Top Gear at Excel

Top: The Sunbeam Model 2 of Top Gear’s Richard Hammond, apparently his first vintage bike, behind are his old and new Norton twins. Bottom: The Lynton, apparently a one-off, 500cc dohc twin created by Colin Lyster but abandoned before it was fully developed.

As well as an assortment of classics on show, Top Gear stalwarts James May and Richard Hammond had been persuaded to bring along the contents of their garages and an eclectic choice it turned out to be. While James May has a penchant for early Hondas, Richard Hammond turns out to be a real enthusiast for British machines with a Brough Superior SS80, a Vincent Comet, a 500 Norton twin and even a 1927 Sunbeam Model 2.

Elsewhere, there were several bikes of interest earmarked for forthcoming auctions. One was a ‘Lynton’, the work of Colin Lyster, who became an innovative development engineer after leaving his native Rhodesia to ride in the Continental Circus. The Lynton’s bottom half was based on half a Hillman Imp engine, with a home-made double overhead cam, four-valve top end. After a certain amount of development, the bike was supposed to have been raced by Gordon Keith, but it seems the project petered out, with cycle parts ‘borrowed’ in the intervening years there was much to find to complete the restoration.

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