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Slippery Sam lives on at blaze-hit museum.

Byline: By JEANETTE SCOTT

THE National Motorcycle Museum has risen like a phoenix from the ashes a year after a devastating fire destroyed hundreds of priceless machines.

Many thought the blaze would spell the end of the popular museum, in Bickenhill, close to the NEC.

But with a defiant attitude and months of hard work, the attraction is set to reopen before Christmas.

A discarded cigarette sparked the blaze on Tuesday, September 16 last year, which destroyed more than 400 historic motorbikes and damaged another 100.

More than pounds 20 million has been spent on renovation work, including painstaking labour on some of the world- famous bikes and an overhaul of the museum facilities.

One of the museum's most famous exhibits, the five-time TT-winning Works Triumph nicknamed Slippery Sam, is back after its total rebuild by the factory race shop mechanics who built it originally.

The museum opens again on December 1, when a sprinkler system will keep exhibits safe.

Museum development manager Nick Hartland said: "When we look back and think how we all felt on the day of the fire, and watched our dreams go up in smoke, I find it astounding to see how far we have come.

"The museum has developed into a focal point for the British motorcycle movement and, come December, the complex really will be known as a place where legends live on."

martin.1.smith@mrn.co.uk

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EXHIBIT: The Works Triumph, nicknamed Slippery Sam, (above) was rebuilt from the ashes of the fire (right)
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 16, 2004
Words:255
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