WHO BETTER THAN IXION to greet the new year? “My best wishes to our millions (steady old man – Ed) of readers, whether they are blowing their noses and convalescing from plum pudding in England, or fanning themselves and trying to believe that a scraggy chicken is a royal turkey and that dates are raisins in Baghdad; or sucking blubber and rubbing their frost-bittem extremities with snow in the Arctic circle. May your new mount be all that you hope! If you cannot afford one, may pa relent; or some aged and distant relative die (by a smooth and easy death, of noxalcourse) and leave you the wherewithal; or a geegee come home in front for once; or the managing director suddenly realise your ability and nominate you as his new personal assistant. Or some old thing or other happen, and enable you to order a Brough Superior if your fancy runs that way. May all the police in your county be afflicted with aural cattarrh, and smile benignly when you pass at high speed. May next summer have knobs on it, the right girl consent to occupy your carrier and depart without hysterics when you grow weary of her. In fact, dear lads – all the very best for 1928!

GARELLI DIVERTED RESOURCES from motor cycles production to military hardware, much of which was exported.

THE MURATA IRONWORKS IN JAPAN changed its name to Meguro (after a local racetrack) and began selling proprietary engines under that name. Japan could muster 7,670 motorcycles, of which two-thirds were British. Mada Tetsuji founded Japan Automobile Co (JAC) to make motor cycles in Tokyo.

JOHNNIE HOSKINS, WHO HAD staged the first speedway meeting in Australia in 1923, set sail on the Oronsay, arriving in England without the use of a suitable track. Sir Arthur Elvin, the chairman of Wembley Stadium, asked Hoskins to promote speedway at Wembley for the 1929 season. He accepted, and the Wembley Lions team was born. To give British enthusiasts a taste of the new sport a demonstration was staged—nearly 20,000 thrill-seekers packed into the King’s Oak Speedway [actually High Beech Speeddway, it was known as King’s Oak because it was next door to the Kings Oaks Hotel in Epping Forest] for a demonstration of the new sport. The Blue ’Un reported: “There was no real broadsiding but there was thrill upon thrill…the crowd rocked with laughter as LP Wilson (172cc Francis-Barnett) had the impudence to harry HM Smith (ohv Sunbeam)…heat 7 made the most staid spectators gasp and women scream…” The fastest lappers were a 348cc Douglas, a 493cc Sunbeam and a 497cc Ariel; quickest combo was a 498cc Triumph. When an Aussie and two Brits gave a demonstration of broadsiding a contemporary report opened: “Thrills! Thrills!! Thrills!!!” Speedway tracks sprung up all over the place. Within weeks a ‘broadsiding exhibition’ was held in Manchester at the Audenshaw greyhound/trotting/athletics track (generally known as the Snipe track because it was behind the Snipe Inn…is a pattern emerging here?). A local newspaper told its Mancunian readers: “Dirt track racing on a track similar to those used overseas has yet to be witnessed in this country. A loose surface on which ‘dry’ skids are easily developed appears to be the characteristic of the Australian and American tracks, and, in this respect, the Audenshaw ground near Manchester does not quite fill the specification, for its surface is the typical comparatively hard cinder track, similar to

Audenshaw Speedway in its first season, when the majority of the spectators were seeing motor cycle racing fo the first time.

that used for pedal-cycle racing…When the South Manchester MC staged the first motor cycle event there last Saturday afternoon [3 March] the track surface was fairly hard and compact after a previous day of rain, but whether any more lurid riding would have been seen by the 15,000 spectators in the enclosures, on the stands, and even on the roofs of the stands, had the surface been loose remains to be seen. As it was the thrills were there in plenty, but many who were anxious to learn if the Australian ‘broadsiding’ was quicker than our own method of riding round corners were disappointed, for the Australian visitors who were present were unable to demonstrate any advantage over the local men. Races were run anti-clockwise (although the ACU, it is said, will only licence the track for clockwise running).” The meeting featured a three-lap exhibition race by Aussie riders W Galloway and E McKay using Douglases supplied by the factory. “Sidecar races followed, but the heats were so mixed and departed so much from the programme that it was not possible to tell what was happening…H Clayton (490cc Norton sc) overturned—the sidecar event was run anti-clockwise—and his passenger was hurt.” Following three fatalities over the next few months one of the bends at Audenshaw was dubbed ‘Suicide Corner’. Over the next few weeks tracks opened at Greenford, Glasgow, Leeds (Post Hill), Blackpool (Highfield Road), Halifax, London (Stamford Bridge), Crystal Palace (featuring a ‘£100 International Match Race and, subsequently, a motor-cycle gymkhana including dirt-track racing, motorcycle football, motorcycle polo and trick riding), Edinburgh (featuring an International Golden Helmet race and a Scottish One-Mile Invitation Handicap), Mansfield Woodhouse, London (White City), Wimbledon, Barnsley (with classes for side-valves, ohv 350s, ohv 500s and ohv unlimited and a three-way shoot out between the Barnsley, Goldthorpe and Thurnscoe MCs), Harringay, Wolverhampton, Brighton, Birmingham (Perry Barr), Lea Bridge, Chalton, Coventry (Lythalls Lane), Bradford (Greenfield), Manchester (White City), Belle Vue, Coventry (Brandon), West Ham, Huddersfield, Swindon, Birmingham (Greet Motordrome), Northampton (Hannington), Birmingham (Hall Green), Rochdale, Bolton, Middlesbrough, Bristol, Salford, Leicester, Blackpool (St Anne’s Road), Dublin, Belfast, Southampton (featuring a six-a-side England vs Australia ‘test match’), Broxburn (between Edinburgh and Glasgow) and Cardiff. By year’s end (according the the excellent site speedwayresearcher.org.uk) an astonishing 684 speedway meetings had been scheduled—Boxing Day meetings were held in Leeds, Cardiff and, possibly, Halifax. (about a dozen were cancelled due to rain). For the first time the general public could enjoy the thrill of motor cycle racing in relative comfort, and in most cases they could get to the meeting by public transport. Speedway quickly became a part of the nation’s social fabric.

The new sport clearly inspired the Blue ‘Un’s artist.

WOMEN TOOK TO THE DIRT too, including the memorably named Vera Hole of Watchet, who rode (to great effect) as Sunny Somerset. On the whole they were seen as an amusing novelty until Irish lass Fay Taylour, already an established competitor in trials and grasstrack, switched to speedway. She went Down Under and beat many of the top Aussies and Kiwis on their home ground, then proved herself one of the top riders in Britain riding a Douglas. Taylour persuaded her uncle, Lord Riddle, owner of the News of the World, to watch her first competitive outing, as well as asking him to wave the starting flag. He came up with the News of the World Trophy and helped promote the new sport. She attracted huge crowds and won significant prize money.The Green ‘Un reported: “The prospect of watching a lady rider, Miss Fay Taylour, matched in a handicap race against a star such as Ron Johnson was chiefly responsible for the excellent crowd at Crystal Palace Speedway last Saturday.” Yorkshire farmer’s daughter Eva Askwith had learnt to ride a motor cycle as a DR in the Great War. She raced with a TT AJS, earned a finisher’s certificate in the Scottish Six-Days Trial and was runner-up in the York-Edinburgh trial. Askwith entered the innaugural meeting at Leeds Speedway on a special dirt-track Douglas bought with prize money and was soon totting up the wins. She often raced against Fay Taylour; their match races drew huge crowds. There were other women who were successful competitors but within a couple of years women were banned from speedway. Taylour switched to racing cars with considerable success, saying the day she met a man who was more difficult to handle than a racing car, she would probably give up racing. She remained unmarried and was still racing in the 1950s.

Sunny Somerset, Fay Taylour and Eva Askwith were among the women who took on male speedway riders on equal terms—Taylour and Askwith were regularly matched against each other and drew large crowds. Within a couple of years the ACU banned them.

BEFORE LONG INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY Ltd was running events six evenings a week at Wimbledon, Harringay and White City, featuring Aussie star Frank Arthur and American ace Art Pecher on his Indian.

HERE’S ONE OF THE FIRST speedway reports to be published in The Motor Cycle: “Nearly an hour before the start of the opening meeting on the new Crystal Palace speedway, a steady downpour of rain set in. In spite of this, spectators continued to pour into the grounds, and a little before zero hour there was not a stand seat to be had for love or money. Thousands had to stand out in the rain, and when it was announced that, owing to the conditions, the start would be postponed for half an hour, the crowd bore its discomforts with great patience. The Marconiphone loud-speakers refused to function, so announcements had to be made by megaphone; apart from this, the organisation was excellent. Although a shade heavy owing to the deluge, the track was in very fine condition. Later on, the rain almost ceased, and the crowd was fully repaid for its long-suffering. The chief event was an international match race between three celebrated Australian and English riders….Two Englishmen and one Australian lined up for the Final, and after one false rolling start, caused by the fact that Schlam’s “Peashooter” was running very erratically, the three got going and dead-heated for the first bend. Here, However, Schlam went into a broadside like lightning, and shot ahead. On the following straight, however, his engine suddenly cut out like a knife, and he had, perforce, to become a spectator.Thereafter, the race became rather dull, for, although Frogley and Wills were at the top of their form, their riding, as a spectacle, was not in the same street as that of the Australians. Less experienced riders on the more reliable machines ruled the day.”


BEFORE LONG SPEEDWAY WAS an integral part of the Blue ‘Un, courtesy of Talmage’s weekly column Cinder Siftings whence comes these notes on speedway’s first international superstar, Billy Lamont: “About Billy Lamont there is something irresistible—not only about his riding, but about the man himself…He started dirt-track racing in at Maitlant—the first dirt-track built in Australia—in 1924 (aged 17) and, unlike many of the other riders, he has remained true to his first love throughout. For Lamont started racing on an old 348cc side-valve AJS. This machine was gradually tuned up to do great things, but eventually, of course, it had to give way to an ohv ‘Ajes’ [I assume this is the 19020s version of ‘Ajay’—Ed] of the same size, which in turn was replaced by a 500. The year following his start on the dirt the Newcastle and Cessnock tracks (both ½-mile) were opened and he divided his attention between the two. In 1926 AJ Hunting opened two ¼-mile tracks at Brisbane. On these tracks Lamont used to thrill the good people of Queensland until he came to England this year…the nickname ‘Cyclone’ suits him to a ‘T’. His riding is unlike that of any other speedway ‘ace’ I have seen. There is only one man in the whole world who, crouching over the bars of a buck-jumping AJS, stays flat-out while trying (apparently) to uproot the safety fence…But when Lamont and his AJS are really in a

Lamont was the world’s first speedway superstar. In an interview some 40 years later he remarked: “Until you’ve seen a leg trailer you haven’t seen speedway.” (Right) From Talmage’s feature: “‘Cyclone’ Billy Lamont; for once he is not looking at his feet and scratching the track with his toe!”

going mood, nothing can stop them. Bumps, fence, rear tyre of the rim—they are all the same to Billy, who apparently does not notice such trivialities.” Best to let Cyclone’s contrymen have the last say. According the the site Speedway Past Australia: “Lamont was a spectacular leg-trailer who knew no fear, crashed as often as he won, could beat anyone on his night, partied with the finest of London’s high society and, for a time, lived at the Savoy Hotel…Lady racer Fay Taylour once dubbed him ‘The idol of Millions’. Lamont was a thrill-maker out of the pages of a Boy’s Own annual. His name would put thousands on the gate of a speedway meeting and it was legend that promoters would always book a bed at the local hospital when arranging his appearance…At the end of the 1927-8 season 19-year-old Lamont was one of 11 riders (10 Aussies + crack American Cecil Brown) chosen by Davies Park [Brisbane] promoter AJ Hunting to pioneer the sport to England…Billy was the first Aussie to truly wow the British with his flamboyant never-shut-off, full-throttle sweeps around the safety fence, showering everyone with the deep black cinders of the time. He was a strong man and could whip his bike all over the track…He rode for big money in front of big audiences in New Zealand, France, Germany, Denmark, USA, Sweden, Holland, Argentina, Uruguay and became a household name throughout England where he voted the most popular rider.” Following a crash at Lamont Lamont lay in hospital, unconscious with a fractured skull. For several days newspaper placards in London bore the simple message: “Billy Lamont latest”. He was that famous.


“BRITISH RIDERS COMING INTO THEIR OWN ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. The local heroes are learning to ‘lay it over’ at Coventry, and one, who has more than a local reputation, has—learnt! Sid Jackson sprays the cinders like a veteran, and does some of the prettiest riding on the dirt. Still, it was to be expected, judging by his evolutions on the grass, and he certainly has one of the hottest AJSs in the Midlands. Sid, in fact, carries everything away with him….Saturday’s meeting at Folehill opened with an exhibition run by the only rider who might, with better luck, have given Jackson a run for his money—Geoff Taylor. He took his Douglas round in the cleverest and most spectacular series of wicked broadsides, but was not, in actual fact, so terribly fast…The Australian, Keith McKay, was absolutely nowhere; apparently his engine could not be persuaded to give enough horses to get the wheel spinning and he toured round…Some surprise was caused at Lea Bridge on Saturday by the appearance of the Frogley brothers on Douglas machines…In spite of poor weather there was a bigger crowd than usual at the Marine Gardens Speedway, Edinburgh, on Saturday. In a four-lap inter-city contest between Edinburgh and Manchester, Drew M’Queen (Edinburgh) literally ‘walked away’ from Arthur Sherlock (Manchester)…Thrills, spills and retirements were the order of the day at Blackpool on Saturday. The 350cc race resulted in a brilliant win for A Wilcock (Chater-Lea). The qualifying heats for the Sunday Chronicle dirt-track championship were productive of many thrills—Abbott (Rudge) getting entangled with Sunny (Raleigh); both remounted and the former won his heat. The sidecar record was broken for the second consecutive week by NH Buckley (Scott sc)…An unusual thing happened in one of the sidecar heats [at Lea Bridge]. AE Warwick (P&M) drew the inside position, but he was so hemmed in on the first bend by B Coles that his right hand-bar got jammed behind Coles’ passenger, and he could not steer his outfit round the bend. It was impossible also for Coles to get round the bend, for the simple reason that Warwick’s Panther got in the way! Thus both outfits went straight into the fence, and became considerably bent: the crews were unhurt…The final of the sidecar event [at Stamford Bridge] was spolit by Taylopr crashing at the north bend, which brings many sidecar drivers to grief. In this instance the passenger lost his footing on the chassis and was flung out—or off. The outfit then did a somersault, and finished on top of the fence…The White City Wizard has been

“Dirt-track Stars in their Courses, as Grimes of The Motor Cycle sees them. L-R: Frank Arthur, Sprouts Elder, Paddy Dean, Gus Kuhn, Arch Pechar and—his mechanic.”

‘acquired’ by Stamford Bridge, and he appeared there on Saturday in a match race against Art Pechar. The American was in excellent form, and revenged his defeat by Frank Arthur the previous week. In doing so, however, he disabled his 500cc machine and had to meet Sprouts Elder on his smaller one. Nevertheless, he lost by a very narrow margin. Les Blakeborough, both last Wednesday and on Saturday, was riding like a demon, and he was almost invincible. Colin Ford, the new Rudge star, however, beat him in a match race at 40mph. During a match race between Gus Kuhn and Hilary Buchanan…Buchanan fell, and Kuhn turned his machine into the safety fence—a plucky actin which was greeted with roars of applause. Buchanan won the re-run…In the Belle Vue handicap all the heats except one were won by Australians, whose riding, particularly that of Huxley (Douglas) was very spectacular…Alec Jackson was the only English rider in the final of the SilverSash scratch race, in which he was beaten by both Dicky Smythe (Douglas) and Jack Bishop (Harley). Many of the local boys showed great promise.”…For the first since dirt-track racing went to Manchester heavy rain fell on the appointed days last week. International Speedways cancelled the Tuesday event at Belle View, but the local body, the BDTRA, carried on with the Wednesday night White City display, even though the track was intersected with two or three serious watersplashes. About 18,000 people turned up and were rewarded for braving drenching by gleams of sunshine when the programme started. The ‘Juniors’ had a rough time, for water stopped many engines—in fact, in one heat all six runners stopped at one time. Franklyn (Rudge) once again carried all before him, winning in Triumphant fashion from A Taylor (Douglas) in the final for the Pemberton Corinthian Trophy and collecting once more the Golden Sash, from a pack of screaming Douglas broadsiders…Franklyn devotes his attention to being first off the mark and first at the finish; while the broadsiders collect the applause he collects the substantial satisfaction in winning….Pechar fans ‘peeved’ at the Palace—Now that dirt-track racing is established as a ‘popular’ sport, the difficulty of promoters is going to be to guarantee that matched riders appear on machines of identical reliability. Roger Frogley won his match against Art Pechar at the Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, although Pechar led him handsomely till the very last bend, where his engine seized. The crowd of 20,000 odd, with its own peculiar ideas of sportsmanship, was not at all pleased with Frogley’s success. Frogley’s speed in this match was only 30.79mph, due to his easing up to investigate when Pechar stopped, but he won the one-mile scratch

“Informal but enthusiastic. The opening event at the new Quarmby Dirt Track near Huddersfield.”

race at 38.5mph…Stamford Bridge has done well out of the summer sales, having bought Frank Arthur for something ‘running well into four figures’. Thus Frank and his Harley will be seen exclusively at the Chelsea track…A running commentary on next Saturday’s Stamford Bridge meeting will be broadcast from 2LO from 9.50 until 10.20pm by Ixion of The Motor Cycle…Owing to poor public support, the dirt-track meetings held on the Greenfield Greyhound track at Bradford by the Bradford &DMC have been continued—there is a feeling that dirt-track racing does not appeal top the public of Bradford…At a recent meeting of the Scottish ACU permission was granted to the Scottish Dirt Track Motor Racing Club to stage the 1928 Scottish open dirt-track championships for 350cc and 500cc machines on the Marine Gardens Speedway, Edinburgh…The outbreak of speedways in this country seems to be causing quite an amount of interest ‘down under’, and one correspondent suggests that it is useless to give times and speeds when the size of the track is unknown. The following licensed tracks have now been measured to within the nearest yard: Wimbledon, 330 yards; Harringay, 340; White City (London), 384; Stamford Bridge, 445; Crystal Palace, 441; Lea Bridge (446), West Ham, 440…Practising started last week on the Bolton dirt track at Raikes Park greyhound course. The prime movers in promoting the track are Mr A Horrocks and Mr M Edwards who manufacture Royal Ruby motor cycles and the MEB three-wheeler respectively…I wonder if Freddie Dixon has kept off dirt owing to the advance of years? I always think he would make a first-class broadsider and five the invaders something to think about. He certainly has the pluck, the skill and the stamina for the job. Also, what about his flexible sidecar?…All the tracks in Australia, with the exception of Davies Park, Brisbane, are considerably larger than the average track in this country, and consequently spills are very rare…The new London track, which is being run by Dirt Track Speedways Ltd, is on the old Customs House Sports Ground at Plaistow, and is known as the West Ham track. A new stadium has been built which is said to be able to accommodate 120,000 people. The track itself is 440 yards in length, 35ft wide, and is banked on the corners. The riders at the opening will include Paddy Dean, Sprouts Elder, Spencer Stratton, Irvine Jones, and Arthur Pechar…An amalgamation has been effected between the British Dirt Track Racing Association, of Manchester, Dirt Track Speedways, Midland Speedways, and Northern Speedways. The controlling body will be known as the British Dirt Track Co, and tracks affected are Machester (White City), Bolton, Blacpool, Bristol, London (West Ham), Glasgow, Edinburgh, Coventry, Leicester and Middlesborough.”

