Sunday, November 4, 2018

B.M.S...... Bruce Main-Smith , the well known motorcycle journalist..."has pulled his bike on its stand for the last time", passing away on 6th October 2018.

The Velobanjogent's "back in harness" as they say, albeit with a sad start...
The passing of Bruce Main-Smith on 6th October 2018......
Bruce Main-Smith, aka B.M.S to so many of us with an interest in earlier motorcycling has as a relative has posted on an earlier post of mine...
"Velocette's24 HOURS AT 100.05mph.........” as a comment "unknown"... "pulled his bike on its stand for the last time"....
Born in 1929, the year after, comments B.M.S as a 16 year old the first motorcycle he bought was made.. a 350 pushrod Ivory Calthorpe....
Too young for WW2 Bruce joined the R.A.F in later 1940's for a stint in aircrew.
Now I've not intending this to be a tale of Bruce's life although I'll illustrate the post photographically.... so will move to his first position as a journalist in the UK motorcycle magazine "MotorCycling" under the then editorship of Bob Halliday in 1955.
 
B.M.S with Bob Halliday, IOM TT

Over 450,000 motorcycle miles, 300 road tests, 100 racer tests were to follow in the 12 years  until "Motorcycling" was merged with "The MotorCycle" ....



 It seems Bruce and other "MotorCycling" journalists parted company with the new merged entity which soon after reverted to it's original title of "The MotorCycle"
 Bruce had a stint with "Motor Cycle News" in the 1970's as well as with copy provided to the monthly magazine "Motorcycle Sport" under such titles as "Motorcycling Moments" and "Technical Comment"...


As well he started his own publishing company with his wife Margaret and friend Reg Lewis ( I think this was his surname).... "B.M.S Ltd" and living in Leatherhead, Surrey based the business there.
Pictured below is Margaret...
As well as a mass of photocopies of motorcycle spare parts and instruction books he offered for sale, he is known for "The Keig Collection" , some five volumes of photographs taken by the Keig family who owned a photographic business in the IOM, of TT and MGP riders from the early 1911 or so onwards...as well as the publication of his good friend "Titch" Allen's "Vintage Road Test Journals" , the first in 1973,again over five editions.
So lets have a short photographic journey through some of Bruce's road tests, heavily with Velocette due to my personal interest.... and of course a look at the participation as a rider in the two Velocette attempts at exceeding 100mph for 24hours.... the first in 1961 on a 500cc Velocette Venom Veeline was successful and was the first motorcycle to do so and to this day remains the only 500cc machine to do it.... 




Confident in 1963, Velocette attempted to do it again this time on a 350cc Velocette Viper Veeline but alas after several mechanical issues intervened they called it a day, unsuccessful.

A rider change during the unsuccessful 350 attempt...B.M.S on the right.


A road test...before the yellow helmet and black triangle..
 B.M.S with a Puch scooter for test....
  B.M.S at the  Blackwell Tunnel,Matchless G2 250.
 B.M.S on a "Motorcycling" staff bike, scrambling.
 B.M.S,1962, new Avon cling tyre tests.
 B.M.S on a Dayton Albatross scooter test.

B.M.S on special Tiger Cub Triumph in SSDT 21.07.1958.


 B.M.S, 125cc Ducati at Cascades, Oulton Park, 1961.
B.M.S on a 1921 Velocette during the Banbury run.




Lets pop back to early days for B.M.S.. for he owned several Vincents...




He was a Vice President of the UK Vincent Owners Club as well as its President for several years and rode and raced personal Vincents early in his life.

He tested many Velocettes during his career and thanks for following this short photographic journey through his life ....
And finally a little more from the comment to my 2008 Velocette post on this Velobanjogent site from a close relative of Bruce's...


".....Bruce was my wife's stepfather hence I am making this posting on the family's behalf.
Bruce suffered a stroke in 2012 from which he never completely recovered and he became very shaky over the last few years culminating in a fall downstairs (he would never use the stair lift) at his home in Hampshire on 4th April 2018.
He sustained a blow to the head which resulted in a bleed on the brain and then spent the next eight weeks in hospital.
The injury brought on severe dementia so he was subsequently transferred to Casterbridge Manor Care Home, Cerne Abbas, Dorset UK to be near us.
He died there at 10.15 on Saturday 6th October 2018.
His funeral was held at midday on 25th October 2018 at Yeovil crematorium.
Sorry to be the bearer of such sad news - I believe he was the last survivor of the Velocette 24 hours at 100 mph riders so for that alone he left his mark...."







R.I.P Bruce....
                              .... Dennis Quinlan