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It all started around the year 1972 some 40 years ago. I had finished my contract with the Animal Breeding Research Organisation (ABRO) and had secured a job with Bejam in London as Production Manager (Meat) at Honeypot Lane Stanmore.
As a company flat was available over the East Finchley Bejam shop on the corner of High Road and East End Road I was allowed to stay there. I was employed on shift sharing the work with the other Production Manager. Between us we would look after the 2 shifts on a 2 week rota. The morning shift was from 08:00 to 17:00 and the evening from 18:00 to 22:00 but more hours were required for planning, opening and closing the production area.
If you know London you will know that as the bird flies the distance from East Finchley to Stanmore is about 7 miles. If you don't have a car you become dependant on the underground and the trip starts with the Northern Line to Euston /Kings Cross, Bakerloo line to Baker street, Jubilee Line to Stanmore. From Memory the trip used to take about an hour with a 10 minute walk at Stanmore which included a short cut through the MOD property. This resulted in an early start of at about 05:00 and I would not get home until after 18:00 which in itself was not a problem but doing the evening shift made it a very short night.
Suzuki K10 similar to the one I bought
It did not take long before it became apparent that I needed a better way to get to and from work. It was about this time a neighbour was selling his Suzuki K10 motorbike, I forget the asking price but 50 seems to ring bells. I had always ridden push bikes since about I was about 10 years old so how different would it be. Well I was to find out during the first available weekend when I would try the route when it would be quiet. I cannot remember how long it took but I can remember the trepidation about going round corners and trying the steer as one would a car so my speed would fall off quite dramatically. It was certainly quicker than going by the underground but what would it be like on a work day, that was the question?
It did not take long before I was winging my way along the back roads to Honeypot Lane and again from memory I seem to remember that I got the journey down to 20 mins, long before speed cameras thankfully.
This continued for about a year before I was sent to Aberdeen as Production Manager. Where I stayed at St Katherines Motel (no longer in existence) but was about 20 miles away. To cut a long story short and to get the reason this page was created I upgraded my bike to a Suzuki GT185 part exchanged at Shirlaws Motorcycles. It was not particularly quick but it was very manoeuvrable and light for it engine size. By this time I had moved onto Texaco North Sea (UK) Ltd on South Esplanade East and I had moved to Dyce so the bike was still my major form of transport. It was during this time that I earnt the nickname Skid, (thanks to Allan Jones and Bruce Rothnie) it was account of the way I rode the bike around the roundabouts on Anderson Drive as I wore the pegs down. I need not say much more but I did enjoy the bike
My GT185 outside Shirlaws
Soon it was time to part exchange upgrade to a GT380.
Malcolm on my 1st GT 380 outside Shirlaws
I had 2 over a short period of times. I cannot remember why the first was replaced but the second was gold in colour and the first was red. What I do remember is that as always I had carefully run in my bike and the I was the first weekend that i could be on the open road limited only by the rev counter. I had chosen to drop down to Broughton (where I had worked for the ABRO) to see friends which was some 190 miles away. I had dropped into the office at about 09:30 and was lying in the road at about 10:00 having survived an accident just south of Portlethen.
The day was bright and dry as I went down the straight at Portlethen and as I knew the road welI I had planned to take the bend fairly quick. As I started the corner, you could see the whole way around the curve for over half a mile, (the route has now changed). As I got to the apex which was in a little dip I found myself on a bed of sand and oil and lost it in a big way. Later, whilst in hospital, discovered there had been an accident earlier in the day. Howerver, back to the accident, as I tried to control the bike I and was left with a decision to stay on the bike and be hit by the truck coming down the road to me, roll right into the field bounded by barbed wire on go left and hope to roll to safety away from the on coming truck. Life has away of taking decisions away from you and I now lay on the road by the lay by and all the traffic that I had overtaken on the straight at Portlethen now passing my body as I lay there.
Portlethen Corner
Image of the corner looking north and as far as I can remember where I ended up
Damage     Damage     Damage
Images of the bike after the accident
I was not in any pain at the time and the Ambulance took me off to hospital. On examination all that was wrong was my left foot had been badly scrapped as a result of my boot coming off and a couple of stitches between my big toe and next toe. Whilst I was being undressed ready for bed damage was discovered on the right foot. I was kept in for 48 hours for observation. I am still thankful to the Night Nurse who sat with me chatting for many hours as I could not settle down in the strangeness of the hospital during the night.
In hospital I initially received an inordinate amount of attention which was not explained until later in the day when I discovered that the word had got round, incorrectly that I was part of the official Suzuki demo team that was in the area at the time.
The next bit of information came the following day when the police came to interview me along with an article in the P&J. It appears that earlier on that fateful Saturday morning a car travelling South had lost control and had an accident on that corner and had burst into flames hence all the sand, oil and detritus left in that dip at the apex of the corner. Mine was the second accident and to cap it all there were 2 other accidents making it 4 in the same place on the same day. From What I can remember all the drivers of the motor vehicles had died so I am thankful that I was on a bike as I had survived. I was lucky as there was no speed restrictions at the time as the speedometer had jammed at 85mph but I know before coming across the sand and debris that I had been travelling faster.
Many years later the real challenge came with bulletin boards such as Compuserve and Clix and then the internet and it always seemed that someone had always taken the nickname/alias of SKID so I always took the name SKID2 until it came time to register my domain name which after a little thought became SKID2ME.CO.UK