“My dad had motorcycles, so I had a head start over a lot of lads.
When I was 11 or 12 years old I used to `hang around with some older boys who rode a couple of cyclemotors on the heath. It was great fun and I asked my dad if he could get me a bike of my own. He came home with a 350cc single cylinder Tiger 80 which he’d bought from a bloke who’d had a spill and lost interest.
“It was dead original and had been serviced by Huxhams, a motorcycle dealer in Ashley Road, Poole in Dorset. I’m ashamed to admit now that I stripped off all the road gear and rode it on the heath – it was a fantastic bike, came with its own toolkit, and it got me started.”
Since those days back in the 1960s John Anstey has become a very successful trials rider, as witnessed by the shelves of trophies in his outside loo. But standing in his workshop you begin to wonder that he ever has time to do any riding.
There are project bikes everywhere – a bobber, a chopper, a flat track bike – anything, it seems, as long as it’s not standard.
“I like to change things around,” he explains, sensing my bewilderment. “I like to try out new ideas, study other machines to see what’s been done and whether that will work for me.
"The bobber that I’m currently riding on the road is a bit of fun, but I wouldn’t want to go too far on the bare steel, cantilever sprung seat, and keeping the open primary chain lubricated is a problem. In any case, it’s ‘work in progress’."
Read more in June’s edition of CBG