This weekend is the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch. As part of the leading superbike championship in the UK, 37 riders from 19 teams will be racing around the circuit. The bikes are capable of reaching speeds of up to 200mph when on tracks such as Silverstone.
The Round the Outside bikers will be in attendance to raise awareness for the contributions of foreign pilots in the history of the RAF and to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund. Although their bikes cannot reach the ridiculous speeds of their superbike cousins, they are rich in history.
Royal Enfield was founded in 1851, the company originally started by making sewing needles, bike parts and then complete bicycles by 1886. By 1891 contracts were won to supply precision parts for firearms to the government Royal Small Arms factory but it wasn’t until 1901 that Royal Enfield started to produce motorcycles.
During the first world war, in 1914 Enfield supplied a large number of motorcycles to the British War Department and the Imperial Russian Government. The bikes supplied were fitted with Enfield’s 225cc two-stroke single and 425 cc V-twin engines. Also supplied were sidecars fitted with the Vickers machine gun, for mobile deployment across the battlefield and stretchers to transport wounded soldiers.
Royal Enfield was then called upon again during World War 2 by the British authorities to develop and manufacture military motorcycles. Six models were made, the most famous was the Royal Enfield WD/RE or commonly known as the “flying flea” due to its lightweight 125cc design. This motorcycle was deployed by parachute with airborne troops.
The Continental GT is one of the motorcycles that will be used in the Round the Outside charity event starting in September this year.
The Continental GT is a 60s style cafe racer that is the lightest, fastest, most powerful Royal Enfield in production. The first continental GT was designed in 1963 with the iconic cafe racer treatment, featuring low handlebars and rear placed footrests.
The Royal Enfield Bullet is the next member of the roster. This bike has had the longest unchanged production run of any motorcycle in history as it has been produced since 1948. The name derives from the company having ties with weapon manufacturing whilst being a subcontractor for the Small Arms Factory in Enfield, London.
In 1955, production of the Bullet was continued by Enfield India LTD where the bike gathered a cult following within the company over its years of production. Around the same time, the Indian Government was looking for a new bike to be utilised by its police and armed forces to be used to patrol the country’s borders. The Bullet 350 was chosen for the job.
The Classic has been in production since 2009 and features a Single Cylinder, 4 stroke, Spark ignition, Air-cooled, Fuel injection engine with a displacement of 500cc. The Battle Green Edition that the team will be riding around the country is reminiscent of the War era, a time when Royal Enfield applied their motorcycles to the war effort. The frame and the engine is the same as the Bullet but the styling is exactly the same as when they came off the production line in the 50’s.