Panther rally a roaring success

FRIENDS REUNITED: Panther Owners Club members and former employees of Phelon and Moore which made the bikes. (d205a236)
FRIENDS REUNITED: Panther Owners Club members and former employees of Phelon and Moore which made the bikes. (d205a236)

VINTAGE motorbikes revved their way into Cleckheaton on Sunday for the 33rd annual Panther rally.

More than 20 bikes from as far away as Hull, Nottingham, Hartlepool and Somerset took part in the ride-in, which is the culmination of the Panther Owners’ Group annual camp Jack Bridge near Heptonstall.

The group met up at the Commercial in Bradford Road to reminisce, talk to former Phelon and Moore employees who built the bikes and visit what remains of the factory at Horncastle Mills.

Member Doug Stockley said: “It was one of the best days we’ve ever had. There were some lovely bikes there, really unbelievable.

“The highlight was a very rare 1030s twin headlight model which had come all the way from Somerset. It’s very special because there were only a few made.

“There was also a combination bike – a motorbike and side car.

“Around eight former employees came along as well and they were so pleased to see the bikes which are in such immaculate condition after all this time.

“I remember the Guardian did an article on the first ever rally back in 1979, and the members said at the time that they’d be back – and they have. It’s unbelievable that there is still this much interest after all these years.

“Many thanks to the Commercial as well for the warm welcome, and they even did us a free buffet!”