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Issue 23

March 2013


The World’s fastest Velocette - story on page 7

In This Issue: Jim Redman at the LMM Telford Off-Road and Racing Show Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show Roland Pike and the BSA MC1 Motorcycle Live New Chairman Dates for your Diary New Members World’s Fastest Velo British Scooter Collection

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well versed in local folklore, before recounting some of his early motorcycle career much to the delight of the visitors present. Impressed with what he saw, he left promising to return from time to time when in the UK. Certainly he will have more options available to visit as the museum has extended its normal weekend hours to LMM Founder Bill Crosby welcomes Jim to the Museum

include Monday as well after the extra day during

was actually born in

the 2012 London

s a result of its

London and spent many of

Olympics saw a substan-


his formative years at a

tial increase in attendance.

evolution, the London

house just down the road

So for 2013 the museum

Motorcycle Museum,

from the museum, close to

will now be open every

based at Greenford, West

Northolt airport. He was

Monday in addition to its

London continues to

evacuated to the country

normal weekend opening.

attract some top motorcy-

due to the constant

Hours remain the same -

cle celebrities to view its

German bombing of the

10.00 am until 4.30 pm.

ever changing displays.

airfield, before eventually

The latest in a long line of

emigrating. “The whole

racing celebrities to see the

area has certainly changed

unique display of Meriden

from what I remember as a

prototypes was six times

child” he said, as he

World Motorcycle

looked around the many

Champion Jim Redman

exhibits before signing the

who was escorted by

visitor’s board.

Robert Driver, son of

Over a coffee he swapped

South African motorcycle

local stories with museum

ace Paddy Driver.

founder Bill Crosby, who

Although regarded by

has been a local motorcy-

many as a Rhodesian, Jim

cle dealer since 1949 and


Jim was born in London and spent his early years just down the road from where the London Motorcycle Museum now stands.

Jim Redman on a Norton at the 1957 North West 200

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n a chilly and snowy first weekend in February Alan

Wright staged the annual Classic OffRoad and Road Racing Show in the warm at the Telford International Centre. Here’s a flavour of what was on show, clockwise from top right: Star of the show for us was this 1952 Triumph Trophy in ISDT trim; Spare parts abounded on the Trophy, like spare levers; Sections of chain; Wheel spokes; Spanners and inner tubes. There was virtually an entire spares department ingeniously stowed on one beautifully prepared machine. A 1961 Works Replica 250 DOT; Two views of a 1970 Tickle 350 Manx Norton, ultimate incarnation of the renowned racer, giving 43 bhp at 9,000 rpm; The world’s first production monoshock trials bike, a 1981 Chapman BSA, made in Evesham with a frame designed by Bertie Goodman of Velocette fame and a modified 175 cc Yamaha engine; More usually seen with a Triumph power plant, this Metisse was a real crowd pleaser with its Velocette motor; A well turned out 1962 Royal Enfield 350 racer featuring leading link forks from a Super 5.

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The Best Veteran award was taken by Terry Scotchmer’s 1903 293cc Quadrant, uncovered in 1970 in a cycle shop in Penkridge, Staffs.

Another lovely Velo, this ex-Geoff Dodkin 500 Thruxton has a rich competition history, winning its class in the 1966 the Brands 500 Miler, taking 3rd in the ‘67 Barcelona 24 Hours and two Production TT second places in 1967 and 1968

Regular show goers and visitors to the Sammy Miller Museum will be familiar with Ken and Shirley Blake’s restorations. This is one of theirs, a beautiful 1928 Humber 350 Sports. The attention to detail on this bike is truly amazing and it fittingly took the prize for Best Vintage machine.

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1955 Velocette Venom 500, the very first example of what was to prove the most popular of all Velocette’s production models. This machine carries engine number VM1001 and is the actual bike exhibited on the Velocette stand at the 1955 Olympia Motorcycle Show. When acquired by owner Neil Redley it was finished in traditional black and gold, but luckily traces of the original beige were found inside the toolbox cover, enabling the machine to be returned to its original colour scheme.

This very purposeful 1931 Douglas Sprint Special features a 1929 600cc dirt track engine in a 1931 Model F frame with a Norton Doll’s Head gearbox. It has been timed at 12.79 seconds for the standing start quarter mile with a terminal speed of 103 mph.

In the late nineteen twenties Scott made an attempt to break into the lightweight market with a single cylinder 300 cc offering. This example won the Best Unrestored Bike award for owner Mr I Miles.

