IXION’S USE OF ENGLISH, bless his memory, is a delight. Here he is responding to a correspondent working far afield and yearning for home comforts: “For his next place of exile he plans to choose a land which manufactures its own motor cycles, instead of importing them across parasangs of sea and railway…[the parasang, of course, was an ancient Persian measure of length–about 3.25 miles–which came down to us via classical Greek usage, and Ixion, of course, was a classics scholar]…He does not mind London traffic, as the busmen, and most of the others, are such superb drivers. But his spine waves in incessant cold shivers on the Brighton road at weekends.” Another correspondent was simply brassic or, as Ixion might have said, in a state of penury: “He has no machine and at the moment sees no chance of getting one. Makes one inclined to put one’s snout in the air and howl like a dog, doesn’t it? Well, he is only 23, and one never knows what will happen. I wasn’t much younger when my father caught me reading one of those naive publications which represented the peak of the motor press at that date. He demanded angrily why I was wasting my time and money on such rubbish: I should never have a motor of any sort, and I should be well advised to read something useful. I have made a living out of motoring ever since, and ridden many hundreds of petrol-driven objects on land and water, and upstairs as well. So here’s hoping for you, too, Sandy. Perhaps the Government will one day license sweepstakes, and then somebody is sure to start raffling super fours for threepenny tickets.”
BY YEAR’S END 440 miles of concrete road had ben laid in the British Isles, and some stretches were coloured buff, red or green.
ZENITH WAS RELAUNCHED by London-based Writer Motor and Cycle Works, using JAP engines from 350-750cc.
ALTHOUGH THE MINIMUM RIDING AGE had risen from 14 to 16, anyone under 16 who had held a licence for more than six months was allowed to keep it. Every motorcyclist was required to take out third-party insurance and pillion riders would no longer be allowed to ride side saddle. Talking of pillioneering…
“THE CHAOS WHICH EXISTS at the present time in regard to pillion seats has already been dealt with at some length by The Motor Cycle. Briefly, the facts are these: The Road Traffic Act specifies that a pillion rider must sit astride ‘upon a proper seat securely fixed to the cycle behind the driver’s seat’. No definition is given as to the exact meaning of ‘proper seat ‘ or ‘securely fixed’, and there is no way in which any particular type or make of seat can be ‘officially’ approved as conforming to the Act. The whole matter is left to the discretion of the courts, and here again decisions may vary; the police in one area may take exception to a type of seat which will be considered altogether proper in another part of the country. But the outlook is by no means as black as it would at first appear. For as long as the rider has a seat designed expressly for pillion riding, and is satisfied in his own mind that it is properly fitted, he has just as good a chance (better, in fact) of proving to police or bench that his seat. is a ‘proper’ one and securely fixed, as the police have of proving that it is not. In addition to this, almost all the leading pillion manufacturers have now stated definitely that their seats, when properly fitted, confirm to the requirements of the Act, and users of their seats are asked to communicate with them should they at any time be summoned on that account.” Fortunately there was no lack of flapper brackets from which to choose.
WHEN A CLUB HAS its annual dance, the affair is usually well supported and a great success; and when twenty-three clubs get together and hold one big fancy-drew ball—well, it takes Covent -Garden Opera House to hold all the.dancers, and even then it’s a tight squeeze. The Combined Motor Clubs’ Ball, held last Saturday at this famous venue, in aid of the Greater London Fund for the Blind, was a positive 2,000cc record-breaker among dances. There were two cabaret shows, Miss Violet Lorraine to present the prizes for the best fancy dresses, Miss Ivy Tresmand and Mr Gene Gerrard to make the draw in the charity raffle, and Herman Darewski’s and Alan Green’s bands. The clubs hung out banners in front of their private boxes, reminding one of the hotels on Douglas front at TT-time. It was a good show, and to judge by the huge attendance, the charity should benefit considerably. Mr AE Cooke, of the London MC, deserves praise for the heavy work he put in to organise the affair.”
THE FIRST EDITION OF The Highway Code was distributed free to every household in the land so, in theory, pedestrians and motorists alike would know and, presumably, follow the rules of the road. Fat chance.
“IN CONVERSATION WITH an agent in a large provincial town recently I learned that one of the first effects of the new Road Traffic Act in his district was to interfere with its own working. In this town there had been for some time past a form of flying squad, or police road patrols mounted on motor cycles; but to meet the requirements of the Act, this force was to be strengthened as well as tuned-up in general efficiency. A number of really hot-stuff solos had, therefore, been ordered through this agent for delivery all ready for the road on January 1st. Intending to license the machines in the usual way, the agent made the interesting discovery on December 31st that several of the prospective riders did not possess the necessary insurance certificates! The mighty mechanism of the Law, therefore, said: ‘No insurance, no licences,’ and some rattier crestfallen traffic patrols thus began their new duties on foot!”
LOCAL SPEED LIMITS still applied but following the withdrawal of the national 20mph speed limit it was theoretically OK to go as fast as you dared on the open road. To prevent chaos offences of ‘careless’ and ‘dangerous’ driving were introduced, empowering the police to prosecute motoring malefactors in Police Courts. The new Pedestrian’s League called for all motorcycles to be banned and a national speed limit to be reintroduced and reduced to 12mph, falling to 6mph in towns. Responding to a police crackdown on ‘technical offences’, a correspondent in the Yorkshire Evening News warned motorcyclists: “Ride clear of the West Riding if you value a clean slate. It is no place for innocents.”
“ONE OF THE MORE POPULAR grumbles emanating from the prospective purchaser to-day is that in many cases he is unable to try out his selections on the road. He must, consequently, either trust in the knowledge that all machines are good machines, or else await a published road test. Obviously, even if it were desirable, it is impossible for a works to organise a colossal test run for everybody, but Ariels did the next best thing a short time ago. Club secretaries from all over the country were invited to a lunch preceded by a tour round the works and followed by a ‘try-out’ of the varied Ariel models. This firm can always be relied upon to do things well, and the guests must have returned to their native heaths with much useful knowledge and some rosy recollections!”
NO MACHINE IS BETTER KNOWN the world of motor cycle sport than the Norton. Right from the earliest days this make of machine has enjoyed a reputation which has been maintained in the face of fierce competition. A feature of the Norton machines has always been that speed and reliability have been combined remarkably successfully. When the Norton name is mentioned, the motor cyclist instinctively thinks of speed, but it should not he assumed that this is the only point the makers bear in mind. For instance, the 490cc two-port machine is produced not only as a fast mount but as one that will fulfil all be conditions likely to he encountered in every kind of road work. A road test of this model places the rider in a position to be able to answer many of the questions that may be asked by an interested person. Is it a touring machine? Yes. Is it suitable for trials work? Yes. Can it be used for racing? Suitably tuned and stripped. yes. Does it handle well in traffic? Yes. The answers given to all these questions may lead the reader to believe that here is the ideal machine; and without exaggeration, it can be said that it is the ideal machine for many people. It performs a variety of tasks in an exemplary manner, and there are but few faults worth remarking upon. The recent cold weather has provided the worst possible conditions under which to try the engine-starting. So severe was the frost during the test that the oil in the gear box reached a consistency that prevented a quick return of the kick-starter pedal to the normal position until the box has warmed up. Yet the engine remained free, so that it could be spun freely, and a response was forthcoming at the third kick. A noticeable point was that the engine did not often kick back, so that almost full advance could be used when attempting to start. In starting, it was found important to use the throttle carefully; the engine seemed not to mind flooding, but it objected to anything more than the merest opening of the throttle slide until it was on the move. Idling was good, though not phenomenal, when the engine was cold. When warm, it was well up to stelae, and would corn. (site with that of most average, and would compare with that of most side-valve engines. Mechanical noise was not in any way pronounced if piston slap be excepted. This was rather noticeable for the first mile or two, but disappeared as the temperature of the engine rose. The valve gear was on the quiet side, and remained so over the length of the test, and remained so over the length of the test—about 600 miles. No adjustment of the tappets was carried out at all, and the clearances remained correct throughout the test. A source of mechanical noise may sometimes be found in the gear box of a machine, but the Norton did not offend in this respect. All the gears were quiet, and it was impossible to detect ringing or hum at any time. Chain noise, also, was practically non-existent. Both chains stretched a little in the first 150 miles; but after adjustment—a fifteen-minute job—no further stretch developed. The twin silencers were well up to their work, and cut exhaust noise down to a minimum. It can truthfully be stated that, even on full throttle, the exhaust note had nothing offensive about it, and the rider never felt that the public was being annoyed. Norton have paid considerable attention to this matter in recent years, and their 1931 silencing system certainly does not lag behind the times. Until a rider comes across a particularly stiff clutch he does
not realise how often the lever is operated; and then he most earnestly covets a light clutch. It will be sufficient to say that the test of the Norton did not give rise to any such thought, for the clutch was a light one, and it took up the drive as a clutch should. In changing gear a slight difficulty—and an unusual one—was occasionally experienced in engaging top gear. There was no noticeable clutch-drag, but the engine speed had to be judged nicely if a certain, quick change was to be made. The other changes were perfectly simple, and the lever could be flicked from one position to the other with the utmost ease. With the engine at its proper working temperature, the flexibility on top gear was very good indeed. At first there was a little harshness in the transmission, but this wore away as the test proceeded, and eventually it was found possible to travel on the level on top gear at about 10mph without snatch. Certainly, there was no need to reach a high road speed before changing up into top, unless the rider was in a definite hurry. This was found particularly useful in town work. If an engine is badly balanced, the fault will surely be detected at some part of its speed range. On several occasions the Norton throttle was moved through its entire range, but the only noticeable difference was the increase in road speed. Vibration was never felt, even momentarily, and the smoothness of the engine was a point that added greatly to the feeling of comfort when travelling at high speed on long runs. Before testing for all-out speed it is desirable to know something about the machine. True, its behaviour at really high speed may differ from its low-speed manners, but a rider can generally tell ‘by the fee of things’ what to expect. Right from the outset, the steering was perfect. Heavy traffic proved the Norton’s controllability at crawling pace, and by the time a mile had been covered all trace of strangeness had gone. Almost immediately a run of 160 miles was undertaken, mostly on main roads, but with about 20 miles of rather rough secondary roads. All the roads were damp and unusually greasy, but no difficulty was experienced in averaging just short of 35mph, in spite of the fact that the entire run was done in the dark. One fault only came to light during this trip, namely, that there was too much up-and-down movement of the front forks, which bottomed’ on the return. An adjustment was made to the shock absorbers, however, and better results were obtained. The back wheel sat on the road well, and there was no tail-wagging. The same trip was done on two further occasions, and the fuel consumption worked out at approximately 95mpg, a remarkable figure, due, no doubt to the fact that the engine was working all the time well within its limits, and was scarcely ever extended. Oil was used at an almost unmeasurable rate, the mileage per gallon being more than 2,500, and probably over 3,000. Acceleration was what is expected from a Norton, that is, exceptionally lively and smooth, with no ‘flat spots’ in the carburation. Maximum speed was judged to be in the region of 80mph. The rear brake pedal comes just in front of, and below, the left footrest, in an ideal position for operation by the toe. Very little pressure was needed in order to transmit full braking power, and retardation was positive, sensitive and smooth. The front brake was equally effective, and either brake would stop the machine on a gradient of 1 in 6 from a coasting speed of about 20mph. A good machine, and worthy of its makers’ reputation, which it can only enhance.”
“ONE OF THE MORE POPULAR grumbles emanating from the prospective purchaser to-day is that in many cases he is unable to try out his selections on the road. He must, consequently, either trust in the knowledge that all machines are good machines, or else await a published road test. Obviously, even if it were desirable, it is impossible for a works to organise a colossal test run for everybody, but Ariels did the next best thing a short time ago. Club secretaries from all over the country were invited to a lunch preceded by a tour round the works and followed by a ‘try-out’ of the varied Ariel models. This firm can always be relied upon to do things well, and the guests must have returned to their native heaths with much useful knowledge and some rosy recollections!”
FRANCE ALLOWED ‘VELOMOTEURS’ (powered bicycles) to be used without roadtax or even registration. More than 20 factories were soon churning them out; production hit 35,000 a year. They did 25mph/120mpg and were light enough to be ‘girl-handleable’. But one carried a 14-stone rider up Shap Fell, with a little LPA near the top.
GERMANY EXTENDED motor cycle road-tax exemption up to 200cc.
THE BRITISH INDUSTRY lobbied the government to follow suit and the possibility of road-tax exemption for lightweights led to a surge in demand for the 98cc Villiers Midget two-stroke which had previously primarily powered lawnmowers. Sun, Dot, Wolf and Coventry-Eagle fitted Midgets as did Triumph. However, presumably embarrassed by its venture into the utility market, Triumph sold its tiddler under the Gloria trademark which it had previously used for bicycles.
THE SUNBEAM MCC’s Pioneer Run was restricted to bikes made before 31 December 1909; nowadays it’s 1914.
FROM A FULL-PAGE AD in the trade press: “Matchless Motorcycles (Colliers Ltd) beg to announce that they have been favoured by a contract from the War Office to supply a considerable number of Matchless ‘Silver Arrow’ motorcycles for Army purposes. This contract has been placed after 15 months of the most strenuous testing to which any motorcycle can be subjected.” Matchless also supplied the London Mobile Police with big-twin X/3 combos.
AN RAC GUIDE (as patrolmen were known) leapt into action when he spotted a bolting horse dragging a milk float along the Great North Road near Grantham at a full gallop. He gave chase on his motor cycle, managed to take hold of its bridle and kept the horse to the left of the road for more than half a mile, avoiding oncoming traffic, before bringing it to a halt and handing the uninjured beast back to its owner, who had followed in a car.
THE INDUSTRY DESPERATELY needed a boost—Dot was in such dire straits that salesmen was flogging handfuls of tiddlers to dealers off the back of a trailer to pay the company’s weekly wage bill. Ironically, its 98cc Special was one of the best of the new breed, sporting a saddle tank and electric lights as standard.
THE ACU ASKED the press to refer to speedway as speedway, rather than dirt track.
ENCOURAGING RIDERS TO EXPLORE the Continent, The Motor Cycle’s Wharfedale reassured enthusiasts: “Food is varied and cheap. So are wines and cigarettes. Essentials, in fact, are low in cost…” Anyone wanting to ride overseas had to join the AA or RAC and take a special test before being issued with an international licence. And in those pre-MoT days the bike had to pass a roadworthiness test too.
IN SOUTH LONDON the Mobile Police were prosecuting riders of leaky exhausts—a trace of soot at a joint was enough evidence to attract a fine. One unfortunate rider stopped on Clapham Common was warned that a slack exhaust tappet made his bike “excessively noisy”.
AUTOMATIC ‘ROBOT’ traffic lights were in use in more than 120 towns in England and Wales.
THERE WERE 3,370 MOTOR CYCLES in Ceylon (which we now have to call Sri Lanka); all but 34 of them were made in Britain.
ALL VEHICLES BUILT after 1 June had to have springs between the wheels and the frame – except for mobile cranes and motor cycles.
THE TIMES PUBLISHED a series of letters suggesting a more elegant term for passengers than ‘pillion riders’ Popular choices included ‘pillionettes’ and ‘pillionaires’.
DURING AUGUST MOTOR CYCLE and component imports were valued at exactly £688. Exports were worth £80,386.
A 196CC VILLIERS TWO-STROKE converted to run on diesel was displayed at the Shipping and Engineering exhibition in Olympia. A major advantage of the conversion was that diesel cost less than petrol…
A GERMAN ENGINEER DESIGNED a hydraulic torque converter and fitted it to a 500cc ohv Horex. Replacing the clutch and gearbox, the converter was said to offer improved smoothness and acceleration.
PHIL IRVING moved from Velocette to Vincent-HRD. But while Irving was to make history with Vincent, Velocette wasn’t short of inspoired designers—they fitted a supercharger to the 350cc ohc single. A distinctive induction note inspired racing workshop boss Harold Willis to dub her Whiffling Clara.
“SIX BARROW MOTOR cyclists have been fined for not having ‘proper pillion seats’ when carrying a passenger. The chairman of the Bench emphasised that the passengers were liable to be fined for aiding and abetting.”
“A PENRITH MOTOR CYCLIS, stopped by the police for carrying a passenger on the saddle while he himself rode on the tank, said that he knew he was required to have a seat for a pillion passenger, but pleaded that his passenger was not a pillion passenger, since he was siting on the saddle!”
“AFTER ‘CUTTING IN’ COMES ‘creeping up”, defined by Bolton’s Chief Constable as ‘a habit of motor cyclists to creep up either between stationary vehicles in a traffic block or between vehicles and the kerb.’ He says it is dangerous.”
“PROVISION FOR HOSPITALS treating motoring cases is made in the Road Traffic Act.”
“IF YOU SEE WHAT appears to be a parcel lying on a deserted stretch of road don’t stop to pick it up! According to a warning recently issued, this new way of getting motorists to stop is being adopted by modern highwaymen.”
‘THE BBC HAS DECIDED that the word ‘garage’ should be pronounced as if it rhymed with ‘marriage’ or ‘carriage’.”
“A CONTRACT HAS BEEN arranged between a French concern and the Soviet government for the importation into France of 300,000 tons of Russian petrol yearly.”
“POMADED PROMENADE PERCY? ‘I don’t think we should be too hard on the motor cycling youth with his flying scarf and well-pomaded hair and his girl friend on the pillion. He, too, will learn from example and precept.’—Mr R Yarnell Davies, Chief Constable of Flintshire, in a Manchester Guardian interview.”
“A NEW 350CC ROYAL RUBY two-stroke model known as the ‘Blue Diamond’ has been introduced by Diamond Motors, St James’ Square, Wolverhampton. The power unit is the well-known 342cc Villiers engine with the usual Villiers automatic lubrication and flywheel magneto. This is housed in a sturdy loop frame which passes under the engine, forming a cradle; in addition, detachable torque tubes are fitted, extending from the bottom of the rear engine plates to the rear fork-ends. Transmission is by roller chain via a Burman three-speed gear box. Druid forks are fitted, incorporating both steering and shock dampers, and both wheels carry six-inch internal-expanding brakes. Finished with dark-blue panels and gold lines, the chromium-plated saddle tank has a fuel capacity of approximately two gallons; a separate oil tank…is fitted to the seat pillar. The wheels are finished to match the tank, having chromium-plated rims with blue centres and gold lines.”
“THERE HAS BEEN much discussion of late as to whether the ultra-light-weight will return to favour in this country and become as popular as it is on the Continent. Undoubtedly one of the chief reasons against its success has been its lack of dependability, but in recent years vast strides have been made in motor engineering; motor cycle engines, for example, have been improved out of all recognition in the matter of reliability, and the small-capacity engine of to-day is a real power unit, in the full sense of the words, as compared with the rather delicate and uncertain toy it was some ten or twelve years ago. And now from Germany comes a very interesting motor unit designed for attachment to pedal cycles; it is known as the Sachs engine for bicycles, and consists of an air-cooled two-stroke built in unit with a two-speed gear and incorporating a single-plate dry clutch. The cylinder has a bore and stroke of 42x54mm, giving a capacity of 74cc, and the engine is said to develop 1¼hp at 3,000rpm. The crankshaft is mounted on a plain bronze bearing of ample dimensions on the driving side, with a roller bearing on the opposite side. Lubrication is by the petroil system, and ignition is provided by a flywheel magneto. A decompressor is situated at the top of the cylinder, and is operated from the left handlebar; the control is so arranged that it can be used in conjunction with the clutch lever for starting purposes. The gear control and petrol tank are, of course, clipped to the top tube, and transmission to the rear wheel is by roller chain. The weight of the power unit is 18lb. Naturally, the Sachs engine is intended for use with a strengthened cycle frame fitted with wheels carrying low-pressure tyres. The engine, it is said, gives a speed of 20mph on the level, while gradients of 1 in 12 can be taken in top gear, and on low gear a climb of 1 in 7 can be surmounted without any necessity for pedalling. Fuel consumption is something like 135mpg, and the entire machine weighs approximately 77lb. An interesting extra is a small dynamo designed to work in conjunction with the flywheel magneto; even at speeds as low as 6mph it is claimed that enough current is generated to throw a good light. The Sachs engine unit is distributed in the United Kingdom by Tome, 57, Old Street, London, EC1.”
“STANLEY WOODS, THE IRISH HERO of many a road race, has gone into partnership with CHW Menders, who opened a motor cycle depot about eighteen months ago.”
“DRAKE AND GORHAM WHOLESALE, 77, Long Acre, London, WC2, have been appointed sole distributing agents to the electrical trade for the Runbaken ‘Vest-pocket Detectoscope’ which wi1 be known in future as the ‘Testoscope’.”
“THE PRICE OF ‘REGENT’ Empire spirit has been reduced to ls l½d a gallon for the ‘Super’ grade, and to 11½d for the ‘Commercial’ grade.”
“NATIONAL BENZOLE MIXTURE has been reduced in price to ls 2½d a gallon through pumps, throughout the country, ls 3½d in cans in the LCC area, and ls 5d in cans for the rest of England and Wales. The price of National Benzole has also been reduced to ls 8d through pumps, and ls 10d in cans. Prices in Northern Scotland are ld a gallon more in each case.”
MORE THAN TWO YEARS of specialisation have gone to the making of the third ‘Ivory’ Calthorpe. The concentration upon this one model has simplified production to a remarkable degree, and facilitated that attention to important details that is so desirable. The machine has several commendable features, not least of which are its price and its handsome appearance. Its performance, too, is such as to command respectful attention. The machine tested was fitted with coil ignition, a system which is still something of a novelty on motor cycles. Throughout 600 miles no ignition fault developed, and, so far as can be remembered, not a single misfire occurred. Starting was ridiculously easy, and in this respect the machine represented a vast improvement on former types. The engine was free, and could be spun well by the kick-starter; generally, two kicks only were necessary, while on numerous occasions the first kick was effective It was not necessary to retard the ignition in order to obtain excellent idling, but, with the spark fully retarded, idling was more than usually good and the sparking absolutely regular. Mechanical noise was present, though never really obtrusive; it did not increase as the test proceeded. There appeared to be no piston slap, but the valve gear, while iIt did not hammer, gave off a certain amount of confused rattle. Perhaps the chief noise came from the gear box, which was rather too audible on the third ratio. On the other hand. exhaust noise was very slight indeed; there are two large silencers, and they perform their duties admirably. No clutch slip was experienced, and the clutch. which was light to operate, took up the drive smoothly. 0n two occasions the operating cable needed adjustment, due either to stretching of the wire or bedding down of the plates. The adjusting screw is very accessible, so that the work occupied but a few moments. Gear changing, either up or down, was a matter of the utmost ease. The third ratio was found very convenient for town work, and, on this gear, the machine was capable of a speed of about 45mph. On top gear the engine was fairly flexible, but, as indicated above, the suitability of third gear eliminated the temptation to hang on to top. At very slow speeds on the high ratio the transmission was inclined to be a little harsh, but, by using the gear box as the makers intend it should be used, harshness was rarely felt. Steering and general control were above reproach. a very comfortable riding position is provided, which allows the rider to shift the weight instantly to the footrests should it be desired to do so. At seven miles an hour the
machine could be steered comfortably ‘hands off’, and the same sort of riding could be accomplished at 50mph without lack of safety. Cornering was good, provided that the tyres were inflated correctly. correctly. Over bumpy surfaces it was found that the machine behaved very well indeed, and never became ‘skittish’ or prone to tail-wag. The front forks were well up to their work. So satisfactory was the steering that the damper was never used Both the brakes were excellent, and were not of the type that requires frequent adjustment. Half a turn of the adjusting nut on the rear brake rod was all the attention that was given, and each brake remained most effective throughout. That in the rear wheel is applied by a toe pedal in front of the left footrest. Practically no effort was required to exert full braking power, and the pedal was well placed for ease in operation. The usual handlebar lever applied the front brake, which, like the rear one, was both smooth and powerful in action. All the controls were conveniently situated, and it was found that the ignition and air controls were almost superfluous. Maximum speed was slightly over 65mph—not an ultra-high figure perhaps, but it should he remembered that the machine would maintain 50mph for as long as the rider wished, so that a high average was possible. The highest average speed over a long distance was just over 34mph, accomplished without making any attempt at a speedy journey. Hill climbing was good; it was difficult to make the engine pink, and the pulling power was excellent. Here, again, the third ratio was found handy, and fast ascents of steep main-road hills were always possible. Although the Calthorpe was not a light machine, it was by no means heavy on petrol. Straight petrol was used all the time, and the consumption figure of more than 90mpg was registered on the run mentioned above, which was over a mileage of 160. Oil, at first, was being delivered to the engine in large quantities, but the supply was gradually diminished until about 2,300mpg were being covered. At this rate of consumption the exhaust was slightly smoky. Almost as much night work as day work was done on the machine in order to obtain an idea of the efficiency of the electrical equipment. The battery showed a full charge at the end of the test, and the only failure in the system was the burning out of a tail lamp bulb. At about 28mph, with the full head-lamp beam in use, the ammeter showed a steady charge of nearly 2 amps, so that the fear of being stranded with a dead battery would appear to be so remote as to be negligible. It was found that some of the detail parts, such as handlebar fittings, showed traces of rust rather quickly. On the other hand, the chromium-sided tank, as well as its top ivory panel, remained in perfect condition, in spite of the fact that the machine had some very rough usage. None of the chains seemed to stretch at all, and no adjustment requiring the aid of tools had to be carried out. A good point was the fact that the engine and gear box exuded practically no oil, the exteriors remaining clean except for mud. It should not be assumed from this that the mudguarding was poor. The guards are of deep section, and cover a good part of the circumference of the wheels, and stop much of the mud met with in ordinary riding. On several occasions the machine was used on Midland trials courses, and it was found that on the colonial sections, some of which were exceptionally slippery, the model behaved admirably; feet-up performances were made matters of comparative ease, and this with standard tyre treads. Speaking generally, it can be said that the third Ivory Calthorpe is a good example of the modern single-cylinder. Its design is interesting and sound; its appearance is praiseworthy; and its performance very pleasing.
