The Chase

January 30, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I must have been about 18 and i had had an accident on one my Velocettes, I hit a dog on the Duncton straight doing about 70 ish. I was doing 70, not the dog. The dog survived , I suffering some bruising  but the bike was seriously bent. My Uncle Don collected  it and took it to his yard in Chichester where I also worked as an apprentice diesel mechanic at J H Sparshatts.With my only mode of transport out of commission , I went to work by bus and when I knocked off,  I started to repair the bike.

I got fed up travelling to and fro from Chichester and one Sunday decided to ride the bike home to Burton Pond. The bikes petrol tank was still being resprayed so I bungeed a one gallon oil can filled with petrol to the frame. The Velo had no lights or mudguards but it was definitely roadworthy! The fifteen mile ride home was uneventful but I thought I had better buy my Mum a box of chocolates as she was bound to be cross that I had ridden home. I knew the  Rapleys Garage shop at Heath End would be closed on a Sunday but I knew if I went round the back, the owner would give me a box of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

However, as I turned into the forecourt, I noticed a silver Triumph with a long aerial sticking up the back - Oops ! The bike was a Triumph Saint 650cc twin and they were known to be quite quick. So I rapidly did a U-turn and headed back down the Duncton straight, hoping that my tuned 350cc single engined Velo could outrun the local constabulary on an over-weight police bike.

The one essential piece of equipment which I alway had on my bikes was a cop-spotter - a mirror mounted on the handlebars. As I neared the end of the straight I spotted the cop closing rapidly so I realised his 650cc twin had the edge on my 350cc single. I wondered how he is on the bends, so I led him through Duncton village , cranked over and scratching around the Cricketers Pub and onto the bottom of Duncton Hill. Turns out he couldn’t keep up on the bends and eventually I lost him on the way to Sutton where I then plotted a course for home. 

I ran the bike up the ramp into the shed, shut the door and and got indoors shedding my crash hat and slinging my Barbour jacket into a corner where it stood up on its own - it was a very oily waxed cotton jacket. My Dad asked what the problem was and I explained what had happened . Ten minutes later, a Triumph police bike went up and down our road a few times and then came directly to our house. He knocked on the front door and my Dad answered it, whereupon the policeman stepped inside and came straight  into our front room. He knew it was me as I found out later he had been asking around the neighbourhood if they knew of a young hooligan on a bike who lived nearby - somebody grassed….

He demanded to see the bike, so I wheeled it out of the shed, put it on its stand and listened to the exhaust ticking - it was still hot ! 
He threw the book at me. No tax, no insurance , no lights - etc, etc. He then pushed the bike off its stand and tried to do me for bad brakes. I wasn’t having that as I reminded him about who out-braked him on a certain downhill section where he nearly ended up in the hedge. He let me off about the brakes but wrote out a lengthy summons which he handed to me. 

After he left, my Dad asked me to find a writing  pad and pen whereupon he sat down and put pen to paper. The result was stuffed into an envelope and posted the next day. 

About a week later, he received a personal letter from the Chief Constable of Petworth, letting me off with a caution. It appears that my Dad, having some knowledge of the law, had noticed that the police biker had entered our house  without  asking permission and without a warrant which was illegal - thanks Dad.


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