THE STRIKING DESIGN OF THE 500cc ohc Wooler TT model included a bright yellow fuel tank that extended round the steering head, inspiring Green ‘Un editor Graham Walker to dub it the ‘Flying Banana’. Wooler also won publicity by extracting 311mpg from a 350. Another lost secret of the ancients, it seems. The Motor Cycle used the Wooler for a trip to the TT: “The little machine was heavily laden with a bag containing all that was necessary for a week away from home, but, notwithstanding the weight carried and the fearful wind, quite a good average was made…During the 190-mile journey the machine had demonstrated that its steering was excellent, and that the riding position was comfortable. It was good at cornering, capable of very nearly 30mph average on level roads, and practically vibrationless; like most units of its type, the engine depends upon revolutions for its power, and if there is doubt about climbing a hill on top speed it pays to change early down to second, when up to 25 or even 30mph may be attained…Another test to which the Wooler was put was the Inter-team Trial for The Motor Cycle Cup, when it was taken round the course and climbed every hill successfully. This latter excursion was far more trying to the machine than the other 300 miles, and despite the rough roads and steep gradients, it proved itself to be a handy, reliable little mount…the chief objection is against the carburetter, which was reminiscent of earlier days in that it required too much manipulation of the air lever to obtain flexibility and even running. Valpve noise was also rather prominent…little could be said against the method of changing speed, which is accomplished by the foot, though a stronger spring against the plunger locking the second gear would be desirable. The machine is full of interesting points, and its designer, Mr Wooler, has embodied many ingenious features. The unit construction of engine and gear box is worthy of favourable comment. Small details have been carefully considered; for example, the position of the speedometer dial on the front forks, so that it is illuminated at night by the air holes at the base of the lamp, is a case in point.”
MORE FLAT TWINS. ITALY produced the Fongro, Maxima and SAR; Czechoslovakia built the Itar as a military mount though civilians rode it too.
BRITISH REGISTRATIONS HIT 373,000, compared with 154,000 in the USA.
BELGIUM STAGED ITS FIRST motorcycle Grand Prix The 500cc class was won by a Norton, but Belgian-built Gillet, founded in 1919, took first and second spots in the 350cc class to huge acclaim. Gillet survived to the 1960s.
TT ENTRIES WERE MORE THAN double those of 1920, with 133 as against 61: 68 Seniors and 65 Juniors including 21 250s in the Lightweight class. The 44 350s comprised 15 marques, all but one of them works entries. They included seven Ajays, six Ivys; five apiece from Blackburne and Douglas; four Coulsons, three Martins and three Massey Arrans. Lightweight makes rose from two in 1920 to eight: six Levises, four Velos, three New Imps and two Diamonds. AJS, having replaced the 1920 two-chain/four-speed transmission with a sturdy three-speed box and were firm favourites in the five-lap Junior. AJS star Howard Davies finished the first lap of the Junior in first place a minute ahead of team-mate HF Harris, lost 12 minutes repairing a puncture which put him
back in 11th place and rode like to demon the finish runner up behind another AJS team-mate, Eric Williams. AJS dominated the Junior, also taking 3rd, 4th, 6th and 8th places. Jim Whalley on the debutante Massey Arran was 5th man home to be cheered over the line as he finished despite a flat rear tyre—before copping a puncture at Windy Corner, he had taken the lead on lap three, ahead of a pack of five Ajays. Doug Prentice was 10th on his New Imperial 250 and took Lightweight honours at 44.6mph—nearly 4mph faster than Cyril Williams’ Junior winning speed the previous year. Runner-up in his first TT was Geoff Davison on a Levis; Davison went on to edit the annual TT Special. (He also wrote The Story of the TT; an excellent blow-by-blow account of the TT that is well worth tracking down). The 68 Senior contenders included 15 makes, 12 of them represented by factory entries. Norton fielded the biggest contingent, of 15; Sunbeam and Triumph had nine apiece. There were half a dozen Scotts and for the first time BSA took the field, also with as team of six. The race was a disaster for BSA—not one of its carefully prepared bikes finished the course, BSA took no further interest in racing for the next 30 years. But for AJS the Senior was a triumph. Having been robbed of victory in the Junior Howard
Davies rode his 350 in the Senior. On the first lap he held 2nd place behind Freddie Dixon (Indian). Lap two and Dixon dropped back to 4th; FG Edmond took the lead on his Triumph but Davies held on to second place. George Dance (Sunbeam) led at the end of lap three—and still Davies hung on to second place. Lap four and another Sunbeam took the lead, in the capable hands of Alec Bennett, but with Davies hot on his heels. And when Bennett dropped back Howard Davies rode his Junior AJS to victory in the Senior at 54.49mph, nearly 2¼min ahead of the fastest 500 though Edmond’s Triumph did make the fastest lap at 56.44mph. Freddie Dixon was runner-up with Hubert Le Vack on another Indians 3rd. Alec Bennet was 4th, JA Watson-Bourne (Triumph) was 5th, followed by JL Mitchell (Norton), FG Edmond and George Dance, ahead of two more Sunbeams ridden by Tom Sheard and FC Townshend. Them came a pair of Nortons ridden by DS Alexander and JW Hollowell.
“IT IS NOW HOUSEHOLD NEWS throughout the world that, in addition to obtaining six out of the first seven places in the Junior Tourist Trophy, a 350cc AJS, ridden by HR Davies, succeeded in defeating the pick of the world’s 500cc machines in the Senior event…Possibly because they realise that, though their marvellous little engine was good enough for this year’s races, it will not be fast enough for the 1922 events, the brothers Stevens are already at work on improvements and modifications. This is the right spirit to adopt, for though at the present moment the TT AJS can hardly be considered a standard machine, the firm attach considerable importance to the lessons learned in their racing experience, and much of the knowledge gained by this means is used when designing standard productions.”
TRIUMPH BUILT ON THE SUCCESS of the wartime ‘Trusty’ with the Harry Ricardo-designed 498cc Model R ‘fast roadster’. The ‘Riccy’ with its innovative central plug light alloy head and four-pushrod-operated overhead valves would become as famous as the Trusty. Major Frank Halford used one to set a 500cc world hour record at 76.74mph, along with the 50-mile standing start (at 77.27 mph) and the one-mile British record (at 87.8mph). JA Watson-Bourne and FG Edmond on Ricardo Triumphs finished 4th and 7th in the Senior TT.
A HARLEY RIDDEN BY Otto Walker became the first motorcycle to win a race at an average speed of over 100mph. The first British ton-up kid was Douglas Davidson, who set the first 100mph lap of Brooklands, also on a Harley Davidson (but no relation).
ALEC BENNETT WON THE FRENCH Grand Prix for Sunbeam after a Triumph Ricardo ran out of fuel. Another Sunbeam was runner-up with a Riccy third.
AMONG THE DEBUTANTES FROM the USA was the Neracar, designed by former Cleveland motorcycle designer CA Nerachter and backed by razor king Gillette (so the Neracar could be seen as US alternative to the British Wilkinson TAC). It was marketed as a two-wheeled car; features included a five-speed transmission, full enclosure and hub-centre steering. engine enclo sure, a 221cc two-stroke engine, and friction drive from the flywheel to a countershaft carrying the rear sprocket. Neracars were also built in Britain under licence by Sheffield-Simplex with 285cc two-stroke or 350cc four-stroke Blackburne engines and the option of a proper three-speed gearbox courtesy of Sturmey-Archer. Other options included rear springing, a screen and a bucket seat. Comfy, slow and safe, the innovative Neracar never caught on. It only stayed in production for five years.
FERODO INTRODUCED A LONG-LIFE dry-plate clutch using asbestos friction plates.
ITALY CAME UP WITH THE 477cc V-twin four-stroke Borgo: a potent racer boasting an ohc four-valve design with unit construction and oil cooling. Less radical but longer lived was the new Benelli, with a humble 98cc two-stroke lump; Bianchi came up with a fast 596cc four-stroke V-twin.
AS A CHANGE FROM ITS SUCCESSFUL ohv V-twins Anzani turned to motorising bicycles with a 75cc belt-drive four-stroke that returned better than 200mpg with a top speed approaching 40mph.
REX JUDD SQUEEZED 92.4MPH out of a sv Norton 16H, just before it was superseded by the ohv Model 18.
No false modesty in this advert: “World’s record ride… the onward rush of science has never been so clealry demonstrated as in The Excelsior Motor Cycle… 5 miles in 8m 34s!
Mr Watanabe of Osaka designed and built the first ohv engine made in Japan. Displacing 150cc it worked reasonably well but was gutless so he redesigned it as a 300 coupled with a two-speed transmission and chain drive. He called his machine the Sanda, or Thunder.
“UNTIL SOMEBODY DEVISES A SPECIFIC term,” said Ixion, I use ‘magneto lighting’ to indicate those electric lighting systems which embody no expensive dynamo, but use the surplus output of whatever ignition device is fitted. I know I shall be accused of gross exaggeration, but I am going to say that a perfected outfit of this class revolutionises utility motor cycles, and constitutes just such another landmark in the industry as the advent of the spray carburetter or the high-tension magneto.”
THE TOHATSU ENGINEERING COMPANY was set up in Japan; its twostroke engines would power so many Japanese marques that it might be seen as the oriental Villiers.
WELLS BENNETT SQUEEZED 1,562 MILES into 24 hours at the Tacoma Speedway near Washington DC to average 65mph on a four-pot ohv Henderson K de luxe.
“”SEVEN AM IS TOO EARLY a starting hour to attract a crowd, and few except those most, intimately concerned arrived at Brooklands in time to see the great 500 mile race for Capt Miller’s gold cup. The sun had barely dispersed the dawn mists when the men lined up in four rows just past the fork. Each class was distinguished by flimsy overall jackets of a different colour. The front row was composed of the 250cc riders (white jackets) and the 350cc (blue). The big 500cc class (yellow) filled the second line. Next came the select 750cc company—eight in number—with green overalls; and last of all the big 1,000cc twins resplendent in red. The entire body of starters, 65 in number, formed a most imposing array, and the scene when they all got away simultaneously at a common signal absolutely baffled description. The
sharp crack of so many well-tuned exhausts, the clouds of Castrol mingling with the mists of early morning, the semi-comic aspect of so many running and leaping men, formed a spectacle which repaid the company for its early rising…The gold cup promised to be ‘easy fruit’ for the American entries, as a 1,000cc engine can always beat smaller machines on Brooklands, and our British twins mostly emanate from comparatively small factories…Perhaps the most amazing performances were registered in the junior classes. It was bold of the Ivy people to enter a single standard machine; it was superb to win with it at over 51mph. Similarly the 250cc. New Imperial was revving very very fast for nearly ten hours, and sounded as crisp in the exhaust at the end as it had done at the beginning. A great race, and the honours all went where they were thoroughly deserved and pluckily earned…Before any really important event there is always a tendency to exaggerate the hardships of
the test, and…it was freely mooted that not 5% of the starters would finish the 500-mile race at Brooklands. However, the prognostications of the pessimists came to naught, and 33 machines out of 64 starters completed one of the severest trials ever provided, and incidentally set up many new records during the process. It was expected that a big twin would carry off the premier award, and this type secured the first three places [mind you the twins in question were an Indian, a Harley and another Indian]. A sidevalve Norton Brooklands Special took fourth spot [Since his pre-war exploits Dan ‘Wizard’ O’Donovan, now Norton’s chief tuner, had been busy: the Brooklands Special was now certified to do 75mph]. Next came a well tried 500cc machine. It was in the smaller classes that the greatest surprises occurred, the 350cc class being won on a two-stroke with considerable ease, after a magnificent display of consistent riding, while the speed of the winning 250cc machine was within a fraction of the second 350cc. Two-strokes ran with wonderful regularity, and definitely refuted the suggestion that this type of engine is unable to stand prolonged speed work. On the whole, the race provided a marvellous testimony to the endurance of the modern motor cycle. Though the excellence of the British single was demonstrated once again, the absence of a fast British big twin was sadly obvious.” Did you notice the description of “the sharpe crack of so many well tuned exhausts”? It seems the noise of 60-plus bikes running flat out on open pipes for more than seven hours was more than local residents could bear; all subsequent races at shorter and quieter as competitors were required to fit silencers—cue the ‘Brooklands can’.
IXION MADE NO BONES about his reaction to the 500-miler: “I really marvel that more of the firms who try to carve out for themselves a notch in the British motor cycle industry do not seek to develop a British super-twin of the 7-9hp variety. In this type we are still absolutely outclassed by the American Harleys and Indians. It was frightfully humiliating to watch the Yankees romping away from our own machines, and nauseating to watch two big British twins slowly reeling off their concluding laps several hours after our better singles had finished the distance…In the race our principal representatives were the Matchless (a standard sidecar type, assembled on the previous day, and necessarily quite untuned from a track standpoint, even if it had been designed for racing, which it was not) and the Zeniths—a mixed lot with a variety of engines, and all of them equipped with the belt drive. When we take a particular type of motor cycle seriously, we can lick creation with it. We have never taken the 7-9hp seriously.”
“ALTHOUGH AUTUMN AND OLYMPIA Showtime sees the birth of the greater number of new models, there is at present ‘certain liveliness’ amongst manufacturers—a hopeful sign considering the industrial situation generally. New designs are appearing under both new and old names to an unusual extent for this season of the year [July]…”
LIKE ABC MANUFACTURER SOPWITH, Gnome et Rhône produced aero engines during the Great War so when it began to produce ABCs under licence in France Gnome et Rhône didn’t only convert them from imperial to metric measurements, it upgraded the flat-twin engine with roller big-end bearings and upgraded the lubrication system. But when the MC de France staged a 183-mile Grand Prix at Provins, The Motor Cycle reported: “Competition was exceedingly keen, particularly between the Alcyon, Peugeot, and ABC teams, and not until the beginning of the last of the sixteen laps could the winner be forecasted with any degree of certainty. For a time it looked as if the real struggle would be between Alcyon and Peugeot. The Peugeot is a vertical twin, the two cylinders being set very close together, and the eight overhead valves being operated by two camshafts with a train of pinions…The Alcyons, on the other hand, are V-twins, with a couple of overhead valves inclined in the head of each, and operated by push rods and rockers. The Griffons are also overhead valve twins, while the ABC machines were practically standard productions. At the end of the first lap, Naas, who was looked upon as the crack rider for the ABC, came in excitedly, and asked for a cylinder head joint. No such article existed at the pits, but a man was sent post haste to Provins to get what was required, while Naas, after grumbling considerably, changing a plug, and looking over his machine generally, went away and rode hard without another stop. The man who had run four miles under a broiling sun to get the washers, came back and then fell
utterly exhausted, while the washers he had brought lay unrequired on the bench…Desvaux’s blue Alcyon was leading when, on the hairpin turn near Provins, the rider discovered he was out of fuel. Desvaux, who would have been a wonderful recruit for the Lifeguards, lifted up his machine, and shook it to assure himself that the tank really was empty, then ran back to the main grandstands—a distance of a mile—to get a can of petrol. Meanwhile, Naas, another giant, had been driving hard, and, by reason of this incident—for the Alcyon man lost eight minutes—had no difficulty in getting into the lead. Desvaux was soon in action, but had to be content with third place behind his team mate Jolty. Barnard (on an ABC) came in fourth, with Bartlett (an Englishman) fifth on the same make of machine. Pean, the Peugeot crack, only finished sixth. The full ABC team finished, and one of them made the record lap at an average of 61½mph…The 1,000cc sidecar race was won by Andre on a Harley-Davidson, followed by Bache on an Indian, with another Indian in third place.”
“WE HAVE HEARD OF A MAN who recently bought a Government motor lorry for £28, which in itself was somewhat of a bargain. When, however, he found time to examine it he discovered that it contained six brand new motor cycles. History does not relate what action he took in the matter.”
“RECENTLY A READER (MR HUGH Sharrock, of Melling) towed a 44-ton barge along the Leeds-Liverpool canal for the distance of one mile, using a 7-9hp Indian sidecar. A number of people witnessed the feat, and now Mr Sharrock would like to know if it constitutes a record haul for a sidecar outfit.”
“RECENTLY SEVERAL MOTOR CYCLISTS have been summoned at Leicester for having ‘a silencer that was inefficient’. As one of these riders Was the owner of a Villiers-engined machine, the makers of this engine took up the case in the interests of the many riders using their engines. Several other firms supported them, and on the machine being tried on the road for the edification of the court, the Chairman remarked that it was a stupid case, and dismissed it without further comment.”
“WHEN THE MEMBERSHIP OF AN institution like the Auto’ Cycle Union drops 40% in twelve months—and this at a time when the number of motor cyclists has increased tremendously—the question naturally arises whether there is not something wrong with the policy of the organisation. The Auto Cycle Union is the governing body, of the motor cycle movement, yet, as its membership roll shows, it represents but 10% of motor cyclists in this country—insufficient to justify the position as dictator in so many vital matters. That a governing body is desirable—in fact, is necessary—will not be denied by all who have at heart the interests of the sporting side of the movement. This duty the Auto Cycle Union fulfils in a manner which has set a standard to the world, and, to do this, even a membership of 30,000 is sufficient. It is, perhaps, this side of the ACU’s good work which is responsible for the comparatively low membership. The competition work of the Union, by its very success, overshadows its efforts in other directions. The great majority of motor cyclists, while appreciating the value of competitions, do not feel disposed to pay subscriptions ‘to improve the breed of motorcycles’. The drop of 40% in the ACU membership synchronises with the raising of the subscription. This was done at a most inopportune time, and, if any organisation is to receive the support of the majority, the subscription must be much less than the present fee.”
“I HAVE NEVER DONE 100MPH on a motor bicycle,” Ixion admitted. “I do not think I have ever done 80mph on less than four wheels. I have no wish to touch either of these speeds. Once upon a day I burst my front tyre when I was doing a measly 65mph and only a speedometer 65 at that. I still feel minute beads of moisture bedewing my spine when I recall the occurrence. But when I read of Le Vack doing 106mph, I feel all warm inside to think of the sublime confidence he must repose in his tyre maker. Myself, I am a bit of a fatalist about tyres. In ordinary work I have grown to regard their freedom from puncture as something of a lottery. If I had to circle Brooklands on an eight-valved 1,000cc, I should probably fit solid tyres and Houdaille absorbers, being a coward to my marrows. The firms whose tyres are selected deserve much credit.”
“ACCORDING TO THE LATEST statistics, there were some 37,761 motor cycles in France in 1914, and at the end of the war (1918) this number fell to 8,394, rising to 28,538 in 1919, and to 50,785 in 1920—the highest number vet recorded.”
THE ‘MOTO MACHINE’ PLANT in Moscow was overhauling 30 motor cycles a month. It was controlled by the Central Auto Section of the Supreme Council of the People’s Economy, but before the end of the year it was transferred to the Automotive Section of the Central Office of Local Transportation, a branch of the People’s Commission on Transportation.
“AMONGST CERTAIN CONSERVATIVE MOTOR cyclists there is some amount of prejudice against sleeve valves, probably owing to their comparative novelty; but the fact must be borne in mind that some of the highest class automobiles in the world are fitted with sleeve valve engines…As long ago as November, 1919, we were able to give details of an experimental engine produced by Messrs Barr & Stroud, of Glasgow. The first production engines have now been completed, and have undergone prolonged road and bench tests…the workmanship of the new B&S engine is superb…The main dimensions are 70×90.5mm (349cc), and the iron cylinder barrel is cast in one piece with the top half of the crank case. Within the barrel lies a semi-steel sleeve about 2.4mm in thickness, the base of the sleeve being stiffened up and carrying a pin, at right angles to its axis, through which the motion is conveyed…The pin carried on the base of the sleeve engages in the inner race of this ball bearing, and is a sliding fit therein. Thus when the half time wheel is rotated the sleeve is raised or lowered, and at the same time rotated through a considerable number of degrees, the self- aligning ball race adapting itself to the necessary positions. It will be seen that any point on the sleeve follows an elliptical path.
A stroke of only 35.6mm is given to the sleeve, and the necessary balance weight is incorporated with the half time gear wheel. five ports of a form calculated to provide the greatest possible area are cut in the top of the sleeve, two acting as exhaust ports, two as inlet, and one as both inlet and exhaust, since the rotary motion of the sleeve causes it to register with an inlet port on one stroke, and an exhaust port on the other. Six corresponding ports are formed in the cylinder—three inlet and three exhaust…By removing the oil base and four nuts, the whole piston, connecting rod, and crank assembly may be removed for examination without detaching the engine from the frame, while by removing three screws the magneto and distribution gears may be detached complete, and the sleeve lowered through the base…On the bench the engine has given most satisfactory results, and the standard article produces over 6hp at 3,000rpm. This figure is by no means the limit, as the power curve continues to rise steadily to well over 4,000rpm, and special engines with high compression and light reciprocating parts have given a maximum power of approximately double that already stated…we were offered a trial run on a light machine fitted with the standard engine and an nil-chain drive Sturmey-Archer two-speed gear…we may safely assert that the new B&S is one of the fastest standard 350cc engines which we have had the opportunity of riding…our mount was capable of a mile a minute under favourable circumstances. The engine was consistently smooth and silent in operation at all road speeds.”
“SEVERAL THOUSAND SPECTATORS WITNESSED the Saltburn speed trials promoted by the Middlesbrough &DMCC, under the auspices of the Yorkshire Centre ACU, which were held in ideal weather on a beach course two miles in circumference. A feature of the event was that three Yorkshire championships had to be decided, and quite a number of TT riders were entered…FW Dixon, the Middlesbrough expert, on a 7-9hp Harley-Davidson, captured the 1,000cc cup, and also carried off the trophy presented by Mr John Gyers, president of the Middlesbrough MC, for the fastest time of the-day, Dixon’s record in the flying kilo 1,000cc event being 89.48mph. The crowd was naturally delighted at the success of the local man, who scored the chief honours in every race he entered.”
A RECORD ENTRY AND A RECORD DROUGHT are the top spots of the 1921 ‘Scottish’…There are plenty of interesting entries…Four Hawker baby two- strokes, with sump lubrication and flywheel magnets are entered. HG Hawker could not get away to drive the sidecar, but T Sopwith is handling one of the solo machines: the sidecar has a simple three-tube chassis. of which the main member was once a Sopwith Dolphin [fighter] undercarriage axle. ‘MT Calderon’ is an anagram in pseudonyms, this rider’s doctor having forbidden him to compete; nevertheless, he covered the 325 miles between his home and Edinburgh in one day. Watson-Bourne is still suffering from the torn ear which resulted from his scrap home to Ramsey after the TT; but Brough has pressed one of his Swiss customers, Rudolph Banner, of Zurich, into the service, and he will be number one, never having ridden in a competition. The BSA people have three teams entered (two solo and one passenger), whilst Rovers divide their nine men into one solo team and two passenger trios. The rules demand touring head lamps, many riders have hastily purchased lamps of the hen’s egg variety…Several machines are fitted with the Dawson patent nail catcher…The New Imperial outfit has a luggage carrier extending forward of the sidecar, which is generally mistaken for a life-saving apparatus…The Raleigh riders are by way of being ” gadget merchants,’ and Fenn runs Harold Karslake close for the championship in this department. Fenn has a pneumatic saddle cover, a haversack holder on his rear forks, a carbide tin container enamelled in Raleigh colours, and drawers under his foot plates containing spare chains embedded in molten grease,
not to speak of a vermilion knob on his gear lever. Karslake is quite depressed, for against this formidable list of extras he can only muster on his Brough a complete set of chain shields, a special route card-holder, and handle-bar clips for the grease gun. RB Clark’s countershaft Zenith has a ratchet for holding the clutch out, and its chain is enclosed in an oiltight aluminium case…There will probably be rather a slaughter of the innocents during the first day or two. Several motor cyclists, new to a Scottish Six Days, have no conception of what is before them…Meanwhile the heat is terrific…today’s breeze feels as if it came straight from the Sahara, and our Scottish hosts find the weather a noble ally in their annual work of discovering how much liquid refreshment English motor cyclists can—should we say ‘swallow’ or stand’? But, whatever weather awaits us, with a sporting course to follow, and a sporting club in command, we are assured a jolly week, and everybody is glad to see the British factories supporting this event as it has always deserved to be supported. Until this year the club has always lost money on the trial, and has continued to spend its funds for the benefit of the sport. This year a record entry should imply a small profit…
Monday (Edinburgh, Stirling, Crieff, Amulree, Kenmore, Dalwhinnie, Kingussie) test hills, Amulree and Trinafour, 183 miles: The first forty miles on Monday were extremely tedious, as they lay through a grimy district with many tramlines and much heavy traffic on nearing Stirling. Sections of the road reminded one of the devastated areas, for, although it is a main route, it is ploughed into colossal. pot-holes and high ridges. Anybody attempting to tackle it at ordinary touring speeds would infallibly be thrown…Several patches were pot-holed 6in deep, and ridged 8in high… moorland roads came as a positive relief…On Amulree everybody had heaps of power. The majority of the entrants literally toyed with the climb, merely changing down to bottom gear for the S-bend, and changing up again above it. The 2¾hp Hawker sidecar made a star ascent, and was loudly cheered…Banner, the Swiss substitute for Watson-Bourne, regarded the event as a TT and not infrequently used the Continental rule of the road. Near the foot of Amulree he dry-skidded in racing round a corner, and crashed. His ascent of Amulree is perhaps the finest on record, for his forks and frame were bent; his bottom gear was 5.2; he steered one-handed, for the other wrist was sprained or broken; and blood was running into his eyes from a cut on his head. Many people had bad tosses. Inverness-shire roadmen are fond of covering the road with three or four inches of dust and grit, which is ill stuff to corner on… After the competitors had gone up Amulree, a non-competitor made a very neat ascent with a girl on the carrier of his machine…The Kenmore policeman waxed so enthusiastic that he kept busy filling up the riders’ tanks with petrol.
Tuesday (Inverness, Strathpeffer, Achnasheen, Jeantown, Applecross, Inverness) test hills, Tornapress and Applecross, 183 miles: After Strathpeffer the going was more or less of the moorland order, but usually permitted of high speeds, the only difficulty being to identify a rough patch in time to avert a wobble. But a harder section for timekeeping than that from Jeantown to Applecross—in either direction—can hardly be imagined. It consists of nineteen miles, viz, six miles of rough, twisty lane, a terrific five-mile climb, and an equally terrific five-mile descent. Over most of these last ten miles, it is impossible to pass a sidecar or a car, and very difficult to overtake a solo mount….the Pass of the Cattle, as the Tornapress-Applecross section is called, commences with four miles of heavy collar work. The narrow road is sometimes of short turf from edge to edge, occasionally of loose stone (of all sizes), but generally composed of three ruts, divided by really stiff clumps of moor grass a foot high with reefs jutting through here and there. To the right is a grassy hill 1,500ft high and very steep; to the left a series of gaunt, gnarled crags, with wild deer grazing beneath them; below a splendid loch, backed by a mountainous massif; above a fantastically rugged sky line. For the fifth and last mile the road goes mad, and resolves itself into three major hairpins, all acute, and connected to very rough grades of 1 in 5 or 6. There follows the difficult and dangerous descent known as Applecross, which is generally considered a much
easier climb than Tornapress, though its stiff grade commences near the foot. Both hills are ‘engine heaters’ of the first order, and Tornapress confronts one with three wicked corners just when the engine, is most inclined to conk. The entry put up a truly magnificent performance, almost monotonous in the high level of its excellence…The smallest engine in the trial, the Velocette, ridden by ‘MT Calderon’ (who is not HRH the Duke of York, as was rumoured), did splendidly, as did the next smallest. Hanwell’s Cedos. The small fry, as a class, covered themselves with glory, notably Handley’s OK, the two Hawkers; and Kershaw’s New Imperial…The hill is so long that six car loads of observers were kept busy observing it with binoculars, and a detailed description is impossible. We can only say that after commencing to note details of each man’s climb we soon exhausted our supply of superlatives. There were a very few exceptions, mostly due to inexperienced and clumsy driving. But men and machines, as a whole, displayed supreme mastery of a terrible ascent which one expert has dubbed ‘Great Britain’s only hill’. Knocking, over- lubrication, and a hot, oily smell—which until recently were the concomitants of a severe hill—were conspicuous by their absence. Over a hundred fine climbs were made on the longest steep hill in these islands…Browne’s Douglas caught fire when restarting after the Jeantown check. It was put out by the Pyrene outfit from the petrol lorry, and Browne spent the rest of the day trying to coax partially burnt rubber belts to grip…CA McKeand was using a 3½in tyre on the back wheel of his Harley-Davidson.
