THE LONG ARM & LEGS OF THE LAW

 

THE LONG ARM & LEGS OF THE LAW

 THE LONG ARM & LEGS OF THE LAW

They all started here including Father


A far cry from the bikes of today

A reader recently wrote to me reminding me of the other “Boys in Blue” and of course I refer here to the
good old British Bobby. With an entry in this year’s Pre 65 it seems an appropriate time to reminisce on
days of old and the Herculean efforts of 3 great motorcycle all rounders who rode Triumph Twins in the
major events of the Motorcycle year. Every year the Metropolitan Police would field their team of the
three “D’s” Dennis Glover, Dave Randall and Dave Hobbs and they could be seen manhandling those
monstrous machines across Scotland, through sunshine and rain at the Welsh 2 Day,  the Services
at Weaver’s Down in Hampshire and to round off the year at the ISDT.

Dave Hobbs (292) waiting to start with Dennis Glover (298) 1973 ISDT

Dennis ready for the “Off” at a stage

What can you say? well I guess it was more fun than hounding motorists is London as they were all
motorcycle patrolmen, but it can’t have been fun in Scotland humping those bikes across Rannoch and
Blackwater and continuously lifting 350 lbs of Best of British out of holes and rocks as they ground to a
halt on obstacles that a 70’s true trials machine cleared with ease.

Dennis laying down some power from the Big Twin, with Dave Randall (296)
right behind

No doubt the powers that be of the Police Federation insisted “they” rode machines “as issued to the
“force” or “British” just as our masters in the Royal Air Force did in the International. Fortunately we were
allowed to ride trials machines in Scotland but the moment the British Racing Green helmet came out
we were told in no uncertain terms “You will ride British and like it!”

Hobbsie (292) ready for another special test

Completely “round the bend” USA ISDT 1973. Dave Randall (296) and
Hobbsie (third from the left) in the Speed Test

With all our years riding together it came as no surprise that The R.A.F.M.S.A and the Police Federation
would often invite each other to their events as in the main we were all about the same standard. One
event I remember was the Police Thames Valley 2 Day where we were accommodated at the old
nuclear base at Aldermaston. At the start area in roll all these policemen out to play on their trials bikes
and just like the rank and file there were trailers with missing plates, mudguards nearly falling off and
nearly all had non working lights, not to mention the expired road fund licences!

The first day event came and went and then we,  the RAF, are told “Everybody meet at the Thames
Valley Police HQ in Newbury….. top floor, 2 barrels of beer in the clubhouse and a free buffet” ……we all
duly drive our rag bag assortment of vehicles and trailers to the Police HQ and are told where to park.
Being a voluntary person entering a Police station seems somewhat strange but we are quickly sent
upstairs where Bobby’s a’ plenty are quaffing and being RAF we set about helping them out with all the
beer.

Around 11.30 a big burly Police Sergeant appears and bawls out, “Last drinks, everybody outside in
15 minutes, get in your cars and form one line outside.  There will be 3 motorway patrol cars plus the
Range Rover will the spark plug on the roof, there will also be several motor cycle patrolmen riding
Shotgun and you will not OVERTAKE anyone or STOP at  ANY lights!….. IS THAT CLEAR??”

The Police Range Rover with the spark plug on the roof

Like herded cattle with bike outriders

So now surrounded by the “fuzz” and also in amongst them we all set off down the A40 with blue
lights a’flashing and sirens wailing. I doubt they still provide that service today even for their own but
back then life was a lot simpler and drink driving was not the crucifix it is today.

Other memories of the British Bobby come to mind and I remember my local village policeman with
his standard black bicycle complete with shopping basket, bicycle clips and all, pedaling up to us to
see what mischief we were up to. He did graduate to a full blown Morris Minor in Police trim in later
years.