American spectators were used to seeing dirt-track riders broadsiding: Brits happily paid up to see demonstrations of the new technique.
Combos were taking to the dirt tracks too: this team are pictured at Stamford Bridge in London. Judging by the collar and tie and lack of protective clothing this is a publicity shot.

FLAT-TWIN DOUGLASES WITH their low centre of gravity were dominant on the first dirt tracks though they were soon challenged by Rudge, and JAP-powered machines. Other dirt-track contenders included Scott, Zenith, Royal Enfield and Triumph.

First generation speedway irons, by Douglas, Rudge, Royal Enfield and Scott.

THE BLUE ‘UN’S REGULAR ‘Important Dates’ column previewing sporting events was expanded to include ‘This week’s speedway meetings”. A typical issue in August included: Thursday, Lea Bridge, Huddersfield and West Ham; Saturday, Brighton, White City Manchester, Belle Vue Manchester, King’s Oak, West Ham, Barnsley, Wolverhampton, Edinburgh, Greenford, Lea Bridge, Crystal Palace, , Rochdale, Wimbledon and Harringay; Wednesday, White City Manchester, White City London and Stamford Bridge.

“VIC HUXLEY, THE broadsider, was fined 21s at Tottenham recently for not having an efficient silencer.”

ACCORDING TO A LOCAL newspaper dirt-track racers were using “special petrol, containing ether, chloroform and iodine, and costing £4 a gallon”.

“IN ADDITION TO the usual import duty a luxury tax of 5% is now being imposed on all motor cycles and sidecars imported into Hungary.”

“TRICK RIDING BY FV Newman, well known to Crystal Palace and Stamford Bridge habitues, will be a feature of the London Ladies MCC gymkhana at Mitcham.”

“‘IN ALL CASES WHERE I find two pillion passengers on a motor cycles I shall bring the drivers before you. It is too dangerous.’—What a police superintendant at Linsdale (Bucks) Police Court said to the magistrates.”

“IN ONE YEAR AA road service patrols have covered 22,047,572 miles.”

“IT’S CHEAPSKI. Imports of `Russian petrol into Great Britain and Northern Ireland are increasing: 685,051 more galloins were imported last June than during June 1927.”

“THE BEDFORDSHIRE standing Joint Committee are providing the police with motor cycles to help in the detection of crimes committed with the aid of motor cars.”

THE CHIEF CONSTABLE of Swansea says he is not in favour of traps, and has no more use for ‘hedge hogs’ (his designation of the police who operate them) than he has for road hogs.”

“ORGANISED BY THE TADCASTER Club and held on ground within 200 yards of the centre of the town, a grasstrack meeting attracted 46 entrants. The 2,500 spectators could hardly complain when 14 events lasting several hours were offered them for their shillings…The elaborate championship belt was presented to O Langton (348cc AJS) amid loud cheers, after which he was chaired by a crowd of lady friends and admirers.”

THERE WERE THRILLS APLENTY during a race at the Edsviken Ice Track near Stockholm when a Harley and an FN were clocked at 112mph (this was also the year that Harley finally fitted its roadsters with front brakes as standard).

“SIR,—IT IS WITH REGRET that I see you devoting space to reports of ‘dirt-track’ racing. Dirt-track racing has nothing to do with either sport of motor cycling. It is merely a transient money-making venture, duller even than Association football; and in the crowds who witness it, it evokes a spirit very similar to that to be found in Association football crowds. Dirt-track racing is incredibly dull. A purposely impossible surface is prepared to create danger, and the more danger the greater the thrill. Not one in a thousand of the spectators has the slightest interest in the motor cycle. Young flappers surrounding me at my first visit could only yell ‘Hurrah, he’s off.” Probably they would be only bored at the spectacle of a TT rider winning a great race without a spill. One needs a sense of humour at the dirt track. The low average speed is really too funny for words. Here in Manchester twice a week one can see the English and Colonial ‘cracks’ (who, by the way, number scarcely a single well-known rider in their ranks), with great exuberance of noise, dust and smoke, tearing round quite ordinary bends at about 15mph amid frenzied excitement. Unjust criticism is often levelled against legitimate racing on the grounds that it does nothing to improve the breed. But what on earth is the use of dirt track?

“TT OR DIRT TRACK? This ‘TT or Dirt Track’ wrangle is a very silly controversy. You go to a dirt track, and for a few brief minutes your heart nearly stops (on the rare occasions when at least two of the models are on their best behaviour and ridden by really well-matched men.) It is like the opening round between a British heavyweight boxer and a world champion (ie, jolly soon over). You go to the TT and the business drags on for nearly four hours. But the interest is cumulative. As the hours pass you get caught up in the pent efforts of the men, and the last lap has you trembling and jibbering. It is more like a Test match—with England trying to make 300 runs in the fourth innings on a worn wicket. The one event is the hors d’oeuvres, the other a sirloin.” —Ixion.

OK-SUPREME SNAPPED UP the ailing HRD but really only wanted the factory space. The HRD name, jigs, tools, patterns, and remaining components were subsequently offered for sale. Philip Vincent had just graduated from Cambridge with an engineering degree and patented a coil-sprung cantilever duplex cradle frame. With the backing of his wealthy family (they were well-heeled ranchers in Argentina) Vincent acquired the trademark, goodwill and remaining components of HRD from OK Supreme for £500. The company was renamed Vincent HRD Co and production moved to Stevenage, Herts. JAP engines got the new marque off to a powerful start.

HRD had won its spurs as a formidable competitor; HRD-Vincent would achieve legendary status.
1928 HRD-VINCENT 250 500
The first HRD-Vincent ran a creditable 6th in the Brooklands 200-miler; its 500cc stablemate was less successful—only two were sold. They used ohv JAP engines.

YORKSHIREMAN JOHN GILL went touring on a 4hp/600cc JAP-powered Model E Vincent-HRD/Noxall combo; his mate Wally Stephens from London went along for the ride. It was some ride: London, Dover, Calais, Paris, Zürich and across Europe by way of Germany, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and so to Constantinoble, where passport problems led to Gill spending two weeks in a Turkish prison. South and east…’French Syria, 1,400 miles of desert, shot at by Bedouins…Iraq, round Iran (Persia as was) as they were refused visas and so by ship to Karachi in Pakistan (India as was) and east across India to via Agra and the Taj Mahal and Calcutta to hop on a ship to Myanmar (the British Crown Protectorate Malay States as was). And thence to Singapore to hitch a lift aboard the Shell tanker Solen to Australia, where we shall meet them next year.

GILL WASN’T THE ONLY long-distance tourist that year. Ivan Sergevich Kralichek Soboleff (who with that moniker could only be Russian) found himself in Shanghai. So, inevitably, he bought a secondhand pushbike, caught the ferry to Hong Kong and pedalled through the jungle from Burma to Singapore where he came to his senses, deep-sixed the bicycle and bought an unspecified motor cycle. That took him as far as India where, history recounts, he was given an Ariel. After two years, 22 countries and 43,000 miles Soboleff was back where he started. As if that wasn’t adventure enough for one lifetime, he moved to England and served with the Rifle Brigade in WW2, rising to the rank of Major and winning the Military Cross. His autobiography, Cossack at Large, is still available; Major Soboleff is buried in Bournemouth.

Ivan Soboleff covered 42,000 on his world tour and went on to win the MC.

PHILIP CYRIL PULLIN, CREATOR of the ill-fated Danum All Weather (1919 if you want to flick back), came up with a luxury motorcycle that was a hymn to modernism, but the advanced design of his enclosed Ascot-Pullin was more than skin deep. Its 500cc ohv unit-construction lump was mounted horizontally a la Guzzi, giving a rock-bottom centre of gravity. Frame and forks were pressed steel; the wheels were QD and interchangeable; both brakes were hydraulically actuated; the kickstart automatically engaged the valve lifter; a height-adjustable screen (with wiper) and legshields came as standard; instruments were tidily mounted in a dashboard over the handlebars, just as they are today. You could even have a matching monocoque sidecar ( I’m struggling to forgive the Blue ‘Un for describing it as ‘chassis-less’)—and it was claimed to be capable of 100mph.

A hymn to modernism; the everyman motor cycle…the glorious Ascot Pullin.
This stylish promotional poster reflects the Ascot-pullins credential as an ‘Everyman’ bike: male and female riders in ‘smart-casual’ clothing, protected by the integral weather-protection gear.

THE TRANSVERSE FOUR designed in Rome by Carlo Gianini and Piero Remor in 1924 was finally bolted into a rolling chassis. The sohc prototype had evolved into the OPRA, a dohc air/oil-cooled lump with individual heads developing up to 34hp at 7,000rpm. In its first outing former Italian national champion Umberto Faraglia led for three laps until the OPRA blew up chasing a Norton single. .

“SIR WILLIAM JOYSON-HICKS, the Home Secretary, performed the opening ceremony at Olympia…[he] spoke on the accomplishments of the British motor cycle industry, and congratulated its members on exporting, in the first nine months of the year, more machines and oparts than were sent abroad in the whole of 1927. There were, he said, immense markets to be tapped in India, South Africa and the Dominions, and he considered that more attention should be given to the popul;arising of light commercial transport by moroe cycle, having regard to the handiness and small size of asidecar outfit and the congestion of traffic on our roads today.”

1928 SHOW AW

“NO EXHIBITION OF MOTOR CYCLES has ever approached the present Olympia Show in the matter of interest. The progress made in the past twelve months has been remarkable, and the new models prove that Britain still leads the world in the design and production of motor cycles…there are many novel designs showing originality of thought on view at Olympia…one of the chief aims has undoubtedly been to improve weather protection, both as regards the rider and the mechanism…Another, and equally important, matter…is the provision of quieter and more flexible power units…”

“FEATURES OF THE SHOW: Chromium plating. Pressed-steel frames. Multi-cylinder engines. cellulose finishes. Gear-driven speedometers. Enclosure of working parts. Brighter tank colours. Great attention paid to silencing.”

“THINGS TO LOOK FOR in a tour of the stands at Olympia: The ‘specially finished’ P&M Panther and sectioned model of the Panther engine in motion with glass oil pipes to show circulation…Foot gear-change on the ‘TT’ Velocette…Francis-Barnett cellulose-finished saddle tanks…Method of carrying a reserve supply of oil on the petrol-lubricated Gillet two-stroke…Euclid’s proposition on the Francis-Barnett stand…New 500cc twin-port unit-construction Gillet…Knee-grips mounted on the gear gate of the new twin-port Calthorpe…The neat oil-tight valve box on the side-valve Ariels…Bayonet-fitting clutch cover built into the new Norton chain guard…Sunbeam’s new frames and saddle tanks…The ‘TT90’ racing twin-port Sunbeam—perhaps the prettiest machine in the Show…Foot-operated horn switches on the Brough Superiors…A trial rider’s mount—the competition-equipped Matchless…Thirty-three engines all in a row—the JAP gallery exhibit…A main-hall stand without a dirt-track model—if you can find one!…The black, green and ream Dunelts…On the Ariel stand—5.50 horses in the engine and one on the tank…The Show model Rudge-Whitworth—everything chromium plated but the saddle and tyres!…A dirt-track V-twin—the ohv James…A green saddle to match the green and plated Vincent-HRD…All-enclosed Ascot-Pullin and its chassis-less sidecar…An open-frame OEC with enclosed mechanism…The DKW taxi…Unit-construction 500cc and 350cc ohc Automotos with hand-operated central stand…BMW flat-twin units with shaft drive and pressed-steel frames…The cheapest machine at the Show—a 147cc Excelsior at £21…Coventry-Eagles in every size from 150cc to 1,000cc…A 350cc ohv Triumph—the first of its kind…The ‘under 300lb’ 350cc models on New Imperial and Douglas stands.”

And here are just a few of the goodies you’d have seen, among the crowds at Olympia…

“Unwrapping the chromium plated P&M Panther at Olympia. By the time all the coverings were removed from the exhibits the gangways were in places almost knee deep in litter.”
1928 4 4s
There were five in-line fours at the Olympia show. From the USA came the well-proven 1,301cc Henderson and the 1,265cc Indian-Ace. Brough had mounted a 900cc sv Motosacoche car engine in a cantilver sprung frame. From McEvoy came a cammy 498cc with optional electric start, while AJW’s Super-Four used a 985cc, watercooled sv British Anzani car engine with the fuel tank under the saddle and a dummy saddle tank. Here are four of the five fours with the Brits on top: Brough Superior and AJW. And the Yanks, Indian-Ace and Henderson-X.
Here’s the AJW at Olympia, with the Matchless and Alldays & Onions stands being prepared in the background. The young lady in this publicity shot looks rather warmer than the bikini-clad lovelies who adorned the stands in the 1970s…
L-R: “The 147cc unit-construction AKD. A handsome big twin—the 976cc side-valve Royal Enfield.”
L-R: “A Continental exhibit of outstanding interest—engine and transmission of the 500cc ohv BMW. The 600cc side-valve Douglas remains almost unaltered except for modifications to suit the new saddle tank.
L-R: “The 172cc Villiers-engined Francis-Barnett is greatly improved by the provision of a neat saddle tank. 147cc Excelsior—a sturdy ultra-lightweight.”
L-R: “The 348cc side-valve FN has unit construction of the engine and gear box. A French Automoto fitted with a twin-port 350cc ohc engine.
L-R: “Graceful lines characterise the ‘Special sports’ Grindlay-Peerless. It is fitted with a 490cc twin-port JAP engine and Castle forks. Implortant modifications to the 346cc ohv Levis give it the appearance pf an entirely new type.
L-R: “A spring-frame sporting mount—the 490cc Vincent-HRD. A specially tuned super-sports edition of the famous 348cc ohc Velocette.”
L-R: “The neat 349cc ohc Humber engine is now housed in a particularly sturdy cradle frame. Air-cooled 292cc two-stroke DKW.”
L-R: “The redesigned Matchless ‘big twin’ has a very compact appearance. 499cc side-valve James in its latest form.”
L-R: “A sturdy newcomer—the new 349cc side-valve New Hudson. A sturdy sporting mount—the 346cc ohv New Henley.
L-R: “The water-cooled OEC-Tinkler has the engine and gear box combined in one unit. The new 348cc ohc Norton ‘Junior’.”
L-R: “The 499cc P&M Panther has a twin-port cylinder head and a graceful saddle tank of new design. The 247cc Villiers-engined sports Panther looks every inch a thoroughbred in its new form.”
L-R: “A Rudge-Whitworth surprise—the new lightweight model with a 246cc ohv JAP engine and four-speed gear box. ‘Ulster’ model 499c Rudge-Whitworth, a replica of the winning machine.”
L-R: “A neat four-stroke lightweight—the 300cc JAP-engined Sun. An old favourite—the 1929 edition of the 498cc two-speed Scott Super-Squirrel.”
L-R: “The popular 498cc ohv twin-port Triumph has enclosed rocker gear, a new saddle tank and a low saddle position. A ‘hit-stuff’ power unit—the 4903cc twin-port ohv engine fitted to the racing Sunbeam.”
L-R: “An innovation—the Ascot-Pullin pressed steel sidecar in which the body forms the chassis. An example of modern sidecar practice is the Milford ‘Saloon’. The tandem two-seater Watsonian is suitable for any weather. An attractive semi-sports sidecar—the Model 7 Swallow.”
L-R: “A sporting Montgomery model with mottled upper panels. The Whitley ‘Family’ sidecar has a neat dickey seat, suitable for a child.”
L-R: “Tornado touring sidecar with aluminium fabric finish. The two-seater Dorway has a well to accommodate the feet of the rear passenger. An imposing Whitley sidecar with ‘dazzle’ finish. The Watsonian ‘Sociable’ two-seater has a large locker in the back.”
L-R: “A favourite with the sporting rider—the Milford aluminium model with blue panels. Swallow sidecar specially built for dirt-track racing. Smart black-and-white Matchless sidecar with white panels and white rim. Low-built and with rakish lines, this polished aluminium Montgomery has a most attractive appearance.”
L-R: “The 348cc push-rod Norton engine—an example of clean design. The 498cc ohv twin-port New Imperial engine has its rocker gear entirely enclosed. The ohc Velocette engine: stays run from the cylinder head to the duplex down tubes. The new three-valve ohc McEvoy has two inlet valves, two exhaust ports, and unit construction of the engine and gear box.”
L-R: “The 498cc side-valve engine fitted to the new Triumph ‘CN’ model. The combined engine and gear unit of the Ascot-Pullin. A ‘hot-stuff’ power-unit—the 493cc twin-port ohv engine fitted in the racing Sunbeam.”
Amid all the monotone pics, here’s the saddle-tanked Model N Triumph as enthusiasts would have seen it at Olympia.
1928 SHOW AW 1
L-R: “Combined oil tank and gear box bracket on the 198cc OK-Supreme. A combined dual-purpose Baker sidecarrier finished in black leather cloth and white piping. Front brake anchorage on Indian models; the sliding members can be lubricated by grease gun. Front brake adjustment and flanged brake drum on the 348cc ohc Velocette.”
1928 SHOW AW 2
L-R: “Neat toolbox fixing on the twin-port Sunbeam. New type of handle-bar fixing used on Scott Flying Squirrels. Large tool bags are neatly placed between the carrier tubes on certain Royal Ruby models. An aluminium two-piece chain case is fitted to the new Rudge ‘Ulster’ model.”
1928 SHOW AW 3
L-R: “Overhead valve rockers of the BMW. New gear quadrant on the two-stroke Royal Enfield. Ribbed valve cover on the side-valve 348cc Douglas. New bonnet on the ‘de luxe model Morgan.”
1928 SHOW AW 4
L-R: “A one-piece cover is provided for the dynamo and primary drives on the 350cc Rex Acme. The gear box mounting on the 300cc Radco permits of the primasry chain being adjusted without the gear control being affected. On the ohv P&M Panthers the carrier and rear section of he mudguard are both readily detachable. Oil tank on the ohv Montgomery models.”
1928 SHOW AW 5
L-R: “Neat adjustable brake stop on the new Royal Enfield models. The adjustable, eccentric fork stop on Matchless machines also acts as a carrier for the legshield support. Diagram showing the ingenious transfer system of the ‘Six-port’ Levis. The air cleaner fitted on the 249cc Dunelt has a small ‘legshield’.”
1928 SHOW AW 6
L-R: “The Brough Superior ‘Straight Four’ has legshields and a particularly neat front engine mounting. Metal instrument panel on the 500cc ohc Automoto. Flywheel cover and air cleaner on the BSA two-stroke. Aluminium valve covers are fitted on the 996cc AJS. The covers for the side-valve single-cylinder engines are of slightly different shape.”
1928 SHOW AW 7
L-R: “Neat method of attaching the knee grip to the gear quadrant on the new twin-port Calthorpe. Carburation on the Coventry Victor is assisted by the ‘hot spot’ from the crank case. Neat arrangement of the clutch and speedometer cables on Chater-Lea machines. Fuse box on the chain guard of the 496cc side-valve Cotton.”

