Chapter 14: Changing affections


- Tony

I suppose, more than anything, a motorcycle enthusiast loves his bike. I was no exception, the bike dominated all I did or thought about. It was my constant companion, an extension of the image I had built around myself but it was being challenged hard by the superb proportions of Avril. She had the female ability to capture my emotions yet hold me at arms length. I suppose I was 'in love'. We went everywhere together to the exclusion of Bill and the rest of the bikers. While he was at our old haunts we were on the coast, on the common or sitting on a sofa watching TV with a patronising Mum and Dad and an evil little brother.

Harvey was a rich boy who I knew during my school days. We were friends and hitch hiked around Devon and Cornwall together.

When school ended we went our different ways, Harvey to study law and me to art school. I was drawn to motorbikes and he to cars and women. Harvey always had money on tap and from the start his parents had supplied him with new cars as they didn't want him to get in with those dreadful 'Ton up boys'.

One late spring weekend we were all going to Brands Hatch to see Derek Minter dice with Alan Sheppard. Avril hadn't wanted to go, there was a large, important folk festival in Hampshire which clashed dates and she was angry that she hadn't been able to change my mind on this long-standing arrangement with Bill. Although I needed Avril, the relationship had become heavy like a worry. I wasn't used to worrying about anything that could not be fixed with my tool kit!

Avril was cool and in a sulk when we pulled into the cafe car park. It was here that I met Harvey going to the same race meeting. I parked Avril with him while I went to get the coffees.

Bill arrived with his new girlfriend and we sat chatting about nothing in particular. Avril was very attentive to Harvey, probably to make me jealous, but I, well I didn't really seem to care.

Bill and I were talking about going into road racing together. We had plans of putting together a Triumph Norton with all the goodies, high lift cams, GP carbs, close ratio gearbox etc. We would share the rides and the costs. We were quite excited about the prospect and didn't really have time for too much girl action. When we went to go Avril asked if I minded if she went with Harvey in the car as she felt a bit stiff on the bike for such a long ride. I agreed but as I watched them walk over to the red Sunbeam Alpine I sensed that it was the end for us. Bill nudged me in the ribs, "Reckon I can beat you there even though I'm two up".

"You're on" I grinned back.

- Tony Sheppard