As pandemic restrictions ease and more people take their bikes out for international adventures, is a new Brexit headache potentially emerging for U.K. riders? The British Motorcyclists Federation says it is currently investigating at least one report (and soliciting additional ones as they may exist) of a vintage Triumph rider getting stopped in Spain and questioned regarding the whereabouts of its Ministry of Transport certificate, or MOT.  

For those unfamiliar, MOT inspectors check whether your vehicle meets both safety and environmental standards. Owners pay appropriate taxes for their vehicles at this time, as well. According to the U.K. government, the first MOT for most vehicles is due by the third anniversary of its registration, and then once a year every year after that until it reaches a certain age. Current law states that vehicles over 40 years old are exempt—which is the case in question here. 

According to a report that the BMF received, one Triumph Owners Club member rode his 1970 Triumph T100SS in Spain in early February, 2022. At some point, he was stopped and asked to produce an MOT or equivalent documents for his vehicle, and then informed that the bike could be impounded if he did not have them.  

“According to gov.uk you need the registration certificate and insurance, and I’ve never taken any more than that, but I will follow this up,” BMF political and technical services director Anna Zee said in a statement. 

Federation of European Motorcyclists Association (FEMA) general secretary Dolf WIlligers added, “EU members can exclude historic vehicles from a mandatory periodic technical inspection so theoretically there should be no problem. However, they do not have to and UK is no longer an EU member state.” 

It’s not clear at this point whether this was a single incident, or whether it’s representative of any sort of broader policy shift. In any case, the BMF says it is investigating further. If you’re a British biker and you have a similar incident to report, the BMF would like to hear from you at admin@bmf.co.uk

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