The Phantom Manufacturing


We met the Phantom team at the last Norton Festival in Donington and took pictures of this amazing bike made in U.K
Those guys are cool and rad and their work is simply impressive
Take a look at their website and dont forget the Gallery at the end of this post.
The Southsiders wish them a good and straight road to success.

The roots of The Phantom Manufacturing Company run deep. The cogs of the four founders, Erasmus Thump, Titus Bottomly, Enoch Podsnap and Mrs. Mabel Ramsbottom meshed in the late Spring of 1919 on the banks of the Cam river and the company was born shortly thereafter. Responsibilities were distributed as such – Erasmus was responsible for invention and exploration, Titus was the team spanner man and basher of hard things, Enoch was responsible for testing and helping Erasmus raise funds when sales were not quite to plan, and Mrs. Ramsbottom, as company secretary, made all things run smoothly. Over time they acquired a staff of skilled individuals to help in all aspects of manufacture of some of the finest sporting vintage motrobikes the world has ever seen.

History of the Phantom EG

" We build the Phantom EG the way we have always built motorbikes -- by the hands of skilled artisans. Our lads specify or form every piece of the machine. Of course, no two clients are the exact same shape, or have the exact same taste. As a result, every Phantom is unique, 'commissioned' as would a piece of fine art. The EG was designed from the start as an homage to those amazing machines that spunky gentlemen (and ladies) used to set speed records at Brooklands and board track racer circuits back in the 1920s.

The Phantom EG is not for everyone. There are other motorbikes that are faster, and still others more comfortable. What sets the Phantom EG apart from all others, is the abundance of soul. The spirits of The Phantom's founders, along with those legendary riders of the day such as Harry and Charlie Collier, W. D. Chitty, Bert Le Vack, Jake De Rosier, Jack Emerson, "Barry" Baragwanath, Gwenda Stewart, and scores of others both famous and not, run through every part of a Phantom EG. All these riders may have passed into history, but their presence is felt every time you sit astride a Phantom EG ".




VW and Custom Show

Benoit our VW reporter took some cool shots from the last Saturday Show at Castelmaurou.

Follow the link for a gallery



A French rebirth: We want you !

(Groupement Industriel Métallurgique et Mécanique) a motorcycle brand from 1947 to 1954 located in the middle of France, is going to build new lightweight motorcycles, in the first times it will be a 125cc, four strokes, and later they will make 250 and 350 singles.
A very cool adventure, everything is ready for production, BUT, last problem: the winter crisis...

The enterprise had this last Winter some financial problems and must proof now to the commercial court the sustainability of their project.

You can help them by signing the petition here...



Mac Motorcycles


I know it has been all over the web but as we are ,at the Southsiders, british motorcycles lovers we cannot ignore the birth of this new english brand and we wish them a big success for the futur.

When you're looking at those pictures you can easily find where do the inspiration is coming from and i must say that the "references" are good and the treatment they done here is better than a lot of rebirth, classic or vintage whatever ... bikes you can find on the road.
Ok i dont understand the fenders or the wheels or tyres but the choice of the engine is interesting and the general look of the bike is a good interpretation of " classic vintage " motorcycles and i like it.
Of course you can see that they maybe try to mix so many classic styles together but at least they did it, so welcome and long life to : http://www.mac-motorcycles.com/


Jai Alai a Basque tradition


I remember when i was in school we were running out of the classroom to be the first to touch the wall to play during recess ....

Jai alai is a fronton (open-walled arena) used to play a variety of Basque Pelota called Cesta Punta, and, more broadly, Cesta Punta itself.

The Basque Government promotes jai alai as "the fastest sport in the world" because of the balls' speed. A 125g–140g ball covered with goatskin can travel up to 302 km/h (188mph) (José Ramón Areitio at the Newport Jai Alai, Rhode Island).

The court (or cancha) for jai alai consists of 3 walls (front, back, and left), and the floor between them in play. If the ball (called a "pelota") touches the floor outside these walls, it is considered out of bounds. Similarly, there is also a border on the lower 3 ft (about 1 m) of the front wall that is also out of bounds. The ceiling on the court is usually very high, so the ball has a more predictable path. The court is divided by 14 parallel lines going horizontally across the court, with line 1 closest to the front wall and line 14 the back wall.

