From the panther’s lair

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A monthly publication of The Vintage Motorcycle Club

Johannesburg, South Africa.

Volume 25. No 8 August, 2012.

Well, I am back in the saddle again and convalescing after some abdominal surgery. I am so grateful for the great number of friends who have been supporting me with warm wishes, hospital visits and so much assistance and encouragement. I have been really touched by the kind concern shown by so many friends and colleagues.
We must congratulate Pierre Cronje and his CMC team on a great 1000

Bike Show. This was clearly a top-class feat of organisation and event

management that achieved another very successful show. We must

especially thank Kevin and Gavin Walton for again staging our DJ Stand.

It was a particularly good display and they were justly awarded the Trophy

for the Best Stand.

I wish to make a special appeal to you for help in finding advertisers to sponsor the remaining four months of the Club’s 2013 pictorial calendar. If we are unsuccessful in this, we will not be able to print and distribute the free calendars for next year. Please call Les Sim (082 552 4072) if you are able to help in any way.
Yours in good riding,


Things coming up
August 16th-18th Magnum/SAVVA National POMC

August 27th VMC Annual General Meeting Morningside

September 15th SAVVA Annual General Meeting VVC

September 16th National Swop Meet Piston Ring

September 24th National “Drive it” Day

September 24th VMC Club Night Morningside

October 5th-7th Velocette Reunion Fouriesburg VOC

November 9th-10th Fairest Cape Tour CVMC

We were delighted to see Mike Milner-Smyth back with us at the Club Night and everyone wished him strength and a speedy recovery. Apologies were noted from John Fletterman, Peter Posniak and Kevin Robertson whom we were advised had had a nasty altercation with a tree in his garden. Stick to motorcycles Kevin, they are safer!!
A welcome guest was well known motorcyclist, Les van Breda, and just how welcome became evident later!
The undersigned stood in for the Chairman and reminded the meeting of the upcoming AGM as well as the Thousand Bike Show which is on as I write this.
Theo Stander then provided the meeting with details of the Magnum which this year is also the SAVVA Rally. As previously mentioned in the magazine this takes place from 16 to 18 August and looks like being a great event.
A little challenge then presented itself with the non-arrival of the guest speaker but perhaps this was a blessing in disguise as Les van Breda stepped into the breach and gave a most interesting and entertaining account of his career racing motorcycles. He started on 50cc machines and provided insights into the development of these fine engines which at one stage even had three cylinders.
Les progressed through these and went on to bigger and better things and all in all had a most successful career racing the machines we love. He told us about a very rare machine he still has and what a handful it is to ride that one at speed.
The raffle followed and once again members were able to catch up with each other’s past month and plan things going forward.
The headcount was 55.
Our Club Night guest, Les Van Breda, finally hung up his racing boots at the beginning of 1979. This is what S A Motorcycle News wrote at the time:
Following a career stretching over twenty years, which had been crowned with success both here and in Europe, Les has now retired from racing. He won a record four South African championships in the biggest class to add to three national micro midget titles and also earned his Springbok colours.

Les also enjoyed considerable success in international racing and finished as a top privateer in a round of highly competitive World 500cc Championship.
Yet surprisingly, in view of his predilection with the bigger classes, it was on a 350cc machine that he put up what he considers to be the finest performance of his career. Riding a standard Yamaha in Raalte in Holland last year, he was third in this class behind Jon Ekerold, almost dead-heating with Patrick Fernandes for second place and leading the then World Champion, Takazumi Katayama, by four seconds throughout the race. It showed that Les had the ability to mix it with the best in his day.

Subscriptions for the new club year
Subscriptions for the 2012/2013 Club year were due from 1st July, 2012, and have been fixed as follows:
The 1000 Bike Show turned out to be a fantastic show with a good turn out from the VMC members. We had twenty six motorcycles on our DJ Stand in an area that offered more space than last year. This enabled people to have a closer look at the bikes on display and stand back and view numerous DVD’s of the DJ rally and original race on the television monitor that was loaned to us.
A very special thank you to all the members who put their bikes on display for the weekend and collected them on Sunday in a very dusty state!
Without the help of the following people the stand would not have been a success. Ric Lewis for bringing along his bike stands, Brian Johnson for setting up the DVD and monitor, Peter hall for supplying the large DJ posters from the museum and Gerhard Roelofs, Ric Lewis and Steve Helm for managing the stand.
A big thank you to everyone who assisted in setting up the stand and taking it down!
Attached is a list of the bikes that were displayed and the awards presented.
1903 Buchet 500cc Peter Hall

