A Norton Navigator’s tale – the rescuer rescued

Les Orme tells how, many years after the event, he managed to return the favour to a Norton Navigator that had rescued him from a breakdown crisis in France.

Taking a break from towing Les Orme’s stricken 250-cc AJS Model 14 180 miles across France in 1963, the 350cc Norton Navigator is pictured with its original owner, Pete Evans. At the back is Keith Pitcher’s 250cc BSA C15.
Taking a break from towing Les Orme’s stricken 250-cc AJS Model 14 180 miles across France in 1963, the 350cc Norton Navigator is pictured with its original owner, Pete Evans. At the back is Keith Pitcher’s 250cc BSA C15.

My motorcycling days started in 1959, at the age of 15, when friends Keith Pitcher, Pete Evans and I bought an old non-running rigid rear-end BSA for £5. I can’t remember the capacity, but it must have been a 250cc or 350cc single.

Our intention had been to take it apart for some maintenance experience, but Bill Pitcher, who had an important position at Norton in Bracebridge Street, just happened to be Keith’s father, and soon had it up and running.

The three of us learned to ride it in the vehicle access right-of-way at the back of Bill’s house, but the neighbours soon complained about the noise.

Read more in August’s issue of OBM

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