Thursday, April 25, 2024
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Miller Museum flies with new wing

The Duke of Richmond and Gordon, and creator of the world leading Goodwood historic events, officially opened a new two-storey wing at the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum at Bashley Manor, near New Milton, Hampshire, on 22 July.

The 20,000sq.ft extension has allowed the museum to increase its exhibits to 450 motorcycles from all corners of the world. “And they all run except for four… and one of those is made of wood,” said Viv Brackett, PA to 87-year-old Sammy Miller MBE who continues to be a human dynamo.

Golden Miller, 11 times British trials champion, masterminded a morning to be remembered for 70 invited guests who were treated to demonstration runs in the car park by Miller and competition past masters on a beautiful summer’s day.

Bikes from the Miller Museum have played an integral role at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival events.

Paying tribute to Miller and the museum The Duke of Richmond said: “This is a fantastic place, a fabulous living museum. Thank you for all you have done for British heritage and this country. And a big thankyou for all you have done for Goodwood. You and the late John Surtees played a huge part in the beginning.”

Miller thanked his staff past and present. “You have stood by me and done a great job,” he said. He welcomed new PA Emma Ashton who takes over from retiring Viv Brackett who joined the museum in 2012.

Talking of the everlasting impression racing motorcycles and their riders made on him as a boy in Northern Ireland, and his subsequent “collecting disease” he said: “To rebuild the bikes and re-live all that is something very, very special.”

Hinting that this may not be the final chapter in the museum’s extension plans, Miller said: “We are always looking for something unusual and with history.”

He used the occasion to celebrate acquiring and completing the restoration of three works trials Ariel 500 singles from the late 1950s, and bringing the team riders together – namely himself, Ron Langston and Gordon Blakeway. “The three of us had a fantastic life at Ariel,” he said.

Other star riders present included former works Honda and Suzuki rider Stuart Graham, motocross winner and manufacturer Don Rickman, and former works Greeves rider Mike Jackson, plus specials builder Allen Millyard who paraded the two machines he brought along.

Miller’s wife Rosemary summed up the occasion succinctly and charmingly when she said: “I am so pleased for Sammy and all he has done. Thank you for coming and making it a perfect day.”

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