DURING THE SHOW “The fourteenth annual banquet of the Manufactuers’ Union was held at the Connaught Rooms, with the president of the union, [Triumph boss] Mr Siegfried Bettman JP in the chair.” The “toast to the British cycle and motor cycle industry,” let it be noted, was proposed by Ramsay MacDonald, The Prime Minister. “Mr Justice McCardie said the main reason why he attended the banquet was because the industry was a vigorous enterprise, and vigorous enterprises were the foundation of Britain’s greatness.” McCardie was a High Court judge. “Sir Edward Illiffe [publisher of The Motor Cycle], in proposing the toast of the chairman, paid a tribute to Mr Bettmann, who at one time was Mayor of Coventry…He then suggested that it would be well for the motor cycle industry to alter slightly its ideas. Due to the TT, manufacturers were inclined to concentrate on machines of ever-increasing weight and speed, machines which were difficult to start and almost too fast, except for the use of lusty sportsmen. There was, he thought, an enormous potential market for light motor cycles that were easy to start and to handle, and unless the production of such machines were tackled the industry might become narrowed down to catering purely for sportsmen.”

THE WAR OFFICE SENT scouts to the Show to look for WD candidates but found nothing that fully met their requirements which included a sub-300lb weight limit.


“HANGING ON ITS FOUR horizontal propellers, the hundred-seater plane sustained no semblance of a shock when its cushioned keel came to rest on the flat roof of the vast hall built by Associated Motor Industries Ltd., for the display of their wares. We stepped out of the doors of the saloon opposite a railed space, which instantly rose 8ft above the level, disclosing a luxurious lift; and entering its chamber, we sank rapidly to the floor level of the great hall. All its stands were set by internal jacks to a height of 3ft., so that we could inspect the exhibits without kinking our spines. I noticed that, by a wise decision on the part of the manufacturers, every machine was mounted on a device resembling letter scales, so that its weight was accurately recorded. Moreover, and this was astonishing – until I wandered round into the special overseas section I could not unearth a single bus which weighed more than 150lb. I commented on this extraordinary fact to a salesman on the Brough stand. “Where have you been this last 10 years?” He enquired incredulously. I explained that when I was a motor cycle journalist in my youth, I had always held that weight didn’t really matter; after all, the engine attended to its propulsion. “We exploded that ancient lie years ago!” he condescended to inform me; “ we found that many potential riders were scared of weight; nobody, except very young and crazy people, really likes handling a badly balanced 3 cwt. or more.” “Well, you haven’t abolished plating” I retorted; “there seem to be more bright parts than ever; and what’s more, the quality of your plating has deteriorated. The surface is all right, but it isn’t really bright – doesn’t glitter as they did in 1928.” “Of course not. When they got the chromium process right, we did away with rust, and we started plating frames and tanks and all sorts of parts. Then dazzle got to be a nuisance, especially in bright sun or among powerful lamps. So about 1935 this dull plating came out. It can’t tarnish, it is tougher than cellulose, and it won’t dazzle. But you can have cellulose, if you like.” After this revelation I lay low, and risked nothing but questions. The electrical equipment struck me as rather odd. No magneto. Push-button hooters. Electric lamps. Something which looked like a starter motor. Quite a small battery. No dynamo. I decided to study this item on the Lucas stand. The attendant was quite amiable when he found that I’d been out of England and was not a moron or trying to pull his leg. He explained how silly it was to make ten million people buy small and fragile dynamos, when the whole country was a network of power lines. “It all dates from the invention of this steel-cased battery” he recounted. “It can be charged from flat down in an hour. So at the end of the day – you see this socket under the carrier? – you just plug in the power line of your house or the garage, and an automatic switch disconnects the power the instant that she’s full. Light, ignition, horn and starter will then be all right for a week or so. Simpler, isn’t it?” I was learning something of what progress means – there is nothing like absence to teach one that; but I’d never dreamt in 1928 that we could ever move as fast as all this. So I was eager when I turned to the engine section – I’d found it impossible to see much of the engines installed in the complete machines, for they no longer stuck out all naked as in the past. Certainly, there were novelties here. Four tin-cup cylinders seemed to be the rule- some of them in line, and some of them double “vees”. Once again I found a courteous mentor. “You left England in 1928?” he queried. “Ah, that was just when all the fuss about noise was beginning? Single cylinders which barked with the larynx of a fox-terrier and the lungs of a Great Dane? And, lord, how some of them shook! Long before that people had ceased to look at any car with less than four cylinders and they were racing with twelve cylinders. Cost bothered us for a year or two, but with the trade getting concentrated in a few big factories, we were able to improve production methods. These tiny fours are rough compared with the twelve cylinder cars of today – I suppose you know that even Morris makes nothing less than eight cylinders nowadays? But these bikes purr instead of barking, and unless you were used to a twenty-four cylinder Rolls you wouldn’t complain of vibration. Speed? All you can use. You shouldn’t have asked that. They’d got speed mania badly enough in 1928 from all I remember. They’d put up with anything to get the knots. Wasn’t it about then that Malcolm Campbell and Segrave and all those funny old jossers were trying to do 250mph in the Sahara or somewhere? None of them used single cylinders, did they? We can give you more speed than you’ve ever tasted, and what’s more, it won’t give you pins and needles all over your body.” So I wandered into the tyre section, for I’d noticed that every bike had dead smooth covers. How the


Dunlop man laughed at me. “You’ve surely been resurrected from the Dark Ages, ain’t you? When you last rode at home , the surveyors gave you roads like greasy glass. And Dunlop used to design fancy treads with pimples and scollops and ribs and rot of that sort? Your cover had a contact area to about a tenth of what it ought to have been and it wore out fast in consequence. And punctures! We’ve still got some of those prehistoric covers in our staff museum at Fort Dunlop, and a drawing pin would hole them. I remember having a puncture or two on wet nights when I first started, and a filthy job they were. Now this 1938 tread of ours is dead smooth as you can see. But it can’t skid because all our modern roads are matt – something like coarse sandpaper. I don’t say that if you laid it on an anvil and took a sledgehammer you couldn’t drive a 3in nail through it. But the road’s different. We are guaranteeing these tyres against puncture for five years and the tread is good for 50,000 miles.” I gasped. But what commonsense! “And the weight?” I queried? “Well, of course, they aren’t light, and I know it is unsprung weight too. They’d have felt cruel on your ancient buses. But with gradual improvements in springing forks and frames, and the fact that modern roads don‘t wave and pothole three months after they’re resurfaced, you won’t find anything to complain of in the comfort line. ‘Fit and forget’ is our slogan!” In the export section I found, as I expected, some much heavier machines. The trade had long since broken away from the old thoughtless policy of trying to sell one and the same machine for use in superfine roads in highly developed countries and over barely recognisable tracks in new lands. The layout usually included a couple of small back wheels, mounted in line and, coupled by a caterpillar track. The magneto still survived in this class as power lines are not yet universal in the Veldt and the Bush. Petrol tanks were much larger, and the machines were altogether heavier and more powerful. I was growing impatient to make a trial run, and noticing placards on every stand I decided to ask for a short trip on the ‘John Citizen’ 1938 model of the BSA range. Rain was falling heavily when their representative led me out into the road. He adjusted a waterproof cape over my shoulders, but really the legshields and windscreens rendered any such protection almost unnecessary when once I got into action. I started operations by pressing a small button normally concealed under a hinged flap on the instrument board. No raucous uproar saluted my ears – just a sort of gentle breathing somewhere down between my calves. “Don’t try any gear changing!” warned the salesman; “she’s only got two gears and the emergency ratio is just for use on a really fierce hill.” So I selected the gear notch marked “Normal” after discovering that the only two handle-bar levers operated the clutch and the front brake. A small rotary movement of the twist-grip and the breathing sound beneath me became faintly more rustly. I released the clutch lever gradually, and could hardly say when motion began, except that the road surface seemed to rasp against the soles of my boots and warned me to lift them on to the Sorbo footplates. Slowly gathering courage, I accelerated. Gee-whizz! Some mover! A huge ‘bus swung out of the oncoming traffic stream. I effected a convulsive swerve to clear it, with my heart in my boots – that sudden turn would have fetched any bike over on the London tarmac of 1928, but no. the trusty grip of smooth tyre on matt road did not fail. So on and on … I must certainly buy this bus!”

UNDER THE NON-NONSENSE heading ‘Improvements in Design and Equipment which are Needed to Maintain Our World Supremacy in Motor Cycles’, ‘Engineer’ wrote: “The motor cycle of to-day can be infinitely improved, and if Britain is to continue holding her proud position of leading the world in the production of motor cycles improvement must be made without delay. At one fell swoop transmission trouble and the need for constant adjustments can be overcome. The solution, so palpably obvious that it seems almost absurd to mention it, is to incorporate the gearbox with the engine unit and to fit shaft drive. Why has this not been done already? The fact is that manufacturers have put off year after year the trouble and expense involved in changing over from one form of transmission to the other. Some day they will be forced to take the step. Why should they not take it to-day?…Is it really beyond the ingenuity of gear box makers to produce gear units of standard design suitable for coupling with engines?…The same suggestion applies to shaft drive: standard units, varying in dimensions according to the torque to be transmitted, and incorporating an efficient shock absorber of the rubber buffer type, should be employed, even as standard chain drives are to-day…The shaft drive with its etceteras may absorb 1 or 2% more power than a chain running under those mythical—except in racing—ideal conditions, but for ordinary use there is no question as to which is better…manufacturers’ constant aim is to improve their designs, and, at the same time, reduce production costs. No policy could be more short-sighted or more likely to result in the ultimate downfall of the industry. During the last few years we have seen an era of price-cutting. What has it given us? Cheap machines? Certainly, and a partial stagnation in design as well. The reduction of prices to a bare economic level is in the interests of neither motorcyclist nor manufacturer…Much has been written about multi-


cylinder engines giving flexibility, silence, and smooth running. That this type of engine will be produced in quantities at no very distant date I am quite certain, but…the design and production of as reliable air-cooled unit is not so straightforward as some would believe, and much careful experimental work is essential. An easier task is the production of a satisfactory spring frame…Only a few days ago I tested an experimental spring-frame machine which a friend was putting through its paces, and then immediately afterwards I rode a machine of the same make fitted with a standard frame. The difference between the two was astounding. In the one case one floated over a pot-holed road, while in the other the rear wheel administered a series of jars to one’s spine. If anything, the spring-frame machine was better on corners, so it make be assumed that there was no loss of lateral rigidity. So great was the improvement in comfort and road-holding that I fully endorse me friend’s view that no one who tries the spring frame model of this particular make will ever purchase the unsprung type. If one maker can, at a single stroke, make such an enormous improvement in his machine, why should not others follow suit?…Another feature I want on my 1929 machine is quickly detachable wheels, so that when I have a puncture or wish to change a tyre, I can do the job in a few minutes without exertion or emulating a contortionist. Of course, production costs again…Then there is the question of tyres…I refer to ribbed front tyres. By their use front wheel skids—the only type that matter—are almost entirely avoided. This is no fantasy. Probably 90% of all the crashes due to skids would be avoided if all machines were fitted with front tyres having ribs carried well down the walls. No TT riders uses any other type; why are they not standardised on production models? Manufacturers, unfortunately, cannot afford to be idealists. But I am not alone in my cry for something better than my present machine. It will be more expensive—that is obvious; but the extra few pounds in out lay will be more than repaid by the greater service and enjoyment I shall obtain due to the improvements.”

AJS DEVELOPED A BRACE of in-line fours. The first, a 500, had four separate barrels to aid cooling but it was felt to be to complex for exconomic production so the Stevens boys cae up with an ohv 632cc version featuring a one-piece cast-iron block and rubber mounting. It was a promising project but AJS turned its attention to developing a light car and a transverse V-twin (which you’ll find in 1931) and it never went beyond the prototype stage. However that prototype survived and can now be seen, fully restored, in the Sammy Miller museum. Just another might-have been, but what a beauty.

The AJS in-line four, prototype, as it was in 1928…
…and as it is now, beautifully restored by Sammy Miller’s team.

THE ONCE MIGHTY US industry was now down to Harley, Indian, Excelsior, Henderson and Cleveland – and the final Cleveland (a 996cc version of the factory’s well established 746cc four) rolled off the line before the end of the year. The design was offered to Harley Davidsopn as a ready-made four to take on the Indian Ace but it wasn’t to be.

The Cleveland didn’t join the other fours at Olympia: this was its final incarnation.

MORE SUITED TO THE harsh economic environment were a clutch of new British lightweights. The new 174cc two-stroke Beeza was joined by a 250cc JAP-engined Rudge, 200cc Ariel Colt and Villiers-powered models from Panther and Coventry-Eagle.

“AS A PREVENTIVE OF ACCIDENTS the white line denoting the middle of the road, which is frequently used at bends and corners, is excellent. The majority of motorists fully realise its advantages and instinctively keep close to the left of the road, so much so that it is to be hoped that local authorities throughout the country will make even. greater use of this simple but effective ‘Safety First’ measure. Indiscriminate use of the white line, such as is common in certain parts, should be avoided, otherwise the measure will, like the antiquated red ‘danger’ triangle, fail to deter people from driving dangerously.”

“IN SPITE OF THE decrease in the sale of motor cars, to the extent of £1,287,911 for the first six months of the year, motor cycle figures show an increase of £589,307 over the same period.. It is to be hoped that those manufacturers who are taking advantage of the growing interest in motor cycles in almost every country of the world, especially in Japan and in Europe, will continue to maintain their supremacy in the face of the competition that will inevitably come from the Continent in the near future.”

“FOREIGN COMPETITION FOR HONOURS in the record list is on the increasing

JACK SANGSTER INVITED Edward Turner to join Ariel where he would work alongside Val Page. Between them, they would design many of the most successful British motorcycles from the late 1920s to the late 1960s.

“IN THE ANNUAL PETROL consumption test of the Natal MCC FAR Zurcher (348cc Douglas) returned a consumption of just over 300mpg and was an easy winner…at the conclusion of the test he proceeded to the steepest hill in Durban, which has a gradient of 1 in 5, making two top-gear climbs from a standing start. Later in the afternoon Zurcher rode the Douglas over a measured quarter-mile in 14.4sec, representing a speed of 62.5mph. The petrol consumption test was over a distance of 110 miles; solo machines were allowed five hours fr the journey and sidecar outfits 5½ hours. Second in the test was L Summerfield (490cc Norton), who averaged 220mpg, and third, K Griffiths (493cc Sunbeam) with196mpg.”

HAVING WON THE 1927 MAUDE’S Trophy for a 5,000-mile non-stop run on a sidevalve combo the boys from Redditch did it again. This time ohv 500 and 250cc solos were ridden for 10,000 miles under ACU observation. The company reported: “Throughout the time careful note was made by the officials of any adjustments which were necessary, and it was conclusively shown that nothing but the most trifling attention was required, even in a distance which is probably equal to two years’ mileage for the average motor cyclist.”

The 250 and 500c ohv Ariels are being waved off at Banbury by comedian Harry Tate. [FYI, Tate’s involvement refelects the high profile of motor cycling in this period. He was arguably Britain’s most popular comic between the wars and was a petrolhead, owning T8, the first known celebrity personalised number plate. During WW2 the Royal Naval Patrol Service was known as ‘Harry Tate’s Navy’.]
The 500cc ohv Ariel looks jolly sporting, as indeed does the plucky gel in the saddle.

