All the way from America
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!