Tales from the River Bank
By Dave Tooley
This isn’t exactly a Scooter tale, but I found it so scary that it was worth reporting anyway.
After Marten had trashed one of his numerous bikes, he decided it would be safer to ride around for a while on 3 wheels instead of two. He purchased a bond machine which was powered by an 850cc all alloy Hillman Imp engine (not a Bond Bug, this was before those atrocities)
Now this thing went like shit off a shovel if pushed, which Marten did, and we had great fun driving around in it. As long as it wasn’t pushed too hard on the bends, it was fine. The beauty of it was we were clean, dry and warm whenever we arrived anyway, which was a huge improvement on the poor frozen souls who normally arrived at any planned destination on two wheels during any time except high summer.
Now one day we decided to venture a bit further away than our usual boring Portsmouth, Gosport or Southampton runs. We had our sights very firmly set on a nice pub we remembered as being located on the A27 somewhere the other side of Chichester. As we set off for the evening we congratulated ourselves on choosing a reasonably distant destination to try and build up some confidence in the viability of driving further away than just a few miles from home.
We were so chuffed when we arrived there that we became totally oblivious to the black clouds rolling in for the evening. Why should we worry anyway? We were under cover, what could possibly go wrong?
That’s when it started…we rolled out of the pub a considerable time later (drink driving law? What’s that?) and climbed into the vehicle. That’s when we noticed it was raining…hard…damned hard actually. We’d only gone a short distance when the damned windscreen wipers decided to pack up. This isn’t much fun when you’re trying to drive in pouring rain along a VERY dimly lit main road, being temporarily blinded by cars headlights from the other direction. Every so many hundreds of yards Marten would have to lean out of his wound down window and wipe the windscreen with a cloth. This was not how we’d seen our evening going, and we started to realize that this journey was going to take a hell of a lot longer than we had planned.
At that point the throttle cable snapped.
Oh my God!!! What now?
The only possible course of action was for little me to lean over the rear seat with the engine cover off and operate the throttle arm with my hand, trying hard not to burn my puddies on the exhaust pipe. The problem was by having to adopt this position facing backwards, I didn’t have a clue what the traffic in front of our vehicle was doing. Let alone trying to synchronise the throttle arm with Martens clutch depressions and gear changes.
Remember, he still couldn’t see a damn thing in front of him because of the pissing rain, and he was getting soaked to the skin. What a drive home that was, I’ll never forget it. Marten would have to yell out instructions to me as to whether I should rev up, or rev back. We continually got it wrong, creating some very near misses. How we didn’t get splattered by cars in front, behind, and both sides of us, I’ll never know.
Marten must remember this incident, I’d love to hear his take on the story.
Note from Marten:
You know its amazing that we are here to tell these tales by rights we should have died years ago.
I also remember the throttle cable breaking in Pompey one night, luckily the engine could be got at from inside the Van so Dave could oppertate the throttle with ease. That Bond Van was a flying machine I think the previous owner had fitted a Sunbeam Stilleto engine in it, because the engine was in the rear, if you reved it up and dropped the clutch you could pull a good wheelie.
One night coming back from Portsmouth again, we were at the traffic lights at the bottom of Fareham High Street, West Street used to go right through in those days no pedestrian area, when an MGB pulled up beside us, he looked like he was up for a burn up, as the lights went green he was left in a cloud of dust marvelous.