INTERESTING VISITORS - 1954 FRANCIS BARNETT
ANOTHER GREAT BIKE ROLLED UP AT WEMOTO ON MONDAY
We had an interesting visitor blown in on St Jude's storm on Monday – undeterred by a bit of a breeze Mark rode the 50 miles down to Wemoto on his extremely cool off road Francis Barnett motorcycle – after all what scrambler would be put off by a spot of wind?
It's on the cards
He told us that when he bought the bike the only information he had to restore it was an ancient cigarette card with a picture of a Francis Barnett on – apart from that there was no information anywhere to be found – probably because the bike was made in 1954 – Haynes manuals didn't start publishing until 1960!
He managed to find an enthusiast who was now in his 80s who used to race Francis Barnett's in scrambles back in the day alongside his wife (who happened to be Arthur Scargill's sister and was also a mean racer!). This old fella told Mark (the current owner) details about the settings and electrics from memory which shows how much of an enthusiast he had been!
Armed with this info Mark has done a brilliant job on his bike and it really looks the business as though it just rode up out of 1954! He also owns other classic oldies such as a Greeves Challenger.
It has a later Amal carb and three gears and apparently needs a lot of revs in second and third although it gets up to a blinding 52mph with a following wind – (probably a ton on Monday on account of St Jude on the Brighton coast road!)
It has a 197 Villiers engine and when they have a four speed box can reach a rip roaring 65 mph complete with wheelies!
It can on occasion be a bit temperamental apparently and, like us all has a few weaknesses – for example a rather brittle kickstart shaft which Mark has snapped off from time to time!
This particular Francis Barnett is a very rare factory off road version and has a strengthened and gusseted footrest mount and a lighter rear subframe to adapt it for scrambling.
The good news is that now it is in its prime again the bike is worth around £3,500 although it was clear to us that that was irrelevant as Mark would never sell it! It was great to see such a one-off bike down our way.
SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER
Sign up to receive updates and new posts straight to your in-box.