A motorcycle enthusiast from Bideford is incredibly proud of his machine, even though it takes two-and-a-half hours to cover 56 miles. But then, it is 94 years old! Ross Fuller, from Horwood, near Bideford, has just returned after completing the 70th ann
A motorcycle enthusiast from Bideford is incredibly proud of his machine, even though it takes two-and-a-half hours to cover 56 miles. But then, it is 94 years old!Ross Fuller, from Horwood, near Bideford, has just returned after completing the 70th annual Pioneer Run from Epsom Downs to Brighton for veteran motorcycles, aboard his 1914 Calthorpe.In fact, were it any younger his bike wouldn't be eligible, since all entries in the leisurely ride must have been built by the end of 1914 and the oldest was a venerable centenarian of 111!This year was the third time 29-year-old Ross has entered the event, but unfortunately proved to be the occasion of his first breakdown after the machine's leather drive belt - in lieu of a chain - snapped."It normally takes about two-and-a-quarter hours, but this time it was about three-and-a-half," he said."Luckily we had a spare and luckily it fitted, which got us to the finish."The 1914 Calthorpe has a top speed - with wind assist - of 30 miles-per-hour, but since its block brakes are probably less efficient than those on a modern bicycle, perhaps that is just as well!Ross was at the event alongside his uncle, Jim Nichol, who has entered for the past 42 years and was riding his 1911 BSA, thought to be the oldest BSA in existence. Both bikes were left to the family by Ross' grandfather when he passed away.A total of 364 veteran machines entered the Pioneer Run for 2007 and Ross was glad he could count himself among the finishers:"It's about keeping the bikes going and nice to take part in an event like this -it's a challenge, too, and quite amazing how many actually enter and make it to the finish," he said."They are so old and parts are very hard to come by. They have to be custom made in most cases. I think it must be the quality of British workmanship which has kept them going so long."n ROSS Fuller at Epsom Downs prepares to embark on the 70th Pioneer Run with his 1914 Calthorpe motorcycle.