PUBLIC DEMAND HAS INDUCED the makers of the Ariel to add a new model to their range. The little 250cc ohv machine has earned a splendid reputation, but there are those who desire slightly more power without the extra weight and full power capabilities of a 500cc engine. It is with this in view that the makers have decided to introduce a new 350cc model following closely on the lines which have proved so satisfactory in the small size, though in order to take the larger engine the machine has been stiffened up in many directions. With a bore and stroke of 72x85mm (348cc), the inclined cylinder has a two-port detachable head, and the ohv mechanism is enclosed. In contrast to the normal Ariel practice of carrying the push-rod covers to a box cast with the base of the cylinder, the covering tubes extend down to the timing-gear casing. Lubrication is by twin plunger pumps, and operates on the dry-sump system. The Ariel centrifugal oil purifier is, of course, incorporated in the flywheels. Transmission is from a pivot type three-speed Burman gear box, and the primary
“A SHORT COURSE and a start at one o’clock after an early lunch created a new atmosphere for the Bemrose Trial. No doubt its change from a full-day to a half-day event had assisted in getting the increased entry of 43, of which all but four solos started. The course was not unlike last year’s in general ‘design’, although Hunger Hill was omitted, which was a matter raising no objection from the eight sidecar entrants. As a matter of fact, the general anxiety was mostly concerned with the state of country in the Longnor-Axe Edge district, which had been under snow for a week or more, and was in the throes of a slow thaw. The trial started from Alvaston, Derby, and the condition of things was quickly appreciated. Jackson’s Lane, near Duffield, served as the example. It was going to be a day of mud. More than half of the solo men used their feet, either at Jackson’s Lane or Lapidosa, the second hill, and by the time the second check was reached, at Foxholes, only 23 miles from the start, the competitors were already well sorted out. A run over higher country brought the riders into the dreaded snow area; moreover, the weather showed signs of changing. Taddington Moor was the location of the extraordinary time check of about five miles, used to decide winners in case of ties. The route-markers had had to clear the remains of snow drifts to make a way. Three-ply, boulders, mud and slush were the obstacles, and even Goodman confessed to wondering if the five miles were endless! Retirements were many. The struggle against mud was too much, and barely half the starters emerged to reach the Hind Low check, fifty miles from the start. This left only 23 competitors to face what may be called the real climbing obstacles (Cheeks Hill and Hollinsclough) as contrasted with all the previous mud-wallowing. Cheeks Hill is short, sharp and snorty, as all who favour the Buxton area for their sport well know. But it is in a little sheltered cleft, and was filled with drifts that resisted the prevalent thaw. Its rocks, boulders, and deep ruts were hidden under knee-deep snow. Graham Goodman (Norton), far in advance of anyone else, made a fast climb, jabbing down a foot once or twice and sticking momentarily in the deep drift at the summit. But his climb was unaided. Next came J Beck (348cc Norton), but he stuck completely in the drift at the top, and could not get out until JH Jenkinson (346cc Levis) came up, got into the same predicament, and then they helped each other. MG Lund (348cc Calthorpe), AR
Edwards (348cc Velocette), and G Littleford (348cc AJS) all needed help, but Edwards was the only one, apart from Goodman and Beck, who was anything like in the running on time. Next F Williamson (248cc Ariel) made a wonderful effort, and actually made the first non-stop crossing of the topmost drifts. L Thompson (348cc Velocette) and A Tyler (346cc Levis) both stopped, as did the hail and sleet which had been blowing across the hills to everyone’s great discomfort. There was a long interval; then N Hooton (348cc Norton) failed, and just as he got out of the way DK Mansell (490cc Norton sc) came ploughing up. Could he succeed? He hit the deep drifts with a thud! No! But a little help and he was away, the eleventh competitor to make the ascent. What of the 38 solos who should have been in front? V Harrison (346cc Levis) added to the list of failures, while HB Macmillan (496cc James), who has been a Bemrose winner in the past, lay on his back and for a few moments wondered where he was. Then FW Harmston (497cc Ariel) stopped, while RF Tingle (490cc Vincent-HRD) did more; he lay down in the drifts and wallowed. This was winter sport with a vengeance…The second sidecar, EF Coope (348cc Velocette sc) made a fast and thoroughly ‘fierce’ climb. SB Storey (349cc BSA), JC Bailey (346cc New Imperial) and W Cole (499cc Ariel) made somewhat ragged climbs. After Hollinsclough came Hopedale, which caused considerably more bother than had been anticipated—boulders and mud were the principal obstacles—the out-standing efforts being made by Goodman, Edwards, Mansell, Beck and Cope. It was with relief that the survivors reached the final check and a well earned tea at the Black Boy’s Head and Green Man at Ashbourne Only 76½ miles. But what a day! Those who got there, including the fourteen who completed the course for no reward at all, agreed that it was a good trial, except that the ETC section was rather too much of a good thing in view of the prevailing difficulty of the course. Outside the principal awards no one qualified for a ‘gold’, and there were only two ‘silvers’. Results. Bemrose Trophy (for best performance), GB Goodman (348cc Norton), 2 marks; News of the World Cup, DK Mansell (490cc Norton), 7 marks; best 500cc solo, FW Harmston (499cc Ariel); 350cc solo,A Tyler (346cc Levis); best 350cc sidecar, EF Cope (348cc Velocette sc); best 250cc solo, F Williamson (248cc Ariel); 175cc solo, L Vale-Onslow (172c SOS); team award, N Hooton (348cc Norton), GB Goodman (348cc Norton) and DK Mansell (490cc Norton sc); best performance by a Leicester club member, A Tyler (346cc Levis); Derby, DK Mansell (490cc Norton sc); Lincoln, GB Goodman (348cc Norton); silvers, J Beck (348cc Norton) and AR Edwards (348cc Norton).”
READER’S EXPERIENCE: 1927 349cc OHV BSA. “I purchased my 349cc ohv BSA second-hand in February, 1929; it had previously had only only one owner and very little use. The machine holds the road beautifully at all speeds, and has no tendency to wobble at speed over bumpy roads, even with the steering damper slackened right off. The maximum speed I have obtained is just in excess of 73mph, but I think that with more careful tuning and a slightly higher top gear 75 or 76mph could be reached; the gear I use is rather low, as I use the machine for grass-track racing. Tho most comfortable touring speed is round about the fifty-five mark. Acceleration is good; I have tried it out favourably against several 500cc machines. The engine keeps its tune well if the tappets are watched carefully. The most suitable fuel to use with the high-compression piston is a fifty-fifty petrol-benzole mixture, with a No 41 jet in the carburetter (TT Amac); the consumption works out at about 70mpg. The oil consumption is fairly high, being about 100 miles per pint, but that I do not mind. I have used the machine for various events, such as trial riding, grass-track racing, scrambles, practice on a dirt track, and motor cycle football matches, and only once has it let me down; that was in a scramble when the throttle wire broke. Taking the machine all round I think it is an ideal clubman’s mount, with which I am very pleased.—JEB.”
“SOME TIME AGO MENTION was made in these pages of a new lightweight two-stroke machine, the 346cc Pouncy, made by AJ Pouncy at Owermoigne, Dorchester, Dorset. The experimental models made their first appearance in the 1930 London-Exeter Trial, and now delivery is in full swing. This new machine has the well-known 346cc long-stroke Villiers engine with flywheel magneto and two-lever carburetter. Petroil lubrication is used as standard, although the Villiers pressure system can be obtained for an extra 15s. To obviate settling of the oil, the all-steel welded tank is fitted with a two-way tap and filter. The frame is of straight-forward design with brazed joints. Brampton forks with 6in brakes, 25x3in heavy Avon tyres and 5in D-section mudguards add to the sturdy appearance of this lightweight, which weighs 219lb, complete with Villiers direct lighting system and parking lights. This model, to be known as the ‘Cob’ is finished in black, with a red panel on the nose of the tank, and is priced at £38 17s. The price includes a 3-speed Albion gear box; a foot-change costs an extra 10s. At a later date it is hoped to produce a more expensive and faster model (a speed of 70mph is anticipated).”
IXION HAD A NIGHT OUT at Stamford Bridge, and decided: “Dirt-track racing at its best is probably the most thrilling spectacle which the world of sport affords. At the Bridge four riders effect a rolling start halfway down the grandstand straight. The lucky spectator in the next bend—if he isn’t blinded or smothered by the cinders which their scrabbling wheels heave at him in great swathes—gets a thrill not to be matched in the Targa Florio mountain car race. Atmosphere Within a few feet of his nose he beholds four gnome-like troglodytes, masked and armoured, skidding at high speed round an untakable bend at angles which nullify gravity and centrifugal force. Their speeds and their attitudes are like mechanical impossibilities—yet they occur! The noise is hellish!The atmosphere is compounded of solid dirt, burnt dope, blue castor fumes, and the screeching of 40,000 frenzied fans. If this inferno lasted for four full laps the entire ‘gate’ would expire from heart failure. But of course it does not last. Half-way round the first ‘U’ somebody—on Saturday it was usually Wal Phillips—establishes a nice little lead, partly by superior engine pep, partly by sliding that is a shade more devilish than any his rivals can produce. This lead he usually keeps, with small additions, for four laps. Behind the victorious Triton a couple of minnows may or may not fight an exciting battle for the honour of second place. Frequently one or two of the riders fall off—occasionally three of them stop in a single heat; sometimes one gets on again and carries on, and the race becomes confusing…Why do so many motor cyclists neglect the speedways? At its best no spectacle can stop your heart so completely and so suddenly. I would go every week if I could reasonably expect to see such a devilish duel as that in which Bill Stanley and Tommy Croombs put up for second place in Heat 3 of the League Match; or Con Cantwell dragging a fallen rival’s bike for 50 yards with his footrest, and never coming off; or Ron Johnson’s lightning streak through the field in 50 yards…”
H QUINN, ON A THREE-YEAR-OLD 348cc Calthorpe, won the International Leinster ‘200’ which was run on Saturday on the Skerries-Rush-Lusk circuit in Co Dublin. The nominal distance of the race was 208 miles, but, owing to the system of handicapping employed, in which riders received credit laps as well as time allowances, Quinn had to cover only 169 miles. He covered that distance in 28hr 44min 22sec—a speed of 61.75mph. WHT Meageen (348cc Velocette) was second at 73.77mph. He made fastest actual speed of the race and won the 350cc class cup. JG Burney (346cc Royal Enfield-JAP) was third at 67.76mph; PT Walls (499cc Rudge) was fourth, at 72.72mph. Walls won the 500cc cup, and he was the only finisher who had to complete the full distance of the race. LH Davenport (246cc New Imperial) won the 250cc Class cup at 67.12mph. This was the third Leinster race in which Quinn and his Calthorpe had figured. In 1929 they were 16th at 60mph; in 1930 they were 8th at 58mph. The handicappers must have imagined that the Calthorpe would be still slower this year, but it was much faster. By tuning efforts Quinn had added seven or eight. mph to the engine’s normal speed.”
FROM 1 JANUARY 1932 tax on bikes under 150cc was to be cut to 15 bob a year—manufacturers immediately began to develop a class of 150s. The Blue ‘Un noted: “…the value of the concession…is immense, as it should be the means of bringing into the motor cycle movement many new recruits…the insurance question is the stumbling block…reduced rates [must] be instituted to cover these light-weight, low-powered miniatures of modest cost…The future possibilities for light motor cycles are enormous. What is needed is a special trial organised by the Auto Cycle Union to demonstrate to the public at large the handiness, reliability and economy of the new series of miniature motor cycles….The 98cc Excelsior-Villiers…is already on the market and a new arrival is the 989cc Coventry Eagle-Villiers…A 98cc Sun is also announced, a 98cc Wolf is soon to appear, while…a 98cc Dot-Villiers will be in production…this machine will have a two-speed Albion gear box, 4in internal-expanding brakes, a saddle tank, and the Dot cerise finish.”
“INTENSE INTEREST IS NOW centred around the future of the light, low-priced motor cycle, which, thanks to [Chancellor of the Exchequer] Mr Snowden’s concession, seems likely to get a firm hold on the market. If the British industry is to establish a supremacy in this line against foreign competitors it is essential that the quality of the products shall be high, even if the specification includes little more than bare necessities. This point has been fully realised by those of our manufacturers who have considered the question, and the Coventry Eagle ‘Marvel’ is no exception. Encouraged by the concession—though the decision to market the machine was made before the- Budget announcement—the company will have this very attractive little proposition in full production about Whitsuntide. The new model is a real motor cycle, small indeed, but not a toy. It has been thought out with the greatest care, and though its price of £16 16s is modest, all the essential features of motor cycle construction and some luxuries have been included. For instance, electric lighting by the Villiers direct system with a battery for parking purposes is included in the price, there are lock-stops for the steering head, the brake pedal is mounted separately from the footrests, and a soft-top Lycett saddle has been standardised. As a power unit, the 98cc Villiers two-stroke is employed, and transmission is through a two-speed Albion gear box, which, with the reduction in the two chain drives, gives ratios of 9.7 and 16.4 to 1. These two units are attached in a most rigid manner, the former by very sturdy engine plates, and the latter by a strong underslung lug in a frame of simple but interesting construction.
From the head to the rear spindle there are two straight tubes, bolted in position and trapped and bolted to the vertical seat post. Brazed to the bottom of the head lug is a single tube which passes round the crank case and joins the gear box mounting lug, making, with the seat tube, a main frame of loop construction. Footrests, brake pedal and central stand are all mounted on extensions of the engine plates, and the stand is no positioned that the machine can be balanced with either wheel off the ground. A welded-steel tank holding 1¼ gallons of petroil mixture is bolted to the frame, and is provided with an oil measure in the filler .cap. Neatly filling a gap in the frame is a circular steel tool box, and the battery for the parking light is placed behind the saddle. Pressed-steel side-members are employed in the fork construction, with a barrel-type of compression spring between the blades. In each wheel is a four-inch-diameter internal expanding brake, and 25×2.75in. Avon tyres are standardised. With the exception of the single-lever carburetter control, all the remaining lever pivots are brazed to the bars, which have a very neat, clean and pleasant appearance. A hand-operated control has been chosen for the gearbox, and no kick starter is fitted as it is a simple matter to ‘paddle off’, even for a person, of small stature. The lines of the little machine are good, the detail work simple, clean and well designed, and the finish—black and gold—is attractive. Altogether, the Coventry-Eagle ‘Marvel’ is a most practical little job, light enough to be handled by anyone, and sturdy enough to stand up to plenty of hard work.”
OVERCAST AND GREY was the Sunday morning of the Grand Prix of the Nations and the least weather-wise had no need of help from the Meteorological Department to guess what, was in store. This certainty, and perhaps the eleventh-hour withdrawal of the new 500cc Bianchi, kept away the people. Never has the Monza track been to desolate for such an important international event. At 9 o’clock the Fascist militiamen easily outnumbered the public. However, the few hardy motor cycle enthusiasts who did brave the terrors of the elements were well rewarded. The pits were occupied by wrinkle-browed riders and mechanics who, ever and anon, the while they put the last finishing touches to their mounts, cast furtive glances aloft at the grey pall that to threateningly overhung the park and appeared to mingle with the tree tops. Twenty-two riders responded to the electric warning ‘buzzer’; seven one-seventy-fives and fifteen three-fifties, the former being required to do 20 laps (137.220km) and the latter 30 laps (205.830km). Of the one-seventy-fives, there were four Benellis, two Millers and one DKW. The three-fifties included five Velocettes (LH Davenport on one), three Rudges, one Miller, one Motosacoche and one Condor. When the field had got away Mario Ghersi (AJS)—Pietro Ghersi’s brother—and a 175cc Miller were seen to be moving but slowly. The 175cc DKW just managed to crawl to the pits, and, after several stops, the rider withdrew on the 5th lap. Meanwhile, the rest were moving, the Velocettes coming well to the fore after the first lap, with Ghersi (AJS), and Cerrato and Lama on Rudges in hot pursuit. Then there came into sight the Benellis, and behind came Davenport and Turreni (AJS), who was having plug trouble. Every lap brought Ghersi nearer the leaders, and on the fifth he was first, his time being 17min 48sec—an average of 71.85mph—with a Rudge pressing him closely. In the baby class, Tony Benelli, on his newly designed Benelli, had nothing to beat, and won as he liked. One surprise, however, was sprang—Moldini’s Miller was too fast for the standard Benelli model. The sixth lap was fatal for one of the Rudges, the rider of which retired. Ghersi (AJS) was not having things quite all his own way, for, at the completion of the tenth lap, there was not much light between him and the three Velocettes, which were going magnificently. The Motosacoche had retired with engine trouble after four laps. Ghersi’s average for the fifteen laps was 74.25mph, or 27sec better than Landi’s Velocette. At this point Ghersi visited the pits to refill; their tank capacity being greater, the Velocettes had no need to stop. When the AJS rider got away he was 16sec to the bad, but, after a thrilling struggle, he regained his former position in the 19th lap, only to lose it again a lap later. What a grand battle! The public could not sit still in the stands, but rushed out into the rain to stand by the railings and cheer. The riders passed and repassed each other time and again, but eventually Landi had the honour of being first in. His average speed for the 25 laps was 74.72mph. The exciting duel was abruptly and disappointingly brought to an end before the finish by Ghersi crashing on an awkward ‘S’ bend, and, though he and his mount miraculously escaped damage, he was never able to regain the time lost. Nevertheless, he had the satisfaction of finishing second and also of making the fastest lap. At 2 o’clock, under a vertical deluge, thirteen five-hundreds and seven two-fifties lined up. The Seniors were: f NSUs (known locally as ‘the League of Nations’, for the company is Italian, the make German, and the riders English and Italian!), three Rudges, two Nortons, two Motosacoches (with Charlie Dodson riding one), one Sunbeam, and last, but not least, an AJS, with Freddie. Hicks up. There were six Guzzis and one Swiss Condor in the lightweights. Of the latter class nothing need be said, save that Corday on the Condor ran as regularly as a clock, while the winning
Guzzi pat up an average lower, than that of the one-seventy-fives. The five-hundreds suggested speed-boats as they screamed along the flooded track, leaving whirling white spray in their train. Two Rudges were leading the first time round, with Hicks lying some-what behind. Dodson pushed to first place on the third lap. Landi (Rudge) skidded, damaging his carburetter. Then Hicks (AJS) began to take an ominous interest in affairs, and by the fifth lap was already third. Dodson (Motosacoche) lay 15sec ahead of Bandini (Rudge). Bullus (NSU) appeared to be going at a terrific speed as he threaded his way through the two-fifties. Dodson was not too happy, and was in two minds whether to visit the pits, but apparently decided that ‘he who stops is lost’. Soon after, Hicks caught and passed Dodson, only to lose the lead again a few minutes later. On the unlucky thirteenth round Bandini had to stop at the pits because of ‘goggle trouble’; this stop he repeated on the next lap. Dodson’s speed for the fifteen laps was 76.98mph, and Hicks was 23sec down. Till now, Bullus (NSU) had been getting along steadily in third position, and seemed quite happy; then Jimmie Simpson (Norton) broke in upon his privacy and drew up alongside Hicks. Nevertheless, Dodson still held on, and, indeed, managed to increase his lead. At half-distance he was 47sec ahead of the AJS rider. And now came a reshuffling. First Simpson stopped and then Hicks, thus letting in Bullus. The twenty-fifth lap saw Dodson still in the lead, with Bullus only 31sec behind. Hicks lost 44sec in filling up, and now lay sixth. Another period of excitement such as the spectators had enjoyed in the morning now began. Hicks began to catch up again, and on the thirtieth round was already third again. On the next lap Dodson began to experience lubrication trouble; he fell back to fourth, then to eighth, and finally to ninth; then a slight spill dislodged an oil pipe, and he retired. At the thirty-fifth lap Bullus, now in the lead, had averaged 76.55mph, and Hicks was 23sec behind. The AJS crack now began to gain 6sec a lap; and Simpson clung to him like a shadow, till he had a spill on the ‘S’ bend and spoiled a certain chance of being second, if not first, for the race clearly lay between these two famous riders. All eyes were glued on to the bend in the track to see whether Hicks’s magnificent ride had borne fruit, and when his black form was sighted leading the way a big cheer went up. Hicks’s average was 76.92mph, a really amazing speed when the terrible track conditions are taken into account. RESULTS. 175cc (20 laps=137.220km): 1, Benelli (Benelli), 67.35mph; 2, Moldini (Miller); 3, Alberti (Benelli). 250cc (25 laps=171.525km): 1, Brasi (Guzzi) 66.84mph; 2, Panella (Guzzi); 3, Truzzi (Guzzi. 350cc (33 laps=295.830km): 1, Landi (Velocette) 74.72mph; 2, Ghersi (AJS); 3, Bruni (Rudge). 500cc: 1, Hicks (AJS); 2, Bullus (NSU); 3, Simpson (Norton).
“A ‘LIGHT 500’ SIDE-VALVE machine weighing under 224lb [and thus eligible for reduced 30s tax] fully equipped with electric lighting and bulb horn is the latest addition to the Matchless range. The engine, which has a capacity of 498cc, is fitted with an aluminium piston, roller big-end bearing, floating gudgeon pin and similar parts usually associated with engines of the high-efficiency type. Furthermore, it is provided with a specially designed cylinder head which is claimed to give freedom from ‘pinking’ combined with a high power output. The actual figures claimed are 13bhp at 4,200rpm, equivalent to a road speed in the neighbourhood of 60mph. Lubrication is by the well-known Matchless dry-sump system, with an automatic device for lubricating the primary chain. The valves are totally enclosed, and starting is facilitated by means of a decompressor. An invar-strut piston is fitted in order to eliminate slap. Transmission is by means of a…three-speed pivot-mounted Burman gear box. In spite of the low weight of the machine, a remarkably sturdy frame of the duplex-cradle type is employed, allowing the engine to be inclined slightly forward and at the same time giving’ a low saddle position. The petrol tank is of new design, and has a capacity of two gallons. It is finished in the usual Matchless colour of chromium with white side panels. A separate oil tank with a capacity of three pints is situated under the saddle. Additional refinements are a spring-up central prop stand, hand-adjusted front forks, 6½in brakes, a Dunlop waterproof saddle, and a detachable rear mudguard.
“JUST BY WAY OF A CHANGE, the sixth Pillion Trial, organised by the Carshalton MCC, was held over a type of going very different from that of previous years. Kentish chalk and slime were replaced last week by the deep sand to be found on the Surrey and Hampshire borders. According to the route card, there were to have been seven observed sections and two tests. Owing, however, to some observers losing the way and, secondly, to the last-minute discovery that another hill was a bridle path, the 103 competitors had to face only three sections, a simple stop and re-start test, and a brake test. The day turned out to be as bad as it could possibly have been. A steady drizzle, which very soon became an unrelenting downpour, had obviously kept many pillion riders of the gentler sex away; but, nevertheless, there were quite a large number ‘about’ at the start from the Victory Inn, on the Hog’s Back. Crooksbury, the first hill, possessed scarcely any gradient, but was covered with sand to the depth of some eight or ten inches. RCC Palmer (348cc Cotton), J0 Frogley (596cc Scott) and T Waken (346cc Levis) all arrived in a bunch, but, while the latter two roared through, Palmer came to an abrupt standstill. Miss BF Miller (499c Rudge) romped along, roaring with. laughter. ATK Debenham (499cc Rudge) was very good indeed, but the palm for one of the fastest and straightest climbs must go to M Riley (247cc Levis), although KP Jones (346cc Levis) was just as steady. T0 Mutter (496cc James) was going great guns until his gear jumped out; his failure heralded three similar efforts on the part of PF Lucas (499cc Rudge), FC Brown (499cc Rudge) and Miss TE Wallack (349cc BSA). FL Dodridge (499cc Rudge) was clever in avoiding. VC Morris (249cc Dunelt), who had stopped through lack of power, while CE Nutman (346cc Royal Enfield) just collapsed in a heap at the feet of The Motor Cycle man. The next observed section was the splash at Little Pond, which was less than a foot deep. Nearly half the entry failed, simply and solely through taking it too fast. J Balchin (497cc Ariel) was lucky to get through, as was RE Sewell, on a similar machine. GW Hole (348cc Raleigh) showed his experience to advantage. Almost immediately after leaving the splash the riders entered the next section, known as Daytona Beach, a level stretch of deep sand. It caused . absolute havoc. However, star performances were made by AH Collinson (346cc Levis), FW Clark (346cc Coventry-Eagle), FJ King (499cc Grindlay-Peerless), and, of course, L. Heath (497cc Ariel), in spite of the deeply rutted, waterlogged sand. The course then led to Thursley Common, which was tricky in parts, though unobserved, and the stop-and-restart test on Young Chalky. By this time the rain was making itself just about as unpleasant as it could be and so it was a great relief to everybody, on arriving at Haslemere, to learn that the last hill, ‘The Lost Cup’, had been abandoned, and that the finish was there and then, with an excellent tea waiting for the soaked competitors.”