Wednesday (Inverness, Abriachan, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Glendoe, Foyers, Inverfarigaig Corkscrew, Inverness) test hills, Abriachan, Glendoe, Inverfarigaig, 74 miles: The bad going began to tell its inevitable tale on the third day, and many machines showed signs of jury-rigging. Shortly after breakfast, the news of Harry Hawker’s tragic end cast a gloom over everyone. He would have been there, riding one of his own solo machines, but for the claims of the Aerial Derby; and W Peatty (his brother-in- law) left at once for the South. [Aviation pioneer Harry Hawker was practising for the the Aerial Derby at Hendon Aerodrome in his Nieuport Gosport when he crashed and was killed]. This day’s run was limited to 74 miles, nominally to give the men a mid-week ‘easy’ and a chance to change their tyres comfortably in the evening if they so desired; and many of them did! But the ‘rest’ was purely nominal, for the 74 miles included several excursions into the ‘doorstep districts’, and no fewer than three test hills. Once again we travelled through some of the most gorgeous scenery in Great Britain, but rough going kept our eyes so glued to the road that we dared not glance at the views. Glendoe is in two halves. The front stairs are smooth and steep; the attic stairs, after the landing, are fearfully rough, and semi-vertical. Here 22 good men and true gave up the ghost, nearly all through pure crashes due to the surface; neither loss of power nor clumsy driving was to blame. Meanwhile others had fallen by the way. Moser’s Triumph and Miller’s Bradbury were unrideable after collisions with banks; and Milne’s (5-7hp BSA sc) gear box had wilted at the very base of Abriachan…At lunch there was great ‘wind up’ about the new hill—Inverfarigaig Corkscrew…The hill is purely a test of riding, and is easily described. Lay a sheet of notepaper against your coffee-pot, dear reader, at au angle of 45°. Impose upon it three capital letters S, turning the centre one the wrong way round. Let these letters be of the flat or squashed-out type—not
as square as those employed by The Motor Cycle comps. Imagine a road 6ft wide, a surface composed as to the centre of soft grey dust 6in deep and 4ft wide, and as to each side of hardish smooth stuff 1ft wide. The grade a.t the outside of the six hairpins is about 1 in 8; at the kernel of each hairpin it may be 1 in 5½ for a yard or so…Some appallingly clumsy driving was shown, and none of the 25 machines which failed appeared to do so for mechanical reasons…Reg Brown upset his Sunbeam sidecar…The writer had to put his helm over so hard on two corners that his TT bar pinned his thigh to the tank…The whole of the six hairpins cannot be watched simultaneously, but if a prize had been awarded for the best solo ascent it might have lain between JW Wills (Powell) and G Dance (Sunbeam). Both picked the correct path to a hair: both accelerated without timidity between hairpins; neither put a foot to earth. Wills had no difficulties. Dance came up 119th, when the fifth hairpin was cut to ribbons. His machine was almost stationary in the soft stuff for a second; but, like the past- master in rough-riding that he is, he kept his feet riveted to the rests, and jockeyed the machine up…A veil must be drawn over 20% of the climbs, in which good machines were dishonoured by sheer bad driving. But several individuals registered rather special ascents. Farr (BSA), Lewis (P&M), Wilson (Hobart), and Braid (Douglas) elected to charge the hairpins at speed, and their subsequent antics earned them the soubriquet of ‘wild men’ from the crowd. Possibly their gear ratios compelled speed: but their climbs were more courageous than graceful, and thoroughly scattered the spectators. One unfortunate entrant was handicapped by a frame layout which simply would not steer! When he came up we all took cover behind the nearest trees…There was a regular mix-up and a wholesale baulk on Glendoe, towards the end of the climb. In the midst of it a lady passenger had a fit of hysteria…When a Douglas caught fire another competitor nosedived into an adjacent cottage, and seized the door mat wherewith to put out the flames. Later an ancient Highland dame appeared in search of the missing mat. They solemnly handed her a charred triangle of mat about as big as a sandwich. She said, ‘Hech, sirs…’—and then some!…Inverness boasts a motor cycle of native manufacture. It is made by the official garage people, Macrae and Dick, and has a GRI, rotary and poppet valve engine…Wallis’s Bradbury blew out the exhaust valve cap of its front cylinder, and ‘carried on’ with it secured by a neat bridge of spanners, lashed down with wire…
Thursday (Inverness, Kingussie, Dalnacardoch, Kenmore, Dalmally, Oban) 165 miles: A perfect orgy of protests was entered against Wednesday’s test hill failures…it would be clean contrary to the famous sporting atmosphere of the ‘Scottish’ for a competitor to grumble about official decisions: but a dispassionate onlooker may be allowed to say that, if men who capsize on hairpins are awarded clean ascents, rivals who fail through much pettier errors have an apparent grievance…Thursday’s morning’s run was Monday afternoon’s trip, taken in the reverse direction. We met a cold head wind, and found the corrugations of the Grampian road very trying, as they have a very short pitch, which makes the back wheel hammer…J Browne, on the 2¾hp Douglas, met a car on the wrong side of a corner just before lunch, and looped the loop. He was unhurt, but his machine was in no condition to continue. George Dance arrived outside the lunch check half an hour ahead of time. He explained that he had felt cold on the Grampians and was in search of a warmer climate. A hungry official, who arrived early at the lunch hotel, is said to have moved round a table after the fashion of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, and so to have consumed six plates of salmon…seventy-two miles of gorgeous scenery and decent going. The Pass of Brander was a revelation of beauty, and the newcomers would have liked a longer stay there. Several minor crashes resulted along the curly switchback road, mostly as the result of ‘blinding’ after tyre trouble. But HS Heaton, of the Cambridge team, took a more serious toss. Having previously damaged the footrest of his Brough Superior, he stopped to fell a young sapling and construct new ones. The job occupied some time, and he appears to have fallen asleep during the subsequent scorch. At any rate, he was found unconscious on the road at the end of a track which indicated a 300 yards wobble. The GN took him into Crianlarich, and his injuries are, fortunately, not important. The GN broke both its front springs, which were cleverly jury-rigged with steel plates and wire lashings…There are said to be eighty hotels in Oban; anyhow, we were all very comfortably bestowed, and no longer sleeping two in a bed, or one on a sofa, or one in a bath, as was the case at Inverness…The luncheon cider at the Breadalbane Hotel, Kenmore, was so heady that a certain teetotal rider is alleged to have covered the first two miles after lunch in 1min 59sec…Under the Edinburgh Club regulations, one may upset a sidecar on an observed hill, and yet score a ‘clean ascent’, provided one keeps the engine running!
Friday (Oban, Kilmelfort, Inveraray, Stracur, Glendarnel, Dalmally, Oban) test hill, Ballochandrain, 180 miles: The officials forbade J Beck (8hp Royal Ruby sc) to start on Friday morning. His outfit had been damaged in a spill when cornering on Wednesday, and had gradually become quite unsafe. The sky was lowering when the survivors started at 7.30am for their 180-mile run over what the map suggested might prove a very rough trip. Actually 160 miles consisted of main roads with only one badly pot-holed stretch. It is only fair to add that main roads in the Western Highlands would be called serpentine switchbacks anywhere else. When we at last passed through the usual gate on to the usual moor, about ten miles from Ballochandrain, the solo machines had the time of their lives, for the centre of the cart track was smooth and firm, if the side ruts bothered the passenger outfits at times. Once more we had a perfect glut of marvellous scenery—glen and loch, and moor and forest, and river and mountain, the whole enhanced by diaphanous mist wreaths, spears of sunlight, and occasional palls of thick black cloud. Sky, water and distant hills furnished every conceivable tint of blue from turquoise to the deepest indigo. We rode through the two most beautiful passes in Scotland, the delicate sylvan prettiness of Melfort contrasting sharply with the dour majesty of Brander. Shaggy little Highland cattle made a picturesque foreground to some of these pictures—or so we thought until we met a herd of 100 on a steep hill. Mac Gillivray collided with one of them so heavily that he was forced to retire. The roads were continuously dangerous, as they twisted perpetually, and whatever lay beyond the next corner was generally hidden behind a steep little hump in the road or a screen of trees. For some reason the men drive much faster in the ‘Scottish’ than in the ACU Six Days—perhaps because the’ country is thinly populated, perhaps because they are always expecting a piece of vile going, on which progress must be slow. Whatever the reason may be, the driving has been decidedly rash on the average, and the casualty list is absurdly lengthy; many others have had the narrowest escapes, scraping skew bridges with their handle-bars, and so far forth. The day’s
test hill, Ballochandrain, bore two distinct reputations till we met it. The officials said it was ‘easy’; some of the locals (and also The Scotsman) described it as ‘the steepest hill in Great Britain’. The truth lies betwixt and between…The hill owed its selection to an official who went up it in a car on a dark night. As there were only five failures, it cannot be difficult; and the comparative ease with which it can be climbed is due to the brevity of the few ‘steps’. Most of the men took the hairpin at speed, especially the two Scotts driven by Langman and WF Scott. Ball’s coat caught his throttle and stopped him quite low down. Shepherd and his passenger were stopped by overheating beneath the hairpin, and had to run and push most of the way up, finally seizing up the engine. Calderon fell off for no apparent reason, and, having no clutch, could not ‘keep his engine running’—a famous phrase in the rules which had led to some very dubious attempts ranking as officially ‘clean’…On the return journey there was a good deal of injudicious scrapping, and it is a marvel that no smashes occurred in a dust column, which was over thirty miles long…Farr broke the steering head of his BSA; he jury-rigged this very cleverly, and rode pluckily on, only to be stalled with no compression near Dalmally…Richardson broke all the springs of his Lea-Francis sidecar, and it had a queer, groggy appearance from behind. The end of the matter is that the average Scottish road is now in such appalling condition that any machine which does not drop or break a part is fortunate. Tourists who intend to go North for their holidays this year should either change their minds or consult the AA as to the best routes. The road home on Friday was littered with men busy repairing tyres, and the majority of their troubles were due to cuts from stones. Road repairs over large areas of Scotland take the simple form of barrowing assorted rubble from the nearest river bed or quarry on to the road; and they do not object to flint, or use the ordinary 2in gauge.
Saturday (Oban, Dalmally, Crianlaiicb, Lochearnhead, Callander, Stirling, Edinburgh), 123 miles: Oban was awakened by the unfamiliar sound of rain drumming down in torrents. However, the weather cleared before the start, and the road through the Pass of Brander is too gritty to provoke sideslip. Presently the clouds came down upon the tops of the crags and showers began to pelt us at brief intervals. Towards Callander we ran into a regular deluge, which rapidly flooded the roads, but after lunch the sun shone out again, and the water proved invaluable in helping us to locate potholes…Nobody had much trouble on the concluding lap. Just as Sproston was riding in at Edinburgh, a car knocked him down, and ran over his ankle; otherwise, apart from the rain, the last stage was a comfortable ‘blind’ or most men. AF Downie was an exception, however; his contact breaker spring broke, and a helpful stranger broke the spare spring, and dropped two of the small screws in the grass. Thanks chiefly to the magnificent weather, the 1921 Scottish may rank as the easiest on record, though the roads were perhaps rougher than ever. The Edinburgh Club and its genial secretary deserve unstinted credit for their splendid organisation. There has not been the tiniest hitch in the arrangements from start to finish, and the medals were all ready engraved for distribution by dinner time on Saturday evening, a feat without parallel in such an event…The Sunbeam and BSA teams tied for the team prize, and the judges decided to award it to the former on account
of the smaller capacity of the engines…The club team prize falls to the Glasgow Western Motor Club. This award was made on a tie at the judges’ discretion, the promoting club being well in the running for it. The chief glory of the trials unquestionably adorns the Sunbeam entry of six machines, all of which won golds; whilst Reg Brown’s machine created a new record, being the first 500cc sidecar outfit to make clean ascents of all the observed hills. Several single entries also secured gold medals. The Powell is a debutante, and was one of the outstanding machines throughout, especially for its neat, masterful work on hills. The Cedos has not previously graced a Scottish, and had the smallest engine in the trial, except the. Velocette. It made light of its job. The two OK Unions were splendid, and Neville Hall is going to be famous some day. Two of the three Hawker babies romped home comfortably, and climbed excellently. In the 350cc class the Coulson, the two New Imperials, the Metro-Tyler, the Royal Ruby, and the Hobart all defeated many much more powerful solo mounts. It need not be imagined that lightweight riders had a very strenuous time. Most of them pegged along very comfortably, averaging 30mph, except along the mountainous sections. Of 112 starters 86 finished, 52 won gold medals, 21 silver, 13 bronze, 26 retired.
“ALL OF US AT THE OFFICE are very bored with the members of the staff who represented our interests in the Scottish Six Days,” Ixion reported. “They have learnt a lot of new words, mostly ending in some such combination of consonants as ‘nchdgt’ or something to that effect. They throw them at us, and we do not know whether we are being insulted or not. Moreover, in this hot weather they retard the ardently anticipated moment at which the typical journalist’s thirst-quencher (iced lemon squash) is delivered to us, by ordering ‘a glass and a chaser’, or ‘a wee deoch an doris’. They learnt these bad habits in the Highlands, of course, and we are slowly weaning them back to civilised ways. A ‘glass and a chaser’ means a tot of whiskey, followed by a pint of beer in a separate receptacle, and is obviously unwholesome in a heat wave. I always thought ‘deoch and doris’ was Gaelic for whiskey and soda, but it apparently means ‘last before door’. The worst of many a Scot is that it takes too many deochs to get him outside the doris.”
BH DAVIES, AS WE KNOW BUT his readers didn’t, was the alter ego of Ixion. These excerpts from his reminiscences of the Scottish could hardly have been written by anyone else: “The English trials are managed by a horde of officials with slide rules and weird instruments. The Scottish event is principally bossed by two genial amateurs, who listen to your tale of woe. look at each other, and remark blandly, ‘Och, well, he’s a guid lad, give him his medal!’ They know that any ‘bus which can do 900 miles approximately to schedule over their appalling roads cannot have many flies on it; and, provided you ride like a sportsman, don’t cheat and don’t bring your solicitor up with you to frame windy protests—they like you and your ‘bus to have every possible credit…The high-spot of the week was the fact that the little ‘uns ate up the roads and the gradients better than the 500cc machines were doing a year or two back…The contrast with the old days was simp1y colossal. The 500cc machines pobbled round the 1 in 5 hairpins with their throttles in slow running position on gear ratios which would have seized them solid in 1914; and the babies ‘revved’ eternally on low gears which would have welded piston and cylinder into an integral mass before the war…There was much clumsy hillwork, and lots of wildly injudicious ‘blinding’ on surfaces which were dangerous and on roads which dipped and twisted in a manner that shrieked for caution. It is just that extra 5mph which does it…Two of the leading trade teams consisted entirely of riders who failed to impress me by either their skill or their sense…In between times we had lots of fun,
especially at night when, over the national drink, competitors described the ardours of their day, or ‘reminisced’ about previous experiences in all parts of the world. We chaffed each other. Calderon had a cigarette tin fixed to the middle of his top tube; it held fifty at the start each day, and about three at the night check, so the week cannot have been one long scorch for the Velocette. The modern ‘baby’ is capable of the most astounding speeds. Harry Macrae and I refreshed Calderon after he had been stopped with a broken chain. We pushed him off, topped the next rise, beheld half a county, but no Calderon! I never saw a landscape vacated so rapidly. About Friday three of us fell to bragging that we looked like completing a Scottish without a spill. That afternoon, on a lonely moor track, Hugh Gibson overhauled Christie, whose forks had bent in a crash, and rendered his steering ‘serpentine’. Gibson made the mistake of steering a course which was a tangent to one of Christie’s arcs—both men flew. I myself was pottering gently through the lunch check on Saturday on the extreme right of the road when young Downie took a sudden dislike to me, and tried to turn his Raleigh round under my front wheel. We both flew. Sproston lasted longest. He was in the very act of handing his card to the finish checker at Edinburgh when a taxi resented the natty appearance of Spross and his Lea- Francis. They both flew…Saturday morning brought us a baby two-stroke size in cloudbursts near Callander, and the dips of the road were flooded. In one of these ponds I met a motor char-a-banc. When I emerged I resembled a survivor from the Lusitania…If you should hear that an innocent Highland gillie met a violent death at the hands of one of the boys, the verdict will be justifiable homicide. The boy had just stuck on Glendoe, and the gillie asked, ‘Wull she no tak’ yon bit brae?’…I had almost forgotten my own mount. Sunbeams are officially credited with six entries and six ‘golds’. It ought to be eight ‘golds’. I myself rode a brand new standard sports Sunbeam round the course, as did another knight of the pen. Both of us enjoyed a picnic. When AL Downie bowled me over, he broke my inlet valve spring; and, oddly enough, the corresponding spring broke on the other press Sunbeam. Apart from that I did not have a mite of trouble, and the general conduct of the machine was such that Great Britain would have held no more astounded man than myself if any mishap had occurred. The steering at speed is rock-steady, and at ordinary speed on rough surfaces I managed to hold it up quite successfully, though I had enjoyed no rough-riding practice for many months.”
“THOUGH BEST KNOWN AS a pioneer airman, the late Mr Harry Hawker, who was killed while flying at Hendon last week, was a prominent figure, not only in automobile but in motor cycle circles, and during the last twelve months gave his name to the interesting and successful Hawker two-stroke lightweight made by the company bearing his name, the Hawker Engineering Co, of Kingston. Neither Mr Hawker nor his partner Mr T0M Sopwith can be described as other than active motor cyclists. As soon as their little machine was ready for the market, both partners themselves entered various reliability trials. In the ACU One Day Trial for stock machines, the two Hawkers driven by Mr Harry Hawker and Mr T Sopwith made quite excellent performances; and, had they not run short of lubricating oil at the end of the event, there is no doubt they would have emerged therefrom with flying colours. It is sad to think that Hawker’s name will be missing from the movement into which he had so recently entered, but his memory will long survive as a daring aviator, whose luck in adversity was little short of proverbial, and it seems indeed hard that, after so many hairbreadth escapes, misfortune should have overtaken him at last.”
“HOW MANY OF OUR READERS grip the tank with their thighs, or knees, or both?” Ixion asked. “I know lots of keen amateurs who consider that good riding is impossible without such a grip, either in speed work on a good surface or in rough-riding on a one-day trial. Well, here’s a test of the matter. The next time you witness a one-day trial, go carefully over the ‘buses at the finish, and you will find that a lot of the very best riders never use any leg grip at all. The reason is almost invariably the same—they began life as factory testers, and got into trouble if their breeches rubbed the gold lining off the tank.”
“AS A SPORT MOTOR CYCLE competition riding enjoys a world-wide popularity. It is only natural, however, that ‘different countries, different methods’ should be the rule regarding the best, most enjoyable, and most useful form which these events should take. At the same time, it is gratifying to note that more and more are the other countries of the world following the lead set by Britain. Not only is this so in the case of reliability trials; it also applies to racing. For example, America is now considering the formation of a central club on the lines of The British Motor Cycle Racing Club. It is a project that we feel sure will meet with success. When all things are considered, the leading position that Britain holds in the world of competitive motor cycledom has been gained simply by reliability trials on sensible lines. If we except the TT, road racing is unknown in England; yet abroad, in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, and on the Continent, in France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Austria, and even Czecho Slovakia, this branch of the pastime is probably the more popular of the two. Of course, in the majority of these countries the authorities do not look unfavourably on using the roads for speed events.”
“FOR YEARS THE MOTOR CYCLE has been accused of lack of weather protection for the driver; therefore, any attempt to give the rider something approaching ‘limousine comfort’ must be regarded seriously. Messrs Brown & Roper’s vehicle is rather difficult to classify…A 4hp Douglas engine and frame form the basis, but the wheelbase has been lengthened and a form of chassis attached to take the two trailer wheels. These wheels may be raised or lowered instantaneously by means of a single hand lever. An important point about these wheels is that the axle to which they are attached is pivoted centrally, thus allowing automatic adjustment on corners and uneven surfaces. The body is readily removable to allow access to the engine or transmission. A very low seating position also tends to give freedom from skidding. Steering is by wheel connected by rods in tension to the front fork. Beyond the fact that the gear box is set further back than usual, the transmission is the same as on the original Douglas machine. Side shields and foot-boards are so designed that an adequate current of air reaches both cylinders. The designers and makers are Messrs Brown and Roper, engineers, 43, The Canal, Salisbury, Wilts.”
“THE MOST SUCCESSFUL AND IMPORTANT motor cycle race ever held in Italy took place on the Circuit di Cremona, a road race of 16O miles, run off on a flat, triangular course of approximately, 40 miles. One hundred entries, representing the products of five countries—England, France, Italy, Switzerland, and America—and Swiss riders besides the Italians, gave an international character to the event. English machines were most numerous, there being Douglas, Wooler, Verus, Calthorpe, and Excelsior machines in the 350cc; Sunbeam, Ariel, Norton, and Douglas in the 500cc; and Hazlewood and Douglas in the 750cc classes; whilst the 1,000cc class was a duel between the two strong teams of Harley-Davidsons and Indians, representing America.” Harleys took top three spots in the 1,000cc race—a rider named Winkler won at 68.64mph including a 75mph lap which was the highest speed to date in an Italian road race. First three bikes home in the 750cc class were an Indian, a Motosacoche and a Frero. But the 500cc class was a British benefit: a Sunbeam was followed over the line by a Norton and an ABC. Fourth place went to a Bianchi ridden by Italian ace Maffeis who gave the home crowd something to cheer about by setting a lap record at 63.6mph. First three home in the 350cc class were a Motosacoche, a Douglas and a Verus.
“ON THE MONDAY MORNING, after the Circuit di Cremona, Nazzaro, riding a 7-9hp Indian, attempted the flying kilometre mean speed record. His best time was 23.3sec, equalling a speed of 95mph. Although not a world’s record, this is certainly a marvellous performance for a road attempt.”
“FIFTY-TWO MOTOR CYCLISTS COMPETED in the Grand Prix race, organised by the Union Motorcyclists de France…The circuit de la Sarthe, over which the race was contested, measures 10¾ miles, the 500cc and the 350cc riders being called upon to cover eighteen circuits (193½ miles), and the 250cc lightweight riders fifteen laps (161¼ miles). Le Mans attracted thousands of visitors for the motor cycle race and the car race on Monday. Although the course had been excellently treated, it was, perhaps, natural that the 100mph cars had cut up the surface badly in practice, patches of sharp flints being encountered at intervals. Except for half-a-dozen or so difficult turnings, the course is extremely fast, with its long straight stretches, higher gears being possible than on the Manx TT circuit. A striking success was scored by British riders and machines, representatives of the home country occupying the first five places in the chief class for 500cc machines, France claiming honours in the 350cc event, and a French rider mounted on a machine assembled from British components winning the 250cc category.”
Alec Bennet and Tommy de la Hay took the top two spots for Sunbeam ahead of T Sgonina (Triumph) and a brace of Duggies ridden by FW Dixon and JL Emerson. An Alcyon won the 350cc class but Douglases came second and third. And the winning 250cc Yvel was built of British components including a JAP engine. (and until encounterung a tyre shredding flint on lap 12, A Milner led the 250cc class on his Levis), “It certainly is a wonderful old engine, this Sunbeam,” remarked Bennett, as he dismounted and wiped the oil and dust out of his eyes. It was easier to get the winner of the Grand Prix race to talk of his machine than of himself. He quickly remarked, however, “I am not an American, as some of you seem to think. I was born in Canada, raced an Indian on the Canadian tracks, came over with the Canadian Army in 1915, and, well, I married an English girl, and that is sufficient reason for staying, even if I did not like the country so well as I do. Yes. it is harder than the TT, for the speed is so consistent ; but I do not think that it requires so much skill. Undoubtedly, it is harder on the engine, for there is no ‘let up’.”
“ONLY TWO TEAMS COMPETED FOR the International Trophy in the Six Days Trial (promoted by the Swiss Motor Cycle Union for the FICM), viz Great Britain and Switzerland. There were 51 entrants, and all faced the starter at Geneva…Gorgeous scenery and long, tiring gradients were the chief characteristics of the trial. Imagine Applecross piled on Porlock, and Sutton Bank placed on the top. Cover the whole with glorious shady woods, add a blue sky and a blazing sun, and some idea may be gathered of the lesser climbs of the trial…The entry consisted of riders from England, France, and Switzerland, and machines made in England, France, Switzerland, and America…the Swiss team, consisted of Morand (Condor), Rothenbach (Motosacoche), and Crex (Motosacoche); the English team consisted of Eric Williams (AJS), JA Newman (Douglas), and Hugh Gibson (Raleigh). Besides these the following Englishmen took part: H Dawson (P&M), EH Lees (Sunbeam), H Langman (Scott), CP Wood (Scott), and FP Dickson (Brough Superior), making eight British entries in all. Of the 51 entrants 24 rode British mounts…The organisation at the weighing in was excellent and most thorough, and took place in the Batiment Electoral, one of the finest buildings in the beautiful town of Geneva. Every conceivable part of the
machines and each bundle of spare parts carried was either sealed or stamped, while particular attention was paid to silencers, every cut-out being sealed in its closed position…Every official spoke fluent English, all seemed bent on doing their utmost help the foreign visitors…the French and Italian teams failed to materialise…there were several incidents during the day. Fouquier (Viratelle sc) upset his outfit on the Col des Enfers (the Pass of Hell), rightly named so far as he was concerned as his brakes failed and he fell, breaking several ribs. Young Neher (Motosacoche) lost marks through punctures, brake, and plug troubles, while two of the British team must have lost many marks. The unfortunate Newman had a fall after the Weisenstein, and then a series of punctures which exhausted his supply of spare tubes. Exhausted by his fall, the heat, and his efforts, he lost an hour. It will be appreciated that the trial was no picnic, and most of the English riders said they have to drive on full throttle most of the time. Gibson, though his failure on the worst hill of the day lost him no marks, feared he had been penalised owing to five punctures he suffered…Lunch was served in a shady garden, and afterwards petrol was brought in drums and doled out first in enamelled water jugs, and finally out of glass water decanters. Oil was a great difficulty in this trial, as the local lubricant
was unsuitable for British engines…It was a rich district, with neat, well-kept buildings, and at several of the controls liquid and solid refreshments were offered to the competitors. At the Hulftegg control a group of enthusiasts met Eric Williams and greeted him as a hero to be revered, his prowess in the TT having reached even these distant parts. The climb up to this point was stiff, but only troubled some of the smaller Condors…Heavy rain fell during the morning of the fourth day, making a bad prospect for the journey over the highest Swiss passes. The first important ascent over the Klausen (6,400ft) was made through heavy rain and thick clouds; it was very cold at the summit…Competitors met the Cyclist Alpine Regiment during the ascent, and had a hearty welcome at the Hospice, but were so cold that they could hardly feel their controls at the beginning of the descent…The fifth day (Lugano to Fribourgh, 202 miles) proved too long for such difficult country. Fortunately, the Airolo side of St Gothard was not observed, or half the Swiss Army would have been needed; the corners on this side were very loose. The English team arrived happy at the Bellinzona control, but had suffered 19 punctures in all…Eric Williams had four punctures, and had to drive all out, passing competitors on the descent to Hospenthal, then over the Furka Pass past the Rhone glacier—glorious sight—up the Grimsel, and on to Meiringen, which was a fearful and wonderful journey. Bouvin (8 Motosacoche sc) retired before Fribourg was reached owing to a collision and gear trouble. The last day’s run was almost equally stiff, but the competitors were
welcomed everywhere. There was a speed hill-climb in the morning at Du Brueck, a long hill with dangerous corners, on which were several falls. Eric Williams (2¾hp AJS) made fastest time in his class, despite a broken throttle wire; CP Wood (3¾hp Scott) won the 750cc class; and FP Dickson (8hp Brough-Superior) was first amongst the 1,000cc solos. In the afternoon a well-organised speed trial took place, and amongst the class winners Eric Williams (2¾hp AJS), JA Newman (3½hp Douglas), CP Wood (3½hp Scott), and FP Dickson (8hp Brough-Superior), were again prominent. At the end of the trial there were 39 finishers out of the 51 starters, and amongst those who lost no marks were Eric Williams (2¾hp AJS), Robert (3½hp Motosacoche), Staub (3½hp Norton), Rothenbach (8hp Motosacoche), and Honel (GN). To summarise, the International Trials this year have been exceedingly severe, and the passes have tested engines to the utmost, since they had to be taken dead slow. For the second time the Swiss team secure the International Trophy, being 151 marks to the good. The trade team prize was secured by the Motosacoche, followed by the Douglas trio. The prize of a gold watch for the best performance by a foreign visitor was secured by Eric Williams (2¾hp AJS), and the prize offered by the Swiss president was awarded to the GN.”
