Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Sidecar stories - Dennis and his Monza
"My then girlfriend and I had a disagreement and she went back home to Newcastle County Down. Eventually I found out where she had gone, then headed off in the combo to Liverpool to catch the Belfast ferry. Got there too late for the crane to lift the bike on, so I dis-assembled it drove the bike up the gang-plank and paid five shillings (a lot of money in 1964) to a 'wharfie' to help me carry the sidecar on board. Then I re-bolted it together and fastened it solidly to the deck. Went and got myself a drink and a roll, then climbed into the sidecar pulled a blanket over my head and slept the whole way. Then I and the other half went touring.
I think I was the first person to ever have a fairly fat tyre on the rear end of a road going combo. I had tuned the Shooting Star and fitted spitfire cams and I needed a wider tyre to do a bit of drifting around the country bends of Staffordshire. Later in London I was around a friend's place who had a scrap yard and I helped him dismantle an old Austin Ruby. Then I noticed that the wheels were the same size and that the 420 tire would fit the Beeza and it did. Made a distinct change from the 325 normally fitted. The girl loved the sidecar and was always leaning out of it when we went around left-handers. Magic.
88 mph flat out down the new M1. Not bad for a 500cc."