BSA Empire Star gifted to the Museum

01 September 2021

On 19 August George Wander donated the BSA M23 Empire Star to the museum. The motorcycle, which has been on long-term display, was built as an exact replica of the M23 ridden at Brooklands by Wal Handley on 30 June 1937, lapping at an average of 102mph earning him the coveted Brooklands Gold Star. BSA named their new M24 motorcycle the “Gold Star” as a tribute to Wal’s success and the BSA Gold Star produced from 1937 to 1963 went on to become a very successful machine across the Circuits and Scrambles tracks and was much sought after by the 1960s bikers as the pinnacle of road machines.

The original Empire Star raced by Handley was destroyed in its second race, there was nothing to represent the beginning of the Gold Star story, so in 2012, George Wander (major BSA enthusiast and retired doctor) created this replica of the original bike to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the races. 

Motorcycle Volunteer Fred Wade, a Gold Star owner gathered other owners on their Gold Stars spanning the period of production as a backdrop to George’s presentation to Museum Director Tamalie Newbury.