6 December 2013
The Bob Collier machine in the November 2013 issue stirred some memories, in particular the statement: “It’s not known how long its creator used the special.”

My best friend Graham Oughton, who sadly did not survive his teens, worked for a month or so at the well-known Waters ‘all brands’ (of fuel) service station on the old A1 at Hatfield. This must have been late in 1960. I very clearly recall him telling me about an extraordinary machine which pulled in for fuel one evening. It featured two Norton single-cylinder engines, side by side. The rider told Graham, in response to his animated questioning, that the performance was not much more than might be expected from a standard single, but this resonates with your article in respect of the builder’s possible reluctance to “let it rip”. I had thought that Graham told me the engines were Norton International items but after half a century, it is probably my recollection at fault. A pair of cammy motors might well have been a step too far for an engineer even of Bob’s calibre.

It is perhaps possible that Graham’s encounter was with a different machine but surely there can’t be two out there?

In his brief riding career, Graham had a 500cc Rudge Special, a Scott 600cc Clubman’s Special and a Brough Superior all-aluminium side valve, which came from Markhouse Motorcycles (East London?) for £45. While out on the Scott one evening, Graham stopped for some adjustments and a passing rider, Norton-mounted, stopped to ask if he needed assistance. They conversed for some minutes and the rider introduced himself as John White, saying: “I used to race.” This, of course, was the redoubtable ‘Crasher’ White and the meeting place was indeed Radlett, Herts, where Crasher lived.

Great memories, again evoked by the unfailing breadth of subject in your fine journal.

Charles Cleghorn, via email

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The Classic MotorCycle Issue 41-11 - Nov 2014

Where legends come to life

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