George Prew

George Prew

Born in Maidenhead and brought up in Hertfordshire George began motorcycling riding an aged 350cc Velocette MAC around the fields and paths of a neighbouring farm as a 14 year old lad. More machines and fun followed and fired by an interest in mechanics on leaving school he signed apprenticeship papers with a local garage, Smiths of Buntingford.

Initially transport to work, the cinema and countless other trips was courtesy of the local bus service, who's timetable was at times rather restrictive. On reaching his 16th birthday George bought a secondhand BSA C11G, and with learner 'L' plates fastened front and back legally took to the road.


While the little 250 Beeza was never a favourite it served well offering freedom and independence. Suddenly a whole new world opened up for the teenager thanks to this 250 from Small Heath.

Soon a driving test was booked at Hertford and weeks later with the Highway Code memorized George set off astride the C11G for his appointment with the driving test examiner. Fate took a hand as he pulled into his workplace 'en route' for Hertford to top up the fuel tank as a customer's car bumped him off bending the front wheel. All the mechanics downed tools and set too on the Beeza, beating true the wheel rim and straightening the mudguard. In next to no time he was again on his way to Hertford and an hour later was eagerly tearing up the dreaded 'L' plates.

With money saved from his weekly apprentice's pay packet young Mr Prew was able to swap the BSA for a Royal Enfield Crusader Sports at his local motorcycle shop, Pepper and Hayward of Royston. Very few parts fell off the nippy 250 despite its regular full throttle treatment and George has fond memories of it. However the purchase of the Crusader Sports was a life changing experience for reasons which had nothing at all to do with the Redditch factory or their rapid 250 single.

While waiting to sign purchase documents young George spotted a BSA Rocket Gold Star catalogue pinned to the showroom wall. Complete with its drawing pin holes he still has it today (don't ask!) and remains just as enthusiastic about the RGS more than 45 years later. Like many of us motorcycles were briefly dropped as other demands on his time and pay packet grew. Then in the late 1960s he bought an AMC single to restore and a brand new BSA Starfire, his first new motorcycle, from Hallens of Cambridge. Although both enjoyable machines neither lived up to a young man's imagined expectations of the lavishly finished RGS of his dreams.

By 1973 George was near completing the self-build of his north Hertfordshire home when thoughts once again returned to the Rocket Gold Star. Another glance at the 'acquired' catalogue heightened his enthusiasm and this time dreams would become reality. However no matter how attractive the RGS looked to admirers, its was regarded by many in the early 1970s as just another old motorcycle and none were to be found by scouring the motorcycle press small adds and the model was too dated to be found in the big modern motorcycle dealer's showrooms.

Acting decisively wanted adverts were placed in the press. Thanks to the response of Tim Morris, son of the proprietor of Wrens Nest Garage, Stratford-Upon-Avon George secured his Rocket Gold Star in 7 April 1973 and continues to enjoy its ownership today. The RGS may have needed work but at least spare parts wouldn't be a problem reasoned Mr Prew. He couldn't have been more wrong, modern dealers weren't interested in obsolete motorcycles, specialists had yet to establish themselves, many had little knowledge of the model and most were simply confused by it. (continued)


 

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