, the traffic had been fairly free-flowing and although the temperatures were once again unseasonably high, as long as I was moving along at between 60 to 80 mph, both the bike and myself were keeping nice and cool. It’s amazing how much heat a triple engine gives off. Under normal circumstances, it’s not that noticeable since the heat simply dissipates into the air, but with a close fitting racing fairing that directs all of the heat up past the rider, believe me, it’s very noticeable !

A feature of the journey so far had been that whenever we had stopped, the bike had attracted attention. This time, it attracted the attention of a Dutch police car. Both Sonia and myself saw the car pull up alongside the bikes as we were filling them up and we both did our best to avoid making eye contact with the two Dutch policemen inside it. After paying for the fuel we moved the bikes away from the pumps and the police car followed us. I hurriedly tried to formulate excuses for whatever traffic laws I?d broken. When we set out, it wasn?t crystal clear as to whether “Son of Sam” could be legally ridden through France, Belgium and Holland without lights or speedometer and bearing racing numbers, but we’d decided to “wing it” and see what happened. Here was the test of our theory – the car pulled up alongside and the police driver wound down his window???.. Well, all he wanted to do was to talk about the bike and wax lyrical about it. What we had here was a biking enthusiast who quite frankly couldn’t have given a damn about any traffic laws, he just wanted to hear the bike start up and me gun it as we rode away !!

From the service station we needed to cut across country towards Arnhem. The rally was being held at Raalte which is a small town about 50 miles or so north of Arnhem. We were only about 125 miles or so from Raalte at the Dutch border, but from here on the traffic became increasingly heavy. With both myself and the bike in danger of overheating, we used the hard shoulder wherever possible so that I could keep some air flowing through the fairing. Alex George and Percy Tait may well have lapped the Island at the thick end of 100 mph on this bike, but I bet they never had to filter through mile after mile of motorway congestion on a Friday afternoon and on the wrong side of the road at that.

It was nearly three hours after entering Holland that we finally arrived at Raalte. The bike smelt very hot and was indeed very hot. Inside my leathers, was not a particularly nice place either – I was wringing wet from sweat. We?d travelled just over 500 miles since leaving home and my spine had felt every one of them ! I was looking forward to parking “Son of Sam” up until Sunday. Interestingly, as we?d been filling up at fuel stations, “Son of Sam” had been using more or less the same amount of fuel as Sonias bike. It had worked out at around 50 mpg. Clearly the fairing must help fuel consumption. However the oil consumption was somewhat different. “Son of Sam” had consumed nearly one and a half pints in the 500 miles, no doubt in part due to near on 50 miles of motorway filtering both in the UK and then in the Netherlands. The Hinckley Bonneville had not consumed a drop.

After checking in and unloading the bike, a quick shower and change of clothes had me almost feeling human again. Given that we were both tired from the journey, we decided to eat at the hotel on the Friday evening. As we were enjoying our meal, a familiar figure came up to us to say hello, Les Williams. It seemed that the Dutch Triumph club had booked accommodation for Les and his wife at the same hotel as we were staying at. This was a pleasant surprise. Les had seen “Son of Sam” and the Bonneville parked outside when he arrived at the hotel and obviously recognised the bike. It was even more of a pleasant surprise when he recognised me! I think he was suitably impressed that I’d ridden “Son of Sam” all the way from the Midlands to the rally, although as ever, the very fact that Sonia had ridden her bike at all overshadowed any achievement of my own. As I’ve said before, a woman riding a bike is still a relative rarity and therefore Sonia always, and quite rightly, deserves any plaudits that come her way.

Saturday morning dawned to glorious blue skies and while we were breakfasting with Les and Joan, John Bouwhuis one of the main organisers of the rally from the TOCN came and introduced himself to Les. Once again, I was somewhat surprised when he seemed to know who I was as well, although he also seemed to know who Sonia was. It seems that I am forever to be cursed by being known simply as the guy who turns up with Sonia!

