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There seems to be some part that goes missing from most clip-ons during their Rip van Winkle years: the Cyclemaster carburettor cover, the Mini-Motor mudguard hoop, the Firefly engagement mechanism, the Winged Wheel fuel tank. The list is as long as the number of types. Some of these parts are now being re-manufactured thanks to good chaps like Roger Worton.
I was talking to Roger at the VMCC Founder's Day last summer. Roger was manning his stall at the excellent auto-jumble. He told me that the man opposite had sold, that morning, the rarest of missing bits, a Cucciolo fuel tank. Roger knows that my wife and I have spent years chasing up and down the country searching for just such a treasure. He also told me that he has had many enquiries from all over the world from enthusiasts after a Cucci tank. There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Various tortures were devised for stall holders who sold rare cyclemotor parts to anyone other than Roger or myself. I consoled myself by buying various 'might come in handy one day' bits on the jumble, and then returned to the VMCC Cyclemotor Section stand to do my duty: answering questions and chatting to friends. My son, an enthusiastic question answerer came over to me, and introduced a chap be had been chatting to. "Perhaps you could help me?" the gentleman said, "I've bought this cyclemotor fuel tank on spec for a friend, but he doesn't want it". I said "Perhaps I can" trying to be as nonchalant as possible. I walked over to the chap's car and there it was in the boot. "I thought maybe a tenner if that's okay?" he said tentatively. The fastest wallet draw I have ever managed brought a smile to his face, and a grin to mine. It was the Cucciolo tank, complete with the correct cap. I thanked the man and walked over to my own car to secrete my prize away out of sight.
I returned to the section's stand trying unsuccessfully to contain my glee. I was met by Philippa Wheeler, who immediately accused me of purchasing a Cucciolo tank without obtaining the necessary permit from her. While I was trying to explain to Philippa that it was all a mistake and I was the victim of circumstances beyond my control, Roger Worton raced up to the stand on his Sinclair electric rubber band. "What's all this?" said an indignant Roger. I was into a long stream of 'buts' when David Casper arrived saying "I know, I know" in a tone of voice I thought only Prunella Scales could manage. I know cyclemotorists are a bit odd, but telepathy I did not expect. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying very hard not to gloat over my good fortune.
First published - August 1996
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