BMW R80/7 CKV 110T
Summer '84 and I was using both my old 750 Matchless and Norton Mercury. I had just bought the Brough as well. I was living in Warwickshire with Paul Mullis who had a 750/5 BMW and an old 51/3 BMW which had once been on a sidecar. We had the Beetroot which is a 1000cc BMW which had inherited the sidecar. Paul also had an XL250, we had all the bikes we could use.
At work Paul read in the local paper about a French R100RT BMW which had been badly damaged in a village close by. The right hand pot had been ripped off in a collision with a coach. The rider had been badly injured, he didn't want the bike back. Paul managed to buy the bike at more or less scrap value. As scrap it surely was ... or looked.
Scrap it surely was ... or looked!
Around the same time he made contact with a man in our village who had crashed his R80 BMW in Spain, wrecking the frame. A deal was done for the engine.
At the Stella Alpina and Safari
The French bike was sound apart from the engine and fairing so it only took a couple of months to transform it into a fine naked R80 in a peculiar sort of brick red. He got it registered and it was good to go. He took to using this for rallies though we really didn't do a lot together by that time. He used it for a couple of Stella Alpinas, the R80 being ideal for the Safari - a 3 day off road event that followed.
We separated in '89 and I know he was having a lot of trouble with arthritis in his knee. He bought a van and didn't use any of his bikes much as he had taken up gliding, something he had always dreamt of doing. We stayed in touch and life went on.
In February 1999 he died from a heart attack while he was recovering a glider from the top of the airfield. He had been due to see a heart specialist in March...
I approached the family and asked if I could have disposal of the bikes. Few were running and their monetary value was low. I thought the value they had represented to Paul was high and I intended to give them to his close friends. The old BMW had been sold some time before but he now had an interesting R69S which he had inherited from another friend. I felt it was quite a responsibility to rehome them properly.
I was granted my wish and one weekend I arranged for all the recipients to come and collect their bikes and clear the place of all traces of motorcycles and motorcycling accessories. I took the Beetroot, Steve Billings - Leeky Steve - took the R80 and the others were taken away to new homes. I had done as I thought Paul would have wanted.
- Heather MacGregor
I was always on the lookout for BMW Boxer twin parts and late in 2007 I had heard that Leeky Steve wanted rid of his old ex-Police R80 TRY242S which he had blown up spectacularly on the M6 coming home from the Squires rally some years earlier.
I went to his house near Leek in a Transit van with Fat Barry Warrener. When we had sorted out buying TRY he said "You can have Paul's bike as well, I haven't used it for a couple of years and can't see that I will need it now that I have a Suzuki Bandit. I don't suppose Heather will object."
I didn't really need another bike but how could I refuse? I did a lot of cleaning up, rebuilt the seat, removed a mouse nest from the air box and fixed a variety of other things to recommission it.
At the Sundowner
At the Sundowner in 2008 Heather came up on the newly rebuilt Beetroot and I went on Paul's R80, both bikes looked fine. After that I put it to work as my Winter bike and all was well for a couple of years until a valve decided to lose its head while I was on the motorway going to the Frozen Bladder rally.
Not to worry, I had a garage full of BMW bits so I rebuilt it as a 1000cc engine but unfortunately I never got the engine sorted out as it should have been and other things got in the way. Then I saw a later model R80 engine and gearbox for sale at a friend's workshop. I bought this and all was well again.
I always felt that I should take the bike back to the Stella Alpina, as I had never done it though the bike had. In 2013 Heather and I did this. By this time Paul's R80 and the Beetroot had been living together in Bradford for a few years!
Once I had done the Stella with Paul's bike I was not really using it much and when Heather's son Fish said that he fancied having a touring bike I decided to pass it on again.
Fish with his 'new' bike at Shuttleworth
Looking at the servicing records between us Steve and I did over 40,000 miles on it. I know Paul would have been amazed that his old bikes were still on the road and in use for rallies 20 years on from his death. Of course we still have the Beetroot which we still enjoy as an all year round fun bike and as a bonus it's tax and MOT free now it's turned into a Historic Vehicle.
- Ted Trett