1911 Precision 600cc VMC/B Madgwick

1914 Humber 6 ½ HP Henry Watermeyer

1923 Triumph Ricardo 500cc Les Sim

1925 Triumph Model P 500cc Gerhard Roelofs

1926 Sunbeam Model 6 492cc Henry Watermeyer

1926 OK Supreme 300cc Trevor Jones

1928 Sunbeam Model 8 350cc Steve Helm

1929 Scott Flying Squirrel 500cc Steve Helm

1929 Panther 500cc Brian Johnson

1929 Sunbeam Model 5 500cc Ric Lewis

1930 Norton 500cc Stewart Cuninghame

1930 James – Vee Twin 500cc Hennie van Zyl

1930 Sunbeam Model 9 - Combo 500cc Martin Davis

1931 BSA Sloper SV 500cc Kevin Walton

1931 Rudge Phoenix 500cc John Allison

1932 Ariel Square 4 600cc Ric Lewis

(Best DJ Motorcycle on Show)

1933 AJS Model 9 500cc Trevor Jones

1933 BSA Bluestar 500cc Gavin Walton
1935 Excelsior Manxman 250cc Kevin Robertson

(Best Motorcycle on Show, Best Past Winner, Second Most Authentic Classic on Show)

1935 Motosacoche 500cc Peter Hall

1936 AJS Model 9 500cc Gavin Walton

1936 Ariel Red Hunter 350cc Johnny van Rooyen

1936 Ariel Red Hunter 350cc Neville Smith

(Best Ariel on Show)

1936 Norton ES2 500cc Rusty Thorns

1936 Velocette MSS 500cc Kevin Robertson

Kevin Robertson and his 1935 250cc Excelsior Manxman with the “Best on Show” Trophy for 2012.
A great week in the UK

by Andrew Mather
In June I was required to spend the first and third weeks in Paris and Nantes, France, on business and was considering flying home between these two trips but decided to spend that week in the UK. Here is my diary of a greatly enjoyable week.
Monday 11th June.

I left London and motored down to Sammy Miller’s Museum. I wanted to have a good look at several bikes particularly a 1913 Zenith Gradua, which I wanted to measure up the Gradua gear set-up. Also the exhaust system of his 1948 GP Triumph as well as take some detailed photographs of several other bikes including his recently restored AJS 4-cylinder and his Bradshaw “oil” engine bikes for my good friend Ken Sink.

Having spent two hours photographing and measuring the Zenith the caretaker fellow took it upon himself to call Sammy Miller out of his workshop to chat to me. What struck me first was what a gentleman Sammy is. We chatted about the vintage bike scene in SA and then he asked me if I’d like to go into his workshop and see the latest restoration. He introduced me to Bob, his Chief restorer - actually the only restorer apart from Sammy. On the bench he had a Gilera and the most scruffy, corroded Beardmore Precision. I asked him if he was going to replace the pitted tubes as they were so badly pitted. He replied “No, you should see the spare bike that came with it”. He showed me the remains of the other bike and I can only say Sammy and his team can really bring a bike back from its deathbed!
Tuesday/Wednesday 13/14th June

Did the family bit and visited my Aunt.

Thursday 15th June

Had an appointment to collect my 1899 De Dion tricycle frame from Mick Penney. I got to the workshop to find two other De Dion tricycles in the shop and so got to take a whole lot of reference pictures too.

It is interesting to note that with modern technology it’s possible to make a single one-off, which used to be possible only on a production line. Take the example of the frame. The old approach of casting can now be replicated using a five-axis laser to cut the individual sub-components and then TIG weld these together to form the new “casting”.
His workshop will be producing 10 frames as well as reproduction forks, hubs, axles, handlebars, surface carburetters and even the optional Bozier 2 speed gearbox! Motor parts are already being made by at least two other people in the UK and Holland.

Replica De Dion Trike in the making. Andrew has now assembled the frame at his Durban North home.
Friday 16th June

Today it’s the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. I get there before opening time and eventually get kicked out at closing time!

