My motorcycling education

Bonnie, Trident, Bantam, YAS1 and 6T belonging to Nick and his mates

by classic-bike |
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Nick Willasey’s student days were spent with a houseful of mates who’d rather study bikes than books

LIKE SO MANY riders of the time, my first bike was a BSA Bantam D14/4 – I quickly passed my test on it and used it to commute from my home in Liverpool to Salford University, along the A57 before the M62 was built. I was an undergraduate from 1973 to 1976, and for our final two years at university, myself and three friends rented a semi-detached house with a garage in Bury, to the North of Salford. We were all motorcyclists and between us had a varied stable of motorcycles, which used to get the neighbours’ curtains twitching on a regular basis.

The black and white photo shows my Bantam along with Bob’s Triumph Bonneville, Ian’s Triumph Trident and Nigel’s Triumph Thunderbird 6T, plus a Yamaha YAS1 he also used when the 6T let him down and was in bits – which it was when this photograph was taken! The Bantam was soon sold and was replaced by a 1969 Triumph Trophy 250 TR25W; Bob’s Bonneville was replaced by a Triumph Trident.

The colour photo was taken later in the 1970s, outside the Childe of Hale pub near Liverpool, after we had graduated, and shows me on my 250cc Triumph – which I still have. Richard, a friend of mine, is on his 500cc Triumph Daytona, Nigel is on his 650cc 6T and Bob is on his 750cc Trident – a full-house of cylinder capacities! I recall taking my TR25W, along with Nigel on his Starfire, both fully laden, to Aberystwyth for a weekend away around that time. After graduating, Bob replaced his Trident with a 1969 BSA Rocket 3 and took it with him to live and work in California, where he still rides it. Nigel still has his Thunderbird and for a while had a BSA Starfire as well.

They were happy days at that house in Bury, with much tinkering and fettling in the garage – but not really much studying going on, as far as I can recall. Anyway, it didn’t do us any harm and we’re all retired now – and all still riding and tinkering.

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