Sunday, February 26, 2012


Nick Ashley's Cheney Triumph 500, a bespoke machine
The sun smiled on the gathered faithful at London's infamous Ace Café this Sunday, for their annual Flat Track day, with special guests from Sideburn magazine.  I had the good fortune to arrive on a '67 Triumph TR6, in company with two Moto Giro-veteran Ducatis.  While riding an hour through the streets of London to reach the old North Circular road might sound daunting, riding a motorcycle in February was reason enough to brave the blue sky and black cabs.
Crossing the Albert Bridge from Battersea to central London...
A few of the notorious Mean Fuckers M.C.
London traffic...
The Sideburn Royal Enfield tracker; sounded healthy
A bit more robust in the dirt style; a Triumph Trident
Triumphs everywhere, but only one TR250 - a much maligned bike, but I liked mine.
Inside the Ace Café; a shrine
A pair of '57 Ducatis; 125cc and 175cc - not standard, but lovely
Quite a few customs of all varieties
The real deal; an HD XR750 Miler; Harley should have made a road machine from these, they're fast, smooth, powerful, with excellent handling, and very light.  The power delivery is like a turbine, they simply keep spinning faster - completely unlike any other Harley I've ridden.
Old utility machines become the rarest of all - when was the last time you saw a BSA C10 250cc sidevalver?
This reliable little machine was the start of many a biking career in England...
The 'Ace Corner' meeting room/annex
The right stuff; Triumph T110 with all-iron engine, and BSA A10

Andrew Nahum, curator at London's Science Museum, is a keen vintagent...
Sideburn's Gary Inman, hawking magazines and...
...the 45rpm disc of music by The Stags, to accompany their 2011 foray into roller derby, 'Rollerburn'...
...and the album cover, with reference to the film 'Rollerball'
Funny, the cops use go-faster tape on their helmets too...

Prison stripes and freakazoid customs
Knobbies on the street; squirrely!
Fueling the machine...
...and the man, at the Ace Café
Lovely ca.'47 Indian bobber, the original flat-track stylee
The inimitable Chief engine and logo
Crez reflects

Mark Eley
The Ace's Mark Wilsmore, with journalist Sarah Bradley
Flat-track frame and bodywork kit for your Triumph...
A tracker'd Norton Commando

'Til death do us part'.  Indeed...

St.Nick bathes in the glory


Sideburn Magazine said...

A pleasure to meet you again. The Sideburn vinyl is by The Stags and is French yeh-yeh influenced Wigan-pop. The helmet on the cover is actually a Davida made especially for the event by the British company who make all their helmets in England). They now make replicas of the four main team featured in the cult film: Houston, Madrid, Tokyo and New York.
The lady wearing the helmet is The Stags lead singer.
Vinyl is available from
Thanks Gary

Janne said...

Really cool pictures. it looks like flat track is the new cool. We still have som snow here in sweden, so it will be one or two months to the first proper bike ride. Some friends have done som attempts to ride around the block like hux on this little bobbed triumph

The Vintagent said...

@Gary; I'd seen the gloved-ball trophy and similar helmet at Ruby...what's the deal?

Sideburn Magazine said...

Inspired by the Rollerball film. Sideburn did a feature on the movie (a great essay by the film director Alex Cox, by the way) and that led to our Rollerburn event. Davida kindly offered to supply painted helmets for the pre-advertising of our Rollerburn event and for the racers at last November's bash.
Coincidentally, Ruby made their own Rollerball inspired lid.
To find out what Rollerburn is, go here

Andrew Macpherson said...

What a great story and pix, you'll have to a book soon!

I'd quite forgotten there could be lovely days in London in Feb, but I still ain't going back! Forecast for Sunday' ride is 88º and sunny, more my kind of weather, but then that's why I moved to southern California.