RAISE YOUR GLASSES TO Jeff Munro who rode a 500cc ohv Model E Ariel round Australia. And I owe a beer to Peter Whitaker of Old Bike Australasia for sending me his account of what can only be described as a nightmarish trip. In a nutshell, Munro was a star speedway rider whose dad ran the Australian Ariel importers. Ariel had won two Maude’s Trophies in succession with road runs; as you’ll see from the following excerpts from the Old Bike Australasia feature, Munro’s ride was just a tad more challenging. Mr Whitaker, you have the floor: “…Tumultuous rain across the Darling Downs almost brought Jeff’s journey to a premature end in the glutinous black soil. So utterly exhausted was he that when he fell, which was often, he merely turned off the petrol and lay in the mud until his strength returned. On more than one occasion it took him almost an hour to free himself from under the machine. A sodden physical wreck, having lost the top of his finger and badly injuring his hip, Jeff ascended the Old Toll Bar Road, eventually reaching Toowoomba…Approaching Chinchilla he crashed badly and, in his weakened condition, was unable to extricate himself from under the scorching exhaust which fearfully burned his leg before he passed out. Discovered by a chance motorist, Jeff was taken to the ambulance station in Chinchilla, where his severe burns and a ‘wrecked’ ankle were patched as much as was possible. Back on his battered machine 48 hours later, Jeff’s injuries forced his return to Chinchilla, where it was ordained he remain in bed for a further two days before being cleared to continue. Even then it was with his left foot encased in a hospital slipper, a circumstance that was to persist for a further three weeks; despite the rough going and frequent falls…Hoping to reach Blackall before sunset he used half an inch more throttle than usual and touching speeds of 40mph, felt some of his old speedway flair return. Until the front wheel ploughed into a patch of soft sand, causing a single moment of excruciating pain. Followed by oblivion. Regaining consciousness Jeff was unable to move until he was picked up by a local grazier and taken to Blackall Hospital Where, despite his demanding an immediate discharge, it was proposed he remain. The authorities, believing him crazy, confiscated his clothing and kept him in bed for a week. Bruised, swollen, plastered in bandages and poultices, Jeff had adequate time to reflect on his progress…

The Maude’s Trophy that never was—Geoff Monro and his Ariel. (Right) Not a run for the faint hearted—this 21-year-old speedway star did his dad proud.

before reaching Camooweal he suffered his first taste of bulldust which camouflaged seemingly bottomless holes. Falls were now more frequent than ever. With the Ariel often buried to its fuel tank in Bulldust, kickstarting became almost impossible…Almost delirious with thirst he resorted to the only water available; from a stinking waterhole brimming with rotting wildlife. The resulting dysentery produced vivid nightmares, which often persisted in daylight hours. Now obsessed beyond reason, Jeff decided to ride day and night, reckoning this would reduce the need for water and eliminate the nightmares…Then he ran out of fuel. Also out of water, he set out on foot but was soon stricken by dehydration…unable to follow the cattle pads in the darkness he resorted to firing shots from his revolver during the night in a futile attempt to attract attention. Several hours after sunrise he was found by bore workers, who carried him to their camp. Maddened by thirst Jeff had torn off all his clothes and was absolutely naked except for his boots…After a week spent in Broome Hospital, but much hardened by his experiences, Jeff made exceptionally short work of the ‘madman’s track’, along which scores of would be prospectors had perished…In little more than a week, he rode triumphantly into Perth; without the need to visit hospital. And whilst he enjoyed a week of celebrations courtesy of the Ariel distributors, the local mechanics set about refettling his machine….” Jeff Munro made it back to Sydney after six months. He subsequently toured England to great acclaim but although he had carried an ACU card which was stamped at various points Ariel seems to have made no claim for a third Maude’s Trophy in 1929, and none was awarded. In 1930 Dunelt won the pot for running a 500cc single round the Isle of Man for 13,119 miles in 16 days. Motor Sport magazine reported: “The lunch recently given by the Dunelt Company to celebrate the winning of the Trophy was a fine example of the thoroughly sporting spirit that prevails in this industry. Ariels, who have held this trophy now for a couple of years, were present to applaud the latest winners and Mr Jack Sangster expressed his admiration for the feat which had wrested the Trophy from them, at the same time in a very amusing speech suggesting that should the Trophy show any signs of returning to its old home nothing would be done to obstruct it!” Ariel did regain the trophy in 1931 with the clever ‘sevens’ stunt (you’ll find details in 1931). Worthy efforts, no doubt, but compared with Jeff Munro’s lap of Australia they were child’s play. Meanwhile, The Adelaide Advertiser reported: “Mr Jeff Munro, who was the first solo motor cyclist to ride round Australia, returned to Sydney from London by the RMS Orontes. During his ride round Australia he used an Ariel motor cycle and while abroad he was the guest of the Ariel Company at Birmingham. He was greatly Impressed with the modern works used for the construction of the Ariel motor cycles…About 5,000 men were employed at the works…There are, in England, Ariel service cycles, which travel the roads and help unfortunate motor cyclists free of charge. Mr Munro attended several dinners while in England, and was impressed by the goodwill that existed between agents and the Ariel Company. The Ariel Company had a special plant for the building of motor cycles for use in Australia. At the present time they claimed to be exporting to Australia more machines than any other company in the world. Mr Munro expects to race Ariel machines in Sydney and to return to Adelaide at Christmas to compete in several races here.” He did just that, winning 10 and 20-mile beach races at the Gerringong Speedway.
PS The Old Bike Australasia website is well worth a look: oldbikemag.com.au

Calthorpe brought out a pretty ohv twin-port 350 single at a rock-bottom price; they painted it white and sold it (successfully) as the Ivory, claiming: “We can confidently state that you cannot buy a better motor cycle at anything approaching the price.”
1928 DKW E200
The German government exempted motorcycles under 200cc from road tax and riding licences. DKW quickly developed the E200 model to take advantage of the new laws and offered a conversion kit so riders of older models could stop paying tax. Claimed top speed was 70km/h (43mph). Demand for DKWs rocketed, more than 60 German motorcycle manufacturers used DKW engines and output from the Zschopau plant grew from 5,000 to more than 65,000 bikes a year, making it the largest motorcycle factory in the world.
Ten years after the US Post Office launched its first airmail service (between New York and Washington) a nationwide network had been established—and motor cycles were an integral part of a door-to-door service.

GEOFF DAVISON, WINNER OF the 1922 Lightweight TT and editor of the TT Special, produced this concise report: “The 1928 series proved that it was possible to win a TT race without having won one before, so to speak, for two of the events went to riders whose numbers had not previously been wreathed in laurels. Alec Bennett started the week by winning the Junior—his fifth TT—on a Velocette [the Velos sported the new foot gearchange developed by Harold Willis that was said to save 30sec per lap] but new names were added to the list of TT winners in the Lightweight and Senior. The Lightweight race was a peculiar one. Never had a solo TT race been won by so handsome a margin—and at a lower speed than that of the previous year. Wal Handley, as usual, was in the picture, running second for the first five laps, but Frank Longman, who was first throughout the race, gradually increased his lead until he won by over seventeen minutes. The 1928 Senior promised to be one of the best contested in the series. All the famous riders were there—and all the famous makes. Everything pointed towards record speeds. And then it began to rain—and continued to rain all day. It was quite the worst Senior since 1923 and probably the worst of the whole series. All thoughts of records

Ken Twemlow was third in the Junior; (right) Stanley Woods was fifth in the Senior.

disappeared and the strs retired in droves. But a new star had arrived, one Charles JP Dodson, and he proved that it is brain more than brawn which wins a TT race. He had first ridden in the 1925 Ultra-Lightweight and in 1928 no-one thought much of his chances on his Sunbeam, a machine nearly three times the size of his first TT mount. Charlie was content to take things easy in the early stages. Jim Simpson led on the first lap, with Charlie running fifth. He picked up a place on the second lap and when Jim retired in the third lap slipped into the lead. He held this in the fourth and fifth laps, closely pursued by Graham Walker (Rudge). Then in the sixth lap Charlie slowed down and Graham took the lead. When he was clocked at Ramsey on his last lap, with only thirteen miles to go, he had a three-minute lead, and then the finger on the dial stopped. Charlie, who was nine places behind him on the road, passed him, and came in to win the wettest TT on record by over eight minutes.” [Dodson’s 63mph average was the lowest winning speed for five years, reflecting the awful conditions.] Results: Junior TT: 1, Alec Bennett (Velocette); 2, H J Willis (Velocette); 3, Kenneth Twemlow (DOT); 4, Syd A Crabtree (Excelsior); 5, Freddie G Hicks (Velocette); 6, GL Reynard (Royal Enfield). Lightweight TT: 1, Frank A Longman (OK-Supreme); 2, CS Barrow (Royal Enfield); 3 , Edwin Twemlow (DOT); 4, G Himing (OK-Supreme); 5, CT Ashby (OK-Supreme); 6, Vic C Anstice (OK-Supreme). Senior TT: 1, Charlie Dodson (Sunbeam); 2, George Rowley (AJS); 3, TL Hatch (Scott); 4, HG Tyrell Smith (Rudge); 5, Stanley Woods (Norton); 6, Ted Mellors (Norton).

L-R: Frank Longman led the Lightweight from beginning to end. Alec Bennet banks through Parliament Square en route to his fifth TT victory. Bennett with his team-mate Harold Willis, a Velo director who designed the foot gearchange system. Willis was devoted to nicknames; his TT mount was dubbed Roaring Anna.

HAVING WON THE SENIOR TT, Sunbeam ace Charlie Dodson was invited to share his thoughts with The Motor Cycle readers: “Back in 1920, when belt drive and single gears were in fashion, I began to wonder what all this racing business was about, and in consequence took a trip over to Axe Edge, to watch the boys perform, and became, there and then, infected with the speed lure. Having decided that it was a real he-man’s game, I purchased my first racing machine, and when I look back on its specification I smile, and yet marvel at the strides made by the industry within the last nine years. For four years I rode regularly at Axe Edge and at Southport. After a time I became more ambitious and decided to enter the Amateur Road Race of 1924. The experience gained was invaluable to me in the more important races in which I competed. (I use the word ‘important’ purely from the point of view of a trade rider, and do not wish in any way to detract from the merits of the Amateur Road Race, which, is, of course, and rightly so, the most important race from an amateur rider’s point of view.) At the outset I realised that if I had to cover 200 miles of the TT course at speed, it would be necessary for me to be in perfect physical condition. Therefore, I began to turn in early at night, get up early in the morning, and do a 50-mile ride before breakfast. I figured it in this way: in the Island one has to be up for practice at 5am, and there is something strangely different in early morning riding which, if one is not used to it, is liable for a time to restrict one’s capabilities. Let us turn for a moment to the preparation of the machine. When riding a factory bus there is, of course, very little a rider can do to it beyond detail work such as centre-popping all nuts etc. But one thing I consider most important—the adjustment of saddle, footrests and handle-bars to suit one’s individual requirements. It is impossible to make the lightning decisions necessary in a road race unless one can devote all faculties to the job in hand. With an uncomfortable machine that is impossible. Only those who have experienced it can know what it is like sitting on the squares on the morning of the race. It seems as if the crowds on the stands are looking only at you and smiling cynically at your chances. You wonder whether you tightened up your gear box nuts, put the right jet back after that last morning’s practice, whether that plug oiled up when the machine last fired, and a thousand things. For myself,

Charlie Dodson following his victory, pictured with Sunbeam designer John Greenwood.

after the weighing in I prefer to forget all about the machine and the TT until it is my turn to move up into the starting square, when I turn on the petrol and offer up a prayer to the gods that she will fire immediately at the word ‘Go’. For there is nothing more exhausting physically nor disturbing to the nerves than starting difficulty; a long and perhaps fruitless push, the making of adjustments when the fingers are ‘all thumbs’ with thousands of spectators looking on, may easily destroy one’s confidence for several laps, if not for a whole race. One’s first inclination is to turn on all the taps and tear off down Bray Hill or wherever the race may be. But after the first few hundred yards or so, common sense asserts itself, and you turn back your throttle just that little bit which makes all the difference between victory or defeat. I always adopt this procedure, unless I am hard-pressed, when obviously I use all I have got and trust to luck and a good engine. Sometimes you get through and then again sometimes you don’t—that is the glorious uncertainty of the game—but I am afraid when we hear an expensive noise we are inclined to view it from a different angle! One point that always occurs to me is the time some riders lose at the pits. Many times as a spectator I have seen men lose seconds in the pits that they have gained through sheer good riding on the corners. The next time you are on the Island notice the organisation at the pits of the old hands. The rider comes in, opens his oil tank, fills it with oil, while his assistant fills his petrol tanks. All is done calmly and methodically, he is away again inside 20 seconds, and he has still had time to snatch a drink and a clean pair of goggles. It is often at the pits that a race is won or lost. This point is very much in evidence in the Continental races in which our riders are so often successful. It has been said that our boys are far superior to our foreign rivals, but I feel that if some of the Continental riders were on machines of the same calibre as our own we should have to ride very, very hard to beat them; not that it is easy as it is—far from it. But any English rider who enters for any of the bid Continental events is sure of a warm welcome and every courtesy. I have yet to find a finer body of sportsmen than those I have had the pleasure of meeting on my various Continental visits, and I am looking forward to renewing next season the many acquaintances I have been fortunate enough to make among the tracing motor cyclists of other countries. One often hears the opinions expressed that road racing has no beneficial effect on the standard production model. Nothing is farther from the truth! No doubt the average rider does not require a machine capable of 90mph, but he does require a strong, reliable engine and first-class brakes, and I am fully convinced that the wonderful value offered to the public to-day is the direct outcome of racing experience. If our manufacturers are to maintain this high standard of production, road racing must continue. We cannot afford to let our foreign competitors get ahead of us, even though they are, as we know, making every effort. We have earned our pride of place. Let us keep it.”

DODSON PROVED HIS TT victory was no fluke by winning the 500cc Belgian and German Grands Prix; he was second to Stanley Woods’ Norton in the French GP. Pietro Ghersi, who had had such an unfortunate time at the TT on a 250 Guzzi beat his own lap record at the Italian Senior TT—but he was riding a Sunbeam, and another Sunbeam won. Bianchis came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Junior—Nuvolari, in third place, despite losing third of the spokes in his rear wheel.

“Claessens (Sarolea) and Guthrie (Norton) cornering in the Belgian Grand Prix.”

THE DUTCH TT WAS A British benefit. Graham Walker (Rudge) won the Senior, just 1.4sec ahead of Tommy Spann’s Ajay; Stanley Woods won the Junior on a new 350 cammy Norton; SA Crabtree (Excelsior) led the 250s and his brother LC Crabtree’s Excelsior followed him over the line ahead of a trio of watercooled DKW two-strokes.

The Dutch TT: DJ de Jong (Norton CS1), Harry Beverdam (Enfield 350) and Wilmot Evans (Triumph 500),
This section of the Dutch TT woke up a sleepy village.
The Motosacoche M35 ohc works racer was built by Dougal Marchant, pictured on the beast at Montlhery, but the M35, and its M50 big brother, were ridden to the 350 and 500cc European championships by Wal Handley, who scored outright wins in the Swiss Grand Prix.

HAVING FAILED TO FINISH the Senior TT, Graham Walker rode his Rudge to victory in the 1928 Ulster Grand Prix. He battled for the lead with Charlie Dodson for over two hours at an average speed of 80.78mph, becoming the first rider to win an international race at over 80mph.

1928 RUDGE 500
This is the Rudge that Walker rode in the Ulster Grand Prix—within a few months his victory was marked by the launch of the Rudge Ulster roadster.
Rudge wasn’t alone in launching a sports roadster based on a successful racer. The Sunbeam twin-port ohv Model 90 was named for its 90mph capability.
Freddie Hicks and Harold Willis at Montlhéry. Following Velocette’s 1-2 in the Junior TT Willis’s bike, Roaring Anna, was modified to run on a petrol-benzole mix with a 10.5:1 compression ratio and a 4.5gal tank. With Willis in the saddle Roaring Anna took the world one-hour record at 100.39mph—the first 350 to top 100mph.

ZENITHS WERE BUSY TAKING more ‘Gold Stars’ for 100mph laps at Brooklands than any other marque, and the tall, lanky Freddie Barnes was their guru. He hired Oliver Baldwin, a Brooklands regular, to ride his 996cc KTOR JAP-engined Zenith to finally break the 200km/h barrier, at 200.56km/h. That equates to 124.62mph which was a flying-mile world record.

BILL LACEY PICKED UP a shedload of records for Grindlay Peerless. Riding a 500cc twin-port JAP-powered racer he covered 103.3 miles in an hour at Brooklands, setting 10 world records in the 500, 750 and 1,000cc classes. He was also rewarded with a trophy presented by The Motor Cycle “in recognition of his achievement in being the first to cover over 100 miles in an hour in Great Britain on a 500cc motor cycle”. At the Arpajon Speed Trials in France he set flying-start kilometre records in the 350 and 500cc classes at 104.12 and 112.16mph respectively.

1928 LACEY 500 CUP
Bill Lacey was the first rider to cover more than 100 miles in an hour on a 500; The Motor Cycle rewarded him with a serious hunk of silver.

AFTER SEVERAL YEARS’ development work AD Draper patented a cantilever frame suspension system which was adopted by George Brough on the Alpine Grand Sports and marketed as the Bentley and Draper spring frame. Brough was never a large-scale producer—nine Grand Sports out of that year’s total of 35 were fitted with the Draper frame. It offered the rider unheard-of comfort, at the cost of a lousy ride for the pillion. Another version of the SS100 was adapted for speed, rather than comfort. The ‘Works Scrapper’ was stripped to the bone; its big JAP twin was tuned to give rather more than the SS100’s standard 50hp and George Brough took it to the MC de France annual record attempts meeting at Arpajon and set a one-way kilometre record at 130.6mph.

Brough went for speed, with a 130.6mph run at Arpajon, and comfort, with the Draper sprung frame.