After breakfast, I took “Son of Sam” down to the rally site. One of the first people who I bumped into was Paul ten Broeke, another Dutch guy that I’d got to know over time. The rally was being held at the American Motorcycle Museum in Raalte, which is one mans collection of anything that is both American and Motorcycle related. Clearly Harleys are the predominate marque represented although there are a few Indian bikes around the museum as well as some other makes that I’d never heard of. Again, whilst the content of the museum did not exactly enrapture me, the style of the museum was a delight, imparting on the visitor the same garage type atmosphere that both the London Motorcycle Museum and the Norton Museum at Best manage to create and yet our own National Motorcycle Museum fails so spectacularly to achieve.

Over the course of the weekend, the speedometer on the Bonneville showed that the bike had travelled just over 1030 miles. Given that we’d used the Bonneville for the run out on the Saturday afternoon and then the ride out that myself and Sonia did on the Saturday evening, meant that “Son of Sam” had travelled probably around 850 miles. Apart from the incident as we approached the last stop, the bike had ran faultlessly. True, it had used some oil, but the fact that I’d been able to take what is after all a full blown proddie racer near on a 1000 miles through some pretty horrendous traffic at times and arrive back home, without major problems speaks volumes for the bike.

However – this is it’s first and last trip abroad under it’s own power. Whilst the bike coped admirably, I am just the wrong shape! The next time “Son of Sam” leaves these shores, it’ll be in the back of a van!!

The Lone Star Gold Star – BSA Goldstar in Texas

“Hey mom, Dennis has a Triumph Tiger Cub. Can I have one?”
“What is it?”
“A neat motorcycle. All the guys in my high school class have
“How about a Cushman Eagle?”
“Another motorcycle?”
“Sort of?”

That short conversation took place in the late 1950’s. As my mom was awfully emphatic about it, that was that. I’d ride on the back of my friend’s Tiger Cub but never really got much further than that with motorbikes.

Then in 1971 I found myself living in Austin, Texas. One day I came home from looking for work and noticed a neighbor banging around on a motorcycle. We struck a friendship as I watched him try to get this bike to run – a BSA B44 Victor in apparently Victor trim-no fenders, lots of oil, knobby tires, no kick starter, license plate in the toolbox you know! They guy turned out to be a very nice fellow, family man, nice dog the whole thing. He just looked like he lived on his Victor which he banged on, we?d push and he’d ride.

A short while later, I saw him beating on a different motorbike.
Something to do with a clutch problem and a seized (?) kickstarter ratchet. I asked him about it, and he said, “Well, I was riding around town, and I saw it leaning against the side of a house. I knew it was a Gold Star, so I asked the guy who was living in the house about it. He said it wasn’t his, he didn’t know who owned it, and it had been leaning there since he moved in. When I asked him if he wanted it, he said again that it wasn’t his, so I said I’ll take it, and I put it in my van and brought it home. Pretty slick huh?!? I asked my friend what a Gold Star was, and he gave me a short course while he proceeded to ruin the kick starter ratchet. Pretty ratty looking bike to be so famous, but we pushed, and lo and behold it came to life, thundering off and deafening on-lookers through it’s 18” megaphone.

One day he asked me if I’d like to go riding. He said we’d have to put the bikes in the van and go out of town to an area that the county had set aside for motorcycles only. He couldn’t get a license for the Gold Star, but you didn’t need to be legal to ride out there. It was about 50 acres just for motorcycles with trails, hills, bushes and open areas. So out we went, and we pushed, remember, no kick starter ratchet, and for the first time I hopped on a motorcycle and rode it. How lucky to have it be a 1955 CB34 Gold Star.

Later I asked him why he couldn’t get a license for it. He told methat he had gone, in all his Victor glory no doubt, to the Austin city police and asked them how to get the title for a motorcycle that had been abandoned. They told him that he would have to provide $200 worth of notarized receipts from bike shops for parts put into it to show that he was worthy of the state of Texas (who actually owned the abandoned motorcycle) titling it to him.

Needless to say that didn’t go over too well, especially since he could put it in the van and head for the desert if he wanted to ride it. Also there was still the Victor leaning against the tree (no kickstand) if he wanted to ride legally in the city. So he decided to forget getting the Gold Star title in his name and just continue desert riding. Sounded OK to me.

