Found on remote 
NI farm ... legend’s bikes

A famous name from the halcyon days of motorcycle racing is back in the news after eight of his vintage bikes were discovered on a remote farm in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 5:23 pm
The vintage motorbikes in the Northern Ireland barn owned by Joe Ryan

The late Joe Ryan was synonymous with racing in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s through a bike which became known as the Fireplace Norton.

The eight bikes which were found pre-date that period in racing and had been part of a huge collection of bikes that the Northern Ireland man liked to tinker with.

Joe, who was in the fireplace business, was a master tuner of motorbikes though he had no formal training as a engineer.

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The late Joe Ryan

He became a master at preparing racing engines for the famous Norton company.

His Ryan Nortons carried such famous names as Tommy Robb, Raymond Spence, Ralph Bryans, Cecil Crawford and Sam McClements to a multitude of victories and championship titles.

Mark Bryan of H&H Classics, is excited to bring to sale eight of Joe’s personal bikes discovered on the remote farm in the Province.

The straw-covered barn held a treasure trove collected by Joe and secreted out of the weather for him to tinker with and enjoy in his later years.

The H&H Classics sale takes place on Saturday, November 14 at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham.

H&H was founded by Simon Hope in 1993 as a specialist auction house dedicated solely to the sale of collectors’ motorcars and motorcycles.

Mr Bryan, motorcycle specialist at H&H Classics, said: “Despite having no formal engineering training Joe Ryan established himself as an innovator in the preparation of Norton motorcycles for racing.

“He was the ultimate tuner. A quiet unassuming man, he created a legend whose fame lives on.

“His collection of eight bikes are of huge significance to so many people involved in Irish and UK racing.”

The first of the discovered bikes, which is expected to fetch the most at auction, is a circa 1922 Norton Model 9 Brooklands Special 500cc.

It is estimated to sell for between £8,000 to £10,000.

According to H&H Classics the engine turns with good compression and the bike is in fair overall condition, but will require some recommissioning before road use.

The other bikes include a circa 1923 Zendher 110cc (£3,000 to £5,000), circa 1911 Triumph 3 1/2 hp TT Roadster (£7,000 to £9,000), circa 1925 AJS E6 Big Port 350cc, owned in period by Herbie Chambers, (£7,000 to £9,000), 1923 Douglas Model TS 2 3/4 hp (£5,000 to £7,000), circa 1913 Triumph 3 1/2 hp TT Roadster (£4,000 to £6,000), circa 1923 Kenilworth 75cc (£3,000 to £5,000) and circa 1935 Rudge 250cc Sports 4 Valve (£6,000 to £8,000).