“ONLY 328 MOTOR CYCLES were exported from the United States during January last, as compared with 1,321 machines in the corresponding month of 1930….103 motor cycles were imported into the Irish Free State during January and February last, as compared with 113 in the corresponding period last year…Only 253 motor cycles were imported into Sweden during the two months ended February last, compared with 616 in the corresponding period a year ago.”
“THE SOUTH METROPOLITAN GAS Company has patented a device fr utilising street lamps at cross-roads as highway lighthouses, by means of a beam of light of any desired colour.”
“BIRMINGHAM MAGISTRATES RECENTLY dismissed a case in which a motor cyclist was summoned for permitting a pillion rider to sit otherwise than astride, although he had pleaded guilty. It was explained that the pillion rider was a woman of 60, who probably did not fancy sitting as the Act demanded.:
“PETROL CAN NOW BE obtained in three colours—pink, blue and green.”
“AS LONG AGO AS 1897 a german engraver named Diesel designed an engine which, it was claimed, would run on oil, gas, or coal dust. The Diesel engine is now considered by many to be the internal-combustion engine of the future; it is firmly established in marine practice, and is coming into use on motor lorries.”
“THERE WAS ONCE A TIME when I used to laugh at the students of design who were always clamour-ing for multi-cylinder motor cycles. Who on earth wanted such machines, I asked myself, when the terrific acceleration and speed of the 500cc single was almost perfection itself? And, again, what could beat the simplicity of the single? Why bother to complicate matters by the addition of one or three more ‘pots’? No, frankly, the idea never thrilled me in those days. But I was to be thrilled; so much so that the day on which I made my first acquaintance with a four will remain one of the most outstanding of my life. It all happened like this. One day last summer I was told that there was an experimental four-cylinder of 600cc outside the office, and it was suggested that I should take it for a three- or four-hours’ spin. I was not excited at the prospect. Riding many makes of machines throughout the year is inclined to make one a wee bit blasé. In a few minutes, however, I was suitably clad and off on what I still call my ‘revelation run’. I wish I could pass on to you the thrills that assailed me, one on top of another. The very first thing that struck me was the motor’s smashing acceleration. A tweak of the throttle, and one was liable to slip on to the rear mudguard. Then there was the steering. That was amazing, too, thanks partly to the low and even weight distribution and partly to the even pull of the engine The whole thing seemed a dream. One went cruising along in the sixties—simply without realising it. Only a soft, silky purr reminded one of the existence of an engine. After eight years of riding singles it was disconcerting, so utterly different; so different, in fact, that it hardly bore comparison. There was no waiting for the engine to wind-up its revs. They were there as soon as the throttle was opened. I caned the machine up and down a deserted stretch of road—70-80-85 and almost 90mph—time and again. Yet the engine showed not a sign of overheating. The long and short of it was that from that summer’s day I simply longed to own such a machine, though at the same time I feared that the experimental was a tool-rooM job and that the production model might lose half its charm. After months and months (they seemed to me like years) the manufacture. announced that they had finally overcome some minor production difficulties, and that the fours were now coming through. In went my order, and in a very short time a wire arrived to say that the model was to be on a certain train. Needless to say, I was at the station hours before time, only to discover that the Easter holiday rush was making all trains nearly an hour late. I bided my time, and the train came in—without the model. A further two hours’ wait for a later train only produced the same result. Thoroughly disconsolate, I set off home. After a sleepless night I wended my way back to the station and…there she stood, bright chromium peeping cheerfully through cloth and paper wrappings. Mine at last! Hastily tearing away wrappings, and emptying into the tank the bottle of petrol I had brought with me, I flooded the carburetter and pressed the kick-starter. The engine promptly screamed in protest, as I had forgotten that it was unnecessary to give it more than a tiny throttle setting. Hurriedly rectifying matters, I set off for home, the proudest motor cyclist in the I world. Outside the station I found it was pouring, but what did I care? In half an hour I was home, and hastily checking over nuts and bolts and making small adjustments here and there to suit my riding position, for in an hour’s time I had to set off for the West Country and be in Lynmouth that night.
Very soon, with knapsack on my back, I was on my journey with that glorious feeling of having charge of a dead-quiet but immensely powerful living thing to bend to my will. The new engine was so free that I could maintain a steady 45mph without having a guilty conscience. What fun it was to steam through towns in top, with policemen looking round, open-mouthed, because of the four’s absurd silence! And so to Porlock hi1l, which was carefully climbed on bottom and second, and thence down to Lynmouth. Nest day I had to be up early, for the Land’s End competitors were due in round about 7am, and it was from here that I had to ‘pick up’ the trial and follow it down to the finish. Naturally, all the way down I drove with due consideration to the engine, and therefore could not form any idea as regards its hill-climbing abilities. In fact, I was rather doubtful, for it was so docile at low speeds. So I made a break on my journey back through North Devon, and, after changing the oil, let her have it up Beggars’ Roost. And up this West Country terror, with its steepest portion of 1-in-3, she rocketed in bottom gear, venting a snarl like a supercharged car at speed on Brooklands. Then I put her at it in second gear, and once again she went over, almost as though the hill had not existed. It was all so absurdly easy, especially when I called to mind previous ascents of the Roost which I had made. Back home again. I changed the tyres for the competition type, preparatory to a little mud-larking. Believe me, or believe me not, that four-cylinder handled in sticky going like a two-fifty. One would have thought that wheelspin would have set in. But no, there was not a sign of it. I maintain that a four—or, for that matter, any multi, be it flat-twin. vee-twin, or four-cylinder—can get off the mark with far less wheelspin than a single, chiefly because the clutch can be dropped almost immediately and the drive can then he controlled by the throttle only, thanks to the slow, even pull. This means, too, that a multi can accelerate smoothly and quickly on a steep and slimy gradient; the engine has plenty of power on a bottom-gear ratio; the rider is able to feel’ his rear wheel all the time. I have now ridden four different types of four-cylinder machines of varying horse-power, apart from many forms of twin, and feel almost a connoisseur on the subject, so enthusiastic am I. That gloriously smooth pull at low speeds, that smashing acceleration almost throughout the range of speed, and the amazingly high touring speeds that are possible without the rider realising the fact, make me think how slow we were in waiting until 1931 for the medium-size multi.”—AMBLESIDE.
STANLEY WOODS WON THE 500cc class in the German Grand Prix on a cammy Norton, just 0.4sec ahead of Tim Hunt on another Norton. Graham Walker was third on a Rudge; Harry Tyrell-Smith won the 350cc race aboard another Rudge. A rider named Toricelli won the 250cc class on a Puch, but he was followed home by EA Mellors (New Imperial), Ernie Nott (Rudge) and LC Crasbtree (Excelsior-JAP).
“IN ORDER TO TAKE full advantage of the facilities offered by the latest taxation regulations, the Excelsior Motor Co will shortly market a new 147cc model. It is not intended that this machine shall replace the present 98cc model, which is already selling in large numbers, but that it should form a distinct type suitable for those who require somewhat higher performance and are prepared to pay a slightly greater sum for it. The 147cc Villiers engine is set vertically in the frame. The power is transmitted through an Albion two-speed gear box with clutch and kick-starter, and a single straight chain-guard protects both front and rear chains. Though the frame outwardly resembles that of the smaller model, it has been stiffened up to withstand the extra power, and is fitted with a lower tank rail. The two-speed gear box is operated by a pedal on the left footrest. Two-way adjustment is provided for the handlebars, and to them are brazed the fulcrums of all the control levers. The saddle tank is finished in black, with a red panel and gold line. Pressed-steel fork blades are employed, and the Dunlop tyres are of the 25x 2.75in. size. Both brakes are of 4in diameter, a Lycett saddle is fitted, and the silencer is large and effective. Lubrication is by petroil. The price will be announced in the near future, and it is likely to be extremely moderate. There will be also a de luxe edition fitted with direct lighting and battery parking light, legshields, bulb horn, and licence holder.”
“LAND’S END-JOHN O’ GROATS—Finishers in the MCC Event. Only one competitor in the motor cycle classes failed to complete the long distance from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in the MCC’s classic ‘holiday’ run last week. The event started at 7am on the Monday and finished at mid-day last Thursday. There was one observed hill each day; Countisbury, Kirkstone Pass, and the Scottish hill, Drumnadochit, were included, but they caused very little bother. The weather was mainly fine until Moffat was reached, when it became less kind. The finishers were as follows: PF Lucas (499cc Rudge), RC Coles (596cc Douglas), LA Barrett (499cc Rudge), W Slee (347cc Matchless), AD Carnes (592cc Matchless), FC Berryman (247cc P&M), HP Casey (346cc Levis sc), TB Raban (1021cc BSA three-wheeler), H Laird (1096cc Morgan).”
“HIED myself to the wild fringes of Salisbury Plain to see the opening performance of the Southern Command Tattoo at Tidworth last week. I had heard a lot about the motor cycle despatch riders’ display, and seen the ‘Blue Un’s’ many pictures taken at a special rehearsal, but I was quite un-prepared for the impressiveness of their performance. There were a couple of dozen P&Ms enamelled cream, and two Douglases in bright red, while the riders wore light blue overalls and crash-helmets; you can imagine how effective they looked as they gyrated on the level green grass in the glare of the searchlights. They did some effective formation riding, in true parade-ground style, and then followed it up with trick-riding and some of the most amazing displays of over-loading that I have ever seen. The climax came when one soloist calmly rode round the ground with seven passengers draped on, in, or about his Panther!”
“‘IN CONNECTION WITH its Historical Pageant the City of Bradford has been staging various displays, and one of these included stunt riding by two local men on a P&M. Some very clever tricks were pulled off. One of these consisted of one man taking a running jump at the machine while it was being ridden ay a moderate speed, and alighting standing on the carrier, with touching the model with his hands! Displays of this kind, like those presented at the Royal Tournament, must all help towards proving the docility of the modern motor cycle.”
“NOT FOR CONTACT BREAKER POINTS! Seen recently at a ship-building yard: A nut being tightened by a spanner some ten feet in length, the handle of which, in turn, was being hauled upon by eight men; the nut, incidentally, measured nearly two feet across.”
“ROBOT TAKEN ILL. The modern automatic traffic light is a great labour-saving device—until it fails. This happened in a Midland city recently, and the public were treated to the sight of one of the finest traffic muddles ever; eventually a cool and resourceful policeman arrived to sort things out.”
“ONLY 458 MOTOR CYCLES were imported into Sweden during April last, as compared with 832 machines in the corresponding month a year ago.”
“ONLY 703 MOTOR CYCLES were imported into Germany during the four months ended April last, compared with 2,107 in the similar period of 1930. Of the total Great Britain is credited with 344 machines (a drop from 1,053), the United States with 139 (a fall from 551), France 87, Belgium 44 and Switzerland 15.”
“IN FRANCE, LIGHTWEIGHTS of under 66lb and capable of no more than 18¾mph can be used tax-free and without a driving licence. A warning has lately been issued to the effect that in some cases ‘gadgets’ are being fitted to the machines, so adding both to their weight and speed and rendering the owners subject to the ordinary motor cycle taxation regulations.”
“THE SPEED CHAMPIONSHIPS OF SCOTLAND very nearly went to a ‘competitor’ who presumably has no ACU competition licence—the Clerk of the Weather! But enthusiasm and good sportsmanship won the day, and St Andrews beach saw some good, if not breath-taking, racing. The rain, which began in the morning and did not cease until evening, failed to deter spectators, and the course was well lined. In Scotland they don’t mind ‘a wee drap o’ rain’!…Jimmie Guthrie (490cc Norton) was an outstanding performer, his achievements including two championships—the medium-weight and the heavyweight. The lightweight event went to James K Swanston (348cc Velocette).”
“MRS IXION ASKS ME TO SAY that she is extremely flattered by the recent suggestion of a wag in the Correspondence columns that she should conduct a page in the Blue ‘Un for pillion couples. But she did her courting in pre-pillion days, when carriers were made of Meccano strips, and so high up that you’d have needed a pair of steps to get on them. Anyhow, as there weren’t any clutches, and the man mounted by a flying leap, I should have had to push her off and then vault over her toupée. So she did her courting in a trailer (early stages) and a forecar (later period), and knows nothing at all about pillions; and no salary which the Editor could offer would induce her to try a flapper bracket at her age and weight. Moreover—and here speaks the British matron, sound to the core—she thinks the modern maiden cannot really love her boy if she grumbles about pillions. Mrs Ixion, in her trailer days, took the liquid oil of my exhaust and the dust which my back wheel stirred up off an untarred road. In her forecar days she interposed her tender and shapely person as a buffer between me and- traction engines, barbed wire fences, and other obstacles. The modern girl must be a poor fish if she seriously objects to a slight spray of Castro! on her stockings as a set-off to the company of her beloved.”
Ixion, at great personal risk, gives some Practical Advice to Motor Cyclists who Happen to be Living under the Authority of a She-who-must-be-Obeyed: “AT INCREDIBLE PERSONAL RISK I have produced the following authoritative article on the art of managing the missus; or, for that matter, the mater; or the landlady; or one’s sister; or one’s fiancée; or, indeed, any female person who adopts a callous, brutal and unsympathetic attitude towards our hobby. I am not really sure that I am justified in writing it. If there are females in our ménage who object to motor cycling in any of its aspects it is probably our duty to shake the dust off our feet, and cut such people clean out of our lives. I have no sympathy with the man who selects his bride-to-be on the grounds that she looks like Greta Garbo, or has the dowry of a Coats or a Vanderbilt, or dances divinely, or can play the ‘cello, or for any such fool reason as these. The he-motor-cyclist cottons to a girl because she prefers the reek of Castrol to Coty; because her balance on a pillion is perfect; because she will lend a hand at mending a burst tyre in the rain; because she know how to grind in a valve; and so forth. If she has beauty and wealth in addition, so much the better; but these latter are not essentials. Still, some of us, like myself, saddled our homes with an assortment of petticoats before we began to motor cycle; and such deserve sympathy. After all, none of us had a chance to choose our mothers or sisters. There isn’t always an alternative landlady. To change fiancées may imply an action for breach of promise, and the resultant damages would mean selling the model. And it must be confessed that some of the sweet young things are awfully sly; they pose as fiercely interested in motor cycles until they’ve extracted a ring from us; and then, after being especially loving, they coo, ‘Bert, dear, when are you going to sell that horrid, smelly, dirty bicycle, and buy the suite for the front room?’ Of course, we put down our feet with a hang at this stage. But they do nag so; and even motor cycling loses some of its charm if pursued in a constant atmosphere of friction at the home end. You all know what I mean. You are overhauling the model, and you have to drain the crank case. You let it drip on the scullery floor. There’s a row. Next time you let it drip on the garden path, and she steps in the puddle with her new lizard shoes. More rows. Next time you rush indoors, see a hefty bowl on the dresser, and use that. The bowl, of course, turns out to be the Sèvres, waiting to contain a super salad when the Plantagenets arrive for lunch. Or you want a bit of rag in a hurry, and you dive into the corner where she keeps her sewing dump, and see a square yard that’ll just do; it turns out to be a bargain from the Great White Sale; she meant it for her summer beach-frock, and has been bragging to Mrs Smith next door about it. These small bothers are of daily occurrence in a household when the man is a motor cyclist and the woman isn’t. Now, there are just two policies to meet this set of circumstances. The first is to be a cave-man. Go your way. Let her lump it. Most of us get ratty, and start like that. I did. Believe me, it doesn’t pay. They have so many crafty feminine ways of getting their own back. They will talk and talk, AND TALK when you are trying to get to sleep. Meals will be lain. Or underdone. They’ll forget to order matches. Or, worse still, beer. They will surround themselves with a guard of other women before whom you cannot say what you think. They will let the radio spout talks on bi-metallism and turn it off when the variety starts. The second plan is to be tactful and considerate.
Sounds weakish, but it makes for peace. By tact I mean two things. In the first place, don’t annoy them more than you can help. Buy a cheap galvanised bowl for draining the crank case, and don’t use the salad bowl. Keep your own private dump of rag in the toolshed, and don’t rob their work-baskets. Don’t wipe your hands on the curtains after decoking the cylinder. Don’t spill oil about the house or garden, nor even in the back kitchen. Don’t borrow their scissors for carving sheet-iron. Don’t keep rubber solution in the drawing-room. All this demands constant forethought and self-restraint, and represents a considerable strain. But it may save you from getting a wet dish-cloth across your face, a female gambit which is apt to produce quite violent consequences in the home. Having got as far as this, don’t leap to the conclusion that you can guarantee domestic peace. You cannot effect it by such simple means. You may be the tidiest, most thoughtful, and completely considerate son, lodger, or husband in the world. But sooner or later there will nevertheless be some frightful fracas, descending out of a clear sky without warning. For example, you arrive home after a filthy run, and your waders are in such a state that you could plant cabbages on them. You sit on the back doorstep, pull them off, and very quietly dump them behind the scullery door with the intention of brushing off the dried loam next morning. She comes in to prepare the supper and the tail of her eye sights the waders. She lets fly. Her standard opening is, of course ‘What are those horrible things doing on the floor?’ And it’s no use answering brightly: ‘Oh, just lying there.’ The waders, of course, are doing no harm at all. But her sex isn’t rational. The real reason of her ire is that she’s bought a new hat which tickled her to death; and she’s just discovered that Mrs Smith next door has got a similar model for 1s 11d less. So it is useless to point out that the scullery floor is dirty anyhow; that it’s due for a scrub to-morrow morning; and that your waders have not deposited one speck of loam on the floor. Your cue is to distract her thoughts from the hat into some pleasant channel. It is so much easier than it sounds when once you get the idea. Mine started in on me last night. I never said one single word about the scullery floor. I’m far too crafty to reason with women. I just drew myself up and stared at her. ‘How is it,’ I enquired of a hushed universe, ‘that even a pretty woman never looks so handsome as when she is cross?’ This opening took her completely by surprise, and she stared back at me incredulously. I developed the theme. ‘You always were a looker,’ I continued; and with that spot of crimson on each cheek and your eyes sparkling…’ I gazed at her admiringly. She began to smile. ‘Get those dirty things off quick,’ she said suddenly; “I’ve got such a jolly supper cooking for you.’ Better than a wet dish-cloth, wasn’t it?”
“OUR FAIR READERS will doubtless pretend astonishment that my recent article on ‘Managing the Missus’ provoked more (male) correspondence than anything I have written for years. The problem obviously over-shadows many home garages. Several sufferers put forward their own solutions. For example, a gentleman signing himself ‘5ft 3in’ has a friend in the confectionery business. He can buy chocolates less 20% plus 2%. He gets in a large consignment, and a gross of small paper bags. Whenever he has to tackle a job which is likely to make a mess, he enters the house smiling, kisses the missus, slips a full bag into her hand, and reminds her that seven years ago to-day, and so on. You just wait, old man, till she finds your chocolate dump! Another reader has a shorter way. He bluntly starts operations in the kitchen itself; before beginning to spread the dirt about he lays a 12in wrench on the table with a menacing air, and experiences no trouble at all. Personally, I am glad to report that my article escaped notice at home, and that so far all is quiet on the Benzole Villa front.”
“THE SEVENTH DUTCH TT, run on the Drente circuit in Northern Holland, saw a one 100% victory for British riders, who took the first three places in each of the three races. Tim Hunt (Norton) added yet another success to his dazzling list by winning the Senior race at the wonderful speed of 82.07mph—the highest average speed ever seen in a motor cycle road race. He put up a lap record at 84.99mph.” Ernie Nott (Rudge) was runner-up, ahead of Stanley Woods (Norton). Van Rijk (AJS) was the first Dutch rider home, in 6th place, “…and received huge cheers and the Dutch national anthem…The Drente circuit is an exceedingly fast one, and this year it was faster still, for nearly £9,000 had been spent on giving it a perfect non-skid surface and widening some of the especially narrow sections. It would have been difficult to find a loophole anywhere in the organisation of the event; for instance, no fewer than 234 police were posted round the course —which is a short one of 17km (10½ miles); and there were six first-aid posts, each with a qualified doctor. The circuit is roughly triangular in shape. In addition to the three ‘corner’ turns, there are three other sharp turns and a number of twists that call for nice judgment, especially when they have to be tackled after ‘flat-out’ sections of dead straight. All Holland. seemed to be at the start and there were big crowds at all the point of interest. Thirty thousand had paid for admission to the grandstand enclosures alone.” The 250s and 350s made a massed start: “…a total of 39 men pushed off when the flag fell; and the unmuffled voice of 39 healthy engines accelerating away rent the air like a long drawn-out explosion. By not having a massed start in the TT we miss the finest spectacle that roadracing has to offer.” First three 250s home were Harry Tyrell-Smith (Rudge), EA Mellors (New Imperial) and CW Johnston (Guzzi). Stanley Woods (Norton) took 350cc honours, followed home by LH Davenport (New3 Imperial) and Graham Walker (Rudge). Dutch rider W van Gent finished fourth, but he was riding an Ajay.
“TESTS WERE CARRIED OUT last week of the new automatic traffic signals in Oxford Street, London, W. A bell rings at each change to warn pedestrians.”
“GERMAN CHEMISTS ARE PERFECTING a gas, for use as a war weapon, which will effectually stop internal-combustion engines. It’s chief constituent is ethylated iodine. Query: Would traffic patrols find a cylinder of the stuff more effective than the usual whistle?”
“MOTORISTS OF MACEIO (Brazil) who violate traffic regulations may have their fines halved if they use, instead of petrol, an alcohol fuel made locally.”
“A FALLIN MAN bought a motor cycle for 25s. It cost him £13 in fines at Stirling Sheriff Court—£10 for not being insured, £2 for inefficient brakes, and £1 for having no number plate.”
“IN BELGIUM DURING 1930, 52,856 motor cycles were registered, as compared with 45,814 in 1929 and 39,287 in 1928. “
“TROUBLE WITH AN HT CABLE! When a police constable was riding his motor cycle down Haydon’s Road, Wimbledon, London, SW, an overhead tramway cable broke and fell on his machine. Luckily he escaped a shock, but the motor cycle caught fire and was burnt out.”
“IT IS WITH DEEP REGRET that I have to record the death, in a road accident in Switzerland, of Herbert Le Vack, one of our greatest speedmen, who, as most readers know, retired from active racing only about three years ago. He came to the forefront in speed events shortly after the War, first on Duzmos, then on Indians, JAP-engined machines, and, finally, New Hudson. At Brooklands he was for years almost invincible, and, incidentally, was the first man to win a gold star by lapping at over a hundred. Speed trials, hill-climbs, and the TT also claimed him. He finished third in the 1921 Senior Race on an Indian, and second in the 1923 Lightweight Race on a New Imperial, having a very successful year with the early ohv models of the latter make, at Brooklands and elsewhere; his tuning was as skilful as his riding. He was a brilliant engineer, and was largely responsible for the design of the New Hudson racing machines which he handled from 1926 onwards; in April 1927, he took the 500cc flying kilometre on one of these mounts at the then remarkable speed of 104.57mph. August 1928, saw him achieve still greater fame; riding a Brough Superior, he raised the world’s motor cycle maximum speed record by 5mph to 129.07mph. His record stood for a year. In 1929 he joined the Swiss engine firm of MAG, where he was engaged until his untimely death last week. I cannot help feeling that it is particularly tragic when fate, in this guise, overtakes a man who has completed, unscathed, a long and venture-some career in the world of speed. Bert will be widely missed; he was a sportsman in the highest sense of the word, a worker, modest, and the most likeable of fellows.”
“SCOTLAND YARD HAS placed an order for seven ‘high-powered’ motor cycles and sidecars, capable of 65mph.”
“ONLY 2,055 MOTOR CYCLES were exported from the United States during the three months ended March last, as contrasted with 4,565m in the corresponding quarter a year ago.”
“THERE WERE 46,421 motor cycles registered in Switzerland at the beginning of the year. In 1924 the number was only 13,664, so that in seven years there has been nearly a four-fold advance in the movement.”
“NOT ONLY HAS MOTOR CYCLING become one of the most popular pastimes in Czecho-Slovakia, but the riders in that country have probably a greater variety of choice of machine than those of any other nation. There are several popular machines of Czecho-Slovakian manufacture, and the products of all the principal British, German, French, Belgian, American and Austrian manufacturers are being handled in the country.”
THE ACU, WHICH NOW LISTED almost 400 affiliated clubs throughout Britain, responded to the recession by halving the TT entry fee to £16.
