Mile munching Francis-Barnett

Dave Shaw and the surprisingly clean Francis-Barnett had just completed 270 gruelling miles in the Exeter Trial

Earlier in the weekend, Dave had completed the long-distance Exeter Trial, starting from Bridgwater, Somerset at midnight Friday and completing the 270-mile course in Cornwall, having endured unseasonably cold conditions…

Dave’s bike is proof that you don’t need a fortune to go classic motorcycling. The 1953 Falcon 58 was purchased five years ago from club stalwart Des Heckle for less than £1,000. Since then, Dave and the bike have taken part in other Motorcycling Club events such as the Land’s End and Edinburgh trials as well as the Arbuthnot.

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Preparation has been basic. The standard 8E clutch was uprated with the assembly from a 9E, the gearbox was modified by adopting a ‘three-speed and reverse’ micro-car unit to give four usefully spaced forward ratios. Feeding thick-wall rubber tube through the middle of the front fork springs provided a measure of damping. 

Dave was out of luck on the Exeter, when shedding a chain on section 10 saw his chances of a bronze award evaporate. Nevertheless, he remains delighted with his purchase.

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