One of the finest descriptions of fast riding ever written was T E Lawrence’s essay, ‘The Road’, describing an impromptu ‘race’ between Boanerges, his beloved Brough Superior 100SS, and a Bristol Fighter in Lincolnshire.
It appeared in the December 27, 1962 issue of The Motor Cycle after first being published in a book entitled The Mint, published 30 years after Lawrence’s death and describing his life in the Royal Air Force.
Although, in the season of goodwill towards all men, a rudimentary ‘Happy Christmas’ at the end of editorial columns is about all we’ve come to expect from so many publications today, years ago the weekly motorcycle magazines simply glowed with seasonal joy.
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Mastheads and feature headings were covered in freshly-fallen snow, and articles such as Yuletide memories, ghost stories and unusual road tests had to be planned well in advance so that the editorial teams could relax and enjoy a few days’ rest.
With few news stories about at that time of year, the two consecutive Christmas issues had to be put together virtually as one, and staff would each be given a specific Christmas feature to write. Those with an imaginative streak – The Motor Cycle’s Bob Currie, for instance – might dream up an entertaining work of fiction, or undertake a special road test on a steam roller or vintage Leyland coach.
His colleague, Vic Willoughby, might take a look at the year’s technical advances in road racing, while others might review the road test machines they’d ridden during the year, write about winter motorcycle maintenance or give some hints and tips about riding in the snow.
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