One day as we came back from the desert ride he asked me if I liked the bike. I said, “Yeah it’s OK,” and he said he’d give it to me if I’d trade the Cerini front forks on it for those on the Victor. He told me he was tired of the Gold Star and didn’t want to have to go to the desert to ride it, so I might as well have it. We traded front forks and I pushed the Gold Star over to my side of the apartment complex. A motorcycle owner at last.

Now what? Being the “possession is 9/10’s of the law” owner of an old, classic motorcycle with no title in Austin, Texas. Absolutely no help if you looked like you crawled out of the oil tank of a motorcycle and went to the police to ask about titling. OK-get a hair cut, put on nice pants, a white short sleeved button-down collard shirt, Bass Weegen loafers and go to the courthouse office of Motor Motor Vehicle Registration. I talked to a young Justice Of The Peace,told him my story of having been given a motorcycle with no title and asked him what to do. “Does it have a license plate?” he asked. “Yes,I said, a 1968 Texas plate.” “OK” he said, “call the Motor Vehicle Division and find out the name and address of the last registered owner. Can you ride it?” “No” I said, “It has no rear axel.” (The guy had cut it in two before we traded forks but assured me I could find one almost anywhere!!) “OK” the J.P. said. “State in yourletter that the motorcycle is not rideable now and that you think the last owner, who abandoned it, should sign the title over to you or sell it to you for a nominal fee.” “Thanks” I said.

Off went a certified letter to Houston which came back unopened andmarked with “Not Forward able-Addressee Unknown”. So I go back to the Justice Of The Peace who says without even opening my returned letter to see what I’d written, “OK now go over there to my secretary, fill out an affidavit stating that you have tried, without success, to reach the last registered owner of this motorcycle and that you think the great state of Texas oughtto sign the title over to you as an interested party. Pay her$17.50 ($10 Texas state gift tax, $5 registration fee and $2.50 titling fee) and it’s yours!”

My mother bought me my first safety helmet.

This is the only motorcycle I’ve ever owned or am likely to own. I’ve taken it from one end of the USA to the other since 1971. I’ve never had occasion to take the engine out of theframe. It’s never let me down of it’s own doing.

BSA Goldstar in Texas

I was the 11th member to join the US Gold Star Owners Club that was started by Peter Burrows in the mid seventies and was the membership chairman for most of the years the club was in operation. I made and have maintained many great friendships because of my Gold Star, as well as through the US GSOC. I will continue to add to the list because I have owned a Gold Star for all these years.

The pleasure has been mine.

Ray St Clair

Royal Enfield Constellation 1959

Royal Enfield Super Constellation 1959

This Royal Enfield Constellation, probably one of the best you can find, regarded to be the fastest and most powerful production motorbike of the “Fifties”. Being the predecessor of the mighty Interceptor she has been in production for only a relatively short period and therefore only few survived to date, less than Interceptors.
Nearly as powerful as the Interceptor but much more reliable than her younger successor, it`s simply amazing how strong she runs you will become addicted to that pull and sound!
Frame no. 8356 revealed that she has been dispatched to  Pride & Clark London SW 9 on 4th of July 1959 in the colour “polychromatic-peacock-blue” & chrome , some 43 years later I found her living in Worthing, taxed and tested in the careful hands of her keeper Keith Crowley in September 2002.

“You will become addicted to that
pull and Sound!”

So here is a short description of my four-year Royal Enfield Constellation rebuild:

First she has been taken apart completely every single part be it nut or bolt , washer or whatsoever, was carefully inspected , replaced by a new-old-stock / better than new part,  fine-tuned and optimised, polished, or anodised, or chromed or painted.