THE TWELFTH POST-WAR SENIOR TT race bore an amazing resemblance to the Junior Race of the previous Monday. A tense Norton-Rudge duel, with Nortons in the ascendant throughout, ended in an even more convincing Norton victory, but on this occasion Nortons reproduced the Indian Senior precedent of 1911 by finishing first, second, and third. More amazing still, the very men who finished first and second in the Junior on the Monday were first and second on Friday also, Percy (‘Tim’) Hunt winning the Senior in 3hr 23min 28sec at a speed of 77.90mph, chased home once more by J Guthrie, on another 490cc Norton, in 3hr 24min 57sec at 77.34mph. On this occasion the Norton stable annexed third place also, with the aid of Stanley Woods, whose time was 3hr 27min 36sec (76.35mph). Rudges (G Nott and Graham Walker) fourth and fifth, and the sixth man was EA Mellors on an NSU. Tragic gloom was east over the proceedings by the death of FG (‘Freddie’) Hicks. Hicks was fighting a lonely battle with the victorious Nortons on his AJS. On his fifth lap, lying some two minutes behind the leader, he approached Union Mills very fast, and nearly collided with a telegraph-pole. Fighting his machine in the resultant swerve, he
lost control and rode right at the door .of a small shop, smashing his helmet against the-door-post. He died in the ambulance on the way to hospital, and the mournful news had to be broken immediately to his wife, who was on the stands. The- roads were very nearly perfect after the opening lap; at the outset there were many greasy patches, for which early-morning rain was to blame…The roads are now dry along the open Stretches, and the grease is evaporating everywhere, except in the heavily shaded bends, but the wind is bitter. The men’s blood is up. The aces are due to pit stop. After this lap they will know how the race stands, and the crisis will be due on Lap 4, or as soon afterwards as somebody’s engine is asked to do a bit too much. In come the champions, and give the crowd at the stands their familiar thrill—the long, controlled slide up to the pit, the lightning motions of rather shaky hands, the clean goggles, the hasty drink, the staccato question, and the excited information in reply. One by one they are signalled. The filling is perhaps a shade slower than in 1930, as the official petrol containers now have a splashproof delivery vent, designed to minimise the risk of fires at the pits; anything under half a minute is good work for a pit-stop to-day, and those two breathless half minutes are all the relief the aces get in their crazy scrap that covers nearly 300 miles in less than 3½ hours. We watch their progress on the clocks. No champion has encountered disaster since Dodson paused for those fatal minutes, and Handley and his FN went right out. Here they all come—one after another—in their expected order. But surely Jimmie is on the early side? We should say so! The Midland flier has actualPy broken ’80’ at last! He has lapped in 28min 13ec., which is speed of 80.82mph. And in this Titanic warfare he leads the entire field by 1min 34sec. Would that Handley were still running on another equally fast motor, to that Jimmie might have at least one opponent fully worthy of his steed!…A technical Pressman can hardly bring himself to write about the fifth lap. It was hardly begun before the news comes that Hicks has crashed at Union
Mills…the whole assembly is visibly moved by the fact that this gallant and brilliant lad is dead. Distressed by this frightful tragedy, we had no heart to study the struggles of the survivors for a while….At long last the leaders come round to commence their final lap…Woods has ridden a somewhat uneven race…we hear that he has lost his filler cap and jammed a glove in the hole to prevent further loss of fuel…Mitchell (Velocette) stops to fill up and is ordered by the stewards to retire as he has stripped a section of his back cover in a braking skid…And now the ominous red ‘R’ (retired) goes up opposite another ace—Tyrell-Smith and his Rudge are out…They’ll be home in two minutes. The red lamps signalling their arrival at Governor’s Bridge glow out—first 46, then 38, then 44; a few moments, and they roar past at close intervals; and Nortons have scored a smashing triple victory, which is an immense personal triumph for the three aces concerned. Woods third place is secured by the narrow margin of 5sec from Nott’s Rudge…There are now only 10 more men to wait for, seeing that 42 starters have retired…But these 10 finish full of running: Nott and Walker, outpaced again in the Rudge -Norton duel but likely to turn the tables any day; Mellors (NSU)—a made man, now acclaimed as an ace; Tyler (Raleigh)—his best show—nothing but pride for a 72.61mph average; Simcock (OK-Supreme-JAP), Lind (348cc Velocette) and Gleave (SGS-JAP) complete the tale of replicas, and it is good to see at least one Overseas man high up. The three finishers who just miss replicas are all Rudges; it is Jack Williams first Senior essay and he did over 70!…The catastrophe to Hicks naturally spoilt the day. But neither this lamentable fatality, or the drearines of the long waits, nor the Octoberish weather, can blind us t the fact that some of our racing meed need fear no competition anywhere in the world.” Senior result: 1, P Hunt (490cc Norton); 2, J Guthrie (490cc Norton); 3, S Woods (490cc Norton); 4, GE Nott (499cc Rudge); 5, Graham Walker (499cc Rudge); 6, EA Mellors (498cc NSU); 7, A Tyler (495cc Raleigh); 8, EA Simcock (498cc OK Supreme-JAP); 9, JG Lind (348cc Velocette, South Africa); 10, S Gleave (498cc SGS-JAP); 11, J Williams (499cc Rudge); 12, LH Davenport (499cc Rudge); 13, GW Wood (499cc Rudge).
“THE LIGHTWEIGHT RACE WAS WON by Graham Walker (Rudge) in 3hr 49min 47sec (68.98mph)—over 4mph faster than the previous best: H Tyrell-Smith (Rudge) was second in 3hr 52min 13sec (68.26mph); and EA Mellors (New Imperial) was third in 3hr 57min 8sec (66.84mph). The lap record was broken by no fewer than nine men from a standing start in the first lap…The principal record- breaker was E Nott (Rudge). who experienced cruel luck. He led the field for the first six laps, and broke the lap record three times. On his last lap, when he was on the Mountain and nearly four minutes ahead of Walker, a push-rod came loose, and he had to hold it for the remainder of the course, damaging his hand considerably. This mishap let Graham Walker come up to win, and, incidentally, robbed Rudges of a repetition of their ‘1-2-3’ 1930 Junior performance.. The dreaded Guzzi’s did not display sufficient speed to be really formidable, and both their riders were unfortunate, P Ghersi changing a plug early on Lap 1 and Johnston riding several laps with his bottom gear out of action…FA Longman (OK-Supreme-JAP) rode a fine race to finish fifth, and a visitor, in the person of Mario Ghersi, rode a New imperial into sixth place. SM Williams (Australia) rode his
New Imperial into seventh place at 65.49mph, making the third machine from this factory to finish in the first seven. Rudge won the team prize with their three entries…If proof were wanted that the TT develops engines, this wholesale shattering of records gives it to the hilt…Minor sensations are reported or seen. Dodson (Excelsior-JAP) retires at the Gooseneck with valve trouble—the first superman to drop out…J Beck passes with his stand trailing. Davenport is slowed by plug trouble and retires at Quarter Bridge…Beck creates excitement by overshooting his pit, and, after a cool glance towards Governor’s Bridge to make sure no 90-miler is coming, he circles round in the road rather than push back. Great official pother, which leaves Beck unmoved…Tyrell does a lovely pit-stop, unscrewing his petrol filler as he smoothly slows. He has green stuff on one handlebar—close cornering that!…Gleave and Warburton (Excelsior-JAPs) are reported to be ‘adjusting’ along the road…Fairweather (Cotton-JAP) appears minus helmet and signs off for the day; he has buckled his back wheel in a crash but has made a good Island debut, for after his three novice laps he is only 3min behind the great Nott…A solid block of JAP-engined machines is hunting the leaders…H Mitchell )OK Supreme) slows up at his pit and yells ‘Is my back tyre flat?’ Receiving reassuring shouts he
departs at speed…The board is freely blotched with the black letter ‘R’on squares of red paper and the field is dwindling; and Brittain (Diamond-JAP) adds yet another ‘R’ from up on the Mountain. Hardly is this announced before that gallant trader, Himing, hits the Post Office at Union Mills and bends the forks of his OK-Supreme-JAP past all hope of straightening. Hard luck!. The proceedings are curiously anaemic for a TT, but Rudges are to blame for this. So far it is to be a soccer match, with one team leading 3-0 at half-time…Once more the loudspeakers announce trouble—Guthrie (OK Supreme), lying fifth, goes out with engine trouble…The Belgian Fondu (La Mondiale-JAP) retired at the pits after four laps, on the grounds that he was not fast enough to do any good…The haughty Rudge supremacy seems as invincible as the Arsenal or as an Australian eleven…Tyrell-Smith arrives at 80-90mph with Nott sitting fifteen yards astern on the Irishmen’s tail…Jock Porter, three laps behind, pulls in and goes into the paddock sadly—gear box trouble…SM Williams from Australia upholds Dominion honour nobly…The ‘phone reports that Tyrell and Nott are clinging together like leeches at Sulby…Suddenly, incredible, a raucous squawk from the speakers: ‘Number 17, Nott, is off his machine one miles on the Ramsey side of the mountain telephone box!’…Another squawk: ‘Number 17 is touring in!’…The speakers again: ‘No 36—Graham Walker—cannot be beaten on time! Huge applause and a most popular win if the joy were not watered with sympathy for Nott’s failure on the post after such a brilliant ride…Oddly enough, Walker had the same experience himself in the 1928 Senior, when he conked out in his seventh lap, coming off the mountain, for Dodson to snatch a lucky victory. But now comes the final blow. Mellors just thrusts the unlucky Nott out of third place by 26sec, and Rudge miss their famous 1,2,3 by so narrow a margin. Yet once more they have demonstrated an almost insolent superiority, and all chief honours are theirs. And even if Nott has to be content with fourth place, he holds all the lap records.” Lightweight result: 1, Graham Walker (249cc Rudge); 2, HG Tyrell-Smith (249cc Rudge); 3, EA Mellors (246cc New Imperial); 4, GE Nott (249cc Rudge); 5, FA Longman (246cc OK Supreme-JAP); 6, M Ghersi (246cc New Imperial), Italy; 7, SM Williams (246cc New Imperial), Australia; 8, CWJohnston (Guzzi); 9, CE Needham (248cc OK Supreme); 10, CB Taylor (248cc OK Supreme); 11, J Adams (246cc Montgomery-JAP); 12, GL Boudin (246cc CTS), Channel Isles; 13, R Duncan (246cc Excelsior-JAP).
“WE ALL KNEW THAT any stable which meant to win the 1931 Junior had to unearth at least two or three sizeable ponies from somewhere. Rudges said in advance that they had done so. Velocettes were amazingly confident. Nortons, like Brer Rabbit, lay low and sed nuffin’; AJS, as represented by poor Hicks, feared nobody. But man proposes, and the model disposes. Rudges geared for a calm day, and up the mountain neither second nor third gear gave the requisite knots; Graham Walker’s windage stopped him horribly. Tyrell-Smith miscalculated his juice—a spasm of unperceived flooding, possibly? And Nott’s gear ratios were too slow for Snaefell, against the wind, flat though he sits. The ‘Cette champions were unlucky. Willis couldn’t quite do it. Longman had the best engine in the race, he thought; but, as he modestly says, he can’t corner like Handley. Meanwhile, Nortons had silently and unostentatiously collected just one Shetland more than anybody else. So the initial sparring suggested that unless Nott could core by dint of sheer reliability, Nortons might snatch I, 2, 3, subject to Hicks dropping out or slowing. There was no noticeable, outward sign of team tactics in the Norton stable. Their four champions—Simpson, Woods, Hunt and Guthrie—seemed to the spectator to be playing lone hands, and just going hell for leather on full bore. But they didn’t need any strategy as the issue went. Nott was just a few fatal seconds too slow to hold them. Hicks apparently had all the speed he needed, but a broken valve ended his challenge. Quite early in the bickering, what proved to be the kernel of the affair could be identified. Jimmie Simpson was all over a winner if he could stay the distance; but as soon as we knew that Hunt had suffered a brief stop on Lap 1, it was clear that he was just about Jimmie’s equal. Hammer and tongs the pair went at it, with Nott seated firmly on their tails, praying for the extra forty seconds a lap which he couldn’t snatch nohow. Hunt accelerated ferociously, riding as a speed-glutton out of the top drawer. This young man is certainly Handley’s and Bennett’s successor. He is definitely in their class. He won the Junior by no fluke in the allotment of engines, by no luck in tuning, by no accidental slaughter of formidable opponents. He rides magnificently with the true blend of devil and judgment which spells ‘champion’. Probably he is not yet a fully developed Handley, but Walter cannot give him any rope to speak of, and Tim is only 22. He has still four or five of his best years to play with, and.will worthily uphold Britain’s honour on many a stricken field. But how all hearts bled for Jimmie! With the race in his pocket, it was cruel luck to be outed by a trivial stop. He stopped at the Bungalow with his engine loth to do more than crawl, changed a plug fruitlessly, and decided in his perplexity to retire. He had a drink, lit a cigarette, signed some autograph books, and suddenly had a brain wave. He took out his jet, found it almost sealed with dirt, cleared it, and all the lost homes returned. Quicker diagnosis could not have saved him the race, but it might have given him second place. And Jimmie was 34 on that day. He wears well. His corner work is as fearless and accurate as ever it was. He has still a few races left in him, and we all hope that the gods of speed are not going to be as harsh to him as they were to an earlier champion who never won a TT—I mean George Dance. Notice yet again how definitely a small handful of men tower head and shoulders above the ruck in this most exacting phase of athletics. The fastest ‘new’ man in the finishing list is no higher than seventh, in the person of AG Mitchell (Velocette) at 69.46mph; and he couldn’t have finished so high if a few of the supermen had not fallen by the way. We who read and write as armchair critics, but could never ourselves lap at 50mph, ought modestly to reflect that the last finisher, Tommy Spann (Raleigh), averaged 62.20mph. In spite of such feats, thoughtless spectators regard the whippers-in as ‘rabbits’, and grumble that the roads are kept closed for them to finish! A great race, gentlemen. Salaams to that debonair musketeer, Hunt; salaams to Nott, who for once played tortoise to Hunt’s hare; above all salaams to our one and only Jimmie—and may he win a Senior before he retires.” Junior result: 1, P Hunt (348cc Norton); 2, J Guthrie (348cc Norton); 3, GE Nott (349cc Rudge); 4, S Woods (348cc Norton); 5, GW Walker (349cc Rudge); 6, CJP Dodson (346cc Excelsior-JAP); 7, AG Mitchell (348cc Velocette); 8, JH Simpson (348cc Norton); 9, GE Rowley (346cc AJS); 10, EA Mellors (346cc New Imperial); 11, HJ Willis (348cc Velocette); 12, ER Thomas (348cc Velocette); 13, M Ghersi (246cc New Imperial), Italy; 14, G Himing (346cc AJS); 15, T Simister (348cc Velocette); 16, EF Renier (348cc Velocette), Belgium; 17, L Higson (349cc Rudge); 18, D Brewster (348cc Velocette), Australia; 19, Somerville Sikles (348cc Velocette); 20, WHT Meageen (348cc Velocette); 21 T Spann (348cc Raleigh).
BOB HOLLIDAY MARKED GRAHAM Walker’s Lightweight TT win with a poem in the TT Special:
“You are old Father Walker,” his young son cried,
“And your hair has become almost white ;
Yet year after year round the Island you ride—
Do you think at your age it is right ? “
“In my youth,” Father Walker replied to his son,
“My wife said I’d not sound the strain.
But now that at last the Lightweight I’ve won,
Why, I’ll do it again and again !”
“You are old” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned in a lap at 28.4—
Pray what is the reason for that ? “
“In my youth” said the sage as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my bones very supple,
By the use of this corset—a shilling a box—
Allow me to sell you a couple.”
“You are old ” said the youth,” and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet,
Yet you argue the head off a Jury and Beak,
How on earth do you manage to do it?”
“In my youth ” said his father, ” I took the name Walker,
Now I argue each race with my wife,
And the result is to-day that I’m known as ‘The Talker —
G Walker—the prop of Club life’.”
“You are old ” said the youth, ” one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever,
Yet you follow the course wherever it goes,
What made you no awfully clever?”
“You’ve asked me three questions, pray ask me some more.”
Said his father “Don’t think I am tired,
I could talk all the day without being a bore,
Come on! I have not yet retired!”
AS WE’LL SEE IN FUTURE TT reports, Graham Walker’s career was by no means over. And here’s an obscure literary footnote: Holliday was following a well trodden path with his exquisite parody of “You are Old, Father William” from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—but Lewis Carroll’ was’s poem was also a parody, of The Old Man’s Comforts and How He Gained Them, published by Poet Laureate Robert Southey in 1799 and popular in Victorian schoolrooms as an improving text.
Now here’s a funny thing. As I was tapping in the ‘father William’ caption my chum Ken rang (to tell me about the amazing Imme R100 he’d just seen at the Kempton Park autojumble—it really is amazing; you’ll find a pic in 1948) and I happened to mention the Graham Walker poem. Ken immediately recited part of the Lewis Carroll version which he knows by heart. Why? Because his graddad was also a William and when Ken was a nipper there was always a family party to celebrate graddad’s birthday. The invariable highlight of the party was Granddad William’s recital of the Lewis Carroll poem, after which, until his 75th year, he would stand on his head on a chair.
“QUITE A LOT OF first-time visitors to the Island were perturbed at not seeing a single Manx cat. The truth is that most of them have been exported.”
“MENTION MUST BE MADE of the gallant attempts of that unlucky rider, JH Simpson. In both events [Junior and Senior] he took, the lead early, only to retire at half distance with, in the former case, a seized rear brake, and in the latter a choked jet, his one consolation being his amazing feat of raising the record for the twisty 37-mile course to 80.82mph.” Remarkably, Simpson had also made the first 60 and 70mph laps.
“MAGNIFICENT AS THE RACES were from the point of view of the speeds achieved, there was a sorry tale of retirements. In the Junior race only 15 of the 50 starters succeeded in finishing; in the Lightweight 13 out of 40; and in the Senior 13 out of 56. Thus, no less than 72% of the starters in the three races retired, which seems to show that much remains to be learned about engine design, and leads to questions as to whether the time has not come for designers to concentrate, for racing as well as touring, upon the multi-cylinder engine with its light reciprocating parts. Another unsatisfactory feature was the way in which certain of the machines appeared to steer at speed.”
“THE TT IS A GREAT SPORTING event, but it is a moot point whether we need machines capable of such a colossal average speed as 80mph over so tortuous a course. It is, of course, true that our road-racing-mounts year after year uphold British supremacy in the Continental races, demonstrating the skill of our riders, designers and manufacturers, and that these machines bear a definite relationship to production models, but there is a tendency for too much specialisation in the TT type of machine, with its call for speed and still more speed. There are many lessons to be derived from the TT this year, but we repeat that the races must be the servant of design and not the master. May designers, therefore, take particular note of the lessons applicable. to commercial design and use the knowledge acquired to improve the touring machine—to endow it with the good features of the racing mounts and eliminate the bad ones. “
“SO GRAHAM WALKER at last annexes a Trophy! The heaviest man on the lightest type of mount, too! It seems to be the habit these days to win in teams. Norton scored 1, 2 and 4 in the Junior, and Rudge similar positions in the Lightweight race. In the Senior event Nortons went one better by doing the hat trick.”
“THE PERFORMANCE OF EA Mellors during TT week deserves special mention. Though 10th on a New Imperial in the Junior event, he would have been higher up the list but for the Belgian, Renier accidentally cannoning him on the left side when taking a corner in Glen Helen; both fell. In the Lightweight Race Mellors got as high as third place, and on Friday he was sixth on an NSU—a mount that is strange to him.
“MARIO GHERSI, THE ITALIAN, won The Motor Cycle Visitors’ Cup for the best performance by a visiting rider. Riding a New Imperial, he gained replicas in the Lightweight andJunior Races, finishing 6th and 13th respectively.”
“ADVICE TO ALL TT RIDERS: Take the price of your ‘bus or train fare home. Vic Brittain, who retired at Ramsey, was visualising a long walk home until, he met a friend who was able he loan him the needful.”
“CROSSING SULBY BRIDGE, nine out of ten riders wipe their nose with a quick dab. Is there a mystery in this or is it just the first place for some miles where the bar can be released for a moment?”
“IN THE JUNIOR RACE the Boy Scouts showed amazing efficiency and speed in putting-up and taking down the hundreds of figures and letters on the big scoreboards. The vast supplies of ‘TT Toffee’ brought over specially for them by its manufacturer, Stanley Woods, no doubt played an important part. Several members of The Motor Cycle staff had the pleasure of ‘road-testing’ this tasty accessory. It was found to have an attractive finish and excellent acceleration—downwards. Stanley is on a. good line.”
IN THE PROCESS OF becoming the first rider to win the Junior and Senior TTs in the same year., Tim Hunt knocked 8min 30sec and 10min off the Junior and Senior records. It marked the beginning of Norton’s golden era. The team went on to win 10 Continental grands prix that season. In the six years from 1931-36 Norton would win 11 out of 12 Junior and Senior TTs.
“A STRANGE FEATURE of the racing this year was that certain machines, instead of handling better than last year, were actually more difficult to hold, which goes to show that designers still have a lot to learn about the steering problem. With foot changes and four-speed gears practically universal on the TT mounts, it will he surprising if these are not the standard wear on production models for 1932.
“THE AVERAGE MOTOR CYCLIST is apt to look upon water-cooling with suspicion, fearing its complication and the added weight. Yet for years there have been water-cooled designs on both British and Continental roads—motor cycles which, in spite of their cooling system, weigh perhaps no less, but certainly very little more, than the contemporary designs of the same capacity…Economy in oil consumption is far more pronounced with a water-cooled engine, and, moreover, a water-jacketed cylinder tends towards mechanical silence. Water-cooling is not the unmitigated nuisance many imagine it to be, and we suggest those with no experience of the system should keep an open mind upon the subject when—as is probable will be the case—it comes to the fore on multi-cylinder engines.”
“OYEZ! BANG! CLANG! TING-A-LING-A-LING!! You will gather from this, my brothers, that I am trying to tin-tinabulate the tocsin; in short, to sound a note of warning, for this England of ours is being threatened with something a trifle more disturbing than the Black Death and only a spot more welcome than a slow puncture—I refer, brothers, to the Hiking Menace. Something’s got to be done about it, and that with no little speed and precision. Hitherto we motor cyclists have ever regarded the so-called sports of lesser men with an indulgent eye. No envious breath of ours has ever stickied the board o’er which the nimble ha’penny slides. Our kindly tact has ever restrained as from pointing out that polo would be easier if played on foot with shorter mallets. We have even shown a genial tolerance in the matter of pedestrianism; nay, sonic of us have walked ourselves —and see where our tolerance has led us. The cat’s out of the bag, the wolf has shed its woollies, and this gentle thing, this pedestrianism, is revealed as a first’ class menace, to wit, Hikery.”
“THE LATEST RECRUIT to the growing ranks of 150cc lightweights is the Sun, a neat little machine of straight-forward design. Its engine is the 147cc Villiers, with flywheel magneto and Villiers single-lever carburetter. This unit is housed upright in a sturdy diamond frame, and. has a large-diameter exhaust pipe leading to a cylindrical silencer, at the end of which is a fishtail. Transmission is by chains through an Albion two-speed gear box, equipped with a clutch and kick-starter. The gear box is carried on a very substantial bracket, and the chains are protected along their top runs by metal guards. A front fork of Druid design is employed, with side-members of pressed steel. Four-inch internal-expanding brakes are included, and quick adjustment is provided on the operating rods. The wheels are fitted with 25×2.75in tyres, and the hubs are substantially built. A saddle tank of good appearance holds 1¾ gallons of fuel; lubrication is on the petroil system, and the filler cap in the tank forms a measure for the oil. An oil tin is clipped to the seat tube. A very comfortable riding position is provided, and a rider of more than normal stature is accommodated easily. There is a strong rear stand and a light carrier. A soft-top saddle is fitted, and is adjustable for height; the handlebars, too, are adjustable. There is a cylindrical metal tool box beneath the rear part of the tank. Villiers direct electric lighting is incorporated, and there is a battery providing current for parking. With this equipment the price will be under £20; the actual price has not yet been definitely fixed. The makers are the Sun Cycle and Fittings Co, Phoenix Works, Aston Brook Street, Birmingham. “
“THE PEDESTRIAN-OPERATED signal lamps at Manchester are to be followed by an experiment which takes the form of bells for those who wish to cross the road.”
