The back room bof­fin

Old Bike Australasia - - 1938 TRIUMPH 5T SPEED TWIN - Ge­off Knott

For around 20 years Ge­off Knott has headed the work­shop at Clas­sic Style and has been re­spon­si­ble for some stun­ning restora­tions as well as the more rou­tine tasks of main­tain­ing the floor stock for sale. Be­fore this, Ge­off ran his own small restora­tion busi­ness, Gate­field Clas­sics, in Eng­land, but found it dif­fi­cult to make the end­less small jobs prof­itable. De­cid­ing on a change of scenery, he wrote to Phil Pil­grim to in­ves­ti­gate the pos­si­bil­ity of a spon­sored pas­sage to work in Aus­tralia, and this is where Jon Munn takes up the story.

“Phil Pil­grim’s main busi­ness is parts, whereas we do com­plete restora­tion and all sorts of clas­sic bike work, so Phil sug­gested that Ge­off con­tact me, which he did. Ge­off was con­scious of the fact that he was al­ready in his early for­ties and the cut-off for such em­i­gra­tion is 45, so I sug­gested he come to Mel­bourne and have a look around. So he and his wife came for three weeks, loved the place, and I set about ar­rang­ing the spon­sor­ship. To do this I had to ad­ver­tise for staff to demon­strate that the skills that Ge­off has were unique, and this process took about one year. He’s been with me ever since and I am still amazed at his ded­i­ca­tion to de­tail and per­fec­tion. He did our Vin­cent that won the award at Mo­tor­clas­sica and that was from an ab­so­lute bas­ket case. He has just fin­ished restor­ing a pair of 1959 Tri­umph Bon­nevilles, and they look ab­so­lutely bril­liant.”

“Ge­off’s other pas­sion was side­car mo­tocross, and he raced ex­ten­sively in this form of the sport in Eng­land and Europe. I was rac­ing a Metisse here in solo VMX, and Ge­off came along to a meet­ing and said it would be fun to get an MX out­fit to­gether. We got hold of a later model Nor­ton Wasp and con­verted it back to twin-shock spec­i­fi­ca­tion and did a sea­son on it with me rid­ing and Ge­off in the chair. Then we de­cided to get se­ri­ous and so I got in touch with Rob­bie Rhind-Tutt, the builder of the Wasp out­fits, and got a fully ad­justable chas­sis so we could change cam­ber an­gles and so on to suit var­i­ous tracks. That worked very well but the vi­bra­tion from the en­gine used to shake apart our trick ig­ni­tion sys­tem so we jig bored the crankcases to make sure ev­ery­thing was straight, and fit­ted an SR2 mag­neto. That was amaz­ing, I reckon it gave us 25% in­crease in power. We could just scorch off the line in sec­ond gear and no­body could beat us to the first cor­ner. We won heaps of races in­clud­ing the state cham­pi­onships but we got to a stage where we were both push­ing sixty so we thought it was time to let the younger blokes have a go! We still have the Wasp though, just in case…”

Ge­off Knott with his lat­est project – a matched pair of 1959 Bon­nevilles.

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