A SCOTT YOWLED to victory in the Senior TT; Douglas snatched first, second and fourth in the Junior–and persistent rain caused belts to slip, encouraging the move to chains. There’s a full report on the TT in the 1912 Features section.
PETROL COST AN average of 1s 2½d (6p) per gallon; that equates to about a quid a litre. Tell kids today…
AERONAUTIC MACCHI was set up in Italy; in time the name, abbreviated to Aermacchi, would appear on motorcycles.
THE ACU SIX Days Trial moved down to the South-West where P&M led the field with four golds from five bikes entered, ahead of Rover, AJS, Indian and Royal Enfield. One of the P&Ms was ridden by Mabel Hardee. (The Features section includes a comprehensive report with oddles of pics of the trial—it was a toughie.)
THE US SPECIALISED in sidevalve V-twins but the Cyclone board and dirt-track racer was the leader of the pack. Its ohc 996cc engine developed 45hp with a top speed of over 100mph, leaving Harleys and Indians eating its dust. Some race organizers banned the Cyclone because its unmatched performance was held to be dangerous. And a Utah cop named Lester Wire invented an electric traffic signal.
BRITISH DOMINATION in international long-distance trials led one Munich club to ban the Brits because they “diminished the home industry’s chances of success”.
SUNBEAM HAD DIPPED ITS CORPORATE TOE into the motor cycle market in 1903, fitting a Motosacoche engine into one of its bicycles. A fatal accident ended the project but with a number of motor cycles being produced in its home town of Wolverhampton it was time to try again. Sunbeam founder John Marston, now aged 76, went just up the road to AJ Stevens Ltd where the four Stevens Stevens brothers had had recently begun to make motor cycle under the AJS banner. Harry Stevens was taken on as consulting engineer and designed a tidy 2¾hp 350 single incorporating Sunbeam’s patented ‘Little Oil Bath’ chain enclosure. Within a year the dark green and silver livery had been replaced with a high-gloss black and gold leaf that suited the company’s slogan: ‘The gentleman’s motor bicycle’. John’s son, Charles, who bought Sunbeam’s Villiers subsidiary in 1902, got in on the act with a 349cc ioe unit construction four-stroke engine. It wasn’t a success but by year’s end Villiers was producing a 269cc two-stroke engine.
PIRELLI, WHICH had been in business for 40 years, turned its attention to motor cycle tyres “in all standard sizes of the leather and steel-studded and plain ribbed types”.
FRED WATSON set up the Patent Collapsible Sidecar Company to make folding sidecars. The name changed in 1913 to Folding Sidecar Company and in 1931 to Watsonian Sidecars Company Ltd [the Watsonian-Squire QM1 on the side of our GS850N still protects the mem sahib from the elements–Ed].
MOTOR CYCLING publisher Edmund Dangerfield opened the first motor vehicle museum, in London.
THE AUTOMOBILE Association opened its first roadside ‘sentry boxes’.
NORTON HAD A publicity coup when Jack Emerson bought a TT model and rode it the 165 miles from his Hull home to Brooklands where he won a 150-mile race. He and his single-speed sv beat four-valve ohv competition and set three world records in the process, including a 73.5mph flying mile. He doubtless got a sound night’s sleep before riding home the next day. This bike was destined to become central to Norton’s success, as you’ll see if you move on a year.
ALDABERTO GARELLI helped develop a flat-twin twostroke engine for Fiat. The lump was destined for a submarine but Alberto adapted the design to produce a lightweight split-single that was just right for a motorcycle. Within a year he’d produced a working model which he proceded to ride to the top of the snowbound Moncenisio Pass near Turin. This feat helped him win a government competition to design a military motorcycle.
“THAT SOME machines are very much cleaner than others on winter roads is due to the fact that their designers ride year in and year out, and have the necessity of adequate mudguarding forcibly brought home to them. The average motor cycle is, however, still very much wanting in this respect.”
A MOTOR CYCLE staffer calculated that he ridden 92 motor cycles in two years.
PJ O’BRIEN set an Australian 24-hour record of 504 miles on a 1909 3½hp Triumph. He had to contend with lousy roads including 6in-deep sandy patches, a petrol tank punctured by a stone and headlamp failure. Sydney rider W Tormey rode his 3½hp Kerry from Melbourne to Sydney in 44hr 3min, cutting 4hr 37min from the previous record. A charging cow nearly brought his record ride to a premature end.
AT THE START of the year the ACU secretary was instructed to contact the Isle of Man authorities to confirm that they would again allow the TT to be run on The Island, “and in the event of no definite reply being received within a reasonable time he communicate with one of the principal French motor cycle clubs with a view to holding this important event in France”. This led to a somewhat flippant comment in the Blue ‘Un: “Dieppe or Douglas? We hear that with about two exceptions the whole of the members of the Manufacturers’ Union have signed the bond not to compete in a TT race in the Isle of Man. It would therefore appear that even if the ACU obtain permission to hold the race in the Isle of Man it will have little or no trade support. The signing of the bond does not prevent makers taking part in a similar race if it be held elsewhere, say in Frane. Vive la France! It looks as though we shall have to polish up our French for this event.” The French move was soon made unnecessary: “The Tynwald Court, Isle of Man, at its sitting last week, decided to grant permission to the Auto Cycle Union to hold the Tourist Trophy Races this year, provided proper regulations are made to prevent competitors and others becoming a nuisance to other people. The Tynwald authorises the races on condition that efficient silencers are used, and recommends the adoption of the old course—St. John’s, Kirk Michael. Peel, St. John’s.” Ixion pointed out: “We owe a great debt to the TT. It has given us engines which can climb gradients fast, it has given us engine flexilbility, it has given us durable engines with lots of stamina, and it has greatly accentuated the factor of reliability in every detail of the modern machine. Last year it added the special service of demonstrating the variable gear…”
MEANWHILE IN FRANCE, as in so many other Continental countries, road racing was flourishing and, judging by the bare branches and mud, not only in summer. Melun is now a suburb of Paris but when it was still open countryside it hosted a race within easy reach of city dwellers.
INDIAN PRODUCTION was running at 100 bikes a day—but the Indian tribe was facing some new competition. There were 19 motor cycle exhibitors at the New York Motor Show. Items of interest included the launch of the four-pot Henderson (see below); a 7hp Thor 50° twin; a 5hp Yale twin with automatic inlet valves; ‘full floating sprung saddles from Emblem and Harley Davidson; and the two-stroke ‘valveless’ Schickel on which exhaust gas heated the inlet manifold and engine lubrication was achieved “by purposely mixing the lubricating oil with the petrol and allowing it to go straight into the motor…Simplicity itself! if no deleterious effects follow such a system.” This seems to be the Blue ’Un’s first encounter with petroil that would become the global standard for two-strokes. MM, which had a London agent, displayed an enlarged single and a twin with new Schebler carburetter, flat belt, and jockey pulley. Taking pride of place on the Hendee stand was the Tourist Trophy—following the Indian hat trick in the 1911 Senior, you can’t blame the colonials for making the most of the PR opportunity. As soon as the show closed the trophy was despatched to the Chicago show. Ixion was not amused: “I hope our expert riders, leading designers, and manufacturers will not forget that the Tourist Trophy graced the Indian stand at the New York Show in Madison Square Garden, that it will also be again seen at the Chicago Show, and that they will spare no effort to bring the cup back in time for next Olympia. With the exception of one or two leading makes the American industry still lags behind. Only four or five makes are equipped with variable gears, and most exhibits make a big talking point of the free engines which have long since been commonplaces on this side. Judging from outline illustrations, some of the Yankee machines are not improving in beauty; many samples remind me of a rheumatic camel, laden with a travelling gipsy’s impedimentia.” You have to wonder if he was thinking of the New Era and the Emblem (pictured below).
YOUNG WILLIAM HENDERSON, like any healthy nipper, was obsessed with motor cycles—and his father, Thomas, was a partner in the Winton Automobile Co, which had been making cars since 1897. William designed his ideal motor cycle: an in-line four. With backing from well-heeled family friends, the Henderson Motorcycle Co was formed in 1911; production began in 1912. But how to prove the new bike? Well, in 1903 Dr Horatio Jackson had won a $50 bet by driving a Wilton car from San Francisco to New York. There were 150 miles of paved road on the continent in 1903; the trip took 63 days but the doctor won his bet: his second-hand 20hp twin-pot Wilton became the first motorised vehicle to cross the USA. Henderson upped the ante. Carl Stearns, a 22-year-old advertising copywriter, followed in Dr Jackson’s tracks from San Francisco to New York on a a 934cc 7hp Henderson—but that was the last leg of his ride. Clancy and his Henderson sailed from New York in early October and returned from the West Coast 10 months later, becoming the first motor cyclist to ride round the world. You’ll find the story of his adventure in 1913.
“THE WAR DEPARTMENT of the War Office is holding a test of motor bicycles at Brooklands, presumably with a view either to purchase machines for the British Army or to gain data concerning the use of motor bicycles for military purposes. In the circular to manufacturers inviting them to send their riders with a motor cycle to the track, mention is made that ‘the War Department is now considering the question of the purchase of types of motor bicycles which might be suitable for use in the army’. Motor cycles which are submitted for this test will be required to climb the test hill from a standing start in full touring trim with a rider weighing at least 12 stone. Machines with engines up to 500cc will also be required to average 45mph on the track, and those with engines up to 350cc 40mph. This will be a fairly stiff test for the average single-geared motor bicycle to accomplish. It would therefore appear to be an opportunity for the variably geared machines to shine conspicuously.” The trials were overseen by a committee chaired by Colonel HCL Holden of the Royal Artillery (Companion of the Bath, a Fellow of the Royal Society, designer of the Brooklands circuit and, in 1895, inventor of a four-cylinder motor cycle—not a bad CV). The bikes on trial (and their riders) were a 2¾hp two-speed Enfield (HV Colver); 2¾hp two-speed Douglas (GL Fletcher); 3½hp Bradbury with NSU two-speed gear (Hugh Gibson); 3½hp free-engine Triumph (WF Newsome); 3½hp Zenith-Gradua (FW Barnes); 3½hp two-speed P&M (P Shaw); 3½hp free-engine 3½hp free-engine Rudge (S Spencer); 3½hp Premier with Armstrong gear (R Holloway). Each bike made two circuits of the track, the first timed from a standing start and the second with a flying start. The Zenith made the fastest lap (44.2mph) frollowed by P&M (42.5mph), Douglas (42.0mph), Triumph (41.9mph), Enfield (37.9mph), with Rudge, Bradbury and Premier all on 37.8mph. Zenith, and P&M tied for the fastest hilclimb at 9.4sec. They were was followed by Douglas and Bradbury (15.6sec); Triumph (17.4sec), Rudge (18.6sec), Premier (18.4 sec), Rudge (18.6) and Enfield (19.6sec). “Altogether the test was quite an interesting one, and though the Zenith was the only machine which apparently satisfied. the War Office officials, we do not think we should be very far wrong in saying that all accomplished what was required of them, as we were led to understand that the War Office ideal would not be absolutely insisted upon.” A week later…”Further War Office tests took place at Brooklands on Tuesday last, when a P&M was tested…the machine had to cover one lap at 40mph and 19 laps at 30mph…it covered a lap in 3min 55sec=41.63mph…”
“A CAPITAL SMOKING concert followed the the annual general meeting of the Motor Cycling Club, at which a number of well-known artistes displayed their talent. Among the professionals, Mr Ernest Cherry, a MCC member, gave some selections from his clever impersonations; while among the amateurs Mr F Gillett, accompanied by Mr Hal Hill, sang some humorous topical songs of his own composition. A refrain, We don’t want more letters from Archibald, and We’ve a very good sec in Southcomb May, went down very well.”
DURING HIS SPEECH at the Streatham &DMCC’s annual dinner, chairman HPE Harding remarked that “The motoring movement has developed a new race of people. Previous to its inception there were comparatively few mechanical engineers in this country; now everybody said they knew all about everything connected with internal combustion engines, and what they did not know about them they did not say.” (Laughter.)
HALF A CENTURY before fairings came onto the market Ixion wrote: “I think if I were a commercial traveller, using my machine week in and week out for business purposes on compulsory rides, I should fit a permanent winter body between November 1st and March 1st, to wit, a light aluminium torpedo, resembling that on the Roc tricycle, with a high front, and sides brought well back. A light detachable steel framing, with aluminium panels, or leather shields, would serve to keep two-thirds of the anatomy warm, dry, and clean. The best of the existing winter shields seems to me to consider the machine rather than the rider; and more complete protection for the rider should be attainable without a great sacrifice of weight or convenience.” The Motor Cycle’s artist clearly took the great man at his word…
STREAMLINING WAS BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY: “Though it may seem absurd on first thoughts to suggest a streamline body for a motor cycle, there is no question of doubt that such a wind-cutting fitment would materially aid the racing motor cyclist on the track. Racing has of late become such a fine art on Brooklands that new and up- to-date mounts are only capable of reducing by fractions of seconds the more important short distance records, consequently one’s thoughts naturally turn to. exterior aids to speed. So much experimenting has been done with special compression ratios, valve timing, cam design, carburetter fakements, etc, that it would appear strange that track racers have not turned their serious attention to wind cutting devices to envelop their body, such as we are dealing with, especially as the veriest novice knows how he must huddle himself up along the top tube to get the maximum speed out of his machine…A motor cyclist’s body, no matter what contortions he may perform to reduce wind resistance, is of irregular shape, and consequently has a considerable retarding effect…It is, therefore, easy to realise that a streamline covering to envelop the rider’s body is bound to effect a considerable improvement in the matter of speed, and once records have been made by the aid of such bodies, it is unlikely that a rider on a machine of orthodox design could recapture them. The shape which has been found to require the minimum power to drive is a long fish-like surface with the blunt end facing towards the direction of motion…A fish—particularly a mackerel—has the most perfect streamline form in natural life. The bodies of birds are a very near approach…Using the Eiffel Tower formula, and assuming a motor cycle and rider to have a surface of 4.6sq ft opposed to the air, the horse-power absorbed by wind resistance at various speeds is: 30mph, 1hp; 60mph, 8hp; 80hp, 19hp; 100mph, 35hp…It has been estimated by one of our leading riders that almost as soon as the streamline body is tried on a motor cycle the speed will increase’ at least 10mph.”
“IT SEEMS HIGHLY PROBABLE that noisy exhausts will be legally abolished within a very few months,” Ixion warned. “The wails so commonly heard denouncing the innovation on the ground that hill-climbing must suffer strike me as quite beside the mark. It is gratuitous to imagine that the ingenuity of the trade cannot evolve a silent machine of 500cc which will climb as well as present-day noisy models. But should the trade fail in this not very arduous task, the only effect will be a general lowering of standard gears by a small fraction. An open cut-out does not affect a greater improvement in climbing powers than the reduction of the gear from, say, 4½ to 5 to 1. My own belief—and Brooklands experiences bear me out—is that within a single season exhaust clearance will be improved, with a great gain in silence, so that the absence of a. cut-out (if the cut-out be abolished) will be imperceptible. If I am too sanguine, the effects of a legal prohibition will be two-fold—first, a general lowering of gears, and, second, a growing popularity in more penetrating alarms than the ordinary hooter.”
RUSSIAN COUNT Peter Schilovski showed Wolseley plans for a gyroscopically stabilised car running on two wheels (which in my book makes it a a motor cycle). The Shilovsky Gyrocar was driven by a 20hp Wolseley engine driving the rear wheel via an offset driveshaft. The gyroscope, powered by a 1¼hp electric motor and incorporating a 1,344lb flywheel, was mounted amidships and spun at 3,000rpm; it stabilised the vehicle via a rack-and-pinion system linked by cords to two pendulums. If the gyroscope stopped sprag wheels to either side of the chassis deployed automatically. AW Dring, Wolseley’s chief experimental engineer was in charge of building the beast He reported: “We drove the car backwards and forwards for a distance of about six feet many times. During these tests it was noticeable that one could stand on the side of the car and step into the body without any disturbance of balance. We then moved the car partially round a radius to the left, backwards and forwards. Eventually we drove the car the whole length of the works,
backwards and forwards, with four passengers. Then His Excellency decided to take the machine over on to the track…suddenly, when opposite the Directors’ mess room, the vehicle heeled to the near side and dropped on its sprag. It was lifted by eight men, the engine restarted, and the car driven back to the experimental department, but it was supported by outside assistance.” After some development work the gyrocar was driven in London’s Portman Square. The New York Times took an interest: “The inventor sat beside the driver while the car made several circuits of the square, sometimes at slower than walking pace, the curves being negotiated without difficulty at that rate, and, of course, always with the vehicle on an even keel, as distinct from inclining it in the manner in which a cyclist rides around a curve. Then the car was brought to a stand, but as the gyroscope was kept in action it stood upright, and was unaffected by men stepping on to or off it or leaning against it.” Like the P&M V-twin, it worked. And like the P&M V-twin it was killed off by the outbreak of the Great War. P&M concentrated on making slopers for the RFC; Wolsley concentrated on making aero engines for the RFC. The gyrocar was buried. Then just before the start of WW2, the gyrocar was unearthed and disp;ayed in the company’s museum where it survived bombing raids, only to be scrapped in the late 1940s.
HARRODS WENT into the motor cycle business, “the firm having taken the Cadogsn rooms, just behind the main building, in which a special room is set apart for motor bicycles and sidecars. In the handsome hall special displays are being given from time to time…a speciality of Messrs Harrods’ motor cycle department is their deferred payment system, of which motor cyclists are taking advantage in ever-increasing numbers.”
A Chat with Mr H Collier, Sen.
WE FOUND MR COLLIER at the new premises, 44, Plumstead Road, Greenwich, two minutes’ walk from Woolwich Arsenal gates. It is not generally known that Mr Collier served his country years ago by working at the big lathes in the naval gun factory at the Arsenal. His ex- perience with ‘explosion engines’ therefore dates from early days.
The new Matchless works should greatly facilitate the turning out of the 1912 models. It is a compact little factory, well equipped, well lighted, run on up-to-date lines, and capable of extension—a real credit to the hard work of Mr. Collier and his sons, who might well share the motto of another famous business man, ‘Great oaks from little acorns grow.’ Unlike many other manufacturers, Mr Collier is a healthy supporter of races of all kinds. In 1902-3, Charlie and Harry were making rings round their rivals, at Canning Town, using a 2¾hp De Dion engine slung in an inclined position on the frame—an engine which was tuned out of all recogni- tion. The two keen brothers learned their trade in the excellent school kept by Dame Experience, and now what they do not know about engine tuning, and making for that matter, is not worth talking of. 1912 Matchless machines are now being fitted ‘ with Matchless engines, made by Messrs JA Prestwich and Co. Wemention this fact because it shows how much the Matchless firm has benefited by racing experience. Mr Colher therefore seems to be thoroughly justified in what he says about the value of racing. “Where are France, Austria, and Germany,” said Mr. Collier, “who gave up racing five or six years ago, and at the time they gave it up could beat us? We have never given up motor cycle racing, nor have the Americans, and American or English machines can safely take on any Continental make.” Asked about Charlie’s proposed visit to the States, Mr Collier said he was quite willing for him to go, only he wisely insisted that the money guaranteed should be deposited, preferably with the Auto Cycle Union or some independent party, before he would allow his son to leave the country. Whether or not he could go would also depend on the date of the Tourist Trophy Race, and the number and date of competitions on the Continent this year. In conclusion, Mr Collier told us he felt the motor cycle boom was only just beginning, and that in the near future the use of the motor cycle would be vastly extended.
FOR THE FIRST time, The Motor Cycle felt the need to comment on rowdy motor cyclists: “The time has arrived when immediate steps should be taken to eradicate a certain discordant note which is now being heard at all gatherings, which certain members of the motor cycle community attend. Shouting, singing, and interruptions during speeches and musical entertainments are not conducive to the good reputation the movement should bear, while the same conduct at meal times in hotels during the progress of competitions has an even worse effect. It is obvious that only a very few, whose enthusiasm gets the better of their discretion, offend in this manner, but the nuisance has reached such a stage that all who have the good name of the motor cycle pastime at heart should take immediate steps for its suppression. The kind of behaviour we have had most reluctantly to refer to is, besides being harmful to the pastime, discourteous to ladies who may be present, and brings those responsible for the proper conduct of the event into discredit…A drastic remedy would be ejection of the offenders from the meeting and suspension from so many club competitions during the year, and if the offenders persisted after that in disturbing their fellow members summary ejection from the club should be the punishment.”
WORD SPREAD from the USA that adding hydrogen peroxide to the water used in acetylene lamps made them shine more brightly. The Motor Cycle ran some tests and established that it worked. Adding half an ounce of ’20 volumes’ hydrogen peroxide to a pint of water increased the lamp’s candle-power by 50%. An ounce boosted luminosity 62.5%, two ounces by 68.8% and three ounces by 71%. The tester concluded: “Possibly the explanation is as follows: The increase in candle-power is probably due to the oxygen which is evolved from the H202, together with the acetylene, causing more complete combustion than would otherwise be the case…It may, therefore, be taken as a rule that two ounces of 20-volumes hydrogen peroxide per pint of pure (soft) water is the best for all-round work. I do not recommend the proceeding adopted by one amateur who filled his generator with H2O2 of full strength and then wondered why it exploded when he applied a light. A solution too strong would do far more harm than good, besides being risky, as acetylene and oxygen form a very explosive mixture.”
…AND THEN THIS letter arrived on the editor’s desk: “I should like to draw your readers’ attention to the fact that by an Order in Council, dated May 15th, 1900, it is illegal to use peroxide of hydrogen in the water of an acetylene generator. As your readers will know, the use of peroxide of hydrogen results in the acteylene gas being mixed with a small quantity of oxygen. The following is an extract from the Order in Council above referred to: ‘Acetylene when in admixture with atmospheric air or with oxygen gas in whatever proportion and at whatever pressure and whether or not in a mixture with other substances shall, be deemed to be an explosive within the meaning of the Explosive Act. And whereas it is in the judgment of Her Majesty expedient for the public safety that acetylene in admixture with air or oxygen, when an explosive within the meaning of this Order, shall be prohibited.’ I shall be pleased if you can see your way to publish this letter, as, in the interests of the acetylene industry, I am desirous that tlie practice of using peroxide of hydrogen in acetylene generators should be discontinued.”
Acetylene Publicity Ltd
THE HARROGATE &DMCC staged its annual gymkhana in the local skating rink; events included tilting at rings,egg and spoon race, ring and bucket race, obstacle race, musical chairs and foot and wheel race. All most enjoyable no doubt, and for the first time they added a tricycle race: “F Stafford [winner of the egg and spoon and musical chairs, who was the first to start, found the machine unmanageable, and goinng off at a tangent, finally ended up among the spectators. Tindall turned the first two corners, but had trouble on the straight when the machine decided to go amongst the spectators and Tindall to turn a beautiful somersault. The remainder were painfully slow…”
“THE OPEN ROAD! What vistas does it not call forth? Free to tour from one end of the land to the other, untrammelled by trains, and the consequent servility to timetable and confinement in stuffy carriages! The glorious pastime of motor cycling, never dead throughout the year, is about to gain a new lease of life from the improvement in roads and weather. The old enthusiast has obtained delivery of his new mount and is eager to test its capabilities o’er hill and dale, while the tyro is on the verge of tasting the joys of a nomad. Both are free to wander where they list, nothing daunts them; no acclivity on a main road is too steep for the modern motor cycle to ascend; no declivity too precipitous for it to descend, depending on its powerful brakes and the retarding influence of the engine. In fair weather or foul a motor cycle can he ridden practically anywhere, and so the open road is free to all to go where they like, stay as long as there is leisure or the will to admire some pretty view, to inspect some ivy-mantled ruin or other object of interest that meets the traveller’s eye…”
“OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION has been received by the ACU that the Northern League has been disbanded. It appears as if the Yorkshire clubs are now friendly towards the Union.”
THE MOTOR CYCLISTS’ Progressive Association (MCPA) was formed by a “provisional committee of members of the ACU and representatives of affiliated clubs, who are desirous of introducing reforms in the conduct of the ACU”. The MCPA had two goals: “To assist the ACU in furthering the interests of motor cyclists” and “To work to secure the adequate and efficient representation of active motor cyclists throughout the United Kingdom upon the committee and sub-committees of the ACU; in other words, to ensure the government of the pastime by motor cyclists for motor cyclists.” The committee added: “We want the ACU to have a membership of 100,000 instead of about 5,000…The subscription to the Association is 1s per annum, so that no one need hesitate to join on the score of expense…May we point out to our provincial friends especially that this Association should, and doubtless will, provide a special means of conveying their views to the governing body in London.” At its first meeting MCPA chairman Otto Thomas said: “I will allow no personalities during the course of the discussion…if the MCPA does nothing else it will take steps to suppress bad manners at public gatherings.” He later wrote: “We consider that the ACU has lamentably failed to make good its undoubtedly strong claim to the support of motor cyclists, as a whole, and consequently has failed to attract members in anything like the numbers that the movement warrants. The ACU has failed to keep in touch with its affiliated members—especially those of the provincial clubs—with the result that unnecessary friction has arisen, powerful clubs have refused their support, the interests of provincial clubs have suffered, and the movement has been weakened. The policy of the ACU in regard to competitions has been vacillating and variable; it has reserved to itself competitions which should have been left to the affiliated clubs—thereby competing with its own constituent members—and diffused its executive energies, instead of concentrating them upon such classic events as the Isle of Man races, six days’ trials, etc. The ACU is primarily an organisation of private owners, and the trade has sufficient commonsense to recognise fully that position, notwithstanding what has been stated to the contrary. The unworthy suggestion that we have ‘axes to grind’ can be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.”
BY SPRINGTIME the ACU had 3,437 affiliated members in 73 clubs, 379 individual members and 1,503 touring members.
