29 May, 2014
A team of bikers has retraced the tyre marks of a 50-year-old relay ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
They took just under 21 hours to complete the mammoth journey - travelling the length of the UK on a new version of Royal Enfield’s much-loved Continental GT.
The bike, which boasts low handlebars, bright red paintwork and racing-style humped seat like its younger brother of the 1960s, is the fastest and most advanced model to roll of the iconic company’s production line to date.
With a power output of just 29bhp, however, the five-person team certainly had their work cut out to beat the time of the previous benchmark.
The 1964 Royal Enfield ‘Top to Tip’ ride, which was completed on the then-new Continental GT and featured famous racers of the era including Geoff Duke and John Cooper, posted a time of 22 hours and 20 minutes.
But the 2014 recreation, on the now-new Continental GT machine, managed to eclipse this time by well over an hour.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though. Adverse weather made for some tricky biking conditions along the challenging route, which avoided motorways almost completely in order to stay true to the route of the original ride.
The team, which was made up of a mix of journalists, Royal Enfield stakeholders and celebrities, even skipped a lunch stop to reach the iconic Cornish landmark nearly 90 minutes ahead of the target time.
Boasting a 535cc four-stroke single, five-speed transmission, the Continental GT was more than up to the task. It’s also extremely economical, achieving as much as 70mpg when the rider doesn’t thrash it too hard.
The bike’s 175-mile fuel tank definitely came in handy over the course of the long journey. Participants in the challenge met at petrol stations dotted along the route to swap riders and refuel before continuing on the next leg.
Here at Footman James we specialise in classic motorcycle insurance and vintage motorcycle insurance. So, if you have an old Continental GT that you take out on weekends, or any other classic for that matter, make sure you give it the cover it deserves.