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Lost before the War  (from Wroxton, near Banbury)

The Wroxton House Hotel was the perfect venue for this new tour.  The 'Before the War' tour was especially for pre 1940 machines and we had a lovely selection of machines. 

All photos on this page - Gavin Shaw

Ron & Chris Spinks on their late 20s V-twin Montgomery.
Brian Thomas on a mid 30s BMW 500cc flat twin.
Tony Page, Gavin Shaw and Franz Ambichl on 30s Ariels and a BSA Empire Star.
Chris Webber on his 1937 Norton 16H.
Bill Mills rode a sloper BSA and a 250 BSA.
Paul March rode a late 20s Raleigh and the sloper BSA.
John and Judith Lycett brought their 1932 BSA three wheeler.
Martin and Rachel Brockwell should have brought their 1934 BSA three wheeler but last minute problems prevented them from doing so.  This did not prevent them from joining us, I'm pleased to say.
I rode the 1921 Martinsyde

The weather forecast for the weekend was not good but, miraculously, we dodged the heavy rain that we could see falling in curtains from the black clouds around us.  The route sheet seemed to guide us around the worst weather.  In fact, we enjoyed quite a lot of bright sunshine - especially in the mornings.

The first ride was to the pretty village of Lighthorne, where we had to wait a while for the Antelope pub to open for a coffee.  We then moved on to the Navigation Inn, by the canal at Wootten Wawen.  The afternoon looked a bit black and we followed some very wet roads but avoided all but the lightest of rain.  (Route total - about 80 miles)

On Sunday we rode to Chipping Campden for coffee at the Bantam Tearooms in the High Street and visited the Arts & Crafts museum, then to the Pear Tree at Hook Norton for lunch, where the machines looked particularly good lined up in the car park.  There was some rain in the afternoon but it lasted only minutes.  The run back to the hotel took in the famous Sunrising Hill.  In the evening we celebrated Ron Spinks' 70th birthday.  (Route total - about 75 miles)

Our final ride was to Stowe, where the National Trust has recently opened a new tearoom.  Tony Page gallantly paid the parking fee for a French family who did not have sufficient change for the machine, but resolutely refused to pay for parking a motorcycle.  The motorcycles and the three wheeler drew an enormous amount of attention from passers-by wherever we parked them up.  From Stowe we moved on to Stoke Bruerne and took a light lunch at the Canal Centre before a ride back in the afternoon.  This time the rain caught us a little more seriously for the last 6 or 7 miles back through Banbury, which was rather less than pleasant. (Route total - about 95 miles)

The Wroxton House Hotel  was a very welcoming and comfortable base for the weekend and I shall certainly be looking to use it again next year.  The surrounding countryside and views were fabulous.  I was very pleased with this tour and I think the pre-war theme is worth trying again as, in time, it has the potential to grow into something very special.

Special mention should go to Franz Ambichl, who drove 1000 miles from his home in Austria to be with us.  He combined the tour with a visit to the Stafford show.


Places remain available for all the remaining tours for this year.  If you would like to join us please email for full details.

Alan Abrahams