THIS LEADER column in the Blue ‘Un made not the slightest attempt to be non-partisan: “‘There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune.’ I So is it with the ACU at the present time. What we want to do in this short article is to impress upon the provincial clubs that, notwithstanding any communications they may have received from other sources, the progressives are their true friends. It is the sole aim of the Motor Cyclists’ Progressive Association to look after the interests of the provincial clubs by seeing that they are represented by active men whose motto is progress, and who believe in the government of motor cyclists by motor cyclists. The old policy of a section of the ACU, who, many think, have been too long in power, has been to quibble with the delegates of the provincial clubs at council meetings, and generally to prevent progress. The application for affiliation of the British Motor Cycle Racing Club was refused three years ago simply through the high handed and unreasonable action of the section referred to. It is perhaps a little unfortunate that the proportion of trade representatives on the progressive side is high, as it gives the provincial clubs an idea that the Union is governed by the Trade. This is not so…It is ridiculous to shut one’s eyes to facts, and the fact in connection with the trade representation on the ACU is that those traders who give their services are deeply interested in the development of the movement and their advice and experience are of very great use…”
“SURELY IT IS time that we cease to call the popular single-cylinder machine of the day 3½hp. It has been 3½hp for some years now—in fact, ever since it was a baby—and has been getting larger and stronger ever since. This being so, it is time it went into knickers, as it were, for it is a baby no longer. Why not call it by its cubic capacity?”
CHARLIE COLLIER rode a standard 8hp Matchless (which was due for delivery to a privare buyer) up Honister Pass in Cumberland. WB Little, captain of the Cumberland MCC, was among the enthusiasts who gathered in the rain to watch the fun. He reported: “A speck appeared away down the valley, which gradually got nearer and resolved itself into the Matchless, CR Collier, and his 11-stone passenger. Quickly they drew nearer until it was observed that their speed was abnormal for such a road. They travelled up the pass at a speed verging on 20mph, swerving from side to side with the front wheel often at an acute angle from the line of direction. At the bridge about 300 yards below Hill Step the bottom gear was engaged, and the pace slackened to about 14mph. Could the road possibly be held at this pace? was the question on everyone’s lips. Nearer came the_machine, swerving and rolling, with the passenger performing wonderful balancing effects until the loose shale was encountered. Through this it ploughed from first the inside of the road to the outside, where yawns an unguarded drop of 100 feet over a precipice to the stream below. Upwards still it rushed, and after a moment of tense excitement Hill Step was reached. Round flew the driving wheel in the deep shale, and showers of stones scattered upwards and outwards in all directions, the speed alone carrying the machine. and its load over the awful loose surface. Once over the Step the machine leaped forward, and the spectators yelled themselves hoarse. From there to the top of the pass the pace was accelerated and all went well, and a marvellous climb was accomplished. Collier then returned to Hill Step to examine the scene of his exploit.” Just for fun Collier then made the climb from the Borrowdale side with two Cumberland County MCC volunteers as passengers. He later described the climb as “the maddest thing I have ever done”, warning that if many more attempts were made “there is sure to be a nasty accident”.
MOTOR CYCLISTS were getting organised on both shores of the Solent. The first general meeting of the Isle ot Wight MCC was held at Newport with Dr CG Thompson in the chair; they already had more than 50 members and planned to affiliate to the ACU. The same week in March a group of enthusiasts met in the King’s Hotel Portsmouth and voted to form a Portsmouth &DMCC; F Tappenden of Southsea was elected secretary and treasurer.
A CONTINGENT of 14 enthusiasts caught the boat-train at Charing Cross and crossed the Channel to compete in the Circuit de Paris—the first English team to compete in a French trial. One of them left his impressions of an eventful trip; here are some of the highlights: “Although the competitors gave considerable assistance to the railway staff at Folkestone, they were not allowed to touch the machines at Boulogne…At the French port McMinnies and Griffith ascended on the crane platform with their machines, and as they went up the porters shouted, ‘Adieu, Monsieur Bleriot.’…The men were started in groups of four at one minute intervals, and once under weigh there ensued some miles of the worst pavé to be found in France…was reached, when the surface again became appalling. The English motor cycles stood the racket fairly well, but my stand refused to remain in situ, and had to be fastened with string…The
English team lost three men. Cook’s back tyre burst; he fell and broke the frame. Reed had a sparking plug blown out and the point entered the tank, and the leakage of petrol resulted in his machine being burnt up. Lake retired with gear trouble…Dover was soon to be put out of the running with tyre trouble, and had it not been for an English, tourist, who lent him a spare tube, he would have fared badly…my bad time came next. The vent in my filler cap became choked with dust and caused symptoms of partial failure, which I put down to a choked jet. The day before the float was also punctured, and the gear rod needed adjustment. The bad roads, of course, started the float trouble, while the other small details are such as would easily cause delay to one who was riding a strang emachine…the scenery on both days in such places as Fontainebeau, Chateau-Thierry, Compiegne, Vernon, and Rambouillet was really beautiful…the ill-fated
Rex Mundy’s back wheel collapsed after his tyre had become deflated. Hillman tried conclusions with a dog at Les Thilliers and hurt his arm. As regards the Frenchmen, the riders of the Griffons suffered a good deal of trouble. They were followed by a car, the occupants of which, against the rules, doled out coils or accumulator when required. The Clements, which followed Enfield lines, ran well, and were much admired. Fenton had chain trouble, while the lightweight New Hudson was frequently seen stopped through carburetter trouble…The following arrived at Versailles, where the trial virtually ended: Class I, up to 225cc, one NSU, two Motosacoches, and one New Hudson. Class III, up to 350cc, three Clements, of which one was ridden by Fenton, one NSU, two Peugeots, one Griffon, a Motosacoche, one Enfield (Bishop), and a Douglas (Fletcher). In Class IV, up to 500cc, Lister Cooper (Triumph) was the sole entrant to finish, while in the open class a Francaise alone finished. In the amateur class the Englishmen scored, Boileau (Douglas), McMinnies (Triumph), Hillman (Zenith), and GrifBths (Rudge), completed the course. The trial was well organised and altogether enjoyable, and was a credit to the French club. The RAC and ACU left no stone unturned to make the journey a comfortable one.”
“COVENTRY MOTORISTS vs Boy Scouts: The manoeuvres in connection with the above event will operate in the vicinity of Rugby. The idea of the scheme is that twenty cars and one hundred motor cycles will be used in an attempt to break through a cordon of scouts numbering with officers 250 strong. The motor force will be composed of members of the Coventry and Warwickshire MC, and the scouts will be drawn from Rugby, Leamington, Warwick, Daventry, Southam, etc. The scouts will occupy the roads, etc., within a six-mile radius drawn from the Clock Tower, Rugby, but will not go outside this line, neither must the motorists attempt to cross it, before 3pm. The rules are that at least five motorists must break through and leave evidence of their having done so at Mr IB Hart-Davies’s office. Bank Street, Rugby. A proportion of three to two on either side within twenty yards of each other captures. If the proportion be less than three to two, both retire 100 yards and await reinforcements. Motorists will wear white badges, which will be replaced with red when captured. Scouts will wear uniform, with a white band when captured. The motor force will make use of motor cyclist despatch riders to communicate with their base, The Midland Daily Telygraph Officces, Coventry, but must not use telephone or telegraph, which are to be considered as ‘lines cut’. The general rendezvous will be the George Hotel, Rugby, at 5.30pm.” [In the event six motor cyclists got through, proving their use for carrying military dispatches, but many more were captured and everyone had a smashing time, after which they had tea.]…And then the dreadful truth emerged: “A Practical Joke which was not Relished: The Boy Scouts have now been declared winners of the manceuvres in connection with the Coventry and Warwickshire Motor Club, as it has been proved that three of the six motor cyclists who entered Rugby got through the Scouts’ ranks in a pantechnicon. The “discovery ” has caused great amusement among motorists, not so the Boy Scouts, who, according to a daily paper, “are slapping their knees and waving their 650 poles in anger”.
“IT IS PERHAPS NOT GOING TOO FAR to say that the general and rapidly growing use of some form of easy starting mechanism is a step forward of such magnitude as to be worthy of classification with the introduction of variable gears, magnetos, and spray carburetters. The addition of a very simple device has already robbed the critics of the motor cycle of one of their most powerful arguments. Until lately they have been right in declaring that the average two-wheeler was a machine fit only for men of vigour and activity; now, however, they must admit that it can be mounted and ridden with practically no serious effort whatever. This, it need hardly be said, is a fact of the utmost value to the industry, for it means that the ranks of motor cyclists will be swelled in the immediate future by many who have until lately justly regarded the motor cycle as something entirely beyond their physical powers. In a few words, the foot-starter has made the motor cycle a practical vehicle for ladies and men of some years; at the same time it has proved an added comfort to those who were motor cyclists already. There were few firms of any note amongst the first flight who did not have at Olympia at least one model fitted with a kick-starting apparatus, and I question whether any general tendency was ever so welcome to all and sundry…No one who has ever used a toot-starter would willingly start by any other means. In getting a start up hill it is a paramount necessity, in traffic it is a perfect blessing, and at all times it is most eminently desirable. When it comes to sidecar work its value is even better demonstrated, for who can deny that even the strongest of us find the pushing of a heavily loaded sidecar combination a very big physical effort against even the smallest gradient; indeed, even in my own small circle of acquaintances there are three people who have either temporarily or permanently denounced the sidecar for this reason alone.”
“A WITNESS IN a recent collision case was asked by counsel what happened to the motor cycle? The reply was, “Oh, that cocksiddled over.” The judge (Sir William Selfe): “That’s a new word; how do you spell it?” The witness, who came from Christchurch, said he did not know, but it was a Hants expression. The judge then asked, amid laughter, if they cocksiddled at Christchurch, and was told that the word applied to the over-turning of boats. The next time a motor cyclist has a bad skid he should remember to smile and remark that he merely cocksiddled over.”
TRADITIONALIST READERS of the Blue ‘Un must have been shocked to learn that Messrs Rogers, Browne, and Richard, of Jewin Street, EC “have lately introduced leggings for lady motor cyclists”. They were fitted with the latest ‘Lightning’ fastenings. More conservative lady riders might have preferred the latest mackintosh costume made by Messrs Burrelli of Cardiff and modelled by Mrs AB Wade, also of Cardiff. She reported: “It is far superior to an ordinary mackintosh, and the unique fastening is the means of getting the costume off and on in a minute’s time.”
A DEDICATED CYCLIST reluctantly went for a ride in a sidecar and lived to tell the tale. In fact it sounds like she had a mystical experience: “In the beginning the motion was unexpectedly smooth and luxurious. We went along at a moderate pace through the town : but even then there was a sense of power which was intoxicating. It was like the joy of gripping a high-mettled horse; but it was many horse-power. Then when the outskirts of the town were slipping behind, our speed increased. We began to shoot past the ordinary traffic—the lumbering drays and clanging street cars, and we outraced the cycles as a comet out-leaps the creeping stars. The sense of power became a thrill, a tingling joy; and I wanted to shout in the Sheer Pleasure of Motion. I felt a temptation to keep on guard—an entirely foolish impulse to be watchful and wary. Keenly watching each new turning for an out-rushing vehicle, gripping one side of the chair as if to leap alertly out or vaguely imagining that caution could stop the machine or brush aside the obstacle. The instinct was futile, but quite natural. Possibly it was due to a little timidity or a sense of helplessness. Then something happened. The machine suddenly doubled its speed and gulped down the road. The feeling of timidity vanished as a useless thing; I flung it off as a diver flings off his clothes; and we plunged into space. I lay back with feet pressed against the front of the chair in complete abandonment to pure joy. To say that we flew is a weak metaphor, and conveys no idea of the experience—we were hurled along like a projectile. The velocity seemed to double and double again. It grew, multiplied, accelerated. It became vertiginous yet exultant; it became an all-absorbing passion; a sense of power which made us god-like; it was like a divine thunderbolt, a soul racing like a star. We were being whirled into infinity, into eternity; and the wild joy filled me like a gale. Time and space became trivialities; I was superior to all such paltry things; I drank eternal life, till I was drunken as with old wine. The landscape flew by on either side; we sped up hills and swooped into valleys; we switchbacked over undulating country, yet we seemed not to touch the road. The telegraph poles ran by like Indians on the trail. The country-side galloped past with a thousand Gilpins in full chase. Bridges dashed towards us and leapt oyer us yelling like boys at leap-frog. The earth’s own motion came into our ken, and we became part of the cosmic consciousness. Fear was impossible in that state of delirious emotion, and I began to understand that primeval revelry when the stars of heaven sang together. I also wanted to shout for joy…Then we stopped. Everything became mute and dead. People crawled about the streets, and traffic moved slumberously past. The thrill of life faded into a dead-and-alive existence, and my cycle has become a commonplace.”
AUDIBLE MEANS of approach dept: a French designer came up with an alternative to horns, bells and whistles–a handlebar mounted revolving ‘motor gong’ driven by a propellor. Clearly an accessory which deserved greater success.
IN MARCH Bosch’s millionth magneto was delivered to its London HQ.
“FINSBURY PARK CC—The Easter tour in Normandy. The start will be from headquarters at 5am, the boat leaves Newhaven at 11:30am. Friday evening will be spent in Dieppe, the two following days in trips to places of interest and the return will be on Easter Monday.” Hardly newsworthy, but think on: a group of clubmen could arrange to meet in North London and be confident of catching a south coast ferry followed by a spot of foreign touring—and clearly treated their expedition as totally routine. In a single decade the motor cycle had clearly come of age.
THE MC LYONS held a “touring reliability trial”. It included a class for variably geared machines, which were required to stop and restart on two steep hills using their clutches. Riders had to weigh at least 11st 11lb. Marques represented in this class were Motosacoche, Terrot, Riviere, and Clement. The top three finishers were 1,Guiguet (Motosacoche); 2,Gream Fenton (Clement); 3,Golaz (Clement). The other classes were 250cc, won by Perrin (Peugeot); 333cc, Stoffel (Alcyon); 417cc, Ludovic (Alcyon); 500cc, Exofficer (Magnat-Debon); 750cc, Pouy (Moser).
“A SPORTSMAN. Alan E Woodman, the one-legged motor cyclist, has provisionally entered his 2¾hp twin Humber for the Junior TT.”
RUDGE ACE VERNON Taylor went to Spain for a road race from Bibao to San Sebastian. There were two other Rudges in a field of 30 including some from Paris. The course, Vernon reported, was “very dangerous with frightfully right-angled corners”; the climb up the Pyrenees was beset by rain and fog. The Spanish spectators were a tad partisan—two chunks of rock were thrown at Vernon; one hit his front wheel, the other smacked him in the eye. A Spaniard named Espinosa won the event, but he did it on a Rudge Multi.
“AS AN OUTCOME OF a friendly argument between Mr FS Whitworth, of the Colmore Depot, and Mr GH Mansell, of Singer and Co Ltd, as to the superiority of GE Stanley and SL Bailey as a motor cycle tuner and rider, a sporting match has been arranged with stakes of £100 a side. Both GE Stanley and SL Bailey are holders of world’s records. The former will ride a Singer, and the one time Australian champion a 2¾hp Douglas, The simple conditions are as follows: Cylinder capacity limit 350cc. The events, which will be three in number, consist of a hill-climb, a five-lap and a ten-lap race on Brooklands. The hon secretaries of the Sutton Coldfield AC the Coventry and Warwickshire MC, Oxford MCC, and Mersey MC have been invited to form a committee with the editor of this journal and another.” Bailey subsequently wrote to the Blue ‘Un suggesting the match be staged at a forthcoming BMCRC meeting; Singer refused to let Stanley ride in the head-to-head until he had taken the hour record. Bailey asked: “Why should I await, their convenience, especially as I have other work in hand far more important than a match with Mr Stanley? When this is completed. I assure your readers I shall not be afraid of the new four (or even 14) valve engine.” He claimed that the special Douglas he was preparing, with light tyres and wheels (not to mention ABC steel cylinders and fittings) would do 70mph. In the event Bailey set 150-mile and three-hour records on his way to winning the Brooklands Junior TT, and set a kilometre record at 72mph, as well 200 and 250 miles and four, five and six-hour records. He then went home to Australia with the match unrun.
THE FACT THAT J King, who recently won the Nottingham &DMCC reliability trial of 100 miles, has only one arm shows that the riding and management of a motor cycle is neither a difficult nor dangerous occupation when due care is exercised.
DESPITE THE disbanding of the Northern League, which had taken over the organisation of the annual Richmond rally, northern riders poured into the town square on Good Friday. However one enthusiast commented: “The catering arrangements this year were were very bad, and it was exceedingly difficult to get a meal anywhere.” Middlesbro’ had the biggest turnout with Darlington a close second. There were also contingents of clubmen from Leeds, Pontefract, Newcastle, Hull, and Bradford.
IT WAS A DARK and stormy night…nearly but not quite. The contemporary report of the MCC’s London-Land’s End-London Trial actually started: “It was a dark but mild morning when the first man was punctually started from Staines on the 550 miles journey to the End and back. The competitors were got away punctually, and there appeared to be no hitch in the arrangements…From Chard to Exeter the roads were very dusty, and great trouble was caused by the number of sheep and cattle which were being driven along the road. After the lunch stop at Exeter, brilliant sunshine
accompanied us through the beautiful district to Ashburton. We had purposely got ahead of the competitors so that we might see the fun on Holne Chase Corner, and we were in no way disappointed. Nearly all who did not know the corner overshot it and had to try again, and having got up they came down again to watch their friends’ attempts.” Among those making clean ascents were George Brough on a 6hp Brough, End-to-End rightweight record breaker Eli Clarke on his Douglas and Oily Karslake in a 3½hp Rover, having put the mighty Dreadnought into retirement. “Holne Chase was only the beginning of a series of precipitous grades, which were made even worse by half a gale of wind against the competitors. Dartmoor was enveloped in a mist, and this never really left us till St Austell, where it turned to a sea fog…Close to Truro some consternation and much amusement was caused by a crowd of competitors being held up by a bull. Though several riders were charged, everyone escaped serious damage except Frank Smith, whose sidecar was somewhat badly damaged; he, however, completed the course…GE Purchase (Triumph) and AC Robins (3½hp Humber) both retired at Two Bridges with belt rim trouble. F Begeley (2¾hp Hazelwood) ran into some water between Penzance and Land’s End and came in soaked. Fifty-six riders finished the outward journey within schedule time, and started on the return trip on Monday morning. The easier route, across Dartmoor, via Moreton Hampstead, was followed on the return, and, though this road includes some good climbs, very little difficulty was experienced by most competitors. Punctures were again the order of tlie day, but were not so common as on Saturdaj’.” After Basingstoke a lot of motor
traffic was encountered and the dust was bad. The finish took place just after dark at the eleventh milestone from London, on the Hounslow Road, and forty-six competitors came in to time, thus qualifying for gold medals. FS Procter got mixed up with a cow and a large stone in Devonshire and bent his front forks. AT Tamplin (6hp Matchless sc) is reported to have charged a wall on Dartmoor but without serious damage to himself. R Lord suffered from a broken sidecar frame, but patched it up and got home to time. Deacock (NLG) also had trouble with his sidecar and did not return. A regrettable accident occurred near the finish, when V Olsson (6hp Trump-JAP) collided with a large car. Willing hands went to his aid, but the doctor pronounced a compound fracture below the knee, and he was wheeled to the hospital in an ambulance. Our hearty thanks are due to Mr Bidlake, who gave us a seat in the official six-cylinder Standard for the return journey as, owing to an argument with a dog, our motor cycle was hors de combat.” Oily Karslake won the Jarrott Cup for the lowest ‘error from schedule’ of just 52sec. The lightweight winner was PW Moffat (2¾hp Douglas, 1min 2sec); the sidecar prize went to Frank Smith (Clyno, 2min 27sec); 26 riders won gold medals; 15 won silver. And, let it be noted, “The Penzance check on the outward trip was not taken into account, owing to the bull incident.”
THE 19 RIDERS on Birmingham MCC’s run to Perth and back were all stopped in Whitchurch by the police who decided to examine their number plates, but that turned out to be the least of their problems… “After leaving Carlisle a terrible head wind sprang up, and over the moors near Abington most of the competitors were driving on low gear with the throttle wide open, and by lying along the top tube they just managed to keep going…Soon after leaving Perth [at 3am] it commenced to rain, and later on, when getting near Stirling, a gale sprang up and the machines could hardly move…“A peculiarity of the wind was that it came in gusts and quite upset the carburation, increasing the difficulty of driving tenfold…when a gale of almost record severity is encountered for almost the whole distance dead in the riders’ faces, the trial becomes really severe…From Carlisle the gale was too severe to be described; most of the competitors had many narrow escapes from being blown over. Crossing the bridge over Liddle Water, just after leaving Gretna Green, it was necessary to lean over at a considerable angle to maintain a balance against the wind…Rowlandson had a seized small end on his connecting rod. Busby got lost near Stirling, as did Steeley and Egginton, who found themselves in Edinburgh. Peck had magneto trouble, and undertook a six mile walk into Carlisle. Seymour Smith was last seen in Lanark in trouble. HD Jones got lost, and came back via Edinburgh, but completed the journey by road to Birmingham, arriving about three-quarters of an hour late. Taylor and his machine were lifted bodily by the wind on Shap, and coming down to earth with a crash, the machine was damaged and had to be trained home. Blackwell had belt, magneto, and tyre trouble, his tyre being nearly cut in two at Warrington by a fallen slate. Yates was last seen at Kendal behind time. Mansell, whose Singer-Turner sidecar attracted much attention, ran out of petrol somewhere near Lanark…Pollock and Pearson unfortunately had a smash when about 400 yards from the finish. It appears that Pearson’s lamp was out and he ran into the back of Pollock’s James; both riders came off, and Pearson sustained a cut head and broken collar bone. It is surmised that Pearson fell asleep on his machine. Gold medals have been awarded to Messrs Ball (Triumph), Brook (Precision), Duke (Zenith), Newey (Ariel), Pollock (James), and Sangster (Ariel) for completing the double journey.”
BSA SUPPLIED 3½hp motor cycle engines to Daimler, which fitted them as starter motors to the six-cylinder, 16-litre 120hp Daimler Agricultural Tractors used in Canada to hail 25-disc ploughs.
“THE HENDEE Manufacturing Co, 178, Great Portland Street, W, have had some special notices printed on cards which will be sent to any bona fide motor cycle agent on receipt of 3d to cover the cost of production and postage. The notice reads:
‘Do not run your machine on the stand longer than 30sec at one time. Never run it at full speed on the stand at any time. No air-cooled motor ever built will stand such treatment. It burns out rings and injures bearings. More motors have been ruined on the stand than on the road.’ The advice is excellent, and one of the cards should be prominently placed in every garage. The card bears no name or advertising matter in conneclion with the Hendee Co or the Indian machines, so that the distribution of the cards can be said to be a disinterested action”
BERLIÉ WON THE Moto Club de Marseilles’ 122-mile road race from MaRseilles to Nice on a 498cc Moto-Rêve at an average 39mph, ahead of De Carforth (NSU single), Cavalier (Magnat-Debon single) and Closs (NSU single). The 40 entrants rode through “the smiling Provence country to Trets and Brignoles, touching the shores of the Mediterranean again at Frejus. From this point they had to climb into the Esterel, comprising twenty miles of magnificent mountain country with only one house on the entire route…Practically half the distance through the Esterel was up beautifully surfaced roads cut out of the face of the mountain, and the other half was a dangerous winding descent. From Cannes to Nice the road ran close to the sea shore, and was perfectly level. Owing to the dangerous nature of the road, however, by reason of the presence of tramways and vehicular traffic, the competitors were given one hour in which to cover the twenty miles. The finish took place on the famous Promenade des Anglais at Nice.”
SOME GOOD advice from Ixion: “At this period a number of novices are busy wrestling with their first machines, and a few hints may prove useful in acquiring that centaur-like understanding of the jigger which is essential to enjoyable riding. The first necessity is to acquire the art of mounting, and I recommend taking the machine to a dip in a lonely road, and after removing the belt, to practise mounting and dismounting and braking, until perfect Confidence is attained—a process that need only occupy half an hour. In practising mounting with the engine firing, one hand should be kept on the valve lifter lever, and the other on the throttle lever. The engine can then be instantaneously stopped by a twitch of either forefinger, and mounting is as easy as with a push bicycle. Starting troubles are avoided by warming the engine up on the stand; a novice should never essay starting the engine unless it has first been warmed up for a few seconds, or at least freed by injections of petrol or paraffin…Before the first traffic run, do not be ashamed to spend ten minutes with the machine on the stand, practising with the foot brake until the requisite toe movements become automatic. Theoretical knowledge scoots out of the brain at the first genuine emergency, and the muscular movements essential to rear braking should be made automatic, instinctive, and subconscious as soon as possible…”
IXION ALSO offered some wonderfully written words of wisdom on running expenses: “…Unbusiness-like persons of a self-indulgent temperament buy a machine, and, though they keep no accounts, they discover at the end of the year that quite a number of tradesmen’s accounts remain unsettled…they pull a wry face and remark to themselves and remark to their acquaintances: “Hang it all I hadn’t an idea motor cycling made such a hole in your purse…Before the now harassed Wiggins got his motor bicycle he was leading a fairly simple life. He spent a shilling or two weekly on theatre tickets, tobacco, billiards, and the like, without feeling the strain.’ After he got his bicycle he remained a victim to these amiable weaknesses, because the motor bicycle did not occupy all his spare time by any means.
Moral No1: Many a man can afford to motor cycle as his sole hobby, though not everybody can be a regular theatre-goer, local billiard champion, cavalier des dames etc, etc. Wiggins’s annual holiday in his pre-motor cycle era probably consisted of a week or a fortnight at Scarborough or Yarmouth with two or three of the boys or one of the girls. He puts up in a cheap boarding house, and lavished half-crowns tolerably freely at various evening resorts. He now ‘tours’ the country, and spends each night of his fourteen days’ holiday at a different hotel, often the best hotel in towns he visits, partly because these are usually motoring houses…The result is that two nights at hotels, coupled with two lunches at other hotels en route, various dust-layers in the form of roadside tipple, and two teas at a confectioner’s, cost him more than a whole week’s bill at the Yarmouth boarding house in ancient days. Moreover, he still paints the town red each evening of his holiday—he trots round to give the girls a treat, and ends up in tlie local theatre or billiard saloon… If he rides 200 or 300 miles a day as well, uses up one cover, one belt, one valve, two plugs, a belt-fastener, has to pay a police fine, loses a generator and toolbag, purchases fresh wearing apparel because he forgot to pack sufficient collars and socks on his carrier, it is evident that the total bill for his annual outing may be double, treble, and quadruple what it once was, though perhaps not a quarter of the increase has been spent on the machine and its needs.