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Continuing the fascinating story of life at BSA by Roland Pike.


he MC1 took up a great deal of time and effort on my part, and the thanks I got for it was hearing via the grapevine that Geoff Duke, who was set to ride the machine had been told it had been taken away from me because I did not believe in it anymore and was said to be holding up progress. Next they brought in Charlie Edwards the Norton race team mechanic, he was not an engine development expert just a very good and thorough race mechanic, and they seemed to think that as he was a Norton expert he would be able to fix the problems. A small test shop was built and Bill Bentley was assigned back on the MC1 development. Not surprisingly the problems continued, mostly overheating due to insufficient cooling fin area. The primary chain gave problems too, the chain case had as many cooling fins as the cylinder head. There was a lot of bad feeling and BSA MD Jimmy Leake complained that four

This BSA MC1 can be seen at the Sammy Miller Museum

years time and money had been wasted and were they going to race it or not? Finally he gave the ultimatum that they could race it if they could win. I was called to a conference and asked if I thought it could win in the Isle of Man and I told them I doubted if you could even finish in the IOM. That was heresy of course, because whatever happened you were supposed to agree. In the meantime I had got myself into more trouble by building a 250 Gold Star which on test at MIRA timing strip had gone faster than the MC1. We had no lightweight frame for this engine and we had used a Gold Star frame. This did not go down very well as Hoppy (Bert Hopwood) thought I was trying to make

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him look foolish and asked if I thought I was smarter than they were, to which I responded that I was only trying to prove a point, that the Gold Star was fundamentally right and the MC1 was wrong in several ways. I continued to suggest it needed redesigning, more cooling fins and gear primary drive. They had said it wasn’t possible, so my advice was to drop it. That’s how they got the idea that I had it in for the machine, but they were wrong. I saw a lot of good in the MC1, we had worked hard on that engine, had got it to produce 34bhp at 10,500, albeit unreliably. We could get 31 to 32bhp at 10,000 rpm fairly reliably by dropping the compression ratio, but Hoppy would not agree to this, he wanted 10:1 compression. At this time the fuel for racing was about 80 octane. We had measured the fin area on the cylinder head, it came out at 206 sq. ins. When you realise that the C12 had 224 sq. ins, the 350 Gold Star 520 sq. ins. and the 350 KTT 600 sq. ins., it was obvious that some difficulty with heat dissipation was likely. The primary chain was not used on the dyno so we had no knowledge of its problems until the engine was installed in the bike. It first showed up as a problem when the gearbox repeatedly moved forwards and tightened the rear chain and an extra strong adjuster had to be made. Next the chain overheated and rollers flew off. A new chaincase was then designed incorporating cooling fins. I believe this phenomenon was due to the high rpm causing that chain to experience high centrifugal loading, enough to move the gearbox, and there must have been a loss of power due to this, possibly as much as 4bhp. Normally the rear chain had the stronger pull due to torque multiplication at the sprockets and gearbox. During the testing of the complete MC1 bike on the test track we had some interesting experiences. In the Spring of 1954 we reserved use of Silverstone for a day. It was a cold damp day, Charlie Salt clad in racing leathers ready for a day’s testing, and after warming up the engine Charlie set off, he only covered a quarter of a mile when he returned and complained the bike would not pull, he thought it had seized up. I took a look in the oil tank, revved up the engine but could see no oil returning. So

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I got astride and letting in the clutch attempted to take off, but realised immediately what was wrong and turned to Hoppy and said "the big end has gone". They all wanted to argue except Hoppy, who accepted my explanation that I had experienced the symptoms before on my 7R. So it was agreed to put the bike back on the trailer. We subsequently discovered that the so-called experts in the experimental department who had installed the engine had reversed the oil pipe lines from tank to engine, so that it got no oil through and the crankshaft was ruined. They were all intrigued to know why I was so sure of my diagnosis and so quickly as there was no tell tale "knock". I recounted how with my 7R at Scarborough one time when running an alloy connecting rod with plain big end bearing I experienced the same symptoms. The next testing was at MIRA test track on Good Friday 1954. This time we had a good run round the outer circuit, Charlie Salt lapping at 100102mph, I was a little slower due to my extra bulk and weight. We then

The finned primary chaincase of the MC1

went to the timed straight and ran the bike up and down, timing in each direction, Charlie was timed at 104mph in one direction. I took my turn and got over 100mph mark in one direction, turned around to get a run back and had got up to the maximum speed and was approaching the timing lights when the bike started to weave and snake about. I shut off and gently eased the bike on the front brake, thinking I had a burst rear tyre. Finally at about 20mph it went almost out of control and I averted a spill by jamming both feet on the ground. The back wheel had collapsed. They had Cont. on page 6

