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First love never dies

Published: 22 April 2002

Updated: 19 November 2014

Paul Long watched anxiously as the clock ticked around to midnight. He was ready. Helmet buckled, leather jacket zipped up, white socks rolled over the top of his boots.

Finally, the clock began to chime and the moment had arrived. It was September 8, 1980 – Paul’s 16th birthday and the day he would finally get to ride the Yamaha FS-1E moped he’d bought off his brother Steve a few weeks earlier.

He fired up the 50cc two-stroke " Fizzy " and headed off into the night. Unfortunately, that first ride wasn’t memorable for the right reasons – after just a few miles Paul had to head for home in St Albans, Herts, limping at 14mph because the exhaust baffles had become blocked – but despite the disappointment, that night was the start of a love affair with bikes which would last more than 20 years.

Paul parted company with his Fizzy, registration UNK 427R, in 1981. Today he rides a Yamaha R1, but more than anything else he would like to be reunited with his first bike.

He says: " I have so many fond memories of the bike. I remember in particular fitting a 60cc big-bore kit. I saw 63mph on the speedo. It felt amazing.

" I sold the FS-1E to buy a Honda Superdream 250. I would love to track the old girl down again, though. And if it was for sale I’d like to buy her back and restore her to mint condition. "

Paul is just one of dozens of MCN readers who have asked to be reunited with bikes that they loved.

Another is Maurice Hardman, a 51-year-old project manager from Surrey, who is desperate to track down his 1968 Triumph Bonneville, UWT 15F.

He says: " I rebuilt the engine to Thruxton Bonnie spec with high-lift cams, polished ports and high compression pistons and took it to 125mph two-up coming back from the Lake District in 1970. Not clever, but… "

Maurice eventually sold the bike through dealer Ryders of Widnes. And hasn’t seen it since. " All I have now is a framed photo which is suffering badly from age. I’d love to see my Bonnie again. "

Denis Cathcart, aged 44, who used to live in Northern Ireland but has since moved to Canada, would like to track down his 1979 Honda CBX1000, registration CJI 474 – a bike that was once ridden by TT legend Mike Hailwood.

Denis says: " It had previously been owned by an Irish country and western singer and bike nut called Brian Coll who sponsored Mike the Bike to make a guest appearance at the Northwest 200 – and he made his parade lap on Brian’s CBX. I’m not sure of the year, but it was after Mike made his TT comeback in 1978. I was spectating and years later owned the bike. I had to sell it later to buy a house. "

Lorry driver Trevor Neal, from Crawley, West Sussex, wants to find his old air-cooled Yamaha RD350, reg VGP 21M. It was the first bike he bought and the first bike he, er, had sex on.

" It’s OK, " said Trevor, " I later married the girl. Her name’s Gillian and we have just celebrated 22 years together.

" I swopped the bike for an RD400, which I raced. But if my RD350 is still about I’d love to buy it back. "

Heidi Jeavons, a 26-year-old lab tester from Walsall, West Midlands, wants to track down a Norton Jubilee owned by her father and MCN reader Dave, a retired electrician. The reg is 935 AUY.

" I want to find it as a surprise for him, " said Heidi. She’d better keep this copy of MCN away from him, then!

Andy James had fond memories of his… Honda C90. No, seriously. He wants to track down the bike, registration UDM 613V, which his father handed down to him.

Andy, 36, from Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, in North Wales, says: " Assuming that it hasn’t been scrapped long ago, I would really like to get hold of it again.

" It was my trusty steed and I rode it with my older friends who were on their CB900s, RD350LCs and GS550s.

" Believe it or not, I still have pictures of myself doing stand-up wheelies on it. So many years and so much fun

" I still ride and made a slight progression from the trusty C90, through a Honda MBX125, Yamaha RD250LC, Yamaha XJ550, Honda CBX1000, Kawasaki GPZ900R, Kawasaki ZXR750, Kawasaki KX250 and a Yamaha RD350LC.

" For the past four years I have ridden a superb example of a Suzuki GSX-R1100K. But I’d still like to find my C90 again. "

If you know where Andy’s C90 is, get in touch with us (see below).

Do You Know Where These bikes Are?


BSA C15 392 SWC

BSA B31 77 CKT

BSA B31 UOH 328

Ducati 500SL Pantah A815 CPJ

Ducati 851 G269 FYU

Enfield 500 Bullet H509 VRR

Garelli Record SCL 97M

Honda VFR400 NC30 F649 JYA

Honda VF400F A717 JLW or LJW

Honda CB500 Four MJP605K

Honda CBR600 H964 MBL

Honda CB750K7 KDM 635T

Honda CB750F2 XRX 46T

Honda CB900FA LMH 929W

Honda VF1000F C184 YSL

Honda CBX1000Z YGK 667W

Kawasaki ZXR400 H463 YVO

Lambretta LI 150 FUP 86C

Lambretta GP150 TMW 73J

Laverda Jota XUW 924T

Matchless 350 G3LS 172 U (correct)

Suzuki GSX-R750K F178 PLA

Suzuki GSX-R1100 H471 AKH

Triumph Bonneville 255 AWR

Triumph Bonneville T120R HJJ 369K

Triumph Daytona RDO 71J or 17J

Yamaha YDS3 LJH 197C

Yamaha RD250LC MMO 201X

Yamaha RD350 XFY 47W

Yamaha RD350YPVS G350 KDT

Yamaha RD350LC A444 OHK

Yamaha RD350LC XOD 395X

Yamaha RD400 SMW 698S

Yamaha RD500LC B411 RLJ

Yamaha XJ750 AAU 237Y

Yamaha FJ1200 J750 MJA

IF you know the whereabouts of any of these bikes, get in touch with us and we’ll pass on the details. The contact details are below.

Or if you have a bike that you would like us to help you track down, send the details to the same address. Make sure you include the make and model of the bike and, most importantly of all, the registration number. Also let us have numbers where you can be contacted during the day and in the evening.

You can write to us at: MCN, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough Business Park, PE2 6EA, e-mail us at:, or fax: 01733-468028. Please clearly mark all your correspondence " REUNITED " – it will help us deal with your replies and enquiries more quickly.

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