Moral No2: Many a man can afford a motor cycle who cannot afford a fortnight’s tour with meals and residence at swagger hostelries; and many a rider can afford a fortnight’s tour, provided he be content with a stroll and a pipe after arrival at his destination for the night…The careless type of petrol financier is usually rather a lazy bird. He knows how to mend a tyre; but it is a dull job, and when he has done it once, he prefers to employ the nearest cycle shop as his deputy, while he strolls up the street to invest in some fags or picture postcards. He knows how to grind a valve, doncherknow, but when he’s been sitting on the beastly jigger all day a feller gets rather sick of it, and—why, here’s a garage still open! Any fool can scrape the dirt off a machine, but one only carries a single suit on tour, and it would be a pity to spoil it; so he tells the ostler to polish it up a bit before morning. In the morning, honest Joe of the stable puts on a coaxing expression, and says ‘There ain’t just a few nicks abaht these ‘ere blessed motor sisickles: took me two mortial howers, s’welp me, to get it like a newpin!’ Wiggins looks a thought rueful, but realises that he must rise to the occasion, and bang goes another half-crown. Again, at one of the places where Wiggins stops to take in petrol there is a tempting display of the latest accessories. Wiggins feels a trifle ashamed of his perfumed oilies as he surveys the neatly-cut fawn gaiters with shaiped calves (‘14s 6d, sir thank you!’), and as he eyes the tool tray enviously, the astute salesman unloads a patent ratchet spanner, and a positively inspired belt-drill and cutter (which before evening has worn a huge hole in the unfortunate Wiggins’s pocket, and also banged all the cuticle off his slender hip). Such is the progress of the amiable and thoughtless Wiggins along the primrose path of the unpractical motor cyclist.
Moral No3: If you wish to motor cycle with economy, do all your own repairs and adjustments, and remember that clothes and accessories are not of such vital importance as to keep your jigger going. So my advice to the would-be motor cyclist who desires to exhaust the thrilling joys of our fine hobby on ¾d a day, and still to save enough to furnish a bijou villa for Belinda before the 1913 TT, is fairly simple. He must first decide whether motor cycling is to be a substitute for three or four modest hobbies, which at present provide him with recreation…He must next consider whether he can afford to expend more than £5 a week on his annual holiday; if he cannot, he must surrender the idea of a round-the-coast tour, or else scheme the route out very shrewdly, and cadge beds from wealthy aunts. He must make an invariable rule of eschewing garages except on those sad occasions when the best made piston shivers into shapeless fragments. Professional puncture repairs are the mark of the gilded youth or the early bankrupt…He must finally remember that it is more imposing to ride up Birdlip in oilies with a prehistoric gas lamp, a small tool bag containing two rusty cycle wrenches, and a phthisical hooter, than to push up Sutton with a machine which bristles with nickel-plated accessories, and boasts a picturesque knot of expensive overalls tied round the handle-bars. In fact, the wisdom of the sages records that the expenses into which a motor bicycle forces us total an annual sum at which the tip-expecting gamekeeper on a Scotch grouse moor would wrinkle his freckled nose heavenward, but that the outlay into which a motor bicycle can tempt a thoughtless youth with a 1 in 17 forehead, would equip a Dreadnought.”
THE COVENTRY and Warwickshire MC hosted a reliability trial for sidecar outfits. The six-mile course included test hills and “narrow and tortuous lanes”, competitors had to complete five laps without stopping. Along the trickiest part of the course riders were guided by volunteers from the Rudge Cyclists’ Corps. Triumph Company tester HT Lloyd was out with a brand new design of two-speed epicyclic counter-shaft gear which worked perfectly until he was delayed by a sooted plug. S Wright (3½hp two-speed Humber) led the Class 1 (up to 500cc) class; Geoffrey Smith (6hp two-speed Enfield) and Billy Wells (7hp two-speed Indian) tied for Class 2 (over 500cc) honours.
“IT IS ADVISABLE, nay essential, for sidecarists to carry lamps placed in such a position that they show the full width of the vehicle. Recognising this, H Miller and Co, Miller Street, Birmingham, have introduced a reasonably priced acetylene lamp complete with a bracket specially designed for attachment to a sidecar. The lamp shows a white light in front and a red rear light, and is hung on springs.”
THE ZENITH GRADUA had established the advantages of a variable gear so when Rudge came up the Multi, The Motor Cycle was keen to have a go: “Starting the engine by the pedals and disengaging the clutch, one pushes the machine off the stand with the toes, and with the gear lever anywhere behind the central position of the quadrant, the clutch is engaged, and away the machine will go, picking up speed with astonishing celerity, thanks to the comparatively low gear ratio. The next operation is to suit the gear to the rider’s desire, and there is a range of no less than twenty ratios all within the rider’s reach. Think of it, ye speed lovers! a racing gear of 3½ to 1 for favourable stretches, and a 9 to 1 ratio for hills, and all this possible without a dismount and with very little added complication; in fact, nothing worse than a few pounds extra weight. But what of the belt, asks the wary individual who has perhaps heard of rapid belt wear on variable pulley gears. We ourselves took particular notice of this question, and on our initial run from Coventry to Harrogate shortened the belt once en route, and again at Harrogate, but that was the last time, for the run home was accomplished non-stop, and several other shorter runs, making a total of about 260 miles without need for shortening the Dunlop belt, and we observed with satisfaction that the fastener ends of the belt were practically undamaged.
“Now this is an undoubted step forward. What motor cyclist has not dreamed of a machine which will do twenty miles per hour on the level with the engine slowly ticking round, that is safe to crawl through traffic, and up single figure gradients on narrow twisty by-lanes, and yet have the capacity for tearing up hills on occasion when the conditions are favourable? Such a machine is among us; it is the Rudge Multi, and the man in the street is acquainted with the fact as the machine flashes past him, no! not solely on account of its healthy bark so much as the lettering on the tank. In connection with the noise of the exhaust we made rather an interesting experiment, to us at any rate. It is well-known that the Rudge has a liberal-sized cut-out, but as it also is of the variable pattern, it is possible to get any degree of noise from fairly silent to very noisy. Finding that the engine kept as cool as ever with the cut-out only half-open, we left it in that position, and no one could say that the machine was unduly noisy. Rudge owners read, mark, and inwardly digest. Those readers who have experienced the delights of bowling along a favourable stretch of road on a high gear will appreciate the Rudge multiple speed gear; those who are used to touring day in and day out with a fixed gear of about 5 to 1 have pleasures in store. The sensation of hurtling through the air on a gear of 3½ to 1, the engine calmly turning over, is a real delight, and there is no lurking suspicion that ‘I believe I shall have to get off and lower the gear for —.’ A tug at the conveniently placed lever and the rider may drop to any of the nineteen ratios available; he does, in fact, suit the gear to the gradient. Some gears of the type under review are not efficient on the lower ratios, but as we have climbed Leathley Bank, Edge Hill, and Sunrising on the Rudge Multi with plenty in hand, such a suggestion in regard to this machine may be discounted.
“Reverting to the question of belt wear, the reason the Rudge is not hard on belts is no secret at all. The operating lever expands the engine pulley by means of cams, and by the same movement contracts the rear pulley in unison. Thus the pulleys are always in line, and the belt is always at the same tension or approximately so. The rear wheel is built up with a special hub over which slides a sleeve. The fixed portion of the belt rim is attached to the wheel spokes, but the loose flange is spoked to the sleeve. Five studs in the sleeve pass through slots in the wheel hub and into a bush, so that the drive on the loose flange is partly taken by the spokes of the whee’ hub and partly by the studs. The bush is connected to a rod passing up the centre of the hollow axle, the control of the rod being governed by the movement of the cam disc of the engine pulley, so that a forward movement of the hand lever moves both the inner flange of the engine pulley and the outer flange of the rear pulley outwards. For ‘go-anywhere’ work and occasional use with a sidecar the Rudge is eminently suitable.”
BIKES WERE EVOLVING fast but, as this Ixion story indicates, attitudes weren’t: “Mr Dickson, of Aberdeen, informs me that he intends to compete in the Scottish Trials, and that his wife will occupy the sidecar of his 8hp Dot-JAP; so that any unmarried lady riders desirous of observing the proprieties may now rest assured that Mrs Grundy will be satisfied [‘Mrs Grundy’ was a priggish character in an 18th century play; the name had become synonymous with exaggerated ‘respectability’].
“It seems to me that it is the club’s bounden duty to furnish a spare chaperone, and carry her on the official car. The responsibility at present laid upon Mrs Dickson’s shoulders is too great. What will happen if the 8hp Dot-JAP should happen to drop out? Even if the club awards gold medals to all ladies claiming full marks up to the moment of a chaperone’s disappearance, the fair competitors will suffer the disappointment of being unable to complete the course. I commend this burning problem to the attention of the MCPA, which, I presume, imitates other ‘progressive suffragette bodies’ in being suffragist, if not suffragette.”
ARTHUR MOORHOUSE lapped Brooklands on his TT Indian for five hours, stopping only for fuel, oil and a quick fix on a broken oil pipe at the four-hour mark. He set 500cc British records at two hours, 150 miles and 200 miles; and world records at three, four and five hours and 250 miles. In five hours Moorhouse covered 277 miles 950 yards.
Ten Years’ Experience of the Pastime.
By F Straight, late Secretary ACU
I HAVE OFTEN been asked how it was that I first came to take a hand in the organisation of motor cyclists, and how. it was that I continued to stand by and to have faith in the future of the sport and pastime during the troublous times through which the industry passed in the years 1904 to 1906. One of the reasons I first took an interest in motor cycling is due to the fact that as an official handicapper of the National Cyclists’ Union I was in constant touch with sports promoters on the look out for means of increasing their gate. During 1902 I had handicapped several motor cycle races at Canning Town, and seeing the amount of interest I was taking in the new type of vehicle, the Automobile Club approached me with a view to organising a motor cycle section of the Club, with the result that in January, 1903, I was to be found installed on the Club premises in charge of the motor cycle section. The year 1902 was a very important one from a racing point of view. Races were held on the following tracks: Aston, Canning Town, Coventry, Plymouth, Putney, and Uxbridge. In the same year at the Crystal Palace Motor Show, February 14th to 22nd, a motor cycle section was arranged, and Ariel, Excelsior, Minerva, Quadrant, Mitchell, Derby, Chapelle, New Hudson, Phoenix, Humber, Wemer, and several other machines were on view, whilst trial machines were running in the grounds. It was in August of the same year that the Automobile Club held the first purely motor cycle race meeting on the Crystal Palace Track. One of the events was the hour scratch race in which C Jarrott, TH Tessier, H Martin, FW Chase, EJ Steele, and J Van Hooydonk were competitors. Jarrott, who was riding an 8hp De Dion tricycle, experienced a lot of trouble, and finally retired, the winner being J Van Hooydonk, who, of course, rode a Phoenix and covered 42 miles 290 yards in the hour, winning by over four laps. Perhaps, however, the most exciting event at this meeting was a ten miles handicap, which was run in one heat. There were twenty riders, and the present day motor cyclist can imagine what an extraordinary scene was presented with so many riders on a small track. The roar of the engines was deafening, and the pace at that time was considered terrifying. Some of, the competitors had their exhaust boxes glowing a bright red, and this in the gathering darkness looked very weird, and I have certainly never seen trything to approach it since.
Soon after I took up my duties at the Automobile Club steps were taken to organise a club which would take over the complete control of motor cycling under the auspices of the ACGBI. This resulted in the formation of the ACC. The idea occurred to me soon after the formation of the ACC. to promote a long distance reliability trial, to which the committee agreed, and the first 1,000 Miles Trial was the outcome. It extended over a fortnight, the first day being taken up with the weighing and other preliminaries, whilst the last day consisted of a speed trial on the Crystal Palace Track. The Crystal Palace was chosen as the centre for these trials, and in the grounds was erected a huge marquee for the accommodation of the competitors’ machines, which at the close of each day’s run were placed there in charge of officials who were on duty all night. Unfortunately, the weather was of the most dreadful description, rain falling heavily almost every day, with the result that the ground became sodden, and the interior of the marquee was nothing but a quagmire. Fortunately the competitors took matters very philosophically. In view of the suggestion recently made in The Motor Cycle that the concluding day of the 1912 Trials should consist of a long distance test at Brooklands, it is worthy of note that in 1903 the competitors on the last day of the Trials had to ride five miles on the Crystal Palace Track. The first competition for the International Cup, which was held on French roads in 1904, was not by any means a British success. Our team consisted of H Rignold, W Hodgkinson, and T Silver, the first-named being the only one to complete even one lap. This race was chiefly notable for the fact that somebody had lavishly strewn the course with nails, and tyre after tyre came to utter grief. The following year an eliminating trial was held in the Isle of Man, and for some reason or other the start had been fixed for 3a.m. The weather at that time, however, was very hazy, and it was decided to delay the start for half an hour. One of the conditions was that machines should not exceed 110lb in weight, and it was amusing to see the riders when their machines were put on the scales and found to be overweight filing away all possible parts in order to reduce the weight. The rubbers were taken off the pedals, side plates discarded, holes bored in the pulleys and belt rims; in fact, the majority of machines were so weakened that it was not to be wondered at that only two completed the course, viz, JS Campbell (6hp Ariel) and HA Collier (6hp Matchless), the former winning by 1min 16sec over a distance of 120 miles, which was covered in 4hr 9min 36sec. George Barnes was one of the competitors in this race. He made a very brilliant start from Quarter Bridge, darting away like a shot out of a gun, but we saw nothing more of him, and it was reported that at the first bad corner he was travelling too fast to get round, so went straight on and in at the door of a cottage. It was in the Six Days’ Trials of 1905, when they were held in the West and South-west of England, starting from and finishing in London, that I had two instances of what a keen rider will do in pursuit cf his favourite hobby. The first instance to which I refer is that of FW Applebee, who, not wishing to compete, very kindly offered to officiate, and to him was given the unthankful task of riding behind the competitors and reporting at night upon the stragglers. I well remember how on one or two occasions he reported himself to me at the hotel in the early hours of the morning with a modest and cheery, “Well, I’ve got here,” without a complaint against those riders who had been the cause of his late arrival. On another occasion I rode with him from London to Great Yarmouth, and on the return journey, soon after leaving Lowestoft, something went wrong with the machine I was riding, which neither of us could locate. He would not hear of leaving me behind, and eventually towed me all the way to London.
I have often wondered how, in the early days of competitions, when machines were far from reliable, busy business men would enter for the Six Days’ Trials and take them as part of their summer holidays. It was in the 1905 Trials that AV Baxter, a Warrington rider, told me that he was taking his holiday that way. Well, I have never seen a man work so hard before or since on a holiday. I think Baxter had all the troubles that could possibly befall a motor cyclist on that trip.
It was in the first Land’s End to John-o’-Groats Trial (1906) that Miss Muriel Hind made her first appearance in a long distance event. Early on the Sunday morning previous to the start, the noise of a tricar was heard outside the hotel, and we found that Miss Hind had arrived, having driven through the night alone, the lateness of her arrival being due to the fact that she had been rendering assistance the previous evening to another competitor who had met with a mishap on the way down and had to be left in charge of a doctor. Of course, such a trial as this is full of incidents, but one feature of the event which appealed particularly to me was the fact that after the trial was over, and we were on our way back to London on the following day (Sunday), we met competitors on the Ord of Caitliness still making their way to John-o’- Groat’s, determined to complete the trial over the classic route even if they were a day behind time. There is no doubt that the introduction of the high-tension magneto in such a reliable form as we have it to-day and have experienced it from about 1905-1906 has been the salvation of the motor cycle. In the early days most of our troubles were caused through faulty ignition, due very often, it must be admitted, to carelessness in not properly looking after the accumulators. The more recent happenings in the motor cycle world are comparatively fresh in the minds of the majority of my readers, so there is no need for me to recapitulate them, but I can assure present day riders that, although we experienced a lot of trouble in the early days, we got a very great deal of amusement and enjoyment out of our favourite hobby.
The ACU COMPETITIONS committee voted to removed the handicap it had imposed on two-stroke engines.
“THE LIVINGSTONIA NEWS mentions an adventure two motor cyclists had recently while returning from the Zomba (Central Africa) Coronation ceremonies. The riders, Mr. and Mrs Macdonald, the former a magistrate at Mzimba, were chased for five miles by two lions, which showed no fear of the noise made by the engines, and galloped after the motor cyclists with evident determination to kill them. The lions were finally out-distanced, and the riders, suffering greatly from nervous strain, reached their home in safety.”
A YOUNG TEXAN named Eddie Hasher, mounted on an eight-valve Indian board racer, hurtled round the Playa del Rey California Motordrome to break every world record from 1-10 miles. His first mile was covered in 37.8sec (95.24mph); his 10-mile time was 6min 45.8sec (88.71mph). Hasher, soon known as the Texan Cyclone, proved unbeatable at the Los Angeles Coliseum Motordrome and headed East to race at the Vailsburg Motordrome in New Jersey. And there during a five-mile handicap race with five other bikes, Hasher lost control at over 90mph and crashed into the crowd. He was killed, as were five spectators. The riderless Indian crashed into Denver rider Johnny Albright who died in the hospital without regaining consciousness. “The later American press comments on the terrible saucer track smash at Newark, NJ, are not pleasant reading. It is alleged that Hasha had been in the doctor’s hands for a week past, and only started in the race under pressure from the management. These saucer tracks are not technical testing grounds; they are rather a kind of open air music hall, run simply and solely as money-making affairs, and for Hasha to be on the track and not to turn out was as awkward for the management as a night’s indisposition of Harry Lauder would be for a hall where he was billed, or Hamlet with the part of Hamlet omitted. A racing veteran, Frank Hart—the man whose leg was broken in the smash he had with de Rosier last year—was standing just opposite the point where Hasha’s machine ran amuck; he says Hasha fainted, and left hold of his handle-bars, so that his Indian simply swirled over the top of the steep banking, and ran round along the faces and chests of the spectators in the front row. The same witness denounces the track management and the FAM (a body corresponding to our ACU) for setting six men, all capable of lapping at 90mph, to race on a track of the four laps to the mile type, on which there was only room for three men to ride ahreast. Seymour, who was leading when Hasha fainted, covered two more laps before he could pull up, and this at the rate of little worse than ten seconds per lap…The whole affair leaves a very nasty taste in one’s mouth, and makes us hope that these morbid and perilous exhibitions will never become popular in Great Britain; they are too nearly akin to the gladiatorial shows of ancient Rome to be termed sport.” The press began to call motordromes ‘murderdromes’; the authorities closed down the New Jersey track.
JAKE DE ROSIER, having moved from Indian to Excelsior, was pleased with the power of the revamped Excelsior but less than pleased with one of his new teammates, Eddie ‘Fearless Balke. The crowds at the Los Angeles Motordrome revelled in the bitter rivalry between De Rosier and Balke so head-to-head matches became a regular attraction. During one of these Balke lost control and ran into De Rosier, being lucky to escape the resulting crash with minor injuries. As The Motor Cycle reported, De Rosier wasn’t as lucky: “Jake De Rosier has had a serious accident at the Los Angeles Stadium, and has broken his leg in two places, and it is feared his skull may be fractured… we are led to believe that the gallant racer will never be able to mount a motor bicycle again.” Within weeks there was a follow-up: “It would be a kindly act if some leading motor cyclist would organise a subscription for poor Jake de Rosier among the riders who congregate at Douglas for the TT races. The old warhorse is still lying in hospital at Los Angeles with a compound fracture of the thigh and a crushed kneecap, and he will never straddle a motor cycle again. He is in such poor circumstances that his young bride has to go to work to earn her own living.”
ONE OF THE BMCRC’s monthly race meetings at Brooklands was brought to a terrible conclusion by the death of Arthur Moorhouse. The Motor Cycle reported: ”It is now our sad duty to record what happened in the hour all-comers’ race. This was divided up into the usual classes. Moorhouse’s machine was running badly just before the start, and he was the last man to line up. However, he seemed to get away fairly well, and soon got into his stride. The big Indian was pulling well, and was reeling off laps at 70 and 71 miles an hour. At the seventh lap Moorhouse was leading the throng, and was followed by Stanley, HA Collier and Tessier. Moorhouse was seen bending down apparently trying to fix his silencer which was loose. The next thing we saw was a big blaze at the beginning of the railway straight, a great flame and a column of smoke ascending in the air like a funeral pyre. People realised a machine was on fire, whose no one knew; not a soul could be seen even through powerful glasses. We could only guess that it was Moorhouse. The first authentic news was from Oldman, who said Moorhouse was seriously injured and that the race was stopped. Ex-entually Mr. TW Loughborough [ACU secretary] told us that poor Moorhouse was lying on his face stone dead in the ditch adjoining the track, and his machine was on the grass completely burned out. It is supposed that he was bending down trying to fix the silencer when the front wheel struck a bump in the track; the machine swerved, got completely out of control, and flung its gallant rider to the ground. Death was mercifully instantaneous. No one saw the accident, and its cause can only be surmised. The event cast a sad gloom over Brooklands, and a glorious afternoon terminated in the first tragic ending of a motor cycle track meeting in England. We have been connected with motor cycle racing in Great Britain for the past nine years, and it is interesting to note that poor Moorhouse’s terrible accident is the first which has terminated fatally to a motor cycle competitor on Brooklands track.” Moorhouse was at the core of the motor cycle movement. He had come third in the 1911 Senior TT, won the 1911 Jarrott Cup and held the Class E hour record at 70 miles 1,388 yards. He was also on the committee of the MCC and the MCPA and was on the ACU sub-committee looking at TT regulations.”
SCOTTISH MOTOR cyclists met in the Golden Lion, Stirling to set up their own national association. The clubs represented were Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Dundee, Scottish Border, Cathcart, Falkirk, Leven &D, Wishaw &D and West of Scotland. They chose the title Scottish Auto Cycle Union and elected a committee. An ACU rep was at the meeting to assure the Scots that the ACU would recognise the SACU. He added that as the SACU had links with the Scottish Automobile Club, SACU members would have the advantages of RAC and ACU membership when they rode south of the border. It was decided that for the time being the Scottish AC would issue licences for competitions.
THE RAC BEGAN to set up roadside ‘sentry boxes’ containing petrol and first aid kits. There was even a get-you-home service within 20 miles of home. Members were issued with brass tokens. If they broke down they had to get the token to the nearest RAC repairer via one of the RAC’s ‘Touring Guides’ or any passing motorist who was willing to help. The RAC-approved garage would “at once send a relief car to convey you and your party home”.
THE MOTOR CYCLE Club of South Australia held a petrol con- sumption test on a hilly course of thirty miles, at Northfield. The winner was H Ragless, (Triumph) at 137.4mpg. Runner up was his Brother, T Ragless (Norton) at 131.3mpg.
“AS A RESULT of the success of the P&M in the recent War Office test at Brooklands, the firm has received an order from the War Office for machines to be supplied with a view to more prolonged trials under severer conditions.”
CENTURY MOTOR WORKS, St Albans, opened throughout the weekend from 8am-8pm “but later if necessary”.”
THE ALBION ENGINEERING CO, Tower Works, Upper Highgate Street, Birmingham, are shortly placing on the market a three-speed epicyclic counter-shaft gear.”
“I VERY WELL REMEMBER my first ride on a motor bicycle. I left Hanley on a prospective mount and I could not stop it until I reached Congleton, and then fell off. After a rest I started back, and I tried to avoid running into a girl; she dodged and I dodged, but I at last ran into her. I was so exasperated that before I could think I had boxed her ears.”
THE HEADLINES on The Motor Cycle’s reprt of the Croydon-based ACO One-Day Reliability Trial say it all: “A Chapter of Accidents. A Direful Finish. Trial Annulled.” A dozen ‘passenger vehicles’ and 48 solos left the Swan & Sugar Loaf in South Croydon for a sporting day’s riding round the Surrey lanes and tackling some observed hillclimbs. What could
possibly go wrong? ”This will be remembered as an unfortunate day in the annals of the Auto Cycle Union…the previous day’s rain rendered the roads in an execrable condition; grease of the worst type, deep soft ruts, and a cold, almost sunless day made the riding conditions of the worst…The course necessitated the negotiation of many byelanes…and needed scrupulous care in marking. Hardly an arrow was in its place. The official car promised for this work failed to materialise. Mr JWG Brooker was sent on at the last moment on, a sidecar which promptly broke down, with the result that almost every section was unmarked…F Ball (Douglas) and FW Applebee (Centaur) were side by side cleaning out jets, and barely a quarter of a mile further we overtook GL Fletcher performing the evolution of attempting to clean his jet without dismounting. In free-wheeling downhill he had actually removed the throttle slides, and would soon have completed the operation but it was time for the engine to fire and he had perforce to stop…The approach to Cudham was unpleasantly greasy. The Knap, Trough, Devil’s Elbow, or whatever the steepest part of Cudham calls itself, was soft and slithery, and as bad as could be…after many conjectures as to the right road and failure to find any names referred to on the route card, a party of twenty or thirty came to a standstill utterly flabbergasted…On the route was a certain Roughway Hill, and liere an observer waited for two hours, and not a soul came by. All the competitors left the course at this point…The denunciations of the ACU and its methods were now thick and fast, and pronounced in no uncertain manner…the trial had developed into a farce, and thereafter one regarded it seriously…The rain increased in violence as
the journey was continued via Effingham, and we passed four in quick succession effecting adjustments, viz, G Cocker, whose 2¾hp three-speed Singer had been running splendidly, and climbed all hills en route, Frasetti and his Indian, and Fletcher (Douglas). Frank Smith (Clyno) who had been off the , route, commenced hurrying to catch up time, and his
back tyre burst…’Pebble’ Hill, the last timed ascent, was reached in the dark and pouring rain. It poured in torrents, and was now so dark the men’s numbers were indistinguishable, and the timekeepers’ watches could not be read. Taylor came up very slowly with his exhaust pipe glowing in the gloom, with men running beside him warming their hands against the pipe. Belts were slipping on many machines, the competitors were tired, soaked through, and miserable, and after a short interval the timing was abandoned. Men knew not how they got home. Wet and blinded by the rain they came in one by one to Croydon, many having lost their way and wandered miles off the route. Grumbles were heard on all sides, and, to make matters worse, those who were successful learned later in the evening that all their trials all their troubles, and all the discomfort they had endured had been of no avail. The judges and those of the Competition Committee who were present met together and decided that, as the route had been so badly marked, and there was no means of either observing the men, or of knowing who left the course, the trial would be annulled…Something must be done and that quickly to prevent a farce of this kind occurring again.”
