At the Dirt Bike Show in November 2013 I was placed with my stand, representing both Trial Magazine and Classic Trial Magazine, next to the Poachers Pre-65 Classic Trials Club stand. As with anything trials I am always curious and spotted what looked to me like a BSA Bantam D3, which I’d had as my very first motorcycle. It was then that I struck up casual conversation with what turned out to be the machine’s owner, Mick Dawson. He is a keen enthusiast who competes on his BSA Bantam in the series and enjoys the single-lap nature of the events. He loves riding the Bantam but wanted an easier day, to look after his aging body, and so approached specialist builder Jim Pickering to see if he could help.
This Drayton Rigid Bantam, fitted with its replica frame, was built to replace the tired old original 1950 model because the frame kept cracking due to its aging steelwork and the constant use in competition. With its owner being the same age as the trusty machine and also constantly taking a hammering on the body with the old D1 forks, which did not have much in the way of movement, it was time to get something that was a bit more forgiving on the front end, and so with this in mind this the Drayton Rigid Bantam was born.
Success for Mick Dawson with this faithful friend had won him the Northern British Bike Championship Vintage Two-stroke Class and the Poachers Pre 65 Club Championship Two-stroke 50/50 route but it was time to retire the Bantam to the garage for some much needed updating to aid the rider’s body and also extend the life of the BSA.
The new Drayton Rigid was fitted with Alan Whitton produced wheel hubs and fork yokes, and an aluminium fuel tank was fitted which was complemented with a classic bicycle seat obtained from the Halfords car accessories shop! The front forks are now 35mm diameter and fitted with Norton replica sliders and fork gaiters to help with protection. On top of these Dominio handlebars and levers are fitted. The 175cc engine’s performance has benefited from a rebuild carried out by the Bantam specialist Jim Pickering, of Drayton Bantam fame at Kidderminster.
The idea was to have the entire machine ready and rebuilt for the Manx International Two Day Classic Trial in 2013 by Mike, but with time running out he gave the project for building the frame and assembly of the machine to Pickering. He was first-class in his work and against the clock the machine was ready for its first running, only two weeks before the event.
It all went well and it was a happy Mike Dawson who headed to the Isle of Man with his rebuilt machine. Considering it was the first time it had been ridden in anger the whole event went well, with Mike finishing in 36th place riding in the Clubmen class and just missing the ‘Best Rigid’ machine award by a mere five marks.
The interest in the ‘New’ Drayton Rigid BSA Bantam has been very encouraging, to say the least; Jim Pickering is waiting to see if this brings him any new orders for the machines, and if it does he may well consider building a small batch. If you are interested in the machine why not give Jim a call on: 07850 836 571.
The machine has a very nice slim line to it which makes for an easier passage through the
hazards. Mike was really pleased with his first outing on the ‘new’ machine
at the Manx International Two Day Classic
Trial 2013. Jim Pickering rebuilt the 175cc BSA engine There is no mechanical joint between the exhaust front pipe and silencer as it’s welded at the joining area. As with any Pre-65 machine, wheel alignment is very important to keep the chain run as good as possible. Good quality chain adjusters are fitted with a robust stop for them to butt up to. Aluminium wheel rims are laced to the Alan Whitton manufactured wheel hubs. The vulnerable exhaust silencer is up-swept to keep it out of harm’s way. You can also see the modern-type footrest setup to aid rider comfort when faced with a
long day on the machine.