“IT IS WITH REGRET that once again we have to refer to Sunday competitions…for Years, we have been averse to the organisation of sporting events on the Sabbath; in fact, our efforts have been the means of checking over-enthusiasm of trials organisers, who, at times, are apt to forget the feelings of the general public. The Auto-Cycle Union shares our views, and has always been against anything which tended to undermine the popularity of the pastime; since some of the local ACU centres—especially those in the North—make a speciality of Sunday competitions, it would appear that the governing_ body has not full control over its subsidiary organisations.”
“I KNOW SOME CYNICS DENY that in this planet of 1,500,000,000 inhabitants, there is even one individual who is both honest and smart,” Ixion remarked. “What would you say, dear readers, if I proved to you that such an individual exists? And in Manchester, of all places? I know he is smart, because he is organising mass production of one of my old brain-waves. And I know he is also honest, because he has offered me a royalty on it. (Not less honest than I am, because I refused the said royalty, both as a journalist who likes to keep his independence, and also as one who remembers other makers’ clumsier efforts in that line.) What is it? Oh, just a prop stand. Are you annoyed with me? Well, wait till you’ve tried it. Do you really like lugging a 3cwt 7hp twin on to its legs? Do you like searching a moorland road with flush edges for some sort of a kerb on which you can lodge a footrest whilst you light a pipe? Do you like being fetched out of your favourite hotel by a constable because you ‘bus has tippled off the kerb, and a motor coach has juggernauted it? Do you like stopping halfway up PoParlockrlock because a large stone has joggled your rear stand out of its spring clip? When this new prop stand comes along—weight, about a feather and a half, cost next to nothing, and instantly fittable to anything from a two-stroke to a ninety bore twin (this is the inventor’s account, bien entendu)—you will be permanently insured against any of these mishaps. The rear stand will then be restricted to its proper duties, ie, supporting the tail of the ‘bus during tyre repairs; and it will, therefore, be secured by a clip which is vibration-proof. As befits a veteran I have owned all sorts of stands. I remember days when stand and carrier were one and the same, tied to a hole in the back of the saddle by a bit of copper wire; on tour you had to unstrap all your luggage before you could mend the tyre. I remember stands composed of two separate legs, insecurely clipped to each chain stay; they used to drip bolts and nuts along the road, jangling with a devil’s tattoo to the forrard end of the chain stays, and then chock the wheel spokes. I remember stands with such narrow bases that the machine toppled over, if, whilst dismounted, you incautiously exhaled your cigarette smoke transversely instead of longitudinally. But I have loving memories of one two-leg stand, date about 1907. Each leg had two positions— half down, they acted as props; right down, they formed an ordinary stand. They were very heavy, rather expensive, and spike-ended, and the spike generally engaged the slack of my trousers when I sprang for the saddle. But I tolerated their misdeeds for years because either leg could be used as a prop, and a prop stand is the greatest petty comfort which a motor cyclist can possess. After I have said all -this, I shall rejoice in my pseudonymity, supposing the latest prop stand never comes to anything, and infuriated readers haunt our offices with guns; but I think it is going to be all right. More when the times are ripe.”
“A MACHINE WHICH PASSED through our hands had a in the kit would fit these nuts, sizes. and no fixed spanner could be bought to suit them, with the result that an adjustable spanner was the only tool available for removal. We have often urged that standard nuts and fewer sizes be employed, and we would specially urge these who have their 1922 models in hand to study this point.”
“THE P&M SIDECARS USED by the RAF in London are equipped with a wheel lock, consisting of what appears to be a few links of the Aquitania’s anchor chains, enclosed in leather, and a padlock.”
“MR CHAS F COALES, CHIEF officer of the Newport Pagnell Fire Brigade, wishes to thank the driver of the Matchless sidecar, who, on Sunday, the 7th inst, carried one of his men to the scene of a fire after he had missed the departure of the fire-engine.”
“AT MOST SPEED EVENTS where certain well-known riders are competing, one hears remarks which go to show that Sgonina is regarded as an Italian, Le Vack and de la Hay as Frenchmen, and Bennett as an American. They are all British, including the last-mentioned, who is Canadian.”
“A NORTON WON THE BELGIAN Grand Prix, thus completing a triple success for British machines in international road races. It is interesting that, while the TT was won on an AJS, and the French Grand Prix on a Sunbeam, the Belgian event was carried off by a Norton, which goes to show that British superiority does not lie in one super-tuned machine, but is fairly representative of the whole industry. Never has a motor cycle race been run over a prettier or more charming course than the 1921 Grand Prix of the Federation Motocycliste Beige. The circuit is situated in the most delightful part of the Ardennes, about eight miles south of Spa, and is approached through the woods by one of the longest and straightest hills we have ever seen…The grandstand (or tribunes) was unlike any other, as it was built on the side of a hill by a landscape gardener, and words fail to describe its beauty. The hill flank was studded with terraces covered with cinders and with rough stone steps leading to them. Rustic fences, benches, and chairs were duly arranged, and pots of fresh growing flowers and plants were placed here and there; the whole effect was delightful. The British competitors were well pleased with the course. Sgonina said he liked it better than the Grand Prix, and that it was more like that in the Isle of Man ; but, whereas the machines were not fast enough on the Le Mans circuit, they had speed enough and to spare for this one. Le Vack also liked the course, but thought the road rather loose for high speeds…Breslau, the Norton rider, was first away, but Hassall (Norton) showed wonderful acceleration and shot ahead, while Edmond (Triumph) and Strange (James), who started on the first line, Avere momentarily lost in the crowd of twenty starters. The junior machines left immediately afterwards…The second lap saw Edmond still the leader, and going better than ever, with Hassall second and Dixon third. The leading man was marked by the scorers by means of a red disc, which hid his number; and when this was done, there were shouts from the press stand of ‘Take it down! Are you a Socialist?’…In the eighth lap Hassall was still running as magnificently as ever, Dixon was missing, Le Vack was second, with Shemans third, and Sgonina fourth. Dixon arrived at last, and started to repair a fork member, which had broken, bracing it with a piece of iron and a strap. When he pluckily started again, he was two clear laps behind. Edmond, who started well, was now among the unfortunates, and rolled in later with a loose tank and broken petrol pipe…It takes some considerable amount
of pluck to drive like fury with a broken and roughly repaired fork, but Dixon’s blood was up, and though a lap or so behind, was racing neck and neck with Hassall…The fourteenth lap saw the retirement of Shemans, who suffered engine trouble, and the fifteenth that of Sgonina, who had had both tyre and engine defects. The Sarolea team was sadly depleted, and they had indeed hard luck. Their chief tester was hors de combat, owing to an accident previous to the race, and one rider after another had to withdraw owing to distorted valves. The race was now left to British and American machines. Hassall was still unassailable; Le Vack was still going strongly; Dixon, through pluck or recklessness (call it what you like: it served its purpose, and all honour to him!), now rode in the third place with Strange (James), who had run most consistently, fourth; and the two French-built ABCs, which had travelled well from the start, in fifth and sixth places. The fifteenth lap signalled the arrival of the first junior, Kicken (Gillet), who had ridden a splendid race; but when the second junior, Desterbecq (the other Gillet rider), arrived, he covered two laps before the marshals could stop him. In the sixteenth and seventeenth laps, the survivors were running in the following order: Hassall (3½hp Norton), Le Vack (3½hp Indian), Dixon (3½hp Indian), Strange (3½hp James), Claessens (3hp ABC), and Perrin (3hp ABC), and maintained this until the finish. In the eighteenth lap Hassall and Dixon stopped for petrol…The distance covered in this class was 188½ miles…As regards the Junior class, the three finishers were Kicken (2¾hp Gillet), Desterberq (2¾hp Gillet) and Mouret (2½hp Sun). The junior machines accomplished 16 laps (141 miles)…As’ was the case with the French Grand Prix and the International Six Days Trials, this third important Continental event was witnessed by a member of The Motor Cycle staff. Thus, the journal has been able to give an accurate and first-hand record of every important competition held this year.”
“FOR THE FIRST TIME on record the P&M team for the ACU Six Days Trials is this year to consist of three sidecar outfits. This innovation is rendered practicable by the introduction of a new four-speed gear, which is to make its debut in the classic event, and the four-speed models will be placed on the market very shortly…Two speeds are given by the selective clutch gear, as in the original model, and the two additional speeds are obtained by driving through the dog clutch gear box instead of directly. Each gear engages in exactly the same method as hitherto—that is, by engagement of the selective clutches, so that it would be possible, if so desired, to pick up from a standstill on any one of the four gears by the engine slowly taking up the load through the familiar expanding ring. While the lever is passing through its motion from one position to another, the dog clutches are engaged or disengaged automatically by the crosswise action—that is, this part of the gear change looks after itself as the lever passes through the neutral position. The gear lever has two movements, backwards and forwards and inwards and outwards. In passing from first gear to second, the lever is pressed straight forward; in passing from second to third it comes back, but must be pressed over to the left at the same time; similarly top gear is obtained by pushing the lever straight forward once more. The backward and forward movement operates the selective clutch gear; the right and left movement operates the dog clutches. Thus, if the gear lever were in second gear position, and it was knocked straight over to the left by a sharp tap of the hand, top gear would be engaged; but in this case it would be necessary to lift the exhaust valve, as the change would be effected simply by slamming in the dog clutch. Having become used to the change, however, all sorts of unique liberties can be taken without risk of damage. Though the action is that of a gate change no gate is included as it is unnecessary. The astute will have gathered that the engine can be started with the kick starter either through the high or low chain ratios, accordingly as the gear lever is in the forward or backward neutral position.”
“THE TOURIST TROPHY RACES are to be held in Belgium during June, 1922. This important decision was reached by the Competitions Committee of the ACU…It will be recalled that there has been much discussion with regard to the most suitable course for the classic event. England is, unfortunately, ruled out, since a special Act of Parliament would be required to sanction the race, and it is most improbable that such an Act could be carried through. Ireland has been suggested, but the state of the country is not encouraging at the present moment. Thus, the choice is limited to the Isle of Man or a Continental country. The former place has always been selected in the past, and the Manx course has been looked upon as an inseparable part of the Tourist Trophy races. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why a change has been considered. It has been stated that modern machines are too fast for the course, but there is no unanimity on this point. In addition, the event has not received the wholehearted support of all the Island inhabitants. Therefore, it comes as no very great surprise to find that the invitation of the Federation Motocycliste Beige has been unanimously accepted by the ACU. The new course is about 50km (31¼ miles) in length, and was recently inspected by the Secretary of the ACU. It starts just outside Spa, where the grandstand will be erected…The organisation will remain entirely in the hands of the ACU of Great Britain, though doubtless the hearty co-operation of the officials of the FMB will be utilised. The municipal authorities at Spa and the Belgian Government are lending their assistance, and we understand that 1,000 troops to patrol the course are to be placed at the disposal of the ACU. Special facilities have already been secured, including favourable assurances as regards railway and steamship services by the GER, concessions in respect of Customs, and special fixed tariffs to be charged by the hotel keepers in the Spa neighbourhood.” The Blue ‘Un asked ACU secretary TW Loughborough why the ACU wanted to move the world’s premier roadrace away from its Manx home: “In the first place, the course is not suitable for 500cc machines, as was clearly evidenced by the fact that this year a Junior machine won the Senior race. Secondly, it is not putting it too bluntly to say that we were somewhat bled by the Manxmen. We were not our own masters, while you know as well as I do the difficulty of transport and absence of any concessions by the IOM Steam Packet Co. Thirdly, and lastly, there is to be a Car TT this year, and this would have meant either holding the race early in May or not until September, while if the latter date had been chosen the roads would have been badly cut up by the racing cars…I would like you to say that almost all the members of the trade to whom I have spoken about the idea are distinctly in favour of it.”
“OVERHEAD VALVE ENGINES practically swept the board at last week’s big race meeting of the West Wales Centre ACU.”
“AS ALREADY MENTIONED IN our pages, Mr JL Norton, the veteran motor cyclist and designer of the Norton motor cycle, is embarking on a world tour in order to gain first-hand knowledge of conditions overseas; he will also give a series of lectures to motor cycle clubs.”
“OF SEVERAL ENGINES WHICH MADE their debut at the recent five hundred miles race at Brooklands, the British Anzani, mounted in a Zenith motor bicycle, gave a very promising performance. We recently inspected this engine, which had not been interfered with since the event, and we were at once impressed by its condition. Externally, it had kept remarkably clean, whilst internally all the bearing surfaces were as new. Two cast iron cylinders, which have a bore and stroke of 83x92mm (998cc), are provided with detachable heads, which accommodate the overhead valves, the rocker arms for these being pivoted in brackets mounted on twin lugs. The rocker bearings are lubricated by wicks fed from a cup filled with grease, which liquefies when the engine gets hot. The engine, it is claimed, has developed 24.5bhp on the bench at a speed of 3,500rpm.”
“FROM THE POINT OF VIEW of the ACU, there is at present no query as to whether the 1922 TT races will be held at Spa; the average motor cyclist, however, and, of still greater importance, that large section of the trade who view the change with disfavour, still regard the matter with an open mind. How many factors have had their bearing upon the ACU’s decision is not generally known, but at the moment it would appear that, at any rate, there are enough probable trade supporters of the move to Belgium to ensure the success of the event financially, even though it might not be entirely representative of the British manufacturers. From the trade aspect, opinion seems fairly evenly divided, although there is a slight preponderance in favour of abandoning the Isle of Man. The motor cycle interests in the Isle of Man, of course, are indignant, and may be more so if there is anything in the rumour that a substantial financial inducement was offered by the Belgian authorities to the ACU to transfer the event to Belgian soil. It is realised, however, that the police and official annoyances this year had much to do with the change. Our aid has been invoked on behalf of the Manx motor cyclists, but in such a matter The Motor Cycle cannot take sides; our columns are open, however, for exchanging all shades of opinion, and our support must go to advance the greatest good for the greatest number.” Two months later the Blue ‘Un reported: “After all the annual Tourist Trophy Races are to be held in the Isle of Man in 1922. This is the decision of the ACU General Committee, which body last Saturday rejected the recommendation of the Competitions Committee to hold next year’s race in Belgium. The race may be held towards the end of May or at the beginning of June, but in any case before the two car races already arranged for June 20th and 22nd. Among the ACU committeemen, opinion was clearly divided. The Belgian course had many attractions, the main one being the financial inducement offered to the ACU by the Belgian authorities for a race near Spa. Badly as the ACU needs improved finances, the Committee was clearly not ready to be over-influenced by monetary considerations. The event has gained its recognised importance on British soil, and the present is hardly the time to transfer many thousands of pounds to foreign soil. In view, therefore, of the promises and undertakings of the deputation which arrived from the Isle of Man, the air was cleared, and finally the decision to retain the Manx course was reached by an overwhelming majority…Nearly all the pin-pricks experienced by former visitors have been or will be investigated, and many concessions are promised, including a double daily boat service, a harbour crane for handling motor cycles properly, half an hour later for practising, a shilling registration fee for visitors’ motor cycles, and assistance in various other directions…the side question as to whether the 500cc machine is too fast for the tortuous Isle of Man course, and therefore cannot show itself to advantage, must be left for further demonstration next summer.”
“IN TAKING THE HAWKER TWO-STROKE machine through a test run of approximately 100 miles, its performance was judged with due regard to the fact that the machine was designed and produced by the HG Hawker Engineering Co of Kingston-on-Thames, as a comparatively inexpensive and extremely simple lightweight motor cycle…The design is original in many respects, and the ease of maintenance has been brought down to an extremely simple item for the in-expert person. For example, the lubrication system of the engine has no working parts, is entirely automatic in action, and one filling of oil lasts 500 miles. Then again, the speed gear consists of two primary chains running over sprockets of different sizes which are engaged by dog clutches located within a miniature ‘gear’ box, while decarbonisation is reduced to the simplest of jobs due to the detachable head—an important point in two-stroke engines. Our run was taken through ordinary country roads at average speeds from 15 to 30mph, and the first noticeable point in the machine’s behaviour was the good steering qualities and really comfortable saddle. It is possible to ride ‘hands off’ without side sway, and pot-holes do not affect steering. We found that the engine had enough power for the average hill on top gear, and at 25-30mph the unit runs smoothly, and with a nice reserve of power…Our test of the Hawker also included some city traffic work to and from the office, and the machine proved to be nippy and manageable in town traffic, the twin rear brakes proving efficient in use, on dry roads at any rate. It is in traffic work that a light solo mount scores, for the test specimens are so handy and easy to manipulate. The Hawker is an essentially no-trouble lightweight. The flywheel magneto is of very robust construction, and in the event of the engine being taken down, the timing of the magneto cannot be carried out wrongly on reassembly…Generally speaking, we were very pleased with the Hawker; it represents really good value for the person who has limited means and requires a simple and easily-looked-after mount. During the 100 odd miles of our run, the oil consumption was one-third of a pint, which is equivalent to 2,400mpg, and petrol consumption about 95mpg; the first figure is excellent and the second well up to the average.”
“SKILFUL DRIVING BY UNKNOWN RIDER: Sir,—May I take the unusual course of thanking, through your columns, the motor cyclist who averted a nasty smash on the high road over the Snake from Glossop to Sheffield on a recent Monday. I was teaching my wife to drive my James outfit, and, stopping on a hill, we commenced to slide backwards across the road just on a nasty bend. A few seconds later a motor cyclist flashed round the bend at a high speed and a terrible smash seemed inevitable. The rider, however, instantly swerved, charged up the steep grass bank at the side of the road, and was away like a flash without looking round. I tremble to think of the result if he had hesitated a fraction of a second, and I would like to congratulate the driver of the machine whose number was, I believe, WA 4084, on a most marvellous exhibition of cool judgment and magnificent driving. The bank he charged up was strewn with large boulders, and how he avoided them is a mystery. Were we all possessed of such iron nerve the high roads would be much safer.
IN A SINGLE ISSUE OF THE BLUE ‘UN the Club News section carried stories from the Westoe MC, East Midlands Centre ACU, Coatbridge, Airdrie &DMCC, Worcester MCC, Gravesend &DMCC, Bradbury MCC, Okehampton MCC and York &DMC. They ranged from results of speed trials and hillclimbs to: “On the occasion of a recent rally of Bradbury riders at Alms Hill, it was proposed to form a club, as above, for owners of these machines only. Those interested should communicate with Mr IAF Godwin, The Homestead, Belmont Road, Twickenham. An early example of what came to known as one-make clubs. There was also a list of ‘Weekend Club Events’: Taunton &DMCC&LCC, Fifty Mile Trial; Worcester &DMCC, Paperchase; Berwick &DMCC, Route Finding Competition; Essex MC,Twenty-four Hour Trial to Bale; East Midland Centre ACU, Closed Hill-Climb; Southport MC, Speed Trials on the Sand; Ilkley MC&LCC, Speed Trials for English Trophy; Ulster CC, Social Run; Surbiton &DMCC, Ballards Cup Trial; Newcastle &DMC, Knock-out Hill-climb; North Wales MCC, Sporting Trial; Oxford MC, Hill-climb; Helensburgh MCC, Petrol Consumption Test; Luton & South Beds AC, Reliability Trial; Surrey MCC, Hill-climb; Bristol MCC, Run to Wye Valley; York &DMC, Reliability Trial; Dewsbury &DMCC, Picnic; West Kent MC, Hill-climb; Birmingham MCC, Week-end Trial to Chepstow; Wolverhampton Auto Nomads, Weekend Run to Ludlow; Woolwich. Plumstead &DMC, Picnic at Carter’s Hill; Stafford &DMCC, Run to Matlock; Cambridge & County MC, Reliability Trial; West Birmingham MCC, Social Run to Marchington Cliff; Stamford &DMCC and Peterborough MCC, Joint Speed Trials; Harrogate &DMCC, Social Run to Bolton; Sheffield MCC, Fishing Match at Drakeholes; Northern MC, Speed Judging Hill-climb; Exeter MC&LCC, Run to Double Waters, Tavistock; Leeds MU, Reliability Trial; Wakefield & DMCC, Run to Ilkley Moors; Basingstoke &DMC&LCC, Run to Lee-on-the-Solent; Central London MCC, Run to Frensharn Ponds; Halifax &DMCC, Run to Semer Water; Rochester, Chatham &DMCC&LCC, Run to Seasalter; Bradford MC&LCC, Wilson Cup Trial for Passenger Machines; Truro &DMCC&LCC, Evening Run to Gorran; Burton &DMCC, Run to Derby.”
“CLUB SECRETARIES ARE REMINDED entries for the Challenge Shield to be awarded at the North London MCC Inter-club rally at Hendon on the 17th inst should be in the hands of the Honorary Organiser, ‘The Nook’, Wellington Road, Bush Hill Park, London, N, on or before next Saturday. There are several other prizes; and unattached motor cyclists are specially invited to attend what is believed to be the first big rally in London district.”
“THE DEATH OF DORA [Defence Of the Realm Act]: DORA is dead. Various rulings to which we have become accustomed are automatically rescinded by the official ‘termination of the state of war’. Lighting-up time reverts to the ‘one hour after sunset’ rule. Pedal cycles are now exempt from rear light carrying. The joy of a certain section of the cycle community who object to safeguarding others, and not least themselves, will be short-lived—because new legislation of a permanent nature is contemplated. By a curious anomaly, motor bicycles are not bicycles within ‘the meaning of the Act’. Pre-war test cases established this unfortunate truth. Solo motor cyclists must carry rear lamps on their machines.”
“HUDDERSFIELD IS, ACCORDING TO an AA report, the latest town to allot recognised parking places for motor vehicles.”
“ONLY CHEAP AND EFFICIENT garage service is wanted in all our large cities to increase the popularity of motor cycling.”
“A ROYAL MOTOR CYCLIST: It is some time after his death that we learn that the late KinG Peter of Serbia, always a sportsman, took to a motor cycle in his old age, and enjoyed speeding up to about 35mph.”
“THE TORONTO MCC RECENTLY HELD its annual endurance run from Toronto to Windsor and return—a distance of 540 miles. Twenty-three started, and thirteen finished. Taking it all the way through, it was a gruelling contest, some bad spots on the roads and the terrific heat making rough going. The best performance in the run was made by B Mallory, mounted on a single-cylinder Triumph. He obtained one of the three perfect scores in the professional class (at 24mph average).”
“IF MY CORRESPONDENCE AFFORDS ANY INDEX,” Ixion wrote, “there will be rows and rows of prop stands at the next Show. The motor cycling world is just tumbling to the folly of needless exertion. To the fact that kerbs are too high, or too low. That many absurd roads have flush edges. That lifting 3cwt is no joke. That the proper function of a rear stand is to minister towards tyre repair. That a Rolls-Royce does not have to be laboriously hoisted on to four jacks whenever the crew dismount. That—in short—we have been silly jugginses, and do not intend to remain such any longer. I cannot give free advts to them all, but a lot of earnest people are sitting up at nights with pencils, and several patterns seem likely to eventuate.”
“THOSE WASTED YEARS: DO NOT quiver, prurient reader.” Yes, of course it’s Ixion. “You are not going to be treated to a tabloid summary of my lurid past. My cross-heading is inspired by the thought of the vast sums, now, alas, gone beyond recall, which I have expended on hotel bills during a somewhat vagrant existence. I hinted the other week that I have recently purchased one of those portable hotels known as campers’ tents. I have just spent a healthful and interesting week with it. Trying moments occurred. The Primus stove carboned up its jet and perished its pump washer (mere trifles to a veteran motor cyclist). A needlessly bloodthirsty bull broke into my camping ground at 2am and sniffed horrifically at the partly open tent door—the far end of the tent being hermetically sealed by numerous ties and stout pegs. Once I waxed almost poetic in spirit as I gazed out of the door at 5am towards a sombre sea—and spied an enormous rat combing his whiskers after a hearty meal on my corned beef. There were earwigs. Also wasps. But take my word, it is the life, gentlemen. I am as brown as a berry, and ready to keep my temper whilst I tackle a rained out magneto in the open…I look forward to the day when the country will be dotted by the camping enclosures of a great motoring organisation, bossed by the ACU or the AA. For the main trouble about camping is finding the perfect site in a district which you do not know, and the second problem is getting leave to use it when you have found it…’dirty campers’ have enraged so many land holders…my last site was freely decorated with open tins full of decomposed salmon and poisoned wasps. So neither my mystic signs, nor my sad, sweet smile, nor my honied words won the landlord. Old campers say the best ‘Open Sesame’ is to take with you a pretty girl, preferably clad in one of those cretonne frocks which begin late and finish early.” But, let it be noted, only a few weeks later Ixion reported: “My enthusiasm for portable hotels, otherwise touring with a tent, is swiftly waning. The
storm which broke on Sunday evening caught this poor scribe on rather an exposed bit of ground, where the soil, having been ploughed in 1920, was still rather soft. Readers who are cinema fiends and go to see such serials as The Hooded Death, or words to that effect, will remember the film hero’s expression when the Black Hand collared him unarmed for the ‘umpteenth’ time, and attach him by the ankles and wrists to two express trains moving in opposite directions at high revs. Similarly, convulsed were my lineaments about 4am on that awful Monday, as the hurricane yowled ferociously round my frail tabernacle. For the future I may prefer something solid, with a bar to it.”
THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE 3½hp twin Martinsyde was at the end of last year when it was shown at the Olympia Show by Martinsyde, of Maybury Hill, Woking; the machine has undergone considerable alteration and improvement since that date, and it reappeared in an improved form when it competed in the 500 miles race in the able hands of HH Bowen. Three of these machines have also been through the Six Days Trials—their first appearance in a long reliability trial. The chief alteration lies in the shape of the frame, which is of symmetrical appearance with a sloping top tube, which latter is brought into line with the back forks…the engine, which has a bore and stroke of 60x88mm (498cc), is a small replica of the larger type utilised in the Martinsyde sidecar outfit, and possesses the well-known features of the overhead exhaust valves, made of stainless steel, with inlet valves below them. Points of convenience have been carefully studied in this machine, and it is interesting to remark that the magneto is protected by a shield kept in position by a light spring, so that it can be swung forward at any time in order that the magneto may be inspected. The three- speed AJS-type gear box, though it incorporates a clutch, is not provided with a kick-starter. The oval section tank is secured by straps fastened on to lugs on the secondary tube, and holds one and a half gallons of petrol and three pints of oil…The weight is given- as under 300lb.”