The engine was tuned, optimised and rebuilt by a former Egli employee Sommer Motorrad Manufaktur , the lubrication-system was converted from dry sump to wet sump, with bigger oil pumps both pumps are feeding! one solely to the crank , the other one to cylinder-head. Modern high compression pistons run in 1st bore cylinder barrels, cylinder-heads now carry modern BMW valves, guides and seats, breathing through a single new Amal 389 carburettor with a 400-size main-jet , fired by an ultra-reliable Lucas SR-2 magneto-ignition rebuild with modern components. Primary drive is now a heavy-duty belt-drive with dry clutch, completely new electrics alternator / rectifier / regulator black-box. Petrol-tank and other parts have been chrome-plated or anodised by the most famous (? and expensive) plater of Germany, additionally the tank received an inner-conserve to last for ever.

Smiths speedometer rebuilt by an expert but still keeps the original indication, so you can see at what max. speed the needle dangled in former times.
Wheels are high-shoulder alu-rims with polished stainless-steel-spokes, Metzler Heidenau tyres, the sort of tyres with which Helmut Dahne once won the TT with his BMW R-90S.
You are right to ask why for heavens sake do I put my Royal Enfield Constellation for sale ! ?
Well I am afraid the next project is already waiting!


Now for the price of this Unique Beauty? It took me four years and more than 18.000 Euro / £12.000 The enthusiasm, experience and satisfaction is a very rewarding.

Article by Klaus Lorenz

1959 Triumph 3TA Twenty One

1959 Triumph 3TA Twenty One

Hi, my name is Santiago and I am from  Montevideo, Uruguay (South America). Here’s my bike story.

I am 41 years old, and all of my life I have heard about Triumph Motorcycles, because my father 60 years ago worked at the Triumph dealer in Uruguay. He stayed in that job for 14 years.

As you can imagine, I have heard several stories about these motorcycles. To my father and his friends the triumph was the best of those times.

Two years ago I found a 1959 Triumph 3TA Twenty One in terrible condition (See pictures below), which I decided to buy and restore.

In order to do  this work, I contacted an old friend of my father, who used to work as a mechanic back then. It wasn’t very easy to convince him to begin the work, seeing as he is retired, but once he decided to do it  I knew  that he would do a great  job.

So decide for yourselves if he did it.

Thanks and my regards to everyone.


1959 Triumph 3TA Twenty One Parts

Burton Bike Bits carry a great range of 1959 Triumph 3TA parts and spares. So if you have a classic Triumph motorcycle awaiting restoration, contact us now!

BSA B44 Shooting Star 1968

BSA B44 Shooting Star 1969

The story of a BSA B44 Shooting Star named Thunder, By John Pappas

Forty years ago, I walked up to a motorcycle show room window in Arlington, Virginia and gazed through the glass at the most beautiful thing my eyes had ever seen. It was a 1968 BSA Shooting Star. I had seen the same bike in a road test in the 1968 January issue of Modern bike magazine, but the bike somehow looked unreal resting on it’s center stand in the showroom window. Walking inside, I rounded the corner coming to a complete stop right in front of the big single. I was stunned at the sight of this fiberglass, steel and chrome man-made wonder. The red and ivory gas tank, side cover and oil tank weren’t just pieces of fiberglass – they were works of art worthy of being in a museum! It’s chrome fenders and headlight sparkled even in the dim, cloudy, February afternoon. No other bike had such pleasing lines and futuristic design (which holds it’s own even today!). I imagined the big single roaring to life with me on it!

I was seventeen years old and after saving every dollar from my after school job as a dishwasher, I almost had enough money to purchase a motorcycle. A salesman came up and said, “son, that’s one of the niftiest bikes we have ever had to sell.” I asked how much it cost and he replied, “oh this bike will cost ya. It’s $800.00”. I about dropped to the floor. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite have enough funds to purchase the bike that day or that even that month! I managed to stutter the words, “do you have layaway?” As soon as I said it, I had a visual of the salesman taking me by the collar and throwing me out on the street while cautioning me not to ever come back. But instead he smiled and said, “for you kid, sure.” He then told me the bike would be mine as long as I paid for it in full in sixty days. I blurted out, “yes sir, I can!”. He walked away and came back with a sold sign slipping it over the handlebars of the Beeza. I was in heaven! My father dropped me off about every two weeks armed with cans of turtle wax, chrome polish and old t-shirts so I could sit on the floor and polish my newly acquired beauty (they since moved my bike to the floor amidst six or seven other BSA’S. I would sit there for a couple of hours polishing each inch. The salesman who sold it to me would come by and say, “son, you’re going to polish the chrome right off of that bike! You know it is brand new!” Then he would chuckle and walk away.