“THE SPORTSMAN HAVING experienced difficulty in getting its papers through to Wales, there being no suitable train on the Sunday night to carry the Monday morning papers, the proprietors decided to establish a weekly service between their London office and Gloucester, where the papers are put on trains and sent to their various destinations. Every Sunday, about midnight, as soon as the Sportsman is off the press, it is rushed into the sidecar and away goes the machine. Every moment is of importance, for should the connection be,lost the whole ride to Gloucester will be in vain. The route I taken is through Piccadilly and Shepherd’s Bush where there is about a mile of what I should imagine must be the worst road in London, but a little farther on when well on the open road speed is the order of the day and the milestones slip by. Uxbridge is soon past, and nothing happens till I begin to look out for a rather stiff hill about a mile past West Wycombe. I am never confident of getting up here, for my engine is geared rather high to enable good speed to be made…I usually sigh for a change-speed gear, without which no machine can really be called up-to-date. After this there is a long descent into Tetsworth, where a very fast run is made to Oxford and Cirencester, but the roads have been in a terrible state, two or three inches of mud being quite usual. From Cirencester to Gloucester is rather, an anxious time until the papers are handed over to the railway authorities and another journey has been covered to the credit of the motor cycle. While the tanks are being refilled I have time for a wash.and refreshment, then comes the return journey.”
OWING TO THE kindness of Mr JK Starley, a 3½hp Rover fitted with the Armstrong three-speed hub was placed at our disposal…we left Coventry for Oxford on a bright sunny day. The wind was just cool enough to make riding almost perfect. Soon after leaving Coventry we changed into the high gear (approximately 3½ to 1), and except for traffic we never had to change down. This is probably accounted for by the heavy flywheels, which also increase the smooth steady pull of the engine. With the cut-out shut the machine is the quietest we have ridden, as there is not a sound from the valve gear. The Rover Co seem to have discovered the way to make quiet valve gear without sacrificing the efficiency of their cams, and we should be glad to see some other firms make experiments in the same direction, for riding a Rover in traffic can be compared to driving a high class car. There is not a click to be heard. The Rover ran perfectly throughout, and took both Birdlip and Saintbury hills on the middle or direct gear. We are grateful lo the Rover Co both for the opportunity of a delightful run on such a fine machine and for the complete way in which the machine was equipped. The only adjustment made was the changing of a belt fastener link, so as to take up a slight mount of belt stretch. On our return to the works we inspected a new model which is fitted with a dropped top tube and a tank with rounded top. This model has a particularly neat appearance, as will be seen from the acompanying illustration.
THE LEGION OF Motor Cyclists, which was formed to put motorcycles and their riders at the service of the country in times of emergency, held a Mobilisation Day. Cleriter, the Blue ‘Un’s military correspondent (and a serving officer) reported: “Out of 173 who sent in their applications 99 put in an appearance at Daventry, the rendezvous, before the lists were closed at 5pm, and some 37 others arrived after that hour, including one rider from Glasgow…The only counties in
England not represented were Northumberland, Cumberland, Devon, Cornwall, and Durham…The rider who came from the furthest point away from Daventry was RP Chester of Southport (3½hp Triumph), who rode the 160 miles in 5hr 48min. The best run of the day, and the first actual man to arrive was RA Milligan from Laxfield Hall, Suffolk (7hp Indian); he accomplished the 130 miles in 4hr 1min, starting at 4am on Saturday. WE Rootes (3½hp Singer) rode the 19 miles from Coventry in 27min. The all-round average speed of competitors works out at 30.1mph, and the average distance travelled at 69.8 miles…During the afternoon hill-climbing tests were carried out on Newnham Hill. No single machine failed to make the first ascent, but no times were taken, as this was not considered of military importance in the hill-climb itself. At the, second test, where machines were called upon to re-start on the stiffest portion of the gradient, only one of those who tried failed to reach the summit. The variety of machines employed was almost as varied as the places the riders hailed from, and none of the best known makes was unrepresented. Triumphs, P&Ms, Rudges, and BSAs head the list, and amongst others there were three big Indians…we find that in peace time under peace conditions and speed limits the average keen motor cyclist can be counted upon to ride at a speed of 30mph over long distances, and judging by the reports handed in the modern motor cycle is practically accident-proof. This means
that under war conditions any service of motor cyclists that was organised could be scheduled to run at 35mph on relays, and when it is remembered that unless permanent ways are guarded and patrolled throughout their length railway trains in war time are not scheduled to do over 15 miles an hour, it will be seen that even where railways exist between two given points the motor cycle is more than twice as swift…As compared with telegraphic communication, the motor cycle has already in repeated tests been proved superior for any distance under 36 miles, whilst for distances up to 60 it is largely a matter of congestion of messages on the one hand and of weather conditions on the other…At present there are only two authorised methods of becoming an officially recognised military motor cyclist, either to join a Divisional Telegraph Company RE of the Territorial Force as a Territorial soldier (100 vacancies in all) or to join Section B of the Special Reserve (100 vacancies)…It is the object of the legion of cyclists to enrol 2,000 motor cyclists, who in the event of a national emergency would turn out to serve their country. Without a shadow of doubt, when that emergency arrives emergency regulations will be made to absorb that number they will be urgently required. In the meanwhile the legion wishes to organise them, teach them their duties, and prepare for war, whilst the military authorities are still chewing the cud of pensive reflection.” The event was clearly taken seriously by the military; General Alexander Thorneycroft, CB, commanding the South Midland Division, was there and spent time chatting to the ‘legionnaires’. The Legion had clear objectives: (1) To organise into corps of twenty-five men (or more) those motor cyclists who, though now unable to join the Territorial Army, would be willing in the event of a foreign invasion to enlist in a Territorial Cyclist Battalion; or fight as irregular cyclist ‘Francs Tireurs’; or serve as mobile town-guard in their own town, or village. (2) To train these men in elementary military knowledge so as to fit them for these duties. (3) To obtain recognition for the Legion as an authorised force of the Crown. (4) To assist corps to form voluntary summer encampments. (5) To stimulate patriotism and recruiting for the Territorial Force both in peace and war.
“PREVENTION IS better than cure, but often it is easier to cure than to prevent. For instance, it is not easy to prevent motor cycle tyres leaking through punctures. The Self-sealing Rubber Co’s air tubes, however, render all ordinary small punctures made by thorns, pins, and nails absolutely harmless, the layer of rubber in compression instantaneously and permanently closing the puncture made in the tube.”
TRIUMPHS DOMINATED the beach races at Warrington Beach, New Zealand: Two miles Open Handicap, W Jackson (3½hp Triumph); One Mile Scratch Race (private owners), A McDougall (3½hp Triumph); One Mile Scratch Race (trade) W Jackson (3½hp Triumph); Two Miles Relay Race, A Ansell (3½hp Triumph) and A McDougall (3½hp Triumph) tied for first place.
“TWO FIRMS HANDLING British motor cycles in Toronto have relinquished them in favour of American mounts. American makers are doing their utmost to educate Canadian riders to believe that the US models are the standard to judge by, therefore deviations from such standards appear odd to some Canadians. British makers of motor cycles should not lose sight of the big effort that is being made by our American cousins to capture the Canadian motor cycle business. The agents for two makes of American motor cycles have, it is said, received large orders for delivery this year.” In other parts of the empire, however, British bikes ruled (almost) supreme. At the Cape Peninsula MCC’s hill-climb the top 10 finishers were Rudge, Bradbury, Indian, Bradbury, Triumph, Humber, FN, Triumph, P&M and Swift. This was calculated on the formula recommended by The Motor Cycle: speed squared multiplied by capacity, divided by weight of rider and machine. The quickest bike up the 1,000-yard one in seven course was the 7hp Indian, ahead of the 3½hp Bradbury and the 3½hp Rudge.
THE MERSEY MC hosted a 24-hour reliability trial over a demanding course which took competitors into North Wales. “At nine o’clock sharp the first man was despatched, but had not proceeded far before he skidded, breaking the foot rest and pedal clean off his Rover. As he had nowhere to rest his foot he promptly retired…Before leaving Birkenhead we passed Chas Murdock (3½hp Singer), who bad broken his lamp bracket, and was delayed so long that be retired…near Hodnet JM Lamb dropped his 2½hp on a sharp left hander and the Fred Dover (3½hp Premier) ran into him; they were both hit by an Overland car which was also competing. Lamb was injured so the car took him off to get help. Dover had
a cut eye and damaged ankle but with help to start his bike he pressed on, only to discover his forks were badly bent forcing his retirement. VE Horsman (3½hp Singer) fell asleep, skidded on muddy tramlines, fell heavily and dropped out. By morning the riders were into North Wales. The roads now became very narrow and twisty, being in parts more like footpaths. A steep hill out of Peny-bont-fawr led us over a mountain pass with a shocking surface and many gates, all of which were closed. The road was very narrow, and from its edge there was a sheer drop of 200 feet to the valley below…A fairly steep and tricky hill led us out of Festiniog, where a great number of people awaited the competitors…Just as Mundy was about to start [after lunch] he discovered a nail in his rear tyre and had to effect a repair. When most of the competitors had left W Heaton (2½hp AJS) arrived, reporting nine punctures and two bursts. While Heaton went into the hotel to secure some much needed refreshment, a non-competitor repaired his rear tyre, and while this was being done the front tyre went down. Surely this was very hard luck…The rain had made the roads in a shocking condition, and the competitors had to ride with great caution. Many side-slipped and fell, among whom was GA Gregson (3½hp Bradbury), who skidded while pumping some oil into his machine. He was travelling at a good speed, and was thrown right into the gutter, covering himself from head to toe with mud. On this section JH Roscoe (3½hp Singer) skidded, smashing one of the springs of his forks. At Gayton tea was served at 5.15pm, and the first man was despatched for Woodside, Birkenhead, having been allowed 31 minutes for tea. Seven and three quarter miles brought us to Birkenhead, the finishing point.” Hugh Gibson (3½hp Bradbury) won the Butler Cup; 14 gold medals were awarded with silver for six riders who completed the course but outside the time limit.
FROM THE MOTOR Cycle’s leader column: “Racing uphill and round corners at breakneck speed is not a pastime recommended for a lady. The straight forward reliability trial with an occasional steep hill included certainly must appeal to the sporting type of lady motor cyclist, and further one cannot but ad mire the pluck and courage of a lady who is willing, nay anxious, to try her prowess in a speed event, but many, we fear, are little aware of the risks they run, and how near on several occasions they have been to a severe accident. We will ignore for the moment the question of whether it is becoming or not for a lady to be Spread-eagled on a speed machine of any kind….The average lady is not possessed of the self-restraint, or presence of mind, which a man can command. Instead of benefiting the pastime this sort of thing’ is proving a serious deterrent to converts, and the sooner our recommemdation is adopted the better for all concerned.”
VETERAN MOTOR CYCLISTE Muriel Hind wasted no time in replying: “I was sorry to read your leaderette ‘Should Ladies Race?’ as I think you are a little unfair in your views. In my humble opinion we should be allowed to enter for speed events, and the very fact of our wishing to ride in these competitions plainly shows that we are not likely to suffer from ‘Nerves’. After all an odd accident or two should not cause a scare—look at the crowds of accidents men riders have, and yet they all continue to enter for competitions. The majority ot women will be content with touring, etc, but some of us who are really keen on hill-climbs and have had years ot experience would feel it rather hard it we were to be shut out from all the sporting events.” Ms N Hough also had her say, from her hospital bed: “Would you allow me, through the columns of your widely circulated paper, to thank all the kind friends who have written, telephoned, or called at the cottage hospital since my accident a week ago. Fortunately my fall was not a very serious one, and I hope to be out of hospital in a few days. I was sorry to read your article concerning ladies competing in hill-climbs. I should be very sorry indeed should our entries be refused in the future. I do not think there is any more danger in racing for women than men. I certainly have fallen, but mine is not the first accident that has happened in a hill-climb, often an expert man rider has come to grief.” More letters followed…
PERMIT ME, AS one who has done a fair amount of motor cycling, to reply to your editorial on ladies riding in hill-climbs. When a lady enters for this type of competition, she thoroughly understands the risks she runs. Why this outcry when she is prepared to take them for sheer love of the sport; and the few ladies who at present enter for hill-climbs are quite as capable as the average male competitor.
(Mrs) Mabel Hardee
I WAS SORRY TO read your recent leaderette “Should Ladies Race?” My personal opinion is, provided the lady has sufficLent nerve and confidence, there need be no fear of her coming to grief. One must realise that in almost every sport there is a certain amount of risk. One hears little or nothing of the accidents that occur to expert motor cyclists at almost every race meeting, but because a lady has been unfortunate enough to have a spill, it seems as if the whole community are against ladies racing.
(Miss) Lottie Berend
SHOULD LADIES RACE? Certainly not! Anything more exciting than pushing a perambulator should be instantly suppressed. No wonder Mr. Stiggins of The Motor Cycle can find many supporters to his views. Who would not applaud such laudable sentiments? As to the appearance of the lady competitors, can they be worse than that of some of the men? We have all seen men at hill-cbmbs wearing garments that, if not exactly hideous, are certainly most unladylike. We, poor souls, cannot have a mild spurt or an occasional fall without calling forth reams of protest as to our lack of self-restraint. Surely he must have noticed that the type of lady that competes m speed contests does not indulge in hysteria, but perhaps he has been too busy watching the spread eagle effect to observe anything so trifling. If he dislikes to see ladies riding (I should say women, for, of course, no lady would want to ride), why does he not stay at home? He might while away his time helping with the housework, or, failing that, a periodical that I am certain would afford him interest is The Sunday School Recorder, but no doubt he is already familiar with that. At any rate, please let him refrain from writing on us—may I say?—sportswomen; his remarks make us so tired.
(Miss) May Walker
THE SEVERAL LETTERS re ladies riding in speed competitions appear to have been prompted by the regrettable accident to Miss Hough at Harley Bank, and the writers imply, or seem to take it for granted, that the accident occurred because the rider was a lady, and for that reason did not possess the necessary nerve or ability a present day hill-climb demands, I am in no wise in favour of ladies racing, preferring to see them engaged in less dangerous pursuits; neither do I imagine the average lady is so mentally and physically fit for the sport as the average man; nevertheless, I think it is due to those courageous fair ones, particularly, Miss Hough and Miss Muriel Hind, to say that many male riders would need considerably to improve to equal some of their performances. With no desire to flatter, I maintain that a comparison of Miss Hough’s cornering with that ot the majority of the men riders in the first two classes of the Sutton Club event at Harley Bank put the men to shame. A clean sweeping curve with the machine at the limit of angle, it appeared on the verge ot a skid the whole way round, and yet no trace oF nerves or hesitation—not a wobble—and the same in the second heat until she struck that slight dip in the road centre, which at that speed meant a certain skid or a wider curve. She took the latter, and the spectators, who had been warned, proved her undoing. Here I would like emphatically to contradict a report that has gained currency to the effect that Mr Frank S. Whitworth, the agent for the machine she was riding, was responsible for the accident, owing to his expressing dissatisfaction, and asking her to do better on her next ascent. This is a gross injustice. He asked her to be careful, and to cut out if she found she could not keep on the inside of the crown of the road. Will irresponsible gossippers and others please note this? Motor cycling for ladies generally, louring or competing in reliability trials, seems in no way to dciract from the womanliness of the participant; but hurtling at dangerous speeds with bent back and tense muscles in a hill-climb does not impress me with the sense of gentleness one likes to associate with the sex, although not implying that such denotes an absence of these attributes.
James L Norton
“THE 2HP HUMBER lightweight introduced eighteen months ago is now, we understand, selling in large quantities. This popular model is admirably adapted for the use of those persons indulging in golf, tennis, cricket, etc, enabling them to react and return from their venue with the greatest of ease and a minimum of trouble. The figure at which this machine is now retailing is a very low one indeed, considering its efficiency.”
THERE WERE nearly 10,000 motor cyclists were among the 43,000 members of the AA and Motorists’ Union.
GE STANLEY set a record for 3½hp machines of 75.5mph at Brooklands aboard his Singer. “It is not generally known that Stanley takes his inlet valve cam to all race meetings in his pocket, fits it on the spot, and removes it again immediately the event is over.”
A GROWING number of RAC road guides were out and about, at the service of all riders displaying the badge of the ACU or an affilated club.
THERE WERE 53 starters including three womwn in the Coventry and Warwickshire Motor Club’s Open Reliability Trial which featured nine severe hills including Sudeley Hill which, The Motor Cycle predicted, “will prove a stumbling block to motor cyclists for years to come”. Many riders reckoned this was the toughest reliability trial to date. Harry and Charlie Collier were out with big-twin Matchless outfits—Harry managed to tear the rear tyre off on the first right-hander and that set the trend. Only eight competitors managed non-stop runs. The excertps from the report give a taste of the action: “S. Wright (Humber) and S Crawley (Triumph) experienced punctures, and were dogged throughout the day by the puncture fiend…GE Cuffe (7hp Indian sidecar) skidded round the bend, his sister, who occupied the sidecar, lying across the carrier to keep the rear wheel on the ground…AD Arter reported that his machine momentarily caught fire, necessitating a dismount…S Wright (Humber sidecar) arrived late, and reported five punctures…WF Newsome (free engine Triumph) appeared to travel as fast as anyone, but about midway up the hill he skidded for about ten yards, narrowly missing The Motor Cycle photographer, who threw his camera into the air and backed into the ditch. Newsome kept his engine running, and managed to correct the skid in wonderful fashion…MH Simpson (Rudge) skidded into the ditch…Walsgrove, who had successfully accounted for all hills on his 2¾hp Hazlewood, was brought lo a standstill at Weston due to a stone jamming the brake on the front wheel…
THE CANADIAN Motor Cyclists’ Association was established with plans to reach agreement with the Federation of American Motorcyclists, allowing CMCA members to ride in FAM events and vice versa.
MANY AMERICAN riders were switching from acetylene generators in favour of pre-filled tanks of dissolved acetylene. A tank was said to supply about 20 hours’ lighting.
THE MOTOR CYCLE, having repeatedly condemned ‘unofficial’ record attempts gleefully stuck the pen into a sponsorship-obsessed six-day claimant: “We have been informed by WJ Clarke, of Horncastle, that he has ridden 3,008 miles in six days by journeying daily round the following circuit: Horncastle, Market Rasen, Gainsborough, Doncaster, Gainsborough, Market Rasen, Mablethorpe, Louth, Horncastle. The circuit mileage (160) was officially supplied by Messrs. Bacon and Co. He tells us that he used a Win-Precision machine with a Villiers free engine. Kempshall tyres, Druid spring forks, Eisemann magneto, Oleo plugs, Senspray carburetter. Garner exhaust whistle, XL’All pan seat. Parsons’s repair outfit, Stanley rubber belt, Cox-Walker double electric lamp, Pratt’s spirit, Wakefield Castrol oil, Bowden control. Burberry’s overalls, trousers, and coat, Piggott’s Motover boots, and Chappel and Co’s goggles. His principal food was Oxo and Blalkey’s malted oats. Mr Clarke does not mention whose underclothing he wore, nor the brand of socks he favoured; there is also doubt about the name of his hatter.”
A WARNING TO the ‘Knuts’ [From Ixion]: “The desire for pre-eminence takes strange forms. A century ago periwigs, powder, patches, snuff, prim rose waistcoats, and duelling were the rage, and Bath was the hub of the universe. To-day, amongst quite a large section of our juvenile male population, Brooklands is the axis of the universe, and not to have an open exhaust, dropped handle-bars, overhead valves, bread-trencher pulley, and gnome-like head-dress is to be a back number. Speed has its usefulness, but the genuine speed merchant is born not made, and the born racing man runs risks that are not enviable, witness the sad death of Arthur Moorhouse and the closing chapter of poor de Rosier’s racing career. A good manv of our younger riders appear to lake it for granted that men of every temperament and mentality can freely indulge in speed on road and track without prolonged previous experience at a moderate pace, whereas many of these dashing riders cannot be trusted to pull up without capsizing if their front tyre burst at a mere 40mph. Recent events have clearly proved the risks latent in high-speed work even for men of unique skill and considerable experience; and the comparative novice who opens out his new machine to 65mph within a week or two of delivery is nothing more or less than a crazy young fool.”
WHEN I INTERROGATED the elder of the famous brothers, who are perhaps the best known motor cyclists in the world, he began to meditate, and gave me some interesting motor cycle history before he arrived at that event which provided the most exching ride he had undertaken. The Colliers are essentially careful riders, and the fewness of their mishaps bears testimony to this. Harry Collier’s first machine was a De Dion ‘quad,’ which he rode in 1899, and it was not until four years later that he began competitive riging. The eliminating trials for the International Race of 1905 saw him placed second, but still his riding was singularly uneventful. In 1906, however, he had an experience which he reflects upon with thankfulness for his immunity from an accident. After being chosen to represent England for the international race in Austria, he journeyed across to Patzau, where the big race was to begin. The course was over a road which had been primarily designed for oxen, and on the one side was a steep precipice, except for an interval of
some miles, when the road ran along the side of a big lake. On the other side, the road was bounded, not by the grass mounds to which English riders are accustomed, but by huge stone boulders, while the road itself was terrible, both in its tortuous descents and in its irregular surface. During the race, Harry Collier went all out, passing competitors time after time, and keeping to the road by the greatest efforts. All through his nerves were at a tension to which they were entirely unaccustomed, and when he did eventually finish, his first impression was one of relief at having come safely through the ordeal. He occupied third place. One unfortunate competitor hit the rocky side of the road and fell into the lake, breaking both legs and being nearly drowned, while others had accidents which Collier was thankful not to have heard about until he was through with the race. Collier has had some exciting times on road and track in so far as the striving for premier position has been concerned, but he reckons all his rides as child’s play compared with that terrible race in Austria. “What about the Tourist Trophy Races?” I remarked, thinking to recall experiences which had befallen him in Mona. “I haven’t had any excitement over there,” said he, “other than the natural excitement of preparing for the event, for on each and every occasion I have started out with the idea of riding as carefully as possible, and consequently it has been nothing more than a somewhat monotonous run round the course at high speed. Charlie and I have always done well over there, but we have done it without excitement or untoward incident. No, the Austrian International Race was the most exciting event I have ever competed in, and I don’t want to come across such another test of nerves. Of course, a motor cyclist cannot afford to be on speaking terms uith ‘nerves’, but on such an occasion as that, where it was a case of being between the boulders and the precipice, one is in a high state of excitement the whole time, especially when the course is unfamiliar.”
ON A RECENT visit to Birmingham we accepted an invitation of the Veloce Co to sample the running of one of their 2½hp. machines. The day was not auspicious, for all the morning it poured with, rain, and in the afternoon dried up just enough to give the tramlines and setts a treacherous coating of grease. However, the low build and light weight of the machine emboldened us to make a start, so the low gear was engaged and the machine given a push, where upon the engine started to fire slowly, so slowly, in fact, that we were able to depress the gear pedal to the free engine position
with great ease and then mount the machine in comfort and tuck in coat tails, etc, before engaging the clutch. The gears are operated by a rocking pedal with the left foot, pressure backwards engaging the low ratio, and forwards the high. On letting in the low gear the machine slid gently away, and after slight acceleration in went the high without a suspicion of jerk. As far as power was concerned the- low gear need never have been used, but we found it a great blessing in the thick traffic and on the greasy roads. A slight sing in the gears was noticeable but not unpleasant, whilst the exhaust and the valve timing gear are beautifully quiet. Through seas of mud we churned our way all morning, and though the particular machine lent us was fitted up in TT style with only regulation width guards they were so well arranged that the mud thrown up was not excessive. In the afternoon we had a practical demonstration of the advantages of forced lubrication, for on slippery roads in thick traffic one is relieved of all trouble in this direction by an occasional glance at the indicator. We noticed two points in particular, one was that the outside flywheel permitted the engine to run very slowly, and although it revolves in a contrary direction to the road wheels the effect is not noticeable; in fact, the machine is very steady in grease. Secondly, that throughout the heavy rain there was no suspicion of belt slip, which may be accounted for by the large geared-down engine pulley. The gear ratios used were 5½ to 1 and 9½ to 1 approximately. For the present year the 70x76mm [292cc] engine only will be manufactured, but it is possible that a larger model also will be marketed in 1913.”
THERE WERE 60 competitors in the Inter-‘Varsity Hill-Climb; Oxford beat their Cambridge rivals by 38 points to 15. “Oxford and Cambridge colours were freely, displayed on the machines, on sweaters, and in several cases by elaborate garters artistically placed round the left knee. Robert, as the policeman on duty on the hill was affectionately called, did excellent work at the cross roads by the Lambert Arms, and was enthusiastically called forth to take his place in the photograph taken after the hill-climb. He modestly refused, but eventually was persuaded to take his place in someone’s sidecar, and thus to be handed down to posterity as one who did his duty, and who did it in the sportsmanlike manner usually displayed by that most excellent branch of the Force, the Oxfordshire Constabulary. The fact that every competitor was an amateur in the truest sense of the word rendered the event all the more interesting, and quite a refreshing change from the usual run of motor cycle events.”
“MY MOST EXCITING ride?” queried WF Newsome, the famous Triumph rider. “I find it somewhat hard to answer that question, for most competitive rides are more or less exciting. At any rate, most of the races I have contested have had some exciting incident or other connected with them. I think the Tourist Trophy races have impressed me the most though, and of the series the race of 1909 stands out very prominently. I had excitement on two scores in that race, for I narrowly missed an accident, and at the same time was going so well that I was near the top all the time. It became necessary for me to stop in the sixth round in order to make an adjustment, and as I feverishly opened my toolbag the usual little crowd of spectators came up, and I enquired of them as to where I stood in the race. One of them told me I
was lying fifth, and in my hurry to pick up the tools I dropped them all over the road. With one’s nerves all on end and the knowledge that every second counts, fingers become thumbs, and my average speed suffered through my haste. But I got the tools together again, and went off for all I was worth, knowing that I still held a sporting chance. In one of the subsequent rounds I happened to come abreast another competitor just before reaching the bend at the bottom of Creg Willey’s Hill. I was over- hauling my man, but there was not much between our speeds, and we took the corner neck and neck. It was quite impossible for both of us to get round together, it being quite a difficult job for one to take the bend while going all out as we were. My heart was in my mouth, but, to my intense relief, the other man switched off, and this just enabled me to get round first. Never before did I feel so excited, and my nerves were pent up right through until the finish, where I pulled up very stiff. I had not worn goggles, and my eyes were full of dust and terribly sore, but they told me I had finished third in the race and first among the single-cylinders, as a result of which knowledge I quickly got into trim. It was a race in which every moment was exciting, and in which the incident at Creg Willey’s corner stood out as the main feature of the ride.” Newsome is one of the best known trade riders of the day, and since the retirement of Jack Marshall, who won the Tourist Trophy race in 1908, he has been chief rider for the Triumph Company. His exploits on hills and in trials rank among the greatest of motor cycling feats, and he is a rider whose exceptional success has not turned his head. Unfortunately he will be an absentee in this year’s TT race.
