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The Minter Collection

We are very proud to announce the opening of the new Minter’s Cafe at the LMM.

In January this year Derek Minter, often described as one of Britain’s greatest short circuit racers, died aged 82. Famously described by Mike Hailwood as his toughest ever rival, he was also the original “King of Brands” and the first rider to lap the Isle of Man TT course at over 100mph on a single cylinder machine.

During his impressive career he became a multiple champion and amassed many trophies riding a variety of machines, but mostly Manx Nortons. So it is somewhat fitting that his impressive collection is now housed at the London Motorcycle Museum which is dedicated to the preservation of nearly 200 British machines and the memory of a once great industry.

When the museum founder Bill Crosby saw the extent of the collection which includes 14 TT replicas as well as the famous gold crown, he decided to totally revamp the museum café and put the collection on permanent display. Thanks to financial assistance from the British Motorcycle Charitable Trust the original area was gutted and a range of display cabinets installed showcasing the trophies while the rest of the area was re -themed into a fifties/sixties café the period in which Derek was at his peak.

Given that Derek was regarded as a Londoner and Brands being typically regarded as London circuit, it seemed only right to complete the transformation by actually re-naming the area the Minter Café as mark of respect. Many of his racing contemporaries agreed and attended the grand opening in the middle of May along with many other celebrities from the British motorcycle industry.

It was certainly the wish of the family that the collection was kept together and not broken up as happens with so many old racers and the London Motorcycle Museum were happy to oblige given its significance and the obvious links.

“We have many unique machines and prototypes on display here that cannot be seen anywhere else. We felt that the collection fitted well with our aims and objectives and besides we were all fans” said Crosby who over the years has sponsored many riders through his dealership Reg Allen based in Ealing just down the road from the museum.

The layout and display was welcomed by the likes of Colin Seeley, Reg Butcher, Paul Smart, Ron Chandler and Dave Croxford who were all present to pay their respects to a great competitor and rival. Even Mark Wilsmore from the Ace café which is just down the road from the museum enthused over the café which will only be serving drinks and snacks rather than being a rival.

Negotiations are in hand with the owners of some of Derek’s winning machines to display these as well to complete the story of the hard charging Minter.

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