Classic ‘Dreadnought’ motorcycle gets first Scots outing

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The Vintage Motor Cycle Club held its inaugural Scottish run for veteran motorcycles at Thornhill, near Doune on Sunday – and at the not-so-tender age of 112, the Dreadnought was the oldest machine taking to the roads.

The 1903 Dreadnought was gifted to the club by Harold ‘Oily’ Karslake, who built the bike, with the proviso that it should be used rather than simply becoming a museum piece.

The Dreadnought is powered by a 402cc single-cylinder De Dion engine, but with no clutch and poor brakes, it takes a skilled rider to manage such a machine.

And used it most certainly was on Sunday, with Dr Alastair Alexander, the VMCC’s area representative for Scotland, on board for the 68-mile route round Lochs Katrine and Ard.

It was one of 23 machines which took part in the run, with riders coming from all over Scotland as well as some from England and Northern Ireland. Marques on display included BSA, Triumph, Norton, Humber and Sunbeam.

Sunday’s veteran run brought together machines of similar performance on a carefully chosen route.

Dr Alexander admitted it had been a challenge at times to nurse the Dreadnought around the route, but said he had thoroughly enjoyed giving the veteran machine its first Scottish outing.

The Vintage Motor Cycle Club is the biggest club in the world for vintage motorcycle enthusiasts, and has more than 15,000 members.