“THE VERY WORDS ‘London to Edinburgh’ have magic in them. Their very sound has a magnetic attraction which draws irresistibly, and this year attracted another record entry…Anybody who was anybody in the motor cycling world was there, and a right busy scene it was…A rapid glance over the machines revealed several points of interest. Commodore Sir RK Arbuthnot was there, having travelled all the way from Invergordon specially to compete. GN Higgs for the first time had entered a 2hp Alcyon in company with the well-known exponent of that make, ND Slatter. Slatter’s mount was enamelled blue and was labelled the Blue Bird. The P&Ms entered, as they always do, looked sur- prisingly neat and clean…WH Bedford (Rex-JAP and sidecar) had a new and smart- looking electric lamp, the ‘Nups’ by Husband, of Leicester…HC Mills (Premier), Hemy (Service), and others more intimately connected with the industry, carried illuminated signs denoting the make of machine they rode. Howard (Zenith and sidecar) employed a neat back-rest and t very complete set of touring bags…Karslake, on his invincible Rover, used a big FRS and two Cox-Walker electric lamps, and round his waist was slung an inspection lamp for reading his route card, which, we hear, will shortly be placed on the market by Messrs Siemens. Gwynne (Indian) relied on two Cox-Walker lamps and a Siemens battery only…Ten minutes before the start Mr Charles Jarrott, president of the MCC, moved off in his Rolls-Royce, bearing the two travelling marshals…Both members of The Motor Cycle staff who followed the run were well mounted—one on a 3½hp Zenith and the other on the 2½hp Motosacoche…Once under way the cold began to be felt, and when the suburbs were left behind it became intense…The writer rode the Zenith, which
pulled well, and, thanks to the fascinating Gradua gear, was a real pleasure to drive, especially up Digswell and all other hills encountered, where a touch of the gear handle eased the load and sent the engine roaring up the slope…The excellent refreshments at the Swan Hotel, Biggleswade, put new life into us. Coffee is a mild stimulant, and warms the interior better than any other beverage…Just when it was light enough, to see both the lamps on the Zenith went out, but, fortunately, it was just possible to do without them. I stopped for a stretch on the hill leading into Stamford, and Eli Clark came up and reported his back tyre had come off some way back…The worst part of the journey was over, and the men fortified by breakfast, the next section was tackled with lighter hearts and in better spirits. Incidents during the night run were few and far between. In the early days men used to fall asleep and tumble off, but cases of this kind are now unknown…At Crow Park level crossing the Zenith overtook the vanguard, nearly 30 being hung up by the gates being closed. The pace was now reduced, and the run into Donraster made ‘under easy steam’…York was reached at 7.15, after an easy run in a warmer and more congenial temperature, through Ferrybridge and Tadcaster…Brough arrived with a marvellously clean engine and an untarnished exhaust pipe. Bellchamber (Rover) reported an internal short in his enclosed magneto, which he traced and remedied without difficulty. Several entered for the cup became bored with the tedious necessity of keeping dead on schedule and continued the journey without heeding the necessary restrictions. Among these were Jacobs and Applebee. RC Davis arrived with a flat tyre, while Chater-Lea (Chater-Lea sc)
had a puncture before Grantham. Southcomb. May was delayed somewhat by the carbon brush holders of his magneto coming loose. Huckle (Zenith sc) suffered carbu- retter trouble. White (Rex sc) reported delay through a loose magneto sprocket. LE Cass (Quadrant sc) had had trouble with the cones on his Armstrong gear coming undone. The York check, where breakfast was served, was in the capable hands of the Rev EW Gedge…At York a water cart had been busy on the tram lines, and several riders were performing complicated evolutions in consequence…Nearly all the way between York and Newcastle the competitors were bunched more closely together, and this afforded an excellent opportunity of studying the running of the various makes. In particular the two Motosacoches were interesting, as they were getting along at a steady pace, which pace, to onne riding a heavy single, came as a surprise. Certainly these small machines have wonderful engines…Newcastle would have proved an awkward place to negotiate but for the excellent way in which the police held up all traffic for the competitors. The control was outside the Newcastle &DMC, and its arrangement was excellent in every way…Before the leading singles left the first sidecars were arriving, all looking well and apparently iunning to time. The light FN and sidecar seemed especially cursed with tyre troubles, a fate which this small engined combination by no means deserved. Out of Newcastle the road is the worst in England, and as no care had been bestowed on it the bumping was awful…At Belford a neat surprise check caused an unseemly flutter, quite half-a-dozen riders hastily concealing themselves behind a stone wall and consulting watches. In many cases the check was too much for them, especially as a marshal walked out and caught them redhanded as it were…Some miles outside Berwick one of the Douglas riders passed astride the carrier of another Douglas. He had suffered a stripped timing gear at Berwick. Here also the Swift had sprung a bad leak in its tank, and it was only by doing much temporary repairing that the machine was driven to Edinburgh. Into Cockburnspath, where there was another control, the road was again vile, and everyone was horribly shaken. The Scots, as usual, were most enthusiastic, every village being crowded…Then at last Edinburgh was reached, with crowds of people all standing in the road as close to the
competitors as possible. Fortunately, the Edinburgh police are excellent traffic managers, but even then it took an open cut-out and a low gear, shouts, and, in fact, all the noise possible to reach the Royal Hotel in safety…Marians hurt his arm through a saddle spring breaking, and McKeclinie, on the Dot, broke his collar bone, due to a burst tyre. Luckily, a man with a knowledge of first-aid was present, and by the time a doctor (who was also a sidecar passenger) came Marians’s arm had been bandaged up. McKechnie was removed to Morpeth by the driver of a private car, who very kindly cleared out all his passengers in order to accommodate the injured man. Howe, on a Rudge, ran into the roadside during the night, and appeared considerably dazed when picked up, but was otherwise unhurt. North upset his sidecar and himself at a corner, due, it is said, to his passenger being asleep and not hearing the request to lean out. Frankenstein also arrived at Edinburgh with a smashed lamp and buckled front mudguard, while another report speaks of a smashed Rex beyond Morpeth…Gerald Bunn (ASL) had the flattest head lamp that has been seen for some time, due to charging a wall at Morpeth…In Alexander’s garage a great deal of work was being put into the various machines preparatory to the
return journey. Boswell (Ariel) had a leaking tank, Letchworth (Bat), Peppercorn (Baddeley), Webb (Bradbury), and Deacock (NLG) all had smashed lamps or brackets to attend to, Beal (NSU). was busy with a new oil pipe nipple, Wasling (Enfield) repairing a mudguard, while on the GWK a cover had been changed and the friction wheel replaced, as it had been badly scored during the run. On the small FN and sidecar the seat pillar and inlet pipe were repaired while the driver and passenger were busy with the rear tyre…Glorious weather again favoured those of the competitors who had entered for the return journey, of whom 74 had been timed out of Edinburgh by FT Bidlake. A large crowd assembled at Barnet to welcome the arrivals. The first competitor to sign on was W Cooper, who brought the news that Brough was
running to a second, and that despite two punctures north of York he had reached the control punctually. Two men carried extra passengers. Begley had Baker on his carrier, whom he had carried on part of the outward journey and all the way back. Baker had had trouble with a bearing. Dew had timing gear trouble at Berwick on the way north, and was brought in by Fletcher, while Pither suffered tyre trouble. London-Edinburgh awards: For the third year running George Brough won the Motor Cycling Club Challenge Cup for covering the round trip most closely to schedule time so he got to keep it (the Blue ‘Un rightly called it a “marvellous performance”.) 1, G Brough (3½hp Brough), Error 0; 2, H Karslake, 3½hp Rover), 1min 5sec; 3, AC Robbins (3½hp Humber), 4min 25sec; 4, WB Gibbs (2¾hp Douglas), 4min 51sec. Wells Cup, for the sidecar outfit covering the London-Edinburgh leg with the lowest time error: 1, F Smith (6hp Clyno sc), 0; W Pratt (3½hp P&M sc), 1min 49sec); 3, H Huckle (Zenith sc) 3min 14sec; 4, WA Jacobs (6hp RexSidette), 7min 20sec. Clark Cup, for the sidecar outfit covering the round trip with the lowest time error: F Smith (6hp Clyno sc), 0; 2, A Abbott, (3½hp Bradbury sc), 2min 29sec); 3, TG Proctor (thp Indian sc), 7min 6sec; 4, CF Halsall (8hp Matchless sc), 9min 20sec; gold medals (single journey), 55; gold medals (double journey), 67.
“WHICH IS MY most exciting ride?” said Godfrey, in response to my query. “I have had so many, you see.” I saw that I must jog his memory, for I had an idea of my own as to which was his most exciting ride, and I put it to him in one word. “Frome,” I suggested, remembering that some five years ago Godfrey had sped up Frome’s Hill, near Hereford, at a
terrific speed and collided with a spectator at the top. “No,” said Godfrey, “I remember nothing of that incident, for I was knocked senseless at the top, and the ride remains a blank. All I know is that it was my first experience of a fast motor cycle. Last year, in the Tourist Trophy Race. I had some excitement, for although I started out with an idea that I should finish near the top—for I knew I had a fast motor cycle under me—yet I experienced blue funk at the corners and sighed with relief as I passed them. But that was nothing compared with another experience of mine, and I think I can easily call this my most exciting ride. It was at the Easter meeting of the Brooklands Club last year. During the week-end I had competed in the London-Edinburgh Trial, and arrived back in London on Sunday morning, without having slept since Thursday night. “Straightaway to Brooklands I went to get my Indian in trim for Monday’s races. I was terribly keen on winning, for Jake de Rosier had recently come to England, and I suppose I wanted to create a good impression. Jake helped me tune the machine, and after a little practice I went home and snatched a few hours’ sleep. On the morrow I was dead tired, but I managed to get to Brooklands, and, in a semi-stupor, I realised that the first race in which I was engaged was about to start. I don’t know exactly how I got started, but have a hazy notion of the limit men going off, leaving me at scratch to catch them. It was quickly apparent that my machine was very fast, and I just let her all out, and lay down along the tank, but half awake. I kept near in, and recollect the occasional purring of the other competing machines as I passed them one by one. Still I lay along the tank while the Indian sped along. I was sufficiently master of my senses to turn into the finishing straight, and I won at the fastest speed which has been credited to any winner in a motor cycle race at Brooklands. Once in the paddock, I felt myself losing all knowledge of everything, and I fainted away. While on the track I was kept awake merely by a determination not to throttle down as I was tempted to, and the very strength of that determination kept my brain active, but at the finish I was thoroughly knocked out, and a big bruise all over my chest denoted the heavy manner in which my body rested along the petrol tank, I can recall many narrow escapes and exciting adventures on road and track, but none of them occasion such dread within me as that terrible ride on the track at Weybridge.” It is known that 0C Godfrey is contemplating retiring from racing events.
A BRITISH CONTINGENT rode in the Meeting Automobile du Mans, staged by the Autombile Club de la Sarthe et de l’Oeust. RG Munday (Singer) won the 500cc class, with HG Dixon (New Hudson) second and V Taylor (Rudge) third. In the 350cc class the first three home were HG Dixon (New Hudson), J Cocker (Singer) and Pean (Peugeot). HG Dixon also won the sidecar class, ahead of Bouville (Bedelia). And in the hillclimb that followed the road race, Mundy won the lightweight and 500cc classes with Dixon as runner-up—Dixon went on to win the sidecar class.
THE COVENTRY AND Warwickshire MC staged its fifth Welsh run, incorporating a speed-judging competition that was won by JR Haswell (two-speed Triumph sc). Souvenir were handed out for completing the run (via Coleshill, Shrewsbury, Llansaintffraid and Llanfyllin to Lake Vyrnwy) within 5½ hours. “EA Gorton (6hp Rex Sidette) lost his souvenir by about two minutes, and reported he had stopped to chat with Miss Hind in Shrewsbury.” Following the run the whole contingent, of about 50, had a go at some hill-climbing then “continuing along the stony ridge on the side of the mountain, which is a route not recommended to be followed in a hurry or in the dark, the members journeyed to the Hand Hotel, Llangollen, the headquarters.” The next day they headed to the steepest hill in Wales: “Bwlch-y-Groes rises 1,750 feet in two miles, the gradient for long stretches being as steep as 1 in 4. It was intended to hold an impromptu hill-climb on the southern side, the prizewinner to be the one who got highest up, but when WF Newsome had reduced his gear to 6½ to 1 and made a clean ascent at the first time of asking, the competition idea was dropped. This was really a marvellous achievement, and is undoubtedly the first authenticated ascent of the mountain pass…A number of members of the Merionethshire MCC had read of tlie Coventry club’s proposed onslaught on this hill, and had gathered to witness the fun, Most of the other membcrs of the Coventry club had a try, but all were doomed to failure except Sam Wright, whose 3½hp two-speed Humber went sailing merrily up the hill in the same way that it annihilates every hill that comes within its path. He and Newsome, two veteran reliability trial riders and racing motor cyclists, deserve every credit for their fine performances. Immediately the members had had their fill of mountain climbing it commenced to rain, and a ride home in the pouring rain, via Welshpool, Shrewsbury, and Coleshill, will long be remembered. “
RAY SEYMOUR (7hp Indian) lapped the Los Angeles track to set new records from 1-20 miles. His overall average was 93.25mph and his first mile average was 97.82mph—a world record.
THE MARTIN-JAP put Croydon on the motor cycling map. The 1¾hp, 270cc model set a world kilometer and mile records at just over 66mph and just over 64mph respectively. The 2¾hp model also set world records of over 68mph for the kilometre and over 65mph for the mile.
SAM WRIGHT HAS had a considerable amount of experience on the road, but on trying to hunt up an exciting incident in his career he could not think of anything beyond the many little incidents which every motor cyclist encounters. “At Southport,” said he, “in the speed trials of 1903, I had an exciting time at the end of the kilometre race. I was riding a 2¼hp Excelsior, and had just completed the course at a speed of 62mph, when I found myself running into a gradually narrowing avenue between rows of cars. Then one row gave place to a wall, and as I sped through one hand grazed the wall while the other grazed the cars. I don’t know how I kept the machine up, but 1 did. But for real excitement, I think
my hour record ride in Class B at the Brooklands Track last November was the race. With my watch on my wrist I saw that I was lapping at about 2m. 45sec and I knew this was good enough for record. Gradually the hour began to close, leaving me in a state of great excitement. First I would look at the watch, then turn and see the lap scoring cards at the fork, denoting the distance I had done. All thetime my ears were keenly waiting, almost expecting that some mechanical trouble would put an end to my aspirations. As the time drew shorter this terrible apprehension, which I could not get rid of, became more pronounced, but I kept on going, getting everything I could out of the engine, which, despite my morbid feelings, was doing its work well. On I went, the great white track flying beneath me as I covered lap after lap and saw the scoring board faithfully chronicling my distance. At last the end came, and with considerable relief I switched off with the satisfaction of knowing that the record—nearly fifty-nine miles in the hour—was mine.” This record was made in Class B (under 350cc) on a twin-cylinder 2¾hp Humber lightweight. On interrogating Wright as to riding tips, he was most emphatic in declaring that every motor cyclist has to find his own tips, and that the experiences of one man are of no value to another. “You must,” said he, “adapt your brains to your own particular machine, and by your very knowledge of it, learn tips which nobody else could give you. If there is one thing which is
general in its requiring attention, one thing which every motor cyclist must do to ensure good running, it is the care of the carburetter. Always look after your carburetter; it is the main thing. You can generally trust the engine if you look after the subsidiary contrivances. Half the trouble on the road is caused by faulty carburation, and slill more can be traced back to it.” Sam Wright’s most recent achievement is an ascent of Bwlch-y-Gioes, more commonly called Dinas- Mawddwy. This mountain pass rises 1,250 feet and is two miles long. Wright is one of two riders successfully to reach the mountaintop. He was mounted on a 3½hp two-speed Humber. The summit of the pass is nearly 1,800 feet above sea-level, and the road is exceptionally rough, being covered with large flat slate stones. Up to this year Sam Wright had the distinction, probably unique, of never having stopped involuntarily in a motor cycle reliability trial. He is usually chosen as one of the Coventry and Warwickshire MC team in the Team Trials, and has more than once helped to annex the club championship trophy on his Humber.
A FEW DAYS ago we accepted an invitation to lest the hill-climbing powers of a 4½hp single-cylinder Excelsior. Accordingly, a solo machine, fitted with a Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear, and a sidecar machine, fitted with the Roc two-speed, were brought round. We arranged to go our usual test run to Edge Hill, and thereupon mounted the solo machine, which was fitted with a Lukin automatic carburetter. The engine started at once, and turned over extremely slowlv and steadily, showing the presence of plentv of fly-wheel and good carburation. We slid away, and were in the high gear (4 to 1) in a matter of a few yards. The run to Edge Hill was uneventful, and on arriving at the hill we made a clean ascent on the top gear, the engine never showing a sign of knocking. At the top we waited for the sidecar outfit, which came up in style—so well, in fact, that Mr Carson, who was piloting it, was confident that he could take three up. This time we moved to Sunrising Hill, and on reaching the bottom slightly reduced the gear to 5 to 1, and straightway turned round and ascended the hill. The high gear was in use right up to the sharp corner, which so reduced the speed that the low gear was put into action. The weight of the machine in full touring trim and with a sidecar was 3cwt 2qrs, which, with the combined weights of the three passengers, brought the total to approximately 7½cwt. It is interesting to note, in view of recent discussions, that this fine performance was done with a Binks two- jet carburetter. After the climb had been accomplished we returned to the bottom of the hill, shed our third passenger, and took charge of the sidecar machine ourselves. We were thus enabled to judge of the steady pull and simple control of the machine. The climb was accomplished in fine style, and as we neared the summit the rider of the solo mount rushed past us on top gear. The run home was uneventful, except for the pouring rain. As a sidecar mount we were deligh’ed with the 4½hp Excelsior, which is capable of a fair turn of speed, and will keep up an average of at least the legal limil or more without showing the slightest sign of overheating.
TEAMS FROM THE ACU and Edinburgh &DMCC went head-to-head in the Anglo-Scottish Inter-team Hill-climb at Lanton Hill. Each side fielded five singles, four twins and two combos. It was a damned close-run thing. The ACU won the single-cylinder class by an aggregate 13sec; the Edinburgh lads won the twin-cylinder and sidecar classes, cutting the sassenachs’ lead to just 7.2sec. Having settled the team event they had an individual hill-climb with classes for engines under 500cc, engines over 500cc and ‘unlimited scratch’. AJC Lindsay, a Scot, won the under and over 500 classes; CW Jamieson, not a Scot, won the scratch race.
“THERE WAS PROBABLY the biggest assembly of motor cyclists ever gathered together in England at the ninth inter-club team trial for The Motor Cycle 50 guinea challenge cup.” The entry list of clubs was certainly the biggest to date: Bedfordshire &DMCC, Birmingham MCC, Bristol MCC, Bristol C&MCC, Derby &DMCC, Coventry and Warwickshire MCC,
Essex MC, Herts County MCC, Leicester MCC, Liverpool MCC, Luton and South Bedfordshire MCC, Mersey MC, Motor Cycling Club, Northants MCC, Norwich &DMCC, Norfolk MCC, North-wwst London MCC, Nottingham &DMCC, North Middlesex MCC, Oxford MCC, South Birmingham MCC, Sheffield and Hallamshire MCC, Streatham &DMCC, Sutton Coldfield and Mid-Warwickshire AC, Walthastow MC and Wolverhampton MCC. The ACU team trial having fallen by the wayside the MCC’s reliability trial carried all the more prestige. As a reliability trial is proved, or otherwise, riders’ ability to maintain their machines by running tem without involuntary stops and to ride them to a strict schedule. The first non-stop run by an entire team of six was not made until 1909, by which time the Coventry MC had won the old trophy outright with three wins; the MCC had also won three times. Coventry won again in 1910 but in 1911 the Derby &DMCC took the honours. Now it was the turn of the Nottingham &DMCC. The Coventry club was ruled out at the start when one of their riders, H Williamson, was unable to get away on his 8hp Williamson outfit (which, it transpired, had suffered a broken clutch spring). The Mersey MC also lost a rider at the start when FC Jones’ Bradbury was stopped with a blocked jet. By coincidence a blocked jet also left the Mersey club’s neighbours from the Liverpool MCC a man down when PP Syvret’s Rex failed to get away. Thereafter things settled down; in fact The Motor Cycle commented: “We deplore the fact that the course was not more severe, as the contestants would have been weeded out so much more effectually. As it was, the run was a mere jaunt, and the last two rounds somewhat tedious.” There was the usual crop of
punctures and other misfortunes—the Derby club’s hopes of retaining the cup were dashed when two of their men were disqualified for losing their way. “And so the afternoon progressed, trifling troubles gradually thinning the ranks. The villagers turned out in their hundreds to watch the long line of riders file past, the boys, having quite a memorable day throwing their hats at the machines. We saw some of the competitors making a collection of caps, and as a lesson to some of the rascals Sam Wright caught two or three and carried them two complete laps before returning them to the
owners. This action had the desiredeffect. Several droves of cattle hindered the riders, and a heifer which ran almost wild, and attempted to race one bunch of competitors, helped to vary the monotony.” In the event the victorious
Nottingham &DMCC’s aggregate time error was 61min 20sec, followed by the other five clubs to achieve full scores (eg the entire team made non-stop runs): Bedford &DMCC (68min 21sec), South Birmingham MCC (69min 36sec); Motor Cycling Club (75min 23sec); Bristol MCC (79smin 47sec); and Walthamstow MC (82min 0sec). There was a postscript: “Of the South Birmingham team, JH Percox (Alldays) had water in the petrol, and L Poole (BSA) had his one-gallon spare petrol tank come loose, and carried it under his arm for forty miles, then his stand fell, and he kicked it up innumerable times until SA Rowlandson, riding behind, closed the spring by kicking it up against the back tyre. Considering the above, the South Birmingham Club’s performance in being plated third is an excellent one.”
CB FRANKLIN ADDED to Indian’s record tally, lapping a windswept Brooklandsto set records at two, four, five and six hours and at 250, 300 and 350 miles. He consistently lapped at over 60mph and made a number of laps at 71mph. “No mechanical troubles were experienced, the only stop being for refreshment and twice to change the tyres as a precaution.” Franklin’s Indian used Wakefield ‘Castrol’ oil and Wakefield wasted no time advertising the fact, proclaiming: “300 miles in 282 minutes—The most astonishing ride in the world…Unprecedented in the annals of motor cycle history.”
NEW ACU SDT regs for 1912: “Every driver of a passenger machine must supply a full-sized waterproof rug for the comfort of the observer. The trial is open to genuine tourist machines only. A list of what may and may not be carried in the way of spares is given. Tyre repair outfits, sparking plugs, valve complete, magneto parts, belts, belt fasteners, chains, tyre levers, inner tubes, control wires, and nuts and washers may be taken, but no other spare parts of any description may be carried on the machine or on the person of the competitor or passenger.”
CANADA’S FIRST sidecar race was won by Percy Barnes (Triumph); he covered the three-miles course in 5min 3sec. AF Astley was runner-up on another Triumph; M Amos was third on a Rudge. The meeting, hosted by the Toronto MCC at a half-mile dirt track, also featured a five-mile ‘private owners’ race and a five-mile ‘Tourist Trophy; both were won by N Newport on a Triumph. The main event was a 25-mile race won by seventeen-year-old Canadian champion Harold Cole on an Excelsior.
“A SIX ‘DAYS Trade Trial is to be held in the States shortly, and we understand that a Pinkerton detective will guard the machines each night of the trials. The Chicago Motor Cycle Club is the organising body.”
THE ORGANISERS of the Paris Salon decided they didn’t want any motor cycles in the 1912 show. La Revue de l’Automobile commented: “We have touched upon almost virgin soil, on which we have worked and fertilised, and have sown with good seed, full of promise for the harvest; now the fruits are ripe, we retire hat in hand before the English, who come to gather in the results of our labours. Poor France!”
MAUDES MOTOR MART produced a handlebar mascot comprising “a metal figure of a policeman, and in front is a small screw propeller. As the figure travels through the air, on the front of a motor cycle at speeds above four or five miles an hour, the propeller revolves and works the arms of the figure up and down.”
“I HAVE HAD so many exciting rides,” said FW Barnes, when I tackled him on the subject, “that I could fill a volume, but there was one which I shall never forget. Most rides, currently exciting, become mere subjects for amusing anecdotes in retrospect, but my sidecar record ride with Weatherilt in the passenger seat at Brooklands on March 7th was, nerve-racking enough. You must realise the enormous strain on the engine, frame, and tyres with a sidecar, going all out on Brooklands, with its many rough patches, before you can have any idea of the prevailing conditions in a two hours’ ride at nearly fifty miles an hour. We had made adequate arrangements, and Weatherilt, instead of lying down in the car, had to replenish the oil and petrol tanks by means of a special appliance, and keep his eyes on the sidecar wheel, the watch, and lap scoring card. We soon accelerated to top speed, and were on the mile a minute mark after a steady lap. After seventeen laps Weatherilt with difficulty managed to replenish the petrol tank from a spare two-gallon tin, but with two more laps to accomplish in order to get fifty miles into the first hour, we ran short of oil. “My passenger was struggling with the syringe and the spare oil, while I was fumbling about in order to receive it in the oil tank. As a fact I received it all over my face, for the jolting and the wind prevented Weatherilt from getting the oil into the tank and we both of us got smothered. Anyhow we stopped just before the expiration of the hour and loaded in the ordinary way. We were so oily that our fingers were like thumbs, and when we restarted the machine slipped out of my hands and I had to make a dash for it, landing in the saddle with as much luck as judgment. As we passed the time-keeper, I turned to Weatherilt to shout in his ears a query as to whether we had managed the fifty, and I never saw such a sight in my life. Weatherilt was an oily mass, barely recognisable, and I suppose I must have been nearly as bad. What with the oil in our eyes, and the attempts to get some in the tank, we lost count of the laps, and simply went all out, bouncing about like a cork on the. ocean.