A FRIEND OF MINE who is over seventy, but by no means as old as he sounds, has bought a velomotor, as the French call their motorised bicycles. Although a keen cyclist, he was beginning to find that he could not always cover as much country as he would like to. On a visit to France he was so impressed by the simplicity, reliability and, above all, by the light weight of the thousands of velomotors now on the roads in that country that he ordered one to be sent home. The machine is here and in ordinary daily use. As a so-called ‘expert’ on motor-cycling matters I was commissioned to get it into fighting trim. It arrived in a crate, beautifully wrapped in yards of paper, but, even so, the carrier and several errand boys spotted something out of the ordinary, and began that rain of questions which has since been the lot of anyone who takes the machine out. Perhaps the weight had something to do with it, for the crate, machine and all, could be lifted with ease by one man. I was straightway struck by the simplicity and practicability of the layout of the Alcyon, for such it is. It does not pretend to be what we should call a ‘proper motor bicycle’. It is a distinct type built to appeal to a public the majority of which will never become motor cyclists. Most of this public is a working one; factory hands, artisans, professional men and labourers of all sorts who have found public transport too inconvenient, too slow (in total time required from door to door) or too expensive for their needs. Constant use of an ordinary bicycle in all sorts of weather is too arduous an addition to the day’s work. All these people have found that the velomotor does all they wish at a cost of a little over a halfpenny a mile, including depreciation. Further, it does not confine its usefulness to working hours, but it is always there to take its owner down the town shopping or out into the country. The light motor cycle is mechanical transport in its simplest form. A 98cc two-stroke engine drives the back wheel through reduction gearing, a shock absorber and a chain. There is neither gear box nor clutch, so gear changing, that bug-bear of the uninitiated, is eliminated. The single gear ratio is so chosen that hills up to a gradient of 1 in 8 or 9, that is to say, all ordinary main road hills, can be climbed without pedal assistance. A spring fork, small balloon tyres (24×2¼in) and a spring-topped saddle give a degree of comfort which is really surprising and greatly superior to that of the ordinary bicycle. Controls are limited to a throttle, a decompressor, and the levers for the two cycle-type brakes, which, if they appear rather primitive at first sight, are entirely simple, cheap and easy to renew, and quite adequate to the light weight and low speed of the machine. Pedals are provided for starting and for assisting the engine on severe gradients. Strangely enough, these pedals, which incur the humorous contempt of the motor cyclist, appeal strongly to the cyclist and the man in the street. He sees in them something with which he is familiar and is reassured. Several people have said to me: ‘Now, I could handle one of those. It isn’t like a regular motor bike.’ Thanks to misrepresentation in the daily Press, there is, unfortunately, a very definite public distrust of the motor cycle. The velomotor, with its pedals and its general air of being something different, seems to escape this odium. In practice, the pedals very largely take the place of a clutch, for, when the decompressor is raised, the machine can be propelled at walking place. This is a useful feature when riding in crowded city streets, for which this handy little type of machine is primarily intended. The complete machine weighs 65lb, so it can he carried up and down steps and lifted round corners without effort. As the handlebars are narrow and the wheelbase short, it can be stowed anywhere that there is space for an ordinary bicycle. A garage, therefore, becomes unnecessary—a most important point. Difficulties of house or office insurance in this country could be overcome by making the petrol tank quickly detachable. The maximum speed (paced by a car) is 30mph, and the cruising speed 20-25mph. With a single gear of 13.4 to 1 the engine’s revs are, of course, high,
but it does not seem to mind. Making a noise like an angry hornet, it buzzes merrily around without vibration and with no signs of drying up. Ball and roller races of adequate size are fitted to all engine and reduction gear bearings with the exception of the little end, so that when once the piston is run in there should be little chance of failure. Short runs on the Alcyon had given me so much confidence that, when the time came to hand it over to its owner, I determined to ride it from Barrow-in-Furness to Hexham, although the road between these places passes over two ranges of mountains. Leaving Barrow after lunch, I covered the thirty-four miles to Kendal in 96 minutes. The road is, of course, fairly flat, but I was not pressing the machine, as I wished her to arrive at the foot of Shap Fell in good trim. Shap is nothing to the modern car or motor cycle with its comparatively powerful engine and efficient gear boxes. Shap to me, on my tiny 98cc velo-motor, seemed as formidable an obstacle as the Atlantic to the lone flier. Near Kendal it began to rain. Great clouds hid the mountains from view and blotted out the sun. The machine seemed smaller than ever. I breasted the lower slopes, keeping plenty in hand. Gradually the fields gave way to bleak moorland, and I could see the shining, rain-washed road climbing up ahead of me into the clouds beside its line of telegraph wires. The velo-motor went on buzzing away underneath my 14 stones, and I began to wonder if I should have to use the pedals after all. However, near the summit the road dips sharply and then rises to the highest point of the climb above Shap Wells. On this rise I pedalled for three or four stretches of 20 to 25 yards to keep up the engine revolutions. Apart from this I reached the summit without adventure and stopped to take photographs in the rain as the proof which my friends would undoubtedly re-quire! A cyclist whom I had passed lower down came up pushing his machine and stopped to admire the Alcyon. I gathered from his somewhat forcible remarks that I had had an easier ride up from Kendal than he had. Just outside Penrith the rain came on so heavily that I decided to stop for shelter and to fill up with petrol. I had covered 60 miles, but there was no room left for a pint of the half-gallon I ordered. Twenty miles a pint—160mpg. This was economical motoring with a vengeance! I can imagine the velomotorist on tour in a hilly district calling for ‘A pint for me and a pint for my steed. The rain drew off and I set out to tackle Hartside, the second of the great obstacles which had lain between me and my destination. Hartside is four miles long and rises to over 2,000 feet above sea-level, so is considerably more formidable than Shap. However, the road is well graded, and my earlier success had given me a confidence in the Alcyon which was well deserved, for, except a short stretch of about 5o yards round a bend at the bottom of the hill, the pedals were not used at all. After dropping down into Alston, the highest market town in England, I tackled the last long climb to the borders of Cumberland and Northumberland. The Alcyon was going better than ever, and the pedals were not required again until near the end of my journey, when I, quite unjustifiably, turned up a steep moorland track ‘just to see what would happen’. The gradient must have been 1 in 6, but, by our united efforts, we reached the summit and stopped to look back on the lovely panorama of bleak upland and and fertile valley, of dark green fir-wood and bright green fields which is the special charm of this border country. At seven-fifteen I had passed through Hexham and reached my destination, having covered 103 miles at a cost in fuel of about 11d. If the lightweight is equal to a journey of such comparative severity, carrying a rider of more than average weight, I feel it is well up to the needs of the public which is likely to invest in such a machine. As I have indicated, the public interest in the machine whenever I took it out was extraordinary. Whenever I stopped passers-by would come up and ask questions. Of course, there are some people who will ridicule anything new, but even many of these were genuinely interested. I believe we are on the eve of a new era in ultra-cheap and simple mechanical transport, and that those manufacturers who remember that the Austin Seven was laughed at once upon a time, and do not sneer at the modest appearance and performance of the lightweight, will reap the benefit. It is said that 35,000 velomotors were sold in France in 1930, and there seems no reason why British machines of under 100cc or 150cc should not enjoy, at all events, some measure of this enormous success over here. —WSJ
“WHEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED some time ago that the Zenith motor cycle would no longer be made there was general regret throughout the ranks of motor cyclists, for the name was a household word. Right from the pre-war days, when the Zenith trade-mark, ‘barred’, was born of the fact that the Gradua-geared models were barred from competing in hill-climbs, these handsome, speedy machines had been popular with the sporting rider. Then the welcome news came this year that manufacture was to be resumed. The business had been taken over by the well-known South London firm of Writers’. Reorganisation at the Hampton Court works has now been completed, and production has started. There are five standard models in the range—a 350cc overhead-valve machine, 500cc side-valve and overhead-valve models, and 680cc and 750cc side-valve twins, all of which have JAP engines.”
“BEING an oxy-acetylene welder, with work that carries me all over Yorkshire on urgent repairs, it is necessary for me to move my plant and myself quickly from place to place. For convenience, speed and economy, I have found a motor cycle sidecar outfit the ideal vehicle. One day, recently, I left my home town early to do a job of work fifteen miles away. The work turned out to be next to the kitchens of a big hotel, and lasted to well past my usual dinner time. This long spell, added to the luscious smells with which I had been tortured all the morning, made me pretty ravenous. The wick was turned full up and I was making good time on the return journey. Then suddenly, a spasmodic stuttering brought me to a stop. Investigation was not needed beyond the petrol tank, where my fears were confirmed. Bone dry! Perhaps hunger had sharpened my wits, or perhaps it was the sight of the cylinders of gas in the sidecar ; a question 1 had long entertained returned to my head. Would a motor cycle engine run on acetylene gas? To stop hopeful lads tying to run their bikes from their lamp generators I had better tell you now that the acetylene was of the variety that is compressed into cylinders. Turning the gas on to a nice steady flow, I led the rubber tube from the cylinder to the intake of the carburetter and gave the starter a gentle kick. Yes, it did start, first kick, and revved up well, too. Mounting the machine, I put it into gear and moved off. It had certainly revved well without a load, but I soon found its pulling power was practically nil. Only once in all that four miles did I get out of second gear. I had to stop every time the engine back-fired to put out the flame on the gas pipe, but beyond this I reached the garage without trouble. Though I have often heard engines labouring and knocking when hard-pressed I have never heard such an awful noise as that one made. When I did once try it in top gear it resembled nothing so much as a huge cascade of crockery. Starting was always a one-kick act, but the exhaust was the most overpowering I have ever smelt—dense black with smuts falling from it.—ARIEL
READERS’ EXPERIENCES: 1929 498cc ohv Cotton-Blackburne. “I have owned, among other makes of motor cycles and cars, three Cottons—1924 and 1928 348cc ohv Blackburne models, and a 1929 498cc racing Blackburne model. This last machine has been ridden solo and has absolutely standard. Burman gears. In low sear the machine will, on all occasions, reach 45mph without undue revving; seventy can be attained in second in decent tune, while I have obtained 87mph in top gear under poor conditions. I have never found anything on the road which could live with this bus in the 20,000 miles’ (ten months) experience I have had with it. These speeds were obtained with the compression washer in situ and fifty-fifty mixture was used. With regard to durability, my own impression is that the 500cc Blackburne engine, properly used and lubricated, will last a lifetime. The Cotton is like a rock throughout its speed range on dry roads, but on wet tarmac roads caution must be used on bends. I have tried various tyre pressures, fork settings, saddle positions, and naturally the frame and wheels are absolutely true; but unfortunately it is a fact that skidding propensities mar an otherwise almost unimpeachable mount. Both brakes are beyond criticism. Either (they are deep 8in brakes) will pull the machine up very quickly from speed, and used together they give exceptional stopping powers. The footrests are too far forward, in my opinion, for fast work; this cannot de remedied. Starting from hot or cold is a one-kick job. In conclusion, the machine has never let me down on the mad. Incidentally, I recently had my engine bench tested, and it gave 27bhp at 4,500rpm.—HJFW“
“I CRAVE A LITTLE of your valuable space to recount an amusing, though somewhat disconcerting, experience which recently befell me. While cruising at about 30mph I advanced the magneto (a habit of mine). Instantly a load report, resembling the mighty crash of Jupiter’s thunderbolts, was heard, Noticing a sudden deceleration, it occurred to me that there might have been some connection between this and the aforementioned detonation, when, to my chagrin, what should meet my downcast gaze but an innocent-looking gudgeon pin winking at me from its somewhat perilous position on the brink of a road gully! The gudgeon pin was not the only wrongly disposed component, however, for, on further inspection, I found that, in the words of the famous slogan, ‘That’s an engine, that was’. The cylinder barrel had broken off just above the flange, leaving the latter securely bolted down to the crank case, and was swaying precariously on the end of what had once been a connecting-rod. The underside of the petrol tank resembled the chief characteristic of a camel’s back, and the road was littered with portions of a silvery-looking metal which, when joined together, had been designated a piston. (I recovered about fifty of these portions, and am keeping them as corroboration to convince any Doubting Thomases.) Can any of your readers go one better (or worse) than this, or is my experience a ‘wreckord’?”
H MARTIN EPTON.
“I DEFINITELY DENY THAT the American motor cycle has had the edge on British makes for the past six or seven years, as the following statistics will substantiate: Exports of Motor Cycles to Japan—1925: UK, 2,484; USA, 1,685. 1926, UK, 2,655; USA, 2,553. 1927: UK, 1,269; USA, 1,657. 1928: UK, 1,148; USA, 1,786. 1929: 1,224; USA,1,323. 1930: UK, 899; USA, 766. It is true that one make of American motor rode is responsible for 33.7% of the total imports, but this is very largely due to the fact that the American make in question has heretofore been standardised by Japanese army, police departments, and other public services. If, however, you take into account the preferences of the private user, you will find that British motor cycles predominate, and that, of the remaining number, 69.2% are of British manufacture. What does it matter from the national point of view whether she business is split between two manufacturers or twenty manufacturers if the fact is that British manufacturers are surely assuming the upper hand? Japanese importers have recognised this fact by the formation of a British Motor Cycle Union of Japan, and the Union itself has a representative—Mr WF Horsley, PO Box F4, Central Post Office, Tokyo, Japan—who is only too anxious to do what is possible both in the way of improving semi, to the public and increasing British propaganda in that market.”
HR WATLING, Director, British Cycle and Motor Cycle Manufacturers’ and Traders’ Union.
“A PROBLEM WHICH OFTEN confronts solo riders is how best to accommodate on the machine sufficient baggage for, say, a fortnight’s tour. The accompanying illustration shows a simple and convenient solution. Two stout canvas pannier hags of the army-pack type are carried on a metal framework which is designed to clip to the rear stays of the machine, whether a carrier is fitted or not. The bags, of course, can quickly he detached without disturbing the frame. James Grose, 379, Euston Road, London, NW1, are the makers of the set, and the price of 15s includes the bags.” Nowadxays we’d classify the Grose panniers as soft luggage; Lycett offered a tidy set of hard luggage for 14s 6d.
A Race Described by the Fastest Competitor: Going through the Field at 112mph—by ‘The Scratch Man’
“’CLANG, CLANG, CLANG,’ TOLLS THE BELL No, it is not the Angelus calling the faithful to prayer, but the bell outside Ebbie’s box (better known as Chronograph Villas) warning the competitors in a certain 1930 BMCRC 500cc solo handicap at Brooklands to line up. ‘Come on,’ grunts my manager, ‘put your lid on.’ My manager’s expression on race days or during record attempts is one of habitual gloom, but today it is gloomier than ever; we had considered a previous race a ‘stone ginger’ for our stable, but owing to a certain rider having charmed another 4 or 5mph out of his motor since his last appearance, our calculations had, needless to say, been very much upset. The bell clangs again, and we push out onto the line. I occupy the scratch-man’s doubtful place of honour, on the extreme right against the lap scoring box. The scratch-man’s mantle has fallen on my shoulders at this meeting owing to the absence of ‘Bill’ and ‘Bert’. My manager, a famous trackman of yore, changes the plug, substituting a special Lodge for a ‘soft’ warming-up one. We put the bike in bottom gear and pull her back till she comes up against compression; we then withdraw the clutch and the engine is ready to fire at (we hope) the first lusty push. The clutch-start is more certain than any other, as it obviates the possibility of ‘wetting-up’ the plug with dope, as often happens when one starts on the exhaust lifter. We now set the throttle a little open, with the ignition slightly retarded, as the five-hundred, unless pushed-off at a terrific speed, is liable to jib. Ah, here he is! ‘Ebbie’ trots down the steps from his hutch, carrying the box of clocks and his little red flag with the gold knob. What titanic struggles that little flag has started on road and track! He stands by the limit man, who receives 51 seconds start in three laps. ‘Not a bad start,’ I think to myself, ’17 seconds a lap.’ Off goes the limit bus, and is quickly followed by a Douglas. I watch them both rapidly mounting the hill until finally they disappear round the bend. Down goes the flag again and off goes a Norton, almost immediately followed by a glistening Grindlay-Peerless, both emitting a healthy crackle in spite of the Brooklands silencers. A short interval and away go two more Nortons. I am now like the boy on the burning deck—all but he had fled. I bend down and turn on the chain oiler, and as I pull my goggles down I receive a few whispered instructions. These invariably consist of ‘Don’t miss your gear’ or ‘For Goodness’ sake watch your step’. Ebbie is now standing on my right with his flag upraised and we ‘rock’ the model backwards and forwards. Will he never drop that blessed flag? I can hear them snarling down the straight, and I’m sure the limit man must be already crossing the Fork. At last; down goes the flag, and off we go. I drop the clutch as I hear a faint ‘Now’ behind me…Good, she’s fired; I rev up in bottom, then, snick! into second as a reach the end of the Vickers’. As I rev up in second I advance the magneto and screw down the steering damper, and wait for the big BP sign on the Banking, where I usually get into top…Got it; I am in top now, and a feeling of relief passes through me as I stretch myself flat on the tank, with my rear extremity well astern of the saddle. I am always glad when I get into top as it is very easy to miss a gear when the engine is approaching the 6,000rpm mark. The good old Blackurne is feeling its feet as I shoot the Members’ Bridge, and I am topping the 100mph when—wallop!—I have taken the banking a little too high and hit the notorious ‘bridge’ bump. I have hit it good and proper, and the old bike sails though the air a good twenty yards before making a perfect two-point landing. This bump is caused by the track subsiding where it passes over the River Wey. As I come off the Banking I can see the whole length of the Railway Straight and not a soul in sight. What a hope! By forcing the bike down to the grass at the foot of the Byfleet Banking I endeavour to save a second or two; next lap round, probably, I shan’t have the opportunity—so far I have had the track to myself, but in future things may be different. Here is the Fork; it seems more of a kink than ever as I lock over to scrape past the lap score box. And lots of spectators think
that the fence, the lap score box and Vickers’ is one straight line! Oh, that Fork, with its countless bumps and potholes! I believe a smooth passage was discovered in the old days, but I have an idea that Dougal Marchant took the dark secret with him when he retired to the Continent. When riding from scratch on a five-hundred I invariably keep about a yard out from the fence, lap box and Vickers’. This is the smoothest line across the Fork I know. Having negotiated the Fork, I wrestle with the bike for a few seconds round the Home Banking, and, as I flash under the Bridge, I catch a glimpse of a few heads and faces. The faces are usually those of a few friends from a rival camp, whose shed is situated down the slope at the back of the Members’ Bridge. When I’m out on the five-hundred, whether in a race or in practice, it is invariably a signal for them to cease their super-tuning for a few minutes to come and watch the fun. They seem to find watching me perform a source of amusement or excitement. Both I expect; but I digress. Coming off the banking again and entering the Railway Straight I see a tiny figure disappearing round the foot of the Byfleet. Good, I’m catching somebody up. As I ‘take the grass’ again on the Byfleet Banking I seem to be overhauling him fast, though I don’t suppose I shall pass him till we reach the Fork. That’s annoying; I don’t like passing people at the Fork. I do hope this one will be a sensible chap and leave me a bit of room on his right… Stout fellow, he’s given me about ten yards and I dive for the gap between him and the box. One has to make up one’s mind at the Fork, and on this occasion the wind is a strong sou’wester and I am doing a good 112 or so. I hug Vickers’ as closely as possible, making sure that I get on to the Home Banking well over to the right. Cheers! I espy a bunch of hardy lads mounting the banking as I roar pass the Castrol sign. Last lap, and I’m after their blood now. They push me up the banking a bit, and I pass, gazing down at them from somewhere about ‘John Cobb’s line’. Crash! The bridge bump again; not my fault this time, though. I now slip past another couple of warriors (one of them the Grindlay, I think), and am just wondering whether to ease up a bit when—good heavens, there’s somebody disappearing round the kilometre box! By squeezing myself down on the tank I endeavour to feel as small as possible, and after a little while pass my quarry, who, I discover, is the limit man on a Coventry-Eagle. Well, that’s the last one. passed! Once more the Fork, which I cross in solitary state and shut off as I pass the line. As I slow down while cruising the hill, the Coventry-Eagle comes up along side and the rider gives me a friendly grin. We tour up to the fork, and my manager meets me with a laconic ‘Good show!’ while ‘Chris’ suggests a drink. Just as we are adjourning to the bar, ‘Joe’ remarks, in his quiet way, ‘You were getting a jerk on.’ After a much-needed beer—its marvellous how parched you can get in three laps—we retire to the shed, where we attach the chair and get the model ready for ‘Chris’ to do his stuff.”
“ALTHOUGH MOTOR CYCLISTS fill the [speedway] stage, it is notable that the spectators are large composed of the general public, motor cycle spectators being in the minority. Thus speedway racing has gripped the attention of all who enjoy thrills, and now rivals first-class football in the matter of the attendance it attracts. Those prophets who gave dirt-track racing ‘two years’ have lived to see it exert a greater hold upon the public as the years pass.”
“ONE OF MY DAILY PAPERS the other morning gloried in devoting one and a half columns of highly seasoned matter to motor accidents, of which about a third concerned motor cycles. It allotted precisely 20 lines to the really smashing victory of British motor cycles ridden by British riders in one of the big Continental races. The casualty reports began at the top of the page, and were adorned with enormous headlines. The British victory—so difficult to parallel in any other form of sport—is tucked away low down in a corner of a page, and introduced by quite small type.”
“THERE IS NO EVENT quite like the Arbuthnot Trophy Trial. In the first place, it is a purely naval affair, in which only officers on the active list may compete. Secondly, each rider acts as his own observer, declaring at the end of the trial the number of stops, etc, which he has been unlucky enough to suffer. And, thirdly, the High Officials of the ACU and RAC, with the assistance of Important Gentlemen of the Trade, do an awful lot of work just for the love of the thing—they even push (and pull) competitors up the divers slopes to be found on Bagshot Heath, where last Thursday the trial was held. An hour or no before the start the yard of the Duke of York Hotel, Camberley, began to fill up with prospective trophy winners. Most of the various models were well prepared for the job—competition tyres, upswept exhaust pipes, etc. Half an hour before zero hour (11am) everyone made tracks for the start, which was situated a little way up Barossa Lane. The course was some 12 miles in length, and had to be lapped four times in all—twice before lunch and twice in the reverse direction afterwards. Thanks to the prevailing weather conditions, the route for the most part was dry and sandy; it included only two climbs worth mentioning—Devil’s Drop and the Slide. On the first circuit Lieut BR Faunthorpe (346cc Levis) tackled the Devil’s Drop rather too slowly; consequently he suffered from wheelspin, and had to use his feet (one could see exactly what he had to say on the matter). Lieut JH Illingworth (196cc Francis-Barnett) proceeded in a most leisurely manner towards the summit, baulking Sub-Lieut ER Tyndale-Biscoe (598cc P&M). Sub-Lieut MG Gardner (346cc Levis) was the first of the ‘feet-up’ division, though it was a bit of a struggle, and it remained for Commander CAG Hutchison, on a hot 494cc ohv Douglas, to show everyone how fast the hill could be climbed; charging through bushes at the bottom, he literally jumped over the top. Midshipman RD Verner-Jeffreys (340cc Rudge) took matters very comfortably, but Midshipmen RS Spooner (496cc Cotton) and DW Moriarty (248cc Ariel) stopped together, the former being ignominiously attached to the tow-rope with a High Official of the ACU holding on to his carrier with one hand and pulling Moriarty up with the other! Lieut P Sargent (348cc AJS) had to foot; but Lieut H Richman (346cc Royal Enfield) failed right at the bottom, and was towed the whole way up. Paymaster-Lieut CEG Tomkins (499cc Rudge) also had to indulge in a spot of pedal assistance, since the model would persist in crabbing sideways. The course then led over narrow sandy lanes, and very bumpy ones at that, to the Slide, a precipitous descent into boggy land. On the second circuit, Lieut BR Faunthorpe (346cc Levis) was outstandingly brilliant in his negotiation of the swamp, keeping his feet up throughout. As a contrast, Sub Lieutenants AG Jamison (249cc Rudge) and ER Tyndale-Biscoe (598cc P&M), and Lieut JH Illingworth (196cc Francis-Barnett) made free use of their feet. Sub-Lieut MG Gardner (346cc Levis), Commander CAG Hutchison (494cc Douglas), and Midshipmen RD Verner-Jeffreys, RS Spooner, DW Moriarty were all successful in making ‘feet-up’ crossings. From the Slide the course led past Caesar’s Camp back to the check at the start. some 5½ miles away, where the competitors duly filled in their cards, handed them in, and adjourned for lunch. Owing to the afternoon’s circuit being the reverse of the one tackled in the morning, the Slide was the only section likely to cause trouble. Here what had been a descent in the morning became quite an awkward ascent, owing to a boggy, hummocky surface at the bottom. At the foot Commander Hutchison, enlivened things by going flat out over the bumps, and hitting bushes and mole-hills in the process. Midshipmen Spooner (495cc Cotton) and Moriarty (248cc Ariel) were both good, but the latter, owing to a high gear, had to foot. Lieut P Sargent (346cc Royal Enfield) thought he was suffering from wheelspin and bounced vigorously, when in reality his clutch was sipping. On the last circuit both Lieut Faunthorpe and Lieut Illingworth were remarkably steady, while Sub-Lieut Gardner (346cc Levis) was clever in the way he nursed a spot of wheelspin. Poor Midshipman Moriaty, whose 248cc Ariel was practically sans everything, took a nasty toss at the bottom, becoming quite aeronautical in the process. ‘The best box I’ve ever bought,’ he said, as he endeavoured to push start, for he had lost his kick-starter pedal. Shortly afterwards Lieut P Sargent (348cc AJS) made a nice steady climb, while Lieut-Commander HF Fellowes (499cc Rudge) treated the hill as a main road. At the finish the cards weir collected, and soon the result of this most sporting of all trials was announced as follows: Arbuthnot Trophy, Lieut JH Illingworth (196cc Francis-Barnett); Runners-up, Sub-Lieut AG Jamison (249cc Rudge), Sub-Lieut MG Gardner (346cc Levis), Lieut-Commander HF Fellowes (499cc Rudge). Hovenden Cup (for the most sporting performance by a competitor other than the Trophy winner or runner-up: Midshipman DW Moriarty (240cc Ariel).”
