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Avon discovers historic speed record film in centenary year

Published: 28 July 2011

Updated: 20 November 2014

Avon Tyres have unearthed a collection of films whilst searching for old promotional material to help celebrate the firm’s 100 year anniversary of motorcycle tyre manufacture.

Having discovered the films, Avon's Global Motorcycle Sales Manager Graham Matcham said "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."

This film shows land speed record holders Russell Wright and Bob Burns being interviewed by Vic Willoughby of The Motor Cycle in a film called 'The Wright Burns Records'. The great footage shows Wright hitting 187mph in July 1955 on a Vincent Black Lightning, with Burns subsequently attaching a third wheel to take the world sidecar record with a speed of 163mph, "in spite of a wet road surface".

Viewers are then taken to Pendine Sands, where further speed testing is being undertaken and we are told that "technically minded enthusiasts will be interested to hear that this machine, bought by Wright and equipped with its fish-like shell by Burns, incorporates such modifications as big port cylinder heads and large bore carburettors."

We then see Bob Burns facing "near disaster" when, at 125mph in second gear, "the clutch lining comes adrift and flying sands jams the throttle wide open", whilst heading towards the "unfriendly looking cliffs".

Fortunately Burns averts disaster and we are left with the parting message that "yet again, Avon tyres have proved their practical reliability under conditions of use far from norm and the tyres that you ride on are manufactured from the same materials, by the same methods, and with the same meticulous care and skill".

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