Banbury 2008


My First Banbury Run



The Banbury Run has been in existence for 59 years and is run by the Vintage Motorcycle Club.  This event is open to motorcycles manufactured prior to 1931.   The run is split into three groups. Group A, Veteran, that is motorcycles manufactured prior to 1915. Group B Early Vintage between 1916 and 1924, this is the group I entered and finally Group C 1925 to 1930. There are 3 road courses ranging in length and difficulty with classes B and C taking in the infamous Sunrising Hill. Group B and C were 50 and 60 mile courses.

Monica ready to go 7.00am

 Pretty as a picture

An early start at Drayton School to get booked in.  I arrived at 07:30.  Over 500 bikes this year the oldest was 1897! A full English breakfast and a chat with some of the regular riders to get some tips. The first riders left at 9:00 I started and 10:55.  





As this was my first Banbury run I was keen to ignore all the hype about how many bikes make the hill climb and how many fail.  I was riding my 1924 Monet and Goyon. She is mechanically sound and I had no real concerns about finishing the run.  The only minor worry was the tendency for the gearbox to lubricate the drive belt after a long run.  The plan was to clean the belt thoroughly prior to the hill climb.  I had met a couple of riders that I vaguely knew and had asked about the best way to handle the hill climb. You can see it coming for miles I was informed. The first incline is the smallest and you get a chance to charge for it, the second part is much steeper and has a couple of difficult turns half way up so a down change to a lower gear is required after the first hill. As long as your belt can hold you should be ok.  

Everyone booked in

Last chance for final adjustments


The ride was very well organised with clear instructions that were reasonably easy to follow, well as easy as it can be to read written instructions on a hand change motorcycle with air and fuel levers as well as advance and retard. Only one or two minor errors. I was looking forward to a break halfway to get some good photographs and a top up with petrol.  Before I knew it we were over 40 miles into the run. ‘Next turn left after passing through the Village of Whatcote’. The T junction was directly opposite the Royal Oak, that was it, a couple of pints to wash away the dirt and pollen a BBQ burger lunch.  Most of the photographs were taken here.  The infamous Sunrising Hill was only about 8 miles away. Off we set.  The hill was long time coming but I could see the ridge looming in the distance. I kept the revs up, saw the first hill in the distance. I wound up the revs and was now moving at an incredible 35-37mph at the bottom of the hill.  The climb was about half a mile but in that distance it had scrubbed about 15mph off of my speed. It levelled out and I was able to regain some speed before changing down for the next climb.  It was going really well, she was holding her own and the crowds were cheering us on. Round the tight right and things started to slow, engine revs came up road speed went down, the smell of a slipping belt (remember, the one I was going to clean before the hill) Oh well, she ground to a halt, I jumped off and pushed but it was no good. Next minute  a large gentleman ran across the road to me shouting get on he grabbed the back of the bike and pushed I selected first and pushed as well. One big wobble as I jumped back on board, belt still slipping, the large gentleman was still pushing, the belt regained some grip and we finished the hill in first.  Once clear of the hill we were back up to full cruising speed of 30mph. Sweeping around the next bend like Barry Sheane we passed a pub heaving with spectators waving and shouting encouragement.  A few miles to the finish and it was all over, what a shame, all to quick, I want to do it again. 2008 here I come…….Steve

A fantastice selection of machines


I have never seen a Henderson before, what a beauty 

above and right:- 1915 Henderson E Four Cylinder 1065cc  

Line after line of stunning machines


A Douglas, I would like to add this to my collection

above:-1927 BMW R47 500cc   above:- 1904 REX 3hp

Under Starters Orders


above:- Dead engines prior to this point, a few worried riders!


1925 Indian Scout 600cc


The Royal Oak Whatcote


above:-1927 BSA G27 Delux 988cc


above:- 1923 Triumph Ricardo & Gloria Sidecar 499cc


above:- 1911 Rudge Single Speed 499cc


above:- 1914 Triumph Model C 4HP


above:-1921 NUT Model P 3.5HP


above:- 1919 Rudge Multi 500cc


above centre:-1922 Matchless Model H/2996cc

above foreground:- 1926 Ariel 497cc


above right-1922 Matchless Model H/2996cc

above left:- 1922 Raleigh Model 6 2.75HP


above:- 1929 Indian 101 Scout 750cc


above:-1923 Douglas TS 350cc

above:- my Monet and Goyon and an Indian   above:-1920 Coulson Model B 550cc

above:-1922 Triumph Model H 550cc 


above:- 1927 Douglas EW 350cc

above:- 1923 Velocette G3 250cc    

One of the many Nera Cars Circa 1924


above:- 1929 Indian 101 Scout 750cc


above:- 196 Triumph Model Q 4.9 hp


above:- 1926 Triumph Model Q 4.9hp


above:- my 1924 Monet and Goyon


above:-BSA Model E 770cc


above:- 1915 Henderson E Four Cylinder 1065cc


above:-Henderson followed by 1926 Rudge Special 500cc


above:- 1930 AJS R6 350cc

It was all over, what a shame, all to quick, I want to do it again. 2008 here I come…….Steve