“AFTER A TRIAL OF AN Alpine Grand Sports Brough Superior,” Ubique reported, “I came to the conclusion that it would be almost impossible to improve on the road holding qualities of this machine…Now my eyes have been opened to possibilities of luxury travel on a two-wheeler which were beyond my most sanguine expectations, and the cause of my awakening was a similar ‘AGS’ model with the new spring frame (manufactured under B&D patents)…it was impossible to discover a trace of side play, and in no circumstances on the road was there the slightest symptom of whip. Yet a total vertical movement of three inches in available for the back wheel, and the dampers are set so that after absorbing a shock the frame returns slowly to the normal position. The machine was driven over all kinds of road surfaces, good, bad and indifferent, in districts frequently covered by the writer on rigid-frame motor cycles…The results were astounding. A natural tendency to throttle down for particularly bad pot holes or bumps was overcome after the first few experiences of the delightful floating action of this machine. Not the slightest jar was experienced, and ‘floating’ seems to be the word most applicable to the motion—there are certainly very few cars…which are better sprung than the new Brough Superior. Potholes, wavy roads and bumps were attacked at high, medium and low speeds, and all were ‘smoothed out’ to a marked extent. Perhaps the most severe test to which the machine was put occurred when a hump-back culvert was taken at speed. Though there was, of course, a definite shock on contact with the ground, there was no unpleasant jar…the average speed at which a 60-mile course was covered came as a shock, though I have a fair experience of speed judging on various machines. This was the first time I had ridden a spring-frame machine without experiencing some sensation of inefficient front springing, and upon mentioning this point to the manufacturer I was informed that this very point had caused a lot of trouble in the experimental stages, and that quite different fork springs are required for rigid- and spring-frame machines. In the latter case far lighter forks are fitted to the Castle forks, and their action is heavily damped by friction pads operated through rods from rearward extensions of the thrust links…George Brough tells me that for his own comfort he will use nothing but spring-frame models in the future, and he expects that as soon as the advantages of the new frame are realised about 75% of the output will be of this type…I cannot imagine a more delightful solo vehicle for covering long distances in the shortest time, for the saving in effort and consequent absence of fatigue after a comparatively short trip was particularly noticeable; without doubt this absence of fatigue would be even more remarkable if a 200-mile trip were undertaken. One other point in proof of the efficacy of the spring frame; the rear tyre, which I am told had covered approximately 7,000 miles of high-speed work, was in first rate condition; on many machines the life of a rear tyre is less than 3,000 miles. Even the most violent braking did not cause the slightest sensation of ‘juddering’ of the rear wheel.”

R-L: Brough planned to produce 75% of its output with the new spring frame. “Method of attaching the shock dampers to the front forks.”

“THE BIG TWIN-CYLINDER motor cycle may not appeal to every rider, but there is no denying that it has a fascination all its own…With its top gear ratio of 4¼ to 1, the 996cc double-port sports AJW at 50mph gives the rider the impression that he is pottering, and it is not until a speed of nearly 70mph is reached that the big Summit engine begins to feel to be ‘at work’. As far as high-speed touring is concerned, the AJW has few equals…Once under way the machine, in spite of its size and the fact that it scales nearly 4cwt, handles perfectly; more easily even than many motor cycles that come within the 30s a year tax….the AJW makes no apparent demand on its rider…at no time was use of the steering damper found to be either advisable or desirable…During the test the machine was used for high-speed touring, in London traffic, and on the type of roads and tracks included in trials. Although undoubtedly it is as a fast touring machine that the AJW excels, it is by no means intractable in traffic…A further aid to the negotiation of dense traffic is the very light clutch with which the machine is fitted. The Jardine box proved to be silent in each of the ratios…No gate is fitted to the control, and unless care was taken it was easy to miss one’s gears. With the exception of those for the gears and rear brake—which is already boing modified—the controls are well placed, and the riding position is of the type that gives both confidence and comfort. Perhaps due to its weight, the machine was especially good on rough roads, and on good roads the degree of comfort afforded was remarkable. In the matter of acceleration the AJW is probably as good as anything on the road; from a standing start the machine will attain 70mph within a few hundred yards. Conditions did not permit of the maximum speed of the AJW being tested, but at 78mph, according to the speedometer, the machine was still accelerating…mileage per gallon was almost 70 at an average speed of approximately 40mph…Both brakes…are of Enfield manufacture and of 9in diameter…that on the front wheel was the more effective, and proved to be smooth and powerful. The effort needed to operate the hand control was, however, rather excessive and a longer lever would be an advantage…the rear brake was not so good as is usual with brakes of the make in question…Starting the engine proved to be problematical, and when cold the engine was difficult to rotate.On certain occasions starting required only one or two kicks, while on others, apparently with precisely the sam setting of the controls, several minutes’ hard work might be necessary. One further criticism may justly be levelled at the machine: it is noisy both mechanically and as to its exhaust. A Miller dynamo lighting set was fitted…and made night riding not only as safe but as pleasant as travelling in daylight. During the test the driving chain became so slack that it fouled the polished aluminium cover over both the primary and dynamo chains, Adjustment, however, was only a matter of seconds…Engine lubrication is by a Pilgrim pump of the sight-feed type, which, being mounted on the timing chest, is liable to become covered with dust, so that it is impossible to tell whether the pump is functioning correctly. This is a fault common to many machines…An uncommon feature is a hand pump with a two-way tap, which enables the rider to lubricate the primary chain or the valve gear while the machine is in motion. To sum up, the ‘double port’ AJW as a high-speed sporting machine gives a remarkable performance, a low fuel consumption, and great comfort.”

L-R: “The lines of the sports AJW spell power and strength. Control plan of the 996cc AJW.”

WM TANNER OF THE MOSTYN Cycle Works, Wagga, NSW, has not only converted a 350cc Humber to his ideals but has brought it from Australia to this country for demonstration purposes…Leaf springing is employed for both front and rear suspension, there being a possible rise of 3¼in from normal for both wheels…One of the designer’s chief aims was to relieve the working joints of the weight of machine and rider. To achieve this he has attached the springs to the moving frame members at points adjacent to the wheel spindles…The machine could be driven at any speed over badly pot-holed roads in extraordinary comfort; no sense of shock could be felt, and he machine appeared to be perfectly stable and rigid laterally, while it steered quite normally…the machine was subsequently ridden to and fro over a rough grass common. Deep holes hidden in the grass caused moments of acute apprehension, but were traversed with a smoothness which was positively uncanny, and only once did the suspension reach its limiting stops. This occurred when a gutter about a foot deep was traversed at moderate speed. Even under this severe test, which would have been impossible on a normal motor cycle, the shock to the rider was of the slight, and there is no doubt but that the Mostyn spring frame, under which title the design is to be known, will make motor cycling possible over tracks which at present might be deemed unrideable.”

“Details of the Mostyn spring frame. Carrying out the test over bumpy ground.”

“THE RECENT AMALGAMATION OF the three carburetter firms, Amac, B&B, and Binks, being chiefly a combination for the general control of common interests, is not at present likely to lead to the disappearance of any of the designs. Still there have been certain notable changes which point to a clearing up of carburetter design generally, and this is particularly noticeable with regard to lever and twist-grip controls; already the number of types has been reduced, and a distinct tendency towards simplification of controls is in process. ‘In the recent campaign’—in the IoM—carburation played a larger part than probably ever before in the all-round increase in speed, and only those who were constantly associated with the riders and the trade through the weeks of practice knew how much reliance was placed on expert knowledge of the carburetter manufacturers’ representatives; incidentally it was surprising how little some of the riders knew or took the trouble to find out about tuning their carburetters. Loud complaints of constant misfiring were proved in several cases to be due to nothing more serious than a dirty filter gauze, or some similarly elementary cause which the rider did not trouble to investigate; needless to say, such riders are not found among the winners, for the ‘stars’ know all there is to know about their mounts, and are exceptionally careful with regard to carburation. All three makes were in use. The Amac seemed the most popular, generally in the form illustrated, with, in a few instances, two flat chambers; in this connection the makers’ amalgamation prevented the competition between the makes which obtained in former years, and riders were free to use the instrument which they found best suited their engines, without the bonus question cropping up…Doubtless next year will see further standardisation of details—until all controls and small parts are of identical pattern, the three designs remaining separate only in principle.”

L-R: “A B&B racing carburetter used in the IoM this year.” The Binks two-jet carburetter with (inset) formation of the slides. Amac model used on TT machines. “Details of the Amal twist grip, and (inset) the air control.”
“A motor cycle handle-bar which is also used as a gear lever has been designed by Mr Otto Dehne, of Berlin, the object being, of course, to allow the gears to be changed without the necessity for removing the hands from the bars. By pulling a small release lever both sides of the bar can be moved forward and backward, and this movement is conveyed to the gear box by two strong wire cables or a rod.”

“NO FINER SAND RACING event has ever been staged at Saltburn by the Middlesborough &DMC (or for the matter of that, by any other club on any other beach) than the open event last Saturday…With a programme of flying kilometre speed tests, one-mile and four-mile races, 20-mile championships and a 50-mile championship, there was catering for all tastes in sped riding. The flying kilometre events…were responsible for the achievement of speeds that have never before been attained on sand in this country. Searle, on his 490cc Norton, began the process of making 100mph cheap by clocking 21.8sec…attaining 102.51mph—a 500cc speed not attained anywhere outside pukka track work before. With his 588cc model, Searle knocked up the speed to 103.56mph, but when the Brough Superiors got busy even these times paled somewhat, for RW Storey put up 120.01mph, G Brough himself (riding solo again) did 116.52mph, and the Yorkshire rider of this make, JH Carr, got in his run at 106.52mph. In passing one must not overlook the 98.11mph achieved by FW Dosser on a 348cc Velocette! Such extraordinary speeds can only be explained by the fact that the surface was absolutely devoid of bumps and dead hard, while a very slight breeze blew down the course.”

“101.12mph—RW Storey (Brough Superior), who made a new record for the Doncaster speed trials’ course. George Brough (standing) was only a fraction of a second slower.”

“QUITE THE MOST OUTSTANDING feature of the ‘Welsh 100’ at Pendine was the appalling weather. Conditions for racing could not possibly have been worse, for the torrential rain, besides soaking the riders to the skin, rendered it most difficult for them to see their way, and the sands in many places were under water, which came not from the sea but from the sky. Solo races of 50 and 100 miles were contested, but such havoc was wrought by the weather that the number of finishers in almost every class was exceedingly low, and in some cases nil. Engines ‘packed up’ one after another, and the number of sparking plugs used was truly phenomenal, one rider employing now fewer than 18!Conditions for the riders were not made any easier by the rather slack organisation. Spectators drifted about the course in the most casual manner, becoming danger to themselves and the competitors, and the marshalling was totally inadequate to deal with the situation. Thus, the result of the 100 miles race is…a matter of doubt, due to the fact that it was possible for a rider to cut some of the course without being noticed, and, although it is probable to every rider who finished accomplished the full distance, the officials made the disconcerting discovery that the records of the lap scorers at either end of the course did not tally. In the 250cc class five competitors set out on the 50-mile strip, and trouble began almost immediately. First one then another dropped out, some managing to continue again in a very lame state until all but one rider, CF Edwards on a Cotton, were rendered hors de combat. The ‘race’ resolved itself into a valiant, though rather protracted, endeavour by Edwards to struggle to the end. He was thus the only rider to figure in the awards list in his class. Meanwhile the competitors in the 350cc class were going through as similar experience, but this event was relieved somewhat by the spectacular display given by RF Parkinson (348cc AJS). This rider had evidently been watching the dirt track stars…for a more perfect example of ‘sliding’ could hardly have been provided. His cornering was the one bright spot in an awful day…The physical state of some of the riders towards the end was pitiable, and several were forced to retire through a mixture of mechanical failure and bodily exhaustion. Eventually C Jayne (348cc Cotton) emerged the winner, with GF Bowley (348cc AJS) second, third place being taken by CL Pulman (3489cc Velocette)…the 100-mile race attracted an entry of 28…Gordon Bennet found himself about two laps ahead of the field [when] he discovered a large piece of aluminium…had broken away from his engine, putting one lung out of action. For some obscure reason he requisitioned a cold chisel and a hammer, and…proceeded to hack a large hole in the crank case, presumably to gain access to the damaged interior parts. He found, however, that this method of adjustment has its drawbacks, and he was forced to accept defeat. The only finisher in the 1,000cc class was Spann, and he limped home one one cylinder…those who finished well deserved their awards, for to ride a motor cycle at all was an arduous task; to ride one at heroic speed was heroic.”

L-R: “The start of the 50-mile solo race. CF Edwards (Brough Superior sc) and Alec Grey (Matchless sc) cornering in the 50-mile sidecar race.”

“RIDING IN MOST CONSISTENT fashion, P Brewster (495cc Matchless), one of the veterans of the track, last Saturday won the ‘Hutchinson Hundred’—the 100-mile handicap race for the £200 Hutchinson Challenge Cup—at an average speed of 93.52mph. A sensational performance was put up in one of the preliminary handicaps by FG Hicks (348cc Velocette), who covered a lap at well over 100mph—on a 350cc machine! Perfect weather favoured the event and, incidentally, an ‘aviation meeting’ which the track wasps had unfortunately elected to hold upon the same day. Wasps were everywhere; they zoomed over the heads of spectators, crazy flew round the faces of the officials, and made concerted aerial attacks upon the competitors; and one even presumed to land upon the nose of none other than Professor Low…The hors d’ouevres duly consumed and digested, the paddock blossomed with coloured jerseys for the ‘100’. Thirty-seven laps had to be covered, making a total; distance of 102.37 miles, to be exact…at 4pm the white, red, yellow and green jerseys were assembled in a clump by the timing box and the task of despatching them on the 100 miles began Between the time of starting the limit man, FL Hall (246cc New Imperial) and the fall of the flag for the scratch man, Lacey (‘995cc single-cylinder Grindlay-Peerless’ according to the programme!) just 20min 21sec elapsed…RR Barber (495cc Matchless) was experiencing steering trouble, a conjunction of short frame and big fuel tank being the

L-R: ECE Baragwanath (996cc Brough Superior sc), winner of the five-lap passenger handicap. FG Hicks (348cc Velocette) who won the under 350cc and ’90mph’ handicaps.

apparent cause. He made several stops, one to half-empty his tank, but after one particularly sinuous arrival at the pits he was called off by the officials…E Ventura (248cc Cotton) had a broken oil pipe; Victor Horsman (590cc Triumph, apparently feeling chilly, stuffed under his jersey a copy of The Motor Cycle as a chest protector; R Harris (490cc Norton) toured in and retired…At half distance FL Hall (246cc New Imperial) led, but only 39sec now separated him from from EC Fernihough (246cc Excelsior-JAP). Several others were noticeably picking up places…FG Hicks (348cc Velocette) had gone up from 35th to 11th; and Brewster from 29th to 12th…After covering 23 of the 37 laps Fernihough went into the lead…There were more stops: Cobold (347cc Sunbeam) went out with magneto trouble; Bell (490cc Norton came in after 17 laps and said that his sparking plug had retired then looked in his tank and found it bone-dry! HW Collier (495cc Matchless) stopped with a flat tyre…Lacey (Grindlay-Peerless)…reported a rather doubtful oil pump and decided to retire rather than wreck his engine. Willis went out with engine trouble on the far side of the track. With two laps to go, Brewster, with Hicks hard on his heels, caught Fernihough, and was soon drawing away from the smaller machine. Another few minutes and Brewster was flagged off, a winner at the excellent pace of 93.52mph. The victory was a popular one, for Brewster probably has a good claim to the title of doyen of the Brooklands riders; although a most familiar figure at the track, he does not now do a great deal of actual racing.”

L-R: “P Brewster, who won the ‘Hutchinson Hundred’ on a 495cc Matchless at 93.52mph. A duel between HJ Willis (348cc Velocette) and FL Taylor (246cc OK-Supreme).”

A YEAR AFTER ITS LAUNCH, in 1924, The Brooklands Gazette morphed into Motor Sport magazine which took a healthy interest in motor cycling. So, as a change from the Blue ‘Un or Green ‘Un, here’s a Motor Sport‘s report from its spiritual home, Brooklands: “This year’s ‘200’ sidecar races were rather dull and uninspiring, as this event usually is. It was enlivened by a long duel in the 600cc class between Le Vack (New Hudson) and Denly (Norton), until the former blew up. The Byfleet was the scene of two rear-crashes, Kempster had the front downtube of his McEvoy come in half, and Baldwin’s sidecar became unattached, standing on end amid a cascade of sparks. The big twins, as usual, were very disappointing, and the 600cc winning speed was nearly five miles an hour faster than the 1,000cc. Results: 350cc race: 1, PG Hicks (348cc Velocette), 70.84mph, 2hr 50min 39.8secs; 2, PJ Ashton (348cc Chater-Lea), 68.31mph, 2hr 57min 27sec; 3, PA Longman (346cc New Hudson), 65.87mph, 3hr 3min 59sec—Hicks broke the three-hour record in Class B/S at 70.79mph. 600cc race: 1, A Denly (588cc Norton), 78.73mph, 2hr 33min 37.4sec; 2, GH Tucker (588cc Norton), 75.86mph, 2hr 39min 48sec; 3, LP Driscoll (588cc Norton), 67.30mph, 3hr 0min 6sec—Denly secured three records in Class P: 100 Miles, 1hr 13min 3.02sec, 81.47mph; two hours, 161 miles, 601yd, 80.67mph; 200 miles, 2hr 32min 17.96sec, 78.79mph. 1,000cc race: 1, ECE Baragwanath (996cc Brough-Superior), 73.95mph, 2hr 43min 35sec; 2, PM Walters (980cc Zenith), 66.62mph, 3hr 1min 59sec; 3, CP Edwards (980cc Brough-Superior), 64.54mph, 3hr 7min 43sec.
Bert Denley, who won the 600cc race, lapped Brooklands to take 18 long-distance world sidecar records aboard a 490cc Norton. His co-pilot was Pat Driscoll; local enthusiast Jack King rode on the sidecar.

Baragwanath won the 1,000cc class, Hicks won the 350cc class—and set a record.

