Posted on June 17, 2016 - by Mac Chap
Sometimes a person comes along, flirts briefly with your life, makes a hole in your transom and then slips away again but that hole never fully closes.
These pictures remind us of meeting George and Sarah Cohen at ‘Salon Prive’ in September 2014. We never got to have that weekend together.
Posted on June 1, 2016 - by Mac Chap
As the investigative journalist and author, Michael Pollan, says about food, ‘we’re spending more time watching people cooking than actually cooking ourselves’, not something that could be levelled at us of late – although we haven’t been writing, we’ve been whirling like the proverbial dervish getting ready for small-scale production. This one’s only three months late and although we’re being left behind by other forms of social media and our website’s out-of-date, we’re going to persevere with our dispatches in this form for the foreseeable. One day they might be unearthed on ‘Antiques Roadshow’ for their rarity value…
The bearded chap in some of the photos is Mister Ben(jamin) Hall of Valespeed Motorcycles and there’s more about him in our next post in 2019. Together, we made the trip to ‘The Big Smoke’ at the end of February. The props on the stand are almost entirely British-made and mostly the home furnishings of ‘Pitt Towers’ (my gaff looked like the bailiffs had been when we’d packed the van). All the items came from a combination of the local auction rooms and one of the last remaining true junk shops, just down the road.
We love shows and, if you’ve got your wits about you, all sorts of stuff happens when you’re there. We met some ace people and had some fascinating conversations but it’s the ‘nippers’ who helped us put the bike back together who were the star attraction. Here’s our ‘family album’ to give you a sense of our little escapade.
Credit for the professional-looking photo with Ben and Ellis trying to look like a couple of catalogue models goes to Mister Taka Wu to whom we are very grateful for at least one decent shot…
Posted on October 9, 2015 - by Mac Chap
The Oxford English Dictionary describes Sunday as ‘The day of week that comes after Saturday, before Monday’. Here at Mac Motorcycles we thought we’d give you our version of a Sunday, visiting an historic jewel of Cheltenham, sampling delicious, local ale and homemade exquisite savories as well as getting the chance to experience a sizeable pletherer of motorbikes, we give you Kickback, ‘The Cheltenham Festival of Bikes’.
Joined by Ben of Vale Speed Motorcycles on our reminiscent, nostalgic stand, we invited ‘children’ of all ages to take a seat on our Mac ‘Spud’ and visit the array of motorcycles at the prestigious Town Hall and what a sight it was.
We’d like to thank our host ‘Lord Lorne Cheetham’ for his hospitality and organisation, as always it was ‘spiffing’!
Were you one of ‘children of all ages’ that visited us and show, why don’t you post something about your day here…
Posted on July 27, 2015 - by Mac Chap
One of the things we really enjoy about roadtrips and gigs is the serendipitous meetings with interesting people.
Friends and hangers-on always take the piss when I reach for my policeman’s notebook, mid-conversation, and scribble something down that they never get to read. My ‘little black book’ is the one thing I sleep with under my pillow and, in the event of a fire, wouldn’t leave the premises without.
Here’s a couple of entries, from the many, scribbled down on Lord Pembroke’s East Lawn last weekend;
Mr. Andy ‘Keep quiet and empty the till’ Dobson and Liz ‘Eats, shoots and leaves’ James
Andy’s ‘claim to fame’ is that he was one of the team responsible for bringing the ‘Femidom’ into mass production ( a contraption designed to prevent mass ‘reproduction’, more about it here – http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception-guide/pages/how-does-female-condom-work.aspx.
Andy now helps companies to ‘straighten-out’ their production process and you can be nosey here – http://lean4business.co.uk/
Liz described herself a ‘grammar pedant’ meaning she reads stuff like this to make sure there aren’t any mistakes before it’s published.
Mr. Ralph ‘don’t press the red button’ Wilton designs car engines for Ford in Dagenham but, by his own admission, he is largely credited with figuring-out how to run belts-in-oil, when others dis-owned him, uttering the immortal words “ It can’t be done” when they left the room.
Mr. Ben Hall of Valespeed Motorcycles
Ben’s Aunt Muriel, now 97 and still going reasonably strong by the sound of it, was assigned to the late, great Graham Hill to nurse him after one of his accidents. It sounds as if she became his confidante, possibly more, during his convalescence as their exchange of glances during her appearance in one of the famous ‘This is your life’ programmes suggests.
Tony’s Dad told me all about the DOT motorcycle with some form of modified sidecar which was used to deliver milk shortly after the war. It used a Villiers 125cc engine and the bottle sat in a rack somewhere adjacent the frame.
Like almost all of our ‘public appearances’, we can’t thank ‘Lord Larry’ and ‘Lady Jeanette’ of Lamb Engineering fame enough, without whose for their generosity and hospitality we’d have been staying at home doing the washing and ironing.
Watch ‘Tarquin’s’ horseplay at Wilton House, Lamb Engineering style
If you came to Wliton House, why don’t you post something about your day here…
Posted on February 25, 2015 - by Mac Chap
I first met Janine and Peter from Harrison Billet at Salon Prive last September when Janine bowled-up to us and said ‘Hello, my name’s Janine’. No sales pitch, no flim-flam, no smalltalk, no schmoozing, no exchange of business cards and no promises of post-show ‘follow-up’, just good ol’ fashioned straightforwardness and friendliness. A very pleasant encounter one might say.
Then, out-of-the-blue, an email from Janine asking me if we’d like to have ‘a bit of carpet’ at the forthcoming MCN Motorcycle Show in London. An introduction to Ped Baker, one of the editorial ‘big cheeses’ at MCN followed hot on its heels and suddenly we were down for daily speaking slots on the custom stage.
