A flat-tank Model 90 has, for many years, been near the top of my ‘wish list’ and when compiling this issue’s Straight from the plate feature (which truthfully involves opening up boxes of for-years unseen plates) I spotted a picture of a motorcycle which probably started that desire – Bob Rowe’s high-piped Model 90, featured in this magazine over 25 years ago and which I was intrigued by. I’ve long loved it – I remember seeing it for sale years ago (by Verralls, I seem to think) and thinking “…one day, one day…” I am sure it must still be in circulation.
Then, at Stafford, I was talking to the guys on the Marston Sunbeam Club and Register stand and was handed a booklet detailing the exploits of Les Newman in the 1934 Manx GP; a fascinating first-person account of a plucky privateer on a four-year-old Model 90 excelling in the Island, written in very much the same vein as Les Higgins’ brilliant book Private Owner – and coincidentally, Higgins has contributed a piece to the free 1952 copy of Motor Cycling you’ll have received with this issue.
And to top it all, I managed to ride our 1930 Model 9 in this year’s wet and windy Wolds Run, where it, as ever, proved what a good thing it is, more than able to comfortably hold its own among machines decades newer.
It’s been a busy old month – as well as Stafford, there’s been Prescott and the Burton parade (more of that next month), as well as CRMC racing action at Cadwell. Next weekend sees the British Historic racers up at Cadwell too, which affords the opportunity to see a round of Lansdowne action, then before we know it, Banbury, so the furious pace of 2012 shows little sign of abating...
With all that, it’s been rather hectic – but enjoy the issue and particularly the free reprint, which was chosen for a couple of reasons – one, in this jubilee year, it notes the passing of the king and so the accession to the throne of our current reigning monarch and two, it contains a fascinating ‘supplement’ detailing the first 50 years of Motor Cycling magazine.
Where legends come to life
James Robinson, Editor
James Robinson has been the editor of The Classic MotorCycle since 2002. Aged 34, he has possessed a motorcycle licence for 16 years and during that time has owned and ridden all manner of motorcycles, spanning over 100 years from oldest to newest.
Presently the custodian of a varied shed full of motorcycles, his overriding enthusiasm is for pre-World War Two sporting machines, with a couple of cammy Velos, a Rex-Acme and a Model 9 Sunbeam among those competing for attention.