Overseas success


This pair of sporty New Imperials enjoyed a good day at a Japanese speed event.

Photograph: MORTONS ARCHIVE

This fascinating, fabulous picture is dated ‘June 24, 1926’ on its reverse. It was published in The Motor Cycle of that date, though further information remains scant. All it effectively says in the issue is: ‘G Maruyama, winner 250cc 20 mile race, and U Kawabata, second 350cc 50 mile race at the Shizuoka Championships held in Kagamigahara.’

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It also notes the pair – Maruyama on the left, looking a lot happier with his efforts than Kawabata! – were on New Imperials.

One also assumes that where they are posed for the picture is the track where the racing has taken place, while the duo’s jumpers are emblazoned in English with the maker’s name and the riders’ identities too, also in English. The flags they are holding seem to have a mixture of languages on them.

In 1926, the New Imperial concern was on something of the crest of a wave when it came to sporting endeavours, down to the talents of the likes of Doug Prentice (winner of the 250cc TT in 1921), Bert Kershaw (successful in all manner of trials), Ken and Eddie Twemlow (the former winner of the 1923 350cc Amateur TT and 1924 350cc TT, the latter victor in the 1924 and 1925 250cc TTs) and renowned Brooklands expert, Bert Le Vack, who often used an overhead camshaft JAP engine in his New Imperial rolling chassis; he was second in the 1923 250cc TT on such a machine.

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Read more in the October 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

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