FORTUNATELY, DESPITE ITS BROOKLANDS ROOTS, Motor Sport took an interest in road going bikes too, so we can enjoy ‘Some impressions of an unconventional frame, the duplex steering OEC By EBN’: “I ordered the model in question last Show, greatly against the advice of my friends–technical and otherwise—who told me that it wouldn’t steer; that it ran out of track; the hind quarters were always off the ground; with the aforesaid result—I ordered one. It was delivered to me at the end of last January, and since then it has moved about 4,000 miles—100 miles a week regular—to and from work, in all weathers and an odd jaunt or two up to Town or the Track on the week ends. I got the bus about six o’clock one Friday night, fitted it with a flash lamp and rode it straight from Coventry to Twyford non-stop, a distance of 83 miles, on a frosty—a very frosty—night. The manhandling of the model is somewhat difficult at first, owing to the balance and one or two of my experienced friends promptly fell over it on first trial; but it becomes simple after a day or two. The lock, which is not all that could be desired when foot slogging, becomes ample when riding owing to the ease with which the machine can be heeled over to any angle. I can ride round in an 18 feet circle, which is more than sufficient for any town or hairpin. The lock can be greatly improved by replacing the large valenced guard for a sports type guard, as the large guard restricts the movement. To continue, directly I got going on the road the superior steering at once became apparent, and let me say now, once and for all, I shall never, never go back to the old 6in length single head perched above the front wheel, flexing and wobbling at the smell of a pot hole or corner; the steering is excellent and honestly and truly, I couldn’t ask for a better, and all who have tried it have enthused on this point, and agreed with me. My first experience of a skid was on the aforesaid night when taking a corner slightly faster than the surface considered decent. The tail started to swing outward and I pursued a diagonal course round the bend, but to my amazement, the model just straightened out and continued on without the suspicion of a wobble or reactionary skid. All the time I have had the bus, I have never had a wobble, in fact, it can’t wobble; you can ride along hands off and punch as hard as you can either end of the bars and simply nothing happens, the bus just ‘shivers’ and goes straight on. As far as skid cornering is concerned it is great; one can go round a dusty corner in a front wheel skid, just like a car, and provided you don’t try to correct it by straightening out in a hurry it simply takes grip as the corner is rounded and one continues on as I have already said without any wobble. There is a left-hand bend I go round every morning on the way to work which can be taken at 40-50 and necessitates the model being leaned over to an angle of about 45°; the front wheel completely ignores half a dozen pot holes on the corner, and the back just moves two or three inches to the right over each hole and that is all! I tried some broadsiding on a cinder track the other day and provided the back wheel is kept revolving the

‘EBN’ looks thoughtful as he demonstrates to low seat height of his OEC-Blackburne.

model goes round the circle definitely in a real broadside with the front wheel on the opposite lock, until you wear your left shoe through or it comes off, as mine did! A rumour is abroad that the model will not steer at slow speeds; to disprove that statement I am often having ‘slow’ races with my critics; I can beat them, or at least they beat me, by yards in about 20yds, or they subside. I sometimes find some slight difficulty in manoeuvring round the Arm of the Law when they stand on the far corner and make you go round them to turn right, if you know what I mean. As far as pot-holey roads are concerned, they can be traversed at any speed you may choose, even the wheel buckling variety, and except for sundry Ford-like noises in the interior (of which more later), one continues blithely on without any wobble or uncertainty whatever. There is a certain amount of back wheel bounce over rough roads, only noticeable by the spasmodic revving up of the engine and the consequent loss of speed, but I think this is entirely a case of riding position; you see, you can’t have your cake and eat it, so to speak, and to obtain a low riding position with the consequent low c of g, the saddle must be placed forward to miss the rear wheel, and to keep the rear wheel on the ground, you must sit on top of it to keep it down. Hence, the track racing position. NB—I have dwelt rather lengthily on the steering and road holding capabilities of the model as these are undoubtedly its most interesting and unique features; but let us now disintegrate the model and examine it in detail from the mechanical and technical points of view. Starting at the forward end, the 27×2.75 Dunlop all-Rib shows no appreciable wear even for 4,000 miles which speaks well for the tyre and the front springing arrangement of two barrel springs accommodated in the two front tubes; these could be slightly stronger and I am thinking of fitting a Hartford from the hole over the off-side spindle-rest to the tube above, to counteract an occasional pitching. The forks are attached by four flat links to a similar fixed rectangle on the frame as shown in the accompanying photograph. En passant, it would be better if these links were braced vertically or made T-shaped as the strain is vertical rather than horizontal. Thee links work in cups and balls, which must have been made of very inferior steel as they have now worn ‘flats’ in the vertical position and made the steering come out of the straight with a jerk. I am replacing them with Timken Taper Roller bearings. The tank, such as it is, is a weird and Heath Robinson looking contrivance, precariously suspended by thin strips from the duplex top rails and a small quart oil tin stuck in the top which rattles on the tank at every opportunity. The whole, and a lot more, is covered by an enormous tin canopy, which covers a multitude of sins, and doesn’t fit and does not go far enough down the front to cover the mess of strips and petrol tin, which, by the way, holds gallons. The general effect, when viewed with any scrutiny, is far from pleasing. The engine, an excellent job (of which more later), is suspended by (God forgive them) 3/32 engine plates; the front plates, or rather wafers, are suspended in turn by two long thin bolts clipped to the duplex front down-tubes and distance pieces which hang over the bolts like quoits. The Burman box and ML magneto all exist on the rear plates, which extend right away back to the seat-pillar, like a suspension bridge, and when you kick over, the whole contraption bends and flexes in. a most alarming manner. The box fixing is, or rather was, made of aluminium, and consequently the first time I tightened up the bolts it cracked all over. I have made a steel one which is certainly better and seems to steady the plates a little; but I am making some new engine plates of steel and some respectable bolts and fixings, and dropping the engine in the frame—it is far too high—and exchanging the box for one having a bottom fixing, giving room for a seat-pillar oil tank and a decent petrol tank. The foot-rests are bolted on to two fan-like plates, drilled for six positions, only two of which are available owing to the unique design of the brake-rods and stays in the vicinity. The tool-box on the back mudguard suspended from the valence has already fallen off owing to insufficient support. The brakes, two 6in, front and rear, work well enough if kept in good order, but the front is worked by Bowden wire from the right foot and bottoms on the exhaust pipe unless kept right up, and then requires such force that you have to stand on it to feel the brake at all. I am fitting up a rod and lever with only a 6in. length of cable at the far end, which should be more efficient. The rear brake is good at 50 and over, but gradually declines as the speed drops, until at 10mph it hardly has any apparent effect. It has a habit of sticking on unless carefully oiled and has to be pushed up with the toe on release. The motor itself is a touring 350 SP Blackburne engine with low-lift cams, weak valve springs (rather too weak) and no pressure fed lubrication (as on the sports models); it is capable of hauling the bus along at a maximum speed of just under 70 when excessive valve bounce puts an end to its further activities. The touring Amac gives a low petrol consumption, bad acceleration, good starting, and continually loses its float chamber top. The Burman box stands up to a lot of hard wear although I dislike the cork clutch (I have burnt it out twice) and the somewhat difficult gear change at low speeds owing, I think, to the coarse design of dogs on the gear faces which do not give sufficient positions of enmeshment. In conclusion, as far as the general design is concerned and the link motion type of steering, the model is far away ahead of the present average designs; the smaller points of design and materials leave much to be desired, but I think the 1929 models will have the majority of these points eradicated, and in its improved form with the teething troubles over I could not think of a finer machine.”

This restored OEC-Blackburne features OEC’s swinging-arm rear suspension.

“‘A SCARE FOR THE MCC’ read a London evening paper contents bill last week. This caused a brainless fellow to remark that proceedings were being taken to stop this year’s ‘Exeter’! But the words were later discovered to have some reference to cricket.”

“IT HAS BEEN STATED that a properly constructed British tarred road is completely immune from the skidding danger. If this is so, the obvious thing to do is to bring all road surfaces into line in this respect.”

“An open secret: Happy sidecarists who have learned the secret of healthy and carefree weekends.”
1928 CHINA
“Chinese enthusiasts. the motor cycle movement is expanding rapidly in the East; here are shown a group of Royal Enfield riders in Saigon, Cochin China.”
“The world’s youngest motor cyclist? Kevin Kronk, a young Brisbane laddie 3½ years old, and his motor cycle which he handles confidently at 15mph.”
1928 STUNT
“Balancing grace—RA Cutlack and his sister trick riding at the recent Carshalton sports gala.”
“Heat, Light and—Plymouth Sound! During the summer nearly every seaside town holds a carnival, but few of the motor cyclists who compete take such trouble in decorating their machines as the owner of this sidecar outfit.”
“Motor cyclists at play. Musical chairs at the London Motor Club’s recent gymkhana at Egham.”
“Chinese enthusiasts. The motor cycle movement is expanding rapidly in the East; here are shown a group of Royal Enfield riders in Saigon, Cochin China.”

“THIS PAPER WOULD,” IXION warned, “be absolutely unreadable for most riders if we published much information suited to novices, but I will be childishly simple for once in the interest of boobs, mutts, and other embryo nuts. One lad, for instance, asks me to put the fluence on a famous lamp firm, who sold him an actylene generator which won’t work…I never knew a drip generator which didn’t work, George, and I’d guarantee to make one myself out of any old cocoa tin. But they take a bit of knowing…” Ixion went on to explain in detail how to void “an Aurora Borealis for half a minute, followed by darkness, whistling noises, bad smells, and a choked chamber”. He then turned a latter from one Algy who, “naming a famous sports single, remarks en passant and pensively, ‘What a pity it is that these engines seize so violently and so frequently!’ I suppose there isn’t any cure for it, Ixion?’ He might as well assume there is no cure for small boys who don’t wash behind their ears . As a matter of fact I don’t think I had ever heard of one of these engines seizing up in road work, with an ordinarily competent rider. There is aways a cure for seizure…”

A RIDER CLAIMED A RECORD skid: after his front tyre came off and locked the front wheel of his 493cc Sunbeam he left a 104yd skidmark before wrecking his forks on a grassy knoll. Another rider claimed a record “toss”. After snapping a fork link at 55mph he flew through the air to land 69ft from the bike, according to a bobby who was clearly obssessive about measuring things.

“TESTS OF PHYSICAL FITNESS before a driving licence can be obtained are, it is said, being seriously considered by the London County Council. Most motor cyclists would easily pass such a test, as modern machines are not of a type which would attract weakly purchasers.”

“POLICE CONCESSION TO MOTORISTS. Warnings to be issued for first offences of a minor character”. The headline referred only to the Metropolitan Police; the Blue ‘Un commented: “It would seem from the announcement that the police…hold the view that to adhere strictly to the letter rather than the spirit of the law is unreasonable. With this view we are in entire agreement. It now remains for the authorities in other parts of the country to adopt a similar attitude…nevertheless the authorities are determined that an even higher standard of silence shall be attained, and…until motor cycles are as silent as the average private car no decrease in police activity can be expected.”

“DURING THE SIX MONTHS ending in June only 696 motor cycles were imported into the Irish Free State. This compared unfavourably with the 777 machines imported during the corresponding period last year. All but two of the machines were made in England.”

“SIR—I HAVE JUST been reading Ixion’s comments…his remarks are particularly pertinent at present when there an urge from various quarters for more small multi-cylinder machines. Writes he: ‘I fall to imagining a 250cc or 350cc Scott, which I shall probably never see in the flesh; a tiny lightweight twin Sunbeam; a mediumweight Triumph ‘four’ with eggcup cylinders, and lots of other dream buses, none of them at all heavy, all of them with exquisite engine balance, and all of them se easy to start that my little daughter could kick ’em into life.’ Now, why should these remain dream buses merely; why should we not see them in the flesh? After all, all motor cyclists are not keen on lugging about 325lb of dead weight, and there must be many who would welcome the sort of machines indicated by Ixion.


THE GENERAL PUBLIC TOOK more of an interest in motor cycling than is now the case, hence this preview of the ISDT in the Glasgow Herald: “When the special selection committee last year nominated three women riders as a team to represent England in the international motor-cycling trial, it was regarded as a compliment to three clever exponents of the art of steering a machine over rough places in road tests. Also, there was the hint of a graceful gesture to the growing number of the fair sex who use these fascinating vehicles. As it turned out, the women’s team not only won the silver vase trophy for England, beating several teams of foreign riders, but they also finished higher in the final placings than the Englishmen’s team. The three women were Mrs G McLean, Miss Marjorie Cottle, and Miss Elizabeth Foley; they have been again chosen as the English ‘A’ Team, the ‘B’ Team consisting of Leonard Crisp, Graham Walker and Frank W Giles, the last of whom will be piloting a sidecar. Teams from Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland (two) and Germany will also be engaged in in this section of the tests, which is open to riders mounted on machines of any country of origin. The Irish riders are pinning their faith to British machines, as are also the three representatives of Denmark. The Swedish riders, like those from Germany, will bestride machines made in their own country, while the two teams from the Netherlands have selected four British machines, One Belgian, and one produced in Holland. For the premier contest, the International Trophy, in which the riders are required to ride machines made in their own country, two teams will be in opposition. Britain will be represented by VC King, one of the famous brothers who have won many victories on Douglas machines; FW Neill, a clever international rider; and HG Uzzell, whose feats with a sidecar border on the miraculous. If the Swedish team—G Gothe, Y Ericsson and B Malmberg—are to win, they will have to produce riding of an extremely high standard. They have all ridden in England before, however, and, with others of the foreign riders, have been already over the course, acquainting themselves with its peculiarities. A foreknowledge of the best way to tackle some of the test hills may save them valuable points in the final reckoning. In conjunction with the trial, the British Motor-Cycling Championship is also to be decided. The Scottish ACU have entered a team, D MacQueen and AR MacGregor riding Raleigh solos, and A Pattison on an Ariel sidecar; the English South-Eastern Centre two, the Midland Centre one, and the Yorkshire and Western three each. Altogether there are 113 individual competitors, 12 of whom will be handling passenger machines; while, in addition to the three mentioned, three other women riders are in the list—Miss B Painter, Miss Betty Lermitte, and Miss E Sturt [Ms Lermitte finished the event despite losing her exhaust; all three won golds]. The daily routes radiating from Harrogate total 880½ miles, and include some 160 hills having gradients from 1 in 7 to 1 in 3½. Monday’s route runs southwards, skirting Bradford, them westwards to Settle, and back to headquarters by Skipton and Askwith. Britain first won the trophy in 1923 and has held it for the past four years. Whether we shall be able to withstand the determined challenge of the foreign riders is the question which is to be answered next week.”

Britain’s ‘A’ Silver Vase Women’s Team ISDT at Harrogate. L-R: Marjorie Cottle (348cc Raleigh), Louise McLean (348cc Douglas) and Edith Foley (494cc Triumph). To keep themselves match ready the girls took their bikes on a spring tour of Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Holland.

HAVING WON THE 1927 ISDT, in the Lake District, England hosted the 10th ISDT but moved it south to Harrogate in Yorkshire. The introduction to The Motor Cycle’s report sums it up: “92 of the 108 starters survive gruelling event held in perfect weather. Sweden succeeds in road test, only to fail in final examination, leaving England the victor.” Here are some of the highlights: “A heavy shower fell just as the first competitors were due to start from Harrogate but the rain was local…Fairly steep and uncommonly corrugated hills at Pool and Bingley shook machines and riders until teeth chattered and spring forks bottomed…the endless twists and turns resulted in not a few minor tosses, both Miss Painter (247cc Excelsior) and HS Perrey on the new 250cc Ariel coming ‘unstuck’ while FG Foster (347cc Sunbeam) struck a wall, damaged his front wheel, and retired before the luncheon stop at Settle…The afternoon run was fairly uneventful although a certain amount of tyre trouble was experienced…A Pattison (497cc Ariel sc) had to renew two inner tubes owing to the valves pulling out…IM Garth-Atkins (596cc Douglas), after reaching Harrogate once again in spite of any amount of carburetter trouble, sorrowfully removed his numbers, believing that the morrow, and the hills, would only bring failure. Thus with five non-starters and two retirements the entry was brought down to 106 actual runners by Monday night…there was no question, judging by the form shown at Darnbrook, that the foreign competitors were a force to be reckoned with…The second day’s run proved a glorious day out, remarkable chiefly for the ferocity of its descents…the White Horse gleamed ahead on Roulston Scar…but those who expected a tarmac surface were rudely shocked; it was lose and only a firm hand on the cars would bring a machine round in safety in the case of those who disdained to lower a precautionary foot…The long road over the summit was ‘real colonial’ and the steep but good surfaced descent of the Delves came as a relief. The hill at Grosmopt, though possessing a very rough surface, worried no body except VC King (348cc Douglas), who failed owing to his gears coming out of engagement. The British team for the Trophy thus lost 5 marks, putting Sweden in the lead at the end of the second day…The real trouble at Lousy Bank was the watersplash…It had a considerable depth (owing to the successful damming efforts of the locals) when the first men arrived, but HL Grimes (172cc Baker) assumed the role of lock-keeper and released a great deal of the water. He

L-R: “AJ Clarke (499cc Rudge-Whitworth) and H McKee (493cc Sunbeam) making light work of Monket Howe. FW Giles (498cc AJS sc) near Malham, one of the many pretty parts of the course. Captain Phillips, Press Secretary of the ACU, sits in the launch sidecar, smiling for the photographer, while Major Dixon-Spaion and other officials break down the dam at Littlebeck.”

then walked his machine through the water, and so did a number of others. Bert Kershaw (172cc James) retired because the top of his gear box blew off! By this time local ‘enthusiasts’ were once more endeavouring to encompass the waters, but a rebuke by Capt AW Phillips, and a practical one by Major Dixon-Spain, caused the work to be abandoned. These two ACU officials had cause to resent the depth of the splash, as their outfit was incapacitated for half an hour after they had stopped in the middle. G Stannard (494cc Triumph) followed the example of the representatives of the parent body and stopped, and so did PN Keuchenius (494cc BMW), who rashly charged into the water at speed. With his legs waving wildly in the air, A Olsen (499cc Rudge-Whitworth) made a clean crossing…The fate of the ACU outfit (Ah! Publicity, where is thy Sting?) led the crowd to anticipate eagerly the arrival of the other three-wheelers. Amid howls of derision, HM Hicks (596cc Douglas sc) wheeled his machine through the water, but applause was accorded FW Giles (498cc AJS sc) and GW Shepherd (596cc Scott sc) for good crossings…JW Moxon (172cc Francis-Barnett) retired at the summit [of Monket Howe] with a burst gear box, while FW James (1,096cc Morgan) failed when the low-gear chain came off the sprockets…The teeth of the tigers are drawn! Hills that once were terrors created next to no trouble on the third day of the trial…the star hill of the afternoon, Rosedale, beside which the other hills (Littlebeck, Limber and the Delves) paled into insignificance, only resulted in about a dozen failures—machine after machine romped up with the greatest of ease. The day was most gloriously fine, yet not to hot, and the green valleys and purple moorlands looked their best in the clear atmosphere…For some reason L Crisp (349cc Humber), after grounding his crank case on a gully, put in an extraordinary amount of footwork, the engine apparently having died of fright…TF Hall (498cc Matchless) hit a bump, and for a few moments used all the road and a fair amount of the upper air as well…C Jayne (496cc Cotton) and van

L-R: “Miss Betty Bernitte (488cc Royal Enfield) on the outskirts of Arncliffe. N Hall (247cc Excelsior) and DF Welch (246cc OK-Supreme) find Monket Howe a stiff proposition. HG Uzzell (493cc BSA sc) crossing a stone ledge on Blakey, a rough observed hill.”