“USUALLY THE DAY PRECEDING the ACU annual Six Days Trials is one that spreads animation whichever town from which the trial may be starting. Last year it was Darlington, the year before Llandrindod, Wells; and most of the competitors arrived on the Saturday evening, filling all the important hotels, where regulations and prospects were discussed at length. With the riders were prominent members of the trade, and in hotel foyers they expressed their views on divers subjects of interest to all who have the welfare of the motor cycle at heart. Such occasions were general reunions of manufacturers, accessory makers and the press, as are the TT races and the Show; but this year at Brooklands all seemed changed. There had been no fraternising prior to the official examination last Sunday. The competitors arrived from north, south, east and west, and very few manufacturers accompanied them… the interest of the event would have been enhanced had those few important firms who have withheld their support been represented. We are sure that this decision not to support the big British trial in which the general public takes such an interest, is arousing criticism and absurd interpretations. The two main points in the ACU regulations to which this section of the trade took exception are the petrol and oil consumption tests, which are considered to be unreasonable, and the possibility of losing awards on silence. It also appears that there has been friction between the Manufacturers’ Union and the ACU; and the withholding of support is, we are informed, more in the nature of a protest than anything else…Among the better known firms who decided not to enter this year are the makers of the following: Triumph, Humber, Douglas, Beardmore-Precision, Blackburne, BSA, Sunbeam, Diamond, Enfield, Indian, Zenith, Norton, Levis, Verus, Dot-JAP, Velocette, NUT and Harley-Davidson. Of these, however, private owners are riding a BSA, Norton,
Sunbeam, Harley-Davidson, and Douglas…at least two well-known makes re-enter the official big trial after several years’ absence. We refer to the Rudge entry of four, and the three four-cylinder FNs. Entries are down from 133 in 1920 to 95…External expanding front wheel brakes are almost universal. James, AJS, New Imperial, Rover, Ariel, and Douglas are amongst the many which have internal brakes on either front or rear, or both, wheels…sunshine with real summer heat attended the competitors during the official examination at Brooklands. It would not be an ACU trial if someone did not grumble, but it was distinctly noticeable that there was less grumbling last Sunday than prior to any previous English Six Days…Bert Kershaw arrived astride an 8hp New Imperial, with his competition lightweight fixed on a special sidecar chassis…
Monday, 135 miles. Route: Brooklands, Chertsey, Staines, Windsor, Maidenhead, Henley-on- Thames, Benson, Oxford, Woodstock, Enstone, Chipping Norton, Northleach, Cirencester, Crudwell, Malmesbury, Chippenham, Box, Bath.
Brilliant sun, blue sky flecked with light clouds, and a cool west wind—what better starting conditions for a Six Days could man desire? Some of the riders opined that the head breeze would spoil their petrol consumption. The men, as usual, were full of chaff and forebodings. Most of the chaff was aimed at the ACU officials for their sagacity in holding the brake test on the first day instead of on the last; but some was reserved for those unfortunates who had been tinkering right up to the fifty-ninth minute of the eleventh hour, and notably for one poor fellow who seized ins engine on Saturday, and had since reduced his piston diameter by .001in with a hand file…The roads were practically level, and most of the mileage was over smooth tar,
so that even the most infantile small two-stroke could average 30mph without flurrying itself. There were no fixed timing stations, and if Mr Ebblewhite took any ‘secret’ checks, his car was far too ostentatiously posted to catch anybody napping…CH Hanwell (2¾hp Cedos), who had been working late, went to sleep, and fell off his machine two or three times…The weather continued fine, except for a sharp shower at six o’clock, which nonplussed some of the polish and duster brigade…Creak Davis retired at Oxford through indisposition, the jet of Hanwell’s Cedos came unscrewed and drained his tank, compelling him to break the seals and incidentally revealing a flaw in the petrol regulations. The tank of Nicholson’s 3½hp Martinsyde ran dry within pushing distance of Bath, where the local club had made excellent hotel and garage arrangements. Two of the lightweight sidecars (Peaty’s 2¾hp Hawker and Hall’s 2½hp OK) were seen in trouble near Chipping Norton. The bulk of the men checked in at Bath, with their mounts in showroom condition after the easiest day ever experienced in a big trial.
Tuesday, 155½ miles. Route: Bath, Weston, Caleot Farm, Dursley, Wooton-under-Edge, Kingswood, Wickwar, Chipping Sodbury, Keynsham, Bishopsworth, Cheddar Ounch, Bleadon, Highbridge, Bridgewater, Spaxton, Kingston, Crowcombe, Wivelscombe, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton.
Bright sunshine, a rising glass, and a cool, light north-west wind graced Tuesday morning’s start…The standing proverb about the Six Days is that the silly men drop out on the first day and the unlucky men on the second day. But this trial broke all records in easiness for two days…roads were sometimes narrow and twisty, occasionally rough, but never difficult. Half a dozen hills were officially observed, but their good surfaces and gentle gradient permitted any good 500cc solo to climb on top gear, or, at the worst, on second gear, with the throttle practically shut. The ride would have been actually boring for most of the competitors if the hope of earning bonus marks by phenomenally low petrol and oil consumptions had not kept them busy. Extraordinary efforts are being put forth in this direction, and the week’s consumptions are likely to prove illusive to the general public. Many riders free-wheeled down every slope, long or short, steep or gentle, and several sizeable engines are expected to register 120mpg of fuel for the week…Ebblewhite was out trying to trap men ahead of time. In the descent of Cheddar Gorge, Clayton Russell upset his Norton and cut, his forehead, but was able to continue. Cheddar was crowded with enthusiastic visitors, some of whom climbed several of the day’s test hills with four, five, or even six, passengers on their sidecar outfits…Stobart’s James sidecar unfortunately collided with a motor van eight miles out of Taunton. The frame was too badly buckled for further participation in the trials.
Wednesday, 175 miles. Route: Taunton, Wivelscombe, Raleigh’s Cross, Heath Poult Cross, Timberscombe, Wootton Courtney, Luccombe, Porlock, Lynmouth, Parraoombe, South Molton, Rackenford, Tiverton (lunch), Cullompton, Honiton, Sidford, Colyford, Lyme Regis, Morecombelake, Marshwood, Broadwindsor, Winsham, Chard, Combe St Nicholas, Taunton.
Wednesday morning broke fine and cool, thus robbing the one stiff day of all its terror. Porlock and Lynton hills were firmer and smoother than we had ever seen them. Edwards, on the 2¾hp Coulson-B, never required bottom gear except up these two famous hills, and the score sheet indicated that, if the speed and condition tests at Brooklands on the last day failed to impose heavy penalties, an unparalleled percentage of gold medals should be won. Wednesday’s route included no fewer than thirteen observed hills, but many riders roared up ten of them on top gear, and very few of the climbs reduced the smaller engines to their bottom ratios. Ariels, ridden by Newey and Woodcock, made easy ascents of Porlock, and when a privately-owned Triumph, with a lady on the carrier, went by, it was clear that Porlock had lost its terrors…The four-cylinder FNs made an excellent impression, climbing steadily and swiftly. The Scotts, too, were admired. Spectators appreciated the fact that the various makes were grouped together in the programme, and the men themselves ran so regularly that on hills the teams went up in a bunch…The four-speed P&Ms all made steady and sure ascents. North deserves special praise for the handling of his diminutive OK sidecar, which never faltered on Porlock. Three Martinsyde sidecars indulged in a little TT up the hill as they ascended almost side by side…When the lightweights arrived, Wall (Cedos) proved that the Somersetshire terror is no match for 250cc miniatures, but Lidstone (James) footed and then walked alongside, although he kept his engine running…Lynton was thronged with spectators, who were massed so as to obscure the riders’ view of the hairpin, so that Cunningham’s P&M narrowly missed crashing into the wall of rock on the left…Foster, on the Raleigh, got a special cheer because he tried to take a V turn up towards Lynton, and recovered finely when the crowd roared at him to go straight on…The Rev JW Fortnum was standing in the main street at Taunton with the world ‘Observer’ printed on his armlet. A working man going home to tea sang out, ‘Got a paper guv’nor?’ ‘Sold out!’ replied the ready parson…At Lynmouth the local milkman essayed to climb the hill with two enormous churns in the sidecar of his Triumph. He took the hairpin in fine’ style, and was loudly cheered. Higher up he conked out, and was immediately cheered again…The favourite jibe is to ask Mr Loughborough whether the trials route was planned by the Touring Department or the. Competitions Committee…Why is the ACU so fond of Taunton as a trials centre? Trouble always arises about accommodation. This year many men who had bought official coupons found themselves banished to back street villas over a mile from the official garage. A troop of boy scouts kindly attended to guide the exiles.
Thursday, 133 miles. Route: Taunton, Hemyock, Dunkerswell, Axminster, Perry Sheet, Crewkerne, Yeovil (lunch), Sherborne, Durweston, Shaftesbury, Warminster, Frome, Radstock, Bath.
To-day’s run proved to be another personally-conducted tour over 133 miles of absurdly easy country…none of the observed hills were steep enough to fetch a three-speeded baby two-stroke off its middle gear, the officials had a sinecure, except when some unfortunate changed up instead of down by mistake (as Lewis did with his P&M on Honiton Hill), or failed to get his gear lever well home in the gate (as happened to Buckle’s FN on Brass Knocker Hill). Thunderstorms oscillated over Somersetshire all the afternoon, and certain sidecars contained enough water by tea-time to put up the petrol consumptions quite appreciably…On arrival at Bath, a good many competitors had an unpleasant surprise. The silence marks were posted up, and twenty-eight men were penalised, of whom twelve had previously claimed clean sheets…Tom Peck damaged his crank case oil union irretrievably in tightening a nut. Lewis on his P&M muffed a gear change on Honiton Hill, and Buckle’s gear lever slipped out of its notch on Brass Knocker. FC North lost his first time marks in the afternoon through a series of misfortunes, the OK sidecar having a spotless record up to that point. A plug sooted up, and North promptly inserted the spare which all good motor cyclists keep ready to hand. Presently the spare plug fused its points, and some time was wasted in unearthing another spare. Within a mile the third plug also failed, and everything had to be unpacked again…The rainstorms on Thursday afternoon proved that very few licence holders are waterproof…Mr Easting, of windscreen fame, presented each competitor with a neat leather cigarette-case, full of Gold Flakes, designed to buckle over a Bowden wire on the handle-bar…Tank filling is a long job. Each ounce of oil and petrol is precious, and the men will not have the funnels withdrawn from their tanks till they are bone dry.
Friday, 131 miles. Route: Bath, Trowbridge, Edington, West Lavington, Maddington, Amesbury, Castle Hill, Lopcombe Corner, Stockbridge, Winchester (lunch), Bramdean, Petersfield, East Tisted, Alton, Brinsted, Hogsback, Guildford, Ripley, Brooklands.
The last day’s road work seemed likely to be damp, for the sky was grey and lowering. Descending Brass Knocker, a long top gear rise led towards Trowbridge and over the plains past Stonehenge, but hill tests were absent. The riders—or, as some people call them in memory of the war, the ‘PBI’—were despatched by 130 miles of devious roads, containing many loose flints and sandy stretches; but the gods were just, and no appreciable rain fell along the trials route. Everybody had grown quite contemptuous about the observed hills, but, after passing Petersfield, Wheatham Hill caused quite a lot of fun. Its second hairpin is quite violent, and the marshals had cunningly trained the spectators to be impassive. So everybody fancied the hill went straight on until they sighted a nasty little trail of blue doubling backwards…Wall took his Cedos right on top of the bank, and came off it again in proper Brooklands fashion…Gifford’s Martinsyde had cruel luck on Wheatham—one of its plugs fused a tiny metal thread across the points… lot of trouble occurred during the day. Cranch shed the silencer of his Rover, and, as he was riding in close company with other machines, did not miss it for seven miles. When he recovered it, he left his suit case in the road, and once more retraced his tracks—this time in vain…Readers will notice that this report contains far fewer ‘bouquets’ or ‘mentions in despatches’ than usual. It is quite impossible to single out individual riders or machines when the allotted task is so easy that everybody performs it comfortably, and, in addition, the paralysing petrol economy business prevented the men from attempting any speed work on the hills. The general impression made upon the spectators was that practically every machine was toying with its job…The organisation throughout has been excellent. If some critics complain that the road work has been child’s play, it nevertheless approximates very closely to the ordinary riding of the average owner…Harveyson (Harley) finished the road trial in a grey bowler hat, and one of the Ariels carried the ‘720’ milestone on his back. According to Loughborough, fewer men were standing for golds on Friday night this year than in the 1920 trial at a similar stage, ie, immediately before the speed test. This seems incredible; the secret checks must have caught a lot.
Saturday, speed tests at Brooklands: 250cc, 25 laps at 30mph; 350cc, 25 laps at 35mph; 500cc, 25 laps at 40mph; 750cc, 25 laps at 42mph; 1,000cc, 25 laps at 45mph; 600cc sidecars, 25 laps at 32mph; 1,000cc sidecars, 25 laps at 35mph; cycle cars, 25 laps at 36mph.
The officials had a harassing day on Saturday. The 250cc and 350cc machines had their tanks drained to complete the measurements of oil and petrol consumption. At 7.45am these two classes were started oh their twenty-five lap speed test…In an hour or so the small machines had completed their speed test, and climbed the test hill before undergoing the final examination for condition. After a chilly dawn, the sun shone out in blistering fashion, and the ACU staff must have been very weary men by nightfall…The AJS trio are said to be capable of a good 55mph, but there was no sense in taking risks, and they were content to lap in a clump at about 38mph. Kershaw, on the 250 New Imperial-JAP, was audacious enough to lap them by the half distance, and maintained his three-mile lead of the entire field to the finish, heading his stable companions by the same distance…Handley created great excitement by putting his OK on its stand right in the centre of the track when a plug needed attention…The 500cc and 750cc classes were next on the track, and as the oil consumption was no longer measured, we saw blue exhausts for the first time in the week. Several serious stops marred the speed of the bigger solo machines. Both the Dunelts burnt out their carbon brush holders, and Cathrick retired for this cause in his seventh lap. Nicholson (3½hp Martinsyde) seized his gear box on his eighth lap. Dankin (3½hp Rudge) broke a valve on his fifth lap, and the Duzmo retired after a regular packet of assorted troubles. The oil connection of Newey’s Ariel broke away, but he tied it up with a handkerchief. Searle (Henderson) ran out of oil, and Strange (James) punctured. The remainder enjoyed smoother experiences…The lame dogs of this class trailed on for a long time, as everybody who was not more than one hour late each night got a certificate. The big sidecars in Class G occupied the full width of the track when they were lined up, with hubs all but touching, in front of the timekeeper’s box, and their start was a magnificent spectacle. Considerable rivalry existed, to which the uncertainties of the team prize added fuel, and the leaders set a cracking pace for several laps until prudence reasserted itself. Four Matchless outfits jumped off with a good lead, and O’Brien drove as if his riding orders were to play the hare, whilst his colleagues played the tortoise. Singer had a long stop on his fifth lap, and Breese needed more oil after fourteen laps; some of the back tyres were stained black by oily exhausts. On the eighteenth lap O’Brien had a stop, and Ellis took the lead, which he held to the finish, he and his passenger contriving to replenish their oil tank as they roared round at speed. It transpired that O’Brien was
changing a valve. The positions kept changing in kaleidoscopic fashion, but the stoppages were few and petty, except that Fell-Smith (Brough-Superior) broke his back exhaust valve, damaged a cylinder, and had to be towed in…One competitor averaged 2,400mpg of oil on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. But Wednesday’s hills pulled his average down to 1,500mpg…Several of the competitors actually cleaned their machines as they rode along. This practice was specially noticeable towards the final check on each day…Late in the week the ACU rang up the London Office of The Motor Cycle to enquire if we could furnish thirty-six lap scorers for the speed test. The Martinsyde Co kindly furnished no fewer than twenty-two of the required number…The trade teams usually ‘clumped’ in the speed test. The P&M sidecars were never far apart But the palm must be awarded to Howard Davies, Williams, and Harris, whose three AJS machines lapped abreast, as if they had been dressed by a sergeant in the Guards.
Provisional results: 89 starters, 20 retired, 54 gold medals, 6 silver medals, 3 bronze medals, 3 certificates, 1 disqualified. Basis of awards: marks credited at the start, 545, made up of reliability, 100, hill-climbing, 100, braking, 25, silence, 20, speed, 100, petrol consumption, 50, oil consumption, 50, condition at finish, 100. Every competitor who has not lost more than 10% of the marks allotted him under each of the eight tests is awarded a gold medal; if not more than 20%, a silver medal; if not more than 25%, a bronze medal. Certificates are issued to all who complete the trial.
Class leaders: 250cc, B Kershaw 2¼hp New Imperial), 577; 350cc, GF Mason (2½hp Connaught), 610; 500cc, G Strange (3½hp James), 616; W Moore (3¾hp Scott), 631; 600cc sidecars, GM Townsend (3½hp P&M), 601; 1,000cc sidecars, R Croucher (8hp Matchless), 632; cycle cars, HFS Morgan (Morgan), 627. Best petrol consumption: 250cc, L Horton (New Imperial), 127mpg; 350cc, CL Sprosen (Connaught), 132.5mpg; 500cc, G Strange (3½hp James), 101.6mpg; 750cc, W Moore (3¾hp Scott), 98.1mpg; 600cc sidecars, A Milner (2½hp OK), 87.7mpg; 1,000c sidecars, MC Russell (Norton), 77.35mpg; cycle cars, HFS Morgan (Morgan), 61.1mpg.
It was generally agreed on Saturday that the 1921 Six Days Trials of the Auto Cycle Union were the easiest yet planned. But for Wednesday’s trip over Exmoor, the conditions encountered were less severe than a motor cyclist includes in his holiday tour…The most difficult test of all was undoubtedly the twenty-five laps of Brooklands as a wind-up to the road test. Trouble and breakdowns were frequent in this speed burst, some of them admittedly due to the riders setting themselves too hot a pace in order to gain bonus marks. ” Ixion, not for the first time, had the last word on the Six Days Trial: “Really there is no pleasing some people. Last year the ACU hills were criticised as machine-smashing precipices, and this year, with one or two exceptions, as the sort of grade up which any healthy troop of boy scouts could double with their trek carts. I noticed that each hill, however insignificant, drew its assembly of the local k’nuts, whose rapt earnestness proclaimed that they were interested in the climbing. If this type of rider ventures to visit Porlock or Lynmouth,
he talks about it for months, or even years, afterwards. I believe the 1921 trials represent popular hill-climbing standards far more accurately than ever the 1920 event did…In 1920 the ACU staged a regular machine-smasher of a trial. They compounded a prescription in which the Alps and the devastated Somme area were the principal ingredients. They stopped us all on Summer Lodge. They made us sport for gods and men up Park Rash. They caused the sturdy tykes to guffaw by washing out these failures and cutting Rosedale Abbey Bank out of the trial when the procession had nearly reached the foot of that super-gulley. Their final mood of 1920 was enduring, for it dictated the 1921 course, which consisted of four short joy-rides over flattish roads on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; a hilly tour on Wednesday, which might have been Waterloo for many if rain had fallen in sheets, but was actually less arduous than fifteen of my pleasure runs this season; and on Saturday they subjected the survivors to seventy-six miles of two-thirds throttle on Brooklands bumps. By a perfectly comic series of contretemps, many leading firms abstained, and so robbed themselves of the easiest gold medals which the ACU ever awarded. The machines were subjected to just the kind of test to which nine private owners out of ten put their mounts. There were no freak tasks. Nothing was exaggerated. The trial reproduced with considerable accuracy the riding conditions of private ownership—easy roads, short distances, moderate speed, and fair weather. Even the concluding speed burst on Brooklands was not excessive; in a year the average commercial machine does a greater distance at similar speeds, with
an inexpert driver up, without special tuning, and often with a far greater load on board (eg, a pillion flapper, an extra passenger or passengers in the sidecar, a good weight of extra luggage, and over inferior surfaces)…the machines were demonstrated to thousands of potential motor cyclists in the southern counties. They were displayed toying with tasks which are their routine work. The exhibition can have done no harm, and may have done lots of good. By contrast, the crowds at the 1920 hills consisted chiefly of people who were already motor cyclists, and who came to see acrobatics and obtain thrills while such non-riders as were present were frightened, or shocked, or disgusted. 1920 was certainly bad propaganda; the quality of the 1921 propaganda is questionable—no sensible man found it impressive…it is stated with great emphasis that 1921 was the first trial to show the heavy sidecar in its true colours. In most Six Days events, Saturday reveals a shattered battalion in this class. Many of the entries hive fallen by the way; and those who survive are alleged to be lashed together with copper wire. This year twenty-three big sidecar outfits were entered. One driver fell sick, another hit a lorry; and twenty-one arrived, intact and resplendent, at Brooklands…Next year the pendulum will swing the other way. The trade are quite cute enough to see that an easy trial, which furnishes our best machines with no more credit than is earned by the Bugmobike, of which only three have ever been constructed, is of little use to anybody. Those obstreperous trade influences which smoothed down the 1921 event will be clamouring for something stiff, yet sane, next year. Public opinion will push in the same direction. The ACU learnt in 1920 that it must not overdo the ‘colonial’ stunt. After its 1921 experience, it will not be likely to underdo it.”
“THERE ARE SEVERAL SIDECAR OUTFITS in this country fitted with reverse gears, the utility of which appears to be confined to providing amusement for friends of the owners. The other evening a member of The Motor Cycle staff found a reverse distinctly, disconcerting. He runs a large two-stroke outfit. On starting the. engine, he failed to observe that it was running in a direction reverse to usual, and only discovered this on engaging the gear. Two-stroke owners should not start their engines with the ignition too far advanced.”
“HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE ASSEMBLED on a recent week-end on the slopes of the well-known Shropshire mountain, the Wrekin, which rises to 1,366ft, to see a 2¼hp Velocette three-speed motor cycle, with a Canoelet sidecar and adult passenger, make a non-stop ascent. This was accomplished by G Denley five times in succession, much to the amazement of many motor cyclists, who had come to see it not done, as the gradient in places is 1 in 2½. Several other Velocette riders went over the top, one with ‘two up’.”
“RETURNING recently to London from a holiday trip to North Wales, an acquaintance of ours was hailed by two apparently able-bodied and intelligent young men and asked if he would repair a puncture in the rear cover of their lightweight machine; they did not ‘know much about removing tyres’. He complied with the request, but even now, our friend complains, he is not quite sure whether or not he was imposed upon. This, we are afraid, is not an exceptionally uncommon occurrence on the road nowadays, when the motor cycle is adopted by so many who know little more than the effects of control lever movement. For the motor cycle has passed that stage when it was necessary to have a fairly extensive technical knowledge before venturing far afield. At the same time, punctures, broken belts, and the like are still a source of potential trouble to all; and we do not think it too much to ask that every rider should be equipped for, and capable of effecting, such minor repairs himself, without straining the unequalled fraternity of the road that at present exists between all good motor cyclists.”
“SIDECAR ATTACHMENTS—DEDUCTIONS, criticisms, and suggestions drawn from a review of current methods of securing sidecar chassis to motor cycles: Fear and trembling characterise the attitude in which one approaches the subject specified in this title. Only in the matter of tyre and rim sizes is there so much lack of unanimity and demonstration of the workings of the illogical mind; and when, in addition to this, we run up against flagrant negations of accepted mechanical practice, the pen is taken up in the spiritless fashion of one who knows the meaning of the phrase regarding the stepping in of fools where the angels fear to tread…one manufacturer will adopt a more or less ‘ideal’ straight-tube triangulated system, while another will
purposely bend every one of his connecting tubes. The former looks askance at the product of the latter, dubbing it ‘unscientific’, while the latter justifies his curved tubes by saying that they eliminate breakages, thanks to the spring and ‘whip’ which they permit…there are many sidecars connected to machines by what, to the mechanical mind, are masses of contorted tubing applied in an unthinking manner yet, strange to say, some of these are amongst the most successful on the road, and give a minimum of trouble, and are the cause of no serious frame breakages…it
seems that the ideal is reached, so far as rigid-framed machines are concerned, if a certain amount of flexibility is permitted between the cycle frame and the sidecar chassis. Where spring-framed machines are used, however, or where a spring wheel sidecar is fitted on a rigid machine, the connections need to be stiff and strong…Where joints of the usual yoke and spigot variety are employed the jaws of the yoke should be arranged to take the spigot vertically and, preferably, should not be locked tightly with the yoke-end bolt. Chain-stay attachments clipped (not too tightly) to a round section tube are infinitely preferable to a rigid connection brazed or screwed horizontally into the cycle fork-end, for the latter is a potential source of frame trouble. Yet, with extraordinary perversity, those who are responsible for the production of sidecar machines are so imbued with the fetish of integral sidecar attachments that they frequently overlook the stresses involved and the most suitable method of mitigating their ill-effect.” Wharfedale.
“A DIFFICULTY OFTEN EXPERIENCED in equipping machines with dynamo lighting is the arrangement of a suitable drive to the generator, if such a fitting has not already been provided for in the original layout by the designer of the power unit…to meet this difficulty the Wattalite dynamo and transmission, by means of flexible shaft and gearing from the back wheel, has been evolved, and it appears to be quite practical. A gear wheel is attached to the spokes of the rear wheel, while the pinion on the flexible shaft is attached to the offside rear fork of the machine. The wheels are enclosed, so that the drive is adequately protected from mud and grit, and the actual dynamo is driven by means of a speedometer pattern cable having an ample margin of strength. The generator, which is designed to give an output of ]6 watts (4 volts 4 amps), is situated on the top tube.”
“THE LIVERPOOL MC’S RELIANCE CUP event is usually held rather late in the year, when the weather is bad; and the contest has a reputation which it shares with the city of Manchester, ‘always raining’. With such well-known hills as Alt-y-Bady and Conquering Hero, not to mention the new finds at Ffrith (the soi-distant Horsman’s Ladder) and Bodfari Station, a trial which included seven watersplashes, five other observed hills, one hairpin, and half its mileage over rough lanes of barely sidecar width, would be the height of difficulty. As it was, the sun shone clearly all day, and the rain of the previous night had left no trace; therefore, the difficult became easy—
so to speak, and with qualifications—and a high percentage of the fifty-one starters finished to time…it was evident that much nervousness existed as to the watersplashes. Magnetos were plastered with grease; indeed GW Shepherd (8hp Excelsior sc) had about 2lb of it smeared round the contact breaker and the brush holders, while the Norton contingent favoured sponge bags, and quite a number of special silencing arrangements were fitted. WS Maldon (8hp Zenith) had a flexible extension pipe from the silencer outlet to the carrier top, as had SH Beard (6hp Excelsior sc), and one or two of the Sunbeam riders. Miss F Cottle (4hp Triumph) not only had a permanent exhaust pipe directed high up behind the machine, but beside the tank had a Stauffer screw-greaser with a pipe down to the flanges of the
countershaft pulley. This apparatus was charged with belt dressing, so that the effects of the watersplashes could be counteracted. As it transpired, all these elaborate precautions were unnecessary, for there was scarcely a splash with enough water in it to wet the rims of the machines…At Cwmman the fifth and most difficult watersplash was encountered; it was not deep, but the flow of the stream was treacherous, and caused the solo men to flounder about, the most surprising thing being Eric Williams’s failure, for his Sunbeam stopped just as he reached the far side…One wonders if the committee had any consideration for the fact that Alt-y-Bady was to be climbed almost immediately after lunch, when they selected a temperance establishment for that meal; neither courage nor comfort was to be had, in liquid form at any rate…Ovations were earned by Miss Cottle (4hp Triumph) and Miss Pickering (4hp Powell), who handled their machines in masterly fashion. Westwood Wills (4hp Powell), all out to win his ‘middle gear’ sixpenny sweepstake,
almost reached the summit before changing down to low…Bennett (3½hp Sunbeam) evidently thought he was still in the Grand Prix, and his stable companion Dance made a similarly fast ascent, of the ‘rough’ order—leaping into the air and righting his machine in a wonderful fashion, entirely calculated to deter the, average non-motor cyclist from purchasing such a terrifically dangerous vehicle. In reliability trials riding it is a pity that makers cannot persuade some of their men, at any rate, to show the public just how docile and gentle an ascent can be made—without heroics, without perspiration…GW Shepherd’s lady passenger sat on the carrier of his 8hp Excelsior sidecar, bumping violently—admittedly almost a necessary thing to do on such a hill, but, again, neither good propaganda nor particularly pleasing to see…On the whole, the trial was a thoroughly sporting one. The weather conditions favoured the competitors to a remarkable degree, and the organisation, except at the lunch stop, was excellent.”
