Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sammy Miller

Like I wrote in my previous post, we've met a lot of wonderful people. Sammy Miller is one of them for sure! There isn't much that hasn't been written about this great man and by much better writers than me too. Sammy is a motorcycling legend. He has been at the forefront of all types of motorcycle sport, from road racing to trials, motocross and grasstrack. Winner of over 1400 events, 11 times British champion and still winning events more than 50 years after the first one!

You'd think he want to quiet down a bit for his retirement, maybe on an exotic beach somewhere. Not Sammy. When he finally hung up his leathers he set out to build the best museum of classic and racing motorcycles in the world. That meant finding them, restoring them, building a complex to house them and make sure that they are not just a static display but all fully operational. The museum became such a success that new bigger premises were needed and during our visit we were told there are further expansion plans again. At the time of writing more than 400 classic machines are on display! Displays that also show many period features including a complete replica of an old motorcycle workshop with all the correct period tools.

The great man himself came especially out to meet us!

The motorcycles on display are in pristine condition. Not over-restored but just right. The restorations are done in the museum's own workshop, run by Bob Stanley. Sammy and Bob have been a team for many years, Bob is now past retirement age himself but not stopping just yet. All the traditional skills needed for a complete and authentic restoration are practised here everyday. Now why didn't I find a job like that?

As you can see, I'll let the photos do the talking for this post. This one is all about the motorcycles after all. They are works of art, the best of 100 years of motorcycling. Exotic machines which fortunately have been saved and restored so that we can enjoy them.

Sammy is now 81 years young and still a bundle of energy! He did hung up his leathers, or did he? He regularly takes his bikes to events and competes on them, even at 81! Not just local events, he goes even as far as New Zealand… and active young man indeed. During our visit he heard from one of the staff about Mike's record attempt and came out especially to meet us. The charming devil kissed Jeanette on her hand like a true gentleman! He even posed for a photo, one we will cherish and which you can find on this page. The museum is open 7 days a week and the admission is a modest 7.5 pounds. The museum has a good and very informative website too http://sammymiller.co.uk