Laverda’s Superbike House in Banbury

Italian flair comes to Lower Cherwell Street in the Oxfordshire Town
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In the early 1980s in Banbury, there was a Laverda motorcycle centre based in Lower Cherwell Street. The dealership was run by Gareth Jones and Robin Jenkins and was the successor to Cropredy Motorcycles based at Cropredy Bridge in the village just north of Banbury.

“Back in the late 1970s Laverda motorcycles were recognised as true superbikes with excellent handling, a top speed in excess of 140mph and a reputation for reliability and superb quality of engineering”, said Gareth, who nowadays lives just outside Banbury. “We were fortunate to enjoy a peak in the market for these superb Italian machines and we built up a flourishing business.”

For those of you in the know, Laverda motorcycles were red blooded Italian machines that were thinly disguised racing motorbikes, and the Jota 1000 dominated the National Production Championship through the late 70’s and early 80’s piloted by Pete Davies, at circuits all over the UK and also in the Isle of Man in Production, Formula 1 and 2 classes.
“Pete Davies, was a fearless racer and rode our 500cc Montjuic and Jota 1000cc machines to great effect against rivals such as Ron Haslam and Roger Winterburn.”

Such was the success of the Cropredy based outfit, they made their very own variant of the motorcycles that were doing such good business. “We produced the Cropredy Liberator, a special Jota with a race ready engine producing over 90bhp and a full fairing with metallic paintwork,” said Gareth. “With the success of the Cropredy business we looked for larger premises and found a super showroom in Lower Cherwell Street in Banbury. We kept the name Cropredy Superbike and moved in to the new premises in the early 1980s,” said Gareth.

Unfortunately, by then the motorcycling boom of the early 80s had reached its peak and the sales of large capacity motorcycles started to dwindle. Not only that, higher charges were imposed on the importation of machines from outside the UK. This double whammy put paid to a large amount of the success that the Banbury based Laverda outlet had enjoyed.
“The Banbury showroom was our last hurrah really”, said Gareth, “we enjoyed great success with our Cropredy based firm, but by the time we came to Banbury the motorcycle market was showing signs of a national decline.”

Laverda motorcycles can still be seen today as there is a flourishing owners club that holds meetings at The Lampet Arms in Tadmarton just outside Banbury on the first Sunday of each month.

“The Laverda club used to meet at Cropredy and then at The Plough in Little Bourton”, said Gareth… “I’m glad to see that they still meet up, but now in Tadmarton”.

If you are ever in the vicinity on the first Sunday in the month, pop in to the Lampet Arms. It doesn’t matter whether you are a motorcycle enthusiast or not, the sight and sound of three or four of these super Italian machines will be sure to get the blood racing!