“SIR,—I RECENTLY RODE A MOTOR CYCLE and sidecar from London to York, via Leicester, Derby, Sheffield, and Doncaster…from Sheffield to Doncaster and Ferrybridge, and thence to Tadcaster, there are large portions which are little short of murderous. Three months ago parts were under repair; now those parts alone stand out like oases along a real Via Dolorosa. Picture papers have just been showing some sort of queer new toy on which you stand and bounce heavenwards. Take a cycle from Doncaster to Tadcaster, and you have learned all there is to know about bouncing. Some of the pot-holes are like young bathing-pools, though here and there a cynical road-man was amusing himself by converting a hole into a mound. In one place for many yards you had to pass over a carpet of raw earth and jagged flints, the road having been riven asunder and left to repent of its sins. In one or two places there are short stretches of perfect surface. One supposes these are put in as a temptation to the unwary. Whether the wicked are punished in this world or another is open to_discussion, perhaps, but I hope this dream I had comes true: for I beheld the Ultimate Man Concerned stand on trial before a demoniac court, and the judge put on the black cap; amid the shudders of the spectators, he was condemned to ride for all eternity to and fro over the road from Sheffield to York. And, sir, I may tell you that the Wandering Jew and the Flying Dutchman will be kings to that UMC.
(Mrs) Constance H Linney.”
“FOR RIDING FOR A DISTANCE of from fifty to sixty yards on the footpath, a Southport motor cyclist has been fined 40s. The defendant alleged that the road was so bad that the last time he traversed it, it cost him 17s 6d for repairs.”
“THE MOTOR CYCLE IS THE LANDSMAN’S yacht—cruising craft or a racer, as the case may be, and it is rather surprising that the adoption of colours, a la yacht clubs, has not become universal. Many clubs have adopted a badge for the handle-bar or the front number plate, but that represents something more to clean and to catch the dust. Other clubs—very few, indeed—have their flags. Among these are the Public Schools MCC, the Worcester &DMCC, the Glasgow MCC, and the Edinburgh &DMC…The Glasgow club went so far as to have a pennant designed by Mr Graham Johnston, herald painter to the Lyon Court…The device may be taken to symbolise Scottish motoring with caution. In the quaint language of heralds, the pennant is blazoned: azure, on a saltire argent a triangle gules voided of the second…it is usually carried on a pole on the front number plate. Favoured members may have their pennant embroidered by the lady passenger. The president of the club is entitled to display the flag in rectangular form, 4x5in, and a method of distinguishing other officials of the club, say, by double-tailed pennons, could be devised. Yacht clubs have their burgees, and the Caravan Club its pennant; motor cycle clubs should also display their colours…Mr J Norman Longfield, chairman of the Yorkshire Centre ACU, writes: ‘At the last Board meeting of the Yorkshire Centre of the Auto-Cycle Union, it was unanimously decided that each club affiliated to the union in Yorkshire should have its own registered club colours. The club secretaries were instructed to send in to a committee appointed by the Board an application for the colours his club desire. The colours allotted to a club may be used in any way that club may desire, but it is considered that the great majority will carry their colours in the form of a small flag or pennant.’.”
A FEW WEEKS LATER THE BLUE ‘UN reported: “We have received many letters from club secretaries, in which they state that the general adoption of the idea is supported by their members. On this page we are able to give illustrations of a dozen more club flags, and next year, no doubt, many more clubs win adopt the flag scheme. Some clubs have badges in enamels to match the flags.”
“TWO CONSISTENT RECORD BREAKERS, RN Judd and CF Temple, were very busy at Brooklands on Monday and Tuesday of last week, and both were successful, the former on a 3½hp Norton breaking two, and the latter on a 7-9hp Harley-Davidson, with and without sidecar, beating eight in all, and, incidentally, raising the British flying mile to 100mph (exactly) for the first time.”
IXION WAXED WHIMSICAL OVER SIDESTANDS: “I know now what the lady novelists mean when they describe the ineffable pride with which the young papa surveys his first offspring as the nurse lays it in his timid arms. For have I not actually received a sample prop stand—the first of many in preparation—after years of clamouring for this useful accessory. It weighs 2lb 4oz. Mechanically, it is quite simple—a telescopic leg, horizontally hinged to a split lug, which is bolted to the near side chain stay of the bicycle. A collar on the head of the leg contains three notches, any of which can be locked by a tiny spring pedal. One notch is located so as to hold the leg vertically upwards out of the way; the remaining notches give you a choice of angles in the active position. The only criticism which I can make is that dirt and dust may cause the hinge and the pedal to work stiffly, and that I rather fancy certain alternative designs may weigh less. Meanwhile, I am using the stand with considerable gusto.” Within weeks, Ixion reported: “The deluge has started, and I shall soon be searchng in vain for naked bits of tube on my ‘bus to which to affix fresh prop stands. The machine absolutely bristles with them, and I can never take another toss, for, whichever way it fell, one of them would support it. The 2lb 4oz Taylor stand was the first to go on, and proved a great blessing on multi-stop rides. It is not perfect; it weighs too much; it takes two hands—or a toe and a hand—to operate it, but it is far better than the ordinary rear stand. I am now testing a sample which arrived anonymously, with an indecipherable post-mark, and scales no more than 6oz, being designed to fit on to a footrest or footboard. Moreover, you just knock it down with your toe, as it is locked up or down by a short coil spring acting on each side of a dead centre like the Rudge rear stand. I fancy everybody will want a prop stand of some kind next year.” Sadly, the honeymoon didn’t last long: “Don’t tumble over yourselves, dear readers, to buy up the prop stands of which I have written. Doubtless some of them will be OK by show time, but as yet most of them are in the experimental condition. I was adoring one of mine the other day when its leg suddenly wilted, and down came my beloved jigger on its hip bone with an awful crash, to the great glee of the pals whom I had summoned to do poojah to the new accessory. It transpired during the post mortem that the carcase of the beastie was made of brass, to which the steel tube leg was affixed by a small pin; the pin bit through the brass as if it were Cheddar cheese. I am now bolting on two more, after testing them with a file to see if there is any brass about them; but I must admit that I stand near the machine when they are in action, with my arms out-stretched like the hero in a film serial when the villain is terrifying the heroine into diving out of a skyscraper fifteenth storey window. Brass! Ugh!”
THE GREAT MAN’S ATTENTION WAS also caught by reverse gears: “A new gear box which the Sturmey-Archer people are bringing towards the production point will embody three speeds and a reverse, and should prove invaluable to the motor cycle trade. Cycle car folk naturally have the first claim on it, as it will save them having to carry their tails round when they want to reverse in a narrow lane; sales managers always say that it is child’s play to lift a cycle car round, but personally I would as soon drag a fainting woman out of the gallery of a theatre, for most of the grips which a cycle car tail provides are extremely sharp, and liberally smeared with dirt and oil. But I suppose the sidecar people will also be after the new gear box, and that our 1922 motor cycle gymkhanas will list a novelty on the programme—racing backwards on sidecars.”
“ALTHOUGH SOMEWHAT MARRED BY stormy weather, the first annual inter-club rally of the North London MCC, held at Hendon on Saturday, was a decided success. The chief award, the challenge shield presented by Mr AJF Beaurain, was gained by the Connaught MCC, which attained the highest figure of merit (ie, percentage of members present multiplied by mileage from club headquarters). A strong wind, unfortunately, nullified the facilities offered to those present for flights at a reduced rate, and although several flights were enjoyed, chief interest centred on the minor competitions. Mrs Uhde, of the Surbiton &DMCC, gained the special prize (a Vici
carburetter) for having ridden the greatest distance to the meet, whilst Walter Scott’s expenditure of energy in polishing his machine was awarded by the gift of an Elite motor cycle cover. Both of these prizes were presented by the manufacturers. Two ‘gymkhana’ events had for their awards copies of Motor Cycles and How to Manage Them and Tracing Troubles (presented by this journal; but on consideration it would seem that the former prize was almost too cruelly appropriate! EW Cholcroft’s AJS sidecar won the prize of a Service motor cycle watch for having the most ingenious ‘gadget’. His machine was fitted with several detail modifications, particularly to the lubricating system, and to the air intake of the carburetter. There is little doubt that this rally will become a most popular annual event.”
“IF A THAMES PUNT WERE OFFERED to a North Canadian trapper there is no doubt that he would laugh it to scorn, yet a punt has certain advantages over the birch-bark canoe, just as the latter for certain purposes is superior to the punt. One could go on indefinitely with such examples of special means for special needs, but the one given above suffices to illustrate the point we wish to emphasise in connection with the Autoglider. It is not exactly a motor cycle, yet it belongs to that category it is not a scooter, although by most people it is regarded as such. It is in one of the sub-divisions, just as the canoe and the punt come into the general category of boats, and, like either of the types of watercraft, it has a place in the world of transportation. For a considerable period during the summer we had one of these machines in use, and at the outset we made a mistake which approximated to offering a punt to a Canadian woodsman—we offered it to a sporting member of the staff, whose ideals cause him to eschew such refinements as spring frames and small two-stroke engines. He laughed at it. Our next offer was to a very tall, very dignified, and very sensitive member of the staff, who continually complains that all motor cycles are built for dwarfs. It was refused with indignation after a private trial in view of a grinning office boy, who, incidentally, half expected that it would be handed to him. (We more than suspect that he had completely mastered its control during a luncheon hour.) Now it happened that one short-limbed member of the staff had two peculiarities; one was a penchant for perfectly-creased trousers, and the other a long-abiding love for a motor cycle with a very dirty engine. He was thus prevented from riding to the office unless in motor cycling attire. He did not wait to be asked if he would use the Autoglider. He put in his claim simultaneously with that of the Editor’s lady private secretary, who fell in love with the polished mahogany bodywork at sight. During the Autoglider’s stay in Coventry it was used by every member of the staff and by others. Some rode it once, others perhaps twice—when they were in a hurry and their own machine was not available—and quite a number used it because they really liked it. It was borrowed for week-ends by riders of both sexes; it was used on shopping excursions, it went on a short tour, and one early morning it was the victor in a private match between an Autoglider enthusiast and the owner of another machine of a similar type. To summarise the opinions of many riders, we have had to eliminate the views of those who regard the motor cycle purely as an accessory to sport. The Autoglider was designed to meet specific requirements, and these needs are fulfilled. It is extremely easy to ride; one pushes off, drops the compression release lever, and the engine fires, the the clutch lever is raised, and the machine comes to a standstill while the rider makes himself or herself (usually the latter) comfortable. The Autoglider’s name has not been derived from the manner in which the machine glides off on the clutch; the full meaning of its name comes home to the rider when once under way. In the world of wheels there is nothing that gives quite the same sensation as the Autoglider. Its spring frame functions perfectly, while, on a really bad road, a second unique sensation is
experienced, and may be likened to a canter on a well-trained horse. At no time does one feel road shocks, and as for the speed—well, if it were not so easy to control, one would almost say it was too fast. There is no doubt that this seat-type Autoglider is a great improvement on the seatless type. The seat considerably extends its range of action. We once covered forty miles at over 20mph on a stand-up model, and found it somewhat fatiguing—in fact, it was only the excellent springing that made the achievement possible at all. We hesitate before criticising one point which seemed a disadvantage. It did not prove so easy to push about as a motor cycle; but this is a motor cyclist’s view. In contradiction to this we ought to mention that a lady who made the same complaint regarding a lightweight motor bicycle found no difficulty in handling the Autoglider, but found a disadvantage in the fact that it could not be wheeled directly over the kerb. This is due to the small wheels and the weight of the engine at the front. The box under the seat is a very useful item; especially does this appeal when shopping. In this receptacle the tool roll, a spare tube, and repair outfit are always at hand without having to undo a number of straps. A spare can of oil can also be carried—an advantage when it is remembered that on filling up at a garage one cannot always buy a gill of oil to mix with the petrol. There is still room for small parcels. The price with clutch is £65, while several other models are marketed from £40. The manufacturers are Autoglider Ltd, Birmingham.”
“IN PLACING THE NEW 1,000cc twin Duzmo on the market, the manufacturers are making a direct appeal to the sporting section of riders to whom power, speed, and flexibility are great attractions. It has often been stated that this section of the public has no wide choice of British machines; thus the new Duzmo will be an attractive addition to the high-powered solo class. The cylinders closely resemble that of the single-cylinder model which competed in the ACU Six Days Trials. The finish of the engine is excellent, and the appearance most attractive…Transmission is by chain throughout, a Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear providing the necessary change of ratios. Rear braking is carried out by means of a shoe operating on a dummy belt rim, and a Webb internal brake is incorporated in the front wheel. Wide petrol tank, straight handle-bars, and narrow mudguards provide a very sporting appearance to the macliine; though, in the case of the touring model, ample mudguards are provided and it has an expansion chamber of generous dimensions…Whether the new Duzmo will succeed in attaining a 100mph gait on the track or not, its performance in competitions will be watched with interest.”
“THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL TEAM TRIAL between Holland and Great Britain is now an event of the past. This year held in England, the event has afforded motor cyclists of this country an opportunity to return to a party of Dutch riders the hospitality extended to the British team, in the 1920 trial in Holland. Nothing but good can accrue from such events would that there were more of them. Not only are friendships made between individuals, but such fraternising helps to cement the friendship of nations. The motor cycles ridden by the British team were exclusively of English manufacture, but the mounts of the visitors represented the productions of Holland, America, Italy, and Great Britain. Thus the trial was of a character in keeping with the spirit that brought the series into being : it was a competition between the chosen riders—and not machines—of two nations which appreciate motor cycling as a sport, as distinct from a pastime and its utilitarian advantages. In arranging the trial in this country, the organisers displayed the characteristic spirit of British sportsmanship. There are no really severe hills in Holland, and to have included some of even the less difficult test-hills would have consider- ably enhanced the chances of the home team. To all competitors the route was a secret one, and in every way the conditions were such that the visiting team was at no time under a disadvantage through being in a strange country. We feel sure that our guests have returned to Holland agreeing that England is a country well worth the visiting, and that British motor cyclists are ready always to extend to them a hearty welcome…First held in Holland in 1912, the Anglo-Dutch Team Trial is quite unique.
It has no parallel in any other event in the motor cycle world. A team of 18 Dutch riders, chosen by their fellow motor cyclists, compete in a reliability trial against a similar team of riders representing Great Britain. In the first event, held in Holland in 1912, the Dutch team won. 1913 saw a British victory in this country. The 1914 trial was abandoned owing to the outbreak of the war, and in the 1920 test in Holland, the Dutch riders were the victors and so secured the original trophy. This year’s contest is the first of the second series and has been won by the British team…The Dutch riders are undoubtedly very fast men in a speed burst on average roads; they are also thorough sportsmen, but—they cannot climb hills. There were notable exceptions, of course, but that is the general impression of this highly successful and enjoyable trial, the road (and track) portion of which took place on Monday over an indirect route from Worcester to Brooklands…Breakfast as guests of the Essex MC was followed by an escorted ride to Leamington, and, the Midland Centre, ACU, having taken over the party at Towcester, dinner that night at the Town Hall, Leamington, was provided, right royally, by the latter body. So was luncheon at
the Shakespeare Hotel, Stratford-on-Avon, where, on Sunday, the visitors had every opportunity of inspecting one of the show places of England. In the afternoon a move was made to Worcester, the Western Centre taking official charge of the Dutch team at Alcester, amid the usual scenes of much enthusiasm. That night a dinner was held at the Guildhall, Worcester, when the competitors of both countries were welcomed by the Earl Beauchamp and the Mayor of Worcester…On Sunday evening, when the competitors were rigging up their official numberplates and filling tanks…many of the Dutch team were observed taking down and cleaning out carburetters, testing tyre valves, and effecting all sorts of back-aching precautionary measures. Excepting, perhaps, G Nott, who changed a tyre on his Matchless outfit, the English team ‘stood easy’…Thirty seconds were allowed in which to start up engines from cold, but this proved a generous allowance, and only O Hayes 2¾hp AJS) lost marks on this score; a night in a damp garage had caused a sticky contact breaker…For the first ten miles it was a main road run, then a by-road past Malvern Link Station, more good or fair going through Welland to Holly Bush cross roads,
and then, for the first time, a narrow track reminiscent of the usual English reliability trial. This led to the first serious hill, a stony rise, about two hundred yards long, with a maximum grade of 1 in 5, and approached by a sharp left-hand corner. None of the English riders turned a hair; but quite a few of the rival team lost their non-stops. JR Donker (2¾hp Royal Ruby) came to a stand-still about half-way up, and seemed surprised, and E Ekker (4hp Bianchi), apparently taking his cue from the man in front, did likewise. Both paddled on to the summit, amid a tuneful chorus of ‘konks’. There was a momentary lull, and then three, more, CJH Wolff (2¾hp Royal Ruby), H Bieze (2¾hp Royal Ruby), and—tell it not to Mr Norton!—M van den Jagt (3½hp Norton), simultaneously decided that fifty yards climbing was enough at a time. One of the trio should be able to claim a baulk—which one, it would be difficult to say, for all three had much trouble in getting going again on the grade, meanwhile baulking HR Davies. Indeed the majority of the Dutch competitors suffered from a lack of previous acquaintance of single-figure gradients, and, therefore, had no true idea of the capabilities of their machines. The Simplex riders were noteworthy, exceptions, their machines providing quite the surprise of the trial…T Kersten (4hp Harley-Davidson) missed his first gear change, ran back, fell, pulled his machine upright across the road, and then fell over on his other side…Just to show that Birdlip is a severe hill, EB Ware’s Matchless sidecar knocked quite appreciably before second gear was brought into action and then, to confirm it, JA Hanse, on an old 6hp Enfield sidecar, failed in a variety of ways to make a clean climb. His passenger had quite a strenuous time pushing the heavy outfit up. While this was going on, Sam Wright (4½hp Humber sc) passed at speed with a look somewhat akin to amazement
on his face…FJ Visscher’s Indian sidecar was now largely held by wire, while the same rider had had trouble with his engine sprocket…The luncheon arrangements at Newbury were very poor, and must have created a poor impression upon our visitors, which is to be regretted by all who know how well the British team was treated in this respect last year…Unfortunately, one of the Dutch team—H Fels (7-9hp Harley-Davidson sc), the private owners’ captain—collided with the Indian lorry on arrival at Brooklands and suffered a dislocated collar-bone. His place was taken by one of the reserves. On arrival at Brooklands, and after filling up with petrol, the competitors proceeded to the fork for the start of the twelve laps (36.2 miles) at speed. The speeds required by the regulations were as follows: 275cc solo and 600cc sidecars, 28mph; 350cc and 500cc solo and 1,000cc sidecars, 35mph; 1,000cc solo, 40mph…The visiting sidecarists created some interest by riding their machines in a bunch and in close order—not a very safe proceeding…J Whalley (3½hp Sunbeam) ran into the paddock during the speed test, but later reappeared; nevertheless, he succeeded in making fastest time, his average speed working out at 48mph. Nott’s Matchless sidecar averaged 46mph, while Geoffrey Smith (3½hp Sunbeam) was third at 45.68mph. Excepting the visiting lightweights, the majority of the speeds were over 40mph. After Brooklands, the competitors journeyed to Thames Ditton for the dinner arranged by the ACU and the entertainment provided by the Surbiton MCC at the Vaudeville Club. Here it was announced provisionally that the British team had won with a loss of 52 marks as against 256 marks lost by the Dutch team…Fifteen British contestants gained gold medals, seven silver medals, and one a bronze medal. Of the Dutch team, twelve gained gold medals and eleven silver medals…H Fels, the captain of the Dutch private owners, who met with an accident after having made a non-stop run, will be awarded a gold medal…On Tuesday, when the Dutch team left for Holland, they had the opportunity of looking over the JAP works at Tottenham, and were subsequently entertained to luncheon by Mr JA Prestwich at the Royal Forest Hotel, Chingford…They prefer powerful twins, a cut-out seems to be a sine qua non, they wear leather coats almost exclusively (black or brown), they affect racing helmets at all times, they prefer pillion riding astride with a hand-rail for support, their sidecars are mostly on the right-hand side, and the louder, the horn, the more they like it.”
“SIR,—WHY NOT PUT THE MOTOR CYCLE within the reach of the average working man? The deposits asked for by the motor cycle agents are too high. If one could afford to pay £15 down and £3 a month, one could afford to buy right out. If the agents could lower the deposits and extend the payments, say over about twenty months, it would put a motor cycle within the reach of thousands who, like myself, must be content to read about them.
IXION WRITES. ENJOY! “JOURNALISTS are commonly supposed to use ten words where one will do, and this reprehensible habit is accounted for by the fact that the meaner kind of journalist gets his remuneration at space rates. But a breezy letter just to hand from an ACU consul, who also belongs to one of the learned professions, speaks of ‘a slight difference of opinion in relative kinetics between my Norton and myself’. Never again will I be content with the simple Saxon word ‘crash’. In the last two years the said consul has owned three Nortons (BRS, IOM, and 4hp), a Scott, a Velocette, an ABC, a single-cylinder FN, and a four-cylinder FN. I wonder if any other reader can match this high-class stud? The IOM Norton’s mileage for nineteen months is 26,000, and it is still using its original main and con rod bearings.”
“HIGH PETROL COSTS AND HEAVY TAXATION have had an important influence on German motor cycle design, as could be plainly seen in the models exhibited at the first Berlin post-war motor show…During the war our late enemies made little or no use of motor cycles, and there was consequently no development of design. With the return to peace conditions, they had to face heavy taxation and particularly high fuel costs, for although home-produced benzole is used to a considerable extent, American petrol is also necessary, and is very costly to the German, whose mark is only worth an American cent. Because of these conditions, the German industry has turned towards the motor-assisted bicycle. In the Kaiserdamm Palace, a huge hall erected on the western suburbs of Berlin specially for motor shows, there is every conceivable variety of motor-assisted bicycle. And the German engineers appear to have taxed their brains to discover in how many different positions they can mount these little engines in an ordinary bicycle frame. They are in
front, behind, on top, at the bottom, placed at all angles, and drive by belt, chain, and friction pulleys. The motor wheel type is favoured by the Opel Co, one of the biggest manufacturers of cars and bicycles, while the numerous other and smaller firms prefer to attach the machine to the bicycle frame. There is only one exception in the LFG, which has a motor wheel trailing behind, and which pushes the bicycle…The German motor cycle industry is very much smaller
than that of England…The two German firms best known outside their own territory in pre-war days—NSU and Wanderer—do not present machines with any new features of design, construction evidently having been taken up just where it was left off in 1914. Some of the really big factories, however, do not despise the motor cycle. As an example, the BMW, a company which developed a huge factory at Munich for the production of aviation engines, is specialising on a flat twin of very up-to-date design, built in various sizes for motor cycles and cycle cars. Labour costs being low in Bavaria, and the value of the mark having shrunk enormously, a unit such as this might be a serious competitor on
foreign markets As to the complete machines, there is not very much to be feared from them, for although they have the advantage of low price when placed on a foreign market, they are, generally speaking, not equal to the British product. Another good unit for assemblers is the Bergmann, a V-type with aluminium cylinders, having steel liners and vertical overhead valves directly operated by an overhead camshaft, no gear being used between the cam and the valve stem. This engine has a cast iron detachable head, and is built as a unit with the change-speed gear. It is the work of one of the most reputed German engineers, and is undoubtedly a fine piece of work. As an example of a good class 500cc machine, with a powerful company behind it, the Deutsche Werke flat twin is interesting. This is produced in the former Government munition factory at Spandau, and is evidently the work of an engineer who has closely studied British design. The engine is a flat twin, recalling the Douglas, with vertical inlet valves, the rocker arms of which are enclosed in a metal box with hinged cover. Without having any startlingly novel features, it is a smart job. The Mars machine, another flat twin, is original by reason of its box frame. The engine, which is one of the most powerful to be found in the show, has no unusual features of design, being a flat twin of 80x95mm (956cc), with horizontal side-by-side
valves. All chain drive is used, there being two chains from the countershaft to the hub sprockets, protection for them being afforded by the box frame…This machine is sold with a two-seater sidecar, the seats being in tandem.” Mars, of Nurnberg, had been making motor cycles, on and off, since 1903, using Fafnir and Zedel engines. The big flat twin was the only motorcycle engine ever made by the Maybach car and aero engine works at Friedrichshafen. Instead of a kickstart it was started by a car-style crank. “The Victoria machine is fitted with the well-known BMW flat twin of 68x68mm. One of the features of this engine is a crank case forming an oil sump, with pump circulated oil supply to the main and the connecting rod bearings. Contrary to the more general German practice, final drive is by belt, instead of by chain, for both primary and secondary drives [BMW’s first foray into motor cycling, the 493cc sv M2B15 proprietary engine was designed by Max Friz. As well as Victoria it was supplied to SMW, Bison, SBD and Helios.]…One of the novelties of the show is the Megola, with five-cylinder rotary engine built in the front wheel…The cylinders, which, naturally, have all their rods connected up to one crank, have a bore of 52mm with a stroke of 60mm (640cc), the general principle of construction being like that of the well-known Gnome aviation engine. A pressed steel open frame is used, with semi-elliptic springs for the rear; this type of construction gives a rather long wheelbase. Instead of the usual saddle there is a comfortable-looking armchair, the back of which is combined with the mudguard over the rear wheel.” Designer Fritz Cockerell couldn’t be bothered with fripperies like a clutch or gearbox. If the rider couldn’t be bothered
to bumpstart the beast the recommended technique was “kicking with the heel into the spokes of the front wheel”. The frame was a welded and rivetted box section; touring versions had two bucket seats. And yes, there was a pared down competition version which was good for more than 90mph. More than 2,000 Megolas were made. “Another armchair motor cycle is the Lomos, which has an open tubular frame and only 20in wheels. An armchair is mounted in the place of the usual saddle, and immediately below the rider’s legs is a single-cylinder air-cooled two-stroke engine of 55x60mm…If our recollections are correct, the Mauser is the revival of an idea put forward in America several years ago. The machine is an ordinary type motor cycle with rather lengthened wheelbase, driven by a BMW engine, and having a car type body built on this frame. There are two seats in tandem, and in addition to the two ordinary wheels a central axle with a small diameter wheel at each end. When standing, or running slowly, the axle can be dropped, allowing the wheels to come in contact with the road, but when running normally the axle is raised, and the machine runs just like an ordinary motor cycle.”