“Mrs Down ?……. it’s about your son, ….. he was riding through the river
and up the banks ….. and then he shot off across the farmer’s field to the
disused railway line and was last seen riding up and down the cutting……
Sgt Pratt has gone after him in our new Patrol car”

Sgt Pratt gives the Morris Minor a sound thrashing

Apart from the occasional “Get off home you lot”, and the classic “Hello, Hello, Hello” I seemed to
live a charmed life with the Constabulary but I did get stopped in Canterbury one evening on the
Tiger Cub when I was giving it a “bit of handle” down Chancery Lane by the Cathedral which was a
narrow street and perfect for 2nd gear blasts and shut off and listening to the reverberations and
racket from the Burgess straight through exhaust.

Canterbury Cathedral

The narrow “reverberating” sidestreets around the Cathedral on my noisy
road circuit

I think I was on my 3rd lap when Mister Plod stepped into the road with upraised hand and
stopped my antics with,
“OK sunshine, you come round here once more like Geoff Duke and I’ll take that bike away”

….. and needless to say I scuttled off home at 1/4 throttle.

.

Ev’nin all,    Dixon of Dock Green

Well done to 3 great friends and true motorcyclists.

TONY DOWN

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Comments
  • 1/27/2009 9:03 PM John Cranmer wrote:
    Hello Tony,great fun even old Dixon ,what memories. Oh my goodness, I remember trying to get the bike road legal.For me that was no problem because I had a matchless trials bike and a matchless road bike,so I had access to a tax disc and a spare rubber number plate on the shed wall.this of course can get complicated. one day my brother was on his royal oilfield and I was on my Matchless and we had checked out a section in wildboar clough and walking back to our bikes,we realized that we were both sporting the same number off my road bike which of course was tucked up at home in the shed.How did we ever survive.Good job Tony and thanks again . John.
    Reply to this
  • 3/17/2009 3:39 PM Brian Catt wrote:
    This is a small story from the “Welsh”. I had been route-marking, but there was a piece of zig-zag uphill going that led up to a moor. The farmer decreed that no shortcuts were allowed, so it was marked heavily, and I was sent to ensure compliance. They all did it OK, but along comes a MetPol Triumph, and when right up the top of the climb, the back wheel collapsed, to loud cursing from the pilot. We got it down in the back of my Land-Rover, and it was returned to Llandrindod in a pick-up. Now then, that’s not the end, for one of their guys had a big off, bending the front wheel, and the last one had a bad misfire. Bikes were swapped and riders continued on combinations of bits that may or may not have been what they started the trial on!
    However, the Scrutineer jumped out in front of the man who had suffered the bent wheel which was now perfect, only to be dumbfounded when, on examining it, it WAS the rider’s correct wheel. He was so flabbergasted, that his check ended there, to the amusement of the grinning Officer of the Law. He had his crash on his pal’s bike, and the wheel was the only bit of the bike that was his! Needless to say, the Service Trophy that year went to the only Team that nobody had any dirt on! Was that the RAF, no I don’t think so!
    Reply to this
  • 10/2/2010 5:15 AM Sven Olsen wrote:
    Dear Tony. I have just bought an ex Dave Randall Cheney Triumph 650 ISDT basket case from a gentleman whose father was Mr farmer, the manager of the Met Police trials team of Hobbs, Glover and Randall in the 70s. The bike was sold by the club to Dave Randall who sold it to Mr Farmer’s son. The date of registration is 1st April 1973 and it appears to be the one featured in your blog article of 1/9/2009 about the met police team entry in the 1973 ISDT(bike number 296). Do you know of anyone who could give advice about how the bike looked (photos etc) and if in fact it is the one entered by the Met Police into the Dalton Mass. ISDT in 1973, or anyone knows where Dave Randall is now. Any help is much appreciated since the bike is incomplete and what there is, is in plastic bags. Thanks. And great blog!. Where do you find the time? Sven Olsen
    Reply to this
  • 10/15/2010 4:37 AM Yacht Charter Greece wrote:
    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Thanks
    Reply to this
  • 11/12/2010 10:01 AM Blue Book Value wrote:
    Being a motorcycle history enthusiast, I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoyed reading your post. I have been buying and rebuilding old motorcycles my whole life. I am currently looking for a 1923 BMW R32 to add to my collection, with it being the oldest known BMW motorcycle I got to have it.

    -Tim
    Reply to this

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