In 1980, motorcycle enthusiast and award winning rider Adrian Moss thought there must be many more classic bikes out there than those he was currently repairing and rebuilding in his Stroud base. Trading then as ‘Adrian Moss Racing' , Adrian advertised and sure enough found a few interesting examples to buy and keep him busy refurbishing.
Through such projects, Adrian became a regular customer of the Rickman Motorcycles factory in New Milton and was able to build up a good relationship with Derek and Don Rickman, the famous duo, through their shared love of building motorcycles. The Rickman brothers accepted and respected Adrian’s fine workmanship with Rickman bikes and he became generally accepted as the primary supplier of Rickman spares to the public. So it came as no surprise that when Derek and Don were looking to sell their complete stock of parts in the mid- 1980’s, it was Adrian who was given first refusal.
“I remember David Tuck, head of the fibreglass department in New Milton giving me a call” Adrian recalls. He told me they were stopping production and asked whether I would be interested in buying their complete stock of fibreglass moulds.
Realising what a unique and exciting opportunity he was presented with Adrian decided to specialise in the pre-65 bikes (up to the mark III) and spoke to Derek Lambert parts manager who after consultation with the Rickman Brothers, it was agreed he could buy all of the available spares, parts and even the master frame for the mkIII machine.
“I also asked if any of the universally acclaimed original frame jigs were available” Adrian continues, “but was reliably informed that these had all been cut up and scraped, due to lack of space in their factory.”
Adrian Moss Racing continued in his business of restoring and repairing machines, with an ever increasing expertise to working specifically on Rickman machines and most predominantly on pre 65 mkIII machines.
The Rickman brothers sold some of the remaining stock to another motorcycle enthusiast and builder - the late Pat French, who at the time had established and ran his company MRD (Model Replica and Design, originally specialising in aircraft models) This included many spares for the MK1V model of Rickman motorcycle. Upon hitting hard times with his business in the late 90s Mr French embarked on a "brief, unsuccessful business partnership, which failed to live up to his expectations." (source:www.realclassic.co.uk 01.11.07)
Derek and Don had sold of the licence to trade under the Rickman Motorcycles name to a major, well known motorbike retailer at the time. "We reached an agreement with the company holding the licensing rights" Adrian explains, “which enabled us to legitimately sell the Rickman based motorcycles we were creating, as Rickman Motorcycles. Later, when the trademark became available, it was natural for us to buy it and we’re proud we’re able to officially trade as Rickman Motorcycles Limited.
Pat French registered the name "Metisse" which had become associated with a particular model that the Rickman brothers were producing. A colloquial term they’d used to describe their bikes. Proving they had a sense of humour, this word is based on the French word meaning ‘mongrel’. It reflected their opinions that there were good engines and good frames but that the two were rarely put together.
Alongside running his business in Stroud, in 1982 Adrian organised the first specialist motorcycle scramble for pre-65 machines, at Moorhouse, Brimsfield, Birdlip, Gloucester.
The British Bike Bonanza was born,
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Learn more about the history of
Rickman Motorcycles on Wikipedia.
Adrian Moss and the Rickman brothers shortly after they handed over the
running of Rickman Motorcycles Limited.
Don Rickman, Adrian Moss and Derek Rickman at The Bike Bonanza 2011
Don Rickman shaking hands with Barry Husband, whose Rickman bike was built & donated by Adrian (right)