RealClassic reading: Motorcycles, Mates and Memories

In this recent publication, RC member and occasional contributor Bill Snelling reflects on his lifetime passion for two-wheeling in this entertaining, motorcycle-themed autobiography.

He recalls the decades of motorcycling mayhem, mud and madness that have characterised his 70-odd years living the dream, from the early days at Arthur Lavington’s Velocette shop to pounding the long-distance trials and the many race circuits he has ridden.

Bill Snelling started his working life at the Velo shop at the age of 15, getting a thorough grounding in all things Velocette. Bill rode long-distance trails (mainly on Velo) with a fair degree of success, then branched into racing, also Velo-mounted.

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RC regular Roy Workman noticed the racing sidecar outfit on the book’s front cover, and couldn’t resist reading all about it. Here’s what he discovered…

The idea for this book came about whilst Bill was ‘enjoying’ hospital food for a ten week period in 2019. The introduction is witty and gives you an idea that this is going to be a light-hearted read.

There are photos of the author’s father’s Vincent outfit when they were on holiday at Weymouth. Bill and his father also attended the first Dragon Rally on the Vincent outfit. 1960 was Bill’s first trip to the TT, and whilst there he had his first solo ride on a motorcycle.

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Bill recalls decades of fun in British motorcycle sport. He admits that he was more successful off-road than on tarmac, although he did manage to win one race on tarmac. He also worked as a dispatch rider and he spent time as a journalist for Motor Cycle Sport magazine.

The book contains 157 pages, including loads of photos, often three to a page. The outfit on the front cover belongs to Swiss Champion, Fritz Scheidegger, and his passenger, John Robinson. Fritz and John were top racers in their day and they won the 1966 sidecar TT race. Fritz had five podium finishes on the Isle of Man over the years, according to my records.

I found this a very interesting, well-written and light-hearted book to read. I found it very relevant to me personally, as it also covers the same period of time that I have been riding.

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Motorcycles, Mates and Memories by Bill Snelling costs £16.99 from Veloce

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Words by Roy Workman

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