Monday, September 3, 2012

Watsonian Squire Centenary Celebration at Stoneleigh Park, 2012

On the weekend of 18-19th August I was invited along to the Watsonian Squire Centenary celebrations at Stoneleigh Park.  A great range of sidecar outfits turned up over the weekend coming from not only the UK and Europe but Japan too. Couple that with a great display of historic sidecars, free test rides on Royal Enfields, guest speakers including 16-times Isle of Man TT champion Dave Molyneux, 9-times winner Mick Boddice and 1960′s TT veteran Norman Hanks and Stan Dibben and don't forget the specially brewed bitter Mr Watson’s Bit on the Side a fantastic weekend was had by all., Watsonian Squire patented the first foldable sidecar in 1912 which allowed residents of terraced housing to fit their sidecar outfit down the side passage. Ever since Watsonian have been and still are producing sidecars for a variety of different uses, including ambulances, trials and racing outfits amongst many others. For more information on Watsonian Sidecars please visit their website:

Until now I haven't sketched a sidecar outfit so this weekend was a great opportunity to get to grips with the complexity of not only a sidecar but the accompanying motorcycle too, here are the results from the weekend.

1933 1150cc Brough Cruiser Sidecar

(ink sketch)

This sidecar outfit has been featured in both George & Mildred and Dad's Army. The bulbous shape of the sidecar was what originally attracted me to sketch this. It definitely made a good warm up for the weekend ahead.

2001 Heritage Soft Tail with V-Triebwerk Sidecar

(digitally painted ink sketch)

 This certainly was a great machine to sketch as it had all the classic Harley looks coupled with a Watsonian style sidecar. 
The sidecar was built by a German sidecar maker V-Triebwerk, who incorporated the softail suspension which can be seen below.

Lambretta L1150 series 2 with Watsonian Bambini Mk. 1 and PAV Tralier

(digitally painted ink sketch)

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to sketch this quirky outfit. The Bambini sidecar was especially resurrected from the shed for the centenary. Topping the outfit off with the PAV trailer made it quite a sight to behold. The owner told me that the scooter had been in the shed for 27 years and had previously been used to travel around Spain for six months.

Triumph 140e with Charwood Meteor Sidecar

(digitally painted ink sketch)

 The sidecar shape evolved from casts taken from Mustang belly tanks giving them an aesthetic connection with the belly tank racers developed by Bill Burke (as featured in a previous post).

A restoration project for sale possibly Watsonian?

(ink sketch)

Royal Enfield Bobber

(digitally painted ink sketch)

Even though this was not a sidecar outfit I had to take the opportunity to sketch it as the stance and lines were great on this custom Royal Enfield, especially the extra wide handle bars.
 The build was done by Bruce Maconoche Classic Custom at Oxfordshire Royal Enfield.

Here are some more highlights of the show:

 Soviet Outfit
(a work in progress according to the owner)

 This outfit traveled all the way from Japan, and not by container. It was ridden all the way!

 This Triumph Rocket outfit was incredible, the sidecar was custom built to enable the riders son to access it in his wheelchair. The sidecar even had its own handlebars with working instruments.

Royal Enfield 350/Watsonian ISDT winning outfit from 1953.

This immaculate restoration is a real labour of love with all the fine details attended to. I especially liked the stone catchers on the wheels,  such a simple design which pulls out stones in order to avoid punctures.

 BSA Motorcycle Spares outfit.
 For the die hard sidecar enthusiast.

 A fantastic child's sidecar for a pedal bike.