I had previously visited before the fire and what a job they have done in getting things back to “normal”. I was told that there are still many bikes that are burnt and un-restored in a storage facility. Let’s hope they get to see the light of day again. Space there is now at a premium and the Museum has plans to expand. However, despite purchasing an adjoining site, the council will not permit any building as it is a “green lane”.
Well, on to the bikes…what can I say - you can only really appreciate it when you’re there. My first task was to measure up another Zenith Gradua, this time a 1912 single. I had arranged to access to it before my arrival and found it set up in an open area for me to climb over, measure and photograph. I even tried it out for size!
While I was measuring the Zenith a white haired chap came into the hall I was in pushing a racing Velocette. The bike looked magnificent but I was too involved in the task at hand and only when I took a break did I get the full story from the caretaker. This was the last of the nine Velocettes taken to be restored after the fire. The white haired chap had single handedly restored each one and apparently his parting shot to the caretaker is that he’s “not doing any more as he has his own bikes to complete”. Now you Velocette lovers out there will berate me as the white haired chap was none other than Ivan Rhodes and I’m sure there many a member whom would have loved to meet him in person!
Saturday 17th June

Today its auction time so off to Oxford. Bonhams hold several vintage and veteran auctions most often in conjunction with motoring events. This one was associated with the Banbury Run (more on this later). I’ve attended several auctions, but nothing at the scale of this. Essentially there were three types of lots, motorcycle parts and projects, complete and running machines and cars. I concentrated on the bikes and in the parts section one could bid for anything from frames/tanks/rev counters to wheels. A nice restored racing 1927 Triumph TT motor went for £750 while a running 1000cc JAP motor went for £1400. Some bidder went off with a set of Honda VFR400cc forks as he offered a cheeky bid of £5 went the auctioneer want an opening bid of £20! (Estimate £80-£120).

A 1915 BSA 4 ½ hp project (Estimate £400- £600) went all the way to £2400 and a 1915 Indian “Little Twin” went for £11 000!.
On to the complete machines. An immaculate Sammy Miller restoration of a 1904 Humber sold for £15 000, the ex-Murray Museum 1902 Kerry for £14 000, a 1925 New Imperial 250 cc Sport for £5800 and BSA Bantam’s at £400-500. A nice 1934 Velocette KSS “Mk 1” went for £10 000, a 1949 Norton International for £11 500, the ex-Rudolf Runtsch Manx Norton for £25 000, a Vincent Grey Flash replica for £11 800 and a 1951 Vincent Rapide for £27 000 (the highest bike price at the auction). All in all a very interesting day. The take-home message was that your box/partly restored bike is not worth much but if it’s all together then it’s worth considerably more. Time to convert all those projects to runners!
Sunday 18th June

Father’s Day… what better way to spend it then at the 64th Banbury Run! Got to Gaydon early so I could spend as much time at the event. I had prearranged to meet a few people amongst them Bill Phelps (previous president of the VMC UK) who was riding a 1908 Triumph like mine with a sidecar. The weather had been rainy over the last three weeks and the organisers had to curtail the autojumble. A pity as I was hoping to scour the fields for bits. Anyway before the start at 10:00 (a very civilised time to start) I walk around the autojumble. “Vin and Vet” had a stand of bikes for sale, A brace of FN’s, a little single as well as a beautiful 1920 4 cylinder 750 cc for £33 000. Both the bikes are very similar to the two Brian Wallace has. There were all the usual rubber products, a stand specialising in girder forks as well as the general stalls. When one sees these services, one realises how deprived we are here in SA.

Well, the field had filled up by the time I’d finished looking at the autojumble. Six-hundred (yes 600) bikes all built before 1931 were participating. The earliest was a 1896 Leon Bollee carrying the number 1 plate followed by a 1898 De Dion Tricycle. Bike makes varied from Calcott, Campion, Lincoln Elk, Kynoch, Ixion, Premier, Cedos, Wolf, Mongomery, Connaught, Henley, NUT, McEvoy, Radco-Ace, Frera, DOT, Clyno, Wilkinson, Victoria, Chater Lea, Omega, Terrot, Monet & Goyon and Edmund to pick out a few amongst the run of the mill bikes.
Bikes set off in batches of five at one minute intervals - what a sight. There are three routes, one of about 30 miles, and two of over 50 and 60 miles including the infamous Sunrising Hill. Fellow De Dion club member Nick Canfor finished on his De Dion Trike while Bill Phelp on the 1908 Triumph retired as the decompressor cable broke after 15 mins and, without a decompressor, you cannot ride these single speeders. After a day of looking at the bikes, chatting to riders I return to London thus ending a really special week. When I spoke to my wife that night I told her it could only get one better if I could ride in the 2013 Banbury Run! Who knows - but it’s a dream worth pursuing!.
Get out your bikes, ride and enjoy them. The old bike fellowship is great.
Safe riding!


