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Avon unearths film gems during 100th anniversary year

Published: 19 July 2011

Updated: 20 November 2014

Avon Tyres has discovered a collection of films that provide a unique insight into parts of the firm's 100 year history of motorcycle tyre manufacture.

Avon's Global Motorcycle Sales Manager Graham Matcham said, "We were literally looking around for old adverts, brochures, anything that could help us to celebrate this amazing milestone of our 100th year as a manufacturer of motorcycle tyres when we found a dusty old box full of film. Watching the films, we saw that it gives a unique window into our past. We soon had them converted into digital files so that we could show people how things were done way back when."

The films include a documentary on a land-speed record attempt from the 1950s, testing Geoff Duke's Manx Norton at Castle Combe, footage of the Spa Grand Prix and road testing Avon Tyres on a Vincent motorcycle.

"That is perhaps the most interesting film," says Matcham. "The test rider trundles out of the Avon gates – which are still there today – before really giving the Vincent, and the Avon tyres, a thorough work out on the road. And all with no helmet and while wearing a smart suit!"

2011 marks 100 years of Avon Tyres producing motorcycle tyres. The UK-based tyre company started out back in 1885 when a former cloth mill in Melksham, Wiltshire, was turned into a rubber goods factory. By the turn of the century the company was looking at diversifying into other rubber products and by 1911 Avon produced their first motorcycle tyre.

Today, Avon Tyres is the only UK-based manufacturer of road-going motorcycle tyres and famous names from Geoff Duke and Barry Sheene to Wayne Gardner have won races and championships on the tyres.

Avon's latest range of road tyres covers every style of motorcycles from adventure sport to power cruisers, sports-tourers to sports and track bikes.


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