Sun­beam sagas

Old Bike Australasia - - OLD BIKE OUT 'N' ABOUT -

Fur­ther to his obit­u­ary for Max Brum­head in OBA 58, Steve Hether­ing­ton asked Max’s brother Jeff to share some mem­o­ries. Here they are. I write these sto­ries in mem­ory of my brother, Max Brum­head, the last owner of my Sun­beam be­fore it was so im­mac­u­lately re­stored. Max fea­tured in the YDS1 Yamaha Sports story in OBA55 but sadly passed away on 20th De­cem­ber 2015. I pur­chased the Sun­beam from the orig­i­nal owner, a work mate of Max’s, around 1955. It was a 1948 S8 Sun­beam with a very low en­gine num­ber, in very good con­di­tion with low mileage and I was thrilled to bits with my pur­chase. I owned the bike for around 20 years be­fore pass­ing it on to Max. It sat in my garage un­used for ap­prox­i­mately 5 years then moved to Max’s garage for a fur­ther 20 plus years be­fore be­ing sold to the present owner. Not long af­ter I bought the bike, I set off with a mate on the pil­lion for a few days in War­rnam­bool. We trav­elled well to Co­lac when sud­denly the mo­tor started mak­ing shock­ing noises. Alas, a bro­ken crank­shaft, the only case I have ever heard of in these mod­els. Trucked back to home in Reser­voir, Mel­bourne and a mo­tor re-build, new shaft and rings took place to put me back on the road for many years. On the 2nd De­cem­ber 1956 the Aus­tralian Grand Prix was held around the Al­bert Park, Lake Mel­bourne, fol­low­ing the Olympic Games in Novem­ber of that year. Stir­ling Moss (Maserati) won the 80 lap event with a time of 2 hours 36 m. Mar­i­lyn Munro was in Mel­bourne at the time and I was priv­i­leged to have the task of es­cort­ing her on the Sun­beam as she trav­elled in an MG around the cir­cuit. I was to closely fol­low the MG with a view of pre­vent­ing any­one else from get­ting too close to her. I also had track clear­ing du­ties dur­ing the ear­lier races, rid­ing around the track be­tween races on the Sun­beam. The next long trip would be to Queens­land, Gold Coast around 1957 with the same mate on the back. In the 1950s the way to go to Queens­land was via Syd­ney as in­land roads were gravel and of­ten hardly made. We struck much rain, roads were slip­pery and wet but we trav­elled well. Near Port Mac­quarie there was a lift bridge with steel plate deck­ing, nice and wet, we were not go­ing too fast when a fish­er­man with his rod over the shoul­der chose to step out and cross the road in front of us. As in­ex­pe­ri­enced as I was at the time I did well to hit the an­chors and lay the bike side­ways and the two

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