The ex-Phil Pike, ISDT 1926 Norton 588cc

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It is noted this Motorcycle appeared in Auction 16 Oct 2011 noon
London, New Bond Street
Important Collectors’ Motorcycles Auction 19290

Registration no. CO 9608
Frame no. 21180
Engine no. 35103

Just as Norton first overhead-valve production motorcycle – the Model 18 – had used the same 79mm x 100mm bore-stroke dimensions of the existing sidevalve-engined 16H, so the larger-capacity but otherwise similar overhead-valve Model 19 used those of the 588cc Big 4 sidevalve, at 79 x 120. Intended to appeal to the sidecar man with a yen for high performance, the ohv long-stroke engine quickly established itself in its maker’s chosen role, Norton-mounted riders Walker and Tucker finishing second and third respectively in the inaugural Sidecar TT of 1923, an event George Tucker duly won the for the Bracebridge Street manufacturer the following year.In 1926 the Model 19-based outfit offered here was despatched to Norton agent Phil Pike on 25th June 1926. Entered by him in the International Six Days’ Trial (ISDT), based that year at Buxton in Derbyshire, ‘CO 9608’ formed part of Britain’s Trophy and Vase-winning ‘B’ team together with the James of Jack Lidstone and the Sunbeam ridden by Graham Walker (father of Murray).Trailing Great Britain’s ‘A’ Team by two marks at the halfway stage, the ‘B’ team had victory handed to them when one of their rivals retired, enabling Pike to take the high-speed test ‘steadily’ to make sure they did not lose the Trophy. A copy of Motor Cycling’s report on the 1926 ISDT, complete with pictures of ‘CO 9608’, is on file. Reproduced in Mick Woollett’s book, ‘Norton’ (page 54), a photograph taken after the event shows Pike in the saddle with fellow Devonian Dr G H S Letchworth in the sidecar, the duo being flanked by Messrs Lidstone and Walker on their respective mounts.

There can be little doubt that ‘CO 9608’ had been specially prepared by the factory with competition in mind, for although approximating to that of a Model 19 its specification does not accord with any standard production model of 1926. As confirmed by the accompanying Science Museum letter, the factory despatch book records that it was fitted with wired-on tyres (most production Nortons used beaded-edge tyres at this time) and 8″ front brakes, a size not fitted as standard until 1927, and then only to the CS1 and ES2.

Immediately after the ISDT, Pike and the Norton successfully completed 100 ascents of the formidable Bwlch-y-Groes pass in North Wales (without stopping the engine). This stunt was undertaken in the course of a test that involved a journey from Weybridge to Edinburgh and then to Land’s End, a feat of outstanding reliability and endurance that enabled Norton to retain the Maudes Trophy that it had won for the immediately preceding three years. Acting as the ACU’s observer, Pike’s passenger was journalist Arthur Bourne (‘Torrens’), later editor of Motor Cycle magazine. The factory lost no time in featuring the Pike combination in its advertisements in the motorcycling press, proudly declaring: ‘For the fourth year in succession the unapproachable Norton is awarded the highest distinction in the motorcycle world.’

Cuttings on file from Old Bike Mart reveal that in 2001 the Norton (in solo trim at that time) was owned by Barry Tyreman of Bingley, West Yorkshire. (OBM columnist and Bonhams specialist Mike Worthington-Williams had retrieved the original registration for him). A couple of years later the Norton featured again in an MWW OBM column, by which time Mr Tyreman had restored the machine, got it running and acquired a sidecar chassis. (We are advised that the original crankcases – numbered ‘30818’ – had deteriorated beyond repair and were replaced during restoration).

The Norton’s next owner (from October 2004) was Mr Andrew Sharp of Steeton, West Yorkshire, from whom the current vendor purchased it in August 2008. Only 250 miles have been covered since acquisition and the machine is described by the owner as in ‘A1’ condition.

Offered with the aforementioned documentation, expired MoT, SORN and Swansea V5C, ‘CO 9608’ represents a rare opportunity to acquire a genuine, Vintage-era, Norton factory motorcycle boasting a competition record unique in the marque’s history.

£28,000 – 32,000
US$ 44,000 – 51,000
€33,000 – 37,000

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