Marle (490cc Lady) were both sure and steady, although the Lady rather lovingly caressed an outstanding bump in the track. FB Tetsall (492cc Sunbeam) and J Parker (349cc BSA) were both impressive, the former being too slow to steer a true course, while the latter was too fast to select one…Before lunch HR Kemble (490cc Radco) had retired with gear trouble, added to the many vicissitudes of the previous day…Nor did the 1 in 3 gradient of Littleback Hill cause trouble, for the surface was excellent, and even the ‘little fellers’ purred up with the greatest of ease…A really sporting [fourth] day for he-menŸ—and women! Starting with a tour of the whole length of Upper Wharfdale—glorious sunshine and magnificent scenery—the only rough interlude being the well-known ‘£200 Trial’ country in the Moorcock Hall section at Kex Ghyll…Dropping to Wensleydale and crossing the valley at Hawes, the competitors climbed Buttertubs Pass, and here Betty Painter (247cc Excelsior) seized her engine and retired. Retirements among the small machines were heavy; HL Grimes (172cc Baker) had finished with a broken front spindle and VL Strudley (247cc Baker( had packed up for unascertained reasons. Then on a ferocious little hill out of Swaledale leading to High Oxnop, HS Perrey (248cc Ariel) ended his course when a stone jammed between his chain and the rear stays, breaking the sprocket away from the hub…The descent of Summer Lodge worried not a few…Several riders took tosses and the German D-rads were very consistent in this respect, for all fell. Lunch at Reeth was a welcome breather; the machines parked on the village green and glittering in the sun, the grey-green valley, and the gleaming stone houses composed a picture not readily to be forgotten. In the afternoon there was really hard going nearly all the time [The Western Daily Press mentioned that “Miss Marjorie Cottle was pitched from her machine and pinned beneath it until rescued by an official. She arrived at the luncheon control at Reeth on time, but was limping painfully]…Between Middesmoor and the top of the Scar, A Paster (249cc Zundapp) crashed at a cross gulley and suffered a broken collar bone; he was assisted by many following competitors…The surface of Deam Man’s Hill was very loose, and quite a number of riders came to grief on the left-hand bend halfway up the steepest section. That it could be taken feet-up was demonstrated by the more expert riders, some ordinary motor cyclists, and the other Pressmen found that footing was necessary…After a skid from which he recovered brilliantly, GW Hole (348cc Raleigh) made a perfect ascent, and just behind him came HC Dolk (348cc FN), who paddled and pinked in the most shameless manner. Louie McLean (348cc Douglas) received spontaneous applause for a wonderfully neat ascent. Probably the cleanest climb of the day was made by FW Neill, the Matchless artist. He seems incapable of failure anywhere…A thrill was provided by HM Hicks (596cc Douglas sc). He passed F Ischinger (493cc D-rad) on one of the narrowest sections; another inch or so and he would have fallen over a precipice [the Western Daily Press added: “All the international teams arrived back at Harrogate last evening, and with only the final

L-R: ” A string of competitors at Huton-le-Hole watersplash. GL Reynard (488cc Royal Enfield) and EEA Rudnall (490cc Radco) round the worst bend on Summer Lodge. A Jefferies, W Moore and CH Wood (596cc Scotts), the Scott Manufacturers’ team cross Ilkley Moore.”

sprint to-day, Sweden holds a clear lead, and is likely to win back the Championship Cup which Britain tool from her four years ago”]…Contrary to expectations the fifth day’s run was not so difficult as was expected…as is often the case, gradients which appear terrific as descents are not nearly so bad when they have to be climbed…Park Rash proved to be like the cry of ‘Wolf!’. In slithering down the hill on the previous afternoon the competitors had worn such a groove through the loose stones that there was a dead certain path to the top for those with a good climbing speed and firm wrists to keep the model confined to the narrow way, and for those who did this there was a ready cheer from the great crowd of enthusiasts which had gathered…FW Neill (495cc Matchless) who got up to the hairpin over the loose rubble without a sign of being difficulty amazingly and suddenly skidded, turned completely round and finally stopped. This added another hill failure against the British ‘Trophy’ team. Another failure was WF Newsome’s spectacular climb of the wall after striking a boulder—a feat which happened so suddenly that even the vulture-like Press photographers all missed it…For the last morning a repetition of the worst portion of the North-Eastern circuit was used. But by now the riders were so accustomed to the hills that almost everyone took them in his stride…HC Dolk (348cc FN), for once in a while, found his combined tactics of footing and clutch slip ineffectual. He baulked PJ Nortier (493cc Sunbeam), who had to foot hard; observers rushed to pick up Dolk and his mount, and into the melee came G Dance (493cc Sunbeam), who, taking to the rough and keeping his feet up, slipped through a momentary gap between the two machines in a wonderful way, where ninety and nine other men would have raised to Heaven and the observers the cry of ‘Baulk!’. A big crowd waited to welcome the riders to Helmsley…all that remained was the final examination, lunch and the trek back to Harrogate; the last matter, one must admit, was a rather irresponsible ‘TT, in which one severe crash, at least, occurred. ACU officials carried out the examination, and Professor Low gave the final OK—or otherwise—to the machines. Very few of the motor cycles had been sufficiently damaged by their week’s buffeting to lose marks, though in one or two cases mudguards and other similar fitments were loose. DF Welch (246cc OK Supreme), who was No 4, should have been the first to arrive, but he did not put in an appearance for some time. He reported a puncture just after Rosedale. The only retirement on Saturday was CM Harley (996cc AJW), whose rear cylinder valve gear was said to be disarranged. The surprise of the final ‘exam’ was the loss of marks by the Swedish team, who up to that time had been sure of the International Trophy, but who were thus deprived of it at the last minute. Both Y Ericsson and B Malmberg were minus rear brakes, a fracture at the cam arm being the cause in both cases. They lost 11 marks each. The British team lost no marks in the final examination, so, although each member had a hill failure against his name, Great Britain once again won the trophy…NOTES: HC Dolk rode the same FN he uses on the road every day in Holland. He was reported to have declined he offer of a special machine from the Belgian firm…Immediately his machine had been examined Gus Kuhn left for London and Stamford Bridge dirt track. He had appeared there the previous Saturday and went up to Harrogate by night. During the week, incidentally, Gus lost his left footrest. The irony of fate!..The blow to the Swedish team put a gloom on the gathering at Helmsley, and at the official hotel in Harrogate on Saturday night. British riders were the loudest in their condemnation of the result, and organised a strong protest…The word ‘stolen’ was written on a large notice inside the case where the International Trophy had reposed all week. Significant!”

Britain’s ‘B’ Team that won the Silver Vase: GW Walker (499cc Rudge Whitworth), FW Giles & Mrs Giles (498cc AJS sc) and L Crisp (349cc Humber)

HAVING RELIED ON THE Glasgow Herald for a preview of the ISDT, let’s turn to it for the last word: “Sweden lodged an official protest, but this was disallowed. The contest for the International Vase was not affected by today’s results. The British men’s team finished with a clean record, the only team in the trial to do so. The British women’s team, Mrs M McLean, Miss Marjorie Cottle, and Miss Edith Foley< dropped five points and gained second place. Third place went to the Holland first team, who lost 16 points. After a close contest, the British Championship went to the Western Centre team, Arnott, Walker, and Butch, all on Rudge-Whitworth machines. Torkshire ‘A’ team let the prize slip from them when Wood, one of their stalwarts, unaccountably skidded and fell on Rosedale.The Scottish ACU team made a brave show, and with a little luck would have gained better than third position, for D McQueen was unfortunate to fail on Pinkey thgrough slkipping on a patch of grass, while A Pattison got his sidecar driving wheel into a loose spot on Park Rash, and stopped through wheelspin. Apart from this they lost no marks and were always in the picture.” Results The International Trophy: England—marks lost: VC King (348cc Douglas), 5; FW Neill (495cc Matchless), 5; HG Uzell (493cc BSA sc), 5; total, 15. Sweden—marks lost: G Gothe (246cc Husqvarna), 3; Y Ericson (490cc Husqvarna), 11; B Makberg (495cc Husqvarna sc), 11; total, 23. *Marks lost for condition of machine at final examination. The International Vase: England ‘B’ Team—marks lost: L Crisp (349cc Humber), 0; GWWalker (499cc Rudge-Whitworth), 0; FW Giles (498cc AJS sc), 0; total, 0. Manufacturers’ Team Awards: 250cc, Excelsior; 350cc, BSA; 500cc, Ariel; 750cc, Scott. Of the 108 riders who started 94 finished the course, 87 of whom won gold medals, five won silver.

Ariel won the 500cc class Manufacturers’ Team Award.

REAR LIGHTS BECAME COMPULSORY. As well as motor vehicles the light law covered horsedrawn traffic though other slow moving, hazardous traffic such as bicycles, handcarts and livestock drovers, were exempt. Self-contained electric rear lights with their own batteries were soon available. The Transport Minister was empowered to require headlights to incorporate anti-dazzle (dipping) devices as soon as they became practicable. To cope with rising traffic levels the Ministry of Transport was doing away with toll roads and replacing level crossings with bridges.

“THE SEASON OF FOGS will be here shortly, and new riders should note that an ordinary head lamp is practically useless under such conditions. If a piece of yellow material, capable of being slipped over the glass of the lamp, is carried, however, night driving in foggy weather is made much easier.”

“MOTOR CYCLISTS IN the vicinity of Lahore and other towns in India are said to have been bitted by a ‘speed bug’ and their activities are proving objectionable to other resident.”

“AT A RECENT SCOTTISH gymkhana there was no entry fee for any of the events!”

“THE NUMBER OF MOTOR cycles in the use in France has risen in one year from 137,979 to 232,201.”

“You may park here!—In Germany, where the motor cycle movement is forging ahead as rapidly as in this country, it is no uncommon sight to see solo and sidecar machines massed wheel to wheel in their thousands, as in this picture taken at a German sporting event.”
Remember Gwendolyn Adams? We last met her in 1926, when she rode her Duggie from home in Ellesmere to Venice for her summer hols. She made that trip alone and must have developed a taste for solitary adventuring as, switching her alliegance to Royal Enfield, she took off on a six-week 4,500-mile run to Gibraltar, returning home over the French Alps.

“MOST MOTOR CYCLISTS WILL have realised the danger of wet leaf-strewn roads at this time of year. There is a risk of skidding, especially on corners.”

“BY THE WATERS OF Thornton Heath: At week-ends there is oftn a speed trap between Norbury and Thornton Heath Pond. The exact position is about a quarter of a mile before the entrance to the Croydon by-pass.” [Generations of motor cyclists gathered there; I was among them. The sausage-meat sandwiches available from Dave’s all-night teastall might have inspired Cut-me-own-throat Dibbler’s sausage inna bun.—Ed]

“FAST—EVEN FOR A VELOCETTE. In reporting the recent Velocette ‘100 miles in the hour’ record one provincial paper recorded the time taken as 59.47 seconds. This works out at the remarkable speed of 6,053mph.”

“IN A NORTHERN TOWN recently the strange spectacle was noticed of three motor cycles linked together side by side. All had their engines running. It is thought that the equipage is the only one of its kind.”

SOVIET RUSSIA’S FIRST FIVE-Year Plan called for intensive mechanisation including the establishment of a motorcycle industry. Among the first products of the new state factories were the 300cc two-stroke Krasnyj-Oktabr; the 600cc sv Tiz-Am; and, for police and military use, the 1,200cc sv tranverse V-twin Izch featuring shaft drive, leafspring forks and a pressed-steel frame which incorporated a silencer. Izch, like BSA, Husqvarna and FN, was rooted in firearms—it was set up in 1808 by the Czar to make muskets for the war against Naspoleon. The Russians have gone on to produce 11 million powered two-wheelers—but Izch is best known for everyone’s favourite assault rifle, the Kalashnikov AK47, with global sales topping 70 million.

1928 ISZH
The Izh-1, progenitor of the Russian motor cycle industry, was only in production for a couple of years.

WHILE REVIEWING THE BIKES he’d encountered in 1927 Ixion waxed lyrical: “The Francis-Barnett super-sports is something of a buzzbox – but I use the term in a purely Pickwikian sense. The balance and – lady readers, please excuse a he-man word – ‘guts’ of this engine are simply amazing…”

MANY MOTOR CYCLE CLUBS, with the support of the RAC, were organising annual runs to give deprived kids (they called them ‘poor’) a day in the country. Clubmen were also staging gymkhanas and other events to raise cash for their local hospitals – this was long before the birth of the NHS.

THE TWO BSA G14S OUTFITS making a global promotional tour reached Malaya where, it was reported: “The majority of motor cyclists are either Chinese or half-castes, though a large number of impecuniouis British assistants on rubber estates use two-wheelers from necessity.”

Alex Finlay won the Australian Senior TT 200-miler aboard a Beeza sloper.

THE TIMKEN COMPANY was advertising its taper roller head bearings [and 50 years later we were still messing about with cups, cones and ball bearings. Go figure—Ed].

IN RESPONSE TO CLAIMS that 75% of “accident ward cases” were the result of “motoring mishaps” the Middlesborough MCC launched an insurance scheme to cover the cost of patching up its members.

THE YORKSHIRE CENTRE of the ACU considered seceding from the union in protest at “the recognition of promoters of commercialised events” and the ban on Sunday events.

NIMBUS, DENMARK’S SOLE motor cycle manufacturer, suspended production of its in-line fours to concentrate on vacuum cleaners.

1928 VILLIERS 200,000
Villiers celebrated the production of its 200,000th engine. Its range of seven engines was in use with more than 20 manufacturers.

BSA TRANSFERRED ALL motorcycle production to Small Heath.

THE FIRST TRAFFIC LIGHTS were installed, in Wolverhampton, four years ahead of the capital.

AMERICAN CARS appeared gleaming with chromium plating.

THE LACK OF A QUANTIFIED noise limit led to riders of bog standard bikes being fined for excessive noise.

“NOVEMBER ROAD RACING: It is a real November afternoon. It is cold. The sun which shone so brightly in the afternoon has given way to that bright dullness which always seems to beckon one to muffin and tea and a hot fare at the close of a November afternoon. From the loud speaker comes ragtime music. It is hard to write instead of dancing. A gentleman on a two-stroke rides round the competitors’ enclosure on bottom gear. No, he does not ride; he has ridden; he has fallen off. Here we are at the Crystal Palace to watch the road-racing. The crowds are growing thick and fast. Mr Mockford has a megaphone and an intense air. Mr Smith just has an intense air. It seems to work, anyway, for the crowds are still growing and the organisation seems as though it is going to work with that genial smoothness one always associates with these Crystal Palace meetings. There is no need to describe the course, a mile of twists and turns…It writhes like an eel in pain, true; it is full of bumps, true; but is meant as a test more of riding ability than of sheer speed…spectators are enlivened by a terrific battle between Gus Kuhn (Calthorpe) and EH Tomkins (Velocette). Kuhn uses every bit of dirt-track skill at his command and eventually succeeds in passing Neill, only to be repassed and finally to fall off. However,

LO Bellamy (344cc Coventry Eagle) won The Motor Cycle trophy for the second year running.

after losing three laps he remounts and shows the crowd a particularly ‘blue’ exhibition of riding. And when Gus Kuhn rides ‘blue’, enough has been said…enter the sidecars and excitement at the same time, the two being synonymous. RV Newman is first away on a 498cc Matchless followed by A Noterman (498cc Triumph); then the celebrated pair, Brackpool (495cc Matchless) and Norchi (490cc Coventry Eagle), next L Pellat (346cc OK Supreme) and CW Sewell (980cc Brough Superior). Brackpool goes like—well like that, anyway—and catches Noterman at the end of the first lap. After them both comes Norchi, rounding the first corner of the second lap with a terrific skid. Pellat is handicapped by his little engine, and Sewell’s Brough by its superiority, for it is burdened with full touring equipment and a full touring sidecar. Norchi disappears somewhere round the course, and, try though he will, Brackpool cannot catch Newman, who ultimately wins from him in 10min 12sec. It is rap[idly getting dark. The sun sets, a ground mist obscures the far side of the course, and the cold becomes intense…It is now almost dark, and one can only see the competitors in the last race for the Crystal Palace Solo Championship and The Motor Cycle Trophy as they pass the stand. Result: 1, LO Bellamy (344cc Coventry Eagle); 2, HL Daniell (490cc Norton); 3, G Kuhn (352cc Calthorpe). Winner’s time, 10 minutes. And so to those muffins and that tea and hot fire that has seemed so welcoming all the afternoon.”

“Enter the sidecars and excitement at the same time, the two being synonymous.”
Miss Mae Ruffell is clearly delighted with the silver bowl she’s just earned for winning the first women’s race at Brooklands. Misses JR Hole and BE Tippett finished second and third.

