2007 is a special year for Sunbeam enthusiasts thanks to anniversaries and local events. This year the Marston Sunbeam Register are celebrating their Silver Jubilee, and it is 80 years since the 1,000hp. Sunbeam car broke the world land speed record at Daytona Beach, the first car to travel at over 200m.p.h. It is also 70 years since Sunbeam bicycle and motorcycle production ended at Wolverhampton.
Part of the Marston Wolverhampton Heritage Trust's Sunbeam display at Bantock House.
In February the Marston Wolverhampton Heritage Trust opened a display at Bantock House Museum dedicated to John Marston and the Sunbeam products, and the Central Youth Theatre are putting on a play at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre entitled “The Supreme Sunbeam". It can be seen on Thursday 20th Sept., Friday 21st Sept., and Saturday 22nd Sept. They have also made a short film about Sunbeam which will be available on DVD.
The last, but not least event that I shall mention is the 2007 Sunbeam rally which took place at Bantock House Museum on Sunday 1st July.

This year may well be remembered for the long spells of wet weather that have marred our summer. The latter half of June saw frequent and often heavy showers which disrupted many events causing many cancellations. The last few days in June were particularly bad and it looked as though the rally could have been badly affected.

Some of the many visitors to the rally.

Luckily the day turned out fine with long sunny spells and only a few drops of rain. There were fewer entries due to the expected bad weather, but there were still more than enough to make it all worthwhile.

Trevor Davies making the announcements. On the left are George Peck and Mrs. Iliff.
As usual the event was ably organised by Trevor Davies. Several others including Audrey Spencer, and Derek Beddows were on hand to see that everything ran smoothly.

Many of the regulars were there with their well restored machines, including Les Hobbs with his model 9, Archie Beggs with his model 90, Jeff Westwood with his model 9, Bill Barton with his Sunbeam General Service, and Liz Butler and her Ladies Royal Sunbeam.

During the morning most of the motorcycles went on a local run and there was plenty to see and do. Joe Davies came along with his “Lady Wulfruna” organ, which supplied a variety of background music throughout the day, and visitors to the house could view the Marston Wolverhampton Heritage Trust’s Sunbeam display.

Another attraction was the Central Youth Theatre’s film “The Supreme Sunbeam", which had its public debut during the rally. It was shown periodically throughout the day to an appreciative audience by their director, Jane Ward. She later told me that over 500 people came to view their excellent work. The film starred 97 years old George Peck who worked for Sunbeam and has wonderful memories of his time there. As usual George was on hand and became a celebrity for the day, thanks to Jane’s lovely film.

Bill Barton admires the Lady Wulfruna organ.

George Peck (Sunbeam) and Geoffrey Stevens (A.J.S.).

As usual the Bantock House café was open for refreshments, and 94 years old Geoffrey Stevens from A.J.S. came along to enjoy the event.

Another visitor was June Hussey, who’s father Tommy Deadman used to be a famous and successful motorcycle rider.

In the afternoon prizes were presented by Mrs. Iliff and George Peck for several categories. They were as follows:

The Ken Green award for the best motorcycle combination went to Mark Homer for his Sunbeam Lion from 1932.

The Glynne Morris award for the most desirable bicycle went to Peter Ashen for his Royal Sunbeam from 1907.

The Walter Iliff award for the highest combined age of machine and rider went to Bill Barton for his Sunbeam General Service from 1916.

The George Peck award for the best saddle tank went to R.J. Cook for his model 8 from 1935.

The Cyril Wakeman award for the best flat tank went to Tom Bates for his model 1 from 1927.

The George Dance award for the best competition motorcycle went to Archie Beggs for his model 90 from 1928.

The Jeff Brazendale award for the machine ridden furthest to the event went to Derek Burns and his model 9 from 1927.

The most desirable motorcycle award went to Peter Aleksandrowicz  for his 3½hp. Sunbeam from 1916.

As always an extremely friendly atmosphere prevailed and it was a most enjoyable day. Thanks must go to Audrey and Derek Spencer for providing the gazebo, and everyone else involved in the organisation and running of the event.



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