“IT IS GRATIFYING TO NOTE that manufacturers are taking serious notice of the fact that there are very few British big twin machines on the market suitable for solo riding. One of the latest manufacturers to recognise the demand for a powerful, sporting solo machine is the firm of Messrs H Collier and Sons who, in the Model J Matchless, have produced a comfortable and powerful mount, fit for serious touring not only in this country, but overseas, where high power is often necessary through the heaviness of the roads. The engine used is either a 7hp MAG (82x94mm=996cc) or an 8hp JAP (85.5x85mm=976cc). The frame is a modification of that supplied to the sidecar model, the rear portion being rigid. The transmission is by chain, the front chain being totally enclosed, while the rear chain is protected by means of a guard. So far as the gear box is concerned, this is identical with the sidecar model, and the arrangement of the kick-starter, which raises the exhaust valve, is retained, there being no exhaust valve lifter on the handle-bars…A front rim brake is fitted to the front wheel, but a contracting band brake may be fitted to order if desired, while the rear brake is of the internal expanding pattern, actuated by a pair of pedals so that it may be applied by either foot. The usual type of Matchless clutch is fitted, and this may be actuated either by the heel and toe pedal, which has long been a feature of Matchless motor cycles, or by a lever on the handle-bar. Foot-rests instead of footboards are supplied, while 28x3in tyres are a standard. The Model J is intended not only to be a sports model, but also a double-purpose model, and lugs are provided for the fitting of a sidecar…We tried the machine, and found it to be particularly well balanced and extremely comfortable, while owing to the fitting of a very large expansion chamber and a long exit pipe the engine is beautifully quiet. Needless to say, it has wonderful acceleration powers, steers remarkably well, and is capable of a high turn of speed. Tried on the steep hills in the Woolwich district, it made light of these on top gear, could be slowed down to a walking pace, and rapidly accelerated on a gradient of 1 in 12 or worse. As a competitor to the Americans, the new Matchless must be seriously considered.”
“AFTER MOST SEARCHING TESTS, in which thousands of miles of road work were included, the Model E Burman gear box is now launched on the market. gear box is now launched on the market. Our readers will remember that this gear has been used successfully in the Junior Tourist Trophy Race and in most of the big reliability trials of the year, so that there is little doubt of its soundness both in detail and general design. In construction it is simple, robust, and of excellent workmanship; constant mesh gears are employed throughout, dog clutches being used to lock the gear wheels to their respective shafts as required…Either a tank rail gate or a saddle tube quadrant can be supplied, and in each case it is practically impossible to miss a gear position owing to the effective design of the quadrant. The seven-plate cork insert clutch is particularly interesting in that the corks are not of the usual circular section, but are so arranged as to present the greatest possible friction surface…Incorporated with the chain wheel is a very simple form of shock absorber. Large holes are cut in the sprocket and filled with rubber rings, the drive being conveyed through the rubber to steel bushes mounted on the driving pegs. This refinement is unusual and relieves the motor cycle designer from the necessity of incorporating any further shock-absorbing device. The box, which is admirably constructed in every detail, is inter-changeable as regards belt and chain line and bracket fixings with other proprietary gears, and the kick-starter is of sensible proportions and unlikely to fail under the most severe treatment. In spite of the robust construction of the gear, which we are informed is up to the work of most 500cc machines, the total weight is only 20lb.
“THE MOTOR CYCLE SECTION of the Metropolitan Police, formed a few months ago, has not proved so successful as was hoped, and is to be withdrawn. The section was intended more particularly for traffic regulation duties, and for dealing with offences against the Highways and Motor Car Acts. It is quite distinct from the special branch of the detective force, known as ‘the Flying Squad’, which, using motor cycles and cars as occasion demands, has recently effected some sensational captures.”
“TIME WAS,” IXION CONFIDED, “When I used to store various small accessories in special leather holsters disposed about the machine. This habit was forced upon me by designers who sent out machines with toolbags too small to carry more than a spare plug and the requisite ironmongery; so my spare carbide, inner tube, tyre repair outfit, and oil gun demanded special receptacles. Twice this summer all these special holders have been deftly emptied by lightfingered gentry, whilst my machine reposed outside—well, outside church. Now I keep them all in my pockets. ‘Tis better so.”
“IT SEEMS EXTRAORDINARY THAT in issuing statistics regarding motor taxation, the Ministry of Transport should refer to motor cycles as ‘cycles’, as all the world knows that the ordinary cycle is not yet subject to taxation, and is still the favoured vehicle which uses the roads without contributing towards their upkeep.”
BSA LAUNCHED AN 8HP 985CC TWIN to supersede its 6hp tourer. The rear drum and front dummy-belt-rim brakes were joined by a rear dummy-belt-rim brake; a rare example of three independent brakes. “The BSA interchangeable wheels, cast aluminium chain cases, and ample mudguarding, are, of course, retained…The 6hp engine has proved such a success that it is not to be dropped; but it will be fitted to a lighter frame—a modification of the 4¼hp frame—and will be known in future as the ‘light six’…A third novelty is the Sports model ‘four-and-a-quarter’, which may be obtained either solo or attached to an attractive-looking sidecar of the sporting variety…the piston and connecting rod have been lightened, and lighter flywheels with polished rims are employed. Normally, only one pair of footrests is fitted, but provision is made for a second pair, which also forms an additional side- car connection. A long, oblong section silencer with dual exit pipes is fitted below the chain stay in place of the usual expansion chamber in front of the engine.”
“I REMARKED THE OTHER WEEK,” Ixion remarked another week, “that the average bulb hooter is not rowdy enough for blind corners, considering the amount of traffic one meets nowadays. This provoked the Dekla people to forward me a sample of their manufacture. Its arrival reminded me that I had long meant to congratulate them on having exorcised the twists which make the ordinary bulb horn so liable to rust and so tiresome to clean, for their ‘trumpet’ is straight-sided and smooth. The note is very possibly just about as piercing as that of a bulb horn can be; but I am afraid it only strengthens my conviction that electric hooters or exhaust whistles are demanded by modern riding conditions. To quote two examples: Every time I start out from Hot Air Villa I have (a) to negotiate a walled V corner; and (b) to overtake motor ‘buses. A lorry tried to pancake me at the aforesaid corner, and when I remonstrated, the driver remarked that he had sounded his horn, that I hadn’t sounded mine, and that in no case would my blood have lain at his door. As it happened, I couldn’t hear his horn, and I had given three full-blooded toots on mine. As for ‘buses and coaches—well, I’ve tried my Dekla horns on them repeatedly, and they take no more notice of them from astern than a tipsy Aussie took of a Bolo major on Armistice night. The Dekla people make an excellent electric horn, so they will bear me no malice for my general contention that we live in a noisy epoch, and must make more noise ourselves if we wish to survive.”
“ANY BRITISH MOTOR CYCLIST visiting the Paris Salon must first be impressed by its immensity, magnificence, and artistic arrangement. Second impressions concern the exhibits themselves, and the visitor is bewildered by the galaxy of glittering chassis and sparkling coachwork of the world’s leading cars. When, however, he turns his serious attention to motor cycles he discovers that, if the Salon reflects French opinion, the manufacture of motor cycles is regarded as one of the subsidiary industries in the same category as pedal cycles, accessories, and tyres, and allocated a portion of the gallery where effective display is impossible. That is the main
difference between the French motor cycle industry and our own; it has not yet been taken seriously, and while these conditions prevail the motor cycle movement in France will be severely handicapped…Our products are certainly excellent now, but they were not always so. Years ago, when practically every English motor cycle had a French or Belgian engine, France led the way. In those days the names of De Dion and Werner meant perfection among motor cycle engines. Races without number were won by the brothers Collier, then daring youths, who drove their 2¾hp De Dion-engined Matchlesses to victory on Canning Town track…Curiously enough the De Dion-engined motor bicycle was a rarity in France…the makers’ motor tricycle catalogue of those days stated that they were prepared to accept orders for motor bicycles hut did not recommend them…the French motor cycle movement is on the increase…the wonderful success of the motor cycle in England has caused the Frenchman to think there must be something in it; secondly, during the late war, he
has seen with his own eyes what our machines can do; and, lastly, the end of the war has thrown a number of British and American ex-army motor cycles on the market at a very moderate figure…Many French machines are now built on British lines, but while the fact that this must be so is realised, it is evident that a good deal of work yet remains to be done to bring them even to a state of equality with our own productions. When the re-establishment of peacetime industries took place in 1919, the French motor cycle industry was to all intents and purposes reborn. Viewed as the productions of a new industry, the French motor cycles at the Paris Show reveal
an enthusiasm and enterprise which, from the British standpoint, is surprising, to say the least. The English visitor must be astonished at some of the remarkable designs which are so different from what the British rider expects…In England, the JAP four-stroke and the Villiers two-stroke are fitted by the majority of ‘assemblers’; in France the Ballot two-stroke and the Zurcher four-stroke occupy similar positions…Any visitor to the Grand Palais must be impressed by the large number of small engines fitted as auxiliary power units to pedal cycles…France is a great cycling country and always has been, and it is considered that the greatest demand
for power-propelled machines will eventuate from ordinary every-day cyclists…there are tiny two-strokes and four-strokes utilising every form of mechanical transmission…French motor cycles are not well equipped with regard to brakes. On a large number of machines only one brake is fitted, and where the equipment includes two brakes they are usually fitted to operate on the same belt rim…Excluding the dozen or so auxiliary motors, no fewer than 30 French makers of motor cycles are exhibiting at the Paris Salon, a really excellent entry for a young industry. In addition, there are examples of Belgian, American, and Italian
productions, besides nearly 30 British makes of motor cycles and sidecars on view…The French motor cycles exhibited at the Grand Palais may be divided into three main classes: the unconventional, the conventional, the motorised bicycle…The very English expression ‘like nothing on earth’ was never better exemplified than in several machines at the Salon, but this is not meant in any sarcastic spirit…as an unconventional machine the Janoir certainly takes first place…it not only employs a pressed steel frame, but its general outlines are quite the reverse of the accepted idea of what a motor bicycle should look like. It is sprung fore and aft on leaf springs, and a spring saddle is not considered necessary…The Lutèce is unconventional in another direction, and conforms more to accepted motor cycle practice plus certain features borrowed from the car. It has a vertical twin engine with gear box integral
with the crank case, and the final drive is by shaft. Like the Janoir, it is sprung at the rear on leaf springs, but no torque rods are fitted…The Louis Clement is another pressed steel machine…in 1919 a twin-cylinder model was exhibited, and this has been abandoned in favour of a Train single-cylinder two-stroke of 500cc capacity. Side-by-side twin engines are favoured by the Blériot company; in addition to the four-stroke twin-cylinder model a twin two-stroke of 750cc capacity is introduced this year…Like the four-stroke model, the gear box forms part of the crank case, the clutch is located between the two crank chambers, and there are three speeds and reverse…The last machine in this ‘unconventional’ group is the Viratelle. It has a water-cooled side-by-side four-stroke twin engine, placed across the frame, with integral placed across the frame, with integral gear box, the final drive being by chain. Two circular radiators are located at the fore end of the tank. A single-cylinder model on similar lines is also exhibited…Among the conventional types probably the nicest motor cycle in the Show from the English point of view is the French-built ABC. Several minor amendments have been made to the original Bradshaw design. The internal expanding brakes on both wheels are larger, the hot air muff on the induction pipe has been increased in area, and the overhead valve rockers are fitted with extra wire springs. Another addition is an oil circulation
indicator fitted on the top tube, and forms the centre of three dials, the speedometer and clock being the other two, neatly disposed at the front end of the tank and protected by inturned extensions of the leg guards…the Gnôme-Rhône, a taking looking machine quite on English lines. The engine is a four-stroke single of 500cc, having an outside flywheel and a cylinder reminiscent of the Triumph. Chain-cum-belt transmission is adopted, with a WD type Sturmey-Archer gear. The mudguarding is exceptionally well done, the side extensions being part and parcel of the main guards and of stouter metal than is usually adopted by British manufacturers…One would expect something distinctive from the Peugeot concern, but apart from a novel front wheel-driven motorised bicycle, the Peugeot models are no different from their many contemporaries fitted with proprietary units. Other mediocre machines with old names are the Terrot, Labor, Alcyon, and Rene Gillet, all of which fit proprietary units. Taken on the whole, they are quite good for the market they are intended to supply, but it seems sad that in, an industry that once led the way the pioneers should display so little enterprise. The Griffon, another well-known French motor cycle, is an exception, and three distinct types are exhibited. The first is little more than a motorised bicycle, but has a tiny and beautifully made four-stroke engine with overhead valves; the second type is a four-stroke lightweight approximating to the popular JAP-engined lightweight in Great Britain; and the third a V-twin of 6hp. Both the two last-mentioned models are fitted
with Burman gears. Previously known as the GL—a machine which competed in the 1919 Six Days Trial—the MAG-engined Oriol follows accepted British practice, and some minor details, such as the foot plates and silencer, are carried out in a very neat manner. On the other hand, the finish of the mudguards is poor. Such names as Ultima, Thomann, Armour, DFR, Supplexa, and Blanche Hermine grade the tanks of quite conventional types of motor cycles, while the Yvels—the winner of the 250cc class in the Grand Prix—is also on view. A machine known as the Motosolo has a water-cooled two-stroke engine with the radiator neatly arranged in the fore end of the tank. The Magnat is a 3½hp four-stroke with overhead valves, and the Soyer a neat two-stroke with detachable cylinder head. The only full-powered lady’s model in the show is exhibited by this firm. It is a well-designed machine with an open frame, and a tank which forms a part of the frame. We were informed that there are, however, very few lady motor cyclists in France, which is somewhat surprising
considering the activity of French ladies in other outdoor pastimes…When we say the French motor cycles do not come up to the English as regards design or finish, we may be forgiven, but as regards sidecar bodywork, upholstery, and finish the French have us badly beaten. There is no doubt that quite the finest carroserie yet attached to motor cycles is now on view at the Paris Salon. There is a distinct tendency to follow boat design, and one attractive feature is the varnished light wood deck which contrasts pleasantly with the painted or varnished natural dark wood of which the rest of the body is usually built…A side car on the Lutece stand is so like a boat, having a correct bow and a yacht pattern stern, that it looks as if one could rig a small mast and sail, put it in the water, and sail away. The deck is of varnished bird’s-eye maple and the hull of mahogany, copper fastened—very pleasing contrast—and, curiously enough, these boat pattern bodies do not look too uncomfortable.”
THE BLUE ‘UN ESCHEWED HYPERBOLE but was clearly impressed by the BMCRC Championships at Brooklands: “The five-lap scratch championship races in the six standard classes produced the best afternoon’s motor cycle speed work ever seen in this country. Blistering sunshine and a very large gate honoured the occasion, and records were broken wholesale…A megaphone warned the starters in each race that ‘hanging on’ would entail disqualification, and that overtaking must be done on the outside wherever possible…JV Prestwich (2¼hp Diamond-JAP) was a hot favourite [in the 275cc class]. He proceeded to run clean away from the field and, ignoring many signals to slow down from backers, who feared a valve might go, he won anyhow [setting a 10-mile record at 62.28mph].” J Emerson won the 500cc class on his 3½hp Douglas, setting a 10-mile record at 79.54mph. The 1,000cc Solo Championship was described as “Another gorgeous race! To the general amazement, and thanks mainly to a superb start, an English twin led for the first lap; but Remington (8hp Blackburne) was soon passed by Le Vack (7-9hp Indian), who led on the second lap, only to yield to Temple (7-9hp Harley-Davidson) on the third. The Harley-Davidson streaked round the track at a frightful speed, and won by at least 100 yards [setting a 5-mile record at 96.54mph and a 10-mile record at 91.17mph]…Though no more than five starters turned out for the 600cc Sidecar Championship it was easily the most exciting of the day, and possibly the best ever contested at Brooklands. Pullin (Douglas sc), Horsman, and O’Donovan (Norton sc) raced over the whole five laps in a compact little clump at over 60mph. Horsman led after the first and fourth laps; while Pullin was in front on laps 2 and 3, though there was never more than a few yards in it; and O’Donovan was always with them. On the fifth lap O’Donovan went ahead, and won, to the rage of the bookies, who had stopped laying up fifteen minutes before the start…The 1,000cc Sidecar Championship ought to have been another Temple-Le Vack duel; but the Indian refused to start for 100 yards, and the repeated effort caused the engine sprocket to shear not long after. Temple’s famous Harley-Davidson, ‘Mutt’, now adorned with a beautifully streamlined aluminium sidecar, led by 100 yards at the end of one lap, and travelled so magnificently that the spectators forgot to deplore the runaway character of his win. Great anxiety was created by a report that Le Vack had gone over the banking, which was fortunately an invention [Temple set a 10-mile record at 75.57mph].”
“IN SPITE OF MANY IMITATORS, the Scott trial still remains in a class by itself as regards sporting events. Perhaps the reason lies in the suitability of the country in the neighbourhood of Ilkley, or perhaps the secret lies in the cheery spirit of the organisers and the thorough sportsmanship of the Yorkshire riders who form the bulk of the entry. On Saturday last a band of some 50 optimists gathered at Otley in a drizzling mist, of whom 29 only were to survive the course, and many of these were very late. Most of the competitors were mounted on Scotts—old Scotts, new Scotts, Scott Squirrels, and hybrid Scotts—but there was a fair sprinkling of other machines. A number of machines had exhaust extensions reaching up to the carrier so as to avoid ‘drowning’ in the deep splashes. Within ten minutes of the start the riders were plunged into Dobpark splash, a deep and rocky stream, with a natural gallery for spectators in the form of a packbridge. Many, failed, to the great amusement of the onlookers, and many crossed safely to receive well-merited applause, but perhaps the best crossings were those of L Whalley (Sunbeam) and J Baker (Scott). The real hard work commenced at Grimwith Reservoir, where all signs of a track disappeared, and competitors attempted to follow a line of stakes, picking their way between boulders and bogs. This stretch culminates in a series of gulleys, the last of which formed by a stream. It was amusing to watch the set faces of the old hands as they approached the obstacle and the looks of blank amazement on the faces of those who saw the course for the first time. Some machines were already showing signs of damage, and after the long spell of low gear work many exhaust notes were distinctly fluffy. Catherick’s Dunelt had a damaged mudguard. Clapham (Scott) dashed at the obstacle and shed his saddle frame, several had missing footrests, and one carrier was adrift…Mrs Knowles, whose very sporting entry had been the subject of much comment, did not arrive, having had the bad luck to suffer from a drowned magneto…Near Grassington F Moffat (Scott) collided with a cow and retired. Darnbrook Hill was in fair condition, but, shortly after, a humorous youth nearly caused a bad accident by slamming a gate shut in the face of Capt Knowles, who was approaching at speed on his Norton…The Scar was practically unclimbable; in fact not a single rider made a really clean ascent with feet on the rests…In spite of falls, it was a cheerful group of survivors who assisted Mr N. Vinter in auctioning a programme signed by CP Wood and Mrs Knowles; the sum of nearly £5 was collected for this work of art, in aid of St Dunstan’s Hospital. Best performance of trade, CP Wood (3¾hp Scott); best performance of amateur, J Whalley (3½hp Sunbeam); best performance on a Scott, exclusive of Scott staff, G Hill (3¾hp Scott); Trade team prize, Scott team (CP Wood, H Langman and W Clough); amateur team prize, Sunbeam team (HW Sellers, AR Naylor and W Wells) club team prize, Bradford Team comprising W Moore (Scott), AR Naylor (Sunbeam) and CB Haig (Triumph); consolation prize, BH Catherick (Dunelt). The consolation prize for the man who fell off most often was indeed a trophy. It took the form of a bottle of whiskey with a
suitable quotation attached, pointing out that, although in a race all ran—only one obtained the prize.” The Motor Cycle’s correspondent ‘Spectator’ explained: “The trial is unique in many ways, the organisation is excellent, and every provision is made for the comfort of competitors except when in the saddle and the route is the last word in villainy…no one who has not seen the course would believe that motor cycles would survive them. Any of some five or six sections would cause streams of protests in an ordinary trial, yet not a grumble is to be heard from the tired and often bruised competitors, who are proud to receive their certificates or joke about their mishaps. A premier award is a thing to dream of, and many would rather earn a certificate in this trial than a ‘gold’ in an ordinary reliability event…Of the 29 machines to complete the course, there were not ten which had emerged without visible damage. Why do we ride? Why do we risk our necks and our machines? Why do we enjoy it? And what good does it do?—I do not know. All I know is that if I do not again compete next year—and on my own machine, too—it will be because I am to be numbered amongst the halt, or the maimed, or the blind.” The programme included some useful tip…” Instructions to competitors: Competitors must on no account assist one another by drinking all the water in the splashes. Competitors found removing gates to make footboards will be disqualified. Competitors may lift their machines over rough places, but must bounce them on the ground every three paces. Competitors must cross all splashes under their own power. The use of oars, floats, life-buoys, etc, is prohibited. Instructions to spectators: Don’t loiter in the middle of the splashes, as you may baulk other swimmers. Don’t stand in the road! Lie down; it makes a better surface for the competitors. Valves, wheels, engines, cylinders, etc, may be found on the road. These will have been discarded by competitors to reduce weight. Spectators will greatly assist if they bring any such spare parts direct to Burnsall. This is not a Race, it’s a Tragedy.” The Scott Trial programme included a rather fine poem which you’ll find at the end of the poetry page.
“AN UNQUALIFIED SUCCESS! THAT IS the verdict upon this year’s annual Show, for every one of the 265 exhibitors displays something of real interest to the motor-cyclist. A cursory examination of the exhibits indicates in unmistakable fashion that designers are still profitably expending energy to develop the most economical form of motor vehicle. That there is still scope for the designer and the inventor who will look far enough ahead no one will deny, for who can judge the ultimate limits of the motor cycle in an age that has brought the science of engineering to its present high estate? Less than twenty years ago the motor cycle was a vehicle in embryo. To-day at the Olympia Show there are hundreds of machines of such design and quality that the novice, after an hour’s tuition regarding the controls, could employ any one of them to take him from one end of this country to the other at a cost of less than a penny per mile. That this fact is becoming more appreciated every day is evidenced by the enormous increase this year in the number of motor cycles on the roads (approximately 100,000), and if 1922 is not another record year, it will not be on account of lack of interest.”
“1922 IS TO BE A YEAR OF 350CC SINGLES. There is scarcely a firm catering for the solo rider who did not show at least one model with this type of engine, while many give alternatives of sporting, touring, and even sidecar types. This is a step in the right direction, for it is a proof that the efficiency of small engines has been increased until the power output is sufficient to meet the demands of all normal work. Indeed, some of the sports models are capable of over a mile a minute—a speed which is seldom attained on the road even by sporting riders—while the tourist who has no desire for sheer speed will find that the modern ‘350’ will take him anywhere, will need no more attention than the 500cc of a year or two ago, and will be altogether lighter and handier. Undoubtedly the 350cc machine has come to stay, and, in course of time, will only be ousted from pride of place by the development of the 250cc engine—a type which is fast coming to the fore. All this must not be taken to mean that the big single and big twin are dropping out of their own particular spheres. In fact, the industry has never been better represented in these lines than at the present moment. In the larger classes, development has taken place along similar lines, and our friends from across the herring pond may have to look to their Brooklands laurels in the course of the next few months.”
“NEXT YEAR THE SPORTING solo rider will be specially catered for by several firms who have hitherto devoted themselves to, and built up reputations on solid, reliable double-purpose mounts. Quite one of the most attractive of these new ‘sports’ models is the 1922 flat-twin Humber, which will sell at the wonderfully moderate figure of £100. In general layout the sporting model differs but little from the standard Humber, which, incidentally, was always a fascinating solo machine. Closer examination reveals several modifications and improvements; and that these have been successful is proved by the fact that the new model has already been timed to do 75mph on the road. Aluminium pistons, with two narrow rings at the top, a higher compression ratio, a redesigned camshaft giving a quicker lift to the valves, and completely interchangeable valve pockets are the chief alterations to the well-known 600cc (75x68mm) flat twin engine…Although the standard three-speed gear box with clutch and kick starter is used, no transmission shock absorber is fitted neither are chain guards, although it has not been definitely decided that these will be discarded.”
FROM ALL INDICATIONS NEXT YEAR will be a lightweight year…The 350cc machine with a three-speed gear and all-chain drive is now a true go-anywhere mount; and realisation of this fact has led the makers of the Rex-Acme to expend much thought on a model of this type to sell at a very competitive price. In appearance the new lightweight suggests a de luxe specification, and it would be difficult to point out any feature, either in design or finish, which could reasonably be improved were price a matter of much less consideration. The power unit is a 2¾hp Blackburne engine, and the method of almost wholly enclosing the primary chain—a difficult matter with an outside flywheel—is very neat. Either a two-speed or a lightweight three-speed Sturmey-Archer gear box may be fitted at option, and a transmission shock absorber is dispensed with by using a Brampton spring link chain for the final drive. The brakework is simple, neat and efficient—dummy belt rim on both wheels…Brampton forks, with double vertical springs, are standard, as is a neat, ‘flat’ handle-bar. Finished in Royal blue, the tank has unusually good fittings, including the ‘most visible’ type of Best and Lloyd drip-feed, with a flat, circular glass, and large, secure filler caps. It holds about one and a half gallon of petrol.”
“WITH THE CONVERSION OF THE 3½hp twin into a true sports model, there will be a 1922 James to suit every type of motor cyclist. In this policy the James Co is almost unique, for the machines are made throughout at one factory, and not merely assembled, like the products of most other firms with an ultra-wide range of models…the new sporting (496cc) V-twin engine does not differ in general design from last year’s, but its efficiency is such that a guaranteed speed of 60mph may be obtained without special tuning…[it has] a wonderfully natural and comfortable riding position—quite the best we have yet experienced…the 4½hp (598cc) single is primarily intended for economical sidecarring, and has also undergone much improvement for 1922. It is now an easy task to remove the cylinder, the design of which has been modified. Framework and cycle parts have, again, been cleaned up and lightened, and 28x3in tyres have been standardised…So successful has been the 7hp (749cc) sidecar outfit this year that only improvements in what may be termed convenience have been made. All three wheels are quickly detachable and interchangeable, and it is proposed to incorporate a speedometer drive which will remain in situ when the front wheel is removed. Oil-bath cast aluminium chain cases replace the light guards hitherto fitted, and the brake pedal is now offset to give easier operation.
“NO VERY GREAT CHANGES WILL take place in the 1922 Ivy models. A neat little dummy belt rim brake will be added to the front wheel, the tank will be slightly modified, though it will retain the distinctive Ivy outline, the spring forks will be slightly altered to conform with the type of fork associated with the name of Brampton, and a new cylinder will be fitted to passenger machines. This cylinder is an imposing casting with long deep ribs and an increased cooling area for the head. Its introduction is due to the fact that the manufacturers considered their standard cylinder more suitable for solo and sporting work, and rather on the high efficiency side for towing heavy loads. The new casting has been designed for general all-round performance, and a considerable improvement in pulling at low speeds is claimed.”
“VERY LITTLE ALTERATION WILL be made to the popular little 211cc Levis in the near future. All essentials remain unchanged, but a few minor details have been cleaned up. A very smart little machine will, however, be staged at Olympia embodying the 247cc engine. Having a bore and stroke of 67x70mm., this engine is the TT power unit modified for touring purposes. It has plain bearings throughout, and all the well-known Levis features are retained. It will be fitted in a new frame with sloping top tube, the tank being carried on substantial platforms brazed to the duplex detachable lower rails; 24x2in. tyres are fitted. A feature of this new type will be that the single-geared model may be converted to a two-speed machine without structural alteration.”
CONSIDERING THAT THE MODEL UPON which the Triumph reputation has been chiefly built is essentially a dual-purpose mount, it is a wonderful testimonial to its qualities that so many consider it to be the ideal solo machine. It is only natural, therefore, that the announcement of a sporting ohv 3½hp Triumph, exclusively for solo use, should arouse widespread interest…as anticipated, it is fitted with the Ricardo design of engine…Four inclined overhead valves are disposed in the hemispherical and detachable cylinder head, which has lugs cast on it for the rocker gear. Cowls are situated behind the two exhaust valve stems to assist cooling, while the radiating fins have been designed with a view to most efficient heat dispersion. With this in view one of the lower cylinder fins also acts as an anchorage for the holding-down bolts. Both the head and the cylinder can be detached without removing the engine from the frame…Both the cylinder and the head are now of cast iron, but a slipper type Ricardo aluminium piston and light reciprocating parts generally are employed; the capacity is 499cc (80.94x97mm)…It is apparent at a glance that the machine has been designed for hard use, and not solely for occasional participation in a speed event by an owner who takes it there in a lorry! Finally, it must be specially emphasised that, although this model, like all Triumph productions, is of very sturdy and robust construction, it is not intended as a sidecar machine, and it is hoped that owners will refrain from experimenting with an attachment.”
