Classics at the BMCRC Centenary Meeting

Published: 24 April 2009

“IT’S VERY RARE, IT’S VERY VALUABLE, IT’S VERY FAST, HAS A TURNING CIRCLE OF A SUPER TANKER ……….. ……….AND IT’S GOT NO BRAKES!!!!! …………..Well, it has a back brake but that’s almost useless!” Those were the thoughts running through John Bottomley’s mind as he took to the Brands Hatch track on the 100+mph, 1928 Grindlay-Peerless JAP from Brooklands Museum at the BMCRC Centenary Meeting on 18th and 19th April.

The bike ran faultlessly and showed a good turn of speed, although carefully reduced to a slower pace than its best Brooklands lap of 107mph. John said, “I estimate it was doing over 70 on the Finishing Straight but with no instruments, I couldn’t be sure.

"When I got to the Druids Hairpin, there was plenty of engine braking, but I had to scrub off speed very early because the brake is so feeble and that allowed other riders to overtake me. I didn’t like that! The skinny tyres didn’t help either.”

In spite of that, the 81 year-old bike gave a good account of itself and even if it was not the fastest machine on the track, it certainly had the best exhaust note. “How did that exhaust get past the Scrutineers?”, asked one spectator “Because it was made before Scrutineers were invented”, was the answer.

John and the Grindlay-Peerless led a team of seven racing machines from the Brooklands Museum collection, all proving the good sense of the Museum philosophy that racing motorcycles were made to be ridden and still should be. Michael Sands PR Brooklands M/C Team