When exotic fuels made horses


Santa Pod looked back once more with a truly impressive cavalcade of bikes for the annual Dragstalgia earlier this summer.

A decade before the Dragfests brought the sport to this country, George Brown had rescued a written off Vincent to build his ‘Nero’ special.

Successful in sprints and hill climbs, Chris Illman had the bike on loan from the National Motorcycle Museum for the occasion.

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Taking a lead from American racers, two engines are obviously better than one. John Hobbs had announced that so-equipped The Hobbit, a perennial crowd favourite, was to be retired after the meeting. Unfortunately, on the Saturday, the bike sustained cam follower damage to one of its Weslake engines.

Hobbs’ weekend drama was still not over.

Nero, George Brown’s 1953 creation. The fairing is starting to show its age, but the team thought it looked more interesting ‘naked’ anyway!

The following day Olympus, the recreation of his single-engined bike, deposited its jockey on the tarmac and almost collected Chris Illman on Nero in the other lane.

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With more gems from straight-line history on static display in a marquee, there was so much to savour.

It may be 44 years since The Hobbit first appeared, but that final run was still a magnificent 8.43 with a 161mph terminal speed!

Alan Turner.

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

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