In doubles, each team consists of a frontcourt player and a backcourt player. The game begins when the frontcourt player of the first team serves the ball to the second team. The winner of each point stays on the court to meet the next team in rotation. Losers go to the end of the line to await another turn on the court. The first team to score 7 points (or 9 in Superfecta games) wins. The next highest scores are awarded "place" (second) and "show" (third) positions, respectively. Playoffs decide tied scores.

A jai alai game is played in round robin format, usually between eight teams of two players each or eight single players. The first team to score 7 or 9 points wins the game. Two of the eight teams are in the court for each point. The server on one team must bounce the ball behind the serving line, then with the cesta "basket" hurl it towards the front wall so it bounces from there to between lines 4 and 7 on the floor. The ball is then in play.

Teams alternate catching the ball in their cesta and throwing it "in one fluid motion" without holding or juggling it. The ball must be caught either on the fly or after bouncing once on the floor. A team scores a point if an opposing player:

- fails to serve so the ball bounces between lines 4 and 7 on the floor
- fails to catch the ball on the fly or after one bounce
- holds or juggles the ball
- hurls the ball out of bounds
- interferes with a player attempting to catch and hurl the ball

The team scoring a point remains in the court and the opposing team rotates off the court to the end of the list of opponents. Points usually double after the first round of play, once each team has played at least one point.

The players frequently attempt a "chula" shot, where the ball is played off the front wall very high, then reaches the bottom of the back wall by the end of its arc. The bounce off the bottom of the back wall can be very low, and the ball is very difficult to return in this situation.

In the United States, jai alai enjoyed some popularity as a gambling alternative to horse racing, greyhound racing, and harness racing, and remains popular in Florida, where the game is used as a basis for parimutuel gambling at six frontons throughout the State: Dania Beach, Miami, Ocala, Fort Pierce, Orlando, and Hamilton County. The first jai alai fronton in the United States was located at the site of Hialeah Race Course near Miami (1924). The fronton was relocated to its present site in Miami near Miami International Airport. Year round jai alai operations include Miami Jai Alai (the biggest in the world with a record audience of 15,502 people in 27 December 1975), Dania Jai Alai and Hamilton Jai Alai in North Florida. Seasonal facilities are: Fort Pierce Jai Alai, Ocala Jai Alai and Orlando-Seminole Jai Alai. Inactive jai alai permits are located: Tampa, Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach, and Quincy. One Florida fronton was converted from jai alai to greyhound racing in Melbourne.

By contrast, jai alai's popularity in the north-eastern and western United States waned as other gambling options became available. Frontons in the Connecticut towns of Hartford and Milford permanently closed, while the fronton in Bridgeport was converted to a greyhound race track. A fronton in Newport, Rhode Island has been converted to a general gaming facility. Jai alai enjoyed a brief and popular stint in Las Vegas, Nevada with the opening of a fronton at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino; however, by the early 1980s the fronton was losing money and was closed by MGM Grand owner Kirk Kerkorian. The MGM Grand in Reno also showcased jai alai for a very short period (1978–1980).

In an effort to prevent the closure of frontons in Florida, the Florida State Legislature passed HB 1059, a bill that changed the rules regarding the operation and wagering of poker in a Pari-Mutuel facility such as a jai alai fronton and a greyhound and horseracing track. The bill became law on August 6, 2003.

The International Jai Alai Player Association-UAW Local 8868 is the recognized bargaining agent for jai alai players in most Florida frontons. The union had also represented jai alai players and fronton employees in Connecticut until its three frontons permanently closed, and in Rhode Island where at the behest of the gaming regulators, the Rhode Island Legislature abolished the playing of live jai alai in favor of video lottery terminals. It is a very popular sport within the Latin American countries, and the Philippine Islands due to its hispanic influence, although it has been banned due to illegal gambling.

Although the sport is on the downside in America, the first public amateur jai-alai facility was built in the United States in 2008, in St. Petersburg, Florida, with the assistance of the city of St. Petersburg.

Good Links :
The History of Basque Pelota in the Americas


Hot news from Donington Park 1


Our Special Reporters actually around the Donington track are watching classic races, it smells Castor oil...

Hot Hot Hot !

In Live for the Southsiders Channel Laurent and Daniel.


Waiting for the report


My broken Collar-bone forced me to stay home and flat. But at this hour, I should be with my pals to "the Festival of Norton" at Donington Park.

