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Sammy Miller MBE


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#1 kayemod

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 18:45

In the fuss over young Lewis's MBE, I hope New Milton’s Sammy Miller, one of the all-time greats in the world of motorcycling, isn't going to be overlooked. 75 year old Sammy has just been made an MBE for services to motorcycle heritage, and I wonder why he's had to wait so long for recognition like this.

Sammy won eleven British championships, and two European or as it then was, World championships, I think he claims well over 1000 victories during his riding career. As many will know, he currently runs a motorcycle museum, possibly one of the finest collection of restored motorcycles in Europe, over 400 of them. I've never been much into bikes myself, but I do enjoy a good museum, it's a really interesting place, well worth a visit if you're in the south Hampshire area.

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#2 ghinzani

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 19:44

:up: Excellant stuff, great career he had and still continues to support the historic bike fraternity with visits from the various machines in his museum. As Kayemod says well worth a visit if you are down here in the New Forest.

#3 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 19:54

If I remember right his greatest successes was in trials , but he took to paved racing (250's)?

#4 kayemod

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 20:07

Originally posted by Bjørn Kjer
If I remember right his greatest successes was in trials , but he took to paved racing (250's)?


Yes Bjørn you're right. When I was very young, my Dad was keen on motorbikes, he used to take me on the pillion of his BSA Gold Star, and later a Velocette Venom to grasstrack races around Sheffield. I probably saw Sammy Miller racing, but my favourite back then was Albert Lamkin. Last year Albert's grandson Dougie was stunt-riding all over the place at the FOS. That made me feel a bit old, and I'm still several years away from OAP status.

#5 Mr Plug

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 21:19

Originally posted by kayemod


Yes Bjørn you're right. When I was very young, my Dad was keen on motorbikes, he used to take me on the pillion of his BSA Gold Star, and later a Velocette Venom to grasstrack races around Sheffield. I probably saw Sammy Miller racing, but my favourite back then was Albert Lamkin. Last year Albert's grandson Dougie was stunt-riding all over the place at the FOS. That made me feel a bit old, and I'm still several years away from OAP status.


Sammy Miller was a very fine road racer - and still wheels classics around rather quickly on occasions (aside from a bit of a slip at the TT this year...). But he was incomparable at trials riding and after developing the fabulous Ariel HT "GOV 132", went on to be instrumental in developing the Bultaco Sherpa and (switching back to 4-strokes) the Honda TL range. In the 60s, there was never 'Motorcycling' sports report without a mention of another Miller success! His award is richly deserved and overdue.

As to the Lampkins, I wonder if, kayemod, you might actually be thinking of Dougies Uncle, Arthur, sometime BSA works rider in Scrambles (MotoX) and Trials and very successful in both. Dougie's Dad is the legendary and phenomenally successful trials rider, Martin - what a great family! Dougie got his MBE in 2001.

#6 Sebastian Tombs

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 21:22

Eh?? You must have been hard of hearing, kayemod! It was Arthur not Albert!! It's Lampkin btw not Lamkin. Good grief. ):

#7 GD66

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 21:48

Originally posted by Bjørn Kjer
If I remember right his greatest successes was in trials , but he took to paved racing (250's)?


Kind of, he was actually a grand prix roadracer on Ducati and Mondial machines in the mid-to-late 1950s before turning to trials, where his mastery of the Ariel single, as outlined by Mr Plug, was only outshone by his innovative Bultaco, and later Honda career.
His crash at the TT recently was a bit of a worry, and he had a huge one on the 500 Gilera at Montlhery a couple of years ago when braking from flat out off the banking, but he bounces back well, is a thorough gent and is owed an enormous debt by those interested in motorcycling history, not just for his skilful and accurate museum restorations, but in reconstructing machines to running, and in some cases, fast-parading standard, like the Velocette Roarer and the AJS watercooled V4 of 1939, so to hear he's received an MBE is good news indeed. :up:

#8 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 21:52

To the defence of "kayemod" he did say he was not too keen on bikes and also that he was very young..............and Dougie by the way was champ too in trials.......and Sammys 250 racing was that not on the Greeves ?

#9 GD66

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 22:02

No. He raced works Ducatis and Mondials in the lower capacity classes in the time of Ubbiali, Provini and co, so was no slouch. His helmet now, though an open face, resembles the paint job he had on his pudding-basin in the 1950s.

#10 kayemod

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 22:48

Originally posted by Bjørn Kjer
To the defence of "kayemod" he did say he was not too keen on bikes and also that he was very young..............and Dougie by the way was champ too in trials.......and Sammys 250 racing was that not on the Greeves ?