“AN EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE 248cc P&M Panther is to be marketed for 1932. Unlike the larger models, this new Panther has a normal type of frame; the engine, instead of forming, in effect, the front down tube, is separately mounted with the cylinder inclined forward. At first sight the power unit, which has a bore and stroke of 60x88mm, might easily be mistaken for one of the ohc type. Actually the valves, which are fitted with exceptionally long duplex springs, are operated by push rods and rockers, the former being enclosed in a tubular housing and the latter in a box that is fixed by four accessible studs on the offside of the cylinder head. Special attention has also been paid to the accessibility of the cylinder head studs, with the result that removal of the head is a question only of minutes…A short test of the first machine produced showed the performance to be unusually good. The engine, although so flexible that it could be throttled down to 10mph on the rather high top gear of 5¾ to 1, was lively in pick-up, and capable of high revs as well as good pulling. The riding position is of a type that gives confidence, and the general handling proved to be all that it should be.”
“ONCE AGAIN THE CALTHORPE Motor Cycle Company will concentrate upon one model only. For three years this policy has been followed, and up to the present the one model has been a ‘350’. Now, however, a change has been made; the handsome Ivory machine has grown up, and makes its debut as a 500. This, to many people, will represent something in the nature of a surprise, but in many respects it is none. The new model embodies all those features which have made the Calthorpe machine so popular. It is no more expensive to buy, it is more completely equipped, and its tax remains the same; it is, therefore, wonderful ‘value for money’. As before, the two-port engine slopes forward in the frame. It has a bore and stroke of 85.5x86mm, giving a capacity of 490cc. The valve gear and push-rods are totally enclosed, and the rockers are mounted in roller bearings. Adequate lubrication of the valve gear is ensured by oil mist from the engine, while oil is transferred positively to the valve guides…In the transmission a refinement is to be found in the total enclosure of the front chain. This now runs in a cast aluminium oil-bath case fitted with inspection covers. As on previous models, the rear chain is protected along its top run by a metal cover, the inner side of which is extended downwards in a panel which effectively shields the chain from road dirt thrown by the rear wheel. A four-speed Calthorpe gear box, made under Albion patents, is used; it is of the constant-mesh type, and operated by a lever mounted in a quadrant within the right knee-grip. Brakes of 6in diameter are fitted, the linings being 1in. wide.”
“NO ONE WHO HAS FOLLOWED The Motor Cycle for any length of time can have failed to observe—if he remembers my writings at all—that I am an ardent lover of Britain and British scenery, with an admitted bias for the North, the Yorkshire Dales, North Wales, Lakeland, and the Highlands. I mention this because, in advocating a tour abroad, I still unashamedly remain a provincial Briton. One ordinary lifetime will not suffice to see everything that is worth seeing in the British Isles; I want everyone to believe that. But there is much truth in the old saying that a change is as good as a rest, and I think everyone who has toured Britain extensively owes it to himself to see ‘foreign parts’, if only the better to appreciate things at home. I remember how, amid the Alps, I thought that at last the power of the Yorkshire hills to thrill me had vanished; and yet when I got back home I found the grey, rolling moorlands had some beauty to touch the heart-strings, that seemed dearer than the somewhat theatrical grandeur that had impressed me. Nevertheless, I am advocating a trip abroad. Why not? The scenery is different; the life, the people, the food, the customs are all changed. It is good to have change. It is good to find that things are done differently—sometimes as well, and often a lot better. Of course, cost is the big problem. The average rider says, naturally, and without thought, ‘Oh, I couldn’t afford it.’ But he is wrong. Let him save up. Let him plan two years ahead if need be. Let this year’s holiday be a very simple and cheap one so that something better can be done next year. Moreover, as a trip in a new country is so occupied in seeing things, there is not that incentive to spend money doing things, which is generally the procedure during holiday-making at
well-known seaside resorts at home. France, Switzerland, Northern Italy and Germany are countries that will appeal principally to the motor cyclist on holiday. They can all be touched in a two-weeks’ tour. What do they offer that differs from home? Scenery—first and foremost. Terrific mountains. Marvellously engineered passes, climbing up and up, seldom very steeply, but just endlessly rising from hot, sun-baked plains to the level of the perpetual snows. The mountain scenery, the heights, the rugged precipices, the glaciers and the waterfalls are vast in scale. We have nothing comparable. Rivers, too—the great rushing rivers of grey snow-water are a new sight, while the wide plains of agricultural land, with the simple, unhurried village life, are now almost lost to an England that is rapidly becoming the land of the ‘semi-detached’. Castles, chateaux, abbeys, old mediaeval towns. Picturesque cottages and farms. Old churches. All of these abound. They are less exploited, less the popular show-place than similar (and usually less complete) relics at home. Indeed, they are not relics, for, in their own setting, the life from which they grew mostly seems to go along unchanged around them. Even if the motor ‘bus has invaded them, it usually seems to be a decently ramshackle bus, and nothing like the spit-and-polish, super efficient, licensed-by-the-Traffic- Commissioner type of ‘bus we know at home. We see in England to-day the growth of electrical distribution; pylons are going up all over the country. On the Continent electricity is no new thing in the villages. The Alps are covered with soaring cables. Nor do they look incongruous. That is a feature of Continental civil engineering—and all because they do things on the principle of ‘It works—it is good’. The Continental engineer uses a tree-trunk for his telegraph pole. He lets grass grow in his railway track, for the train runs on the metals, anyway, so why waste money on weeding the ballast? He bridges appalling chasms with lattice bridges, following the hand of Nature which lets a pine tree fall across the gap to make the first link with the farther side. In much of this work we can realise how our desire for exterior ‘finish’ results in the high cost of public services, and it is just to broaden such outlook that I advocate a foreign trip. The people, too, should be studied. They work harder and play less than we do. It is not every village abroad that has its ‘pictures’. Tastes are simpler, life is more social. In the small towns the people sit at the open-air cafes like one large family. Parents and children are there. One can drink at any time. Children have not to be left on the step to play in a squalid street while the parents pop in to have a few quick ones. Consequently one sees no ‘drunks’. Light wines and beers are taken, or coffee. Perhaps a radio-gramophone plays, and a pleasant hour or two is passed for a few coppers. What a commentary on our own licensing laws and the sales methods of our licensees! Food is varied and cheap. So are wines and cigarettes.
Essentials, in fact, are low in cost, while luxuries, on the other hand, are dear. Now, have I said enough to whet the appetite for a trip abroad? If so, how must one set about the job? First of all, there is the cost. One has to get to the coast, one has to cross, and one has formalities to face. Then there is the running cost abroad. To leave England one needs a passport, a customs carnet, an international driving licence and certain insurances. First of all it is necessary to become a member of either the RAC or the AA. Whichever body is selected then shoulders all the detail work. A deposit of £10 has to be made in respect of customs duty, and this is returned when you get back home with your ‘papers’ in order. A simple driving test and an examination of the model are necessary, and these are now arranged for a comprehensive fee of 30s, after which ‘GB’ plates, International Travelling Pass and everything necessary are provided without further cost. Third-party insurance is desirable, and your present policy can be endorsed, the cost being 50% of the existing premium (a shocking imposition!). The passport costs 7s 6d and is easily obtained, but it has to be backed by the signature of a JP, bank manager, solicitor, surgeon or some such responsible person who knows you well. These preparations are put through by the AA or RAC in about ten days, together with the routes required; but apply good and early, or one or two of your valuable days may be wasted, because you cannot leave England without your documents. Now as to crossing the water. The cheapest and least troublesome method is by Calais from Dover, by the Townsend Ferry. This service pioneered cheap crossings for motorists. The loading and off-loading is easy, the petrol need not be emptied out of the tank, and the fares are low—20s per head return, and 20s solo or £2 sidecar return for the machine, plus 2s dock dues per journey. Once in France the fun begins. People shout at one so forcibly to buy petrol and to change money, so have your tanks filled and change a pound or too at Dover before crossing. It is cheaper. And as soon as you land freeze on to the AA or RAC man (according to your ‘colours’) and give him your papers. I am not going to lead you by the hand across the Continent, but will just give you a few odd points that will help. Driving is done on the opposite side, and this rule of the road is easy to remember. You will find the general standard of driving very high. Everybody ‘bats’; main roads have precedence. The man on his own side has the right of way, so don’t attempt to overtake a of farm cart in the face of an oncoming Ballot or Delage. He may be doing seventy, and he won’t slow down. Just yield him his right as he would yield you yours if the position was reversed. After our dawdling ‘popular car’ traffic you will find Continental driving a joy if you go hard and well. But don’t try being ‘clever’. Avoid taking a motor that demands fancy spirit or oil—they don’t deal in that sort of thing very much, and in many places it is necessary to be prepared to accept merely ‘essence” (petrol) or ‘huile’ (oil) and to hope for the best. To do things cheaply, live like the people. They have coffee and rolls for breakfast. If you demand eggs and bacon you pay. Likewise take the meals they give you. Don’t ask for steak and chips, or roast beef. They are usually badly cooked, anyhow. The same with drinks and smokes. English ones can be bought, at a price, but cultivate a taste for vin ordinaire and cigarettes Gauloises at less than half the price. Avoid big towns and swagger hotels. The small places charge much less. When you spot a likely looking hotel ask their prices and have a look at the rooms first. If all appears good, but rather dear, ask for cheaper rooms. This applies to most of the Continental countries and they will not throw you out. Dinner, bed and breakfast should never exceed the equivalent of 10s (with wine thrown in) if you choose the right places. Small cafes will give you good lunches of several courses for about 2s a head. Tips are no trouble. Give 10% of the total bill (if it is not already on the bill as ‘service’) and everybody will be happy. Don’t overdo it. Most English people give too much. If your language is limited, be patient; don’t shout, bluster, or get flurried, and you will find people wonderfully helpful and kindly. Have good maps and a printed
route, so that you can show people where you want to go. When in real difficulty, don’t ask policemen. They seldom know English. Look for a prosperously dressed middle-aged or elderly man of the business type—they are the most likely to have some English. When in cafes and the like, remember that you are a visitor in a strange land. Don’t say rude things in English about the funny habits of the people; you are probably the scream, and, anyway, someone may know English. Ordinarily the mass of people are very kindly disposed to the stranger who modestly comports himself. This applies especially to villages and places off the beaten track, and is reflected in very moderate charges and an anxiety to please. When crossing frontiers, never omit to have the carnet dealt with on leaving one country and on entering the other, for the health of the £10 deposit. Treat frontier officers with an amiable and innocent blandness. Continental officials can be very ‘official’ if rubbed the wrong way, for they are generally very much top dog. And if there are daily touring taxes in the country you are entering, like the French laisser passez, always find out if it is cheaper to take out a period (say three months) licence for the machine; in France this pays if the stay is longer than four days. A phrase book, a camera, a few simple remedies in case of chills, cuts, or insect bites (‘ware mosquitoes at night in Northern France; they are somewhat malarial), and enough money for all forseeable circumstances—don’t be tempted to spend it all—are essentials. Clothing should be kept simple, but one most be pre-pared for broiling heat as well as intense cold at night on crossing the Alps. And when it rains, it rains. Waterproof kit is needed, therefore, while a reasonable quantity of likely spares should, of course, be carried for the machine. And when returning, don’t attempt to engage in any smuggling. It is not worth it. Finally, bon voyage! “
“THE VICTIM WAS A PRE-WAR sidecar outfit—a twin which, after a miraculous mileage, was fitted with a three-jet carburetter. The viscera of the engine weren’t meant to stand such pep, and didn’t. The burble of the exhaust was gradually replaced by a sound like worn reaping machines cutting barbed wire. The police began to complain. Bits started to shake off everywhere, and yet, with the slightest whiff of gas, this amazing tornado of noise would hurtle over the landscape at a fearsome forty-five. It was a real thrill to be passed by it on the road. At full throttle there appeared to the onlooker the blurred outlines of a number of superimposed machines. The results achieved by the overhaul were not so remarkable as the singularly dishonest methods employed. The writer worked in the drawing office of an engineering firm. Perhaps worked is rather a strong term; say, appeared there be tween certain hours, notably after nine am, the shops opening promptly at eight. In a drawing office one picks up items of the firm’s future policy. What one doesn’t pick up one can invent, when it is taken as gospel. The shop foreman yearneth after these tit-bits as the heart after wine in a dry land. With exclusive possession of such scraps of news a foreman appears to his fellows to be well in the know. Judicious distribution of these real or imaginary items, accompanied by a cheap cigar, and the fiercest foreman gave permission to use idle machines between the hours of eight and nine. Behold, then, the curious state of
having the use of every type of machine tool, but only for one hour at a stretch. All operations had to allow of piece being whipped out of the machine on sight of the manager. The only job not possible in one-hour bursts. was the turning of pistons inside and out at one setting. This problem was solved with the masterly simplicity that denotes true genius. At the end of the hour, the chuck holding the piston was detached from the lathe and planked in a ventilator. As no one who searched for it thought of the chuck being in a ventilator the job was all ready next morning for finishing. One morning the manager arrived in the factory at the unprecedented hour of eight-thirty. Wow! So suddenly did he appear that there was no time to evacuate the position in military formation. It was the work of a second, however, to claw a heap of cuttings over the job, whip a rule from the pocket, and industriously measure the machine. A rise of salary followed shortly afterwards for being so early on the job…The cams showed signs of wear, so were re-hardened. As hard as agate, they looked like a bad dose of small-pox. An enthusiastic young sister was set to polish them with stick and emery paper. Think of it, ye mathematicians, ye workers out of cams! Some weary-eyed number eight hat burns the midnight paraffin over a contour, costly machinery cuts it, more costly machinery grinds it—a mutt burns the cam in a furnace, a kid sister gives it a new contour, and it works beautifully. With true British thoroughness, the fixed cups of the wheel bearings have the metal spun over them to prevent unscrewing. After all this spun metal was chipped away to renew the cup, there still remained a thin spiral in the thread. After a lot of good bad-language and chisel edges had been wasted, the hub was covered with grease, a line scratched through to the offending metal, and nitric acid dropped into the scratch. A few days later the spiral was easily picked out with a pin in the same way as that obstinate delicacy the whelk is plucked from its shell. The machine was fitted with one of those ‘lucky horseshoe’ front brakes, beloved of our grandfathers, with loose blocks that could swing round. (Upon which swinging there followed a noise like a harpist running fingers over strings, and an awakening with cool hand on forehead and sweet voice murmuring, ‘Yes, he may pull round this time, but his face will be even worse than before.”) As a brake it was as much use as the hole in a doughnut, but polished, and soldered to a darning needle, it made a very horsey tie-pin. A real man’s brake was made to take its place. This is a veritable engineering triumph, comparable with, say, the Forth Bridge. Of course, comparisons are odious, and engineering knowledge has advanced a lot since the Forth Bridge was built. Still, it is quite a good bridge. The drum is eight and a quarter inches inside. This curious size was not fixed by the hilly nature of the country. It wasn’t fixed in this country at all, as a matter of fact, but in Detroit, Mich. The shoes are off a Lizzie. And the drum! Aha! Here we have a job of work which would make the inside of a torpedo look like agricultural machinery.
Following the practice of the very, very best firms, it is cut from a solid disc of carbon steel. The man who designed the disc intended it for a gear wheel, but a little legerdemain saved it from that fate. As there isn’t enough room the drum is contoured to follow the spokes. How long the forks will stand this brute of a brake anyone interested can find from the obituary column of our local rag. Name is Smith. A new and rakish gear lever had been—er—acquired from another machine, but it lacked a knob. One must be got somehow. The baby next door had been seen playing with an old type ‘gutty’ golf ball. Good! A few minutes play with the infant and the ickle white ball—and voila! a new knob on the gear lever. Of course the little darling howled a bit. They all do, but considerable practice in taking silver rattles from them teaches one how to handle these human fog-horns. Procure from small candy store piece of that confection generally known as stickjaw toffee. Keep in pocket till slightly soft. Press down on child’s lower jaw with right hand, hold toffee in its mouth with left hand, press lower jaw smartly upwards till the gums or milk teeth are firmly embedded. Save for a slight gurgling, this will keep the most klaxon-throated brat quiet for the best part of an hour. (Note—Putty or used chewing-gum are next to useless for the purpose, and soap makes too much froth.) A large duralumin tube which once formed part of one of HM Rigid Airships, and for which some poor Air Ministry official is probably still looking, surrounds the tail pipe, but is left open at both ends. And the note! How shall I describe that wonderful gobbling noise?
The scarce-heard boom of the surf in the cool depths of some rocky cavern? The muffled bass of some great cathedral organ? Bah! Banal! Hand me my lyre, warder (No, no, not that little one; this is a theme for a big lyre). The legshields, after ABC, are mounted on large diameter tubes so that they will act as skids if the forks give way through the powerful brake (sorry mentioning it again, but I really can’t get. over it). Perhaps not neat, they permit riding in evening dress on a muddy day. (Why anyone should want to do doesn’t matter. Every, knows it is the standard of mudguarding.) Now about tickle-starting. The machine is used by a lovely girl, lissom as a willow wand, dainty as thistle-down, eyes like—oh boy! The wedding’s next month. However, her fiercest kick, I’m glad to say, wouldn’t start a grandfather clock, never mind a gummy seven-fifty twin. And she can’t always have her big, strong boy there to start it for her (blush, blush). This problem was given the brain. Starting depends chiefly on two factors, carburation and ignition. Carburation was dealt with by fitting an air-strangler shutter on the intake; all induction joints taped; new inlet valves and guides; and, to preserve a good fit the guides were enclosed in telescopic covers with a hole drilled into the timing case to keep said covers filled with oily vapour. Unless the engine can be turned over without lifting the exhaust valves, suction at the jet is bound to be weak and an explosive mixture in the cylinders chancy. Dope taps are therefore fitted, which puts the petrol ‘on the spot’ for shooting. From various odd bits of tin and old wireless gear a piece of electrical apparatus was evolved which, driven from the end of the magneto, distributes current to the two old trembler coils, and thence to separate sparking plugs. With the aid of these additions this dainty little bit of fluff—Oh, when she smiles! Gee boy! it’s just like…well, anyway, all she has to do is stand on the kick-starter till the engine goes over compression when it starts first pop. A small neon tube from a sixpenny plug tester mounted in the coil box lid gives: warning when the battery ignition is in use. To-day the incredibly lovely—This serenade most now cease.—Ed.”
“MANY YEARS AGO,” Ixion recalled, “I published on this page a yarn calculated to set some of our readers raving, namely the lads who have no machines and are saving up penuriously. I do not even know whether it was originally true, but as it was amusing I chanced the facts. About four times a year I receive a cachinnating letter in which the yarn is embedded by some delighted correspondent. And I’m now frankly puzzled. I really do not know whether history is perpetually repeating itself in this, as in other respects, and whether all the yarns are true; or whether the yearning minds of bus-less enthusiasts fasten on the old yam whenever it pops up, and their envy and covetousness bite so deep that they cherish it anew. Anyhow, here is the skeleton of the yarn: Jake was waiting for a train, and filled in the gap by wandering into an auction room, where he saw a moderately presentable motor bike put up for sale. The bidding started at 30s and began to languish at £5, so he snapped out the one word ‘Guineas!’ and the hammer fell. Jake paid over the cash, and rode the bike away. A week later he received an irate letter from the fellow with the klaxon voice, threatening that if he failed to remove his other four motor bikes within three days they would be sold to defray expenses. The incredulous Jake removes them pronto, and sells them individually at large profits, so obtaining a bike for nothing, with upkeep money thrown in. I wonder if this ever really happened? But I am quite sure I shall hear the yarn duplicated at least four times a year till I qualify for my wings, harp and crown.” [I’ve heard a variation of this from a chap who claimed to have bought an ex-WD Bedford 3½-tonner in an auction soon after the end of the last war, and found it was full of Norton 16H DR bikes and parts. Nice work if you can get it—Ed].
“‘HE LET GO of the handlebars, started to pull on his gloves, and smiled.’ was the evidence against a motor cyclist at Oldham.”
“NEARLY 7,000 MOTOR CYCLISTS visited Blackpool during the August week-end; this is an increase of 1,700 on last year’s figures.”
“JAPAN IS TO HAVE its ‘Road Traffic Act’, intended to secure uniform motor legislation all over the country. The raising of the speed limit of 25mph is one of the main points of the revision.”
“A TRAFFIC ‘ROBOT’ has been erected at Nolton Corner, Bridgend, one of the most dangerous traffic centres in South Wales. Underneath the light there is a green arrow indicating that traffic is always allowed to pass from Nolton Street into Caroline Street. Even when the red light appears the arrow is still showing, and many motorists seeing it for the first time have been considerably puzzled as to its meaning.”
“IF YOU SHOULD EVER tour in America you may see notices on garages reading ‘Flats fixed’; in English underworld slang this would mean ‘Policemen bribed’; in America it merely means ‘Punctures mended’.”
“A NEW BLACK RUBBER COAT which incorporates a number of novel and very useful features is being introduced by the makers of ‘Stormgard’. Known as the ‘Tanker’ coat, this new garment has a Zip fastener front, while the front overlap has a press-stud fastening. The coat derives its name from a special wide flap at the front which will cover the tank and thus prevent water running down on to the rider. A tab at the rear pulls the coat between the legs and fastens at the front, while elastic leg straps enable the tank cover to be kept in position. A breast pocket is also provided with a Zip fastener, and the inside of the collar is lined with black material, thus making dirty rubber marks on the face and neck impossible. The price of the coat will be 45s. In addition, two excellent features are being added to the existing ‘Stormgard’ waterproof twill coats. One is the ” ‘Tummipad’, which snap-fastens round the waist, and, after being drawn between the legs, buttons on to the inside of the coat at the back; the ‘Tummipad’ is lined, which makes it warm and comfortable, and it should solve the problem of keeping out the rain where the coat is parted over the rain Another common-sense feature is the ‘storm scarf’, a detachable collar with a wool muffler which snap-fastens closely yet comfortably round the neck. The prices of these coats are: Model 202, 55s; Model 204, with detachable fleecy lining, etc, 62s 6d. ‘Stormgard’ coats are made by A Whyman, Wharf Street Clothing Factory, Leeds.
“HUNDREDS OF MOTORISTS on the main Birkenhead-Chester road were held up recently by melted fat which ran over the road when a ten-wheeled lorry carrying 60 sides of beef caught fire.”
“THAT BROOKLANDS LOOK. ‘Camouflage racing locknut hub caps which can be fitted to ordinary hubs are an accessory recently introduced in the car world. A reader remarks that this suggests ideas for motor cycles. For instance, he says, why not dummy exhaust pipes to ‘convert’ single-port models to the two-port type?”
“NEWS CONCERNING THE ‘HUSH-HUSH’ 500cc racing Guzzi is at last assuming a more definite form (writes The Motor Cycle Italian correspondent), and it is now known that it has been out for its trial runs during the last few days, and that they are still in progress. It is reliably reported, too, that some amazing speeds can be expected. The 500cc engine is a four-in-line with their four heads lying forward and primary chain transmission. Though the overall width is rather great the machine is not clumsy. It is doubtful if the new model will be ready in time to race at Monza this year, but it will take part in international events next year. [The dohc four , developed to take on the blown four-pot CNA (that evolved into the Gilera Rondine) featured a Cozette supercharger and developed 45hp @ 8,000rpm but had to make do with a three-speed/hand-change transmission.] Another Guzzi novelty, this time a touring mount, is in store. It has a 500cc three-cylinder engine with the cylinders arranged fan-wise and lying horizontally. The heads will be in front, and the open formation is, of course, to facilitate cooling. It is undergoing bench tests at the moment, and great things are predicted for it.”
“THE CAMPERS WHO DISCOURSE in our pages do not seem familiar with the gadget which ensures my slumbers whenever a tent is my roof,”Ixion remarked. “They are tough fellows, who talk glibly of digging a little hole in the earth under your hip with a clasp-knife, and dreaming non-stop of Esmeralda for ten hours. It may be true at their age, but it isn’t at mine. Reader, do you ever turn over in bed? Then you will turn over in camp. And when you turn over your hip will miss the little hole. I implore you to eschew those little holes. In lieu thereof you can buy at any camp stores a half-mattress. It sounds bulky, but it isn’t. The cheapest type is made of thin fabric stuffed with kapok in wares like corrugated cardboard; the costlier samples are pneumatic. “
MOTOR CYCLE NOISE has been an issue for as long as there have been motor cycles. Ixion, as always, got to the heart of the issue: “I have recently been meditating about the public attitude to noise in the light of three experiences: (1) I tried to sleep in a house over which squadrons of RAF bombers approached London during the last aerial manoeuvres; (2) I stayed in an hotel built close up against a railway; (3) I was at a tennis party when we were all deafened by a most colossal uproar which puzzled everybody until the Graf Zeppelin suddenly shoved its nose over the house, about 200ft up. Nobody uttered the faintest complaint about any of these noises, though the same company always assault me on the topic of noisy motor cycles. Last year I stayed in a house near an ancient church which possessed a peal of eight bells; and one summer afternoon its ringers perpetrated a peal of what, I believe, are called ‘Stedman triples’, and took some three hours to complete their permutations and combinations.The padre was almost lynched by his irate neighbours. I gather that in this country one can make any amount of noise, provided one does not belong to an obscure minority. As Birrell said, ‘Minorities must suffer: it is the badge of their tribe’.”
