An extract from
the Wolverhampton Express & Star newspaper
(Note: photo is scanned from the newspaper article)
Saturday, 31 August 1996
Speed kings remembered in supermarket sculpture
(by Paul Pickard)
The Lone Rider statue unveiled
in Wolverhampton today
The golden age of motoring and Wolverhampton's part in
it was commemorated today with the unveiling of a new statue.
A large sculpture of a vintage motorcycle and rider
has gone on show at the Safeway supermarket, Penn Road.
The work has been sponsored by the supermarket chain
to mark motorcycle manufacture on the site. AJS built bikes at its Graisley
Works there between 1914 and 1931.
The statue has been designed by Dudley Council's
artist in residence Steve Field and carved with Derbyshire stone by another
Dudley man, sculptor Robert Bowers.
The sculpture evokes the thrill of speed and depicts a
rider straining forward, chin on handlebars.
AJS scored wins in the Isle of Man TT and Grand Prix
in the 1920s, regarded as the golden age of motorcycling.
Paul Chapman, customer services manager for the
Safeway store, said members of the Marston Register and Sunbeam Vintage
Motorcycle Clubs would be stopping off at the store for today's unveiling.
Testers Run is re-created
Around 25 vintage AJS and Sunbeam motorcycles were due
to travel with a police escort from Marston en route to a weekend rally in
Dinas Mawddy, Snowdonia.
The drive is a re-creation of Testers Runs by the
factory's workforce who took motorbikes to Wales.
Also scheduled to appear at the rally was the most
powerful bike ever made at the factory, a 1930 OHV Twin, which was used,
unsuccessfully, in a bid to break the land speed record for motorcycles.
The statue was unveiled by Geoff Stevens, son of Joe
Stevens Junior, one of the four brothers who founded the firm in 1909.
Martin Jones, event organiser, said: "AJS were pioneers in the development