Norton 1983 to 1996

While I was in Australia, Nigel Brand from Regina Chains had a reporter from the motorcycle Magazine (Mechanics) by the name of Jim Lindsay and they talked about my trip in Australia and asked to see me when I returned to the UK.

When I returned I went to see Jim in Peterborough and we talked about what I did on my trip. I also took the bike there for him to see.

This was his story below.

 

 

 

Norton

 

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My father was always there to help and we both went to Barking Docks to pick up the Norton

 

 

I wanted the bike to go into a museum and contacted Stanford Hall in Leicestershire. I got a reply back from Titch Allen, the curator of the museum at the Hall and he said he would like to have it there. We ended up taking it on my birthday March 3rd 1984.

 

This was when the bike arrived at Stanford Hall, Titch and me are talking about the bike and its travels.

 

The Bike stood in old stables with other well known bikes.

 

Earlier in 1988 I sent a letter to Titch and said I would be coming over to see the bike and try to get it started again. He said he knew the editor from the motorcycle Magazine ‘Motorcycle Sport’ and maybe he could do an article and include Stanford Hall in it. It was organised for Cyril Ayton from the magazine and us all to meet on 13/04/1988.

 

Cyril Ayton after a test ride on the bike

 

Me and my Dad

All these photos were courtesy of Cyril Ayton who kindly sent them on to me a few months later

 

In the photo is my father, Titch Allen and myself-my father came with me to Stanford Hall on 13th April 1988 and we got the old Norton started again after standing for 5 years. These pictures are of great pleasure for me to have as this was the last day I had with my father, as he passed away 2 days later.

Front page of the Magazine

 

 

This was the article Cyril Ayton put in the Magazine April 1990, 2 years later. I am very grateful to Cyril as the last day with my father was very

exciting as we got the bike started but also he captured these photos that I would not have had if it was not for him.

 

I have now received information in May 2015 Cyril Ayton had passed away, I had only met him once but this press cutting was shown to me by and old mate of Cyril and mine Freddie George.

 

 

I decided to bring the bike back to Norwich as both my daughters were small it was about 125 miles away and they did not want to travel there.

The Norton was at Stanford Hall for exactly 6 and a quarter years. I went after it on 3rd June 1990-it was a hard pick up as I had just recovered from a broken left ankle and fibula which was still braced with 2 plates at the time.

Through the bike standing its brakes had seized or rusted and it was hard to push it onto the trailer-I had to be careful as one of the screws in my ankle was near the surface and if I knocked my ankle it was very painful.

This was not all that happened that day, as I was really lucky to get the bike back. I got to Norwich and I found the trailer was not right and crawled home with it. I got the bike off the trailer and put it away, and the next day I checked over the trailer and found the wheel bearing had collapsed and started to fall apart.

After I had the bike back home I had to do a bit of work on it to get it road worthy again, I then started using it to go to college as I had then started a retraining course in motor mechanics in 1991.

 

At the end of 1992 ‘Classic Bike Magazine’ were doing various bike on how to maintain them and I ended up contacting them to see if they wanted any of my experience. The Deputy Editor Mick Duckworth contacted me and organised a meeting at my house.

Himself and a colleague came Mick to ask questions and the other person to take various photos.

 

This is the Front page of the magazine and the other picture is with out my hat Section 42

                                                                                           

Second page showing contents with Commando Maintenance and me on page 42

 

 

Both these photos are courtesy of Classic Bike and are used in the main article

 

 

As time went on the Norton needed work and I ended up doing another engine overhaul a re-bore and the con-rods were made true as I was told they were slightly bent, I know when that happened-there was torrential rains in North Queensland and the cylinders got flooded and water does not compress-when I tried to kick it over I realised it was hard so I removed the sparkplugs and pumped the water out.

 

 

 

 

Various stages of the engine rebuild with Keith my next door neighbour there to give me a hand when I was then going to slot the engine into the frame.

 

After a while and I had been doing the course for some time the college were interested me and why I went into retraining and wanted to do a story in their magazine and this was it below.

 

Photo courtesy of the City College

 

 

After a while of riding the Norton in Norwich and using it daily for work and training I thought I would try to get it in another museum and found a very local one in North Walsham.

 

George Harmer and Stephen his son ran it and agreed to have it there in 1994.

 

 

Preparing to take the Norton to North Walsham to the museum.

 

 

Out side of the museum-it was part of North Walshams railway station.

These photos and write-up are courtesy of Eastern Daily Press Norwich

 

 

 

The Norton was at the museum for 2 years and I felt I did not have the need or the resources to keep the Norton very much longer, so I decided to sell it. I wanted to sell it to somebody that would keep it in its look as it was when it travelled through Australia. I had a piece put in the paper about the sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photos show 24-8-96 as that was the day Alan Edwards took over the Norton. We got it onto the trailer and I gave a few tips on how to tie it on, as I had done it quite a few times in the past. We kept in touch for a short time but people promise things and it never really happens.

The bike went up to Keighley in Yorkshire but I have never gone to see it. I enjoyed it for 21 years and now it is gone, but I have the story.

I did around 33,000 miles in Australia on it in the 2 trips when I was there. The clock was showing about 38,000 miles when I sold it but that was due to the speedo-drive falling to pieces. I put 5 or 6 of them on during the time I had it.

I worked out that the bike did just a bit over 50,000 miles while I had it-there were years where it did 2000 miles and a few that it did none when it was on show.

On reflection it was the ideal bike to do the Australia trip on as it was very crude and easy to fix on the side of the road. They are hard work to start- it made my foot hurt kicking it over-it was supposed to be an Electric Start but it was quite badly made and not very often worked.

Since then I have hired a few bikes-a couple of BMWs and quite a few Hondas and they are so easy. After riding them I would never have another bike like the Norton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was Alans children and wife on the first picture and his son in the photos above.

 

 

Alan got the bike back to his place and he sent these photos of it outside his house, on the road and at one of the shows.