FITTED WITH A CLIMAX ENGINE of 70x76mm bore and stroke (292cc) and a two-speed Albion gear box, with clutch and kick starter, the latest model New Comet is specially intended for ladies’ use. A semi-open frame and well-guarded transmission are features that will appeal to the fair sex, while the absence of an outside flywheel obviates another possible chance of damage to skirts and long coats. Aluminium foot plates, Druid forks, 24×2¼in Dunlop tyres and excellent mudguarding are included in the specification. Attached to this neat little machine is a light, but sturdy, coachbuilt sidecar, suspended on C-springs at the rear and coil springs in front. After a few miles on the road we are in a position to state that this little outfit is admirably suited for runabout purposes or for shopping trips.”
“THERE ARE FEW FIRMS WHO make a wider range of models than Alfred Wiseman, Ltd, Glover Street, Birmingham. In addition to the deservedly familiar Verus, this concern is responsible for the lesser-known, but nevertheless popular, Sirrah lightweight. It may come as a surprise to many that during this year 250 Sirrah machines of one model alone were sold. For 1922 the Sirrah range is being extended to include almost every type between the single-speed lightweight and a 5-6hp JAP-engined twin with all-chain drive and 26x3in Dunlop Magnum tyres. Intended as a double-purpose mount, the latter machine is most attractive, both in specification and appearance, and its very short wheelbase should ensure its popularity as a solo mount as well as with a sidecar. Massive but clean mudguards (8in in front), a saddle tank, Brampton forks, a Webb front brake, Sturmey three-speed gear box and final chain drive through an Enfield cush hub are the salient features of the specification.”
THE POLICY OF PHELON & MOORE has been a year by year improvement of an originally excellent layout; startling modifications have always been avoided, unless they were proved necessary and practical by test. However, the innovations for 1922 are considerable. In the first place, reference must be made to the four-speed gear box…A team equipped with these competed in the ACU Six Days Trials with considerable success, and since this gear was described the change speed lever has been considerably simplified in design…So far as the engine is concerned considerable alterations have been made. It has been realised that the P&M is, and will be, largely used for sidecar work, and the engine size has consequently been increased to 84.1x100mm (555cc). The cylinder casting will revert to the old pattern, with radiating fins at right angles to the centre line of the cylinder; the fins, however, are considerably deeper, and they are now cast on the cylinder head, increasing the cooling surface…The engine is now absolutely oil-tight, and has an exceptionally clean appearance, while the timing case is circular and contains a new and simplified timing gear.”
“THE MAKERS OF THE OK JUNIOR machines (Humphries and Dawes) must rank among the pioneers of the lightweight sidecar movement and as one of the little OK outfits gained special mention in the judges’ report of the Six Days Trials, considerable interest centres in the details of the 1922 edition of this model. An OK engine, which has a bore and stroke of 70x76mm (292cc), only will be fitted to the sidecar outfit, and, with an Albion three-speed gear box with clutch and kick-starter, it makes an economical, handy, and capable little passenger machine…an entirely new departure for next year will be a three-speed all-chain drive sports machine, also with an OK engine…The extremely popular single-geared OK has not been altered to any appreciable extent, although an OK or Villiers engine is optional.”
“A SIDECAR OUTFIT WHICH, IT is claimed, will exceed 60mph, is the chief addition to the Douglas range of motor cycles for 1922. Although new to the public, this machine has been on the road for many months, and we have heard very good accounts of it from various sources. We have also seen it perform when in its ‘hush, hush’ disguise, and long ago we had formed the opinion that, when marketed, it would be a worthy addition to the short list of really fast machines produced in this country. Having a bore and stroke of 83x68mm, the piston displacement of this new engine is 733cc…The new 6hp unit embodies the overhead valve arrangement, now well-known as a feature of the smaller machine, and which, it will be recalled, includes a unique system of, wick lubrication for the rockers contained in aluminium boxes over the cylinder heads.”
“ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING LIGHTWEIGHTS which has yet been produced is the latest model Sparkbrook, to be known as the ‘Spark’. Primarily intended to be produced in quantities at a low figure, it is the frame construction which rivets attention. At first sight it would appear that a loop frame of normal construction is employed, but a closer scrutiny reveals many unusual features. To begin with, pressed sheet steel lugs are used throughout. Even the head lug, a particularly fine piece, of work, is a one-piece pressing, welded at the edges of the webs. The main frame consists of the head, tank rail, and a loop member, to which stout pressed steel engine bearer plates are brazed. Bolted to the rear engine bearer plates are the chain stays, the back stays being detachable from both chain stays and seat tube. These stays have flattened, ends, but are reinforced where the swaging takes place by stout inner liners of steel tube…Footrests are carried from the engine plates, and on the cross-bar are mounted a pair of brake pedals, one on each side of the machine. These pedals operate Ferodo shoes in the belt rim, one being placed above the chain stay and one below. All brake gear is arranged in such a manner as to clear a gear box and primary chain should such a device be fitted…Again composed of pressings, the tank is of tubular section, with a recess along the top to fit snugly round the tank rail projecting lugs are formed at each end, which bolt up to the steel webs of the head and seat-pillar lugs. Before joining up the two tank pressings a steel bottle is inserted, and this serves to contain lubricating oil. The cap of this bottle is screwed down on to a leather washer, so as to be absolutely air-tight, and carries a ball non-return valve and an adapter to suit a normal tyre pump. A tap and sight-feed arrangement are fitted to the neck of the bottle. Thus, after filling up with oil, a few strokes of the tyre pump will supply sufficient pressure to empty the tank of oil gradually when the tap is turned on. It has been found in practice that the oil compartment is so completely air-tight that, even after several days, or even weeks, no diminution of pressure is traceable. Sensible mudguards, a sturdy little carrier and good quality saddle are included in the specification, and the finish is black, with Sparkbrook green tank and flywheel cover. The well-known Sparkbrook lightweight models will continue to be sold either with single gear, two-speed, or two-speed and kick starter; and, in addition, a new model fitted with the 350cc JAP engine and a three-speed gear will be listed.”
“A LIGHTWEIGHT WILL BE ADDED to the existing range of Hazlewood models for 1922. Carried in a frame with dropped top tube, a 293cc JAP engine drives the rear wheel through a two-speed Sturmey-Archer gear with clutch and kick starter, the final drive being by belt. Aluminium foot plates, a cast aluminium chain cover, B&B carburetter, and Best and Lloyd drip lubricator are included in the specification.”
“ONE YEAR’S TT MODEL VERY OFTEN becomes a next year’s sports model, but Messrs. John Marston, Ltd have gone one better, and now offer to the public their 1922 TT motor cycle, which has an entirely new long-stroke (77x105mm) 489cc engine and a long-wheelbase frame. This machine embodies all the lessons of past racing experience, and has been on the road for a considerable period in the hands of TC de la Hay and George Dance, who inform us that without the special tuning which every Tourist Trophy mount receives, it is several miles an hour faster than the machine which won the 1920 Senior TT and this year’s French Grand Prix. That is the Sunbeam offering to speedmen for 1922. There is, however, a large coterie of Sunbeam enthusiasts who drive sidecars, and who, up to the present, have had the choice of the 3½hp outfit and the 8hp JAP-engined twin. A long-stroke 4¼hp 590cc machine has now been introduced, which is a worthy addition to the big single sidecar outfits on the market. It has 650x65mm tyres, detachable wheels, internal expanding rear brake, leaf spring fork, wide mudguards and all the appurtenances of the fully equipped sidecar outfit…On trying the new sidecar model on the road, we enjoyed a new experience in sidecaring. It was like driving a twin with the beat of a single. The comparatively low compression renders it almost as flexible as a twin, and, fully loaded, one may drive at speeds between 30 and 35mph up hill and down dale for miles on end. The maximum speed is probably in the neighbourhood of 45mph…At all speeds the steering is delightfully light and one may release the handle-bars without any tendency for the wheel to leave the direct track. One’s first impression of the new TT model conjures up the simile of the thoroughbred racehorse, as compared with the more robust hunter, to which the 1920 sports model approximates…An aluminium single-ring piston is adopted, and this, in conjunction with the other light reciprocating parts, gives the engine remarkable acceleration. The transmission is by chain through a close ratio Sunbeam gear box without kick-starter; but the little oil bath is only fitted to the primary drive, the rear chain being protected only by a light guard…the machine is a true sporting mount. It is capable of lapping Brooklands at 70mph, and is as flexible, as silent, and as docile as a modest tourist type.
“THE 350CC TWO-STROKE BEARDMORE-PRECISION being now firmly established on the market, Mr FE Baker has once again given his mind to the production of the big single four-stroke. In spite of the fact that the pre-war 4¼hp Precision was sold overseas in greater quantities than at home, there are still many admirers of that popular engine in this country who have been looking forward to the appearance of a post-war Precision four-stroke. Founded on the main essentials of the old ‘4¼’ the new 597cc engine is a combination of the most up-to-date practice with the results of years of practical experience. To begin with, the engine is lubricated automatically by a mechanical pump and, though a simple supply adjuster is provided, once this has been set the driver is relieved of all further worries. Again, the engine, gear box, and magneto form a single unit, the crank case and gear box being cast together. At the same time, the two units are separated by the walls in such a manner that, but for the constructional advantages, they might as well be two entirely separate units. The mechanism of each is inspected through separate end plates, and no particles of foreign matter from one unit can affect the working of the other.
“THE MOST IMPORTANT ALTERATION to the Radco models lies in the fact that the bore and stroke of the engine have been increased to 57x70mm (247cc)…This machine may be obtained either single-geared, or with plain two-speed, or with clutch and kick-starter. Fitted with a very neat sporting sidecar, the little machine is one of the lightest forms of passenger machine in existence, and for dual work a three-speed Burman gear box is recommended…The lady motor cyclist who desires an open frame mount has not been forgotten, nor has the need for adequate dress guards on this type of machine. A neat design of frame has been evolved, and, by inclining the engine, it is kept well out of the way of the rider’s skirts without being inaccessible. A metal shield extends downward from the tank in the rear of the engine, and both belt and primary chain are similarly adequately protected. A Burman lightweight two-speed gear box, with kick-starter—a commendable feature on a lady’s mount—is fitted.”
THE FULL RANGE OF JAP ENGINES for 1922 will consist of no fewer than ten different models. The makers, JA Prestwich and Co, are particularly anxious that their engines should be known not by their horsepower, as this, of course, is an unsatisfactory term, but by their cubical capacity measurements. The range will be the 250cc, 293cc, 350cc standard, 350cc sports, 550cc, 500cc twin, 680cc twin, the 986cc standard, and the 986cc sports; there is also the 986cc water-cooled twin. Several of these are completely new models. Take, for example, the 350cc sports model, which came into being just before the TT races. Unlike several other motor cycle engine manufacturers, those responsible for JAP engines have pinned their faith to the side-by-side valve layout, and have obtained wonderful successes during the past year. The 250cc engine this year won the Motor Cycle Cup in the TT, the Grand Prix, all Class A records, won its class in the 500 Miles Race, the Gaillon Hill-climb, and the recent world’s records in the Paris Speed Trials. It is fitted with side-by-side valves, and it is hoped that it will attain 80mph. Such a speed from a 250cc single- cylinder is almost incredible, more so since it is equal to the guaranteed speed of the big 8hp twin-cylinder sports model already referred to. Although 80mph may seem a vain hope, the makers nevertheless are ready to demonstrate that this wonderful little 250cc engine is capable of turning over at the hitherto unthinkable speed of 10.000rpm.”
“IT SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY nowadays to enlarge On the advantages of the four-speed gear box compared with the three. It is generally admitted that the extra ratio is beneficial from all points of view, and on all types of machine; but, on the other hand, it is claimed that the disadvantages of extra weight, bulk, complication, and expense do not merit the adoption of four speeds for motor cycle use. Jardine, of Deering Street, Nottingham, have gone all out to prove that the latter school argue on premises that do not exist; and their new four-speed gear box—their only model in future—is certainly less complicated than many a present day three-speed model. Only in the very ingenious method of obtaining the four ratios with but one sliding dog and no sliding pinions does the box resemble any previous product of the firm; otherwise it has been entirely redesigned on modern lines by a pioneer designer of motor cycle gears, Mr Cohen, and it represents two years’ intensive experiment and labour…One of the layshaft pinions also acts as a kick-starter pinion, thus leaving only eight gear wheels in the box; incidentally, we are informed that a master patent is held on this scheme of starter operation. The weight of the box complete with controls is 34½lb.”
“BEFORE WINNING THE 750CC CLASS in the 500 Miles Race at Brooklands, the 5-7hp Coventry Victor had a useful reputation as a reliable and smooth-running double-purpose mount. Now that it has proved also to have a very useful turn of speed, it should meet with much success amongst the more sporting section of the fraternity as well as amongst the tourists who simply admire the absence of vibration characteristic of the flat twin. For next year what is to all intents and purposes a replica of the successful racing machine will be marketed as a standard sports model. Reasonable mud-guarding and a cover for the primary chain are the chief deviations from the specification of the track machine; and, as this model is of the short wheelbase type, it strikes one as a most attractive solo mount.”
“THOUGH PRESENTING NO GREAT NOVELTY in construction, the 2½hp Wigan-Barlow is well worth careful study, since it incorporates several items unusual in so light and moderately priced a machine. A 293cc JAP engine is the power unit employed, and transmission is by protected chain to a two-speed Albion gear box with clutch and kick starter. Final drive is by belt. Front springing is effected by a Maplestone fork, and Webb internal expanding brakes are fitted front and rear. In addition to the usual aluminium footboards, carrier, etc, the front guard is valanced behind the fork, and 26x2in. tyres are fitted, which will add very considerably to the rider’s comfort, and will minimise tyre troubles. The manufacturers, Wigan-Barlow Motors, of Coventry, are also contemplating the construction of a somewhat similar machine fitted with the 350cc Barr and Stroud engine.”
“AMONG THE SEVERAL FIRMS which have turned their attention to the sporting twin-cylinder may be mentioned the Metro-Tyler Co of London W1O. Their latest production consists of a 5-6hp twin fitted with a Blackburne engine, 71×88 mm. (698cc). It is provided with all-chain drive and a Burman three-speed gear box and kick-starter. So as to facilitate tyre repairs to the back wheel a withdrawable spindle is fitted…The machine has a short wheelbase, low riding position and wide handle-bars giving adequate steering control. An Amac carburetter and BTH magneto are fitted; the machine…should be a thoroughly useful high-speed touring mount. Special mention must be made of the roomy toolbag placed at the back of the carrier, and fitted with a lid provided with an ingenious fastener.”
“AFTER THE SCOUT THE CHIEF. Rumours via the American papers have warned us to expect something good in the new Indian Chief, and Indian enthusiasts will certainly not be disappointed. This new model is bristling with good points and is a very fine production. The new engine has the same dimensions as its predecessor—79x100mm, 980cc—but the design of the cylinders is similar to those of the engine with which the principal Indian records have been made during the present season…A new design of Split doit magneto and a separate Split dorf dynamo are fitted.”
“THE HAGG HAS NOW FULLY PASSED its experimental stage. The mechanism is almost entirely enclosed by means of aluminium plates, which not only serve to enclose the moving parts, but act as efficient windshields. Pressed steel enters largely into the construction and is employed in the tank, rear forks, and rear mudguards, which enclose a very large portion of the back wheel. The frame, incorporating the engine cradle, gear box carrier, and under shield, is made of heavy tubing, while the rear wheel is sprung by means of a single leaf spring. The engine is a 350cc Precision two-stroke, driving through a foot-operated Burman two-speed gear box. The engine is started by hand by means of a long lever attached to the usual kick-starter spindle. The Hagg may be used not only as a solo mount but as a tandem, the passenger being carried on an aluminium bucket seat sliding in grooves attached to the valances of the pressed steel rear mudguard. A low centre of gravity should ensure absence of skidding.”
“IN ADDITION TO A RANGE OF Henderson sidecars for which this Sheffield firm is now well known, two new models of the Sheffield-Henderson motor cycle will be exhibited; one of these will be engined with the 2¾hp ohv Blackburne engine, and having a frame of rather unique design, which gives an exceptionally low riding position. This new mount, which is to be sold purely as a sports model, will carry with it a guarantee of 70mph. A Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear with close ratios and without kick-starter, forms part of its equipment. The other model is a dual purpose machine having the new 4¼hp Blackburne engine of 550cc.”
“A FOUR-CYLINDER MOTOR CYCLE always arouses interest, but, apart from this, the latest model Henderson, a make of machine which has been known in this country for some years, is a thoroughly attractive mount. The new model has the 1,301cc engine placed lower in the frame and more rigidly held, and the four straight-down exhaust pipes are led into an expansion chamber. The carburetter is a Zenith, provided with a hot-air muff, and the valves are now of the side-by-side pattern. The method of mounting the lighting dynamo immediately above the magneto, both units being held by the same clamping arrangement, is particularly neat. Lubrication is effected by a rotary oil pump, which forces the oil to the main healings through a hollow crankshaft to the big end bearings, following automobile practice throughout; the same system is employed to lubricate the clutch bearings. The Henderson is one of the few machines which can be fitted with a gear box giving a reverse, which is undoubtedly an advantage when a sidecar is used. This reverse is an extra, and is controlled by a separate lever. Other features are a substantially built kick starter and a clutch, which is controlled either by a pedal or by the usual American practice of a long lever adjacent to the gear lever and working on the outside of the gear quadrant. Throttle control is, of course, by twist grip.”
“THE STANGER IS NOT AN ENTIRE novelty, but this year will mark its first, appearance in improved form with spring frame…the Stanger engine appears to be a very nicely designed job generally, and should be equally suited to solo or sidecar work. It is, of course, very simple, and possesses a minimum of working parts; this, in conjunction with the fact that the engine gives the torque effect, and consequent smooth running of four cylinders, should prove a most attractive quality to the discriminating class of rider. Well-tried standard components are used, such as the Amac carburetter and the Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear box. Final drive is by belt, and the frame suspension is controlled by a long laminated leaf spring.”
“AFTER AN UNWAVERING AND STAUNCH adherence to belt transmission, the Zenith designers have at last followed the popular demand [with] an all-chain-drive machine…the new machine is intended as a solo mount, and an attractive one at that. No doubt the relinquishing of the infinitely variable Gradua gear on even one of the Zenith range has been undertaken with mixed feelings, but we think that Zenith Motors have acted wisely, for nowadays the demand for belt transmission is largely limited to the sporting type of rider, who in these bread-and-butter times does not form the backbone of the motor cycle movement…The 3½hp oil-cooled Bradshaw engine is held by hangers extending from the bottom horizontal frame tube. Naturally, the chief novelty lies in the chain drive, but the application is conventional, and the gear box is the well tried Sturmey-Archer three-speed pattern, including clutch and kick-starter. Great attention has been paid to mudguarding, and the rear guard valances are provided with troughs to keep all drippings away from the chain case and other parts. Both brakes are applied to the grooves of dummy belt rims, the front being operated by an inverted lever, and the rear by a pedal conveniently placed adjacent to the near side footrest…The engine, which is of 68x68mm (498cc), is fitted with a Thomson- Bennett magneto and the latest pattern Amac carburetter, and, owing to its excellent system of lubrication, is capable of covering over 2,000 miles on a gallon of oil, while the petrol consumption is stated to be between 90 and a 100mpg…In addition to the standard model a variation, in the stripped sports category, will be introduced.”
“THE PETERS IS SPRUNG FRONT and rear on simple principles, the actual springs being entirely concealed (the front coil in the steering head). The bulbous tank forms the main member of the frame, and the 347cc engine acts as a down tube. An exhaust pressure system of lubrication is incorporated, and the transmission is by belt over variable pulleys. Lighting is electric, current being supplied by a flywheel magneto.”
“THE MAKERS OF THE GRIGG MINIATURE motor bicycle have hitherto specialised on a machine of the scooter type, but they have now adopted a policy which this journal predicted would become general after, the first flush of the stand-up scooter boom had subsided. The fact that scooters made their riders too conspicuous was frequently overlooked. Although the scooter will not be discontinued, the Grigg Motor and Engineering Co, of Twickenham, have incorporated the same engine in a simple low-built duplex frame of motor cycle type. A two-speed Sturmey gear box, with clutch and kick-starter, is incorporated, the transmission being by chain and belt. The frame is constructed largely without lugs, the joints being welded, and the construction is light. The 57x63mm (161cc) two-stroke engine is well designed, and has a compression release which connects up with the exhaust system.”
“PETROL ENGINES DEMAND A PERFECT or nearly perfect explosive combination of air and petrol vapour to function to the best advantage. Perfection, however, in anything is difficult of human attainment, and for that reason, no doubt, the problem of the ideal carburetter has attracted and worried almost everyone interested in motor cycle design. Almost every carburetter designer has claimed perfection for his production, but the fact that no one type or make has superseded all others indicates that, in this field as in most others, the ideal is not to be attained by one path and one method. Tendencies, however, go to indicate that the older methods of carburetting air by means of a plain ‘jet in pipe’ and separately controlled air and gas throttles are moribund; advantage is being taken of all the known and many guessed-at laws of pneumatics and hydraulics, and we have for 1922 a greater range of automatic (single control) carburetters than ever before.”
“NO LESS THAN 94,000 MORE motor cyclists paid licences than the number officially recorded in 1920… the increase this year in numbers is over 25% of the official figures for 1920. The figures reveal a very satisfactory state of affairs and emphasise the great popularity of motor cycles. In America the tendency is quite in the reverse direction, which may be attributed to the failure of the American industry to realise that the motor cycle’s greatest feature is its economy. In the USA very few of the mediumweight and lightweight types, so popular in this country, are made in any quantity.”
“IF MANUFACTURERS WERE INFLUENCED only by the public clamour for cheaper machines, we should arrive at a stage where small tyres, and poor fittings and workmanship, would be the rule, and real progress in design would stagnate.
Fortunately, the British motor cycle trade as a whole is far too sensible to follow such a short-sighted policy, and has a reputation of excellence to maintain; we may rely also on the brains of some of our designers to produce new models which will show a definite advance, over past practice.”
THE MOTOR CYCLE OFFERED “Notes on the ways and means adopted by 27 makers to absorb front-wheel shock…Had the idea of the spring fork never arisen…then the motor cycle, as we know it to-day, might be non-existent…but it must be remembered that even the best types are based on a compromise and, unfortunately, a compromise between more than merely two factors…Forks may be most readily and intelligibly classified into five general categories, by considering the movement or motion they permit of the wheel when in action: (1) Vertical of slightly inclined straight line movement; (2) Short radial movement in front of a low down pivot or short radial movement behind a low pivot; (3) ‘To and fro’ radial movement on a pivot at the foot of the steering head; (4) Upward, or vertical, curving motion obtained by two ‘parallel links’ in some cases by being neither parallel nor of equal length; (5) Approximately a combination of 3 and 4, obtained by substituting some form of spring for the top pair of links.” The Blue ‘Un collated popular forks under each heading: (1) Coulson, Scott, Wooler; (2) Chater-Lea, Corona, FN, Harley-Davidson, Indian, LMC, P&M; (3) Beardmore, Triumph; (4) BSA, Cedos, Douglas, Druid (old type), Edmund, Enfield, Rudge, Saxon “but the Matchless, Royal Ruby and Sunbeam, and particularly the Matchless by reason of non-parallel and unequal top and bottom connecting links, have a considerably modified and restrained motion…the Edmund has a vertical semi-elliptic spring with an action that may best be described as ‘frictionally retarding a parallelogram from becoming a rectangle’, a description perhaps not technically brilliant, but, we hope, lucid!”; (5) Brampton, Dunelt, OK, Rover “and, for sidecar work especially, the type has much to recommend it”.
“THAT THE 1904 3HP TRIUMPH ENGINE was almost exactly similar to many 1920 single-cylinder engines illustrates how little conventional design has changed during the past 17 years. This point was mentioned by Mr HD Teage, of The Motor Cycle in a paper read last Tuesday before members of The Institution of Automobile Engineers at Birmingham. The following are extracts from the paper: ‘The original engine (the 3hp Triumph) had a ball bearing crankshaft of normal built-up construction, side-by-side mechanically-operated valves, and any individual part might be mistaken for that of a modern motor cycle engine. The 3hp Triumph is given as an example of a 17-year-old engine which was the forerunner of the present-day single-cylinder engine, and as showing that improvements have taken place in detail only…Inclined overhead valves, especially in conjunction with a long-stroke engine, provide an ideal combustion chamber and gasflow; cylinder fins of the circumferential type are easily applied and the foundry work is simple; it is not, however, easy to devise a satisfactory valve gear. An obvious solution lies in the use of an overhead camshaft carried well clear of the casting for cooling purposes. Unfortunately, this involves considerable cost in bevels, or skew gears, thrust races and expansion joints, though it is possible to devise a simple two-step chain drive which shall not be unduly strained by cylinder expansion. A simple method of avoiding a multiplicity of gears is used by the HFG light car…The MAG engine long ago demonstrated the fact that overhead valve gear may be suitably enclosed, and a very ingenious system of enclosed valve gear is in use on the Hotchkiss light car engine…In defence, of the side-by-side valve engine it must be stated that good efficiency can be obtained from this type if enough care is expended on the design of the valve ports, combustion head, and cooling areas, though after 20 years’ experience the engines which have been so designed might be counted on the fingers of one hand. On account of simplicity and ease of manufacture alone, the three-port two- cycle engine has an immense field for development, and it has already gone a long way in assisting the production of the machine for the multitude. It is curious that the would-be designer of a two-cycle engine is faced with an extraordinary absence of data on which to
base his calculations, as such figures as are available refer almost entirely to low-speed engines such as are used in launches…It is not necessary to use aluminium or alloy cylinders to obtain good cooling if sufficient metal is used and scientifically disposed. Nor is there any need for water-cooling on any single-cylinder motor cycle engine, and such a tendency would be a retrograde movement, especially from the solo rider’s viewpoint…It is curious that the unit engine and gear box system has not become more popular in this country. The ABC, Clyno two-cycle, Beardmore Precision, and Wooler colonial models practically complete the list of existing British machines, though the Diamond, Singer, Veloce and Villiers have all built machines of this type, and the Superb Four is a promising design. On the other hand, almost every modern Continental and American design embodies the gear box with the crank case (either cast integral or bolted on)…Spring frames have been a fruitful source of discussion, and much ingenuity and paper have been expended on the subject, but, as far as the solo mount is concerned, their inclusion in the specification should be justified by the fact that lighter parts can be used in frame manufacture, so that the total weight of the fully sprung machine is little or no greater than that, of the unsprung type, and the former is equally rigid laterally. Once shaft drive becomes popular, the unit system will automatically come into vogue, and in the meantime the designers of the machine for the multitude would do well to study the designs of the Clyno and the Gillet two-cycle machines.”
“FOR THE FIRST TIME IN history the Bois de Boulogne, in Paris, was the scene last Thursday morning of motor cycle speed tests. Thanks to the energetic Motorcycle Club de France, the municipal authorities consented to allow the famous Allee des Acacias, which, during the season and at certain hours of the day, is the most elegant rendezvous in the world, to be given up for three or four hours to attempts on motor cycle world’s records. In addition to this, the authorities placed at the disposal of the organisers a force of more than 2,000 soldiers, police, and municipal guards, who were used for controlling traffic and keeping spectators off the course. The event is really unique, and constitutes a most important victory for motor cyclists, for although there is no legal speed limit in France, the Bois de Boulogne is most jealously guarded, and at normal times fast driving is almost as rigorously suppressed as in Hyde Park…The English rider, JV Prestwich, broke the world’s record in the 250cc class by averaging 68.59mph for the flying kilometre…The machine was built by Bartlett, a well-known English motor cyclist, who has been resident in France for several years, and was equipped with a JAP engine.”
