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Bridgnorth to Bewdley was great road for fast biking

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 06, 2014

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THE article from Ray James in The Bugle (May 8 edition) about the Coffee Bar culture in Bridgnorth and surrounding areas in the 1960's brought back many memories.

I was a Rocker during that era and I travelled to Bridgnorth most evenings and weekends with friends from Coseley and Dudley. Our starting point was the Cosy Corner café in Water Road, Lower Gornal.

Unless you lived through that time, you will not understand the friendships that developed between lads from other parts of the Midlands. There was no friction at all and we all respected each other.

As you will realise from this email I am now in my early 70s and not in particularly good health.

As Ray James said in his article, apart from the Sabrina in Bridgnorth, we also travelled to the Riverside Café in Bewdley and The Four Guitars in Stourport.

The road from Bridgnorth to Bewdley and Stourport was a great road for fast biking. Many of the bikers who gathered at the Four Guitars were from Birmingham, and if my memory is correct two names that stand out were Johnny Rocket and The Slob.

Having originated from Tipton, I don't know whether Ray remembers a dear friend of mine. Keith Tranter tragically he died on July 7, 1970, after suffering severe burns following a crash in Enville when his machine. A Norton fell on top of him and the petrol tank burst open.

It was at the inquest into Keith's death that the jury recommended the practice of using glass fibre tanks should be fully examined.

Moving away from such a tragic accident, even though we lost many friends over a four to five-year period, it was still an exciting time.

I remember Bob Heath very well, and his BSA Lightning fitted with a Peel racing fairing. Bob later became a very successful rider in the Isle of Man over many years, and also very successful in his Visor business. I found out recently that Bob now lives in Highley, near Bridgnorth, and drives trains on the Severn Valley Railway.

I now live near Stafford where I moved to in 1976 with my wife and raised two daughters here. Sometimes my wife and I have a ride to Bridgnorth on a Saturday morning, where I might add that we met in Bridgnorth in 1963.

When I go to High Town and pass the former Sabrina coffee bar, which is now I believe an Indian or Chinese takeaway, I look across at the row of terraced cottages where we parked our bikes, and think of the noise that we put the residents through by revving up our machines, some I'm sure had open Meggas.

There was a motorcycle policeman by the name of Norman, I don't remember his surname, who always carried a folding wooden ruler and took great pleasure unfolding it and pushing it up a particularly noisy bike that he had followed into Bridgnorth. I remember him stopping me coming down Hermitage Hill, after noticing that I had a broken rear light lens following a recent accident. He said that he wasn't happy with the distance that it had taken me to stop on my Triumph TR6 Trophy, so he got on it and went back up the Hermitage and rode down and applied the brakes and sailed past me. He said that my brakes were not very good, but the ones on his police bike were about the same. He was on a Triumph Saint, so he knew that Triumph brakes were not that efficient. Many thanks.

Roy Fownes,

2 Geneshall Close, Gnosall,

Stafford, ST20 0EL.

01785 822853.

roy.fownes@hotmail.co.uk

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