IN A thoroughly PC world where the name of a popular brown, chocolate-favoured jelly baby has to change its name to remain kosher and Allen’s jaw-busting red lolly bars have to adopt a new moniker, the term ‘chick magnet’ must certainly not be de rigueur.
But how else could you describe Ross Hatton’s 1945 Ariel Delux motorbike!
“I’ve got to tell you a strange story about this motorbike,” said Ross as he buffs up his shiny red machine in the sunshine at Mardan South last Saturday.
“Wherever I go, this motorbike attracts women and I’ve had some pretty amazing offers too, I can tell you.
“My partner Debbie has even been there when I received a proposition or two,” he says with a twinkle in the eye.
“I don’t know what it is but if I’m parked somewhere, they’ll often come up to me and say that while they aren’t usually attracted to motorbikes, they love this one.
“I couldn’t say exactly what it is but the bike has a beautiful shape, something very pleasing to the eye about its design.
“That’s what attracted me, even when I first saw it in what they call “a rolling chassis” condition.”
More than 30 years ago now, Ross answered an advert in the paper for an M20 BSA motorbike “in original condition” at Moe but when he got there, it was the broken-down Ariel alongside it that turned his head.
“It was in reasonably complete condition, apart from a few parts we sourced from England. And with a friend I rebuilt it and I take it out for a ride most weekends. It has been continuously registered since it arrived here in 1948 (actually a 1945 bike by serial number) and it’s great to ride.”
The 350cc bike can hit a top speed of 70mph but according to Ross, happily purrs away for hours at 55mph (90km/h).
“It’s got an excellent set of original instruments (located on the tank) including speedo and oil pressure gauge,” the latter being very reassuring in an old bike.
“It’s even got a handy light tucked away under the fuel tank lid in case you need it for some mechanical work.
“They used a similar bike, the Ariel 4-square, as police bikes back in the day and these ones were used by the military for despatch riders.
“I just love it and I’ve had a lot of pleasure out of it,” he said.