Rare vintage motorbike reunited with Cumbrian man - 60 years on!
The Lakeland Motor Museum has reunited the original owner of a 1953 Vincent Comet with the motorcycle he hadn’t seen for almost 60 years.
82 year old John Bowerbank, who’s from Sockbridge near Penrith, bought the 500cc motorcycle from James Walkers in Kendal for £253 back in the 1950s. He used the Comet to ride to work - adding a tradesman’s sidecar to carry his joinery tools from
job to job - but sold it in 1957 and hadn’t seen it since. Then he spotted an article about the Museum’s collection of Vincent motorbikes and got in touch with the attraction to offer them some motorbike memorabilia.
Operations Manager at the Lakeland Motor Museum, Chris Lowe, takes up the story. He says,
“Mr Bowerbank contacted us to offer the Comet’s handbook he’d kept for all those years, and only then did he discover that his original motorcycle had survived and was actually part of the display!
“It appears that it never left the county, although it was sold on several times before ending up in the hands of the Museum’s Director, Bill Bewley, who recently restored it to its former glory. In their heyday, Vincents were admired as the epitome of motorcycling excellence, so it’s been fantastic to reunite Mr Bowerbank with his beloved Comet six decades on.”
John Bowerbank adds, “I was amazed to discover that it was my original Comet on display at the Museum. It was one of the top motorcycles of its day and I have often wondered where it ended up, but I never really expected to see it again!”
The Lakeland Motor Museum’s full collection of Vincent motorcycles includes:
• 1937 HRD Series A 500cc Comet
• 1947 HRD Series B 500cc Rapide
• 1949 HRD 998cc Black Lightning
• 1951 Series C 998cc Black Shadow
• 1953 Series C 500cc Comet.
The Vincent collection complements more than sixty other motorcycles also on display at the Backbarrow-based attraction, including a special section dedicated to the Isle of Man TT Races and the racing successes of the ‘Morecambe Missile’ John McGuinness.