'Blind bloke Nigel' commemorates history of one of most famous speed records

Sutton on Sea's own 'blind bloke' has helped commemorate the history of one of the country’s most famous speed records.

Nigel with the Rudge. Photo: Russel Sach
Nigel with the Rudge. Photo: Russel Sach

Nigel Limb, aka Blind Bloke Nigel, was invited down to the famous Banked Brooklands race circuit in Surrey to witness an unveiling of a 1922 Rudge v Twin motorcycle – the fastest motorbike to have travelled around the Brooklands racing circuit – on which Bert Matthews and Bob Dicker set a record on this day (November 25) 100 years ago.

Sutton on Sea’s self-styled "blind bloke” lost most of his sight in a motorcycle racing accident in 2015, but this has not prevented him from living life to the full.

Back in August, he built what could be Britain's first ever in electric Speedway bike, and has broken two speed records for unassisted visually impaired rider over the last couple of years – the record for unassisted visually impaired rider from a standing start over a distance of an eighth of a mile, and the same record but on an electric motorcycle, this time topping 83mph in just 8.74 seconds.

Collect image taken of Bert Mathers, one of the two record breaking riders, sitting on the 50-degree V-twin 998cc Rudge motorcycle outside the clubhouse at Brooklands before or after a race in 1922.credit: ©The Hartley Collection Brooklands Museum.

Brooklands Museum is commemorating the last record run of 1922, which took place on November 25 that year, where riders Bert Mathers and Bob Dicker beat three world records – driving 500 miles at 74.96.mph, 600s mile at 71.27mph and a six hour record at 66.65mph - on a a Rudge motorcycle, running in one-and-a-half hour stints for total of eight-and-a-half hours.

The bike was gifted to the museum by Bryan Reynolds, an expert on the manufacturer, who found the record breaking bike in an orchard in 1956.

Brooklands museum now own this bike and a trio of motorcycle enthusiasts – Gareth Pemberton, Ian Dabney and Martin Gegg – have spent three years restoring it to working order in time for the centenary of it’s final two record breaking wins.

As the current motorcycle speed record holder for a partially sighted person, Nigel was invited to the 100 year anniversary of this record-breaking day where he and his wife Julie were invited to meet the members of the museum team who had worked on the bike.

Nigel said: “It was all very cathartic as my race number is 122 – the same number as my dad – and it’s the 100 year anniversary of the record in 1922 being set, and happened to fall on my mum’s birthday which is November 25. Somethings are just meant to be.

"They told me I’m part of the Brooklands family now, which was amazing.”