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PJI announces Adstar winner
 
Image courtesy North Line Photography
A tale of dedication, love and family ties has earned one committed biker the title of Peter James Insurance Adstar competition winner.
Against some stiff competition, Alan East-Jones from Warwickshire was chosen by the Peter James Insurance team, who were looking for a biker to star in some of its 2019 digital adverts
 
PJI director Cheryl Maybury said Alan’s blood, sweat and tears story of how he restored his father - William ‘Bill’ Jones’ Sunbeam after he passed away, really stood out. “We were really moved by Alan’s story of dedication and how the love of motorcycles has passed down through the generations.” .
 
Alan grew up surrounded by motorcycles (literally) and was even taken home from hospital as a newborn in the sidecar attached to a Velocette.
 
He explains: “While I was growing up, Dad moved onto collecting and running AJS and Matchless motorcycles. At one time, I remember counting eleven bikes, some of which were kept in the conservatory.
 
“I would spend time with Dad in the garage, helping/hindering and being excited when a rebuilt engine would burst into life. I still get that kick!”
 
The pair even rescued a rather sorry-looking, stolen 1952 350cc Velocette MAC, which Alan spotted sticking out of the canal, dried it out and, after contacting the police and the bike’s former owner, purchased it and added it to their restoration waiting list in the garage.
 
Alan explained: “A year before Dad died, he and my Mother went on their final Grand Tour on a 1958 Matchless G12 motorcycle. They went all through Europe and travelled all the way to Istanbul.”
 
Shortly after this trip, Alan’s father suffered a stroke which left him paralysed down one side. “He would still ask me to get tools out of the garage and practice using them. He forced himself to walk and I set up a stool next to his lathe so that he could carry on restoring motor bikes, the Sunbeam in particular.” Alan explained.

A year later, Alan’s father succumbed to a heart attack. The Sunbeam was unfinished. Alan, though interested in bikes - having been around them all his life, couldn’t ride one and didn’t have a motorcycle licence.
 
He added: “Learning on a modern motorbike was so totally different to trying to ride a very old vintage one. The Sunbeam was partially dismantled at the time so I set about building it again. It soon became apparent that the AMAC carburettor was completely worn out. It was like no other carb I had seen before but it was a simple piece of engineering.
 
“Luckily, because I was a mechanical engineer and draughtsman I drew what I thought I needed to restore the Carb and got the parts made at work. I bought some leather and made the tool box fronts, repainted the fuel tank and put the gold lining on together with the correct Sunbeam transfers. I sealed the tank inside to stop the oil from mixing with the petrol. I removed the Magdyno because I didn’t have any electric lights or horn to fit. I found a Lucas Magneto in the garage and got it restored. I made some fuel pipes and got them nickel plated.
 
“Now I had fuel and a spark. The compression was good because dad had made sure that the all the engine internals were restored to (almost) better than new. I bought some books and learnt how to start and keep the engine running. At that time I couldn’t ride the bike legally on the road because it was a 500cc, even though my little 125cc learner bike could go a lot faster! So I took it to a local VMCC meeting held on some private land and tried riding it. “
 
I attracted quite a bit of attention from the members of the club who remembered my dad. Between them they got me sorted but told me to finish the restoration. “It is finished” I said. “No” they said, “where is the Sunbeam trade mark Patent Oilbath Chaincase?” “Oh I didn’t like the look of that so left it off.” The chaincase was duly fixed, painted, transfers added and fitted! I bought a nice new shiny exhaust pipe and silencer to replace the original rusty, holy one dad had left on. I bought a new saddle and had some oversized brake shoes made. Now I could stop as well as go!”
 
Alan passed his motorcycle test and admits that taking the finished Sunbeam out on the road for the first time was an emotional experience.
 
“When I rode the completed bike on the road for the first time, I must admit, I got choked-up and had tears in my eyes,” he said.
 
“Dad would be pleased I followed in his footsteps. I often wonder if he is looking down on me and smiling when I’m out on the bike.”
 
Alan and his bike will be on the Peter James Insurance stand - M63 in Bingley Hall at the International Classic MotorCycle Show at Staffordshire County Showground on April 27th and 28th.
 
For more information visit: www.staffordclassicbikeshows.com

    

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