Somerset Section Veteran & Vintage run, 3rd July 2011
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Having recently made a new front hub for my 1908 Triumph and laced it back into the wheel I had a need to give the hub a good try out as we were due to take the outfit to Holland for the week long Anglo-Dutch trial at the end of July. To that end the Somerset Section were holding a Veteran and Vintage run on the 3rd July. During my visit to the Somerset section and the slide show that I gave them earlier in the year, I was given an entry form for the 3rd July event. It seemed ideal and I asked about hills, only to be told that it was over the Somerset levels and that there would be no hills. Just what I needed to give the '08 outfit a ride out.

When I mentioned it to a few other section members there seemed to be some interest so I copied the entry form to those that I thought might be interested.

Came the day, and the weather was glorious. Jean and I left home at 8.15 and we were at the start by 9.45 and it was nice to find another six South Wales members present. Terry with his Beardmore, Ray - New Hudson, Glyn - Bown, Barry - James, Terry P - BSA, and Jack - Honda. There was a good turnout of bikes, including four other Veterans. I didn't count them all but there must have been around 50 or more bikes in total.

There were a number of interesting machines all ready to take part and one that I found very interesting was the red framed veteran Kerry-Abingdon. Have a good look at it. It has a direct drive from the engine to the rear wheel by belt, on the far side in the photograph, then in the rear hub there is a two-speed sliding dog which can be used to operate a reduction gear in the form of a primary chain to a countershaft which transmits power across the frame and then by chain to the rear wheel. This arrangement gives a low ratio. There is one snag, of course - if the dog in the rear hub is left in the neutral position then the rear wheel will rotate and the one and only brake on the belt rim will not have any effect. Could be exciting, I suspect. Kerry was a motorcycle trade name used by the East London Rubber Company from 1902 to 1914 and who are still in existence and more well known for producing totally different items nowadays. It was in 1907 that they started to use the Abingdon King Dick(AKD) engines of around 350cc. I guessed that this machine was around 1912/13. The bike sported a rather lovely period accessory in the form of a circular leather box on the rear end that contained a spare belt.

Jean and I had selected the 40 mile route and that was more than enough to give the front hub a good road test, whilst the remaining six other South Wales members all opted for the 60 mile route. Soon we were off out of the car park and on our way. I'm not sure about the 60 mile route but ours soon brought up a hill that we had to push the outfit up and I thought that there was supposed not to be any!! We wended our way through Somerton and dropped down out of the town and onto the B3151 which was a very busy road indeed with all the traffic volumes of an A road. We were tailgated by a rather large commercial for some way which I found rather disconcerting, I must say. Anyway, after covering a few miles I could see another hill in the distance and soon judged that we were looking at another push so didn't even bother to try and climb it. 'We'll go back and find a side road to see if we can find a way around' I thought . The first turning took us off into the country and away from the main road, which was a relief. After a few miles up came another hill that stopped the Triumph and on talking to one of the locals I found that we were just going around in circles and that we were basically 'stuck in a bowl'. Back to the main road and wait for the recovery seemed the best idea.

In no time at all Brian Pope on his Ariel outfit came along and he offered to tow us up the final hill, assuring me that after that we'd have no more trouble. The Ariel struggled to get going on the hill, but soon we were over the top and back on route. We passed through Street and out into the country whilst Brian followed us the rest of the way to the lunch stop at the Watchfield Inn on the B3139 to Highbridge. It was a real pleasure to ride across the levels on dead straight roads amidst glorious sunshine. I was wondering how the rest of the South Wales contingent was getting on and they duly arived about 20 minutes after us. "Gee, we've been up the Eiger" was one comment - seemed that the 60 mile route was just as hilly as the 40 mile one. Glyn had had a few problems with his Bown engine nipping up a couple of times, no doubt due to running in problems. Some photos from the lunch stop: -

The return for those on the 40 mile route was a mere 8 miles across Mark Moor and the levels to the finish at Edington. The rest of our section, not to be put off, took the longer route. The uphill run up into Edington would not have been a problem for the Triumph but for the 90 degree corners at the bottom which slowed us down too much and soon brought us to a complete stop. We got the Triumph going without Jean in the sidecar and Brian Pope kindly returned back down the hill to collect her. Back at the finish it was tea and cakes and wait for the others to arrive. They soon turned in with Ray's New Hudson sounding a bit 'throaty' due to the exhaust nut coming undone. Terry and the Beardmore brought up the rear.
After a photo call it was all into the village hall for the announcements  on the awards. Terry had two, Best Vintage and, gosh, I can't remember, was it the youngest rider - ho, ho? Our Triumph had Best Veteran and Most Meritorious whilst Glyn's Bown had the Post war trophy. All the awards are to be given out at the Somerset Section dinner during February 2012, so several of us now have a need to go.

Wasn't long before we were all loaded up and on our way home. Glorious weather, nice flat route (in parts) and good company - what could be better. And the front hub!! - perfect and ready for Holland and the Anglo-Dutch.