Murray McLean with his Matchless G50 CSR at the Stoke Memorial Hall on Saturday. Photo: Andrew Board.

Rare race bike a star of motorcycle show


When Murray McLean saw a rare British motorbike for sale in a magazine, he knew he had to have it.

Murray has owned countless bikes over the years and even had his own motorbike shop for decades in central Nelson, but the 1962 Matchless G50 CSR struck a cord.

“When I saw it advertised I couldn’t believe it, there’s just none around. It’s one of the rarest bikes on the planet.”

Nevermind that it was France and Murray didn’t speak a word.

“As soon as I saw the ad I called the guy up, and luckily he spoke English. I told him that I wanted to buy his bike and we did the deal.”

Several months later the bike arrived in New Zealand and Murray got his first up-close look at it. “I’d only seen photos so I was pretty happy that it was as good in real life as it was in the photos.”

The bike was one of only 25 made, with most heading to the United States to be used as race bikes.

Murray says his is one of only three that he’s aware of.

His was registered in Rhode Island before it made its way back across the Atlantic to France, where he bought it.

He says he’s used it mainly for off-road trips and says it handles “superbly”.

“On the gravel it’s powerful and forgiving, it’s a beautiful bike.”

Murray’s bike was one of dozens that were on display at the Nelson Classic and Vintage Motorcycle Club Show at the Stoke Memorial Hall over the weekend.

Organisers say they were happy with the flow of visitors who came to check out the bikes.