“On some parts of the track we were doing nearly seventy, and it was at our greatest speed that I, with horror, heard Weatherilt say something about the sidecar wheel coming off. We were then passing under the members’ bridge, and the bend was rather sharp. Like a shot I grabbed the exhaust lifter, shut the throttle, and applied the brakes, but these manoeuvres did not seem to check the speed, and every moment I expected to see the sidecar wheel part company with the combination. Then we began to slow up with me feeling as scared as ever I was. Another yell—‘Go on,’ said Weatherilt, ‘we’re slacking.’ With what little breath I had left I shouted ‘What’s the matter?’ to which Weatherilt replied that the sidecar wheel was coming off—the track (lifting)! Oh, the relief! I opened out again, but it was an experience not to be forgotten. A bit later we stopped for more petrol. On again at a fine turn of speed, and we were getting near the finish when the belt fastener broke. “On stopping, I turned to Weatherilt for the spare belt, but he was stretched out in the sidecar, having received a blow from the belt which had temporarily stunned him. He had a nasty bruise on his forehead, and I began to administer first aid, when he came round and insisted on finishing the ride, which, after I had fitted another belt, we did, completing 100 miles in just over two hours. Another little incident which occurred during my racing career was a fall at Brooklands while doing seventy-two miles an hour, owing to a burst front tyre. On another occasion I ran into a cord attached to a kite which had, strayed from the aviation sheds. I was doing, sixty miles an hour, and the cord cut through my clothes and then my hand as I tried to pull it away from my throat.”
FW Barnes, who is the inventor of the famous Gradua gear and the works manager of the Zenith Company, secured fifty-three first prizes in 1911, and so far this year has secured fifty-eight.
IXION WROTE: “I always enjoy reading the American motor cycle papers, though their ways are not ours. Of late their star reporters have been more lurid than usual. When the 95mph track record. was put up the other day one scribe remarked it was lucky they had electric timing, for you couldn’t see the rider or his machine at all, so fast were they travelling; in fact, you could only tell when they passed you by two tokens—the draught and the noise. If the American libel laws were in force over here we should be able to give much freer vent to our occasional resentment against the police. The current issue of a Chicago paper remarks of one Chief Constable, ‘He is reasoning with his feet, and they are cross-eyed!’ And of another, ‘This is the man who fought two years for a six-cylinder automobile, urging that the superintendent and detectives could hurry faster to a scene of crime. He got the machine, but is seen oftener hurrying to a scene of conviviality than to a scene of crime.’ (How German motor cyclists must envy such rights of free criticism!) The chief American cities keep a squad of motor twins, and these scouts employ a provocative policy, if the press reports are truthful. Wearing no uniform, they coax some unsuspicious tourist to engage in a ‘scrap’ with them, and when he has got his nose well down and his throttle open, they reveal their identity and arrest him. Motoring offences in most States render the culprit liable to instant arrest: he is immediately haled before the magistrate, and has to pay the fine before he is allowed to proceed.”
“FINES ARE BEING imposed in America on motor cyclists who ride about with open exhausts. Arrests have been fairly numerous of late, and five motor cyclists were recently fined $3 each. The judge made it clear, however, that unless the nuisance be stopped soon a penalty of a more serious nature will be imposed.”
THE LONDON School of Motoring, based in London’s Tottenham Court Road, became the first ‘motor school’ where “instruction is given in the art of driving a motor cycle”.
THERE WAS NO denying that the French motor cycling scene was influenced by the Brits. The 250-mile Paris-Liege-Paris run, organised by the Liege MC and the magazine L’Aero was advertised as “Le Petit Londres-Edinbourg”. As with the Edinburgh run riders had to stick to a specified average speed, ranging from 17.4mph for the 250s to 24.8mph for over-500s. Competitors were penalised one mark for each minute early or late. Ramming home the message that the French had done away with their old 50kg limit, all bikes had to be fitted with spring forks, efficient mudguards, two brakes, luggage carrier, rear wheel stand, lamp, and generator; silencers were compulsory, but a cut-out could be used. Handlebars were not allowed to extend below the top tube of the frame. There were four Brits among the 92 entrants and a total of 11 English bikes (five Rudges, two New Hudsons, a Singer, a Beeza, a James and a Triumph. Continental machines inckluded 21 NSUs, 15 FNs, 13 Wanderers, 11 Alcyons, 10 Saroleas, three Peugeots, three Clements, three Motosacoches and two Scaldies. The run included a combined speed-trial and hillclimb at Boillon; 58 riders completed the course without losing a single mark. The first three riders back to Liege were Everaers (NSU), Pire (Sarolea) and Thoen (FN).
CHARLIE COLLIER DID not take long to fix upon his most exciting ride, for one race of his stood out from all others on the score of excitement, and he at once brought to mind the races of 1906 between himself and George Barnes, otherwise known as ‘Cannon Ball’ Barnes. Barnes had expressed his confidence of beating any motor cyclist in the world at a purely speed contest, and he challenged whosoever cared to meet him in The Motor Cycle. Charlie, to whom Barnes especially directed the challenge, took up the gauntlet, and an hour race was therefore soon arranged between him and Barnes. Charlie rode the same 6hp Matchless twin which had just been built for the international race of that year, while his opponent had an 8hp Buchet. There had been a deal of controversy as to the respective capabilities of the two riders, but Collier easily won the event. Not to be thus easily accounted for, Barnes offered to meet Collier in short dis- tance races, and a series of three, over distances of one mile, three miles, and five miles respectively, was arranged for decision at Canning Town. “In the first event, over a mile,” said Collier, in relating his experiences, “I got away at the start and finished first, but the second race—distance three miles—was the most exciting ride I have ever had. I knew it was a case of the man who first got going properly winning, and to my horror I saw Barnes getting off the mark first. Before he had fully accelerated though, I was passing him, and I settled down to the ride. I have never travelled at such a dangerous speed before or since, and even now I look back and marvel at the wonderful time I made. The second mile was covered in 57.8sec, so that I was doing over a mile a minute on that little track.I hardly realised the danger I was running, so anxious was I to win, and I sped round as fast as my machine would take me, keeping as near the edge as 1 could. I had little fear that Barnes would overtake me, for it was impossible to do so at that speed on the Canning Town track, but I could not dream of slowing down, and so I went on, apprehensively, but with my blood up. It was over in a little more than three minutes, and the rubber decided, for I had secured the first two events. That second mile will never be beaten on that track, for in the condition it is now such a speed would he impossible, and even then it was stupendous.”
“How did you feel when it was over?” I said. “Feel! Why, I just thanked my lucky stars that it was finished, and, after cooling down, I realised that I had won and began to forget that I was feeling dazed. In the third race I let Barnes have matters all his own way, for I could not ride any more that day, and after doing a short distance I stopped, and Barnes finished alone. I have never been so keen about anything as I was to beat Barnes then, and possibly my anxiety contributed to the excitement I felt ; in any case, I have never been so thrilled before or since, and do not wish to be, either. Following on the match, I took the same machine away to compete in the eliminating trials for the International Cup, and won.” ” Were you not excited over the match with De Rosier last year?” I queried. “No,” said Collier. “Brooklands is not Canning Town.” I agreed with him, and marvelled at that 60mph sprint over the little track in the East of London.
A GERMAN CLUB in the Munich area announced a 200-mile reliability run and banned British bikes because they “would reduce the chances of the home manufactured article”.
“Racing Helmets: In response to our query respecting pneumatic helmets for racing purposes, Messrs Alfred Dunhill, Ltd, 359-361, Euston Road, NW, write to say that they have made many such helmets and have several in hand at the present time. They prefer to make them to fit the head. These helmets can be relied upon to prevent concussion, as there is a space of one inch between the outer layer, which is of thick cork.”
Royal Enfield developed welding techniques for petrol tanks and came up with “an electric welding machine which welds the top joints”.
A RECORD 41 stalwarts signed up for the Irish End-to-End Trial. “For the first time a lady motor cyclist in the person of Miss Muriel Hind entered for this severe test of both rider and machine. She was mounted on a new design 6hp Rex. At 1am the riders all started together from the coastguard station at Mizenhead (some held back for the dust to die down); FC North (3½hp Ariel) had a puncture within two miles; his rear tyre later came adrift six times. “On reaching Dublin he bought a new cover, but found he was 2¼ hours behind time, so he retired from the trial and enjoyed a fast ride to the
finish…Near Dunmanway, 44 miles from the start, we passed Dobbin, who had collided with a stray donkey in the dark and knocked it over, of course coming down himself. Russell also hit the same donkey with his footrests without, however, falling off…Miss Hind said she was troubled with her wrists owing to vibration from the rough roads…After lunch the competitors proceeded through Droghecla, Dundalk, Banbridge, Co Antrim, and thence to the finish at Fairhead, some three miles from Ballycastle, which the first man was due to teach at 9.42pm.During the latter part of the journey a very great deal of dust was encountered, which made it far from comfortable. Eight miles from Moira, Rex Mundy ran over a dog, unfortunately killing it and breaking his oil pump, he was obliged to stop every few miles and fill the crank case from an oil gun…Rex Mundy arrived at the finish four minutes early, being under the impression that the trial terminated at Ballycastle…All watches were placed in a sealed cardboard box in which a circular hole was cut for examination of the dial. Each man was therefore timed by his own watch…Great difficulty was experienced by the timekeepers at the checks, as all competitors being despatched together caused a great number, sometimes a dozen or more, to arrive at a check at the same time. We would suggest in future that the competitors be started at one minute internals. Muriel Hind won one of the 18 gold medals; seven riders earned silver.
THE VOLUNTEER Legion of Motor Cyclists was invited to provide motor cyclists to act as dispatch riders for the War Kite Squadron which “aims at producing on a voluntary basis an ideal intelligence service for our armies in time of war. Its man-lifting kites can go up even in a gale of wind to carry observers up into the air; the observer is linked to terra firma by a telephone wire, and next door to him a wireless kite is flying to speed all the information gathered across the waves of ether. The squadron has not sought, nor does it propose to seek, the approval of the military authorities—it is quite content to bide its time as a volunteer institution until the. War Office itself makes the first advances.” As well as carrying messages from on high, “the motor-cyclists will be taught how to lay a telephone line when travelling at “a high speed and also how to pick it up again at
at least twenty miles ah hour.”
A TWO-DAY road race in Spain based in Irun attracted big crowds—10,000 in San Sebastien alone—who saw local riders take the top six places. But they were all riding Rudges.
THE NATIONAL Cyclists’ Union has resolved to make an attempt to have the law amended which permits boys of fourteen years of age to ride a motor cycle. An important point also discussed by the same body is that a juvenile driver may in the case of an action for damages caused by a collision successfully plead infancy. In this connection the NCU will endeavour to get legislation altered to make parents or guardians responsible for damage caused by minors when driving motor vehicles.
“A SPECIAL COMMITTEE of the Roads Improvement Association is now investigating the whole system of the old Roman roads in this country to decide whether, in view of the facilities now afforded by the Imperial Road Improvement Fund, any action can usefully be taken to bring any of the roads, now disused, into service again. The stability and thoroughness of construction of the old Roman roads are well known, but during the railway era a number of them became obsolete.”
“THE MOST RECENTLY formed and the most northerly motor cycle club on the mainland is called the John-o’-Groat’s MCC. The opening run…was not officially observed, and the stops for tyre and thirst troubles were not recorded against the riders. The home journey was broken at Wick, where the club had tea [which sounds much like a social ride, and very nice too]. The club is to arrange for a speed trial and a hill-climb.”
“MY MOST EXCITING ride took place at Pontypridd in 1903,” said Bert Yates, who has been riding Humber machines since the very earliest days of motor cycle racing. “The race was a five miles handicap, and I remember that I had to give
the limit man 3½ minutes start. The track was well banked for those days, but not sufficiently so for the speed we reached that day. The top of the banking was guarded by board fencing, supported at intervals by stout posts. I had all my work cut out to pick up my handicap, and soon found myself at the top of the banking. Next I was touching the boards, and finally I actually found myself riding on the fence itself, as the speed was so high that it was impossible to keep on the track. Well, I won the race, but only because my opponent’s belt came off in the last lap. Even then he would probably have won if he had not pulled up to put it on again, as he had a good lead and the impetus would have carried him over the line. I was riding a 2¾hp chain-driven Humber, and just before the race noticed that the rear tyre cover was worn through, but managed a temporary repair by binding the worst place with a silk handkerchief.” Not manv riders can have had a much more exciting ride than this! But Bert Yates told us several more anecdotes of races of almost as exciting a nature. The speed accomplished in those early days by Bert Yates and certain other expert riders on the old 2¾hp chain-driven Humbers was little short of marvellous, and in some cases they put up records which would be hard to beat, owing to the fact that the tracks could not stand a higher speed.
POSSIBLY THE FIRST example of enthusiasts seeking spares for obsolete bikes was a plea by riders of ‘old pattern’ Werners. Fortunately The CarAgency of Piccadilly, London W, held stocks of “parts for every type of Werner motor bicycle”. Another novelty in 1912 was the sale of non-standard parts. Brown and Barlow warned users to avoid jets for its carbs marked “Jets for B and B carburetters”—cases of genuine jets were marked “Brown and Barlow, Ltd, Birmingham”. And in case you though credit deals were a modern idea, Hitchen’s Motor Exchange of Morecambe was offering “machines on deferred payments, from 1¼ to 2½% being charged for the accommodation according to the length of time over which the amount is spread”.
FROM A REPORT on the Streatham &DMCC’s annual hillclimb: “A new machine, the 340cc 2¾hp Caeco, ridden by HP Storey, made its debut in this (350cc) class. Unfortunately, it appeared to be suffering from over-lubrication, but, though misfiring badly, it made quite a fast ascent. The engine was a 2¾hp ohv JAP, and was mounted in a racing frame just big enough to surround it. It had no exhaust pipe, and was fitted with a Longuemare carburetter. Its appearance was striking—so was its exhaust.” The Caeco was made by the Cambridge Automobile and Engineering Co of Cambridge which also produced its own 482cc 3½hp engine. This model took 1st and 2nd places in the five-mile open handicap at the Cambridge Charity Sports meeting; “the machine is built on standard lines with a dropped frame, chain driven,magneto, stand, and carrier”. But that’s it; the Caeco disappeared from motor cycling history.
THE CANADIAN MOTOR Cyclists’ Association held its first annual championships at Hamilton, Ontario on Dominion Day. Joe Baribeau (Indian) from Winnipeg won the 25-miles race in 27min 10sec, beating the existing Canadian record by 3min. Don Klark (Indian) from Detroit also set a record when he won the 10mile race in 8min 55sec. The only event to feature overseas machines was a five-mile belt-drive race; N Newport of Toronto won it comfortably—“several American’ makes were beaten in this contest”.
POLICE OFFICERS hid in roadside cottages on the St Albans-Redbourne road to catching speeding motor cyclists.
“THE BYLAW MADE by the Kent County Council makes it compulsory for all vehicles to show a red rear light at night ‘visible at a reason- able distance’. The following counties now have byelaws rendering rear lights compulsory on all vehicles Warwickshire, Hampshire, Buckingham, and Kent. It is sincerely to be hoped that all counties in the kingdom will follow suit, as the number of fatal accident due to unlighted Vehicles on country roads is on the increase.”
“WE CANNOT congratulate the Germans so far as the motor cycle industry is concerned, on that characteristic thoroughness which we have always been wont to attribute to them in other matters. This branch of automobilism, which is assuming such large proportions in England and is showing signs of springing into a new lease of life in France, is being throttled out of existence in Germany. The taxes a motor cyclist has to pay are perfectly exorbitant, and by the time the unfortunate rider has finished with the various fees and formalities he is the poorer by £10 [about £800 today]. Even the cylinders have to be taken off and the engine dimensions measured by the police. Of course there is a strong prejudice against this type of locomotion in Germany, but we have had the same thing in England, and prejudice can always sooner or later be overcome…We do not say a word against the two surviving firms, who are really turning out excellent machines, but we do think the German government might give what might be a thriving industry a fair chance to regain the ground it has lost.”
IT IS A CURIOUS fact that the most exciting incidents in a motor cyclist’s career are often to be found in short pleasure jaunts, while races provide only those thrills which are common to all speed competitions. Frank Applebee, holder of the Tourist Trophy, gave me an incident in a little holiday spin, when I asked him for his most exciting ride. “It was on the London-Yarmouth road,” he said, “while I was riding a Rex with a sidecar attached, in company with a friend similarly mounted. There are a lot of nice little straightaways on this road, and on one of them we paired up for an impromptu race. We soon got to a high speed and pelted off neck and neck. But gradually the road narrowed, and by the time I had noticed it, there was so little room that I found myself getting into the ditch. I didn’t want to stop, and tore on, with both bicycle wheels in the diteh and the sidecar wheel on and off the ground. Soon the sidecar wheel began to leap
higher, and I was so scared that I dared not take my foot off the rest to press down the pedal brake for fear of overturning. It seemed an age, whereas it could not have been more than a minute that I was in the gully, and why I did not throttle down goodness only knows. I seemed unable to do anything but sit tight and wait for the apparently inevitable. But at length I did the only thing possible, and shut off, with the result that I slowed down just in the ordinary way and came to rest wondering why I hadn’t done so sooner. My companion was a good way ahead of me by this time, and there was I, just recovered from a state of abject terror over a trifle. In cold blood it may not sound very exciting, but I was never more thrilled. I have had other exciting episodes, but so far as my racing career is concerned, it has just been methodical riding without any incident of note. This year’s Tourist Trophy Race was the easiest I have ridden, and it is an interesting point that it was the first race I competed in since the TT of last year. Most of my work is done with a sidecar, but it doesn’t take one long to get into a racing stride on a solo mount.” I ventured to suggest to Applebee a little incident which is still fresh in my memory, but I think that he was less excited on this occasion than myself. Applebee was driving a Rex Litette in the Six Days’ Trial of 1907, and I was his passenger. On the penultimate day, after five days’ ‘blinding’ which had kept us with a clean sheet we were confronted by a hefty waggon round a bend. Applebee took the Litette up the banking and came down in the hedge, slightly scratched, while I was thrown under bolting horses and woke up the next morning in Gloucester hospital suffering from concussion. Applebee, by the way, was, in his early days, an amateur trick cyclist—no wonder he can show us something in the way of corner work. When asked for a few riding tips, Applebe said that the present-day motor cycle was so efficient that it was only necessary to sit on and let the machine do the work, so long as ordinary care in the garage was taken. The constructional or bicycle parts should be tended to more than they are, he said, for the average rider thinks so much about his engine that the frame suffers from neglect. A good tip he gave was to be careful about cleanliness, for, as he said, in cleaning the machine one is apt to come across loose bolts and nuts which would otherwise be missed. Frank Applebee, worthy son of a pioneer and principal in the firm of Godfrey and Applebee, Ltd.
“NEWS VIA PARIS—Sensational Reports which should not be taken too seriously: That the Rudge-Whitworth will introduce a twin-cylinder two-stroke 7hp engine, which will, so it is said, develop 14hp. That the Spanish agent of the Rudge firm has bet the Madrid agent of the New Hudson Co £240 that a 500cc Rudge will beat a New Hudson of similar capacity in a 600-mile race from Bilbao to Madrid and back. That the English invasion is only commencing.”
“I SHOULD NOT like to say that the four-speed gear is going to supersede the three-speed, but in theory the more speeds we have the better, and if a light and reliable four-speed gear can be produced, it must be more useful than a three-speed…Can anybody say why no maker has yet standardised the shutter on a carburetter’s main air opening, with the idea of simplifying engine starting and perfecting carburation?” Four-speed boxes and chokes…the writer, of course, was Ixion.
THE ACU STAGED silencer tests which indicated that the best quietening effect was obtained by passing the gas first into an expansion chamber twelve inches long and five inches diameter, the final exit being through a pipe five-eighths of an inch diameter…”silence without back pressure can only be obtained by adopting a fairly large chamber into which the gases can expand. Theoretically, this chamber should hold about six times the volume of the cylinder capacity.”
“BED PULLS VERY much at 4am, especially after returning at midnight; but still the occasion was worth it and we all tumbled out,ducked our heads into cold water, and stood in the hall of the hotel clamouring for hot coffee, which the alert landlady was endeavouring to produce. The reason of this rising in the wee sma’ hours was because we hoped to see one of the finest riders in the North of England win a wager of, well, never mind how much, by doing 80mph over a measured quarter of a mile. After the hot coffee, we proceeded at well over the legal limit to the rendezvous, a dead level and straight piece of road about six miles away from the hotel. Here, in contrast to the quiet and peaceful country side at that early hour, everything was bustle and argument. Some were busy measuring the course to a fraction of an inch, others driving in the stakes and laying the wires of the electrical timing apparatus, and last, but not least, the stripped machine, with its open exhausts, was being finally looked over. At last everything is ready, the rider cannons down the road a mile away to get a flying start, and after what seems an age we hear a sound like the hum of an aeroplane engine, and hardly before we have time to realise what has happened the machine with its rider has thundered down the course, the very ground trembling as he passed. ‘What was his time?’ everybody anxiously enquires. ‘Has he done it?’ 11.8sec only 76.27mph. However, he has two more chances to win the wager, and after one or two minor adjustments he goes down for his second attempt. Again he thunders past and although he is hurled along at such a terrific pace, his course is as straight as an arrow. We could all tell he had improved upon his previous time, and there was a yell of delight when we found that he had knocked two-fifths of a second off and so accomplished 78.95mph. There was still another chance. Could it be done? The excitement grew intense, for we all knew that the rider had only to improve his last time by a bare one-fifth of a second and the task was accomplished. Once again, and for the last time, the thread of the timing apparatus is broken, and one can imagine our feelings and our opponents joy, when we hear that he again only equalled his second performance by doing the quarter in 11.4sec or 78.95mph. It was almost exasperating to be so near and yet so far. Few people realise what a fifth of a second means at such terrific speeds, but they cannot help seeing it when it is shown thus: Over a quarter mile course ll.2sec =80.36mph, whereas over the same distance 11.4sec=78.95mph. Therefore one-fifth of a second makes a difference of 1.41mph, and to further show how near the rider came to winning his wager, if the course had been seven yards shorter he would have accomplished 80mph. “
VIENNESE COPS decided pedestrians were causing too many road accidents and issued an order that anyone crossing a road must take the shortest route. Peds caught wandering along a road faced fines of up to £8 (over £600).
“THE LATEST USE for the motor cycle is to provide the noise made by an aeroplane at a theatrical performance. The aeroplane is heard ‘off’ and the motor cycles, two Douglas twins, with open exhausts, are started upon the stand to imitate the exhaust of a whirling Gnome engine. The result is quite realistic.”
CW HINKSMAN OF Sheffield developed a rear light powered by the machine’s magneto. The Motor Cycle reported: “The lamp is furnished with a four volt bulb, and although the current is intermittent the glow is continuous, and illuminates the lamp in a very satisfactory manner.”
“THE SCOTTISH AUTO Cycle Union continues to progress rapidly, and there is now no doubt of its claim to the control of Scottish motor cycling. With all the important clubs such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, etc giving their support, and only a few minor clubs unattached, the Union is in a very strong position. The Union badge is now being issued, and is a striking production with its red lion rampant on a yellow ground.With attractive insurance schemes (incluing au unlimited third party policy for £1), free legal defence, touring and hotel facilities, use of RAC and SAC scouts, etc, it is no wonder that the Scottish clubs are experiencing a great accession to their ranks…An attempt was made to include a motor cycle section in this year’s Scottish Motor Show, but the trade refused their sanction so that Scottish motor cyclists have yet to see a representative selection of modern machines, and this in a country where more motor cycles are owned in proportion to the population than in England.”
“WE UNDERSTAND THAT with the exception of two important firms, which have made exceptional arrangements for quick production, all manufacturers in the States are behind in deliveries and cannot cope with their orders. Several are making additions to their factories and one firm’s addition alone will cost about £25.000. We also understand that more than one American firm contemplates building in Canada to ascape tariff duties.”
“THE MOTOR CYCLE race announced for next Sunday over the Fontainebleau ciruit, and in which it was expected a number of British motor cyclists would take part, will not prove the success anticipated, for the Auto Cycle Union has stepped in and threatened to suspend all British contestants.”
BICYCLE MANUFACTURER Lea Francis of Coventry went into the motor cycle business with a two-speed 3hp, 430cc V-twin “which is oil and mud proof and can be ridden anywhere without fear of getting dirty”. The chain driven Bosch magneto was mounted out of the way of mud and water; the mag chain and primary and secondary drive chains were
all fully enclosed. Deeply valenced mudguards, full-length footboards and a sump plate combined to keep mud away from the rider and engine. “The rear wheel is of the quick detachable type, and is driven from the sprocket by means of dogs. It is only necessary to swing up the hinged rear mudguard and detach one bolt, and the wheel may be entirely removed, leaving the sprocket, chain case, and brake gear in situ. So that the wheel may be easily withdrawn from the dogs, a distance piece of slightly more than the depth of the teeth is placed on the side opposite to the chain wheel, and this distance piece is carried on an arm hinged to the frame, so that it cannot be dropped and mislaid.” A captive wheel spacer…wisdom of the ancients!
“MISS MURIEL HIND was recently the recipient of a gold watch bearing her monogram presented by the Rex staff and employees as a token of their appreciation of her riding. A short time back the same lady was presented with a splendid silver cup as a souvenir of the Irish End-to-end Trial. It was subscribed for by the other competitors.”