Thanks for the support Bjørn, 'Lamkin' was just a typo, but I did get the first name wrong. As you pointed out, I was very young at the time, probably no more than seven or eight. Dad & me usually went to grass track racing, or scrambling as it was known, at Mayfields on the western outskirts of Sheffield, it would have been some time in the mid to late fifties. I was sure there was an Albert Lampkin about two generations back from young Dougie, could I be right about that? I really don't remember a great deal about it, and some of my vague memories may come from later Murray Walker commentaries from grass track racing shown on BBC Grandstand, probably some time around the mid 60s, somebody reassure me I haven't imagined all this or made it up. There was one neck and neck race with MW commentary that was repeated several times as some kind of 'Golden Moments' item. I met Sammy Miller on my last visit to his museum, I thought he was a knowledgable visitor at first, didn't realise until later that he owned the place.

By the way Bjørn, we could be distantly related, there aren't all that many people in Denmark, and my Father's Mother came from Odense, so I'm 75% Yorkshire and 25% Danish, one of my distant ancestors captained a ship that fought with your lot against Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen.

#11 Geoff E

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 23:30

Originally posted by kayemod
... some of my vague memories may come from later Murray Walker commentaries from grass track racing shown on BBC Grandstand, probably some time around the mid 60s, somebody reassure me I haven't imagined all this or made it up.


It was called Scrambling when on ITV, then it (and Murray) switched to BBC and it became Moto Cross.

There was Alan Lampkin too.

#12 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 08:24

Scrambling it was , yes!


kayemod ,OT but , Odense being our 3 biggest city. And the bombardment of Copenhagen , as well as the bettle of "Reden" where we lost all our fleet , and thus supremacy on the waters around Denmark as well as the Eastern Sea and Balticum, started the ending of the Danish Empire (small but still). Not having a large army , and the Danish King being scared of Napoleon going into Germany became an allied which proved the wrong thing to do. I live in the south of DK which was Germany more than once. My grandfathers had to do service in the German army , my mother and father went to german schools , and had to apply for Danish citizenship when the area became Danish again in 1920 !

#13 Pat Clarke

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 12:04

Quote GD66 "He raced works Ducatis and Mondials in the lower capacity classes in the time of Ubbiali, Provini and co, so was no slouch. His helmet now, though an open face, resembles the paint job he had on his pudding-basin in the 1950s."

Samy Miller was a hero of my youth. I watched him ride several times at Wicklow. The only bike I remember him riding (it was a long time ago) was a NSU 250, at least once with full dustbin fairing. I remember being impressed by the aerodunamic bulges that made clearance for the handlebars. The fairing was aluminium in bare metal with a window in the front rather than a perspex bubble.

I do not remember the technical details, but I recall my dad explaining to his brother about some very clever way the camshaft was driven on the NSU racer. Dad was enthusiastic, my uncle (a farmer) was nonplussed and I just wished I knew what the hell they were talking about =]

Sammy slid off in practice near where I was spectating ('mitching' from school probably). He picked the NSU up and bumped off, leaving a sizeable shard of fairing on the road. That souvenir lived for several years on the window sill in my bedroom until my mother threw it out =(

I recall Sammy's helmet as being red with white 'horns' painted on it. Usually, the Irish riders wore helmets with a green shamrock on the front.

Amazing how a tiny memory push brings all that stuff back!

Happy New Year to all

Pat

#14 GD66

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 12:53

I do not remember the technical details, but I recall my dad explaining to his brother about some very clever way the camshaft was driven on the NSU racer. Dad was enthusiastic, my uncle (a farmer) was nonplussed and I just wished I knew what the hell they were talking about =]

Pat [/B][/QUOTE]

The pushrods on those rather nippy NSU singles were unusual in that they were driven from the crank by an unusual system of eccentrics, not unlike a miniaturised version of a set of driving wheels off a steam locomotive, converting circular motion into an up-and-down actuation. Quite a memory you have there, Pat !

#15 kayemod

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 13:18

Originally posted by Bjørn Kjer
Scrambling it was , yes!

I live in the south of DK which was Germany more than once. My grandfathers had to do service in the German army , my mother and father went to german schools , and had to apply for Danish citizenship when the area became Danish again in 1920 !


Don't want to take this even more OT Bjørn, but "Sehr interessant!". I think all this means that I'm actually ever so slightly more of a true Dane than you are, and yes, it was never referred to as anything other than scrambling in our household.

#16 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 17:32

I can concur with all that has been said about Sammy Miller, a superb rider on the circuits as well as in trials. And unusually for such a star, modest to boot. I have visited his museum in New Milton, Hampshire, a few times and the place is truly stunning. For those who'd like to real more about him, get hold of the SAMMY MILLER STORY by Jeff Clew. The cover of the book states 'Over 1150 wins!'