The throaty roar of Brough motorbikes was heard at the National Civil War Centre on Saturday (24 June) to recall the extraordinary life of Lawrence of Arabia.
The man who shot to world-wide fame leading the Great Arab Revolt a century ago and whose story inspired the classic David Lean film of 1962 was besotted by the powerful machines which were made in Nottingham – the SS100 type was guaranteed to top 100 mph.
A major exhibition is underway at the museum on his extraordinary life and to celebrate the Brough Superior Club staged a day-long rally with a dozen classic bikes, including one actually owned by Lawrence himself in the 1930s and which has been restored after 60 years off the road by owner Tony Hockin from Devon..It is one of only two bikes surviving in the world known to have been ridden by Lawrence.
Kevin Winter, from the National Civil War Centre, said:
“Lawrence visited Newark every week on his Brough whilst he was based at RAF Cranwell, so that makes this occasion especially apt. He owned seven Broughs and the firm used that to great effect as the ultimate celebrity endorsement of its time. The bikes look stunning and it’s amazing to think Lawrence actually owned of them.”
Howard Wilcox, originally from Newark, and whose Brough Superior is on display at the National Civil War Centre as part of the Lawrence exhibition added:
“The exclusive marque was known as ‘The Rolls Royce of Motorcycles’ and it’s not surprising Lawrence fell in love with it. They are superb machines and today has been a grant event.”
The Lawrence exhibition is based on 10 years of excavations in Jordan and traces his life from archaeologist to war hero who drove the Turks from Arab lands. Feted around the world, he eventually turned his back on fame and lived under an assumed name in the RAF until he was killed in 1935, the result of a fatal and mysterious crash in Dorset on his Brough Superior.