WhoIs� Michael Martin
The interesting part of producing magazines is that you never know what adventures the articles of stories may lead to. In the case of the Mickmar story in the last issue we had quite a few phone calls asking the question, who is Michael Martin? My father
MICHAEL MARTIN — ENGINEER: On leaving school he joined BSA as an apprentice in 1953 and became ‘Chairman’ of the Apprentices in the final year of his five-year apprenticeship. A couple of years after his apprenticeship he went on to be a BSA Higher Management Trainee. Michael always speaks very highly of the training that he had while a youngster at BSA. For a couple of years, he was a Nuclear Project Engineer at Joseph Lucas, and then returned as Senior Designer at BSA Group Research. They then moved to BSA Redditch, which was the Head Quarters of the General Engineering Division, where he became Group Chief Development Engineer. The Redditch factory was switched into the BSA Motor Cycle Division, and Michael was in charge of Motor Cycle Two-Stroke Development. Then all Research and Development activity was switched to Umberslade Hall, where he became the Single Cylinder Project Manager.
MICHAEL MARTIN — ADMINISTRATOR: Michael followed in his father Tom’s footsteps as Secretary of the Birmingham ‘30’ MC. The Birmingham ‘30’ was formed at the end of the war from the 30th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Home Guard. The Home Guard ran a grass track at their HQ. It was next door to Edgbaston, and the grass track area is now a car park for the cricket stadium. He was Assistant Secretary of the Midland Centre ACU and was also a member of the Competitions Committee of the ACU.
MICHAEL MARTIN — RIDER: Yes, the passion to compete was always there and he was a competent rider in cross country events. Following his brother Brian Martin, he became the BSA Competition Manager in 1959, as sidecar passenger with Bill Howard in the BSA outfit. Then he went solo and enjoyed many successes in trials at club level. His moment of glory was to win the then prestigious Solihull Half Crown Trial. At centre level, he enjoyed the occasional win while scrambling. He got through to many semi-finals on the old Red Marley Freak Hill Climb. He comments ruefully that he was knocked out at the semi-final stage by some very big names — Brother Brian Martin and Alf Hagon to name a few. He rode in four ISDTs once as a sidecar passenger with Bill Howard — the last time BSA ever entered chairs in the works team.
The Clutch Story
To capture the true ‘British Bulldog’ spirit of the Mickmar project, we take a look at the Clutch Project. It’s only when you read this that you start to understand just how a project works.
MICHAEL MARTIN: The story of the clutch that was used on the Mickmar engine is an encapsulation of the total Mickmar story and, indeed, a commentary on the collapsing UK motorcycle industry in the seventies. As far as those of us involved with the Mickmar project in Selly Oak were concerned, there was no real technical difficulty in designing a clutch for our engine. Clutches are straightforward enough, and you can knock the parts out quickly and for a few coppers per bucketful. What you did need though was some relatively heavy press tooling; this equalled heavy money — something we was not well blessed with!
Initially, while in discussions with Greeves, it appeared likely that they could supply us with a suitable clutch. When Greeves lost interest in Mickmar that clutch supply line dried up. However, another door seemed to open with the Birmingham firm Aerco Jig and Tool
Bob Currie used this superb open engine drawing in an article on the Mickmar project for Motor Cycle.
This open gearbox drawing also by Bob Currie is once again from an article on the Mickmar project for Motor Cycle.