In the Part 1 (1), I was evoking Lance Capon’s career and his victories in the 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975 Bemsee championship on his Capon-Vincent. Lance’s career ended dramatically at Brands Hatch on September 20, 1975. Anne, Lance’s widow, was as passionate as Lance by racing, so her first reaction was to repair his bike and to bring it back to the track. So in 1976, Mark VI made 2 or 3 outing piloted by Keith Tyler, but these events were dogged by various mechanical problems, and when a valve dropped into the cylinder, Anne decided to let Mark VI be silent for the next 13 years, tugged between the desire and the sorrow to hear it again.

Considering the damage on the engine, Anne sent it to Tony Maughan who was commissioned to rebuild the original 1948 engine in the same 998cc stock configuration (84×90 mm) and 9:1 compression ratio; however a few upgrades were made on the engine such the Carillo con-rods and a Lucas Rita electronic ignition but the 2 front cylinder heads and 32mm concentric carbs were retained. The original 4-speed gearbox was also replaced by a 5-speed Surtees. It took five years to complete the work and Anne said that it took another 5 years to be ready in her head to move ahead and to decide to complete the restoration. Anne explains that her motivation to race the bike again was not to keep Lance’s memory alive, that would always be with her, but when she met Lance, and became involved in his racing, she not only felt in love with the man but also with the bike and she needed to hear the bike on track again.

So by 1986, the project was ready to move and as Anne did not intend to pilot herself, she identified a pilot that she will sponsor: Michael (Mick) Norris. As Mark VI had been involved in several big crashes and Anne was unsure if there had been deterioration to the metal particularly the braised joints, Mick Brown, who at the time was the F1 Tyrell’s chief frame maker, built an exact replica of Mark VI known as Mark VII. However before going too far in the project, Anne and Mick spent some time to verify the eligibility of the bike with the new CMRC rules. In June 1989, they applied for eligibility and manage to get a practice session at Thruxton, they were immediately banned because of the noise made by the straight pipes! Eventually Mark VII came back at Stetterton’s Race of the Year in Sep 1989. Cosmetically Mark VII is still the same, despite the modifications on the short Norton Roadholder and Norvil twin discs.

Mick rode the bike until May 1991 and subsequently, Barry Gooding was identified as the next pilot. Barry rode one meeting at the end of 1991 to see if he would be comfortable with the bike. After a few modifications on the footrests, clip-on and levers, he accepted and raced it continuously until the end of 2007 running in top 5 of 501-1000cc class with the CRMC. During Barry Gooding’s time as pilot, the swing arm was modified to enable a wider rear tyre to be fitted. Apart from minor work on the heads that was the only main modification made to Mark VII.

At the end of the 2000 season Anne and Barry assessed that Mark VII was getting uncompetitive but as there was so much history, tradition and sentiment attached to the bike, which had raced virtually unchanged engine wise since 1969, they agreed that doing major modifications to the engine would not be appropriate. Instead, they decided to repair the cases damaged in 1971 when the con-rod came through. Barry also agreed to make a new frame. So Mark VIII was made from scratch with a new engine including the repaired cases, modified heads and barrels to increase the displacement to 1272cc. After 6 years, the new blue Vin went on track in 2007 and during the next 2 seasons, Barry continued to improve the max. revs and speed. In 2009 (2), Barry had a serious crash with his own bike and eventually decided to retire from racing. Since, Mark VII and Mark VIII are used to parade from time to time but have not been raced since. Anne said “I still own both bikes and while I think they will not be raced again, however I never say never!”

