Hairy Hands Mystery - Matchless and Martinsyde Bikes
More Reports of the Hairy HandsSince the start of the 20th century. There had been continual reports from car drivers and motorcyclists along the B3212. Those involved said that they had felt as if something else had tried to take control of the steering wheel or handlebars and that this had caused them to crash. Not long after Dr Helby’s fatal crash, a coach driver reported the same sinister problem: he reported that something else seemed to have been wrestling with the steering wheel. No-one was killed in the crash, there were still several serious injuries. August 1921, an army captain/motorcyclist crashed due to what he described as a pair of hands that had tried to take control of his handlebars.
National PublicityThat was enough to excite the tabloids, and the story achieved national publicity. Author and journalist, Rufus Endle, who wrote a book about Dartmoor Prison, had a similar experience of the hairy hands' phenomenon. Patricia and I have explored the area in depth. We have had no first-hand evidence of the hairy hands phenomenon.
The Martinsyde Bikes CompanyH.P.Martin and George Handasyde became business partners in 1908 and made their first monoplane in the same year. Their S.1 biplane model became a great success in 1914. The company was called Martin- Handasyde after 1915 and began manufacturing motorcycles in 1919. Their famous 680 cc V-twin, as illustrated, was designed by Howard Newman and had an extraordinary exhaust-over-inlet design. It had Brampton forks and a diamond-shaped frame. There was a hand- change, three-speed gearbox.
Martinsyde Victories and AchievementsThe Martinsyde engine was powerful and flexible and did great work off-road. It was largely responsible for winning the Brooklands Team Award in 1922. It served well in the Scottish Six-Days Trial. The 740 cc sports version of the V-twin came out in 1922 and was known as the “Quick Six” with a top speed of 80 mph. A disastrous fire destroyed the factory that same year and the company went bankrupt after producing a total of over 2,000 motorbikes.
Matchless Bikes HistoryHenry Herbert Collier and his sons Charlie and Harry started making motorcycles as far back as 1899 and used the trade name Matchless. Charlie won the TT singles race in 1907 and again in 1912. They then made their own engines. In 1919 they started making V-twins for use with sidecars. In 1930 they launched the 400 cc V-twin side-valve model known as the “Silver Arrow”. This was followed in 1931 by the 600 cc “Silver Hawk”. In 1935 Matchless, who had acquired AJS, brought out the Matchless/AJS hairpin valve springs. The best dealership in which to look for examples of Martinsyde and Matchless bikes today is Webuyanybike: it’s the ideal place for the best bikes at the keenest prices.
BMF FoundationThis Month’s Charity: The BMF Foundation (Charity No. 1097835) is the charity of the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), and provides funding for research and sponsorship for work that will improve the lives of everyday motorcyclists.
29 Oct 2012