Ken & Co – When the Sidecar Bug Bites

David Brown has held a passion for Scooters since being a teenager, but by chance a Sidecar came up for sale following an unexpected accident and now, over 50 years later, we hear his own story of his Sidecar adventures that has gripped him ever since…

It was the summer of 1969 and our club, Lincoln Poachers SC, was at some rally or other as we were most weekends, and I was wandering around looking at the scooters. Amongst the SX’s and GP’s was an old series 1 with a sidecar; it was the first time I had seen one close up and went to have a better look. It was love at first sight; I was like Mr Toad was when he saw something new. Then like all teenagers, other things came up and I had almost forgotten about it until one night at a weekly meeting at the Grantham Newtonians SC the subject came up because one of the club had an accident with his newly fitted sidecar.

Apparently, he had gone around a bend, lost control and put the scooter and sidecar in a ditch with his girlfriend in the chair. To cut a long story short, he took the sidecar off and I bought it from him. The sidecar body needed a lot of fibreglass and re-enforcing to get it repaired, also the seat was missing and some of the suspension. I sprayed it, and an old series 2 that I had fitted series 3 bodywork to, green and yellow and fitted an SX 200 engine from an insurance write off in it. I enquired at a local motorcycle shop about fitting the sidecar and they gave me a rough idea as to setting it up, no internet in those days and it was not a good idea to ask someone with a motor bike! I had met Jenny Stevens and her husband who had been scooter sidecar enthusiasts at a rally who were very helpful with advice and some parts.

So come spring of 1970 I was ready for my first trial run, not far, just up and down the street a couple of times with no problems. Then round the block, the first corner was fine because I had to stop but the second was just a left turn. The sidecar wheel came up, I panicked and braked. The scooter veered off to the right fortunately the road was wide and in those days traffic was light. No damage but a valuable lesson never brake on a left-hand corner and get some ballast in the sidecar. A 4 stone iron weight provided the ballast. I did thousands of miles with that sidecar outfit touring on the continent twice and entering the Isle of Man Rally 4 times from 1971-74. In 1971 me and my passenger Dave Bishop had a close encounter with a drystone wall on our last run over Druidale and bent the forks under the frame.

In 1973 I had a new passenger named Richard Bull and we did really well, see photograph below, winning the Full Day Trail (the first combo ever to do so), Sidecar Champion, 1st in the sidecar class in the Druidale speed trial and 3rd overall for the Rally.

I continued to use the combo throughout the 1970’s but then as often happens other things become more important, and my scooters took a back seat and then in the mid 1980’s my parents decided to move to a smaller property without an enormous outbuilding for my scooters and the mountain of ‘bits’ so I had to sell up. It was not until the Euro Rally in Lincoln that my interest in Lambrettas was re-kindled. This coupled with more spare time and cash had me hankering after a scooter again.

So, in 2013 I bought an Italian import Lambretta series 2 from Scooter Emporium and I was on the road again. Then it was just a matter of finding a sidecar and after restoring the scooter and spraying it and the sidecar green and yellow it is now on the road. I am now experiencing the shear pleasure of sidecar riding or perhaps it should be driving again and it’s great!

The scooter and sidecar have seen over 60,000 miles travelling around the UK to rallies or just for pleasure. This includes 3 Derby 150 rallies, a 150 mile jaunt around the Peak District and a couple of coast to coast rides. I had a couple of successes at custom shows, one being the Best Classic Scooter at the Kustom Kulture Blastoff at the Lincolnshire showground in 2019. This was the first ‘outing’ for Ken, my silent passenger.

The other success was at the Carole Nash Winter Classic Show for motorcycles and scooters recently at the Newark Showground in 2020. My association with the Witham Group goes back to their days in Webb Street for tractor oils and paint and more recently their kind sponsorship with oils for my scooter and I hope the sidecar bug that bit me all those years ago will stay on for many more years to come.

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