Commandos in the spotlight


ELK Promotions ended last year’s season with a celebration of 100 years of Norton. The same marque heralded the new season, at Ardingly on March 25, but this time the spotlight was reserved for the Commando, half a century after its introduction. A colourful line-up of various examples turned back the years.

Amongst show regulars and the occasional entries there are always some new restorations, or some that have not been exhibited at Ardingly before. One of these was Richard Barrington’s Kerry Capitano Gran Prix Sports moped. With rebadged Minarelli engines and the usual Italian flair in styling, the Capitano should have been the Ferrari of mopeds. Regrettably, it was let down by poor build quality.

Richard said his example appears to be one of just four known survivors in this country.

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Another unusual two-stroke was Terry Buckingham’s Scott Swift Special. An eye-catching, cleverly-engineered combination of old and new. The cycle parts were from an RGV250 Suzuki, but power came courtesy of a 500cc Scott Swift water-cooled twin.

Frank Kay, with wife Joan, had ridden in on Frank’s latest project, a Velocette Viper. Nearby, a white-overalled team from Brooklands had brought a selection of bikes from the museum.

Ardingly regular Michael Touhey’s latest effort was a very rare Harding Tricycle, powered by a 32cc Cyclemaster engine. According to Michael, the ungainly looks actually belie its road manners.

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Ron Wanmer’s 1947 AA patrol sidecar outfit was assembled following a country-wide search for the correct parts, among them the BSA M20 500cc bike. The AA eventually specified the 600cc M21.

Alan Turner

This 1914 Rover 3½hp was rescued from a garage where it had been stored, according to the last tax disc, since 1972.
Richard Barrington and his Kerry Capitano Gran Prix Sports moped.

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