Two months almost to the day on a warm, April afternoon, I picked up my Shooting Star and drove him home to Maryland with my father following me. And so began my life-long love affair with Thunder (more on the name in a minute).

I had the only motorcycle in high school! I was the prototype for Fonzie. Guys envied me as the big single roared to life in the school parking lot and girls gathered around in hopes of an after school ride. The school newspaper featuring the “car of the month” did its first motorcycle article along with a photo of me standing along side my 1968 BSA. Thunder and I enjoyed the limelight! One day two of my friends were walking home from their shift at McDonald’s when they heard sounds like thunder. It was me riding my Thumper a couple of blocks away. One of them said, “that sounds like thunder!” When I drove up, they christened my bike Thunder.

Throughout the years (all forty!), Thunder has been with me housed outside in a shed, carport and finally the last twenty years in a warm garage. Thunder has had a new electrical system, tail light lens and new paint job among various cosmetic items replaced. The mileage is original (a little over 6,000) having not ridden Thunder often in the years I was raising a family. Now at 57 years old, I ride Thunder with my wife every two weeks or so on picturesque, winding country roads in a laid back setting which suits Thunder fine. I hope to ride Thunder for as long as I can kick start him and prop myself up on the seat because it has been one hell of a ride (and love affair) ever since we first met!

The Bike in it’s present day condition!

You can buy a full range of BSA B44 Parts from British Bike Bits

BSA Rocket 3 Production Racer


BSA Rocket 3 Production Racer

A Story by Dick Herzberg about his BSA A75 Rocket 3 Production Racer

I purchased the bike from Cusworths in Doncaster, trading my TriBSA which I had built from parts. I will give you a run down on the successes, I would have considered this bike to be the most successful of the Rocket 3s, on the picture further down you can see the A Bennett & Son sticker on the Rocket which is just taking the bottom of the Mountain during a National Proddy Race which we won (more later) they had offered to sponsor me after winning the Formula 5 Production & 1000cc(on my Ex Factory Ex Bob Heath A65/70) Club Championships.
Race Preparation I always tried to set the yearly program of races when the MCN used to release the Race Dates at the beginning of the year, the race coverage then used to fill the pages with the Glossies taking care of the tests, now all we have is pages full of Bullshit on how long the wheel will stay in the air which actually loses forward motion (don’t just believe me ask Einstein). I had started to prepare the Rocket 3 all through the winter which stopped me getting to the pub as often therefore improving my fitness. I used to rent a small workshop which was cold and I once found a large grey rat coiled up dead in the primary chaincases which proves I am a fairly good shot with a 2 lb hammer. I had decided to find some more power and reduce weight for the coming season and had the cams hard chromed and ground to my own design, I never smoked so was handicapped by not having the back of a fag packet to do the calculations but I got their in the end. The clutch was fitted with the mini cooper spring and drilled profusely, so much so, when the engine was first started I built the revs up slowly expecting the clutch to explode (probably being the first clutch on the Moon), I am a reasonable engineer so everything stayed together. I learnt the art of lightening on stripping the Ex Works BSA twin I had bought from Bob Heath, I think that’s why thy called one of their models Lightning after Bob’s exploits with the drill, when removing the throttle and rubber from the clipons they looked like a piece of shinny cheese. I had been contacted by letter from Brian Bennett, the son in the Triumph Dealer A Bennett & Son of Atherstone, after my local newspaper the Rotherham Advertiser had run an article after winning Club Production and 1000cc Championships. Brian’s sister still lives in Rotherham and sent the advertiser on a regular basis (I never got chance to thank her and like the fool I am probably used the back of the letter for some calculations)

