Honda CB 350-4

Historic Motorcycles

Keeping the old girls going.

Classic racing in SA.


With the SA Classic TT all happening at the beginning of 2024, we promised the guys that we’d feature some of the racers, builders, bikes and riders leading up to the event.


To this end, we paid two of the guys visits to see what they get up to. It’s amazing to listen to the stories and just soak in the history of some of the bikes we’ve seen… And it’s important, because the older bikes, especially, are getting rarer.

Just a small part of the collection.

First – The Brits: HMG Historic Motorcycle Group.

Terry Barson has a great collection of bikes. He and his wife Penny are amongst founders of the Historic Motorcycle Club. We spent a good few hours going through his collection – some rare, collectable stuff. All the bikes run. 

‘Strue! We popped a message up on the local whazzap group to warn everyone, grabbed the Toyota and the rollers and fired up the two-stroke Greaves. Man that thing sounds crisper than some of the two strokers we see at the MX tracks.

Terry is retired – well not really – he has a job with a private collector. His job is to make sure that those bikes are all in pristine running condition.

Vincent Rapide
Terry Barson on his pride and joy, his Vincent Rapide.
Vincent Rapide
Black and chrome. Always works.
Old school Clock. Uncomplicated. no electronics.

His personal bike is a 1949 1000cc V- twin Vincent Rapide. Terry bought the bike in 1964 and has owned it ever since. Back then it cost him the princely sum of 60 Pounds. Current value is in the region of Seven hundred or so Grand! It’s still magnificent, starts second kick and tears along at 115 MPH at sea level. Vincent went out of business in 1955. There was a faster version called the Black Shadow, which is exceptionally collectable. That did about 125 MPH. On drum brakes!

The Norvin - A 1000cc Vincent engine slotted into a Norton chassis.

Next to his bike there was a Norvin. This bike was built by Terry to take part in the HMG Events. He had a Rapide engine and a few bits – and built that into a Norton Featherbed chassis.

We fired this one up. it sounds amazing still!

His 1968 Bultaco 250 is a two-stroke that Terry bought locally. It’s an ex race bike that was originally bought from the factory by Louis Young. Terry is the third owner. Bought in pretty bad nick, Terry restored it and one of his sons raced it.

Ventilated drum brakes.
Amal Carb. Simple design.

On his workbench bench is a 1951 350cc AJS 7R.

He got it in wheelbarrows and bits… He’s building two, with the understanding that once both are built, he gets to keep one. Building the bikes slowly over time has taken 7 years. Finding parts is a challenge. Terry makes a lot of parts himself and has contacts all over who can manufacture bits and pieces. AJS ceased manufacture in 1962.

Only 19 of these bikes were ever made.

He also has a 1968 Twin Port Single Cylinder Greaves Alton 350 two stroke

It last ran in February, and we decided to get it fired up… Greaves had a lot of success with their 250 and in 1968 they decided to contest the 350 championship. Sadly for them, Yamaha also decided to compete with their TD series. That made an extra 10 HP. Greaves made only 19 of these bikes.

Lurking in the Corner was a Spanish made 1973 Ossa Mick Andrews replica trials bike. It was restored from scrap – and Terry has never ridden it. It is, however, immaculate.

Then it was time for the Big Dog. Terry also has a very neat 1972 CB350 4 K race bike. As some of you might know, Honda’s Big four cylinders basically destroyed the British Motorcycle industry. They were lighter, faster, more reliable and cost less than their British counterparts. Terry bought the bike to ride at Redstar. The Honda has better brakes than his Brit bikes and it’s lighter than them too. This specific bike was ridden by Jim Redman whenever he came out to SA.

The Honda Fours were quite far ahead in terms of cost, design, weight and performance.

About the Historic Motorcycle Group.

HMG was founded in 2001 to keep the old wheels turning. Not racing, just running. In the late 90’s, classic racing was an MSA approved series. For some reason, that class was canceled and HMG was founded by John Boswell and friends. It grew from Strength to strength, riders just participated on a very social basis. Sometimes there were as many as 65 bikes on the grid! That must have been something to see!


But things change. The bikes, and riders got older. Some bikes got more valuable and found their way overseas. To keep the numbers going, the HMG decided to allow “Younger” models to participate. Japanese Katana’s and GSX 1100’s were allowed up to 1995 models. It was a roaring success, and numbers swelled again.

Things changed again – and some of the guys in the HMG actually wanted to race – and that’s when the CSRA (Classic Superbike Racing association) was formed. It became the biggest series on the grid. But it’s not doom and gloom. CSRA has made a class for the golden oldies, the F4 social class, which allows the HMG to participate.

Historic racing motorcycles of South Africa:

CSRA are the guys responsible for the SA Classic TT and Terry and the HMG British bikes will have their own slot. 

Terry is 78 years young and he still tears up the tar whenever he gets the opportunity.

So – East London last weekend in January.

Then it’s time for Kyalami a week later.

See you there!

Details: CSRA:

If you would like to participate in the SA Classic TT 2024 , email:

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top