Norton in Norwich 1977 to 1982

 

I spent the next 3 years working in Norwich, and considering what I would do next-the trip in Australia was good but what I would have liked to do was to return using a sponsored bike, perhaps on a specified route chosen by the sponsoring company.

 

The bike arrived in Norwich in 1977, and I began working on it, fitting new parts in order to get it looking better. It was then that I finally found why I had so many punctures… This was due to the inner wall of the front tyre being split but was hard to find as the canvas was still intact. Every time the front wheel hit a bump or pothole it pinched the tyre and damaged the inner-tube.

 

Also during this time I had to get an MoT (Ministry of Transport test) and as I was taking it to the dealers in 1978 I had the cylinder head gasket blow and it started to exhaust through the gasket the hot air blew near my leg and it made it hard to ride-it also made quite a noise.

 

The motorcycle dealer removed the cylinder head and barrel and once the cam followers were also removed the problem was easily seen. The left cam lobe had worn almost round not allowing the valve to lift open.

This meant a major engine rebuild by the motorcycle shop in Norwich. I used the Norton for some time after that but was not really happy with the work done.

 

In the meantime I gave the bike a total strip down and checked all parts and while I was doing this I found remains of locusts-I would have not believed they could have been there all this time and this souvenir of Australia got me going again-I really wanted to return for another trip.

 

Various stages of its first strip down.

 

However I still thought the way to go was to try to get Triumph or somebody to supply a bike.

At this time I spoke to Hesketh but although they were quite interested they really did not have the finance to support it. I also wrote to heron Suzuki, Rickman the frame makers and also Norton but they were no longer manufacturing motorcycles.

 

Next I wrote to the editor of the Daily Mirror Newspaper and they came up with the idea of using the Norton again and go for parts sponsorship. In the end that is what I did.

 

This time I knew what the bike needed to make it a better trip so I wrote letters to various people and some helped out. I sent loads of letters and many replies came back saying ‘sorry we can not help as our budget is at its limit’ but they wished me good luck.

 

These are the companies who helped me in the following way:-

 

I got my first offer in November 1980 from CIBIE who said they could supply better lighting for me and also air horns.

 

Next was Kangol who said they would supply me with a helmet. I gave my size and asked for a Mike Hailwood replica.

 

Then J.W.E. Banks supplied me with KONI shock absorbers.

 

AVON gave me discount on tyres.

 

AMAL said they would look at my carburettors and when they checked them out said the interior were worn too badly , so they replaced them free of charge and supplied me with spares to carry me through the next trip.

 

BOYER BRANDSDEN gave me discount on an electronic ignition which saved a lot of time setting up points and replacing them.

 

CRAVEN supplied me with a drum bag and throw-over panniers.

 

REGINA INTERNATIONAL supplied me with all the chain I required for the trip.

 

COMPETITION WHEELS gave me discount on Dymag racing wheels which they made especially for the Norton and the trip.

 

DUNLOP LIMITED made and supplied specially made sintered metal brake pads.

 

I got discount from MEAD SPEED an a fairing and also fitted a King and Queen seat which was far better than the original as I was expecting to do 300 to 400 miles trip a day and I needed to be comfortable.

 

Finally TRANS EXPORT FORWARDING shipped the bike out to Sydney free of charge.

 

I spent a lot of time on the bike getting it how I wanted it-in fact it was better with all the new parts than when it first came out of the factory.

 

The bike has now started to take its new form but the King and Queen Seat and the Dymag wheel had yet to be fitted

 

 

This was something I sent to Motorcycle Weekly and they printed it.

 

 

It is now December 1981 and old Norton is now ready for its trip it has the King and Queen seat and one racing wheel the rear one had to go back and have a modification done to it, I had to send it by air when it came back. It is now on the trailer to be taken to Attleborough Norfolk and shipped off to Sydney.

 

 

 

 

This photo and write-up is courtesy of Eastern Evening News Norwich

 

 

I had Christmas in the UK and flew to Sydney in early January