I didn’t meet Arthur, Brian’s farther much as he was away starting a Bike Insurance CO, would that be the current sponsor of the British Superbikes I wonder? I couldn’t wait to find a telephone box that morning of the letter to confirm my appreciation of the offer of sponsorship on their Ex Factory Trident and the Rob North Triumph 3. Consequently the race on my Rocket 3 was to be the last, if you look closely at the photo taken at the bottom of the mountain A Bennett and Son are on the fairing, the same ones which were on the Bennett Triumph Proddy which was burned at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham (more on this later) The Race It was a Production Race at a National meeting at Cadwell Park, a pleasant change really as we were normally restricted to club meetings, some one must have begun to realise that the class sold motorcycles. There were some handy people in the race including Neil Tuxworth and a very fast man on a 500 3 cylinder Kawasaki, Tom Pemberton. The race positions were I think sorted by the organisers and for some reason I was as far back as Barn Corner and Neil was on the front row with his electric start Honda, I new a good start was now essential to win. The flag dropped and I heard all the electric starts winding up, I kicked the lever hoping for a first time start, this happened and I got the foot rest down so quick that the kick start did not have time to return, consequently I ran the full race with the starter in this position. The race went well, by lap five of twelve (I think, if I knew the name of the disease I would tell you) my father on the start line was telling me to slow down as I was well in front, the bike was flying and I felt fine at that pace so carried on to win. I really enjoyed picking up the prize money which was ?50 pounds, a couple of them went on beers to celebrate. Do you know anyone who would give me a ride on a Rob North at Besumph whilst I get my own built?

I am actually looking for this bike, EDT 13J and my Ex Bob Heath Factory A70 if you could please put the word out.


Dick Herzberg


2003 Royal Enfield Clubman 500 S “Classic” model

Enfield Bullet Clubman
I thought you might like to see what modifications I have made to the standard 2003 Clubman 500 S “Classic” model that I bought. Yes I did say “Classic” and I can use that word because it is officially named so in the brand new “genuine Enfield accessories” catalogue for 2007 from Watsonian Squire. It turns out that my model is in the “Classic” range.

Not only is it a Real Classic but I have now converted it into a “Replica Gold Star” and to prove it here is a list of the things that I have done to achieve this.

I have fitted “Bacon Slicers” and cut the black fibre glass wing things that covered the battery cover and air filter box. Firstly I substituted the air filter system that was fitted in the tool box for an old fashioned “Enfield” filter box.

As I had the “Gold Star” exhaust system I decided to keep an eye on the carburettor settings which I had checked previously while I was running the engine in. I found the needle jet at the highest position and as I clocked the K’s up, I dropped the needle down to the middle position.

I wanted a bellmouth for the carb, bought one and fitted it (see photograph) and then I changed the settings from the standard which was Pilot jet 25, Main jet 110, needle position centre. I’ve now fitted a 27.5 Pilot jet, 120 Main jet and the needle is on the 4th position. The Clubman is running
great. Because I got rid of the air filter and fitted the bellmouth, it left a hole and the coil was exposed, so I fitted a black fibreglass cover that you can see in the next photo.

Apart from fitting Hagon Rear shocks, the last big mod was replacing the Black casquette and fork shrouds for a highly polished fork top yoke.

The other parts required were the fork dust covers, chrome clips and clip-ons and a new ammeter as I’d found it impossible to get the original one out of the casquette without damaging it.

Below are a few photographs of the change from  casquette to fork top yoke.

Most recently I have fitted the engine breather modification with the extension to the oil tank filler and got rid of the catch tank that was fitted below the battery holder.

Last week I fitted a Smiths Chronometric Speedometer to finish it off……. or is it?

So now I have my very own “Gold Star” and the purists can say what they like about it. I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and like you, I say it’s what the individual gets out of it. For me I get a great deal of
enjoyment out of my “Real Classic” I can go for 30 miles before my old back starts to ache, but the grin factor is that of a Cheshire cat. I just love riding the damn thing. So here are the “before” and “after” photos of my Royal Enfield “Classic” Clubman 500S.

Before the mods

Article By Doug Young