“TWENTY-ONE COUNTRIES WERE represented at the International Road Conference at Paris…the French Government is anxious that steps should be taken towards modifying road regulations throughout the world.”
“WE ARE GLAD TO KNOW that E Kickham, who was so severely injured in the Grand Prix Race, is back in England. His leg is still in plaster and his arm out of action, but there is every prospect of a complete cure. We congratulate him on his recovery, which the doctors say is due to his cheery optimism…Some confusion may exist in the minds of our readers owing to the number of motor cycle races on the Continent bearing the title Grand Prix. The most important of these was. the Grand Prix of the Union Motocycliste de France, an event bearing the importance in France that the TT races hold in England. There was also the Grand Prix de France, organised by the Motorycle Club de France—a live and energetic club—but naturally this race did not occupy the same exalted position as that to which we first referred. Finally, there was the Grand Prix organised by the Belgian Motor Cycle Federation, which occupies in Belgium the same position as the TT does in England.”
“EVERY LEVEL CROSSING SHOULD be guarded by gates; recently a Leicester motor cyclist was killed through this omission. This is a matter our motoring organisations might take up.”
“SOME DOUBT STILL EXISTS in the minds of motor cyclists—and in the minds of the police!—as to whether or not motor bicycles need carry a rear red lamp at the present time; but we are assured by the Legal Department of the Auto Cycle Union that riders of solo machines are exempt. On the other hand, it is urged that, for the safety of the motor cyclist himself, without considering the convenience of the other road users, a lighted rear lamp should be carried after dark.”
“IT CERTAINLY CANNOT BE SAID to-day that only a machine of 500cc or over may rightfully claim to cater for the soloist who takes a pride in the liveliness and speed of his possession; indeed, there are one or two super-efficient 250cc lightweights already on the market which cause one instinctively to wonder if anything heavier is not superfluous and will not in the near future be confined solely to sidecar haulage. Then just one step higher up the scale, we have a select band of 350cc ‘thoroughbreds’ that competition has proved very little inferior to 500cc machines when matched under equal conditions.”
“POWERFUL MOTOR CYCLES, WITH sidecars able to carry four policemen, if necessary, are now part of the equipment of all the Paris police stations. It is anticipated that their presence in the streets will act as a deterrent to would-be infringers of the speed limit. Then, again, the perpetrators of many armed robberies have recently escaped by using motor cars, and there has been no means until now of overtaking them. The sidecars will be used also in transporting victims of street accidents to the hospitals.”
“A CORRESPONDENT WANTS TO KNOW what a Sidcot suit is. It is,” Ixion explained, “like a revolver—a handy thing on special occasions, but you do not want it every day. Actually it is what the tailors call an ‘aviation suit’, and is designed to achieve the impossible, ie, keep you warm in December at altitudes of 25,000ft and speeds of 100mph It is externally constructed of waterproofed twill, lined with fleece and ether cosy materials, and makes you look like a hybrid. It follows that a Sidcot suit is just the goods for a London-Exeter or for any other motor cycle expedition on which warmth is of far more account than appearance; but it is not, of course, quite the dress in which you would go to declare your income and past moral character to Mabel’s papa. The disposal merchants have not sold them all yet, and the ardent motor cyclist can still pick one up at much under the original price which the RAF paid for them. It is odd how war relics come in handy. When I test an 8hp sidecar at night this winter I shall be clad in a helmet and Sidcot suit—both made for the RAF—gum boots designed for the much-enduring infantry. Triplex goggles (MT pattern), and a pair of mitts originally ordered for the Archangel field force.”
IXION ALSO TOOK AN INTEREST in cycling nomenclature: “A correspondent who enjoyed a classical education suggests that if cyclists dislike the term ‘pushbike’ they should adopt the one and only word in our language which properly belongs to them, to wit, ‘velocipede’, by which name all pedal cycles were known in his father’s young days. I think he is not on the surest ground. It is, of course, ridiculous for cyclists to claim the plain word ‘bicycle’, which means ‘two-wheeler’, and contains no implications about the source of power used for propulsion. But ‘velocipede’ only means ‘swift foot’, and says nothing about wheels of any kind. I fear my verdict must still be cast in favour of ‘pushbike’.”
“IN MANY RESPECTS THE NEW FOUR-VALVE sporting Triumph is unique. Before taking it over for a road trial, we confess that we expected to find, excepting the super-efficient engine, almost a replica of the chain-driven ‘four’ fitted with TT handle-bars. The writer has had considerable eminently satisfactory experience with the latter model, and, since many of the details gear box, transmission, control, etc—are common to both types, the supposition was an excusable one, and the revelation was consequently all the greater. The ohv 3½hp machine is as different as an anti-aircraft gun is from a trench mortar. In ‘feel’ and in performance alike it is all that the often loosely-applied phrase ‘sports model’ should signify; and…it is as sturdily built, adequately tyred, and accessible as the hardest riding and least mechanical motor cyclist could desire. On first sitting astride the machine, the excellence of the riding position is at once apparent. The footrests are low down and well back, and just the.right amount of the rider’s weight is thrown on the slightly dropped handle-bars. Knee grips are now possible, for, since our first description of this model, the gear quadrant has been moved to the fore end of the tank as on the IOM Triumphs. The rear brake pedal, however, might with advantage be extended more towards the foot, although old Triumph riders will have no difficulty in finding it at any time. The standard decompressor is fitted, but the priming tap has been dispensed with; raw petrol may be sucked into the cylinder by opening the throttle fully, shutting the air right off, and kick-starting once or twice. By this means an easy start is ensured on the coldest morning. Incidentally, the slipper type of aluminium piston fitted does not gum up so readily as a cast iron one. Ignition should be fully advanced when starting on the decompressor, but should be retarded before the lever is dropped. Which brings us to another point worthy of note. Full use should be made at all times of the ignition control. The engine, as any high-efficiency power unit should be, is very sensitive to variations of the firing point, and slight grades or slow speeds call for a corresponding amount of retard in the ignition setting. This need for sensible driving is accentuated by the high top gear ratio—4.23 to 1 with 3in tyres. Since the Triumph carburetter is to all intents and purposes semi- automatic, the air lever may be left open practically all the time, but here, again, the ohv engine is slightly more sensitive than the side-valve pattern. All plate clutches which run in oil are inclined ta drag slightly until the lubricant warms up, and it has already been remarked in these columns that, in consequence, gear changing on first acquaintanceship with this particular gear box is just a little awkward. This, however, need worry no one, for very shortly one learns to operate the gears up and down with the utmost facility and absence of noise. At the same time, if the weather be at all cold, the beginner is recommended to place his toe on the brake pedal before engaging first gear. Once under way, second gear may be engaged early, but, to enjoy the thrill of real acceleration, top should not be brought into- action too soon. On the 7.02 to 1 middle ratio, one is advised to grip tightly before opening out! A momentary closure of the throttle just previous to pushing the gear lever right down, of course, ensures a much smoother change. Comfort and steering, attended to by 26x3in tyres and Druid forks, are all that could be desired from a rigid frame machine; nor do the large tyres appear to affect maximum speed to any serious degree. No speedometer was fitted to our machine, but on the one occasion that road conditions permitted full throttle for about twenty seconds—we have no doubt
whatever that we appreciably exceeded the elusive ‘sixty’. There was no tendency to wobble. However, a fairer criterion of the machine’s all-out capabilities is afforded by the well-authenticated fact that one of the production models to standard specification has lapped at Brooklands at 68mph, which, in effect, means that it has exceeded 70mph. It should also be remembered that the racing four-valve Triumph holds the 500cc hour record at 76.74mph; it is fairly obvious that a racing setting to the carburetter or a racing carburetter and the application of a little tuning, and the production model might be even further livened up—although this would certainly not be advisable in the case of nine riders out of ten. More remarkable is the petrol consumption of the machine in its present form. Averaging from 20-25mph—a very pleasant, slow ‘ponk-ponk’—the consumption is nearly 120mpg, which is a notable instance of theoretical high efficiency design proving itself in practice. Four valves in a hemispherical cylinder head, ultra-light reciprocating parts, and thoroughly adequate cooling, are, it will be recollected, salient features of the Ricardo design. It is likely that twin tail pipes will be fitted to the silencer on all future models; with these the exhaust note may only be called noisy at high speeds. The valve gear, too, is surprisingly silent. There is little need to enlarge on the other qualities of the machine. Acceleration and hill-climbing on top gear are better than we expected, which is saying a good deal; and the brake is known to every Triumph rider. The horseshoe-type front rim brake is retained for emergency use, and, as the writer has vivid memories of a lone descent of Alt-y-Bady at its greasiest with the aid of this fitment, he is not going to quibble with its , retention. It is among the best of its type. Nothing in this world is above criticism; we leave our readers to judge the seriousness of such imperfections as occurred to us. (1) There is considerable piston slap, especially when cold; but few aluminium pistons are quite free from this. (2) There is none too much ground clearance, especially under the foot- rest bar when cornering; in the case of a violent upset, say, in a freak trial, there seems a possibility of the left footrest puncturing the oil bath chain case. (3) Since the float chamber is on the right of the jet, the machine cannot be propped against the left kerb without turning off the petrol. (4) It was suggested in our correspondence columns recently that the plug was very inaccessible. Now, although two special spanners—box and cranked—are supplied, it is still none too easy to remove.the plug when hot without burning one’s fingers. Little more need be said. Triumph finish and Triumph workmanship are in evidence in every detail.” A few weeks after this roadtest was published Ixion had his say: “I have just taken delivery of a four-valve Triumph. Readers may be surprised to hear that it is neither the speed nor the acceleration which have so far impressed me most. The high spot of the machine is its great comfort. It hammers one more nail—a big one—in the coffin of narrow tyres. The second item which amazed me is the transmission. The indirect gears are as near silent as can be, and the all-chain drive tugs considerably less than a tight belt would do when the engine is pulling slowly. Under circumstances where docility is required, such as starting up, or dodging through heavy traffic, she is as meek as a tame rabbit but open the throttle, and she feels just like a Waterloo Cup winner looks…[she] starts from stone cold on an Arctic morning at the first kick, and potters in and out of its small shed with the engine firing under easy and careless control, though quite ready to roar like a bull and leap like a young unicorn if one wishes to impress any stunt-merchant with its paces. “
“S MARTIN, A WELL-KNOWN Los Angeles motor cyclist, recently made a blood-curdling leap of 67 feet in mid-air for a firm of film producers. The scenario called for the rider to dash down a steep hill, about 200 feet long, shoot up a short incline with a 10 foot rise, and leap a gulch 37 feet wide and 30 feet deep. Dashing down the hill wide open in second gear at 45mph, the rider gracefully sailed high in air as he reached the end of the up-grade take-off, and cleared the chasm under him by a big margin, sitting his machine steadily and easily in a semi-upright position. As the machine lost momentum in the air, it started downward in a nose-dive, and crashed to the ground, front end first, and then lunged forward in gigantic somersaults. The plucky rider rapidly recovered from the shock, and so far has suffered no ill-effects from his leap.”
FROM THE MOTOR CYCLE’S REGULAR review of new patents (the author, as you might guess from the writing style, was BH Davies, better known to us as Ixion): “Messrs Swan and Yeats are Australians; and I hate to seem unkind towards a country which provided the British Army with some of its very finest shock troops in the late war. But I cannot camouflage the fact that they are trying to add a new terror to sidecaring. They point out, with some justice, that the current, or rigid, type of sidecar outfit demands a little care on corners, and has to be strongly built if it is to resist the resultant side stresses. They propose to facilitate cornering and to reduce the stresses thereof by a patent chassis in which a control lever of the coffee-grinder pattern is used to tilt the bicycle in or out on bends. Their sidecar chassis is attached to the bicycle frame at three points. The lower attachments, fore and aft, are pivoted. The third is shown, complete with control lever, in the accompanying sketch, and is self-explanatory. This connection, ordinarily known as the saddle-pillar attachment, is normally rigid, an angular hinge being locked by a worm and quadrant. But when the control lever is operated, a pair of bevel pinions rotate the above-mentioned worm, and so cause the quadrant portion of the locking device to swing through an arc, small or great. The angle between the two arms of the hinge is thereby varied, and forces the sidecar chassis and the motor cycle frame ruthlessly apart or lovingly towards each other, as the case may be. It is so long since I drove a sidecar attached to a motor bicycle by ‘flexible’ joints that I have almost forgotten what the experience felt like. To the best of my belief there were two main drawbacks. One was that my thigh was apt to be rather painfully nipped between the tank and the sidecar; the other was that much faster cornering became possible, and that the tyres used to be wrenched out of their rims. However, Messrs. Morton consider that we have by no means heard the last of flexible sidecar connections, and the sketch shows their plan for an arrangement by which the sidecar wheel and the sidecar body cant over in sympathy with the tilt of the bicycle in taking a corner.”
“JUSTICE? A STAFFORDSHIRE MOTOR CYCLIST was summoned last week because it was claimed that his front number plate was not illuminated. The defendant maintained that his lamp was in such a position that the numbers would be adequately illuminated, and the Stipendiary intimated that he would examine it if the motor cyclist would bring his machine upstairs. Because he could not do so, the Stipendiary refused to examine it, and fined the defendant 15s.”
“THE CONFLICTING CLAIMS OF motor grease and BA degrees were the subject of a lively discussion, when the Cambridge Union Debating Society rejected by 170 votes to 113 a motion calling tor a ban on the use of motor vehicles by undergraduates during term time. Mw AS A Frere-Reeves, proposing the motion, said motor cycling students read periodicals dealing with the sport instead of attending to lectures. Opposing the motion in a humorous speech, Mr RJL Simon ‘proved’ that motor cycling was synonymous with knowledge.”
“WHAT IS HOLDING UP THOUSANDS of sales is the knowledge that, when a man puts down his money for a new motor, an enormous slab of it is instantly gone beyond recall…Such depreciations are inevitable just now. Prices have been tumbling, and have accustomed buyers to ridiculous prices. Over-production has been rife. New models are being introduced, and rendering current patterns obsolete in a sentimental sense, if not from a practical standpoint.”
“BARTIMEUS, THE WELL-KNOWN WRITER on naval subjects, in an article which recently appeared in the daily press on the subject of midshipmen, states: ‘Mostly they own motor bicycles, not (as the conservative maintain) because they are the sons of rich parvenus, but because things mechanical are bred in their blood. A rough-and-tumble at the heels of a press-gang lieutenant once satisfied the midshipman’s craving for excitement; now he seeks it in propelling a ‘stink-bike’ (every valve, bolt, and gear wheel of which he knows intimately) at grossly illegal speeds over tortuous thoroughfares.’ We look forward to seeing a number of these sporting young gentlemen in next year’s Arbuthnot Trophy Trial.”
“SIR,—I AM TAKING THE LIBERTY of forwarding the opinion held by myself and many others on betting on motoring events. I refer, of course, to the betting conducted by ‘bookies’. I think this state of affairs is diametrically opposed to the interests of the motor and motor cycle movement in general. Betting on horses and athletics is bad enough, but on motor races—well! These races, especially on the track, are all in the cause of the movement, while horse races are sordid financial undertakings. It is just as feasible to speculate on experiments conducted in the laboratories. We do not want the sport brought to the questionable level of horse racing, nor do we want the presence of ‘bookies’ at our events. I consider that this matter should be investigated.
IXION ANNOUNCED FOUR RESOLUTIONS: “I am going to have 3in tyres (to flatten the bumps, and exorcise punctures). I am going to have some form of automatic oiling, and relieve myself of the necessity for watching my speedometer with one eye and a ‘greeny-yallery’ sightglass with the other. I am going to have a super-saddle. I am going to have electric lighting.”
IXION JUST BEING IXION. If you don’t enjoy this you’re probably on the wrong website: “Garulous Old Fogey. At the risk of earning the above cognomen, I must really reminisce a bit more. The MCC used to open its season (which was then the season, for the MCC dominated the sport) with a run to Brighton. Little birds twittered that two firms intended to stagger humanity by producing entirely novel passenger outfits. On the great day. Van Hooydonk appeared at Purley, trying not to look too conscious; he bestrode a Phoenix Trimo with two-speed gear and handle starting. He demonstrated ad nauseam until the late Wilbur Gunn rolled up on a 4½hp Lagonda tricar with open frame and quite put the Phoenix nose out of joint. He started this now forgotten contraption by tipping open a trapdoor in the waist of the chassis, and executing a few steps of the Washington Post on a pedal and chain gear. At Crawley, some mean-spirited person pinched Hooydonk’s starting-handle. We all felt that pedalling starters were sound design after we had heard Hooydonk discuss the situation fluently for five minutes.”
…AND THERE’S MORE. ENJOY. “Several veteran readers HAVE written confirming my jesting reminiscences about the perilous trailer which we all used before Percy Kemp invented the sidecar and J van Hooydonk begot the Phoenix Trimo. An Earlsdon (Coventry) reader once arrived home minus his wife. He retraced his tracks, and found he had decanted her at the corner of Green Lane, some 1½ mile away. She had made a pancake landing on her face, and the trailer was incontinently sold. Another reader much enjoyed his first ride on a trailer, but forgot its presence when negotiating the narrow gate at the side of his villa. He says the trailer uprooted the gate posts; but with my vivid memories of the virile engines then current, I am prepared to bet that the engine immediately stopped, and that no damage was really done. Mr Victor Holroyd, of Rudge fame, confesses to having taken out a trailer containing his daughter, and having shortly become oblivious of the appendage. He cut corners, dodged under horses’ tummies, and performed such stunts as a young rider will. When he got home, the youngster remarked, ‘Mamma, father can drive!’ You have all heard of a ‘flat spot’ in the mixture. Well, there is still a flat spot on the back of my head; and anybody who has ever been seated in a fast trailer when the connection snapped will testify that no physical event can possibly be more instantaneous than the resultant ‘biff’ on the rear of the skull; there is no time to swear.”
“THERE WAS AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of the FICM at Milan at the beginning of last week. The following countries were represented: Italy, England, France, America, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, and Spain. Sixteen delegates in all were present under the chairmanship of Count Bonacossa. A sub-committee was formed to investigate the organisation and classifying of records, and the international records broken during the last year were submitted for sanction. All the British claims were passed, and were, incidentally, 92% of the total. Records in America showed the figures of 104.34mph for 10 miles and 101.32mph for 50 miles. These were made by Otto Walker (Harley-Davidson) at Fresno, California. Other fine times were E Hepburn’s (Harley-Davidson) 100 miles at 88.4mph, 200 miles at 87.02mph, and 300 miles at 85.7mph. French records included Lombard’s 75.85mph on the Salmson. Scooters, lightweight sidecars and two- seated sidecars have all gained international recognition, the following additional classes being instituted: Class Z, motor-assisted bicycles not exceeding 125cc; Class Y, motor scooters not exceeding 175cc; Class B-S, sidecar machines not exceeding 380cc; Class J-1, single-seater sidecars not exceeding 750cc; Class J-3, two-seater sidecars not exceeding 780cc. The following definitions were approved: A scooter is a motor-propelled vehicle carrying a platform, no part of which is less than 30cm from the ground, and has a minimum length of 20cm. A motor assisted bicycle is a vehicle having two or three wheels, provided that, if with three wheels, the third is used for propulsion only, whether it is operated by the driver and/or a motor. It is proposed to form a representative governing body of motor cyclists in Spain. The Spanish Government paid the expenses of the Spanish delegates, so great is its interest in the movement. These proceedings lasted until lunch time on Wednesday, when the delegates were entertained to lunch by Count Bonacossa it his chateau. A visit to the Touring Club of Italy followed, when the members were met by the President, and an excellent set of touring maps was presented to each delegate. A visit to the works of Messrs Pirelli, the tyre manufacturers of Milan, was made on the Thursday…Although not very well known to the average motor cyclist, the FICM is an organisation which does a good deal of important work. The initials stand for Fédération Internationale des Clubs Motocyclistes, the French form of the International Federation of Motor Cycle Clubs—a body comprised of representatives of all the principal motor cycle clubs in the various countries, whose delegates meet together about twice a year to discuss matters appertaining to motor cycles throughout the world. Though an international organisation, the FICM is run very largely on British lines, and has taken the rules governing British motor cycle competitions as its model. Its great work has been to compel the running of all international competitions under the same rules (rules which were recently drawn up), to enquire into and pass international records, and generally to look after the interests of motor cycling internationally. Before it was in proper working order, a British rider might take part in a competition on the Continent being absolutely ignorant of the regulations, and suffer injustices-against which he would have no redress. Such a contingency is now impossible, and an English rider who has competed in the English Six Days and the TT can safely compete in any race or reliability trial of an international character in any one of the countries belonging to the Federation, and know for certain that his machine would have to conform to the same conditions as those drawn up for the English classic events referred to above. Each country now recognises the others’ competitors’ licence, and if a British rider has his licence suspended for any malpractice he would not be able to compete in France or any other country belonging to the Federation. The same remarks apply to an Italian rider who had transgressed and attempted to enter, say, the TT race.”
DURING 1921 2,171 MOTOR CYCLES were imported into the UK; exports totalled 8,103. The Motor Cycle estiamated there were 350 motor cycle clubs.
“THERE IS ONE MOTOR CYCLE in Germany for every 2,244 inhabitants, while in France, where the population is considerably less, there is one motor cycle per 738 inhabitants.”
“A snapshot of wild monkeys examining a Big Four Norton. The photograph was taken on the banks of the Umgeni river, South Africa, by Mr JL Norton, who states that the monkeys were shy to begin with, but soon made up their minds that it was a good machine, and settled down comfortably, while he exposed the film.” Ixion was clearly impressed: “I was much interested to inspect the prints of this wise veteran surrounded by ostriches and cannibals and other tropical fauna. He has already cabled home to the works for various modifications to be introduced into the export model Nortons, and there is no doubt that his policy is excellent. If the big noise from all our factories were personally to sample overseas conditions and collogue with overseas riders, we would annex a far larger slice of the colonial trade. Mr Norton belongs to the tough old breed whom we don’t raise nowadays. He has been a greybeard ever since I have known him (I don’t care to add up how long that is), and it is vastly to his credit that at his age he should tackle so exhausting a trip.”
THE FINAL MAJOR EVENT of the year was the MCC’s Exeter trial…”‘There you are, then!’ The idiotically popular catch-phrase of the moment, echoing and re-echoing among a 300 strong crowd of strangely garbed motorists at and around the Bridge House Hotel, Staines, very appropriately expressed the spirit of the occasion—the start of the MCC London-Exeter-London run…The 1921 event assumed more than ever the nature of a gigantic re-union of the keenest motor cyclists in the country. One must be keen to leave a cosy fireside on Boxing Day for the purpose of riding through the night to Exeter, then back, under proverbially severe weather conditions, and by no means over the easiest route. Exactly 200 drivers of solo machines, sidecars, or three-wheelers decided to include a mass visit to
Devonshire in their Christmas festivity programmes and 186 actually started—64 solo, 107 sidecars, and 15 three-wheelers. Of these no fewer than 151 (49 solo, 89 sidecars and 13 three-wheelers) checked in at the finish on the following night, although one or two of these ‘finishers’ had gone no further than Salisbury! It did not actually rain at the start, and some were rash enough to hazard that the long run of suitably wet Boxing nights was at last to be broken. Few of these false prophets were taking any risks in the matter of clothing, however, and if the members of the general public who lined the starting point in two long avenues were entirely disinterested in motor cycles (which, emphatically they were not), they would have spent an interesting time in viewing the variegated clothing schemes. Nevertheless, here and there, were heroes, obviously new to the run, who had casually flung on old coats on the basis perhaps that they had proved effective in the past during an afternoon’s summer rain. The machines and their lighting arrangements were also very varied. Brand new, old, and old and obsolete outfits were indiscriminately formed two deep in a long line leading to Mr Bidlake’s car, when AC Rhodes on a four-valve Triumph, looking ‘straight from the crate’, and GE Cuffe (2½hp Metro-
Tyler) received the word to go. Thereafter the remainder were despatched in pairs at one-minute intervals, having survived a battery of flashlight photographers, dismal farewells from friends, who were ‘going by car for a change this year’ (!), and queries of ‘What petrol (carburetter, plug of chest-protector, etc) are you using?’ BFC Fellows’ 2¾hp De Dion Bouton of 1899 vintage was undoubtedly the oldest machine, but it was too well modernised to be the least modern. For example, W Hill’s 8hp Chater-Lea sidecar outfit was very much pre-war and, despite a carrier that came ‘unstuck’ every quarter of an hour or so, with the inevitable consequences to a cheap acetylene tail lamp, it completed the run with remarkable consistency, failing only on Salcombe…There were also several fairly ancient Triumphs and a far from new 2¾hp Zenith. Among the other machines that attracted special attention were SS Debenham’s 10hp Campion, which was fitted with a Jardine four-speed gear box; J Wallis’s 7-9hp Reading-Standard, which hauled two full-sized passengers in a Plus One sidecar; Neville Hall’s little two-stroke OK outfit, upon which he made a star performance; the 4¼hp Beardmore-Precision, driven by Eli Clarke, jun, who, however, experienced much bad luck; and the three Ner-a-cars…Since the procession of competitors extended to nearly 60 miles along the road, it is impossible to say definitely where and when it started in real earnest to rain. But nobody crossed Salisbury Plain without getting his share, and, for most, those dreary stretches before and after the supper stop at Salisbury itself were a continual battle with the elements. A high-pressure gale from a three-quarter front direction bore the water in sheets against the riders, made driving almost dangerous for the soloists and most unpleasant for all, and ruined the reputations of several waterproof coat manufacturers…Hot coffee, as usual, at Moffatt’s garage was something to look forward to; then even the weather gods cheered up, and when Chard Hill was climbed (by 99% successfully) it was once more dry overhead. There was a check at
the summit, and another at Honiton. Peak Hill, ascended just before dawn, was in an extremely bad condition, and skids and wheel slip respectively caused many solo and sidecar failures…Much of the next 13½ miles to Exeter consisted of extremely slimy, narrow, and twisting lanes, and falls were common occurrences. Two hours and a quarter were allowed for breakfast, and a start was made on the return journey. Forebodings regard- ing Salcombe Hill proved not unfounded…Among the soloists, the lightweights were both best and worst, although the majority of those that were fully expected to fail had retired long before!…Through Lyme-Regis, Dorchester and Blandford to the lunch stop at Salisbury bright sunshine cheered the sleepy drivers and warmed the sleeping passengers. Little batches of local motor cyclists were congregated on almost every up- grade to witness the passage of the competitors, and by the eager way in which they followed every movement they were obviously making most absorbing comparisons of the various machines’ ‘hill-climbing’ capabilities. This greatly amused most of the drivers, who ‘TT-ed’ up each of these (unofficially) observed sections with much danger of getting more than 15 minutes ahead of schedule…Only an hour was allowed at the lunch stop, and the travel-stained survivors were despatched on the last lap over the same route as the previous night, but, of course, in the reverse direction. All had to light up before arrival at Staines, and the last 20 miles were rather difficult to follow. G Brough (8hp Brough Superior), although actually ‘No 3’, contrived, without imperilling his 15 minutes ahead allowance, to arrive first, much to the delight of the spectators and the daily newspaper reporters, some of whom obviously fondled the idea that the event was a race. Claim cards were signed—these were intended to help the club to eliminate the unsuccessful without unnecessary delving into statistics—number plates returned, and the strenuous 319¼ miles run became a thing of the past. All honour to the finishers!”
As usual, let’s close the year with a selection of contemporary adverts…