Not that we didn’t have some brilliant adventures. Hanging above my mantelpiece I’ve got a picture of the Lomax somewhere high in Caithness bagging a Round Britain Rally landmark with the Wingman enjoying the sunshine and the view.
If I had to pick a top three?
- Orkney in 2016 – blazing sunshine one day, couldn’t see the end of the bonnet for mist the next
- Getting my Dragon Award in the Welsh National Rally – racing the clouds across the high places and then heading back to the final control in a biblical downpour.
- The Hardknott Pass – a road I simply can’t do on two wheels, because I can’t convince myself that a motorcycle can navigate an uphill hairpin. The Lomax ate it up.
- Dartmoor – an early start from Bridgwater and I had the moor to myself. Discovered that if you go through a ford in a Lomax, expect a bath.
- The Motospeed Cannonball – both hamsters running in their wheels at full pelt to keep up with the Ferrari and the other motoring exotica.
OK, that’s five.
And I rebuilt the engine. More than once. When I got him he was an incontinent dribbler with the oil cooler held on with jubilee clips. And piston ring gaps you could measure with a ruler. After the first year the oil mostly stayed inside the engine and we could get through a journey without cutting out at the lights and refusing to restart. Not bad for an arts graduate.
He lived under a tarpaulin at Badders’ house while I lived in a caravan in Coventry waiting for my house purchase to complete. Then he lived under what appeared to have been a rather sticky tree in Aberdeen while I rented a room in Coventry waiting for another house purchase to complete, and had to take a ride south in the back of a box truck when my Northern Ex got fed up of having an automotive cuckoo in his nest.
I put him back together, again. I patched up the seat where the rat had eaten it. I fitted the rather fine rubber floor Northern Ex had bought for me to replace the mouldy carpet. I womanhandled the steering wheel back into place and tracked down the superlong coach bolts necessary to refit the gear lever.
After all that I paid someone else to put a replacement engine. I still think I could have done it, with the help of a hoist and possibly a loan of a burly chap, but they’re not that easy to find these days.
Regrets? I would have liked to stick a giant Saltire to the bonnet and join a YesBikers independence rally. Otherwise, none.
It’s time for someone else to take over now. I’ve got an MZ with a sidecar that needs to be under cover and I’m excited about being able to come home, put the heater on in the garage and do some work on the bike.
So long, Lomax, and thanks for all the miles.