No secret, it needed a service

Published: 10:49AM Aug 1st, 2012
By: Web Editor
What a lovely surprise to see ‘my’ old Thunderball bike after all these years, on page six of OBM July issue.
No secret, it needed a service

During the launch of the Thunderball film I was telephoned by Joe Miles of Miles Motors, in Uxbridge. He asked would I be free to ride this bike around to the London cinemas for EON Enterprises Ltd, to publicise the film for a week. Would I? Er, let me think...

The bike was delivered to Miles Motors in a very sorry state, not been maintained and I suspect ridden by everybody who wanted a go. I brought the bike up to spec in Miles’ workshop. You can imagine the interest it generated and I was the chap in charge. Not bad for a proud 21-year-old guy.

As far as I can recall, there were three special A65s.

One ended up in the lake, I had one, what happened to the third I can’t remember.

‘My’ bike had the number plates and tax disc holder removed, as were the rockets, though dummy ones were inserted into the tubes. The story goes that the actual projectiles were distress flares and had little directional ability. The film crew had to be housed in bunkers should the errant flare head in their direction. It is said that Chris Vincent wanted to install these flares onto his racing machines as the deceleration was phenomenal, but felt the ACU would object. Two flares had to be fired together, one each side to prevent the recoil from toppling the bike over.

I used the bike on the roads for fun, but was always being pulled up by the boys in blue. No number plate gave them some concern, however I had a letter from the then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Joseph Simpson, who authorised these exceptions. I got fed up in the end being stopped. Tell you what though, it was great for getting the traffic to move over! The bike was handed back to Miles, I lost track of it from then.

But why me, you may ask, I’m not a famous name? Well, there was a road safety competition at the time called The Motorcyclist of the Year. Run by RoSPA and sponsored by The Company of Veteran Motorists. I was lucky enough to win it in 1963, ’64 and ’65. Guess, this qualified me to ride its precious machine. They say, every dog has its day, this was mine. Unfortunately all my records and photos have been destroyed.

Mike Pitson, Surrey

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