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used cast iron for a spoke flange on one side, this broke up and allowed all the spokes on one side to come loose. I had to push the bike back to where they were all waiting. It was a comfortable, good steering bike and quite light. The Earles forks were specially made by BSA for this machine. A novel feature was the head stem arrangement, this being reversed from the usual set up. On the MC1 the head stem was fixed at the back to top and bottom to the frame and the head lug rotated about it, this allowed lower front end and fitted in with streamlined fuel tank. Funnily enough I had

suggested this arrangement to Doug Hele, when we were discussing a fork crown to clear the tank. The original fuel tank fitted at this time held less fuel than the later one which was intended to do the Lightweight TT non -stop. We had the whole machine in a wind tunnel at Cranfield RAF College, to get the wind resistance down and the results led to a more streamlined tank. The people concerned with BSA racing (Hopwood, Doug Hele, Dennis Hardwick and Charlie Salt) all seemed quite happy with the performance of the 250cc racer but the 1954 TT came and went and the 250cc NSU was said to develop 38bhp. Judging by the way

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oventry Transport Museum were proud to be asked by the organisers to create a Classic Motorcycle Zone at the UK’s largest bike show, November’s Motorcycle Live at the NEC. Following a Coventry-built theme, the museum assembled a varied and interesting display from their own collection, supplemented by machines on loan from the BMCT and private owners. Our trustees and members also gave their time in helping to man the stand over the ten day run of the show. Bikes in

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the large display area ranged from a 1912 500cc Rudge “TT Special” owned by Dave McMahon to a 1977 Silver Jubilee Bonneville. BMCT machines shown were the 1971 Triumph Bandit, the 1926 350cc Rex Acme TT Model, 1924 Sparkbrook and the 1914 269cc Coventry Challenge. The content of the stand, featuring some long-forgotten makes, was a reminder to show goers (especially the younger ones) of what a major force the city of Coventry was in the British motorcycle industry for most of the 20th century.

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they flew past everyone else this was no exaggeration. As it turned it out it was a good job we did not enter for the IOM with the MC1. I had some ideas for further development but was not allowed to do much more than change jets. We should have experimented with inlet pipe lengths, exhaust pipe length and diameter, even maybe some different cams, but unfortunately we spent two years just keeping it running. Our thanks once more to the Pike family and Myles Raymond at roland_pike.htm for their permission to publish this extract from Roland Pike’s unpublished reminiscences. A complete and running MC1 can be seen at the Sammy Miller Museum.

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Coventry Transport Museum volunteer Doug Mogano astride his ‘59 Bonneville at the NEC, flanked by the museum’s Clive Skelhon (left) and volunteer Bob Smith. Doug got the bike in a swap for an electric fire many years ago!

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he board of trustees of the BMCT expressed their thanks at their last meeting to Peter Wellings who has retired after four years as chairman. The new man at the helm is Ian Walden OBE, who has been a trustee since 2003. Ian graduated with a First in Mechanical Engineering from St Andrews University and recently retired from his post as Chief Executive of the Black Country Living Museum after 33 years in charge of one of the Midlands’ most successful tourist attractions. In recognition of his achievements he was presented with a Villiers engined Francis Barnett on leaving the BCLM, similar to the one he began motorcycling on many years before. Ian is currently co-owner of a company providing consultancy services in the fields of heritage, museums and motor racing, and is looking forward to using his experience helping our affiliated museums to promote the heritage of British motor cycle engineering.

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MARCH 24 75th Pioneer Run, Tattenham Corner, Epsom APRIL 1 27-28 28

Ashford Classic M/C Show, Ashford Market TN24 0HB Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford Showground Royal Enfield Ride-In, Sammy Miller Museum

MAY 5 11-12 27

Bike Jumble at Sammy Miller Museum Carole Nash Great Scottish Bike Show, Lanark Agricultural Centre ML11 9AX Surrey Festival of Transport, Loseley Park, Guildford

JUNE 2 16

AJS & Matchless Ride-Out, Sammy Miller Museum VMCC Banbury Run, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwick

JULY 13-14 28

VMCC Festival of 1,000 Bikes, Mallory Park South of England Superbike Show, Ardingly, W. Sussex RH17 6TL

