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Member Profile - Godfrey (Godders) Potter

posted 28 Jul 2013, 15:22 by Section Webmaster

I've a confession to make, i.e. that I'm a hypocrite. Well, because I readily deride people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc. on the basis that these people are just weak-willed, but I am a true addict - to motor bikes !!

It started in 1957 when my dad bought me my first motorbike, actually it was on a sort of 'shared' system because he had to work early on Sunday mornings but there weren't any buses running, so he would ride it to work & I would take a 'hot' lunch to him by bus, then pick up the bike. This Ariel 350 Red Hunter of 1936 vintage did me sterling service for several years (No CBT, capacity restrictions etc. in those days, one just slapped a couple of 'L' plates on any bike you could afford. In my opinion not necessarily a good thing as I think that today's motorcyclists have a safer start.)

The next motorised 2-wheeler was a twin, seemed like heady stuff, two cylinders = twice as fast/ twice the street cred, well in those days! A 350 Triumph 3T 1948, which came from a local dealer on H.P. Mistake, I don't think I've ever been so hard up in my life! & the bike was just about the biggest pile of c*** I've owned!


The exact order & actual bikes have now somewhat been blurred with age-related memory, but the ones that come to mind are various ex WD (Ex army) bikes, another 350 Ariel - would pull out tree stumps in bottom gear! - a Matchless 350, which someone had converted to a trials bike, a side valve 500 Norton model 16H with a tradesman's box sidecar fitted. A return to 'Civilian' bikes followed a Royal Enfield 1140 V-Twin,1936, once again with a box sidecar fitted. An interesting bike, unreliable but good fun, hand gear change, took some getting used to. Then a 500 Norton ES2 model 1952, this time with a child/adult sidecar, this pulled like a steam train but the sidecar had been home made & was also a bit long in the tooth so I got what seemed like a bit better machine, a BSA 600 M21 with a child/adult Watsonian sidecar; it didn't go half as well as the Norton, but it served a purpose.


Right, this is looking like a list of bikes "Wot I have Owned"! Anyway up until the early '60's, there were numerous escapades on bikes involving visits to the northern race tracks, camping in the Lake District, Scotland, & elsewhere, one Scottish adventure where I was an unwitting "Gooseberry" in the company of the present Yorkshire social secretary & husband, but despite this, they've been married since around that time!

Then my mate of the time & myself decided we would like to go sidecar road racing; however, when looking into the cost it was out of the question so we hit upon the idea of going sidecar grass track racing. We built up an outfit with various materials & engine/frames, bits which we had & raced until '64 with a fair degree of failure! but a huge degree of fun & learning. Until I fell out of the chair & was run over by a following outfit suffered a broken femur, broken ribs & some enamel chipped off my teeth (did I say 'FUN'?)

After nearly twelve months when things had mainly healed, other domestic circumstances required my moving to tropical regions - Surrey!- then marriage, & family followed so that motorcycling was put on the 'back-burner' so to speak, but when getting a job in central London the requirement of a suitable method of commuting took preference, I couldn't bear the thought of travelling by tube every day! this being '74, so a 175 Honda was acquired, followed by a 750 Norton Commando! which was stolen, a 650 Honda was bought with the insurance money. An unmemorable bike despite being my very first new vehicle. However it presented me with a 'life changing' experience, sort of.

 In 1980 a work colleague convinced me to go with him on a trip to the Monaco F1 GP, he said that he'd organise it all, when asked about accommodation, his reply was that as we were going to be wearing m/bike gear, we could sleep 'rough'! in field corners etc. well this being my first trip abroad on a bike I thought everybody did this sort of thing. Well to cut a long story short, it did work & we had a whale of a time, to say the least. The trip gave me more of an insight as to what one can achieve on a m/bike. When people say that life begins at 40, they are a bit out, mine took on a new lease at 39!!

A Moto Guzzi Le Mans ll, new, was next which I fell in love with. During the period of ownership of this 'ItalianStallion', a member of that club had started Sprint Hill Climbing so I thought "H'mm, I wouldn't mind having a go at that" So a 'Basket Case' Honda 250 super dream was bought which I lightened, tuned & off I went, this being '85. There wasn't anything remotely resembling success with this bike, except a heck of a lot fun with a steep learning curve. In the Road Legal class, my bike was a Yamaha 350 LC which got me the National Championship for 4 years, 3 of which were 'on the trot' '90-'95 when my career in this field was terminated by having a mishap & breaking a femur & yes, you've guessed it, the right one again!! The Le Mans proved to be unsuitable as a pillion carrier so the obvious choice was a BMW, despite my preconceived ideas about them at that time, but I knew that the club had an enviable reputation on the social aspect of motorcycling. So in '89 a R100RS of 1980 vintage was purchased. A beautiful looking bike & compared to the previous one, very comfortable. In fact on a trip into France shortly after getting it, my wife, Chris, on the pillion fell asleep whilst we were going fairly 'briskly' !!

 The BMW club was joined in the London section, new friends made, interesting trips gone on both British & 'sur le Continent' Other BMW's were bought because, well I know it sounds silly, but the R100RS was just too pretty for me to keep up to! A good deal was on offer on a new K100RS at Alan Jeffries, so a deal was done, delivered to my door by no less a person than David Jeffries!

Around this time I started going to the Southern section natter nights, then the London section moved their club night's location to places that were not easy for me to get to, so the solution was for me to transfer to the Southern section. A decision which I/we have not regretted one iota! Great company, good laughs, a wonderful source of information, not just about m/bikes, but life in general, especially one particular time when I was in need of consoling during a personal loss.

My present bike is my second R1200RT, which I must admit to becoming rather fond of, only having done some 8,000 miles, & hopefully going to enjoy a lot more.

If you've read this epistle so far, then I haven't quite perfected the cure for insomnia!!!

 "Happy Biking"