Inspired by the late Max King and held every two years in sunny Barnstaple, the ‘Down Memory Lane’ reunion celebrates the best traditions of the ‘Golden Era’ – the period between the end of the Second World War and 1970 when British bikes and riders achieved spectacular results, on and off-road, round the world.
The reunion started in 1996 so this year was version number 12, and the number attending holds up well, although there were one or two empty seats this year caused by the relentless march of anno Domini.
With Colin Dommett in charge of the proceedings, the theme for 2018 was the International Six Days Trial (ISDT). The dining room display was restricted to three bikes – all ISDT tried and tested models: a 1954 500cc Triumph Trophy, a replica of the works bikes in the 1954 ISDT, now fully restored from a ‘rusty wreck’ by Ally Clift; a Dave Curtis 500cc Matchless (Dave won gold medals in 1956 and 1958) and a 172cc Francis-Barnett, ridden by Ernie Smith, a member of the F-B works team, in the 1954 event.
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The Francis-Barnett brought back memories of an earlier reunion when John Harding (a member of the F-B Owners’ Club) rode his bike over the rockery at the rear of the hotel to record a clean – a feat not matched before or since. Happy days!