By Club Member Robert Freeman
This year, and with the weather looking OK I felt it time to take part in the Classic Vehicle Parade. Last year a minor medical procedure precluded anything such as lifting. Actually, just a pacemaker. This was to be the 1st public outing for my 1951 BMW R25 motorcycle, ‘The Little Horror’, named in 1966 by my mother, who exclaimed that upon seeing the then £10/0/0 delivered purchase.
A short ride, around the town, but not without incident. The motorcycles were all under 250 ccs a BSA Bantam, Francis Barnet twin 2 stoke and my single cylinder BMW. Where were the big British bikes? I think the trikes made enough noise for us all.
Assembled in the grounds of the late Patsy Brewin’s gardens were a goodly number of cars, a van, Jackie and Roger Newark’s Bakers deliver vehicle. There were said to be a 100 vehicles, 3 motorcycles, 2 scooters and 5 trikes. Ray Howse had organised this, driving his very nice red 2cv Citroen engine Lomax. Leading the parade was the Wisbech Fire Engine, ‘Vivien’.
Vivien the Fire engine at March Carnival 2016
The route was High St, Broad St. T.L. into Dartford Rd, T.R. into Darthill Rd. Right again into Norwood Avenue, then again Station Rd, follow around to the High St once more. Eventually, right into Borrowmore Rd. and again Gaul Rd leading to the park.
Never actually saw the Fire Engine as is was so far ahead of us ‘tail end Charlies’, Motorcycles and trikes. I have been told by Ray that the Vivien driver was told to go slow, ‘so people can see the vehicles’. The result of this can be guessed. I feel I could have pushed the BMW round the route faster that we actually proceeded. In fact I did, for about 5 yards, just outside Spec Savers on the return.
Due to the so slow pace, in and out of neutral, the clutch became quite hot, and by expanding, I was unable to disengage the gearbox as we stopped at Town Bridge. Only answer was to stall the engine on the brakes, and then bump start, with a push for a Steward. Cheers from the crowd and away.
I was a lucky one! In Norwood Ave, a line of oil in the road appeared, which continued into Gaul Rd. At every halt in progress, the line became pools. Someone in a 4 wheeled vehicle had lost a sump bolt by the look of it.
Eventually I got into the Park, staying until about 3 pm, when the clouds looked black. As the BMW had not yet been out in the rain, it has only done 90 miles so far, I headed home to Creek Rd, just as the spots became a down poor.
Investigation next day, I had not adjusted the clutch correctly. Do keep in mind the design is really 1935. When BMW restarted production of Motorcycles in 1949, they used per war castings and parts, just too actually get things started. By 1954 all had been redesigned. The handlebar controls, dip switch, horn , and throttle are items that appeared on bikes in the mid 1930’s. The gear box still has hand and foot change.
Investigation to the bad starting when hot is down to the coil. The resin inside had started to melt. This is a ‘design’ feature on BMW’s, but only manifests it’s self after about 60 year use. All being well, I look forward to joining the Road Run on 14th August.
Ray Howes, organiser of the March Carnival car parade, with his Lomax (and dubious headgear!)