Six Triumph motorcycles ridden by the recently disbanded White Helmets stunt team yesterday fetched a collective £58,800 at an auction in Dorset.
Auctioneers Charterhouse had estimated that the bikes would each raise between £5,000 and £8,000 under the hammer, however collectors paid between £7,800 and £12,000 for the modified Triumphs.
The Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team, affectionately known as ‘The White Helmets’, performed its last show in September. The army squad had been formed in 1927, when motorcycle dispatch riders played a huge role in war time communications.
Even in recent years, the squad used old 750cc Triumphs which were modified for use in the stunt shows, most notably with their solid rear ends. The bikes were particularly rare as they represented Triumph’s ‘Harris Years’ – the interim period in the mid 1980s between the bankruptcy of the old Meriden plant and the John Bloor era of today. Having bought the rights to build Triumph motorcycles from the receivers, self-made millionaire Bloor licensed rights to build Triumphs to Devon based spares specialists LF Harris, in order to keep the name alive until he was able to manufacturer an all-new range of bikes.
While the company built mainly built T140 Bonnevilles, they also manufactured a small number of TR7V Tigers for the White Helmets team. These bikes were still being used by the squad in their final shows, some 30 years on.
The White Helmets made their final appearance on 27th September, in a parade through their home town of Blandford Forum in Dorset. In addition to the six bikes auctioned off, a further 20 bikes have been disposed of – either donated to museums and sponsors or returned to manufacturers Harris, which remains a spares specialist for classic British bikes.