1924

Bert le Vack rode a 996cc ohv JAP-engined Brough Superior with Castle forks along a highway outside Paris to set a flying kilometre record of 119.1mph. George Brough developed it into a production model that would become a legend: the SS100, named for its guaranteed 100mph capability.

Victor Horsman and A Denley each set new hour records but before year’s end French ace M Richard scorched round the new Montlhery circuit on a Peugeot twin, raising the bar to 88.45mph.

A four-pot Ace did an unofficial 134mph, without FICM observation.

There were more than 500,000 motorcycles on British roads.

P&M launched a sporty ohv 500 and named it the Panther. They clearly liked the name because within a few years P&M became Panther. New Hudson, Raleigh and Royal Enfield also came up with powerful ohv designs; Rudge offered a 500cc version of its four-valve, four-speed 350.

Raleigh proved its reliability with a round-the-coast stunt observed by the ACU. Hugh Gibson completed the 3,429-mile run on a 7hp outfit in 11½ days; leading woman rider Majorie Cottle simultaneously lapped the coast on a Raleigh solo in the other direction.

Meguro was set up to make parts for Triumphs imported into Japan by Maruishi; a 1,20cc V-twin was aptly named Giant (in Japanese).

Alec Bennett won the Senior TT on an ohv Norton Model 18 – the marque’s first TT win since Rem Fowler’s victory in 1907 – and a 598cc Norton notched up another victory in the the Sidecar TT. Second fastest outfit was a 350cc Cotton. New Imperial also had a memorable year on the mountain circuit. Ken Twemlow won the Junior ahead of DoT and AJS; his brother Eddie won the Lightweight ahead of a Cotton. A new Ultra-Lightweight 175cc race was won by Jock Porter on his New Gerrard, ahead of two more Cottons.

A Monet-Goyon won the 175cc race in the French Grand Prix, but it was powered by a Villiers ‘Sports’ engine.

Velocette launched the ohc 350cc K. Matchless, OEC and Chater Lea also came up with cammy designs; Dougal Marchant rode a 350cc Blackburne-engined Chater Lea to do the first 350cc ton at Brooklands .

The ACU launched the six-day/1,000-mile Stock Machine Trial; AJS won three gold medals and a team medal. And an Ajay described as “the only fully equipped touring sidecar in the trial” was top combo.

A Matchless outfit won its class in the Scottish Six Days Reliability Trial.

The ISDT moved to Belgium and, finally, Britain won (on James, Sunbeam and AJS). The Norwegians earned as many points but were penalised for riding foreign bikes – Harley, Husqvarna and Norton.

Italy built the first motorway, between Milan and Varese.

In the German Wanderpreis von Deutschland Zenith beat BMW into second place to win the 500cc race.

In the first Spanish GP no less than five 500cc ohv Duggies led the way home; a pair of French Alcyons were first and second in the 350cc class. In the Grand Prix des Nations a brace of ohv Guzzis were the fastest 500s on the day, ahead of Norton and Peugeot.

Twistgrip throttles were spreading from track to road.

Beeza’s bargain-basement sv 250cc Model B became famous as the Round Tank.

At the Swiss GP Graham Walker’s ohv Sunbeam won the 500cc class ahead of a Motosacoche ridden by Italian ace Luigi Arcangeli. TC de la Hay won the 350cc class on another Sunbeam; a Swiss Condor beat a Velo to take 250cc honours.

Howard Davies launched the HRD range with 348 and 490cc JAP engines. They were low and sporty, with duplex frames and some of the first saddle tanks. Designer EJ Massey had built the Massey-Arran that gave AJS such a fright in the 1921 Junior TT – the year Howard had made history by winning the Senior on a Junior AJS.

Harry Perrey led the BSA competition team up Screw Hill and to the summit of Mount Snowden.

With the R37 BMW’s flast twins gained overhead valves.

George Brough launched the oh-so-desirable SS100, based on Bert Le Vack’s 119mph world-record holder.

Cambridge graduate Eric Fernihough MA won a Varsity motorcycle race, starting a relationship with JAP that would cover him in glory.

In Japan the Military Vehicle Subsidy Law allowed the government to subsidise makers or owners of motor vehicles suitable for military use, provided they were made in Japan. The immediate result was the entry of major industrial concerns into the manufacture of motorcycles. The Murata Iron Works built two copies of the pocket-valve Harley Davidson and offered them to the army, which tried them out and returned them without comment, a very high insult in Japan. The Imperial Army wasalready using imported Harleys. Toyo Kogyo (Mazda) also tried to build a motorcycle for the army and that effort failed as well. While these two companies went back to their drawing boards, Mr Shimazu, who had built the first Japanese motorcycle back in 1909, unleashed the Arrowfast: a 633cc sidevalve single with three speeds and a reverse gear for sidecar work.