The Racing Pedigree

When the Sunbeam motorcycle was first introduced in 1912, it was advertised principally upon the quality and refinement already established by the Sunbeam cycles produced by John Marston Ltd. since 1887. Sales of the motorcycle were handled by the bicycle sales depots and the limited production of the ‘hand built’ machines meant that two years after their introduction prospective customers were invited ‘to put their names on our waiting list’. Nevertheless by April 1913, full page advertisements in the motorcycling press, were reporting ‘Sunbeam successes in every single Reliability Trial in which they have been entered’ a fact which was attributed to their Hill Climbing powers and their Speeds. In the A.C.U. Six Days Trial held in August 1913, the premier award was won by a Sunbeam, irrespective of class and horsepower; and this success was featured on the cover of the 1914 Sunbeam catalogue.

 In the Senior T.T. on the Isle of Man in May 1914, the three Sunbeams in the race accomplished the best performance of the seventeen teams entered. The winning team were subsequently featured on the cover of the 1915 Sunbeam catalogue, which also included four pages recording Sunbeam successes in open competition, at home and abroad. When motorcycle competitions resumed after WW1, and the 1920 Senior T.T. was won by a Sunbeam, it is unsurprising that the products of Sunbeamland were soon to be advertised as ‘The Sportsman’s Machine’, and ‘The Speedman’s Machine’ even before the introduction of the o.h.v. models in 1924. The exploits of some of the most successful of the Sunbeam riders are well recorded. The links on the left give some brief biographies of some of the less well known Sunbeam Sporting Riders.