Based on auction results and enthusiast reverence, Vincent is one of the two pillars of collectable classic motorcycles today. The other is Brough Superior. Both are British and both are brilliant, but while Broughs have an aura of exclusivity and are rarely seen, let alone seen in action, Vincents seem more attainable and somewhat more “usable” despite their elite status.
That may not be the reality, but it was certainly the impression gained after time spent at this year’s Shannons Insurance Broadford Bike Bonanza (SIBBB), where Vincents of all types, ages and conditions turned out in force, providing a ‘Stevenage Spectacle’ for attendees that’s unlikely to be repeated.
Now an Easter institution, this year’s tenth annual Bonanza (held from 30 March to 1 April) was big, and the appearance of so many Vincent motorcycles in one place was a big part of what it so.
An Irving of Vincents There’s no known collective noun for a group of Vincents, so JUST BIKES decided to invent one. We’re calling it an ‘Irving’ of Vincents in honour of Phil Irving, the Aussie-born engineer who was so pivotal in Vincent development
After Vincent (and Vincent-H.R.D., to be inclusive) was announced as the featured marque for the 2018 SIBBB, the call-out for bikes resulted in 85 Vincents taking part, covering the company’s 1927 beginnings, through to its end in 1955. The Vincent celebration was far from ‘static’, though, with many examples cutting laps on the Broadford road race circuit, while a clutch of seven Vincent-powered speedway outfits howled around the dirt track, too.
Many examples of the highly-collectable Series A through D pre- and post-war Vincents were present, with a trio, spanning the A, B and C Series, coming from one man’s collection; specifically that of enthusiast and regular JUST BIKES advertiser, Franc Trento of Eurobrit Motorcycles.
Neal Videan had his supercharged, highly-modified ex-Bob Satterly Vincent drag bike on show, while a machine to rival the auction record-setting Jack Ehret Black Lightning (a competition special version of the Black Shadow) for ‘cool’ factor, if not price, was another Black Lightning.
Found in Tasmania by a member of the Vincent Owners’ Club and returned to running condition for the first time in 48 years just prior to the SIBBB, this particular Black Lightning was a clear highlight amongst the Vincents.
“If it wasn’t for days like the SIBBB, you would never see bikes of (this) calibre – they would just sit in sheds collecting dust, (but) now people get the chance to see them up close,” said Vincent Owners’ Club president, Bob Allan.