“THE FALL. AUTUMN FROSTS. Is it worthwhile renewing our licence for the last quarter—October, November, and December?” ‘Pelorus’ asked. “Well is it? To tell the truth I had never even considered the matter until someone said to me the other day: ‘But it’s October, y0u’ll have clear roads; most people don’t take out their last quarter’s licences.’ I was amazed. I took particular notice as I continued my usual rounds, a warm sun beating down on my back as I headed north-west in the morning, his level rays dazzling me as my course trended south-west in the afternoon. And true it is; there are souls so misguided, there actually appear to be Britons—motor cyclists—with presumably the red blood of youth flowing through their veins, who solemnly lay up their machines from October to April, from equinox to equinox, for all the world like ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans, who laid up their galleys and triremes between September 21st and March 21st, and refused to venture forth into the open sea…their frail rowboats could be lost with all hands on the rocks of Greece as easily as the Association on the rocks of Cornwall with Sire Cloudesley Shovel. But on a really bad day the modern motor cyclist can remain at home or betake himself to the grimy indignity of a railway train. Even on a holiday tour far from home there is no matter of life and death in an October shower; even in a November storm there is merely a certain measure of discomfort, with, at the end of it, a hot bath, a change of clothes, a certain glow at having taken on Nature in frowning mood and won through…One of my happiest memories is that of a 90-mile winter journey that started too late, in the long ago, through the unknown hinterland of Sussex. My lamps failed, I lost my way, the signposts were meaningless, and presently I found snow by the roadside. I got cold, tired, hungry, depressed. I rather think that I may have cursed England, Sussex, the weather, all motor bicycles, particularly all acetylene lamps, and my own folly in ever having the idiocy to suppose that I could better my father’s method of steam railway locomotion. And then I saw ahead the orange glow of light. Several lights. A village. An inn. Too late for a regular meal. I was given cold beef and potatoes and a posset of beer. And a good bed. And I realised even then, and I have realised ever since, that that was the first time I had ever really appreciated beef, or potatoes, or a good bed. One always appreciates beer. Next morning when I set out—it had been snowing again—my back wheel spun on the newly fallen stuff, my belt slipped. It was a new experience, and it was an adventurous 20 miles that took me home, but when I arrived I felt that snow and darkness had no terrors left for me; I had met mine enemies in the way and had triumphed. But what of the bright side, ye fainéants who fear a wet jacket or a cold pair of hands?…I have enjoyed many a crisp sunny December ride muffled up—’figure of fun perhaps, but beautifully warm with a pair of airman’s sheepskin thigh boots (17s 6d from a Government Disposal sale), and a leather apron home-made out of a simple sheepskin, price £1 from the local butch, the trimmings serving as a great wooly collar buttoned on as an extra to my ordinary leather coat collar. I do not fit a handle-bar windshield myself, but certainly I would think it more self-respecting to ride behind one in the winter than not to ride at all. And as for protecting one’s hands, the twist-grip throttles now coming into fashion enable you the more easily to fit a pair of handle-bar muffs and to wear fingerless gauntlets, both conducive to the comfort of warm hands…And if winter comes in earnest, the sidecarrist at least will know the satisfaction of being able to hold the road daintily while the great trade lorries and the big limousines are sliding all over the place and ending in the ditch, and as for fog, it is the one element which enables the motor cyclist to heap scorn on all his competitors. The idea of forgoing all this happiness, of mewing one’s self up for a warm, sunny October week-end or a bright, sparkling December day, just to save a really contemptible sum, as it is in comparison with the cost of the machine, is to me quite unthinkable…If it really is parsimony which defrauds the poor Exchequer of its last quarter’s quota from the fraternity of motor cyclists, then I can only hope that the aunts of all those who were so mean as to lay up their mounts at the end of September will die during the next two months at a distance from their unworthy nephews, and will necessitate their cashing in their ill-save shillings in railway fares to go and attend their funerals!”

1928 RIDE FALL 2
A blizzard forced the Motor Cycling Club to postpone the London-Exeter trial. Some diehards rode cross-country to starting points when roads were blocked by snowdrifts—one farmer charged a couple of determined clubmen a bob each to drag their bikes across his land. .

THE BLUE ’UN PUBLISHED a ‘British Supremacy’ number, reporting: “Everywhere else (but America) you will find the British bus well on top.” The USA imposed a 45% import duty.

FROM SPAIN CAME A 350cc engine with just the one valve to control the inlet and exhaust ports. Said valve was described as “of an exceptionally large diameter”.

MOTORCYCLE PRODUCTION PEAKED at 145,861, a figure that would not be exceeded until 1950. By the end of the year exactly 712,583 bikes were registered on British roads, representing a third of the global total. The USA had about 110,000.

“MOTOR CYCLISTS WHO contemplate tours in hilly districts should pay special attention to their brakes. A good front brake is almost indispensable for descending steep hills.”

“‘SCOOPED’ AGAIN! THE fact that an ‘Overhead Crankshaft Norton’ was advertised in a Lincolnshire paper has led many correspondents to ask whether Nortons have produced a new model of which The Motor Cycle has no details!”

“FINED AT CHESTER for dangerous riding, a Wolverhampton tester was stated to have turned a corner at 55mph on a sports machine. Against him it was stated that he had on the petrol tank an air cushion so he could lie on it!”

“A CORONER HAS warned that the most dangerous speed at which to travel is 5-6mph.”

“DURING APRIL OF this year 654 motor cycles were exported from England to Australia: America contributed 90 of the total of 745.” South Australia had 13,126 motor cyclists at the end of February.”

“INCLUDED IN THE 89,981 motor vehicles in Switzerland at the end of last year were 28,766 solo motor cycles and 2,768 sidecar outfits.”

“ANOTHER SUPERSTITION DEAD. A. watchmaker of Fleur de Lis (Wales) was thrown off his motor cycle and injured. And all because a black cat walked into his front wheel.”

“WHAT ABOUT MINIMUM SPEED? Motor roads on which a maximum speed limit of 60mph will be imposed are under discussion. The project is to build them between London and Brighton and Birmingham and Birkenhead. A toll of ¼d a mile for motor cyclists is suggested.”

HIGH-NECKED JERSEY. Speeding in Jersey is frowned upon by the public as well as the police, and a private resident who recently took a motor cyclist’s number and reported that the machine was being driven at an excessive speed was the cause of the unfortunate rider being fined £1 and having his licence suspended for a month.”

“AN EVEN CHANCE. In a competition organised by a Yorkshire newspaper to discover which form of sport produces the most graceful and charming girls, lady motor cyclists are eligible to compete.”

“THEORY OF UNRELATIVITY. The vicar of Thames Ditton calls the section of the Portsmouth Road which runs through the parish ‘the Road of Sudden Death’. He thinks pillion riding ought not to be allowed.”


“THERE COMES A TIME in the life of nearly every mother when her some can no longer face life happily without a motor cycle. With inward qualms you see the day gradually approaching, until at last the moment arrives when your defences are down, and you write a cheque…that opens the door to a thousand hours of anxiety and fear, or—and here is the whole point—a renewal of youth for yourself and a new comradeship between the two generations. An imagined danger can be shared, and when it is braved in this way, fear vanishes in the joy of adventure. I made up my mind I would seek the open road on the flapper bracket. We bought an ABC—second-hand, or course—and life flowed happily on a sea of oil and petrol, punctuated by nuts and bolts…Within a week of possession the machine and its rider had proved their ability in the Schoolboys’ Trial, and we immediately planned a little trip to Winchelsea…I decided not to share the traffic dangers through Town; it was good enough for me to be picked up at a convenient station…it is hardly fair to expect a boy of 15 to be guardian of his mother’s safety through…busy London traffic…I had no proper footrests so there was no feeling of security. However, the machine behaved beautifully on the way down, also during the first three days; and then, just on a short run of two miles, something broke…the machine had to be pushed all the way up that steep hill that leads into Winchelsea!…About ten o’clock Stephen arrived home with a thin layer of black grease covering his face, hands, and the greater part of his clothing. ‘Well?’ I enquired anxiously. ‘We got it going all right, and then one of the connecting rods broke.’ ‘Can you mend it?’ I asked ignorantly. ‘Mend it? Of course not. We’ll have to get it up to Town and have a new one put in.’ Feeling very depressed, we took our disabled possession back by train, and left it to be repaired, saying hopefully that no doubt it would be ready for our next trip at Whitsun. And was it? No!”

The Sensational Rise to Romantic Heights in the Motor Cycle Industry of a Rider Doomed by the Doctors.
by ‘Eccott’
The silence in the Harley Street Consulting Room was intense. One could have heard a pin drop. William Morrison Globb looked into the face of the famous specialist. “Well?”
The famous specialist folded up his stethoscope and cleared his throat. “For one month you must observe the strictest diet. At the end of the time –”
“– I shall be well?”
“You will be dead!”
Silence reigned (the same kind as before), broken only by the physician’s cough, by means of which he tactfully strove to suggest that his fee was five guineas, and the sooner the quicker! One month to live! William Morrison Globb passed out into the damp fog of Harley Street with bowed head and the great physician’s umbrella – a doomed man. “One month!” said he. One month! Such a little time in which to prosecute life’s unfathomable purpose. To be nipped in the bud like any wayside flower… to be parked like a lump of discarded sprearmint on the bed-post of eternity… he laughed hollowly.
“’Ere! Wotcher larfin at? You ain’t no blinkin’ pitcher yerself – ’ere, arf a mo’” –but William Morrison Globb had hailed a taxi. “A month’s a month,” he said. “I must refrain from laughing hollowly in public places.”
To William Morrison Globb, Man, and all his works, conventions, laws constituted a big joke. He was outside the pale. For instance, that large, bulbous policeman: it wouldn’t be a bad idea to kick him in the pants. Or he might go to the British Museum and touch aqll the glass… he might ring the bell in a tea-shop… or – a great idea struck him! He might go to the office and pull the nose of Mr Boom!
Mr Boom, advertising manager of Gooper Motor Cycles, Ltd, was about as popular as toothache with his subordinates. That afternoon, Mr Boom was puzzled. He had used all the superlatives he could think of – what next? He stood bewildered, an imposing figure executed in “vieux plum” shade, his thumbs stuck in the elaborate belt which tenderly craadled the gigantic mass of his paunch.
To Mr Boom entered Mr Globb. Mr Boom testified his pleasure in the usual manner. He enquired (1) whether Mr Globb thought he was the Prince of Wales, coming in at that time; (2) what he thought he was paid for; and (3) if he‘d have the sack now, or when he got it?
In reply Mr Globb said that he hoped no act of his was going to sever a connection which he valued as much as that existing beween himself and his revered chief, Mr Boom; furthermore, he would like, before matters went further, to assure Mr Boom of his extreme willingness at any time to give him a dashed good zonk on the point. “Say, old man” gasped the enfeebled Boom, “you been taking a willpower course?”
“Moreover,” continued William Morisson Globb, “you’re about as much use at writing advertising copy as a sick headache. Look at this: ‘The Gooper, the best motorcycle.’ Poo-bah! pshaw! faugh! This is the stuff that sells.” And, seizing Mr Boom’s gold mounted stylo, he wrote: “Say, fellers! You reg’lar guys! We ain’t speiling none at no poor dumb, candy-coralling lounge lizards. No Sir! It’s the reg’lar hard-boiled yeggs who’ll bet their suspenders that they got enough grey stuff put away in he organ loft to spot one real 100%, drawn from the wood, hell-tearing, bone-crushin’, skull smashin’ tornado of a packet of dynamite. Yep, bo, you said it – one Gooper! Send along right now for our catalog all dolled up in dandy holiday duds – show you just how and why you gotta have one o’these road-tearing speedirons. Buy a Gooper and show the speed-cop where he gets off!”
“Great” gasped Mr Boom. “Your pay’s doubled!”
“Doubled?” said Mr Morisson Globb coldly.
“Trebled!” corrected Mr Boom faintly, as the door closed on Mr Morisson Globb.
The Gooper works were in confusion! In three days was the IOT, the Great International road race round Taggs Island, or as we motor cycles affectionately call it, the DT. Pinney, the great hope of the Cooper team, awaited an operation.

L-R: “He ran into the pits with moths in the engine…”‘Ere! Wotcher larfin’ at?”…”And then, one day, LOVE came to William.”…With a strangled cry the lovers fell into one another’s arms.”

“What’s he got?” was the question. “Money!” answered the surgeon joyfully. “Who will ride?” was the cry. “Who has the reckless courage to – Well, who do you think? “William Morisson Globb!” shouts the staff with one (extremely raucous) voice, lifting him shoulder high. William was extremely popular with his workmates. Every evening they would gather at the gates, take the horses out of his Ariel and pull him through the streets in triumph (preferably towards the nearest pond).
Well, when our hero – I’m not going to write the name “William Morisson Globb” again for a long time. I”m fed up with it – won the IOT – oh didn’t I tell you? Well he did! With that reckless dare-devilry and insouciance characteristic of one who knows not fear, and that he’s about to hand in his checks anyway.
‘WMG’ tore round the island, lap after lap, two laps at a time sometimes. True, he fell off the island every lap except one (when he ran into the pits with moths in the engine) but fortunately, he was a good swimmer. And so he brought home the bacon amid the plaudits of the crowd, thus winning the Woolworth Cup, the freedom of Wigan and the right to sport the badge of the Firestone-Chapel-of-Ease-Young-People’s-Get-Together League.
The following day, after a successful career on road and track, he retired from racing and took over the post of head designer and managing director of Gooper’s. Round the board table would sit some of the cleverest brains in Europe (in their usual casing, of course) and at their head W Morisson Globb, silent, omnipotent, omnivorous, omissive, and omnibus. The meeting would break up. Each man would strive to shake the hand of his revered chief. They would return to the battle of life strengthened, enheartened – but William Morisson Globb would sit on. Perhaps in the gathering gloom he would soliloquise. “What they devil they were talking about, heaven only knows!”
William M Globb! The world thought him fortunate, but they knew not his secret. “Ha!” he would laugh hollowly (if in private), “Ha!”
And then one day LOVE came to William. She was a lovely thing – so fragile, so petite, one of the first of that little band of American Camp-Fire girls who came over at the end of ’28 to show our lads what’s what on the dirt tracks. Her lush lashes dusikly embowered the violet depths of those twin pools she called her eyes (they were twin but only just). A neck so slender could eke support the chestnut fires that warmed the copper of her hair, and all that sort of thing – in fact, she was a wooze!
“Aimee!” said William, “Aimee! I must tell you my secret”.
“Say! You ain’t broke?” asked Aimee anxiously.
“Broke! Broke on the wheel of Fate!” and William laughed hollowly. “Harley Street has condemned me!”
“Say, Wum (She called him Wum now). You ain’t gong to put your kelly on your dome and call it a day just because that old backwoods medico put the death stuff over on you? Lemme give him the once over. I guess I can make him change his mind.”
“You are right,” cried William. “Courage! Not for nothing is the motto of the Globbs ‘Ne Se Pencher Au Dehors’.” And throwing himself on his Brooklands Blutz (he was far too intelligent to use a Gooper) and his beloved into his Brooklands Sidecar, he tucked her in carefully with his heel and they were at Harley Street in as long as it takes you to persuade a policeman that your rear light is still warm when you haven’t one fitted.
Silence in the Harley Street consulting room as before. The celebrated surgeon folded up his dethoscope. “Doctor!” cried William Morisson Globb. “Before you speak, remember! You condemned me once, but what did I care! Life held nothing for me, but now – ah, now!” – his big hand sought her little one (which was exploring his watch pocket) – “now life holds everything – that jewel without price – the love of a woman.
The great specialist cleared his throat. “You came to me,” he said, “and I told you what at that time I believed – that you had one month to live. I was wrong!”
With a strangled cry of mingled ecstacy and relief the lovers fell into one another’s arms. “I was wrong,” continued the great specialist. “I should have said three weeks!”

AND HERE’S ANOTHER DOSE of ‘Eccott’: “On the Decline of the Beret—I have noticed with grave anxiety a serious decline in the popularity of that delightful form of headgear known as the ‘beret’. At that season of the year, when Nature (at no little trouble and expense) has ‘washed the steely earth with vivid green’, when we long to take the road with a longing so passionate that we even ‘pop’ our ‘tails’ to find the licence money—at that season, I say, we are imbued with that spirit of ‘insouciance’ and devil-may-care what-not that can only, and should only, be expressed in the wearing of a beret…There is a school of dress, unfortunately, which thinks to get away with it by wearing a cap hind-foremost. Not only is this far from graceful, but it leads to unnecessary confusion. It is irritating to find yourself addressing the back of a man’s head when under the impression you are looking him straight in the eye. The beret, then, should be of genuine Basque origin…None but the genuine imported article will impart that atmosphere of ‘chic’ so essential to the smart motor cyclist. The beret, then, breathes romance! It exhales that pulsating atmosphere of the sunny South, where men are men, and passion is passion, where white teeth glimmer in the hot shadows, and knives flash at the lightest word…No wonder, then, that in our own England young Art flings on his beret with an air, preparatory to making a dashing journey round the houses. Even Uncle George, whose face is executed in a series of pink wallops decorated with weeping willow whiskers, looks impressive as he settles himself in the saddle, with beret a-perch on his shiny skull. What does he care if the world laughs? He thinks they are laughing at Aunt Hannah who wears one too!”

1928 BERET

HAVING OPENED THE YEAR with Ixion, let’s leave it with him, in an uncharacteristically melancholy mood: “The passing years: Heigho! Another section on the way to the last check! I never know whether to curse my luck or bless it. I took up with petrol in the very early days and owing to that I am on the staff of The Motorcycle and need never think a thought that doesn’t reek of hydrocarbon, except, of course, when Mrs Ixion…but enough of that. On the other hand, when I was young, and full of dash, and didn’t know what a human body looks like after a traction engine has passed over it, or it has been violently arrested in full flight by spiked palings why then engines were bad, and ‘buses were slow, and a beggarly 45 was all I could do. Nowadays, when George Brough wheedles up to me and coos “She’ll do 110 mph hands off, old man; just hop up the road and see for yourself!” I turn a sort of greenery-yallery colour and hope he won’t come along and watch me, for I am so old and fat and timid that 80mph hands on is about my limit, and then only if the roads are dry. It is a horrid thought that in another 20 years I shall simply have to sham illness when the Scott Trial comes round and shall be detailed by Horace (the Editor) only to road test machines of only 175cc and under. But youth will be served; and the years which bring me nearer the bath chair epoch are ardently counted by lots of bright laddies who will soon be old enough to take out driving licenses. And here’s to them when the time comes!”

As usual, a selection of contemporary adverts and, this being the year that speedway burst into Britain, speedway success joined TT and ISDT success in advertising copy…

This ad for Duggies reflects the sheer scale opf the new sport.
1928 AMAL AD
Vanderstuyft was a champion cyclist. So why is this ad in a motor cycle timeline? Because Anzani was reminding the buying publicwho made his pacer.
1928 FN AD
1928 NSU AD