Edgar Jes­sop plus next is­sue pre­view

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS -

Af­ter a tor­rid year that in­cluded rac­ing in far flung lo­ca­tions in ad­di­tion to his more pro­saic du­ties for his em­ployer, Edgar was look­ing for­ward to a well earned va­ca­tion at his villa at Cape Fer­ret over­look­ing Bassin d’Ar­ca­chon – a lo­ca­tion where lo­cals re­spected his celebrity sta­tus, since most of them were celebri­ties them­selves.

So when he was sum­moned to the of­fice of Sir Carruthers Spag­forth, two days be­fore his planned de­par­ture on the Pull­man car­riage de­part­ing St Pan­cras sta­tion, he en­tered the oak-pan­elled room with some trep­i­da­tion. Star­ing from the walls were the works of var­i­ous taxi­der­mists – the vic­tims of the gu­vnor’s sa­faris, all antlers, fangs and glazed eyes. Seated at his vast desk, Sir Carruthers in­di­cated that Edgar should take a chair, and cleared his throat be­fore be­gin­ning to out­line what Edgar in­stinc­tively knew would be – to him – an un­palat­able as­sign­ment.

It tran­spired that, ex­er­cis­ing his per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with the Ex­ec­u­tive of Rus­sian Agrar­ian In­dus­tries, the gu­vnor had re­cently con­cluded a deal to pur­chase a fleet of Soviet trac­tors at a con­sid­er­able dis­count. It was a con­ces­sion not with­out a re­quire­ment for re­cip­ro­ca­tion, and Sir Carruthers had read­ily agreed to the re­quest that Edgar Jes­sop par­tic­i­pate in the Grand Prix of Moscow on a works Spag­forth Mu­tant. Edgar stiff­ened at the news, and cau­tiously en­quired as to the date of this as­sign­ment. “Why, one week from to­day,” came the re­ply. “You are booked on the Trans Siberian Ex­press this very evening.” On ar­rival in Moscow, Edgar con­soled him­self that it could have been worse, for his lodg­ings were at the Ho­tel Metropol, a grand struc­ture in Art Nou­veau style, with sump­tu­ous rooms and the world fa­mous Bo­yarsky Restau­rant. Its clien­tele also in­cluded many of the re­main­ing no­bil­ity of post-rev­o­lu­tion­ary Rus­sia, and Edgar was soon in the con­stant com­pany of the charm­ing and strik­ingly at­trac­tive Count­ess Ma­rina Dvoret­sky. Nat­u­rally, Edgar had lit­tle dif­fi­culty in tak­ing out the Grand Prix, for which he re­ceived a sil­ver salver and an ap­proved Bol­she­vik sickle. Many years passed un­til, un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act, Edgar was con­tacted by a young Rus­sian mu­si­cian, Vladimir Dvoret­sky, who had made his way from Rus­sia to Bri­tain and had found work play­ing dou­ble bass in a small en­sem­ble that was tour­ing Bri­tain, and had ac­tu­ally per­formed at the Dou­glas Bay Ho­tel dur­ing the TT races of that year. Many peo­ple there had com­mented on his strik­ing re­sem­blance to Edgar, who was nat­u­rally one of the most fa­mous of the TT stars – pho­to­graphs of Edgar adorned vir­tu­ally ev­ery pub and café on the is­land. The un­ex­pected phone call was re­ceived with Edgar’s cus­tom­ary aplomb and sang froid, for decades as a man of the world had in­stilled in him a stream­lined de­fence mech­a­nism. Po­litely dis­miss­ing a mano a mano meet­ing, Edgar in­stead of­fered to send the young chap a per­son­ally au­to­graphed post­card of him­self. When ne­ces­sity com­pelled, Edgar could be quite a cad.

Vladimir Dvoret­sky on his Honda CB450, on his way to an­other en­gage­ment.

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