Mick Payne looks back to his first meeting with Keith Wash, the founder of Unit Sidecars whose Hedingham models were keenly sought-after.
I was running late, but my MZ ETZ250 and Squire Dart outfit wasn’t really capable of making up much time. Not only that, but I was on my way to my first-ever interview with a company boss.
I’d recently started writing a column that the then editor Cyril Ayton had christened ‘Something on the Side’ in the old Motorcycle Sport, and was heading for the village of Sible Hedingham in Essex, the home of Unit Sidecars.
I had an appointment with the main man, Keith Wash, but I needn’t have worried, for he was an enthusiast first and foremost, and the sign on the wall said it all – ‘The H Team’! It really was a team effort, and Keith just steered it.
It was around 1994, and he had already been at the helm for 15 years. He had been working for English Electric Valves and living in Colchester, but then, at 48, he decided to build his own sidecars. He picked Sible Hedingham because it was situated between Colchester and Cambridge, so would be easy to find on the map.”
At first he commuted between his home and the workshop on a Gold Wing 1000, the workshop being built from panels from prefab houses, and it was only when he and wife Anne found a cottage with some land big enough to build a workshop in 1980 that things started to look up.
Read more in January’s issue of OBM