Motors & Me: Ray Byrne - Chairman of the Irish Veteran and Vintage Motorcycle Club

Ray Byrne and his 1930 Levis

What are you currently riding?

A 1930 Levis

Love at first sight or just a means to get from A to B?

It was love at first sight. I spotted it at an autojumble in Stafford, UK. A bit of haggling and it was mine. I sent a text to my wife saying all I bought was Black Levis. She assumed it was a pair of jeans until it arrived home. It also entailed a trip to the credit union and a loan for a ‘new bathroom’. Before a return trip to Durham to conclude the deal and bring it home.

Whats the spec?

Quite an advanced machine for 1930. Engine is a 350CC overhead valve twin port; gearbox is 4-speed Burman, foot change as opposed to hand change.

Petrol head or Sunday rider?

I have a head for all fuel that powers the combustion engine. I also enjoy a ride out the odd Sunday.

What was your first bike?

A 1972 Yamaha AS3

What else did/do you own?

A 1918 Triumph H, 1928 Triumph NSD, 1939 BSA M20, 1951 AJS MSC and a 1956 Triumph T100.

Dream drive in a dream location.

Riding my Levis in the Slievenamon pre-1930 rally, a three-day event run by the Irish Veteran and Vintage Motorcycle Club with planned routes around Kilkenny and surrounding town lands.

Passengers you would most like on a long journey?

My Levis is a single seat machine. However, I do enjoy riding in the company of fellow enthusiasts.

Passengers you would least like?

Anybody riding an Indian-manufactured Royal Enfield.

What’s on your playlist.

Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Paul Brady, to name but a few.

Ray Byrne on his 1930 Lewis, which he bought at an autojumble. Pictures: Nick Bradshaw

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