Back in the 1970s "Doc" Rawlence had a hankering for an old British motorcycle again after just missing out on a Jaguar that he went to buy. Some sort of mid-life crisis……. Somebody had suggested to him that an old bike might fit the bill so he toddled off to Stewart Engineering and bought a Sunbeam S7. After lumbering round the backroads of the Pulhams for a few weeks he decided to get something a bit more everyday-user-friendly as well and got hold of a BSA 350 B40. He then used this on his doctor's rounds to visit his patients in Pulham and surrounding villages.
I've got an old BSA in the shed' was a frequent comment from the folk with their sleeve rolled up or trousers rolled down. Or a Triumph, Matchless, AJS, Rudge or whatever, so he decided to flushthem all out by organising a cavalcade of British Bikes at the 1975 Pulham Carnival. Martin Smith and Alex Dade were his co-conspirators and this gathering was so successful that a meeting was held in Pulham Market Memorial Hall in February 1976 with the aim of starting a local motorcycle club. The purpose of this club would be to promote the use of British bikes on the road in the face of the foreign invasion from Japan and Europe. The hall was packed and we were away.
The first run was to Bressingham Steam Museum, and then on to Forncett Museum, in April 1976 and about forty of us snaked round the back roads of Norfolk on our huge variety of bikes with Doc leading the way majestically on his Sunbeam. Someone likened it to a green Spanish Galleon! More runs from Pulham Green followed and Wednesday pub meetings at the Scole Inn, too, later that year. The club needed a name so, following Doc's wishes, Brimbo was born, officers were voted in and a committee was formed.
Doc always played an active part in Brimbo and was the Chairman for many years and then the President. When he passed away a few years ago he left a small legacy to the club which has now been turned into a trophy to be awarded annually to a Brimbo member who we feel is deserving of recognition. This has each year's holder's name inscribed on the brass plate and there is also smaller replica to keep.
Over the years the club has varied in size and membership, and at its leanest times has been kept going by a few determined and dedicated members. Nowadays the majority of members, though not all, own a British bike, and many have bikes of other nationalities, both classic and modern. There is no restriction on the type or age of bike or member. We have in the region of 100 members, both young and not so young, with several lady bikers and pillion riders. The main focus of the club is to ride our bikes and enjoy ourselves, along with summer attendance at various local events plus the occasional winter coach trip to motorcycle museums, shows, etc. further afield. Over the past few years we have also run a Classic Bike Show and auto-jumble at The Lophams village hall, which is becoming increasingly popular.
If you're interested in joining, why not come along to one of our club nights on the first Wednesday of the month to meet a few of us and see what you think, or contact us if you have any questions?
(Adapted from Ray's article on the Doc Rawlence trophy, Dec 2015 Newsletter. Sec.)
Doc Rawlence Trophy
Doc Rawlence Trophy Holders
2015 Roger Lye
2016 Ian Balls
2017 Janice Little