Shows are what you make them but serendipity plays its part too. The ‘legal highs’ were too many to mention but, in brief, I met and talked to some of Blighty’s very best bike-builders, the sort of chaps whose work has graced the pages of the back-issues of ‘Back Street Heroes’ sitting on the shelves in the workshop, nippers throwing their leg over ‘Spud’ and grinning from ear-to-ear, chatting to fans who’ve patiently followed our progress for yonks (a quaint old English expression meaning ‘a very long time’), catching-up with some folks I haven’t seen in a while like Paul from the Zodiac empire, me ol’ Essex mucker Gareth, Craig from AJP, ‘Fid the Lid’ and Sharon at Davida, Messrs. Hornsby and Cheetham who keep the chattering classes chattering and the ace chaps from Rainy City HD. Andrew Butler’s voyeurism and vid’ help to tell the story for those of you who couldn’t make it.
But the few days ‘in the Big Smoke’ are defined by the unstinting generosity, attention-to-detail, stamina and friendship of Janine and Peter at Harrison Billet, together with their friends Mark and Niki, who looked after me like I was one of their own. When I’m dribbling and rocking in my old folks’ home chair, it’s days like these that I’ll be remembering.
Perhaps you could share your memories of the show with us here…
Posted on November 4, 2014 - by Mac Chap
‘Salon Prive’ is a rarefied atmosphere and I’ve found myself describing it to others as a ‘Mr Benn moment’. ‘Mr Benn’ was a popular children’s cartoon programme in 1971-72. He’s an ordinary, bowler-hatted office worker who lives in an ordinary suburban street. However, when he tries on a costume in the mysterious costume shop, he steps out of the changing-room into a different time and place, appropriate to his costume. The tunnel between the grounds of Syon Park and its suburban environs and the lawns of Syon House is that ‘Mr Benn moment’, between the changing-room and the different time and place that is the ‘Salon Prive Concours d’ Elegance’.
I bought a second-hand linen jacket from a local vintage shop, a couple of flash bonnets from a local gentleman’s outfitters, polished my shoes, ironed a couple of shirts last worn at a wedding and made-do with the rest of my wardrobe. We filled a small ‘Transit’ like we were leaving home and beetled-off to London Town.
There were Nubian boys and girls everywhere, we wanted for nothing. Lobster lunches and ‘a spot of tiffin’ everyday washed-down with ‘shampoo’ and Pimms for as long as you could drink it. ‘Stuffed shirts’, bevies of lovelies and beautiful coachwork filled our every gaze. A few wobbly parade rides around the grounds, inhaling the ‘full-fat’ emissions of a legendary Ferrari or two in front and we meandered back to our digs in the haze of three summer’s evenings – a truly ethereal experience for us lesser mortals.
But it was the pleasure of being with some of our crew that I enjoyed most, inviting and enjoying the company of long-standing friends and collaborators such as Mr. Craig Dolan who slept in his car to be with us on the Friday, Mr. Andrew Wellings from Birchills Automotive who produce our exhausts, Mr. Paul Crees, who’s company ‘Bee Design’ designs some of the best automotive lighting in the world and ‘the talented Mister Raffo’ who I’ve worked with for more years than we both care to remember. Meeting and nattering with some new faces like Drs. George and Sarah Cohen, Ewan and Tracey Cameron, Paul Beamish Esq. and the institution that is Norman Hyde was a treat.
None of this would have been possible without the patronage of a certain John Mockett aka. ‘Sprocket’ who proposed us for selection and the perseverance, experience and devotion of Roger and Mark Taylor at RTS Racing Products and the diamond chaps that they are. Like I said, I’m just the stuffed shirt and ‘Salon Prive’ was our first public outing for the production-ready ‘Spud’ and a showcase for all the talent we’re lucky enough to work with.
Here’s some of Andrew Butler’s ‘pin-hole’ voyeurism, if you’d like to know more, please get in-touch or feel free to scribble some graffiti here.
The order-book will open properly shortly…
We look forward to hearing from you.
Andy Butler (Photos)
Andy Bufton (Video)
Posted on August 25, 2014 - by Mac Chap
We don’t get mail like this very often, in fact, we’ve never had mail like this! It’s so special, it could be from ‘HM Queenie’ herself…
We’ve known for three months now but, like swatting for exams, it seems like everything is a last-minute scurry around to be ready. Our packing-list looks like we’re moving house or leaving home and the charabanc has been booked.
Best get our barnets cut then… but while we do that, have a look at who will be at Salon Prive 2014 with Mac Motorcycles!
Posted on March 27, 2014 - by Mac Chap
Mac’s Ellis Pitt and The Spud will be joining Haslemere Motorcycles’ team during their open day on Saturday 29th March at their prestigious showroom in Bordon, Hampshire.
Haslemere Motorcycles is one of the most respected motorcycle dealers in the UK with roots going back to the 1960’s. They are official dealers for Yamaha and Suzuki and Reiju, with years of experience with Honda, Kawasaki and Triumph (having formally been official dealers for those manufactures for many years). One of the largest stocks of new and used motorcycles in the south of England, with dealer awards from Suzuki and Yamaha along with very high ratings in the RIDE survey over the years.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Posted on March 7, 2014 - by Mac Chap
A day out at the MCN London Excel exhibition in February…. spot the celeb!
Posted on March 7, 2014 - by Mac Chap
The legendary John Mockett aka. ‘Sprocket’ who parked his ever-so-royal posteria on our very-own ‘Spud-u-like’. We’ll never wash that seat again…