Imagine the anticipation and excitement as, on a perfect August afternoon, first one, two and eventually seven motorcycles and a very rare Brough car gracefully roared up Queensbridge Road to halt at the Vat and Fiddle to meet the 50 or so members of the Brough Superior Club in Nottingham for their Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Among the group was an early 1920’s SS100, worth £300,000. Its acetylene lights and lubrication system functioning to perfection. Netherlands-based owner Gert Holmersma arrived on his 1937 SS80 still bearing its original DWJ 417 plate. Originally a Sheffield Constabulary police bike, his was making its first trip on UK roads this century. Next to wheel-in was Steve Knight from Southwold, Suffolk, on his 1938 SS100; it too with a long and charismatic story. Thomas Welzel’s 1933 SS80 nowadays spends its time in Bonn, Germany. Before 1939, it graced the rear end of footballer Horace Burrows, the Sutton in Ashfield-born England, Mansfield and Sheffield Wednesday left half.
For non-riders, ferried in on a London bus, there was the ale ‘George Brough’, a refreshingly bitter English IPA and the 32nd in our series of Nottinghamian Celebration Ales.
The Brough Superior motorcycle was the choice of many riders in its between-the-wars heyday including Lawrence of Arabia and George Bernard Shaw. Jay Leno, the American broadcaster, is an owner who, like many other enthusiasts at home and abroad today, lovingly cares for each of the remaining machines from the original output of nearly 3,000.
Terry Hobden, one of the visiting riders and chairman of the Brough Superior Club says: “Our club was formed to foster interest in Brough Superiors and to help preserve them. Many are still ridden regularly with others preserved in museums and private collections – a testament to their build quality and rapidly rising values. Some 1,200 are thought to be still in existence and the club has members in Europe, Australia, USA, Canada and many other locations including the UK where these fine examples of George Brough’s skills are treasured by their owners.”
Speaking for the brewery, Lewis Townsend says: “George’s beer is an English Session IPA; dry hopped with UK-grown Cascade and Ernest hops, giving this traditional-style ale a bit of a twist.”
‘George Brough’, the ale, is one in a series of four each year to honour the sons and daughters of the city and county of Nottinghamshire. The final ale of 2018 celebrates the work of another great Nottingham engineer, Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield FRS, a creator of the MRI scanner.