Yesterday evening Laurent sent me a pair of pics, I know they'll make the "new Norton factory" visit today.
waiting now for the full report , I'm sure we'll have hundreds of pics and videos to look for.
So, Stay tuned guys...



Just a pic IV

I shot in front of the barn these two old Ladies, A 1936 SS100 Panther and a 1929 Scott TT



A Norton Commando History


Of course its a big big program trying to make a Commmando history, but here is a brief and humble resumé of our ever best favorite bike.

The Norton Commando was the last twin piston-engined motorcycle produced by the Norton Motorcycle company founded in 1898 by James Lansdowne Norton. Their last production bikes were twin-rotor wankels.

During the 10 years it was in production it was popular all over the world. In the UK it won the MCN "Machine of the Year" competition for five successive years from 1968-1972
Some regard it as the British Motorcycle Industry's swansong, selling well from its introduction in 1967 through the end of the British bike industry as a commercial concern in the mid 1970s

The origins of the Norton Commando can be traced back to the late 1940s when the 497cc Norton Model 7 Twin, designed by Bert Hopwood and initially an export only model. The twin cylinder design evolved into the 650 cc Norton Dominator and 750 cc Norton Atlas before being launched as the 750 cc Commando in 1967.

The revolutionary part of the Commando compared to earlier Norton models was the frame developed by former Rolls Royce engineer Dr. Stefan Bauer. Bauer believed the classic Norton Featherbed frame design went against all engineering principles, so designed his frame around a single 2.25 inch top tube.

To try to free the Commando from classic twin vibration problems, which had severely increased as the capacity of the basic design expanded from 500cc of Edward Turner's 1938 Triumph Speed Twin. Bauer, with Norton Villiers Chief Engineer Bernard Hooper and assistant Bob Trigg, decided that the engine, gearbox and swing-arm assembly were to be bolted together and isolated from the frame by special rubber mountings. This eliminated the extreme vibration problems that were apparent in other models in the range, as it effectively separated the driver from the engine.

Named the Isolastic anti-vibration system, with Hooper listed as the lead inventor on the system's patent document. Although the Isolastic system did reduce vibration, maintaining the required free play in the engine mountings at the correct level was crucial to its success. Too little play brought the vibration back; too much, and the result was "interesting" handling.

The Norton Commando was introduced in 1967 at the Earls Court Show. The first production machines completed in April 1968 had bending frame problems, removed with the introduction of a new frame in January 1969. The original model, called the 'Fastback' was joined by the production racer 'S Type' which had a high level left-side exhaust and a 2.5 gallon petrol tank.

Production of the machine was initially complex and located across different parts of England, with the engines produced in Wolverhampton, frames in Manchester, while components and final assembly was at Burrage Grove, Plumstead. In late 1968 Plumstead works was subject to a Greater London Council compulsory purchase order, and closed in July 1969. With assistance of a Government subsidy, the assembly line was moved to North Way, Andover; with the Test Department in an aircraft hangar on Thruxton Airfield. Frame manufacturing was transferred to Wolverhampton, where a second production line produced about 80 complete machines each week. Components and complete engines and gearboxes were also shipped overnight, from Wolverhampton to the Andover assembly line.

SS for Street Scrambler

The production racer, featuring an OHV tuned engine, front disk brake and was finished in bright yellow - known as the 'Yellow Peril'. In March to June 1970 the updated S called the 'Roadster' had the 750cc OHV engine, low-level exhaust, upward angled silencers with reverse cones. September 1970 saw the introduction of the classic 'Fastback Mk2', which had alloy levers with modified stands and chain guards. The ‘Street Scrambler’ and the ‘Hi Rider’ were launched in May 1971, with the ‘Fastback Long Range’ with increased petrol tank capacity from July 1971.

1970 production racer

The Hi-Rider

The ‘Combat’ engine was introduced in January 1972 saw the appearance of the ‘Mk4 Fastback’, updated ‘Roadster’ and the ‘750 Interstate’. The ‘Combat’ delivered 65b.h.p. at 6500r.p.m. with a 10 to 1 compression ratio, but the stressed 750cc twin proved extremely unreliable, with main bearing failures and broken pistons common.