Philippe Guyony © 2014 | End of the Part 2

 

Championship standings of note all in 501-1000cc Class with CRMC:

1993 – 3rd

1994 – 1st

1995 – 3rd

1999 – 2nd

Mark VII was an exact replica of Mark VI used by Lance Capon. It reused all the components including the engine but a new frame was built.  Picture © Classic Racer Winter 1990
Mark VII was an exact replica of Mark VI used by Lance Capon. It reused all the components including the engine but a new frame was built.
Picture © Classic Racer Winter 1990
Mike Norris on Mark VII Picture © Classic Racer Winter 1989
Mike Norris on Mark VII
Picture © Classic Racer Winter 1989
Mike Norris on Mark VII Picture © Classic Racer Winter 1990
The journalist John Ruth on Mark VII when he wrote his article for Classic Racer.
Picture © Classic Racer Winter 1990
Barry Gooding at Lydden Hill Circuit – about 1997 Picture © Anne Callagher
Barry Gooding at Lydden Hill Circuit – about 1997
Picture © Anne Callagher
Barry Gooding at Pembrey 1998 Picture © Anne Callagher
Barry Gooding at Pembrey 1998
Picture © Anne Callagher
Barry Gooding on Mark VII Picture courtesy of Barry Gooding
Barry Gooding on Mark VII
Picture courtesy of Barry Gooding
Clive Spencer (840cc Miles BSA) & Barry Gooding (1000cc Capon-Vincent | Mark VII)
Clive Spencer (840cc Miles BSA) & Barry Gooding (1000cc Capon-Vincent | Mark VII)
Barry Gooding has raced the Capon-Vincent Mark VII between 1991 and 2007
Barry Gooding has raced the Capon-Vincent Mark VII (the Red) and subsequently Mark VIII (the Blue) between 1991 and 2009.
Anne Callagher at Lydden Hill in 1999 Picture © Anne Callagher
Anne Callagher at Lydden Hill in 1999
Picture © Anne Callagher
A picture that we would not like to see, but it happens in racing.  “The damaged crankcases, which were repaired and used for the blue 1272cc” Picture © Anne Callagher
A picture that we would not like to see, but it happens in racing.
“The damaged crankcases, which were repaired and used for the blue 1272cc”
Picture © Anne Callagher
Barry Gooding on the Blue Capon at Brands Hatch in 2008 Picture © Anne Callagher
Barry Gooding on the Blue Capon at Brands Hatch in 2008
Picture © Anne Callagher
Many thanks to Anne Callagher who was an incredible resource for me to understand the story of these 8 Capon-Vincent. I was also impressed by her knowledge about racing motorcycles and Classic Motorcycles in general. She rides her own bikes since age 21 and  regularly rode Lance’s Vincent at demonstration meeting. Picture © Anne Callagher
Many thanks to Anne Callagher who was an incredible resource for me to understand the story of these 8 Capon-Vincent. I was also impressed by her knowledge about racing motorcycles and Classic Motorcycles in general. She rides her own bikes since age 21 and regularly rode Lance’s Vincent at demonstration meeting.
Picture © Anne Callagher

Sources:

Bike Magazine May 1975

Classic Racers Winter 1989

Classic Racers Summer 1990

Classic Racers Winter 1990

CRMC Magazine Autumn 1992

CRMC Magazine Winter 1992

(1) see part 1: http://wp.me/p4cm0Z-zY

(2) “Barry had a life changing accident while riding a TZ750 Yamaha at Lydden and was forced very reluctantly to stop racing. He thinks classic racing in the 80′s and 90′s and riding the Capon was the very best of times. Incidentally he also firmly believes that it is Annes skill as a physio which has given him the post accident( well accidents) mobility he has today”. From Jenny Gooding

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3 thoughts

  1. I think I may have the mk3 rolling chassis, bought it of a gent in Leytonstone in ’85.
    Any way of checking?

    1. Hi Neil, I have checked with Anne and she remembers Lance saying he had sold it to help boost the tight finances and I think it was to a chap in East London. She said that all the frames were stamped and that you could try looking for this somewhere on the swinging arm, it may well not be obvious, for example on the inside of the box section. Once you found it take a picture and send it to me (privately) to pguyony@gmail.com, Thanks Philippe

  2. Lance, brilliant rider , saw him at brands hatch when I was young.
    I’m looking for the email address of Mick Norris, aka Nozzer, late of 75 Club Bookham.
    However, remember most brilliant fearless rider, 305 suziki, tuned to hell,
    Say hello from Noddy, with Norton, Paint It Black
    Still have the bike but it is Norton Raing Silver

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