AN AMERICAN MOTOR cycle magazine featured the market in Vancouver and claimed: “The English machine is almost obsolete, while five years ago they were the only make in use; the superiority of American goods has proved itself more than equal to the task of clearing the boards here as it has in other sections of Canada. The same failings mark their exit here as in other parts of the country, namely, too light a construction for severe, conditions, small wheels and tyres, low clearance between the crankcase and road, weak spring forks, and last but not least it is a long wait for a replacement from England.”
“JOHN KING, REPORTED to be the secretary of the Nottingham MCC, was bound over in £10 for three months at the Alford, Lincs Police Court… Defendant, who pleaded guilty, was charged with being drunk in the street on the Saturday night following the motor speed trials. The Police Sergeant, in giving evidence, said that some of the men engaged in these trials behaved in a most disgraceful manner. They broke glasses and tables at the Louth Hotel and glasses and windows at the Bock-in-Hand Hotel, and the defendant was the ring-leader. He was warned four times during the night, so the witness said, and he refused to go to his lodgings…For rowdy behavious after the speed trials held by the Nottingham &DMCC at Mablethorpe RA Johnson and WH Madgwiek have been called upon to resign their membership of the Auto Cycle Union. The case of J King, secretary of the Nottingham a &DMCC, was very carefully considered, and it was decided to take no action, but to express the sympathy of the ACU with him on this occasion for the treatment he had received at the hands of the police. The case of WH Bashall and A Woodman during the Six Days’ Trials week was considered, and it was decided that as no previous complaints had been brought against them, they should be censured by the Chairman and cautioned as to their conduct in the future. It was decided to suspend Vernon Taylor sine die [indefinitely] for misbehaviour alleged to have occurred at the same time. We understand he has appealed against this decision to the stewards of the RAC.” [The appeal, the first in the history of the RAC, was rejected.]
“JA TAYLOR AND Co, 241, Balfour Road, Ilford, Essex, inform us that they hold the sole patent rights for sidecar screens, and have obtained an injunction against infringers of their design.”
“THE AA AND Motorists’ Union have recently inaugurated a campaign by which members will be able to obtain the use of clean hand towels, brush and comb, etc. These articles are enclosed in a special cabinet under lock and key, and members who desire it are provided with keys which will enable them to unlock the cabinet and obtain access to the articles.”
‘DARE DEVIL’ MARTIN as the famous pioneer is called, has been a winner since the inception of the motor cycle movement, and won the first open race promoted by the MCC at the Crystal Palace in February, 1902. Since that time he has won over 250 first prizes, and was the first Britisher to cover a mile in a minute. His best work has been. done on saucer or grass tracks, although he has also ridden conspicuously at Brooklands. His experience is related by him as follows: “My most exciting ride? Well, I have no hesitation in stating that out of the 400 odd races and record trials I have been engaged in during the past ten years, one ride alone stands out as the most exciting and hair- raising experience of my racing career. On April 13th, 1908, I decided to go out for world’s three lap records for single-cylinder machines up to 200 miles, and continue up to six hours if conditions were favourable. The machine selected was a single-cylinder Matchless-JAP with a cylinder bore of 85mm. and a stroke of 75mm. The brothers Collier, in company with Colver and a mechanic, came over to the track, and like the sportsmen they are rendered me every assistance. All being in readiness, a start was made on receiving the necessary signal from the official timekeeper, Mr AV Ebblewhite, at 11.30; the machine running well I was soon inside record, only to be put out of action by a bent valve stem. Two other attempts were also fruitless from one cause and another, and it was at last decided to dismantle the machine. The machine was finally assembled and ready for the final and last attempt about 3.50, the word to ‘go’ being given at four o’clock. At the start the weather was bitterly cold, with a strong NE wind blowing, several
hailstorms also making matters worse, the general conditions being altogether quite unfavourable from a record breaking point of view. The machine ran beautifully, and with great regularity, and in accordance with my schedule I got inside record at 101 miles, time 2hr 15min 21.2sec. beating previous best by 1min 3sec. From this point all three lap records continued to go with monotonous regularity, a stop being made in the meantime at 12o miles to refill tank and change tyres. No trouble was experienced with the machine beyond tightening a belt at 213 miles. Soon after 7.30 darkness rapidly enveloped the track, and by 8 o’clock it was almost impossible to see the bankings; a kindly signal warned me to stop. This I neglected, together with ether signals, and decided to go on, if possible, for the full six hours. The darkness was so intense that the timekeeper found it impossible to see the machine crossing the line, with the exception of a 12in long blue flame from the open exhaust of my JAP engine. Two ordinary cycle lamps were therefore brought into use, one being placed on the outside of the finishing line, and the other in the timekeeper’s box for the purpose of obtaining exact lap times. Speed on the banking by this time was a matter for extreme care. The lights shot by me each lap, the bankings being taken at an angle automatically without actually seeing them, and this for nearly two hours! I had the satisfaction, however, of also learning from the timekeeper that I had beaten Anzani’s continental three-lap record by 25 miles and British record by 17 miles, the figures from 200 miles still standing for single-cylinder machines on a three lap track.”
COUNCILLORS IN Willenhall, Staffs considered paying cops a five-bob bonus for every speeding conviction. The Motor Cycle commented: “If this suggestion is really carried out it ought to be carried out to its logical conclusion, and we think that a fair pro rata bonus would be £10 in the case of a burglary and £100 for the conviction of a murderer…We regard this suggestion as most immoral and a direct incitement to perjury and trumped up charges on the part of the police, which have, unfortunately, not been altogether unheard of hitherto in several parts of the country.”
“THE URBAN DISTRICT Council of Penge, in a courteous letter, write as follows: ‘Complaints have been made by residents in Anerley that many motor cyclists ascend the Anerley Hill at a great speed, apparently for the purpose of carrying out speed tests, more especially on Sunday afternoons, and that it is not only a public danger, but also causes a nuisance by the noise created by the machines. The committee feel that they will be compelled to make application for speed limits in certain parts of the district if motorists will persist in travelling at such speed, but they have, however, directed me to comminicate with the motoring journals in the hope that they will appeal to those readers who travel through this district to drive slowly through the Anerley Hill and Beckenham Road, which are both busy roads with many sharp turnings, cross roads and schools.’ Motor cyclists will do well to heed this warning.”
“DOWN IN THE West of France, in the important provincial town of Le Mans, there exists a sporting organisation known as the Automobile Club de la Sarthe et de l’Ouest, which is responsible for the International Cup Race. The town is en fete, and its inhabitants are exhibiting symptoms of that delightful form of lunacy which attacks all Frenchmen on
such occasions. The examination of the motor cycles took place this morning in the big public square. A few paving stones were pulled up, a space was railed off, and soon the vicinity became a seething mass of happy irresponsible people who took the liveliest interest in the goings on. Racing motor bicycles and racing notor cars careered round, making the town resound with the noise of their exhausts. Later in the day a racing Bedelia, which showed itself
capable of the nost unearthly din, went three times round the Place de la Republique for a trial trip. People rushed madly hither and thither to escape its mad gyrations, but they did not care a straw, and while such behaviour in Englard would have caused the offender to here the greatest interest was evoked…Of the thirty-five starters, eleven ride machines of British origin, three represent America, while the other nationality represented besides France is Germany. The English riders report that the short triangular course is so easy as to be difficult. This seems paradoxical, but as the course is devoid of hills or severe corners the machines will have to be driven hard all the time as at Brooklands. Near the start the surface is rough, but the remainder is excellent. At an early hour Le Mans was awake, at six o’clock the course was closed, and at a quarter to we left for the Tribune on the gallant little Douglas, which had carried us all the way from Dieppe on the previous day…One of the Terrots carried a Continental air bottle containing sufficient compressed air to pump up ten 24×2¼in tyres and weighing about 2lb. English improvements are manifesting themselves slowly on French machines. On the Alcyon and others one noticed handle-bar control and belt rim brakes, but the Rene Gillet still keeps to automatic inlet valves. The arrival of the Douglas team created some sensation. W. Douglas arrived with Phillips on the carrier, and WH Bashall turned up with his carrier loaded with enormous petrol funnels. His machine was fitted with a large pad or cushion on the top tube against which he could lean. The Terrots were neat looking machines with single-cylinder engines. The cylinders are inclined and have horizontal fins. The Rene Gillet sidecar machine was fitted with an NSU gear. The men were started at half-minute intervals, the only absentees being two Griffon riders, one of whom had been called out to do his military senrvice, and the. other who had had a slight accident during practice, the Wanderer, and two Triumphs. All the British machines started well. Hardly had the last man left
before the Bedelia, driven by Devaux, came past the post. Pean’s Peugeot was two minutes faster than Bashall in the first round. Franquebalme (Terrot) stopped near the depot, restarted, and then came back the wrong way of the course, much to the annoyance of the officials. His trouble lay in his oil pump. Grapperon’s New Hudson had evidently punctured, as he slowed up at the depot on his second round and picked up a tube. In his second lap, Diosi (Rene Gillet) stopped at the depot to clean his carburetter. It is reported that Perrin was riding what was practically a pedal cycle frame, and it is said that it broke. He was slightly hurt. Taylor had been delayed by a broken valve and punctures. In the passenger class Bourbeau’s Bedelia main- tained its lead, but Devaux was unable to steer a straight course. The race resulted in a
glorious British victory. The winning machine needs no praise from us. It was an absolutely standard model but minus a front brake, and was splendidly handled by the plucky and skilful Devay. At the grandstand there was nothing much in the way of excitement until near the finish Taylor came by at a terrific rate, and shortly returned the wrong way of the course on the rim, quickly detached the wheel from. South’s machine, which had just arrived, and dashed off to finish seventh. Bailey broke two tappets, had -the carburetter slide jam, and broke a control wire.’ Bashall broke a valve’ in the last lap, and another valve broke earlier in the day which jammed in the guide. Scott suffered a broken top tube, but finished ninth. It was a great race, and Great Britain has to congratulate herself on the Triumph, Rudge, and Douglas machines finishing first, second and third. “
1, Devay (499cc Triumph) 5hr 6min 54sec, 48.5mph; 2, South (499cc Rudge); 3, Bailey (350cc Douglas twin); 4, Pean (332cc Peugeot twin); 5, Cuzeau (345cc Terrot); 6, Kickham (350cc Douglas twin); 7, Taylor (499cc Rudge); 8, Devaux (332cc Peugeot twin); 9, Scott (499cc Rudge); 10, Steibel (497cc Indian); 11, Gabriel (499cc Triumph); 12, Bashall (350cc Douglas twin); 13, Stoffel (246cc Alcyon); 14, Bloch (489cc Rene Gillet twin); 15, Bourbeau (1,005cc Bedelia twin cyclecar); 16, Devaux (1,005cc Bedelia twin cyclecar). There were four classes, 250cc, 350cc, 500cc and passenger; all running together. Rudge won the team prize with Douglas as runner-up.
AN OHV 348cc ENFIELD twin debuted at the BMCRC’s Brooklands TT races in the capable hands of HV Colver. It finished 11th in the Junior; Douglas twins took the first five places followed by three Humber twins, a NUT-JAP twin and a Singer one-lunger. The Senior race was won by JL Emerson on a long-stroke 3½hp Norton, ahead of J Haswell on an ‘experimental’ IOE Triumph, OC Godfrey (3½hp Indian), P Weatherilt (3½hp Zenith), EB Ware (3½hp Zenith), TA Carter (3½hp Martin-JAP) and WH Elce (3½hp Rudge). In the Junior race SL Bailey (Douglas) set a Class B record of 150-mile record of 2hr 49min 45sec; JL Emerson (Norton) set a Class C 150-mile record of 2hr 20min 52sec. The Norton also held a one-mile record record of 73.57mph.
A MOTOR CYCLE staffer used a Beeza to cover the ACU Six Days’ Trial: “The trip to Taunton was made in weather which more closely resembled April than August. A slimy film of mud covered the wood paving all the way to Hammersmith, Castelnau was little better, and Richmond with its tramlines worse than anything…After Basingstoke the deluge. How it poured! But sunshine followed the rain at Andover, and good time was made over the fine open road past Stonehenge, opposite the military aeropolis on Salisbury’ Plain—a wonderful contrast between our greatest antiquity and our newest form of locomotion…the next interesting stage of my journey was from Ashburton to Two Bridges, which enjoys the reputation of being the hilliest road in England. It poured and poured with rain, the roads were stony, rutty, and steep, and the wind blew strongly; yet, save once to ask the way, I never
left the saddle…The machine gave the greatest satisfaction, was comfortable, steered well, and ran with clocklike regularity. Only one mechanical trouble did I suffer, and that was at Crewkerne on the ill-omened Friday, when I lost my overalls, my best screwdriver, someone took a fancy to the horn, and the inlet valve broke at the slot…The only criticisms I can give are, firstly, that the exhaust tappet threw out a fair amount, of oil, and, secondly, that the foot brake might have been much more powerful. The front brake, however, was distinctly good, and the CAP carburetter, shortly to be renamed the BSA and already standard, a joy for ever. The improved gear control by one pedal only was excellent. The release pedal to engage from low or neutral to top, however carelessly depressed, made the change so sweetly, thanks to the cone clutch, that no shock of any kind whatsoever was apparent. The starting of the engine by pedal was always effected at the first turn if the engine were warm or if the engine were cold and petrol were injected it started just as readily.”
…AND ANOTHER MOTOR Cycle staffer covered the Six Days’ Trial on a P&M: “The makers appeared particularly anxious that we should test the machine under such severe conditions as had been arranged for the 1,000 miles trials, and as for ourselves we felt that no better machine could be selected, and as events proved we would not have exchanged our mount for any in the trial…Starting from cold is sure and certain with a P&M after injecting a few drops of petrol into the cylinder via the tiny pipe provided, and the engine does not go off with a roar on giving the kick starter a dig, thanks to the half-compression device. As for the gear we have nothing but praise; the clutches take up the drive sweetly and without jar, and it is chiefly the smooth action of the clutches which render the big jump from the low to the high ratio less noticeable. Hill-cimbing is a delight with a P&M. No matter how steep the gradient, nor how wet the road surface, one has a feeling of absolute dependability after a little experience…Beggar’s Roost and its 1 in 3½ gradient, Porlock, Lynton, and Bybers, to mention but a few of the chief acclivities which accounted for so many failures in the Six Days’ Trials, have no terror for the P&M rider. As we climbed merrily up single-figure gradients past crestfallen riders who were struggling with their machines by the roadside we think that many a one would have given worlds to exchange machines…The machine was not new from the works with an engine tuned up to concert pitch; it was, in fact, the identical machine on which W Pratt carried off the special trade prize in the Scottish Trials a week or two previously. Consequently the engine had run a considerable distance before it came
into our hands. With the run to Taunton and several hundred miles in close company with the Six Days’ Trials riders, many a machine would have lost long ago that excellence necessary for the steepest ascents. Not so the P&M, which had never had its valves attended to, its jet changed, or, in fact, any other attention beyond filling with petrol and oil, twice tightening the rear chain by means of the simple chain stay adjustment provided, and twice adjusting the gear—an operation entailing one minute’s work…Band brakes are frequently criticised in these columns, so we feel it our duty to report that the rear outside band brake was most powerful in action, never once required adjusting, and its only fault was squeaking when under severe strain. There seems to be a general impression that the P&M is not a fast machine…but we found the 1912 model as fleet as the majority of 3½hp machines, and the makers assure us that every one now turned out will attain a speed of 50mph on the road…our confidence in its stability soon became such that we bowled along over treacherous surfaces, overhauling one after another competitor (as indeed it was necessary for us to do), and seldom if ever did we detect a suspicion of a skid…our experience would only prompt us to offer the following suggestions, viz, that the gear change lever be placed further along the tank away from the rider’s legs, and that the foot brake pedal be arranged on the orthodox side, instead of being operated by the rider’s right heel.” For full reports on the ACU and Scottish Six Days’ Trials take a look in the 1912 Features section.
“OFFICERS WHO commanded the combined armies in the recent manoeuvres have expressed a wish that next year’s motor cyclist ‘despatch riders should be ‘a proper unit of the Army’ instead of being collected by the motoring organisations. We echo the desire.”
“THE OLD TRICK of placing a string across the road on a level with the head of the rider of a motor cycle or pedal cycle has cropped up again in Bishop Auckland. It would be well if the police were to take very drastic action in cases of thia kind, as serious injury can be caused to a rider’s eyes, not to speak of knocking him off his machine, blinding him, or cutting his throat with the taut string. In the particular instance under discussion, the string was supposed to have been placed in position by some boys about twelve years of age. The birch is the only cure for this kind of thing.”
IN HIS INNAUGURAL speech TB Browne MIMechE, incoming president of the Institution of Automobile Engineers, reviewed ‘The Progress of the motor cycle’: “It is but a few years since many scoffed at the idea of a successful motor cycle, as they did at the idea of a successful motor omnibus, and as we have seen, the number of motor bicycles registered in this country is about 130,000, net to speak of a large number spread throughout our colonies…It will be remembered that a few years baek the motor cycle sprang into popular favour, and a large number of these machines were to be seen on our roads, but, curiously enough, after a short period of popularity they seemed to fall into disuse, until at last it was quite rare to meet a motor cycle anywhere. The reason of this strange disappearance was due to the fact that the motor cycle had come before its time. Two very important adjuncts had not been sufficiently perfected to
make it reasonably safe and reliable. The first was the non-skid tyre, which is an absolute necessity for motor cycles, and the other was the magneto ignition…It is now no novelty for business firms to equip their travellers with motor bicycles, and they find that it pays them to do so, particularly in districts badly served by the railways, or where railways are few and the distances to be covered great…In several districts in England, Post Office contractors have adopted the motor cycle in their work with great success…In the recent floods at Norwich, motor bicycles and sidecars were used with great success for carrying mails to the beleaguered city when the railway facilities had failed entirely…As regards the capabilities of the machine, there is practically no hill in the British Isles which the motor cycle eannot climb, while on the track it has attained a speed of 93mph, has covered over 3,000 miles in six days, and 20,000 miles in 21 weeks with a sidecar, and 40,000 in 40 weeks as a solo machine.”
THE FIRST MAJOR reliability trial in Bavaria ran from Munich to the Bohemian border and back, taking in 500 miles of tough going over two days. The winner rode a P&M, the runner-up was on a TT Triumph, ahead of an NSU and an FN.
SIDECAR DESIGN took a step forward with the launch of the Gloria: “The body is shaped like a projectile, coming to a very fine point forward and ending in a plain circle aft. In the back is a locker fitted with shelves for carrying tools, etc, and behind is a tyre carrier. The suspension is ingenious and embodies the well-known Gloria spring wheel, while the body itself rests on three large compression springs, rolling being prevented by light auxiliary leaf springs attached to the two rear coil springs. The chassis is of particularly stout construction, the main frame being carried right round the front of the vehicle, while a circular stay completely surrounds the two ends of the body. From the top of the front circle a fourth attachment leads to the cycle head. The body has no door, but a neat metal running board affords a simple method of entry.”
“THE FACT THAT J King, who recently won tht Nottingham &DMCC reliability trial of 100 miles, has only one arm shows that the riding and management of a motor cycle is neither a difficult nor dangerous occupation when due care is exercised.”
GE STANLEY, RIDING a 3½hp Singer at Brooklands, set a Class C (500cc) hour record of 67 miles 782 yards. Stanley had averaged 69.4mph for more than 50 miles but a snapped valve during his final lap left the engine firing intermittently with the valve working ‘automatically’. He finished by paddling the bike along with his feet but had completed one lap at 70.48mph and was confident of covering 70 miles in the hour.
SOON AFTER THE French ace Grapperon, riding a 494cc Anzani at the Parc des Princes track, Paris, set a French hour record of 52.98 miles (an unofficial record as the Auto Union Francais did not recognise records set in private tests). The Blue ‘Un commented: “Grapperon should come to Brooklands and see if he can approach GE Stanley’s latest figures. Fourteen and three-quarter miles will be the extra distance Grapperon will have to ride in an hour to tie with the British hour record.” Never averse to take a second bite of the cherry, The Motor Cycle was clearly delighted to report a few weeks later: “On Saturday afternoon last, at the Parc des Princes Track, Paris, Lombard attacked the French hour record for motor cycles of 500cc and succeeded in beating Grapperon’s previous performance of 85 kilometres 320 metres by 480 metres, covering 85 kilometres 800 metres. This distance equals 53.28 miles. The English hour record, made by GE Stanley, October 15th, 1912, on a 500cc Singer, stands at 67.42 miles, a difference of 14.14 miles. Lombard rode an Albatross.” The Brits lording it over the French? Mon dieu!
FROM RANDALL & CO of Wanstead came a 3hp JAP twin-powered model with a sprung frame. “The chain stays pass right round the back of the wheel in the form of an arch and are brazed to the seat stays at the centre. The wheel is carried on a pair of elliptical springs like carriage springs, and is free to rise and fall within certain limits.” The Motor Cycle commented: “There is little doubt that eventually all motor bicycles will be sprung fore and aft. The proper place to insulate the machine and rider from vibration is at the road wheel. It is strange that few large firms have seriously tackled the question of springing the rear wheel as well as the front. It has been pointed out to us from time to time by manufacturers that springing the rear wheel causes the rider to feel more of the engine vibration. This may be true to some extent. The machine has been ridden a good deal by the Captain of the Essex MC, who reports that it is most comfortable and the springing is a most practical device. Saxon forks are fitted to the front wheel. Special attention has been paid to the mudguarding of the Randall machine, the guards are no less than 5in across.
“RECENTLY A BEDFORDSHIRE farmer whose horse was frightened by a passing motor cyclist was thrown out of his cart and his shoulder broken. RAC road guides will be stationed in villages in which fast driving has been noticed, to report the behaviour of any offenders. In Bedfordshire there have never been any police controls, and ten-mile limits are unknown; therefore the abuse of the privileges offered by a county which is notably friendly is highly to be deprecated.”
At the 11th MCC annual dinner club president Charles Jarrott urged members to remember that they were “the Motor Cycling Club, and to maintain that position, and keep the sport of motor cycling before them for all time”.
“‘FROM NOW Muriel Hind is Mrs R Lord.’ Such is the wording of a telegram received at our office last week. ‘Dick’ Lord will be recollected, as the Rex rider. We extend our heartiest congratulations. We understand Mr and Mrs Lord will reside near Coventry.”
“WE ARE INFORMED by Mr C Hirst, the hon secretary of the Wakefield MCC, that no hill-climbing competitions will, in future, be allowed in the West Riding of Yorkshire in consequence of the Bradford MCC holding a, hill-climb in the district on Sunday and causing much annoyance to other users of the roads.”
“A GREAT MANY motor cyclists are grumbling because next year’s TT races will not take place over the weekend. We are sorry to have to say that there is no doubt that motor cyclists have brought the alteration on themselves, as the number of complaints about motor cycles being ridden at speed through Douglas, and in the island generally, on the Sunday has urged the authorities to request the ACU to hold the race in the middle of the week, so that Sunday does not intervene.”
MOTOR CYCLISTS WERE up in arms over proposed changes to the road tax rules. Press, trade and clubs were signing petitions and putting what pressure they could on the government. The Motor Cycle reported: “It is worthy of notice that the new Rudge sidecar machine, which has an engine of 750cc, owing to its long stroke, will come within the £1 limit, though with sidecar it may turn the scale at 4½cwt. The Martin-JAP racer, however, a machine which weighs 150lb and has a capacity of 498cc, will necessitate a payment of three guineas. Thus we see the absolute unfairness of the proposals without having to make comparisons between motor cycles and cars or carts. We should very much like to know what qualifications the committee which made these proposals had to legislate for motor cyclists. A simple explanation of the recommendations is itself a condemnation. We urge every reader to sign the petition form in this issue.” The ACU set up a ‘taxation committee’ chaired by Arthur Stanley MP with reps from the AA, Motorists’ Union, RAC (Rear Admiral Sir RK Arbuthnot MVO RN, no less), Motor Cycle Manufacturers’ Union, Scottish ACU and Motor Cycle Union of Ireland.
“A CALL AT THE Clyno’s new works at Wolverhampton proved to us that the firm have no intention of being left in the lurch during the coming season.” An enlarged crankcase breather was revamped to lubricate the primary chain [“a special 5/8in Hans Renold front engine chain”]. “The clutch two-speed gear has been superseded by a substantial counter-shaft three-speed in combination with a multiple plate clutch”. The primary and secondary chains and the clutch were totally enclosed in aluminium cases. The wheels were QD and interchangeable. “A powerful internal expanding brake is now fitted to the rear wheel and operated by a pedal on the off side”—a right-foot lever operating a rear drum brake. All features that would be ubiquitous for decades to come. A drum brake was available as an option on the sidecar wheel, operated by the rider or passenger. Another feature that didn’t catch on was Clyno’s patented duplex steering system: the sidecar-wheel was linked to the handlebars giving two-wheel steering.
ENFIELD’S PRINCIPAL innovation for 1913 was a 425cc 3hp 60deg IOE V-twin with “mechanically forced lubrication with a gear-driven oil pump.” At the rear of the seat tube is a cylindrical glass oil tank, the glass being practically unbreakable owing to its thickness—a quarter of an inch. The tank holds sufficient oil for a considerable distance; in fact the same oil is used over and over again until its viscosity be destroyed, when, of course, it should be renewed.” Total-loss was giving way to a ‘modern’ lubrication system.
ANGRY YOUNG MEN in the Manchester Centre of the Cycling Touring Club decided to clamp down on speeding motorists and motor cyclists by forming themselves into the National Road Guards and reporting speeders to the cops. Describing them as “amateur police” The Motor Cycle said: “If the National Road Guards will confine their attention to putting down the road hog and stopping really dangerous driving we should be only too glad give them our support. It is not, however, fair to blame all motorists for the faults of a few…in some counties the ferocity of fines are out of all proportion to the offence…In fact, the sport of wife-beating and assaults on the police can be indulged in more cheaply than riding a motor bicycle if the rider has chanced to leave his licence in the pocket of another coat.” Soon afterwards it reported: “In view of the outcry in connection with motor accidents in the Manchester district and the formation of the National Road Guards (self-styled), it is particularly interesting to note that Mr R Peacock, the chief constable of Manchester, has stated that more accidents, fatal and otherwise, have been caused by trams than by motors, in spite of the fact that 5,000 driving licences have been issued in the city. He also said that undue prominence was given to motor accidents in the daily press.”
