The Anglo-Dutch reliability Trial - Market Bosworth - 2005
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show.)

Jeannie and I could not stay after the Sunday morning run of our local Dragon Tour event as we had to be in Market Bosworth by 5.00pm for the start of the Anglo/Dutch trial week. The 1908 Triumph was quickly loaded on to the trailer at Llandovery and off we set on a route across country that was none too easy. However, after a couple of quick showers of rain we soon made the M5 and arrived at the Bosworth Hall Hotel in Market Bosworth with the sun shining. There were only 28 entries for the event, which was a disappointment. 21 Brits and only 7 Dutch riders, so Norman Woodman and his 1911 Bradbury were loaned to the Dutch team.

The first days run on Monday was some 65 miles – so Mike Wills, the organiser, said. We stopped for lunch at Ryton Organic Gardens and there I came across BO963, the 1911 James that I sold way back in 1975 to Don Mitchell for the same amount of money that I paid for my 1908 Triumph. I owned the James at the time but really wanted a Triumph, so when I was offered my Triumph, I raised the purchase price by selling, my James to Don for the same amount. At the time I believed the James to be 1913 as it had a gearbox, but that subsequently turned out to be a grafted on back end from a model H Triumph, anyway, it was nice to see the old bike after 40 odd years.
Back to the run and the Organic Gardens title did amuse me a bit – how can a garden be anything but organic – still on we went for a tea stop at Mike Wills place. He has a collection of Bradbury motorcycles to die for – some 15 in all. I had arranged with Mike to borrow one of his NSU two-speed pulleys in order that I could make a copy. That’ll be a task in itself, anyhow, the idea is that with the two-speed pulley, Jeannie and I will not have to push up hills any more. We’ll see how I get on with the job.

After leaving Mike’s home and on the way back to the Hotel we ran out of fuel. The bike will normally do an easy 80 miles on the gallon that the tank holds and as the run was a mere 65 miles I thought that I’d have no trouble, but obviously didn't fill the tank with enough fuel to start with. Luckily we were rescued and with a drop of the necessary were soon on our way to cover the four miles back to home. It appeared afterwards that the day’s mileage was over 85.

Day two saw us off for a 70 mile run to Hatton Country World. The bike, on the way back was running like a train – she climbed everything that we came across and even the recovery car behind said that we were getting along at over 30mph, most of the time. Back at the hotel, I decided to remove the belt and de-grease it a bit – that was a mistake.

I found that the engine pulley had quite a bit of up and down play. That worried me as I had visions of my previous crankshaft repair falling apart. So, there was nothing for it – out came the engine and I stripped it in the hotel car park to check out the problem. I did have a sizable audience, who all thought that I was nuts, but there we are. The problem luckily was not with my crank repair, that was solid. It was the main bearing being loose in its housing. One of the Dutch lads, Vincent Belgraver, came up with some loctite and the job was soon done and the engine re-installed in the frame.

So, day three dawned and off we set for Donnington Park and a visit to the Grand Prix collection.

There were a few two wheelers in the collection even if it consisted mainly of race cars. The engines pictured above were just two of the motors on display, although what the 1.5 litre, vee twelve engine would sound like when running just made the mind boggle. It must have screamed, for sure, and is based on six connected Ariel Arrow motors. The motorcycle, on the right above, is a Harwood - ever heard of one of those? 110cc two-stroke, made in Bexley Heath, Kent between 1920 1n 1921.

Anyway, this day the bike was off-colour and was running hot and we had to push up hills that would not have been a problem the day before. I started checking a few things and found that I could turn the points block on the magneto a quarter of an inch back and fore. The problem was chased back to the exhaust cam that drives the mag, and then the half timing gear on the end of the crankshaft. It was loose and that resulted in variable valve and ignition timing. Just think about it. I had not tightened the gear up on the shaft enough. After leaving Donninton the bike glided to a halt with a dead engine. I soon found that the exhaust valve head had broken off the stem, so I replaced it with a spare and we were soon on our way again. The engine ran so hot that the right leg of my trousers melted on the cylinder fins – that was a new experience, I can tell you.

Day four was the Trial day and as we set off, I was none too happy with the way the motor was going. We made the morning coffee stop after pushing up only one hill, which was not too bad. Two miles further on and the rear tyre punctured. The problem was due to the fact that I had been over-oiling the motor to try and keep it cool and the excess oil had all been chucked out over the rear tyre. That resulted in the oil soaked tyre creeping around the rim and ripping out the valve. If I’d put my spare tube in, the same thing would have happened – so the outfit went on the recovery trailer.

Colin Missen was the recovery driver and I have known him for years as he is a veteran Triumph man. We talked about my problems and it all boiled down to the half timing gear and the fact that it was cracked and could not be fully tightened up on the crankshaft. “You haven’t got a spare one that I could have”? I asked Colin. “Think so” was the reply. Anyway, on Friday morning he turned up and gave me the very thing that I needed. A fair swap for the 1907 engine that I had given to him some 35 years before. Friday saw us visit the National Motorcycle Museum by car. We also had John Mockett with us as he had had enough of riding by then. The Museum is well worth a visit and has been fully rebuilt after the fire, but it always makes me a little sad to see all the bikes, as most of them would never be seen running again.

So, ‘twas not a successful event from our point of view – but the organisation was good as was the hotel. On getting home, out came the engine and I rebuilt it properly with jointing compound and the new half timing pinion. The bike started up first time and ran smoothly.