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or the first time in many years Lake Gairdner Speed Trials in Australia were unaffected by wet weather and Stuart Hooper of Brisbane used the conditions and the horsepower of his supercharged 700 cc Velocette engine to good effect to write his and

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Velocette’s names in the record books. The surface was initially a little rough and the weather very hot requiring a careful eye on engine temperatures and excessively rich mixtures to ensure the engine survived the meeting. After a steady sighting

V e l o c e t t e run to check out the new body and steering geometry the Big Velo ran 166 mph on its second outing ! This was good cause for celebration as the Velo was now the world’s fastest British single surpassing the fantastic Vincent Mighty Mouse of Brian Chapman. Two days later Stuart went even faster at 171.600 mph, setting new records for world’s fastest British single and world’s fastest Velocette. According to Stuart the 50 year old front brake off an MSS was smoking a bit when he finally brought the plot to a halt! Congratulations to all on a wonderful achievement.

Welcome to our New Members Steve Parker, Aldershot Steven Watkins, London W7 David Clarke, Newark Ed Hryniewicz, Greenford Paul Harbour, Aylesbury Pippa Phillips, Lymington Paul Malson, Bournemouth Richard Holmes, Totton Fred Day, Bristol Dennis Redford, Gosport Colin Norman, High Wycombe Neil Bunker, Newport Pagnell Ken Rawlinson, Croydon Stephen Sheard, Malmesbury Susan Nicholls, Waterlooville Samantha Peckham, New Milton Phillip Mead, London SW15 David Saunders, Weybridge Neil Bridges, Uxbridge Bernie Breeze, Ferndown Peter Candy, Ferndown Mike Jennings, Newbury John Summers, Woking John Soones, Hampton Stephen Miller, Southampton Edward Fleat, Lymington Grahame Fairall, Slimbridge Barry Saunders, Grays R Williams, Westbury James White, Ringwood Michael Hodson, Kettering Paul Fairhurst, Shrewsbury Paul Apperley, Kings Heath Adrian Bloom, Bretwood Simon Richardson, Sunbury on Thames Ross Dyson, Shoreham by Sea Phillip Dyson, Bognor Regis Tim Robinson, Sandbach Kevin Parker, Ripon Philomena Venton, Emsworth Mark Hobday, Arundel Melvyn Hall, Sholing Susan Thorpe-Willett, Chippenham David Piggott, Grays Big Dave Bullion, Uxbridge Ron Pratt, Abingdon George White, Droitwich Spa Rob Freeman, Chesham Dave Lagerway, Beeston Nigel Roman, Bramshaw Max Groves, Camberley S Gough, Rugeley Lesley Collingwood, Bramshaw Emma King, Amersham Abigail Hall, Wilton Joanna Gooden, Highclere Susan Gooden, Highclere Graham Float, Felpham




Registered in England No. 01445196 Registered Charity No. 509420

Registerered Office: Holly Cottage Main Street Bishampton Pershore United Kingdom WR10 2NH

Phone: 01386 462524 Mobile: 07754 880116 E-mail:

The Trust was originally formed to facilitate the building of the National Motorcycle Museum at Bickenhill, near Solihull in the West Midlands, but since 1995 the BMCT has been an entirely separate organisation, a grant - making Charity dedicated to the promotion of British motorcycle engineering heritage through a network of affiliated transport museums throughout the country. Membership is open to all, and allows free entry to all the museums in the scheme. Our funding comes from membership fees, bequests, donations and income from investments. Please direct any enquiries to the secretary, Andy Bufton, at the address on the left.

Preserving the past...for the future Trustees: I N Walden OBE (Chairman), P J Wellings, S Bagley, T P V Barnes, J F R Handley, M Jackson, J N Jeffery, J Kidson,

Late news - BMCT Acquires Scooter Collection


s this edition of BMCT News was about to go to the printers it was announced by BMCT chairman Ian Walden OBE that the Trust had been successful in securing for the nation Robin Spalding’s extraordinary and important collection of British motor scooters from 1946-1970. The collection and various items of memorabilia formed the very popular Scootermania exhibition at Coventry Transport Museum which recently closed after running from October 2012. A new home has been found for the collection at the revamped Haynes International Motor Museum at Sparkford, which means that all 42 of the scooters will be kept together, something that would probably not have happened had they been sold at auction or gone overseas. Published by Matchless Management Services, Holly Cottage, Main Street, Bishampton, Pershore WR10 2NH

Profile for Andy Bufton

BMCT News Spring 2013  

World's Fastest Velocette

BMCT News Spring 2013  

World's Fastest Velocette

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