The 'Combat' engine combined with quality control problems gave the company a bad reputation, which was highly covered in the press. By the middle of 1972 BSA Triumph group were in serious financial trouble. The UK Government decided to bail the company out with a financial rescue package, providing it would agree to merge with Norton Villiers. Norton Villiers Triumph was duly formed and the new company got off to a shaky start.

The last of the 750 series, the MkV was produced from November 1972 to mid-1973 as a 1973 model and featured improved crank bearings and the standard grind camshaft. Compression was reduced to 9.4:1.

The police were showing a lot of interest in the Commando and so Neale Shilton was recruited from Triumph to produce a Commando to police specifications. The end result was the 'Interpol' machine, which sold well to police forces, both at home and abroad. The machine was powered by a 750 cc. O.H.V. engine and included panniers, top box, fairing, and had fittings for a radio and auxiliary equipment.

In January 1973 the ‘Mk.5 Fastback’ was launched and the ‘Long Range’ was discontinued, foreshadowing the first 850cc machines launched in April 1973. The ‘Roadster’, ‘Hi Rider’ and the ‘Interstate’ all began to use a new 828cc. engine, which had similar power to the 750cc models but were less stressed.

1973 also saw the start of development on a new machine with a monocoque pressed steel frame, that also included a 500cc twin, stepped piston engine called the 'Wulf'. However, as the Norton Villiers Triumph company was again in serious financial problems, development of the 'Wulf' was dropped in favour of the rotary Wankel type engine inherited from BSA.

The Wulf

In late 1973 redundancy notices were issued at Andover, followed by a sit-in at the works. The Conservative Government withdrew the subsidy in early 1974, restored by the Labour party post the general election. NVT resultantly decided to concentrate production of the Commando at Wolverhampton and Small Heath, causing unrest at Meriden which resulted in a workers’ sit in and stopping production at Small Heath. By the end of 1974 NVT had lost over £3 million.

However, the company still managed to produce new Commando models, with 1974 seeing the release of the Roadster based ‘JPN Replica’ and the ‘Mk.2a Interstate’.

Norton Commando Interstate Mk3

The 850cc MK3 Commando was launched in March 1975 and for the first time was fitted with an "electric starter" - better described as electric "assister", as it would soon drain the battery. The range of models was reduced to just two machines, the ‘Mk.3 Interstate’ and the ‘Roadster’, both with a left side gear change, right foot brake and rear disk brake to comply with United States vehicle regulations. The specification remained unchanged until October 1977 when the last machines were made, although few 'Roadster's were made in the end due to the higher cash sales value of the Interstate.

In 1975 the Industry Minister recalled a loan for £4 million and refused to renew the company’s export credits. The company then went into receivership and redundancies were announced for all of the staff at the various sites. At Wolverhampton an action committee was formed in an effort to continue production and develop the ‘Wulf’ engine - but the works was closed anyway.

NVT was saved when the Small Heath/Meriden part of the company was subsidised by Industry Secretary Tony Benn as Industry Secretary, but this did not include Commando production. Ironically, the new company bought the gates from the now demolished Wolverhampton Tong Castle works, and erected at the works entrance in Marston Road, Small Heath.


A superb collection of Gus Kuhn Nortons at the Race of the Year at Mallory Park in 1971. Note the van in the background! Thanks again to Ken Veasey.

Right from the beginning the Commando took part in racing events.

After successes in 1969 by dealer entered machines like Paul Smart's second and Mick Andrew 's 4th places in the Isle of Man TT Production class and a win in the Hutchinson 100 Production Class by Mick Andrew on the Gus Kuhn entered Commando and 4th by Peter Williams' Arter Bros machine, the company decided to produce a racing model - hence the developed S and "Yellow Peril" models.

In partnership with John Player Special cigarettes from the early 1970s, Norton went factory racing. Early entries were based on the Commando, and in 1973 Peter Williams won the 1973 Formula 750 Isle of Man TT, with Mick Grant second.

Racing continued until the collapse of Norton Villiers into BSA Triumph in 1973, and did not return until the Rotary Nortons of the

Now we know the Story keep on riding with the British businessman Stuart Garner, but this will be another step

Some interesting Links below:

Matt Rambow Website Colorado Commando Specialist
Jos Kooijman & Constant Trossel  Website Holland Commando Specialists
Daniel Delfour Website our Commando Specialist.
Norvil Website Commando specialists in UK