Restoration Notes
Tony Dodsworth writes:
Someone out there recently bought a 1929 AJS M9 frame from Colin Anderton. If you have this frame or know someone who does, please contact me, even if it is not for sale. My number is 082 742 1742.
Henry Watermeyer writes:
One of the great features of very old machines is their cork lined clutches. In the case of my Sunbeam the clutch is absolutely sweet and silky. The only problems are if the plates dry out, not enough oil in the primary drive case, or you have cut the corks too short, then it starts to cause concern. This happened to me after the DJ. The clutch still worked but didn't feel right so - time to replace the corks.
Not as easy as you think because corks are not as widely distributed as they used to be. Plastic wine closures have something to do with this. Anyway I have located a source of the right corks in Cape Town and will shortly receive a minimum order of 1,000. Since I actually don't need so many I will be happy to pass on some to others who like proper clutches, at cost, R0.35 each. Talk to me. My number is 084 800 8862.
Tony Lyons-Lewis writes:
Thanks very much for sending me the article about the overhead camshaft OK Supreme.

My OHC OK is still sitting in my garage, awaiting rebuilding time. My TC rebuild took 31/2 years, so bikes took a serious back seat!

I am currently beavering away at the 1930 twin-port Norton I obtained, in boxes in about 1980, from Stuart Halsall, largely incomplete! Latest discovery was that the assembled engine has no piston fitted!

The search begins!

I have just spent some time looking at Websites and I must admit that the VMC is a really fine example – WELL DONE TO ALL CONCERNED.

Annual General Meeting
Notice is hereby given that the 2012 Annual General Meeting of the Vintage Motorcycle Club will be held at the Morningside Country Club on Monday, 27th August 2012, commencing at 8.00 pm.


To receive and consider the Annual Financial Statements and the Chairman’s Report.

To approve the Annual Subscriptions for the current year’s membership as follows:

Full Members R220 per annum

Country Members R160 per annum.

To elect Office Bearers and Committee Members for the year.

To discuss any other business deemed by the Chairman to be relevant.


Nomination for the posts of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer must be made in writing and must be signed by the persons so nominated. Such nomination papers shall be furnished to the Secretary prior to the commencement of the Meeting.

It is requested that nominations for the election of Committee Members be similarly made in writing.


SAVVA Banking Details

Please note that with the appointment of the new treasurer, JAMES SMITH, the SAVVA bank accounts have been moved to the Northcliff Branch of Standard Bank.

I confirm the SAVVA banking details as follows:

Bank: Standard Bank of SA

Branch Name: Northcliff Branch

Branch Code: 006305

Account Name: Southern African Veteran and Vintage Association (SAVVA)

Account Number: 674 060 822

Kind regards, Jean Gobey.

SAVVA Secretary.

Handy Websites

The Veteran, Vintage and Classic

Motorcycle Forum of South Africa

Think Bike

Commemorative DJ Run

Vintage Motorcycle Club

Classic Motorcycle Club

Classic Motorcycle Club of Natal za

Crankhandle Club

Pretoria Old Motor Club

Vintage & Veteran Club


The Piston Ring


WANTED: FOR 1929 AJS M8/M9. FRAME, FORKS, FRONT WHEEL, PETROL TANK, MUDGUARDS, CHAINGUARDS. I have 1930 type frame and other bits for exchange or to buy.

Please call TONY DODSWORTH on082 742 1742.


Please call HOWARD MARKS on 083 442 1934.


Please call SEAN on 083 470 3440.


Please call SEAN on 083 470 3440.

WANTED: For 1927 VELOCETTE Model “U” (Same as 250 GTP), PETROL TANK, GEARBOX and any other parts.

Please call EUGENE VAN DALEN on 082 681 0859 or

WANTED: A DJ Bike, 500cc or more. Need not be DJ-ready.

Please call GERHARD VERMAAK on 082 552 7602.

WANTED: INDIAN Powerplus spares. Please help!

STEVEN HELM on 082 427 6990.

WANTED: Timing cover for 1927 TRIUMPH Model H.

STEVEN HELM on 082 427 6990.

WANTED: Any bits for 1927 DOUGLAS EW model.

Please call ALLISTER POHL on 082 554 5219.

WANTED: Frame for TRIUMPH Model H and any other bits.

MITCH McALLISTER on 083 456 9119.

I have a 99% complete 1965 AJS Model 18 500cc Single that only needs to be assembled, engine has been gone through. I don’t have the time to put it back together, I got it this way. I want to trade for a 1965 to 1980 motorcycle in good running condition, German, English, Italian or Japanese 350 to 800cc all offers will be considered.


BMW: GASKETS. Ben Vandenberg can supply all gasket sets for BMW Twins and Singles from 1955 onwards. Prices are said to be reasonable and postage is included. For example the full range of some 30 gaskets for an R60 is about R350. Gaskets of all types can also be made to order.