FOR THE FIRST TIME the International Six Days Trial was held in Italy. Riders were required to average 30mph over 1,183 miles of Alpine tracks, finishing with high-speed tests at Monza. The Italians rose to the occasion by winning the International Trophy. Miro Maffels and Luigi Gilera on Gilera 500s and Rosolino Grana on a 600cc Gilera combo finished without a single penalty point to their names. The Germans were runners up with six points; the Brits finished third with 600 ahead of France on 803. The International Silver Vase went to the Netherlands with another clean sheet. The Italian Vase B-team also scored a perfect zero, but were pipped at the post in the tie-breaking final speed test. Germany finished third with 35 points followed by the Dutch B-team (94), the British B and A-teams (200 and 500 respectively), Italy A (641), Czechoslovakia (662) and France (803). Of 88 starters 42 riders won gold medals; 12 silver and six bronze. Five were awarded certificates, two finished with no award and 21 retired. But while Italian and Dutch riders took top honours, British bikes still ruled the roost—the FICM Gold Medal Manufacturers’ Teams Prize was a tie between Rudge and Triumph. The victorious Dutch Vase team rode Rudges and, as the Blue ‘Un reported: “At the concluding test on Monza Speedway the chief glory rested with the Italian team, Onessi, Berardi and Marin, riding British Triumphs. Not one had dropped a single mark all the week. They circled Monza in line abreast, two yards apart, as if attempting the perfect dirt track start.” Six women rode in the trial, finishing with two golds, a silver and a bronze. It all sounds pretty straightforward, until you turn to the Western Daily Press, where the purple prose flowed like Italian wine…
“BRITISH MEN AND WOMEN riders are among the motor cyclists of many nations who are daily risking their lives in the hazardous trial…On the treacherous snow-covered boulder-strewn passes many riders have already come to grief, and others have had amazing escapes on brinks of precipices. ‘Tilting at windmills by knights in armour,’ say the villagers of the Dolomites, was sensible and rational, compared to the strange conduct of motor cyclists—men and women—who are charging about knocking bits off the mountains here this week. It is the week of the International six days’ trial, but the mountains are giving as good as they get, and there has been more than one trail of blood leading over treacherous snow-covered, boulder-strewn passes like the famous Stelvio, the highest mountain road in Europe. The Stelvio is 9,042ft above sea-level at its highest point. This race ought to be for the Victoria Cross of motor cycling. Every day there are half a dozen acts of bravery performed by the riders, and the British teams, both men and women, would be hard to beat for their intrepidity and sustained courage…After the popping of his tyre when he was on a road bristling with boulders and with such snake-line twists that it threatened to overturn him at any moment, Welch, of the British International Vase team, rode on with set teeth, his tyreless wheel bumping along perilously. But a sinister twist of track beat him and he crashed into the mountain side, bleeding and almost unconscious. Coming up behind him was Bradley, another member of the team. He stopped, realising that the loss of a mark was better than the loss of a life, and he and his passenger lifted Welch, whose arm was also also badly injured, into their sidecar. Walsh was bleeding so copiously that his head had to he held up to check the bleeding as the ‘Good Samaritan’ wound its way down the mountain to a hotel, where Welch was placed in the care of a surgeon…Poupenell, captain of the French team, with his passenger and the machine and sidecar, were hurled 40 feet, and were lucky to stop before finding the bottom of the precipice. Both men were injured, but they were lucky to escape with their lives. JW Mortimer only escaped serious injury, and probably saved his life, when, finding himself in a headlong run for precipice, he threw himself off his machine to the rough ground on the edge of the Pass. The ordeal of trying to keep to schedule knocked 16 riders out on the first day, and many of those now left are so nervously exhausted that it is impossible for them to keep to schedule. The British women in these conditions are real Boadiceas. The village cynics call them lunatics, but they have endeared themselves to the villagers generally as heroines and their fame goes on before them, so that when they arrive in villages or towns the roads are lined with people, all hailing there with cheers and gifts…Miss Edith Foley has been dubbed ‘The Little Miss because she conquers all difficulties with such jaunty skill as to be almost contemptuous of her safety. Miss Chris Herbert is the only one to have lost marks early in the trial, The German. Henne, who held the world’s speed record before JS Wright won it for England, is making a break-neck race of it. He usually clocks in 20 minutes ahead of everyone else, and now he has done it and kept a whole skin at the same time is a marvel to all motor-cyclists.”
“FOLLOWING THE NEW LAKE GARDA tunnel road, some British officials found a locked pole across the road, which is not yet open to the public and the foreman refused to let them pass. Motoring in Italy is usually possible with a minimum of three phrases, namely: Diretti? (Straight on?) Distra? (Right?) Sinistri? (Left?). None of these served to shunt the pole. At last a tactful Briton produced three bottles of beer from the sternsheets of the car, and up flew the pole instanter. Beer, after all, is the universal language!” That was Ixion, of course. When he sat down to review the British teams’ performance the great man was less jovial but oh so perceptive.
“THIS ‘INTERNATIONAL’ BUSINESS would be quite amusing if one was a dispassionate Eskimo and had no strong feelings about the victors, one way or the other. England and Germany, experts at the rugged road game, both glibly assume that their teams will score 100% in the preliminary 1,000 odd and concentrate on the bonus marks to be earned by extra speed on the track. We put in three super-tuned engines in roadster frames; and even then don’t go the whole hog, for our sidecar was only a 500. So when another machine butts into its tail, and it has to scrap to make up the resultant loss of time, a key goes. Germany’s entry was presumably affected by trade politics, since their 350cc Zündapp could never have lived with the two 90mph BMW buses, and would almost certainly have let them down in the speed test if England and Germany had reached Monza with clean sheets. I fancy, too, that Germany must have better men than the Zündapp rider, von Krohn, who hardly impressed our boys as a Rowley or a Perrigo. Anyhow, the Zündapp blotted Germany’s clean sheet, and so Italy, whose men would have had no earthly chance of track bonus marks, was the sole Trophy team to reach Monza with full marks, and scooped the Trophy with never a kilometre of the Brooklands business to worry them. In the Vase competition we were partly foolish and partly unlucky. Bradley is probably our finest sidecar stunt-merchant, and ought, I think, to have driven the Trophy sidecar outfit. But in my judgment it was idiotic to handicap a Vase team with a sidecar when the rules required no sidecars; for over any Alpine course the betting is 100 to 1 against any sidecar which is pitted against solos ridden by really first-class men, of whom we have enough and to spare. Our misfortune in the Vase was Lewis Welch’s crash; and even that was partly folly. We all knew in advance that tyres are the Achilles’ heel of an Alpine trial. The Alpine roads are almost paved with hobnails. It is true that a Dunlop fort cover has an extra layer of canvas, but there is no limit to the length of a hobnail, and an extra layer of canvas won’t stop a super-size in hobnails. Some motor cycles have quickly detachable wheels; have the ACU ever heard of them? Not to make invidious mention of British makes, the Gilera has such a wheel—I saw Miss Edyth Foley hoik her back wheel out at Monza in sixty seconds. If our team representatives had been given such wheels they could have inserted a new tube in no more time than it takes to inflate a slow puncture; and Welch would not have been forced to inflate and scrap, inflate and scrap as he was actually forced. Bad staff-work, coupled with the inevitable spot of ill-luck, explains Britain’s three-barrelled failure. Italy gambled on Germany and Britain being let down by thinking too much in terms of Brooklands; and, glorious as the Gilera achievement was, I don’t think the Gilera would have been on the map if German trade politics had allowed their team to consist of three BMW machines with another Hnne or Mauermayer in the saddle. Not that Henne wasn’t lucky. He is a magnificent speedster, but he rode very foolishly. Rowley or Perrigo could have led the field through-out, and arrived half an hour early at the easier checks if they had
wished to do so. But they had more sense. The first essential is to finish; and one gains nothing except the grins of the groundlings by scrapping all the week. Everybody was commenting on the superior reliability of those British machines which were handled by foreigners. That opinion needed analysing. Eleven Britons on British machine earned golds; three Britons on British machines earned silvers; one Briton on a British bike got a bronze; two Britons on British machines got certificates; and eight British-mounted Britons retired. Foreigners riding our machines won 8 golds, 1 silver, 4 bronzes, and 1 certificate; and three of them retired. There is not enough contrast in these figures to suggest that the foreigners used standard engines and secured reliability, while the British (as has been hinted) relied on TT engines and sacrificed reliability. The figures are merely inconclusive. The one technical defect which was unmistakably pilloried by the International was the inadequacy of brakes. British brakes are plenty good enough for British roads. They are not good enough for a week of ‘stelvioing’, as somebody called it. A man is set to average 20mph over 30 miles of road which consists of a succession of really fierce corners all located on really fierce gradients—half up, and half down. He can do it if he escapes trouble. But as a safeguard against a tyre stop, or because he has a tyre stop, or bemuse he is afraid an even stickier section awaits him farther on, he decides to take the 30 miles at 30mph or as near as he can get to that average. He rides the section in a series of short sprints, braking hard at each corner. Even if he does not take a toss and damage his brake-gear (few escaped such a fate for the whole six days), he bumps into brake-shoe trouble through wear. Most of our men were heard to say: ‘TT brakes for me next year!’ If that means anything, it means that all British machines should have TT brakes as standard, since all British machines are built with an eye to export, and the extra cost is slight, and the home user won’t grumble if he is given better brakes. This same criticism means that brake gear is still far too vulnerable in the event of a mild spill. Many rear brakes on machines of all nationalities were temporarily out of action from this cause, plus a percentage of front brakes. The footrest casualties were again enormous. The Gileras had tubular stays leading from the base of the front down tube to the outer tip of the footrest; I was not wholly convinced of their complete merit, but they seemed to act as skids on which the bus could sledge sideways in a mild tumble, and so protected vital controls, such as brake-pedals and clutch-operating mechanisms. I doubt the wisdom of the ‘no lunch stop’ policy, initiated by M Printamp in the Grenoble trial of 1930, and repeated this year. In theory, the troops get food off roadside buffets outside the cheek. In actual practice, the riders who most need food (eg those who strike trouble, and run late) get none at all. It is more difficult to speak of the schedule speed. Some of the men managed to have time to spare at almost every check, in addition to replenishing, and eating, and even taking a few photographs. Others complained bitterly that the speeds were dangerous throughout. Certainly almost everybody whom I saw tried to rev up to 60 whenever the road allowed. I think the truth is that (a) the speed would have been enormously dangerous if the police had not cleared the riders’ path on corners so marvellously, and (b) that the speed was intensely dangerous whenever a man lost time and had to exceed the set speed to regain it, but after all men can hardly grouse about the speed when three women scored full marks. Some people say that the culminating speed test on the track, with its bonus marks, is a blunder and encourages the pneumatic-drill type of engine. There is an element of fact in the contention. But the final speed test is really a ‘condition’ test, and, as such, far more efficient than any judges’ scrutiny. Personally, I thought the planning of the trial was as sound as the Italian organisation, which was really wonderful. The staff concerned certainly deserve full marks. Except for a wee spot of muddle and delay at Monza, for which the cyclone provided ample justification, never a cog slipped from start to finish. Moreover, the inter-national atmosphere was really amicable Incidentally, please notice how well the four-cylinders did. Collier’s Matchless could hardly be blamed for succumbing right at the end to a storm which was really an inundation. There were four Square Four Ariels, and three of them secured awards, the one victim pegging out on the track; and none of them was ridden by men of reputation. Finally, surely the girls have earned the right to he allotted a Vase team in 1932?
“THE STELVIOISTS. A commentary on the Performances of the Winners and the British Competitors. THE TROPHY WINNERS. L Gilera, M Maffeis and R Grana, on Gilera machines—Gilera on a 600cc sidecar and the other two on 500cc solos. In the absence of short observed hills it was not possible to watch individual riding in much detail. None of the Italian trio was ever seen in trouble. In the depots they were cool and efficient. On the road they took no risks, and the sidecar was magnificently handled. The ‘one-make’ team is a real asset, combining works enthusiasm with patriotic fervour. They used simple, solid machines, gambling on l00% road marks, and trusting their rivals to think too much of speed at Monza. A sound policy, executed with efficiency and blessed by fortune, which earned a deserved victory. They have now one the Trophy twice running, and will be hard to heat next year. THE VASE WINNERS. Eysink, Bakker Schutt, and van Hamersveld, mounted respectively on an Eysink-Python and Rudges, deserve enormous credit for this persevering victory after years of effort. Coming from a land of fens, they beat mountaineers aiming mountains—an amazing feat. Three cool-headed men like the Gilera trio, they concentrated on 100% road reliability and safe riding. They had the sense not to include a sidecar. None, of them was ever seen fussed or in trouble. On qIcky sections they used their heads and eschewed fireworks. A magnificent win. INDIVIDUAL BRITISH RIDERS. AE Perrigo (493cc BSA), gold medal: An ideal Trophy man. Cool as a fish; lightning at diagnosis when required; deft in roadside repairs; can scrap with the minimum of risk when scrapping is inevitable. GE Rowley (498cc AJS), gold medal: Another Perrigo. Possibly better than Perrigo in two emergencies, namely, when really high speed is momentarily demanded; or when the going is more than foul. Resolute, clear-headed, and fearless. I fancy Henne tried to coax both Rowley and Perrigo to scrap unnecessarily; he failed. VN Brittain (493cc Sunbeam), gold medal: Quiet, modest, and as fine a roadster as anybody in the world. Tough—can stand unlimited scrapping over the rough stuff. FE Thacker (497cc Ariel), gold medal: Another potential Trophy man. Apt to get a little excited in emergencies, but so do the best French and Italians, and his excitement doesn’t impair his efficiency. A splendid rider. Jack Williams (499cc Rudge), gold medal: Very fast and very
cool, keeps the model up to snuff. Might be the best Trophy-mate for Rowley if the 1932 Trophy were settled by a track speed test against the. Germans. Miss Betty Lermitte (499cc Rudge), gold medal: Physically hardly equal to such a job as this, and only accomplished it by the pluck of a lioness. Better than most men. Held up a heavy bus at speed all the week round eternal corners and over incessant loose stuff, and crowned it by averaging over 50 on an unknown track when she ought to have been in a nursing home. R Macgregor (499cc Rudge), gold model: A dour Scot who trains for the job, and has a brain as cool as ice and as quick as lightning. Can hold the model up anywhere, and travel as fast as anybody. A fine teamster. Would never let a Trophy team down. AJ Smith (348cc Calthorpe), gold medal: Keeps in the background but does his stuff—look at his jaw and you’ll guess what gets him through. Not yet as famous as he deserves to be. It will never be his fault if he drops a gold. WT Tiffen (348cc Velocette), gold medal: Getting old for this punishing job—a pioneer who rode the front-drive Werner when it was new. Stuck the hammering well, and made his brains atone for his years. A master of the craft. T Robbins (496cc New Hudson), gold medal: Rode brilliantly all the week, and performed a great physical feat on the sixth day, when, in spite of a heavy crash in the great storm, kept on time and struggled through the speed test when really unequal to starting his own engine. Should be very proud of his medal. Miss Marjorie Cottle (349cc BSA), gold medal: A pocket Amazon. Looks frail, but must be made of steel wire. Always cheery and smiling. Never seems to have any trouble, which means that she forestalls it. As neat as any man; absolutely fearless; rides with her head; always just as fast as the occasion requires. One of the dozen first claimants for a place in the 1932 Trophy team, if it wasn’t for the track speed test. Miss Edyth Foley (500cc Gilera), gold medal: Another tabloid lion cub, with a joke and a laugh for everybody at the end of a day’s pounding. Brought her Italian machine through as if she’d been riding it for years. CW Ramstedt (246cc Cotton), silver medal: A private owner with a six-year-old frame, but a Brooklands engine. Would have had a gold but for a mistake in checking in too early. Was set the slow schedule for baby machines, but rode fast enough to qualify on the fast schedule. A first-class all-rounder. Worth a place in the teams. JW Mortimer (499cc P&M), silver medal: Doesn’t look the build for the job, but only a particularly vicious
puncture on a tight section robbed him of his gold. Quiet, cool and expert, he rode splendidly. HS Kershaw (348cc Calthorpe), silver medal: Lost two marks through stopping to eat before the route had taught him there was no time for voluntary. pauses. Knows the game from A to Z, and finished splendidly. LM Deville (499cc P&M), bronze medal: Don’t say ‘tyres’ to Deville! He’d have had an easy gold but for nails, and too many of them, and big ones at that. A cool, determined rider. Miss Chris Herbert (348cc Calthorpe), certificate: From one point of view registered the finest feat of the week. What with a crash and its aftermath, she rode most of this precipitous course almost brake-less. At mid-week you could spin her wheels with the brakes hard on. A most fearless person. JJ Boyd-Harvey (596cc Scott), certificate: ‘Abandoned ship’, as he humorously termed it, on the fifth day through a front-wheel bearing failure, but saved his gold for the moment. Abandoned ship more heavily next day from the same cause, but had the pluck to finish and face Monza in spite of it Another man you can’t frighten. HS Perrey (499cc Ariel sc), retired: Everybody sympathises with our captain’s deplorable luck. Perrey should have been in the team on a solo. He’d have walked home with his gold. LA Welch (488cc Royal Enfield), retired: Nail-catchers ; self-sealing tyre-fillers; puncture; crash. Every precaution taken in vain. A first-class man who was outed by sheer devilry of fortune. NP Bradley (599cc Sunbeam sc), retired: Fought a sea of troubles like the imperturbable expert that he is. Should be our Trophy sidecar man next year. EH Littledale (497cc Ariel), retired: Crashed two days before the trial, and ought never to have started. Experienced, plucky, and unlucky. M Greenwood (499cc New Imperial), retired: Another veteran, full of craft, and staggered by nothing. Had eight spokes go on the fifth day, and no spares to hand. Knew his wheel must col-lapse and rode on, hoping against hope till the inevitable happened. HW Collier (593cc four-cylinder Matchless), retired: The unluckiest man in the entry. Four kilometres to go, and a gold in his pocket. The rain came down like a solid wall of water, and six hours later the ignition still couldn’t be coaxed to function. GW Shepherd (588cc Norton sc), retired: A conjugal holiday wrecked by playing Good Samaritan to a fallen Italian rider. Kept going for 150 miles after a crash which knocked him out. W Clarke (490cc Vincent-HRD), retired: An amateur enthusiast. Took a toss like almost everybody else, but was unlucky enough To break something which mattered—his clutch-lever fulcrum. Proceeded clutch-less; took more tosses, but kept on smiling. Can make a champion.
“MISS LERMITTE AND THE COUNT. Several of the officials at the International were Counts of the Holy Roman Empire. As such, they wore tiny silver coronets in their buttonholes, and at the beginning of the week I treated them with colossal respect. As the trial wore on I discovered that they were quite human after all. For example, at Merano one night I called for Esso (a blue Italian version of Ethyl) at a garage, and outside it stood a very dusty count in overalls, surveying, in rather woebegone fashion, his BMW, which looked a little kinked at its front end and had grass growing on the front mudguard. ‘Hello, Count. Been off?’ I enquired rather foolishly. I’ve heard a good many excuses for spilling the model, but his was quite new. This is approximately what he said: ‘Ach, my clear fellow, even so! I am riding down the Stelvio. There is a woosh past me. It is your divine Betty! Ach, what grace! Ach, what verve! Ach, what speed! Ada, bellissima! Adoring her, I fall off!'”
“UNDER CONDITIONS THAT WERE exceedingly trying due to heavy and patchy rain, JM Muir (490cc Norton) won the Senior Manx Grand Prix at a speed of 71.79mph, or rather more than 2mph faster than the corresponding sped of last year’s race. Muir, who is a Cambridge under-graduate, rode a race of supremely good judgment. He used his previous experience to advantage, and he was never pressed from the time he took the lead in the third lap to the end…he had a 10-minute advantage over the second man at the finish…Retirements throughout were heavy, and only 16 finished out of the 50 who started…Ten minutes in front of anyone else and an hour in front of some of the slower runners! There is exhilaration in following a dog-fight, but this unrelieved concentration on one man catches at the throat. Ramsey, Mountain, the Craig—the pointer follows him. They say blood is streaming down his face for the steering damper has knocked his mouth. Down through the rain he comes, water spuming from the wheels. Here he is! The stands rise to him. The cheers go up. Cheers that change to a gasp as the Norton, overbraked for the first time. slithers to the ground and Muir slithers along the wet tarmac. ‘He’s down! Oh! Is he hurt? Look! He’s getting up! He’s walking! Hooraaaaaagh!’
In comes Carr, unflurried, smiling and gently braking. He must wait for Courtney’s arrival to know his fate—second or third. H Hartley (Norton) starts out on his last lap after two men have finished!…full marks have to be given to Stranger, who piloted his AJS into fourth place, the fastest 350. A stout show for a newcomer. It has been a gruelling race. The scoreboard tells the tale. A wilderness of blank space with here and there the oasis of a thin trickle of figures telling the story of someone’s achievement. Yet though it has ben slightly ‘flat’, it has somehow seemed desperate, and out of its desperation emerge Muir and his Norton, gloriously triumphant…In spite of the gruelling conditions he finished little the worse either for the race itself or his spectacular parting from the model after crossing the line. He did not enjoy trying to bite the steering damper, admitted that he did the wrong thing in trying to remove the scenery at Signpost on the last lap, and found the rain trying, especially when he got a bee on one google-glass and a blob of oil on the other.” Results: 1, JM Muir (490cc Norton), Cambridge University MCC; 2, LR Courtney (499cc Rudge), N London and Crewe MCCs; 3, JH Carr (490cc Norton), Southport MCC; 4, H Hartley (499cc Rudge), Grantham and Crewe MCCs; 5, WL Stranger (348cc AJS), Uxbridge and Manx MCCs; 6, RG Williamson (499cc Rudge) Fodens and Crewe MCCs.
“FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN SUCCESSION DJ Pirie has won the Junior Manx Grand Prix. Thus history repeats itself, for when the Amateur Race was instituted in 1923 the winner that year was also the winner in 1924; then, in the Grand Prix which last year replaced the ‘Amateur’, Pirie was the first Junior winner, and last week he repeated the performance. His win was a great personal success, for in the late stages of practising he. crashed and, apart from his personal injuries, his Velocette machine was damaged. Friends rallied round, the machine was put right by continuous labour until almost the hour of starting, and the rider himself was able to pass. the doctor on the day before the race. But Pirie was not a really fit man in the sense that a man should be fit ; yet he drove himself, not less than the machine, to a wonderful victory, comfortably ahead of the field; and he collapsed as soon as he brought the motor to rest over the finishing line. The runner-up was JH Carr (346cc New Imperial), who rode with great determination; his machine had not quite enough speed to catch the winner, but it had reliability, and he used the combination to the full, thereby enhancing a reputation that has chiefly been acquired on the sand. In spite of the hot pace, there were 10 riders who qualified for replicas out of the 14 who finished. Among the heavy list of retirements there was no withdrawal due to a serious accident; minor crashes and mechanical troubles were about equally divided in causing them…Soon the yellow discs dropped on the scoreboard, indicating that Muir and Adcock (Raleigh) had reached Governor’s Bridge. But neither
came through to the start. again. Munk’s (Velocette) indicator dropped and he came through at speed, closely followed by Pirie. What had happened to Muir and Adcock? What had happened to Harding? Then the ‘phone message came through. Muir’s gear box had smashed up. Adcock had hit the wall and broken a chain. Then a tale of misfortune filtered through about the Manx ‘hope’. He had lost a couple of minutes with adjustments at Bray, and was touring the course—what an anti-climax for the star of the practising! News from the telephones came thick and fast. Kirby (Montgomery) had crashed at Ballacraine and buckled a wheel. Clay (Velocette) had been off in the Square at Ramsey, and Fletcher (Sunbeam) had had another stop at the same place. Stranger (AJS) had skidded at the Gooseneck and had bent footrests and gear control, and was proceeding on one gear. Wills (Rudge) was touring with a dud magneto…”JH Carr (New Imperial) was riding doggedly and well; beautifully, in fact, though he had not Pirie’s speed. Yet it seemed that the race must now be between these two. Morris Cann (Velocette), the Syston entry, skidded a complete circle at Quarter Bridge, but carried on. Wheller (Dot) was at rest on the Gooseneck with a dead engine, Stewart (Rudge) was at Hillberry with a broken chain. Hill (Levis) retired on Bray Hill with plug trouble, Harris (Norton) came off at Quarter Bridge, and at the same place White (Velocette) hit the kerb and was removed with slight concussion. Just after Pirie completed his fourth lap Lea rode through the start like a man possessed, a full lap behind. Then Cook (Velocette) rode in, passed his pit in spite of the frantic waves of his attendant, and turned into the paddock. Clay was reported out at Ballaugh with his engine finished. Fifteen men were definitely retired in two hours, and several others were ‘missing’. It was a hectic lap, with Pirie in a comfortable lead, Carr riding hard, and Hartley, as he passed the stands, lifting a cheerful thumb to his pit attendant…Pirie won! He won comfortably, and, having won, he brought his machine to rest and collapsed. He was carried into the tent looking very ill indeed, but he had ridden a fine race that was a personal triumph in every sense.
