Follow the trail of breadcrumbs…

History. Provenance. It’s a big part of buying a motorcycle, knowing, where it came from, how it was used, how it was cherished, maintained and generally cared for. Although there was no history with this bike, there were some clues to follow. I had the details of the previous keeper and the V5 says 5 former keepers, making 6 recorded in all. There was also a hint that the bike had been supplied at some point in the past by Made in Italy Motorcycles.

I decided to make the start of my research with Made In Italy Motorcycles. This was the conversation that kicked off the whole history trail as I was given invaluable information by the very helpful Neil there. The conversation began when I asked to speak to the owner John (who had also just sold an SB2 out of his own personal collection to the USA) however he wasn’t about, so Neil asked if he could help. We got on to the Bimota that had apparently been supplied by them, and it looked like it might be a struggle, “we see a lot of bikes, I doubt John would remember that particular bike”, we persevere, it’s not like they’d have seen too many SB2’s given their scarcity, armed with the reg number and chassis number, Neil miraculously finds the information and suddenly it all comes back to him. Fair play to him for going the extra mile and actually making the effort to look on behalf of some random phone in.

He recalls the story; the bike had been traded in by the widow of a chap who had died under tragic circumstances. During a dog walk in freezing weather, the dog went through the ice of an icy lake, the owner removed some clothes and rushed to try and save it, he sadly didn’t make it, although the dog did survive. (I’m also told by Neil that he restored classic vehicles and apparently restored this and another SB2 side by side). Armed with the wife’s name who was the recorded keeper at the time of sale, I research that story and find the article, which leads to the owners name, Tim Waddingham, RIP.

He is a well known classic car restorer in the Jaguar world, I read as much as I can about him, the articles, the comments, the enthusiasts who entrusted their vehicles to him, he sounded like a wonderful person. He passed in 2012 tragically leaving behind a wife and 7 year old daughter. His wife parted with the bike in 2014 and in 2015 Made in Italy sold the bike on, as an almost complete restoration project to a buyer in Valencia, Spain. I find a picture on their blog…

The photo shows the bike with no exhaust, no rear indicator lenses, no rear master cylinder and other minor unfinished details. Tim had done most of the restoration work but the bike was clearly an unfinished project at his untimely demise.

I then set about researching to see if Tim had been on any of the owners groups, that drew a blank, however a search on the Bimota UK facebook group up-turns some more clues. I read a couple of posts on the subject, and through this group get chatting to someone who turns out to be an old friend of Tim’s, he knew him from 18 years old as a local biking and drinking buddy. Peter, it transpires, was the owner of the other SB2 which Tim had restored. Peter has owned his from 1982 and has arguably covered more miles on an SB2 than anyone else in the world, being his only daily transport at one point!

This is Peter’s SB2 in Tim’s garage, Tim’s SB2’s front wheel can just be seen poking into the photo. A Jaguar D Type also being restored in front!

The above picture puts the two restored SB2’s together, albeit only the wheel of Tim’s is visible in the photo. Peter also informs me that my bike had had a race history and that Tim had found some clues on the bike that corroborated that but he didn’t have any further details as such.

I’m also in dialogue with another Tim, this one recalls seeing the bike in the workshop at Galleria in Cranleigh circa 96-97. He recalls it needed some work, according to the sales guy and that this was the first time he had seen one in the flesh and was impressed with it.

I then have correspondence with Bill, he had put a post on facebook asking if anyone had bought any of Tim Waddingham’s bikes. Tim had carried out work on Bill’s Jaguar and he had hosted Tim and his wife for dinner. He describes Tim as a “Kind and gentle man but also a real artist with cars and bikes” he informs me that his Son worked at Galleria in Cranleigh who were the Bimota distributors after the original importers who were Dixons. He recalls seeing the SB2 there and only remembers that it was an ex Dixons bike. He was there from 95-98. It would appear that Tim therefore purchased the bike around 1996-1997 ish.

I have a lengthy phonecall with Peter again and it’s wonderful to get such rich detail of the man and the way he came about buying it. He recalls the conversation where Tim tells him about the bike at Galleria only 10 miles from his home, they go to look at it. He tells me it was raced at some point and needed restoring. Tim then set about restoring both bikes side by side with Peter’s taking priority as a paying customer. Peter received his bike back around 2010. Tim never got to finish his own one when he passed in February 2012. This puts Tim as the longest serving custodian of the bike from circa 1997 to 2014 when his wife moved it on some 17 years after he first bought it. In that time, it had never really turned a wheel.

From the information so far, the bike was first registered for road use (according to online DVLA info) on November 1993. I had assumed when I bought the bike that it had been imported into the UK at that date. However having a race history and being a Dixons bike, it is possible it just hadn’t been registered for road use when it was initially brought in by Dixons. With it being registered in ‘93, there must have been an owner before Tim, making Tim the second owner and his wife the third owner. It then gets sold and leaves for Valencia in 2015 where it must have been finished off, works included finishing off the rear brake master cylinder, fitting indicators, a new exhaust and painting the inside of the fairing uppers in black.

It must have arrived back to the UK in 2018 where it has the only MOT on file, this would have been required by the DVLA to re-register the bike. The mileage is noted as 6,693 miles however this should read km’s and not miles and will need to be corrected at the next MOT.

The bike is also on what is presumably it’s original plate. It is on a T plate which is 1978. Bizarrely the V5 has manufacture date stated as 1979 which would have put it on a V plate, I can only surmise that on re-import the wrong date was put on the dating certificate which DVLA would have required at the time, however it appears to have reassigned to it it’s original plate.

On arrival back to the UK it was MOT’d and re-commissioned by Manleys Motorcycles in Southend for a chap called Simon, the fifth owner. I saw it advertised on ebay in early 2020, where it was snapped up by a Terry at Silverstone before ending up at dealer Lusso Veloce where I purchased it from.

This accounts for all owners on the V5, the only info I don’t really have is for the first registered keeper between 1993-circa 1997.

The timeline looks a bit like this…

1978-1993 Manufactured 1978, brought in by Dixon Racing Limited based in Godalming who were the UK Bimota distributors of the time, but it was never road registered, this aligns with the racing history story as Dixon Racing prepared and tuned racebikes before moving into bike sales. They were also the distributors for Yoshimura’s tuning products. Peter’s SB2 featured above, was their press bike and also fitted with the 850cc Yoshimura engine. It is possible that my bike was their racing bike. It remained a racing bike or locked away in a shed or collection until…

1993-1997 Road registered in 1993 by the first registered keeper, this then went to Galleria to sell.

1997-2014 Purchased by Tim circa ‘97 and registered first to Tim and then his wife, accounting for the second and third keeper. Sold to Made In Italy Motorcycles in 2014.

2015-2018 Made in Italy sold to a Mr. V who took it to Valencia Spain, exported 2015.

2018-2020 Brought back into the UK in 2018. Re-assigned its plate, this keeper would continue the keeper chain as the 5th registered keeper on the V5. Simon M from Southend on Sea who had it recommissioned and MOT’d by Manleys Motorcycles.

2020-2020 He sold to Terry K of Keys Motorsport (Silverstone) early 2020 who then sold it around October time to dealer Lusso Veloce.

2021-XXXX Lusso Veloce sold it to myself in Feb 2021.

Not a bad investigative job to get the history trail to this point…but this is just the beginning, it gets far more interesting from here on out!!