Official website of 59 club logo, in Germany

This webpage is the official home site of "The 59 Club of London in Germany", the original 59 Club has put its seal of approval on it. 59 Club members may use my eMail address as a contact point, if they need any local area advice or bilingual assistance when passing through.

Here is a link to the original 59 club webpages, maintained by John Ryan. Old members from the early days are encouraged to keep in contact, e.g. via John. The Club has the original membership lists and some of the original club magazines (even then, there was a "Link" ;) A Guzzi @ 59 Club of Australia. I particularly like his unique numberplate :-)
Et ici il y'a un lien pour mes amis francais avec leur 59 Legend! Et aussi pour les Amis Suisse! Et ici il y'a un lien nouveau pour le 59 Club Belgique.

The photo on the right was taken at the Ace revival 1995, it shows an immaculate 59-club Triton and its proud owner, in full rocker regalia :-)
A 59 club Triton at the Ace revival 1995

M/C Nostalgia: The 59 Club

London area Cafe´Racing in the 60's

History of the 59 Club.

Bill Shergold The 59 Club was founded by a motorcycling priest, Father Bill Shergold (photo on left), then at the ripe old age of 40. In 1959 he was Head of the Eton College Mission in Hackney Wick in London's East End (Note for New Yorkers: that's the poor end of London, England. The West End is the rich end ;-). His intent was doubtless to get us "rough rockers" out of the Ace cafe and into a regular youth club. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. When I joined the 59 Club, back on 15th August 1964, there were already 5586 members before me, so I became life member number 5587. The club was based in Paddington in those days, Father Bill having moved to that parish. There are now over 28,000 of us. In 1965 (40 years ago) we went corporate; here's a copy of the Incorporation document, and here's a copy of the Memorandum of Association. 59 Club badge

Some photos taken in the mid 1960's.

Fiftynine club member 5587 taxes his memory and raids his photo album to produce this, folks :- This photo was taken in Paddington, near the 59 club in the mid-sixties. Black leather jackets were IN, if you could afford them. For everyday use however the famous Barbour was more waterproof! Left to right, if memory serves me correctly, are:- yours truly, Stu Savory (a student then, with a Velocette Venom), Malcolm Ford (then a police cadet, with, I believe a Matchless G80), Ann (surname fails me) and her boyfriend Geoff (then a butcher at Smithfields market, with a spotless AJS 31 CSR) and on the right is the girlfriend (Christine???) of the time of the photographer, Victor Ford (also a student at City University at the time, with a 500 cc home-built Norton International). I also seem to remember a red-head called Carol from the 59-club, but she didn't want to be seen (in the picture) with us ;-) Some 59 club members, 1964
Return from the Elephant rally In our student days ( mine were at City University) we could not afford cars, so we commuted via motorcycle. The cheapest commuter bike I could find was a 125cc BSA Bantam. Coincidentally, this was the same kind of machine that father Bill first bought, back in 1949, for commuting around his parish. Motorcycles soon became a fascinating hobby. I progressed via a 350cc NH Ariel and a G9 twin Matchless to a 500cc Velocette Venom Clubman. I used this machine (shown on the left) for various long distance rallies, including the Dragon rally and the Elephant rally, camping in Germany in February (what a fool ;-). The Elephant rally was organised by my late good friend "Klacks" at the Nurburgring in the German Eifel mountains. We camped in 6 feet of snow that year. On the way back, I fell off on an icy patch in Belgium, and returned to the 59 club that evening with the numberplate held on by string and sealing wax (shown here).
The winter riding in England taught us all how to ride well in rain and snow. To this very day, even at 55 years of age, I am still the fastest bad-weather rider in our local club ;-) All learnt back in the 60's. In 1965 I did the Land's End to John-o-Groats run on the Velocette. In those days, this was the british equivalent of what is now the american "Iron Butt" award. This photo shows yours truly being presented with the long-distance award at some rally, I forget which, maybe the Dragon Rally. Tom Smith (Nottingham) is presenting the cup, Graham Hayward (chairman) looking on, it says on the back of the mid-sixties photo. The justly famous Barbour suit (jacket & trousers) is made of waxed cotton. Together with well waxed boots and with a towel wrapped tightly around the neck, to keep the rain from running down the inside, it kept us warm and dry for many a mile. Of course, there were no full face helmets then, only Jet or Cromwells, so your face always got wet! Stu, winning a long-distance rally
Malcom Ford (l.) and Stu Savory (250cc Ducati Mach 1) After leaving university in 1966, I earned a bit more money, it even seemed like a lot! I decided to take up road-racing, so I sold the Venom to Vic Camp, and bought a spanking new Ducati Mach 1 production racer from him. This was the cheapest route to an OHC bike then ;-) It came in road-going trim plus a megaphone, larger carb-jets and a pair of "triangular" tyres. This bike faired well against real racing bikes at Brand's Hatch and in the IOM. I also sprinted it before going on to build a road-going NorVin for sprinting. This photo shows Malcolm Ford (left) and Stu Savory repairing the split tank on Stu's 250 Ducati Mach 1 after Stu dropped it on the Isle of Man. That's what happens if you fail to leave a sacrificial sweet on the Faerie Bridge on the way to Castletown.
Probably the most famous photo of Bill Shergold, founder of the 59 Club, is shown here below, on the right. This photo appears in Mike Clay's excellent book "Cafe´ Racers" published by Osprey Publishing Ltd. in 1988.
ISBN 0-85045-677-0

Of course, there was not only the 59 club! We also frequented the Ace Cafe, on London's North Circular Road. This was before the days of the blanket 70 mph speed limit. Doing the "ton", 100 mph, was IN ! The Ace cafe was also famous for "record racing". Put a coin in the juke-box, select the Animals' "House of the rising sun", jump on the bike, blast down the bypass to the round-about and back before the record ended. Averaging the Ton ;-)

When the blanket 70 mph speed limit was introduced, many of us suffered licence endorsements, and those on my license were certainly not unique! Also the M.O.T had been introduced, and the inspectors were not too keen on the open Phillips fuel injector feeding into the supercharger of my NorVin, let alone the magnificent sound of those two Goldie cans ( I would be too embarrassed, even today, to call those cans "silencers" ;-)

Back in September 1965 I even wrote a poem, entitled "Burn Up", about thrashing the NorVin up to the Busy Bee, which was published in Issue 5 of the 59 Club magazine "Link". Many thanks here to Bob Spicer, shown here on his Dommie, who scanned in Issue 5 for my webpage. Glad you kept all the old "Link" magazines, Bob!

Father Bill Shergold

Now go on to read about the TRITON : The 1960's dream machine.

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