|James May Toy Stories|
|James May bike|
The bike, made from real Meccano, is a one-off design created during the filming of the BBC programme. The challenge was to produce a bike capable of completing the 37.8 mile Isle of Man TT circuit over three days during TT week. It had to be able to reach a speed of at least 15mph and survive the punishing long climbs and sharp descents that the historic course is famous for.
It took months of problem-solving and head-scratching to design the bike before the actual build could start. There are more than 600 nuts and bolts in each wheel alone and over 15,000 pieces of standard Meccano were used in the build, which took nine weeks to complete.
James May, who was accompanied by TV personality, Oz Clarke, on the run said: “There was a certain amount of flexibility and a couple of minor problems with bearings, steering, comfort, electricity - and the passenger - but apart from that it was a very smooth run and very heroic, I think.”
The arrival of the Meccano bike coincides with the opening of the museum’s brand new display, The Motorcycle Story, which takes visitors on a journey through motorcycling history. Machines are displayed in their historical and cultural context; tying technological developments to changing trends in fashion, style and sport. Memorabilia including clothing and trophies won by sporting greats can be seen in displays which cover a wide range of racing disciplines, road safety and British youth culture of the 1950s and 60s.
The Beaulieu attraction is also home to the World of Top Gear, which features many more unusual vehicles created by James and his fellow Top Gear presenters, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson, on the BBC TV motoring show. The newly updated and refreshed exhibition includes a scaled-down version of the Dunsfold Park track where fans can drive remote-control models of some of the most popular Top Gear challenge cars in the World of Top Gear Test Track Challenge and enjoy a ride in the Top Gear simulator.*
The Enormodrome recreates the feel of the Top Gear studio, with regular features from the programme, including the Cool Wall and the Celebrity ‘Lap Times’ board, kept up to date in line with the show. Visitors can watch behind-the-scenes footage from the Top Gear production area and clips from some of the best Top Gear moments.
Admission to Beaulieu gives you access to all areas of the attraction, including the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, Beaulieu Abbey and Palace House and gardens. For more information, please visit www.beaulieu.co.uk or telephone 01590 612345.
You can also join the conversation with @Beaulieu_Hants on Twitter using #meccanobike
*A good value extra charge applies to both these activities.
Invented in England by Frank Hornby in 1901, Meccano was conceived as a model toy construction system comprising re-usable metal strips, plates, angle girders, wheels, axles and gears, with nuts and bolts to connect the pieces. The toy has sold under the “Erector Set” brand in the U.S. since 1913. Meccano enables the building of working models and mechanical devices and has inspired countless engineers, designers, architects and creative minds of all ages. Modern versions include new technologies to accelerate construction for even the youngest children. Meccano/Erector set toy products are currently sold in more than 50 countries. A large part of the Meccano range is manufactured in France in the historic factory of Calais. www.meccano.com
About Spin Master Ltd.
A multi-category children’s entertainment company, Spin Master has been designing, developing, manufacturing and marketing consumer products for children around the world since 1994 and is recognized as a global growth leader within the toy industry. Spin Master is best known for such popular brands as boy’s action phenomena and 2009-2010 Boy’s Toy of the Year winner Bakugan Battle Brawlers™, and award-winning brands Air Hogs®, Aquadoodle™, Spin Master Games™ including the popular Hedbanz™, Tech Deck™, Zoobles™ and Spy Gear™. The company has also marked an entry into children’s media with the launch of Spin Master Entertainment, a subsidiary focusing on the design, development and production of television and other media properties. Spin Master employs over 900 people with offices in Toronto, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Munich, and Milan. For additional information please visit: www.spinmaster.com