Official website of , 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
A Guzzi @ 59 Club of Australia.
I particularly like his unique numberplate :-)
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 :-)
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.
M/C Nostalgia: The 59 Club
London area Cafe´Racing in the 60's
History of the 59 Club.
||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.
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 ;-)
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!
|| 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. |
Of course, there was not only the 59 club! We also frequented the
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!
Now go on to read about
the TRITON : The 1960's dream machine.
ADVERTISEMENT: The novel I wrote about
1990/91 was a miserable and boring winter, so I sat down and wrote a
novel about motorcycle racing in the 1950's, "Howl of the Mountain King".
I still have a few left, so send me a
10 Euro note to get a copy, or read the publisher's blurb first ;-)