“I am sad to be selling the bikes, but they’re not doing much good in the garage.”
A 30’s Norton CSI model is being sold by Bill Southcombe, a former RAF pilot to save a church in Stoke-sub-Hamdon. Here’s the story.
Southcombe is an ex-RAF pilot who according to an interview with BBC he’s selling his 1930 Norton CSI motorcycle to save the former United Reformed Church in Stoke-sub-Hamdon.
The vintage motorcycle is expected to sell for a price around €30,000. The former pilot decided to sell his Norton and save the church after his wife moved to Stoke-sub-Hamdon in 2018.
"The church is beautiful, it is," said Southcombe. "As a villager, I was unwilling to see this project fail.
"I am sad to be selling the bikes, but they're not doing much good in the garage."
"When I was at Leuchars I remember in one month in 1969 our squadron intercepted 79 Russian aircraft, we were up and down the whole time," he added.
"We had to get in very close because the security services wanted to know all about their aircraft," concluded Southcombe.
The 1930 Norton CSI model was built between 1927 and 1939 with the target back then to race in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. It was the British brand’s first design of an overhead cam engine.
The powerplant is a 490cc bevel drive overhead cam single-cylinder making 25 hp. The top speed is 85 mph (137 kph). It’s fitted with an 11 litres fuel tank and has a wet weight of 145 kg.
By the mid-1930s, Norton was producing over 4,000 motorcycles annually. Their bikes were successful in the Isle of Man Senior TT race which they’ve won ten times. Furthermore, between 1930 and 1937, Norton won 78 out of 92 Grand Prix races.
Bill Southcombe is an ex- RAF pilot who flew hundreds of missions to defend the UK’s air space from Soviet aircraft during the Cold War.
He is 77 old and he served as a navigator and pilot. The planes he flew were a Vulcan B2s bomber and Phantom fighter jet. Southcombe flew from RAF Leuchars in Fife.
He also won the Strike Command Bombing Competition against the United States Air Force pilots in 1970.
Besides his military missions, Southcombe competed in the Isle of Man TT races between 1965 and 1968.
It’s not the first time he’s selling his bikes as he already sold a 1932 New Imperial Model 23 motorcycle and a 1936 Norton ES2. He hopes to raise to €54,000 by selling the 1930 Norton CSI motorcycle.
Saving the former United Reformed Church in Stoke-sub-Hamdon has a personal meaning to Southcombe. He recently discovered that the church was built in 1866 by one of his ancestors, Richard Southcombe.
We hope to see the former pilot and TT racer raise the necessary amount to save the church.