“THE FOLLOWING is an extract from a letter recently received from a solicitor: ’It is very difficult to get the judge, in this county court to give a verdict in favour of a motorist or motor cyclist as against other users of the road.’.”
“BONA FIDE members of clubs may obtain an admission ticket to the Olympia Motor Cycle Show at half-price if applied for through their secretaries in quantities of not loss than six.”
PREVIEWING THE OLYMPIA show The Motor Cycle assessed the state of British motor cycles. “Side by side valves are most popular in both singles and twins, and the overhead inlet valve, successful as it has been, is not gaining ground, ie, there is no sign of a rush on the part of reputable firms of long standing to change from the former to the latter design…The two-stroke engine has not, despite its great success in this year’s TT Race, been adopted by many manufacturers: this we regret because the two-stroke simplifies design to such an extent that it is possible to make two-stroke engine
with only three moving parts—crank, piston, and connecting rod…There is a slight tendency, perhaps, to revert to detachable heads, which simplifies valve grinding and the removal of carbon deposits…Partly enclosing the valves and tappets is a noticeable tendency in the right direction; it makes for a cleaner and slightly quieter valve action, and if carried further the guides, etc, might work in oil, which would tend to reduce wear and absolutely exclude grit…Forced lubrication has been adopted by several firms this year, whereas last year there were only two examples in the show. The introduction of a special force feed apparatus for motor cycles by a leading firm may revolutionise motor cycle engine lubrication…Nearly all motor cycle engines remain air-cooled but examples of water cooling will be shown…The control of engines is little altered, the twin handle-bar control for the carburetter is almost universal, and few machines will be offered without a handle-bar-controlled magneto…Silencers will be inspected with more than usual interest this
year in view of threatened legislation. The question of a quieter exhaust has been settled in most cases by the fitting of an expansion chamber and a rearward extending pipe which certainly reduces noise, particularly to the rider…The transmission question still remains a vexed one. All types have their advantages: direct drive by belt is still the most popular, followed by the all chain system. The compound type, either by chain and belt or gear and belt, is third in popularity from a manufacturing standpoint, and shaft drive comes last…Frames are little changed, and we are surprised that more attention has not been given to springing; there are one or two notable efforts to improve in this direction, but the majority still adhere to a rigid rear frame…In regard to sidecars the passenger’s convenience has been further studied, and it is now easier to obtain a sidecar giving all the comfort obtainable on a touring motor car than ever before.” Ixion, as usual, had the last word: “Nothing impressed me more at Olympia than the carburetters. The leading types showed an extraordinary sympathy with our practical needs, and a bewildering wealth of ingenuity. The advance since, say, 1909 is colossal. I must admit that there is an equal advance in metallurgy and in the whimsies by which high engine efficiency is procured; but that is less obvious—you have to take the machine on the road to discover it, whereas a cute observer can estimate the value of a carburetter when a section or a drawing is put in his hand…I was particularly pleased to see that a few makers are coquetting with spring handle-bars. I used such a bar on a rigid framed machine nine or ten years ago, and though it was of pretty crude design, I am bound to say that it afforded more comfort, in spite of the rigid fork beneath it, than many a modem spring fork with rigid handle-bar… I could only reflect sadly that if a tithe of the ingenuity shown in carburetter and engine production had been devoted to springing and to making a machine rust and mudproof, motor bicycles would be far more suitable for all-the-year-round road work than they are. The real fact is that the racing factors have dominated the industry during the last two years; the track and the hill-climb have been the two features on which most makers have glued their eyes. The industry and the pastime could do with a rest from all speed work for twelve months.”
THE ACU, SOLE surviving subscriber to the International Federation of Motor Cycle Clubs (FICM), called a meeting at the Olympia show to reactivate the international body. Delegates came from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the USA; the FICM was back, “to control and develop the sporting and touring aspects of motorcycling”. Two weeks later they met again at the Automobile Club de France in Paris. Delegates from Britain, Belgian, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, the USA and Canada were welcomed by the Baron de Zuylen de Nyvelt, the Chevalier Rene de Knyff and the Comte de La Valette; Sir Arthur Stanley was elected president with the Marquis de Mouzilly St-Mars as patron. It was agreed that the FICM would stage an international trial as part of the 1913 ACU Trials in the North of England. Each country would field a team of three with bikes painted in agreed national colours: England, green; France, blue; Germany, white; America, white and blue; Belgium, yellow; Spain, yellow and red; Austria, red and green; Italy, red; Switzerland, red and white; Denmark, green and white. “Mr Boileau [of the ACU] extended a hearty welcome to the teams on behalf of England, and hoped that the best team would win.” (Applause.) “There then ensued a lively discussion, during which everybody tried to speak at once. France claimed priority of dates for the Grand Prix races in July, which clashed with the ACU Trial, and Belgium claimed the week after for its races. After further discussion, it was decided to hold the international trial in England over four days, about September 22nd. The distance is to be 1,000kilos, 250kilos per diem, and the ACU is to draw up separately the rules, while it was also decided to hold the 1914 trial in France…”
DUNHILL WAS A a pioneer of the child-adult sidecar: “Many people who have sidecars require to carry a small child as well as tha passenger, and this has been overcome in the sidecar body lately introduced by this firm. The seat has been neatly in- corporated into the body, so that the child does not encroach upon the room occupied by the adult. The sidecar has received careful study at the,hands of this firm.”
“THE MEETING convened by the Royal Automobile Club to enquire into the cause of the unduly high price of petrol, and to discuss the possibilities of permanently reducing this price, showed that there was no real reason why the price should be so high…The great petrol companies seem to think that they are justified in obtaining as large a profit as possible, and as the petrol trade is in the hands of three companies only, it does not seem probable that competition between them will result in any very considerable reduction of price, if any at all. The necessity of a home-made fuel becomes more and more apparent, and it seems evident that the time has arrived for a reconsideration of the heavy tax on alcohol for industrial purposes and the further experimenting with such fuels as benzol.”
“THE CROSS AND City Garages, Southgate Street, Gloucester, have introduced a motor set for attaching to pedal bicycles. The engine is one horse-power, magneto ignited, and has a single lever automatic carburetter. The set comprises engine, magneto, carburetter, petrol and oil tanks, and all pipes required; also the control levers, belt rim with spoke clips, jockey pulley, and twisted hide belt and fastener. The attachment fits midway in the frame, and engine is vertically placed.”
“THE STEWART-Precision Carburetter Co, 199, Piccadilly, W, inform us that they are conducting experiments with a paraffin carburetter for motor cycles. The Stewart-Morris paraffin carburetter is already a success on cars, and has been tested uader RAC observation. The company is prepared to guarantee that the use of paraffin will not soot up plugs or cylinders to a greater degree than is associated with a well tuned engine burning petrol.”
“W NAYLOR Anstey, near Leicester, was summoned for failing to close his shop for the serving of customers one afternoon in the week at one o’clock, except for the sale of motor cycle and aircraft supplies and accessories to travellers. The defendant said that garages did not close, and he was under the impression that if he sold nothing except petrol, oil, and carbide he was complying with the law. He was ordered to pay the costs, in default five days’ imprisonment.”
“AN ELECTRICALLY timed trap is arranged in the Burton-on-Trent neighbourhood. Machines are timed electrically and the operators are carefully disguised. Once caught in this trap, it is quite useless to fight the case.”
THE AMATEUR MOTOR Cyclists’ Association was established. It’s first action, logically enough, was to define amateur status for motor cycle competition: “A member must not be connected directly or indirectly with the manufacture or sale of motor vehicles, or accessories, or parts, used in conjunction with them; must not be in the trade employ of anyone in connection with the above, or receive any payment in money, goods, or other assistance for riding, other than prizes; must not receive what is, in the opinion of the committee, advantageous terms in the purchase of motor vehicles, their parts, or accessories.”
“THE FOLLOWING table of motor cycles in use was published recently by our French contemporary, The Auto. We do not vouch for the accuracy of the figures, but reproduce them as an item of interest:
France Germany Great Britain
1907 35,111 15,954 34,664
1908 27,474 19,808 35,247
1909 27,215 21,176 35,784
1910 28,840 22,379 36,242
1911 27,061 20,705 48,857
1912 28,641 20,157 71,020″
FOLLOWING A BIT of a brouhaha the major French bike manufacturers boycotted the Paris Salon. “The British made machines are more numerous at this Salon than at any previous Parisian exhibition, which made one feel proud of the position we hold in the industry. The exhibits of Douglas Bros, New Hudson, BSA, Rudge, Triumph, Williamson, etc, were all being examined with the greatest interest by French visitors. These machines make the French motor bicycles look very second-rate, as it is only during the last year that French makers have seriously considered the fitting of change-speed gears, and naturally, while the British product has been gradually, improving, the Gallic one has been practically at a standstill.”
BROOKLANDS IMPRESSIONS by SL Bailey: “It is with something more than regret that I bid farewell to Brooklands, the awakener of idle dreams, the conqueror of engines, the Waterloo of designers, for it is here I, like many others, have fought numerous battles, not always victorious, but nevertheless always interesting. It is here, too, that I have competed with some of the finest sportsmen it has ever been my good fortune to meet. But Brooklands is not always serious. The whole atmosphere is full of humour—jokes cracked by knuts, appreciated by knuts: tales of motoring by motorists with a motoristic spirit, and wheezes of every kind by king fakists. Perhaps the most prominent of these was ‘Sparking Billy’, the magneto expert, whose ability to increase the speed of any good engine by five miles an hour was, according to Billy’s statement, vouched for by Charlie Collier, GE
Stanley, and the drivers of the Grand Prix Sunbeams. ‘Sparking Billy’ was in much demand; his success was reported as phenomenal; his fee was the inconsiderate sum of five guineas, but one, evidently of Hebrew origin, gifted with persuasive powers, obtained reduction to the nominal sum of five shillings. But, alas! there came a change. A certain owner-driver, who had obtained a very satisfactory second place at the BARC Meeting, and had heard of ‘Billy’s’ marvellous deeds, sought his services. On being approached ‘Billy’ was quite prepared to give the necessary extra speed required to win the next event, for a matter of ten guineas. ‘Billy’ always spoke of guineas—it was more professional. The owner was quite satisfied, so ‘Billy’ set to work. Those in the know anxiously watched the finish, with an expression of expectation that surpassed the Fry’s chocolate boy. Expectation suddenly changed to disappointment, for the car on which ‘Billy’ had operated was amongst the ‘also ran’. Evidently ‘Billy’ also ran, for he has never put in an appearance from that day to this. I wonder just how long it would take to conquer Brooklands, to realise one’s most idle dream of speed? I should like to spend next season on this famous track, for, like everything else worth experimenting with, it takes time, though doubtless it will come as a surprise to some readers to learn that Stanley, the most successful rider this season at Brooklands, frequents the track less than any other rider I know. Speaking of riders brings home to me, aftec an intimate acquaintance, just how little the majority of Brooklanders know of petrol engines. Perhaps I might mention Brewster and Stanley as two of the cleverest; the others are much in the same class, and merely play with carburetters, timing, and compression ratio, or think of some absurd ‘wheeze’ or fake without the least technical knowledge. Probably they obtain speed by the merest accident, do something sensational, and for a time are in the limeight. But let them have the misfortune to break up that particular engine, and what do we find? They practically disappear from the successful list. My contention is that a good rider understands what he is doing, and why he gets speed, so is always in a position to equal his past performances. For proof, where are the riders so much in evidence last season? I do not wish here to touch upon such subjects as ‘How to Time’ or ‘How to Get Speed’, but hope to do so in a later issue, when I shall deal with points probably unthought of by the majority of riders. I predict that the 1913 season at Brooklands will show the distinct merits of the twin engine, with a speed of not less than 80mph in the 500cc class, while much better advancement will be shown in Class B with twin engines of 350cc, for 70mph will not seem fast for the little lightweights. For engines of 1,000cc, I doubt very much if Charlie Collier’s record of 92mph will be equalled, and I expect very little improvement in the single- cylinders. I fancy I can see smiles at this prediction, but I know at present of one 350cc twin which develops 12hp, and whose speed is already known to a select few. This little twin engine will, I think, soon surprise many. I regret that business compels me to leave Brooklands, the ideal testing ground, the finest track in the world (though admittedly not the fastest)—indeed, the School of Motoring, where none are too learned to be taught.”
NOW THEN CHAPS, bend an ear; Ubique, who spoke for The Motor Cycle on things technical before they invented Technical Editors, took note of some novelties at Olympia: “Out of a blurred background of dull sameness a few points stand out vividly, and it will be my endeavour to group these points, and where possible to explain the why and wherefore of their existence…On the whole there is disappointingly little alteration in 1913 engines, and the reason of this is only too obvious. There is such a large demand for motor cycles at the present time that the manufacturers can sell all they can produce of their standard models without going to the expense of experimenting with new patterns. Who can blame them? For is not the present-day motor cycle a wonderfully reliable and satisfactory machine? When
the demand has been supplied and the slack time comes, we may expect some radical improvements, many of which are now being tried by small firms…There is a slightly increasing tendency to place the inlet valve over the exhaust, there being quite a dozen different engines so fitted…Designs which embody both valves in the head do not appear to be gaining much ground, though the Pope and the new Moto-Reve are newcomers in this class: the public seems to be afraid of the valves breaking and causing serious damage to the engines…An air-cooled Precision model and the water-cooled Green-Precision are constructed with both valves overhead, and they will be watched with interest…The design lends itself to the construction of the best possible form of cylinder head,ie, spherical, or failing this spheroidal,
though as yet there have been but few attempts to secure this end. Side by side valves still outnumber by far any other form, probably because they are easily made interchangeable and may be operated by simple mechanism, thus saving some moving parts which usually become noisy after a time…The next type of engine which comes under notice is the two-stroke, in which valves are generally replaced by ports in the cylinder walls which are covered and uncovered at certain times by the action of the piston. The two-stroke movement is gradually growing stronger, and the writer has a firm belief in its future in one form or another…The Connaught is a newcomer and looks a very nice piece of work, while the water-cooled Stellar is interesting in many ways, being, as it is to all intents and purposes, a two-wheeled car. The Wooler was to be seen last year, but has been somewhat improved, and is very interesting on account of its decidedly unconventional design…Detachable heads are to be found on a few machines and have the advantages of greatly facilitating the removal of carbon deposit and simplifying valve grinding. These features can also be claimed by certain
engines which have detachable valve seatings. Other advantages are also claimed which are too deep to discuss in an article on general design. The Star and Pope are two new machines at Olympia, both fitted with detachable heads. Against the design may be mentioned the difficulty of making the joint compression tight, but this should not prove serious to any firm capable of building a sound motor cycle engine…Lubrication is possibly the point which is in most pressing need of attention. The present form of splash lubrication works, and that is all that can be said for it. In the hands of an expert, splash with hand pump or drip feed is tolerable, but used as it is by thousands of motor cyclists who give a pumpful every so many miles, or set their drip feeds and leave them, regardless of pace and roads, it is bad and unmechanical…There are a few praiseworthy efforts to use the centrifugal action of the revolving parts, and a few more which use a mechanical oil pump to feed some parts of the engine, but they do not go far enough by a very long way. Shame to relate, firms who force oil under mechanical pressure to all their engine bearings can be easily counted on the
fingers of one hand…One hears people grumble about the extra complication caused by an oil pump, but this objection is futile, for an oil pump is a simple piece of mechanism and runs under ideal conditions…Roller bearings are being fitted to many machines this year; especially are they noticeable in big ends. They score over ball bearings because they give line instead of point contact, and over plain bearings in that they are not liable to seize from under lubrication, and also produce rather less friction. The Pope engine is interesting in that the [roller bearing] gudgeon pin is fixed in the connecting rod and oscillates in the piston, a design which has some distinct advantages…The timing gear on the Diamond is unusual, being driven by bevels. The whole of this machine is most interesting, and it had the distinction of
being fitted with the largest valves for its size in the show, the port measurement being 1¾in (44½mm), though the bore of the cylinder is only 75mm. The timing gear on the twin Brough is also un- usual, as instead of one cam being fitted for both inlet and exhaust valve on each cylinder, one cam actuates the inlet valves on both cylinders and one the exhaust this ensures synchronised valve timing and enables the timing of the inlets to be varied with respect to that of the exhaust…Except in a few instances cooling has received but little attention. Water-cooling does not seem to catch on, and curiously enough most twins still have their ribs set at right angles to the cylinder, whatever may be the angle of the cylinder to the vertical. The unit system: there are a few 1913 machines which have the gears built in the crank case or an extension thereof. This is a practice which the writer particularly admires, as it makes a very neat and compact unit with fewer crevices to catch mud and also saves a certain amount of machining. The Villiers is a new example of this type, and is very neatly designed. It has a silent chain drive from engine to gears which is a point well worth the attention of manufacturers in general, as the silent chain is somewhat more suitable for running at high speed.”
“ON SEPTEMBER 1st last, there were registered in Denmark 4,507 motor cycles and 1,587 cars.”
“THE ATTENTION OF the ACU has been called to misleading advertisements published in the motor cycle papers, and steps are being taken to remedy the matter.”
“THREE ENGLISHMEN, on motor cycles, recently rode from Cairo to Alexandria and back, a distance of over 337 miles. he roads are said to be the worst in Egypt. The ride was held under the auspices of the Cairo Sports Club.”
THE JOHANNESBURG-based Sporting Star reported on “a new motor fuel, known as Parol” which was tested in a 3½hp Rudge outfit. Parol, it was said, was 50% more efficient and could replace petrol with no need for any modifications to the carburetter or engine. In the UK the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders offered a 2,000 guinea prize for “a home produced fuel which is capable of being put on the market at a commercial price and in sufficient quantities”. Some colleries in South Wales were setting up equipment to extract benzole from coal; it was said that coal could produce up to 35% of its weight in “valuable oils similar in quality to petroleum” but it was not known how the cost would compare with petrol imports. Germany had been producing fuel from coal for some years. The Motor Cycle reported: commented:“We have received some interesting reports lately on the use of benzole for motor cycle engines. Nearly all the users state that benzole gave more power, a greater mileage to the gallon, and less carbon deposit than petrol, provided precautions were taken to provide sufficient air and so ensure complete combustion…90% benzole is said to give better results than the pure spirit, while it is not generally known that unless it be mixed with a small percentage of another substance it freezes readily at 0° Centigrade. While the annual consumption of petrol is about sixty-two million gallons, the greatest possible output of benzole per annum in England would not probably amount to over twenty-three millions of gallons… Surely the time is now far enough advanced when an effective petrol substitute should be brought into use, for with petrol controlled by a trust, which is credited with pressing the prices to an extravagant height, there has been a continuous enquiry for a suitable spirit which would serve consumers equally as well as petrol. It is really interesting to notice the shameful manner in which petrol has advanced in price since the end of last year, when it is generally supposed an arrangement took place between those who control our only constant supply. This action placed both dealers and the motoring public completely at the mercy of monopolists.”
“IN HEAVY RAIN, ELEVEN members of the Streatham &DMC started in the trial for the Julian Orde Cup last Saturday, the route being through Riverhead, Maidstone, Canterbury, Sarre, Canterbury, Charing (lunch), Maidstone, Riverhead, Crystal Palace, and thence down to the Crown and Sceptre Hotel, Streatham Hill, the starting and finishing point. Results: Orde Cup W Pratt (3½hp P&M.), non-stop. Gold medal: Rex G Mundy (3½hp TT Singer), one stop (sooted plug). Silver medal: HB Willoughby (3½hp Rudge), one stop (sooted plug). Bronze medals: ST Tessier (8hp Bat and sc), one stop; WL Barrett (8hp Bat and sc), non-stop; OJ Feeny (3½hp Triumph), one stop (belt fastener); J Bateson (3½hp LMC), one stop (puncture); WR Sweeting (6hp Bat and sc), non-stop; AG Daw (3½hp TT Triumph), one stop (sooted plug); and WO Goldman (8hp Bat and sc), one stop (puncture).”
“MOTOR CYCLISTS are warned of the vital necessity for the most considerate driving in and around Sevenoaks. There is considerable agitation in favour of a 10mph limit being imposed in the district, and only by a display of the utmost, consideration for other road users can motor cyclists prevent application being made for the scheduling of a considerable area…The Wolverhampton magistrates have intimated their intention to deal seriously with cases of dangerous driving in the town. ”
“A SIDECAR ATTACHMENT possessing the advantages that both driver and passenger sit side by side, and may also be protected from the elements by a hood and screen, is about to be placed on the market by Messrs. Lloyd, Dunn, and Co., of Redbourn, Herts. It is on the lines of the Davis-Double which was introduced a couple of years ago. The clutch and brake pedals are arranged inside the sidecar body, the carburetter control levers are mounted on the special handle-bar, and the valve lifter is attached to the seat-pillar for cooling the engine downhill. We have heard good accounts of the comfort and cleanliness of the machine, which will be adapt- able to most makes of motor cycles.
A ROAD RACE recently held in Spain over a course of 38½ miles in length, starting at Bilbao and finishing at the same place, resulted in a win for Don Gregorio Pradere, who rode a Rudge-Multi. The winner’s time was lhR 2mIN 7sEC. Other machines ridden in the race were FE and TT Triumphs, TT Rudge-Multi, and Peugeot.
“OUR CONTEMPORARY The Car repeats in the current issue the figures given in the books of the Registration Authorities throughout the Kingdom. The total number of motor cycles registered is 132,245, pleasure cars 175,247, commercial vehicles 12,627. When the above figures are compared with the returns made by the Local Taxation Authorities of machines on which taxes are paid, it will be seen that there is considerable divurgence.”
“BY THE COURTESY of Mr Granville E Bradshaw, of the All British (Engine) Co., Weybridgc, Surrey, we examined the Douglas motor bicycle with ABC steel cylinders with which SL Bailey afterwards broke the kilometre and mile Class B records (350cc)…The All British (Engine) Co are very well known for their aeroplane engines, which are remarkable for their exceptionally clever design…The success of this engine may be gathered from the fact that it is the present holder of the duration flying record, having remained in the air for 8½ hours…At Bailey’s request, Mr Bradshaw designed and made the cylinders, valves, pistons, and connecting rods of an exactly similar type to those to be used in the new aeroplane engine, and it was with these that the Douglas motor bicycle was fitted, experimentally when the records were broken…After a little trouble with the magneto, the engine started and ran up to a terrific speed. Of separate explosions one could hear nothing at all, the noise of the engine being merely a continuous note, and, in fact, one could only tell alterations in speed by the alteration in the pitch of the note…Its maximum speed has since been found to be 6,500. It develops about 13hp, and the power curve rises evenly up to the 5,000rpm point.” Bailey raised the 350cc flying kilometre record from 68.28 to 72.63mph and the flying mile record from 67.85 to 70.04mph. If a sparkplug hadn’t self-destructed, it was estimated that he would have done the mile at 76mph. “The firm responsible for the cylinders and parts fitted to the Douglas motor bicycle used in SL Bailey’s new records (the All British Engine Co) are putting on the market shortly a new high speed lightweight motor cycle engine. This is of the two-cylinder horizontally opposed type cylinders 68x68mm=494cc…The design of the cylinders, pistons, connecting rods, valves, etc, is similar to that used on the ABC aero engine, and also on the record breaking Douglas, the overhead valves being 1½in diameter…The engine is designed to give its maximum power at 4,000rpm…The engine will be about 50% lighter than the usual motor cycle engine of the 500cc capacity, and has been so arranged that it will be possible to fit it to most frames without much alteration.”
HO-HO-HO…THE BLUE ‘UN COYLY ANNOUNCED: “We have departed from our usual custom to find space for a selection of seasonable articles and a number of special illustrations. The lighter side of motor cycling will no doubt be appreciated by readers at this festive season.” Brace yourselves, it’s going to get crazy...
YE FEAST OF THE T.T.
And there had been many wet days in the land.
And it came to pass that the Feast of the TT drew nigh,
and the Masters which are called Manufacturers did
murmur and say unto each other,
Behold, on the morrow shall our six-speed model wipe from
the face of the earth all manner of change-speed devices.
And it came to pass that on the day, Monday, the people
who had travelled from afar did rejoice and say,
We will arise and congregate about the banner of Start.
And, notwithstanding the early hour, a great multitude had
assembled together to behold the start.
And one Ebblewhite did lift his voice and say ” Go,” upon
which James, who is surnamed Haswell, did gather
his girdle about his loins.
And James, who is surnamed Haswell, hastening into his
saddle did wend his way amidst an exceeding great
noise and dust.
And on the tenth hour it became monotonous, insomuch
that we said one to another, Let us remount and depart
unto Mount Snaefell;
For it is written in the book The Motor Cycle, He who abides
at the Mount shall find his reward.
So we arose and smote (two strokes) the throttles of our
asses, which are called Scotts, and did ride exceeding
fast nigh unto ‘blinding’.
And behold we came unto the Temple of Bungalow;
And being athirst we lifted up our voices and cried, Give
us of the waters of Soda and Whisky.
Having satisfied our thirst we assembled together on the
brow of the Mount.
And it came to pass that we did hear from afar an exceeding
loud noise like unto the roar of the sea and wind.
And behold one CR Collier, son of HH Collier, flashed o’er the brow on his mount,
which by the prophets is called Matchless.
Then came one Frank, who is surnamed Applebee, riding nigh on to the wayside;
And he also was exceeding fast—Yea verily, insomuch that we were afraid.
And many riders flashed by on their iron mounts—verily, a pleasing sight—
And our spirits ran high.
But lo! From afar off came the noise which is called misfiring,
And we lifted up our eyes and beheld one coming slow, insomuch that he wobbled ;
His spirit was low, yea very low.
Now at the twelfth hour the multitude were an hungered,
and the men folk did fetch from their tents, called sidecars and carriers, loaves of bread and small bottles;
And many’ were the longing glances of those called competitors at our pitchers of Waters of Bass.
And it came to pass that we did again remount and rode
unto the city of Douglas, even unto the foot of Bray
Hill, whence cometh many people.
And we did inspect the machines, from the 1,000 c.c.
racer to ye olde crocks.
Then did we say one to another, Let us back to our tents
or the temples will be closed, for the hour is late.
“The Christmas Motor Cycle Trials: As they usually are…”
“…and as they might be.”
Let’s start our review of contemporary adverts with one that doubles as a report...
Time to cross the Atlantic, and the Channel, to sample some annonces en français.
…and a particularly fine collection from England.