1969, Norton Commando Fastback

by Ian Parkinson

It was back in 1978, when my dear friend 'Peter Jolley' asked if I would go pick up a bike with him.
We set off, two-up, on Pete's GS 550 to Buckley, a small town on the Welsh-English Border.
On arrival we walked up the path, and to my surprise! we were greeted by (Mr Scott) my old metalwork tutor from my high school days.
We were lead into the garage were a very tired looking Fastback was resting in the corner, at that time she was in her original red & grey colour scheme and in need of some TLC.
Having never ridden a Brit before (Gear shift/Brake lever opposite to Jap) I opted to ride the GS home, it would appear I made the right choice! Every time we slowed, or stopped, a string of expletives would ring out of Pete’s full-face helmet.
On arrival home we jumped off the bikes, Pete still cursing! It’s a Beast!!
On saying that, I couldn’t wait for him to invite me to take a ride on her; so I jumped straight on and took her for a run.
I took it easy at first so as to get my head around the right foot gear lever; I also had to acclimatise myself to the drum brakes.
Within five minutes I was opening her up, on the winding English country roads. At this point I had fallen in love, all the memories I had, of riding on the back of my brothers A10 Gold Flash just came flooding back. But not that alone filled the heart with joy; moreover, it was the handling, the power and the beautiful notes that projected from this (as I thought) Tired old Lady.
Now came the sad part, I had to hand her back.
Peter spent the next couple of years restoring her, and no expense was spared: Full Engine Rebuild, Stove Enamelled Frame, Borrani Aluminium Valanced Rims, Stainless Spokes…
Peter enjoyed many years of riding his Classic “Beast” until his untimely passing away in 2009.
After Pete’s funeral, I was told that he had left me his entire estate, which included the fastback, just one part of a large bike collection.
Out of all that Peter left me, I will always treasure three things, The Fastback, The Memories, and most of all, Our Friendship.

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