Saturday, August 28, 2010

Do you believe in ghosts?

In previous posts I have mentioned the importance of history to the classic motorcyclist. That nostalgia is both a necessity in order to keep your bike on the road and a pleasurable aspect of the hobby to know the context in which the bike came into being. I owe a great deal to my Norton Model 7 in terms of expanding my horizons. I have made new friends, learned new skills, and have started collecting period literature. My little collection is very narrow and is centered around the author G. S. Davison. (I'll write more about him in a later post).

Yesterday, I received the second to last book required to complete the whole collection of first editions. I was leafing through the book while watching Formula 1 qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix held on the Spa-Francorchamps race track when this piece of paper fell out. It turns out it was the obituary for Artie Bell who had passed away August 11th 1972.

Artie Bell is an Irish motorcycle roadracer known for his short, brilliant, yet tragic racing career. He stunned the racing community by placing 2nd at the 1947 Isle of Man TT and winning the 1947 Ulster Grand Prix aboard his personal second-hand 500cc Norton. His association with Norton is an important one. During his brief career as a Norton team rider, Artie Bell worked with fellow Irishman Rex McCandless to develop the famous Norton Featherbed Frame. Artie Bell's racing career ended July 2nd 1950 in a terrible accident at the Spa-Francorchamps race track! His Grand Prix career only lasted one month.

Artie Bell at speed

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