Call BEN VANDENBERG on 021 712 2661.

BMW: BMW R50 ex Pretoria Police. Engine/frame numbers 635822. Engine last run 3 years back. Ideal restoration project. R 18 000 onco.

For more details, call EDDY DE RAS on 082 456 1003.

BMW: 1973 BMW 60/6. Licensed. Tidy but not concours. Ex Ginger Norquoy.

SAVVA dated. Ready to go. R15 000.

Contact TONY BESWICK on 083-271-4337 or
NORTON: DOMINATOR 99 (ex Kobus van der Merwe). Asking R 30 000.

Please contact STEFFAN STANDER on 012 734 1640.

PETROL TAPS Enots flat-slide type, made in brass to your order. In sizes 1/8”, ½” and 3/8” BSP. TREVOR FRASER on 013 656 3063 or 076 591 5560.

RALLYBOXES Made to your order with handlebar mounting brackets plus mountings for the rally plate and three watches.

TREVOR FRASER on 013 656 3063 or 076 591 5560.


Please call PIERRE on 072 513 9432.

TRIUMPH: 1979 BONNEVILLE 750. Low mileage, has been standing for over ten years in White River. Last licenced in East London ten years ago so will have to be reregistered. Has rust on headlight and a few other places. Engine runs well if you have the strength to kick start it. Ideal project for bored enthusiast. Looking for offers around R 17 500.

Please call ERIC on 083 700 0171 or 011 888 3790.

SIDECAR: Period sidecar for sale. Came off a 1923 Zenith. Good chassis and handmade wood/metal coachwork.

Make an offer to ANDY STEAD on 082 553 4492.


WANTED: A JAEGER REV COUNTER for a motorcycle.

Please call GARY BOOYENS on 011 896 3152.


Please call PIERRE CRONJE on 072 513 9432.

BMW: I’m looking for an older model R80GS. If you know of one please send details to JAY OWENS on 011 442 4589 or 082 558 6563.
BMW: I am in the market for a BMW (R69S or R60) with SIDECAR. If you have one or know of one, please call NORMAN on 044 698 1484 or 076 124 3380.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON Wanted: Any SPARES for Models J or JD and any SPARES for Models 5/7 and 10/12.

Please call TONY CORREIRA on 082 744 1171.


Please call RENNEY PLIT on 082 727 8587 or


Please call ADRIAN HOLLIS on 082 497 3420.

HARLEY-DAVIDSON Wanted: GEARBOX or gearbox parts for 1916-1920 Harley and

GEARBOX or gearbox parts for 1941-1942 5/7 Harley-Davidson.

Please contact EUGENE VAN DALEN on 082 681 0859.
HONDA: Wanted on behalf of a friend: CHAIN GUARD for a 1976 550K Honda to complete a very original bike.

Please contact DENIS PULLON on 082 805 6254.


Please call RIKKI MAIZEY on 082 653 9946.

TRIUMPH. Wanted for 1958Triumph T20 Cub, HEADLAMP, CENTRE STAND, AMAL CARB, FOOTRESTS and more. Anyone who can help please contact:

DERRICK LOTTERING on 073 538 9414.


P O Box 782835 SANDTON 2146 South Africa

Michael Milner-Smyth Chairman, SAVVA Delegate,

Magazine Editor. (H&B) 011 802 7452. .

Brandon Madgwick Vice Chairman H 011 793 5706 C 083 400 4955

Adrian Hollis Treasurer

B 011 258 5301 C 082 497 3420

Ian Holmes Committee Member

B 011 244 0351 H 011 793 7304 C 083 646 3089

Rob Pattison-Emms Committee Member avonrod@mweb/

B 011 460 1901 H 011 460 1901 C 082 891 8399

Les Sim Committee Member

B 011 827 8954 H 011 673 1865 C 082 552 4072

Roly Tilman Committee Member

Librarian H 011 803 1462 C 082 377 4303

Steve Trehair Committee Member

B 011 886 0494 H 011 469 5900 C 083 461 2751

Mike Lester Club Dating Officer H 011 453 4216
Ric Lewis Magazine Distribution C 082 746 2816 (Liz)

Club Bank Acc No. 1970259841 at Nedbank. Sandton Branch 197-005.
Club Meetings are held every fourth Monday of the month (except December) at Morningside Country Club, De La Rey Rd, Rivonia, at 20h00.
The opinions expressed in KICKSTART are not necessarily those of the

Committee or the Editor.

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