Recently, I was fortunate to visit the Sammy Miller Museum situated in the beautiful countryside around New Milton, Hampshire.

 

It was a day filled with excitement at seeing some 400 exhibits in pristine condition and each having a significant place in defining the

history of touring, off-road and road racing motor cycles.

 

Our host was the man himself, S H Miller MBE, a legend in his own right and one of the few to succeed in many facets of the sport but

primarily in Grand Prix Racing (Moto GP as we know it today) and later a dominant figure in British and European Trials.

It does well to reflect on Sammy's record - won over 1300 trials and was British Champion on 11 occasions. He twice won the

European Trials Championship. Before his trials career he competed in Grand Prix Road Racing with a best placing of 3rd in the

1957 250cc World Championship.

 

A well deserved MBE came in the 2009 New Year Honours.

 

Back to the Museum now and a look at some of my personal favourites:


Sammy with two of his prized possessions - the 1955 250cc NSU Sportmax on which he won over 30 races, including the

North West 200 in 1956, 1957 and 1958. The Ariel Trial bike played a major part in his off-road career and became known as the

'world's most famous trials bike'

 

The 1957 250cc DOHC Mondial Racing Ex-works. It was one of these machines that took Sammy Miller to 3rd place in the 1957

250cc World Championship. Winner that year was Cecil Sandford with Tarquinio Provini second. Interestingly, behind Sammy came

five MV Agusta machines ridden by Roberto Colombo, John Hartle, Carlo Ubbiali, Luigi Taveri and Dave Chadwick.


 

The 1969 350cc 2 Stroke Jawa as raced by Bill Ivy and Silvio Grassetti . Bill Ivy was unfortunately killed at the

East German Grand Prix of that year. The Jawa is a great piece of engineering and its sleek profile made it a formidable

contender. However, the might of Agostini on the MV dominated 350cc racing in 1969 by winning 8 out of the 10 Championship races.

Of the two remaining, Silvio Grassetti (Jawa) won the Yugoslavian Grand prix at Opatija and finished runner-up in the  Championship

while Phil Read took the Nations Grand Prix at Imola.


 

BMW is very much back in the reckoning today, capped by their performances in the Isle of Man this year. Let us not  forget BMW

was a force in the past, sidecars and solos. The 1954 500cc Rennsport in the Museum is similar to the one raced by Walter Zeller

who finished runner-up to John Surtees (MV) in the 1956 World Championship.

 

 

The Norton Room is a big favourite with visitors, and rightly so.

 

 

Pride of place goes to the famous 1953 348cc ex-works Norton 'kneeler'. Unique in every sense of the word, it made it's debut

in the 1953 North West 200 with Ray Amm aboard and broke the lap record on lap 2. However, the FIM did not favour the

kneeling idea and the project was short-lived, although not before it was used to establish 33 World long distance records.

 

 

Off-Road there are two other exhibits worthy of mention in this short synopsis - the actual 1964 244cc Bultaco Sherpa

designed and developed by Sammy

 

 

and the 1978 310cc Miller Prototype with an Italian-made Hiro engine. It was intended to launch into manufacturing but

continuity of parts supply meant that the project had to be abandoned.

 

 

THE MUSEUM AT NEW MILTON IS A MUST FOR MOTOR CYCLE ENTHUSIASTS !

 

THANKS SAMMY


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