All the way from Amer­ica

Classic Racer - - PEOPLE -

The black and or­ange came from Amer­ica. Nor­man went over and came back with th­ese Bell full-face hel­mets. they were crat­ing bikes across in those days but one of the crates came back with­out a bike. It was full of hel­mets. No one had seen them un­til then. The first time I tried a Bell hel­met – which I’m sure he charged me for! – it was like a bucket. It nearly rested on your shoul­der and I strug­gled with it. Then Keith Cal­low, of Shell, said: “Do you fancy some new leathers?” and Nor­man said: “We’ve gotta have colour.you wanna see th­ese guys out there. They look like clowns, but you gotta be in yel­low or some­thing.” He started with the hel­mets. Full face hel­mets weren’t le­gal in this coun­try so I gave the ACU one to look at for de­struc­tion tests. I took one down to Lon­don, where they use to be near the Amer­i­can Em­bassy, and they made it le­gal. So in 1968 we had the Bell hel­mets and then a solo rider started wear­ing white leathers. But kneel­ing in a side­car you get cov­ered in

oil, so I thought: “Maybe just on the arms?” we had our leathers off Reg Cross back then and so at Cad­well – he al­ways came to Cad­well – I asked: “Can you make us some arms for th­ese leathers? I want the bright­est or­ange you can get”. then we had the com­plete top half or­ange, for nearly a month, with­out ac­tu­ally us­ing them.

Roy: the first time I think we used the full or­ange ones was at Rouen.the bikes were ready but all four of us were hid­ing in the back of a tran­sit van, wait­ing in our leathers. then when we came out it was “what the ****!” as they re­ally were bright. Later on we got into a lit­tle trou­ble. There was a pub down at the bot­tom of the town and Ge­orge O’dell was there and there were chips and peas fly­ing all over the place and we thought we bet­ter get out of there. But as Ge­orge drove away he knocked over a cou­ple of bikes. A cou­ple of nights later we were back and the lads whose bikes they were turned up. when they found out we were the guys in the black and or­ange, we could do no wrong!

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