That he won by over four minutes and so robbed the closing scenes of any tensely fought-out finish does not matter. Carr was a good second in that he rode with complete judgment. Many a man so near success would have forced himself or the machine over their combined limits of safety. He did not do so, and by virtue of that restraint was second. Much the same applies to Hartley and Widdall and the others who made up the fourteen finishers, of whom 10 exceeded the winner’s time by less than one-tenth, thereby gaining the coveted Manx GP replicas. The race had been won at a higher speed than the previous year’s Senior Race, and the winner had beaten his own winning speed in last year’s Junior Race by nearly 8mph…DJ Pirie, who won the Junior Race last year, is now 24 years old. He also rode in the 1929 Junior and Senior Amateur Races. He is an architect and surveyor by profession, and resides at Southgate, in the north of London. After winning, he was ‘all in’, for he had started when still feeling the effects of his practice crash, apart from the strenuous work of getting his machine back again into running order. He knew he was leading after the first two laps, but was obsessed by the idea that he was being chased, and his first words on coming round after he was carried in were, ‘Has he passed me?’ But he quickly recovered, and was full of praise for the help of his friends who worked so hard to put his machine straight after the practice smash.” Of 41 starters only 14 stayed the course. Results: 1, DJ Pirie (348 cc Velocette), Southgate MCC; 2, JH Carr (346cc New Imperial), Southport MCC; 3, H Hartley (349cc Rudge), Grantham MCC; 4, H Widdall (349cc Rudge), Oldham MCC; 5, JA McL Leslie (349cc Rudge); Edinburgh MCC; 6, R Harris (348cc Norton), Crewe MCC.
“AMONG SOME MANX GRAND PRIX riders charged at Douglas with having insufficient silencers was DJ Pirie, the Junior race winner; the stipeniary magistrate took the opportunity of congratulating him on his plucky performance—and then fined him £2!”
“THERE HAS BEEN a heavy decline in the export of motor cycles from Belgium for January-June showing a total of only 2,336 machines as contrasted with 5,503 in the corresponding half of 1930—a drop of nearly 58%. Although France remains the best customer for Belgian machines shipments have declined from 1,983 to 462; to Sweden they from from 458 to 217; to Switzerland 347 to 200; Austria 377 to 111; Poland 227 to 99; the Belgian Congo 154 to 97; Germany 360 to 60; and Spain, from 183 to only 2 machines.”
“AT MONTLHERY ON AUGUST 24TH a 98cc motopedale, in the hands of the Continental rider Rapeau, broke [a series of] long-distance records in Class 3 (solos up to 100cc) [including]: 50km, 54.63mph (up from 48.57mph); 100 miles 49.62mph (46.91mph); 200 miles, 46.23mph (new record); four hours, 47.02mph (35.68mph). The records were previously held by the Misses JE and TR Archer (98cc Atom-JAP), who made them at Brooklands on October 29th 1930.”
“BRITISH MACHINES WERE SUCCESSFUL in a recent road race held near Riga, Latvia. The event was rather picturesquely termed ‘the 100 kilometres paved high road championship’…500cc Solo,: 1, J Krause (490cc AJW); 2, Apschneek (493cc BSA). The winner’s speed of 68.09mph constitutes a record for Latvia. 350cc Solo: 1, A Weiss (349cc Rudge), 54.6mph; 2, A Treiburg (346cc AJW). Sidecar: A Kasak (986cc BSA), 44.66mph; 2, A Losberg (493cc BSA).”
“TO-NIGHT (THURSDAY) THE RAC will hold a demonstration of anti-dazzle devices on Midsummer Common, Cambridge, beginning at 8.15pm. The demonstration is being held in connection with the International Illumination Congress, and will be attended by delegates to the Congress, representatives of the Ministry of Transport, the National Physical Laboratory, Chief Constables and other interested parties. In all, 85 entries, among them a Panther with twin headlamps, have been received. The vehicles on which the various headlamps will be fitted will first be parked in line to enable those present to examine the method of operation and value of each device. At approximately 9pm they will be driven in single file over a selected course so as to bring them head-on to the spectators, and the devices will then be operated with the vehicles moving.”
“OTHER TIMES, OTHER MANNERS. Difficulties in the way of organising cross-country scrambles in these days resulted in a somewhat drastic change in the arrangement of the Yorkshire Centre’s great Scott Trial, and for the first time the event was run over two circuits and kept within a comparatively small area in Wharfedale and Washburndale. To some extent, in consequence, the event lost its old character. It lacked that spirit of adventure associated with setting out into almost unknown wildernesses, miles from anywhere. It crossed and re-crossed and included many sections of good roads, and it had, too, a lack of really terrific hills. All this made it impossible for competitors to feel ‘far from home’, no matter how ‘fed up’ they became. There was something else missing, too, which the older supporters could not explain, until suddenly Geoff Bode, who has ridden in lots of Scott Trials, jumped up from a settee late in the evening at tho Middleton at Ilkley. Jumping up like that is common, excusable, and understandable after the Scott Trial. Everyone thought he had sat on a tender spot. But he hadn’t. ‘I know!’ he cried. ‘There were no gates!’ And that was the fact. There had been no gates (always opening the wrong way) to exasperate exhausted riders. A Scott Trial without gates is almost unthinkable. What is the world coming to! There were only six non-starters out of the entry list of 100. It was a quality entry, too, with most of the star Midland soloists, a good crowd from the South, a sextette from Scotland (with supporters), and four men from Ireland, with Stanley Woods as their leader. One advantage of the new arrangements was that the start was not too early, and it did not necessitate the usual ride out into the wilderness to get there. The start was actually at ten-thirty, but by 10.40am one of the Southern riders had already given up the attempt, this being AH Bunyon (348cc BSA), while very shortly after, at Kex Beck, CC Ingram (595cc Douglas), from Dublin, got his motor filled with water, with disastrous consequences. Kex Beck was the outlet from five miles of Denton Moor on to a section of good road which was tantalisingly visible a few yards beyond the stream. The water-splash itself was deep (as were all the splashes after a rainy night), but it was also narrow, which- probably made it worse, for the entrance thereto was in the nature of a nose-dive. After the splash a muddy hill had to be climbed to reach the temporary breather afforded by the mile of main road that followed, and by the time the majority had reached it they sorely needed the respite it offered them. Only J White (248cc Ariel), S Woods (490cc Norton), G Gill (596cc Scott) and GB Goodman (348cc Norton) managed to cross and climb without penalty. A mile after Sex Beck the climb of Cat Crags had to be tackled. It was undoubtedly the most spectacular point on the circuit, though not possibly, the most difficult. But it was bad enough, and although wind and sunshine may have dried some of the upper sections they had had no beneficial effect co the morass at the
bottom. Stanley Woods (Norton) plunged through the mud and climbed away beautifully, however, and H Fernside (348cc Norton) was also excellent. Jack White (248cc Ariel) did splendidly. C Helm (493cc Sunbeam) got badly stuck, but W Harrison (346 Levis) barged into the mud flat flat out and was nearly successful. JR Stockdale (494cc Triumph) was thrown off, but, holding on to the bars, ran along and rejoined his machine without a stop. Several riders stuck in the mud, until the hill-foot was littered with them, but WW. Hey (499cc Rudge) rushed through and scarcely used ins feet, while A Starkie (348cc Velocette) was almost as good. Naturally Vic Brittain (Sunbeam) dealt properly with the situation, but GS Hadfield (346cc Levis) plunged headlong into the mire. AD Stewart (499 Budge) was neat; in company with J. Leslie (499cc Rudge) he had hurried back from the Manx Grand Prix to ride for Scotland. AE Perrigo (349cc BSA) scattered spectators, observers and photographers as he used all the ‘road’ and most of the surrounding atmosphere in a meteoric ascent. Another star, Jack Williams (Rudge) was not so successful, for his back wheel slipped over the firm edge of the bog and disappeared from sight—he was dragged back to solid (comparatively speaking) ground and then carried on. Jack Leslie (Rudge) kept moving nicely and Eddie Flintoff (Sunbeam) footed just a little. Eric Langton (596cc Scott) had a slight stop, but remained master of the situation, while his brother Oliver, on the lightweight Scott, footed hard but was apparently quite happy. One of the neatest shows, with only occasional touches, was made by JA Hudson (248cc Ariel), and R Syers (596cc Scott), in shirt sleeves and waders, handled his machine masterfully. Marjorie Cottle (249cc BSA) touched only a few times, and looked fresh and happy in spite of travelling without rest in three days from Rome to Ilkley, where she arrived just in time to start. From the summit of Cat Crags the riders bumped their way to the comparative smoothness of the old Moorcock Hall roadway. That they got a shaking is borne out by the fact that among the general debris of mechanical parts picked up and returned to the officials was a set of false teeth! The restfulness of secondary roads was not unduly prolonged, however, with Bramley Head, Hoodstorth, and Holme Ghyll splashes and then the diabolical pathway of crazy paving that most have been laid generations ago with no other object in view than that of helping the Scott Trial organisation. Over this section Thacker (Ariel) carrying No 79, was really turning things up. He passed Hampson (Sunbeam), No 36, and the latter was so surprised that he called out ‘He’s going well, isn’t he?’ although he might more fitly have paraphrased the famous Shell remark and said ‘wasn’t he?’. Graham Goodman (348cc Norton), who, usually immaculate, looked dirtier than he has ever looked on a trial, paused momentarily (feet up of course) in time to remark, ‘Good morning, nice day!’ to the little group of Press people who were studying facial expressions at this point and who unanimously awarded the palm to JA Watson-Bourne (396cc Vincent HRD), who slipped back off his saddle as his spring rear wheel rose at one ultra-crazy paving stone and caressed him shrewdly in an expected quarter. On this section Miss Cottle footed less than most, although she was handicapped by a broken addle. WL Downings’ Velocette two-stroke appeared to he in danger of falling to pieces, while A Tidswell swept the under-shield off his Panthette. P0 Thomason (497cc Ariel) suffered a puncture, and carried on slowly, actually reaching the lunch control, where he worked for is solid hour before being able to restart. Goodman retired with gear box trouble, and George Rowley (498cc AJS) swept the oil union off his crank case. Another who had to retire on the first lap was
Geoff W Hill, who was riding the chain-cum-belt Triumph with which he won the 1921 Scot trial—his effort was worthy of a better fate. Another of the older school to find the going too much for him was W G. Gabriel (247 Sunbeam, while JE Storey 499cc Rudge) only got past the lunch check on to the second circuit. All told, 19 retired on the first circuit. and those who remained found that the second time was even harder than before. At Kex Beck, for instance, not a single clean performance was made, although there had been four before. At Hoodstorth splash, too, whereas EK Langton (595cc Scott) had made a clean crossing on the first round, and so registered the one and only score against this obstacle, there was not one performance without penalty on the second attempt. Woods was leading the held by a tremendous distance, but Brittain, Flintoff, Perrigo, and Milner were all far in advance of their starting positions, while G Milnes, A Jefferies, and EK Langton, all riding Scotts, were also well in the forefront on time. Troubles of various kinds were developing. GB Bode (Sunbeam) had a broken clutch thrust, and was necessarily on fixed gears. Bob MacGregor (Rudge) filled his engine at a splash, and either cracked the head or blew the gasket, so that he could only proceed slowly. Jack Williams’ Rudge sounded anything but nice internally. The gear lever of VEH Newell’s Royal Enfield had broken off at the gate. Snelling’s (Levis) kick-starter was bent upwards. Thacker’s foot rest had gone and he was using the exhaust pipe of his Ariel as a substitute. Elliott (346cc Royal Enfield) had the remnants of his footrests suspended on robber bands, his front stand was trailing, and his mudguard and number-plate were buckled. Denton Moor was crossed for its full extent twice on the two circuits of 23 miles, but K Fawcett (348cc Triumph) failed to follow the directions as to the procedure on ending lap 2; he carried straight on and did a third circuit of the moor before being able to regain the correct route to the finish, although, in spite of this, he still managed to finish within the limit time. Once again the last obstacle was that 280-yard descending gulley called Jefsfynde, and it is but poetic justice that the ‘Jef’ who found it—Geoff Manes (595cc Scott)—should land on his ear half-way down. No one was entirely free from footing in Jefsfynde, although J White (248cc Ariel) made by far the best show until his comb case landed fair and square on a boulder. Stanley Woods was easily the first arrival at the finishing point at the foot of Jefsfynde. He was in almost 25 minutes before the next man—A Jefferies (596cc Scott). Then came H Fearnside (348cc Norton), VN Brittain (493cc Sunbeam), E Williamson (346cc Levis), AE Perrigo (349cc BSA), J Williams (499cc Rudge), W Milner (490cc Norton) and BJ Jenkins (494cc Triumph). There were over 70 survivors, although the number who covered the course within 2½ hours of zero time was actually 62. Zero time was 2hr 39min 44sec, which was easily established by Stanley Woods (490cc Norton), who thus proved that he is as fast among his fellows on the rough stuff as he is on the racing circuit. TE Flintoff (493cc Sunbeam) took 2hr 52min 25sec, while VN Brittain got round in 2hr 52min 57sec. A. Jefferies’ (596cc Scott) time was 2hr 54min 45sec, and AE Perrigo (349cc BSA) clocked 3hr 4min 39sec. Woods lost 44 marks on observation, but Brittain, by his superb riding, had dropped only 28 under this head, so that he easily collected the premier award for the best individual performance, with a total loss of only 35 marks. As for the teams, although the whole six Northerners finished, the three best Midlanders scored 11 marks advantage over the best three in the Northern six, and so Midlands topped the list, with North a good runner-up, South being also-ran, likewise Ireland and Scotland, the ‘overseas’ team actually beating the Scotsmen. Once again that remarkable trio—Brittain, Helm and Flintoff, secured a ‘one-make’ win for the Sunbeam, with a loss of 172 marks, against the loss of 259 returned by the Scott trio, Jefferies and the two
Langtons. Results: Awards on time and observation: Alfred A Scott Memorial Trophy and Replica and Harrogate Club Rose Bowl (best performance), VN Brittain (493cc Sunbeam), 35 marks lost; Raymond Bailey Trophy and Replica (second best performance), S Woods (490cc Norton), 44 marks lost (Woods also established zero time); ‘Wharfedale’ Prize (third best performance), AE Perrigo (349cc BSA), 57 marks lost. Awards on time only: President’s Rose Bowl (best performance on time other than above), TE Flintoff (493cc Sunbeam), 7 marks lost; Yorkshire Evening Post Rose Bowl (second best performance on time), A Jefferies (596cc Scott), 8 marks lost. Awards on observation only, Raspin Rose Bowl (best performance on observation other than above), BJ Jenkins (494cc Triumph), 42 marks lost; Yorkshire Evening Post Rose Bowl No 2 (second best performance on time), WW Hey (499cc Rudge), 45 marks lost. Other awards on time and observation: Folbigg Cup (best Scott rider other than Scott staff), EK Langton (596cc Scott), 😯 marks lost; Galloway Cup (best performance up to 200cc), TG Meeten (172cc Francis-Barnett), 123 marks lost; Frank Hallam Tankard (best performance, 200-300cc), J White (248cc Ariel), 84 marks lost; Mrs F Wright’s Prize (best performance by a lady), Miss M Cottle (249cc BSA), 86 marks lost; Miss V Worsley’s Prize (best performance of a rider entering for first time), R Snelling (247cc Levis), 95 marks lost; L. Heath’s Prize (best performance by a Southerner), EJ Heath, (349cc BSA), 172 marks lost); Scott Trophy (best team on one make), Sunbeam—C Helm, VN Brittain, TE Flintoff, total marks lost, 172; Myers Cup (best team of three, any make), ‘Three Hopefuls—F Chambers (348cc Velocette), WW Hey (499cc Rudge), W. Walker (498cc AJS), total marks lost, 283; Special Inter-District Prize (North vs South vs Midlands vs Scotland vs Ireland—best three out of six riders), Midlands—VN Brittain (493cc Sunbeam), AE Perrigo (349cc BSA) and J Williams (499cc Rudge), total marks lost, 169.
“ABOUT FIFTY SOLO RIDERS volunteered as Scott Trial ‘pushers’ in response to an appeal made on behalf of the organises by ‘Nitor’.”
“‘HERE AM I ASKED TO SELECT a team of southerners for the Scott Trial, and I’ve never even seen a Scott Trial—what a confession to make!’ So I mused when I received a flattering request from the organiser to act as a selection committee of one. This year, I decided, I must remedy the shortcoming; whatever happens, there shall be no last-minute alteration of plans such as there was last year, the year before, and the year before that. I’ll go up the night before after office hours, take a look-see at the trial, and then slip back again. Did I go up the night before? Not a bit of it. Friday, the 11th arrived, and on that day—or more probably the day before—some vile germ invaded Tudor Street and laid low two of the staff…That night I left my office stool at 8.30 pip-emma, and there was Nippy II, my special ‘A2’ Levis, to be prepared. At ten the job of running over the nuts and making certain of the various adjustments was tackled; at 11.30 the tanks were filled to the filler-caps at an all-night garage; and at 12.30, after setting the alarm for 4am, I flopped into bed. The week had been a heavy one, with late hours, yet it seemed a double-twelve before I got to sleep. My thoughts were centred on the run, and on the trial I was to see. The weather forecasts were good, which was a blessing…Brrrr—brrrr—brrrr! I leapt out to stop the alarm before it woke the whole house. Then I sat on the bed. Another five minutes won’t matter, I thought. ‘Another five minutes and you’ll be asleep, and you won’t wake up till eight,’ something seemed to say. Which was only too true, so, instead, I poked my head out of the window—it was raining! Two hundred and twenty miles in a downpour…those weather prophets! Hang the rain. I am not going to miss what everybody says is THE trial of the year. Downstairs I forage: three boiled eggs and, a mug of hot cocoa. The glass is still high, so perhaps it is only a shower—just the pride of the morning—and the weather prophets will be right, after all. Anyhow it is as well to be prepared, so into my haversack go two spare pairs of gloves, a spare cap, and a collar—all wrapped up in mackintosh. Outside just after five; it is still raining—hard. Wet tramlines at first—miles of them—and my schedule is a dry-weather one. Still, it is no use running risks, especially as those who use the roads just before day-break frequently have no lights and invariably possess the firm conviction that they have the world to themselves. At last Hendon Way, the gateway to the Great North Road, is reached. Already to the East there is a tinge of greyness in the sky. I ride without goggles; my eyes start to smart owing to the rain-drops. Slowly, but surely, the speedo needle creeps round the dial; at first 30 seemed fast, now 40 appears slow. Mr Miller’s head lamp, with its 48 candle-power, throws a fine beam; Nippy II, with her 7.8-to-1 compression ratio, quick-lift cams, and light flywheels, is like some live thing, eager to be given her head—the only trouble is her master, who, with the rain and one thing and another, is not in a batting mood. Goggles are pulled down. Excellent; they don’t steam, and I can see quite well. As the Barnet By-pass is cleared the Levis is allowed a larger ration of gas. There is very little traffic about. Half of what there is consists of motor cycles, and the majority of the other half of heavies. Some of the latter occupy most of the road, but friend Bosch sees to them all right, and, anyhow, Nippy II does not take up much room. Near Baldock we —Nippy and I—overtake a lad with a pack on his back; probably, off on his holidays, or wisely out to make the most of his week-end. ‘Good hunting!’ is my mental wish. A little farther on we round a bend to find a knot of cyclists and officials. Sh-s-ssh! It is the start of a cyclists’ TT. Not a road race, of course—oh no! Just a trial against the watch. For a moment my thoughts linger over the fact that our Tourist Trophy races are just ‘time trials’ too; only for a moment, for I suddenly wake up (at the next bend, to be precise) to the fact that there are a number of scurrying cyclists tearing along, head down and dressed in black. A few miles farther I stop to turn on the oil a little more. It is still raining, but what does it matter? It is light now. Mile after mile passes; gently through the villages, and then back to the cruising speed— nothing spectacular, but just steady hour-by-hour cruising. There’s no object in going fast, even if the weather conditions were ideal, which they definitely are not; my wish is to get to the start near Blubberhouses just before the first man departs. The brakes do not like all the water. Apply them well before I need them is the maxim, and take care I
don’t need them. Just once they are necessary; a car driver at Grantham emerges from a blind side road on the left, looks to his left, and never gives a glance to the right—the direction from which he will be hit first. I avoid hitting him; hope he heard me, the silly idiot. For a short period the rain stops; once even blue sky is to be seen. Nothing happens, but, wet or fine, I am enjoying it. At Tuxford a gallon of benzole and a gallon of No 1 are taken aboard. Although not by any means essential, fifty-fifty mixture seems the best with Nippy’s 7.8-to-1 compression ratio. Then through Doncaster, where meet, not one, but probably 30 or more, motor cyclists, the majority of them off to work. All of them are going gingerly, as befits the man who has just started off under wet-weather conditions—all except one, a fellow on a Scott, who is cruising at 50. Nippy forges slowly past; a moment later he shoots by at about 58. I am not to be tempted, and shortly afterwards he turns off on the road to Wakefield. So to the outskirts of Wetherby and to Harewood, which reminds me of a certain Stock Machine Trial when a heavy snowstorm came on unexpectedly, and I, the only marker, unable to climb the hills on the marking car, had to main-road it to Orley, dyeing walls, lamp-posts, and even newspaper placards outside shops to prevent the trial from becoming a fiasco; to drop dye on the roads was useless, for within a minute or two the heavy snow obliterated it.At Otley I branched off, as I thought, to the starting point of the Scott Trial, only to find myself on the wrong side of the river. My correct route regained, I was soon amid the cheery crowd at the start—and the weather was fine at last. A chat with one or two, and then along to Cat Crags to watch the fun in the patch of bog at the foot. No notes to jot down, no worries—this was the way to watch a trial, I decided. Next to Hanging Moor and the wonderful paving stones, with here and there a stone missing just to put a jerk into things—and humans. Great fun, this—the spectacle of competitors wearing expressions of agonised concentration and waving legs in all directions. Some muttered as they passed; perhaps they murmured greetings, or perhaps they gave vent to imprecations—two words in the majority of cases, for they hadn’t breath for more. Hoodstorth Splash was next on the list. It looked so simple, yet was really difficult, thanks to its huge hidden boulders. What surprised me was the fact that not a solitary man of the many who stopped in the water failed to get going again alter being hauled out. Then Kex Beck—a sort of giant switchback with a deep mud-hole at the bottom of the down-hill swoop, followed by a steep, boggy ascent. This was the condition on the second lap, and man after man lolloped into the mud-hole and stuck with his front wheel embedded to the spindle. Not having had the temerity to go over the course, I was beginning to have my doubts about the Scott Trial, and remarked to ‘Wharfedale’, who was busy on the recording angel business, that we Southerners could find something equally snappy—if not more so—on Exmoor. ‘It’s not what it was,’ he replied mournfully; they’ve had to alter the course a lot owing to the new law, but you haven’t seen what there is. Look up there,’ he said, pointing a mile or so away to the top of the moor, ‘and trace their path downward; that’s the sort of thing they’re up against—miles of it.’ My idea on the subject altered; here were the competitors coming down a winding, switchback path, no doubt with rocks here and there, patches of mud, and in places sheer drops. So to Jefsfynde—a narrow, bouldery descent—and the final check, where dog-tired finishers and their footrest-mangled models were congregated. A meat tea claimed me next, and then started trek to London town. The weather was perfect; I was weary but happy, and the Levis as willing as ever. Steadily Nippy II covered the long distance, mostly in the dark. There was a nip in the air; life was 100%, but I was careful to ride canny, for when hundreds of miles have been covered, preceded by little more than three hours’ sleep, one’s concentration on the job in hand is not all it might be. Once, at Baldock, I stopped for coffee; the miles were becoming long drawn out. In London the roads were wet—it had, I ;learned later, been raining almost the entire day. Just as the hall-clock struck midnight I unlocked my front door; 475 miles covered, a Scott Trial seen—a day to be remembered. So to bed and instantly to sleep.” —TORRENS
“FOLLOWING ITS SURPRISE LAUNCH at the 1930 Olympia show the four-valve Royal Enfield had been refined, although “…the new form in which it will appear in future is more the result of an endeavour to produce a high-efficiency 500 in a light, compact form than of a desire to alter existing practice. Of the short-stroke type (85.5x85mm=488cc) the engine is considerably lighter…The four valves are situated in a pent-roof head with the sparking plug in the centre…Transmission is through a totally enclosed primary chain, running in an oil bath, to a new gear box of Enfield manufacture.” Other revisions included ‘an ingenious prop-stand’.”
“A NEW AND EXCEPTIONALLY interesting JAP four-stroke engine has been produced to take advantage of the taxation concession whereby, after January 1st next, owners of machines under 150cc will have to pay only 15s a year. The engine has side-by-side valves, a bore and stroke of 51.5×71 mm. (148cc), and is designed to give lasting, efficient service. Nothing has been skimped, and the unit, from its seven-stud detachable head down to the crank case drain plug, will commend itself to the technician, both on its sturdy layout and on its sound conception.”
READERS’ EXPERIENCES, 1928 493CC OHV BSA. “My BSA is a sloping-engine model. Petrol consumption is about 70mpg with a pillion passenger, and oil consumption 1,600mpg. My low-compression piston is fitted with Clupet rings, and these have eliminated a certain amount of piston slap which was formerly in evidence. The engine has a big reserve of power, and almost any hill can be taken in top gear. Maximum speed, per speedometer, is in the neighbourhood of 75mph. The brakes are excellent and need little attention; mine still have the original linings. An outstanding feature is the clutch, which is lined with Ferodo, and seems to be indestructible; after thousands of miles mine shows no signs of wear. Valve adjustment is seldom necessary, but I prefer to leave 0.002in clearance when cold. Steering is good and the damper is not really necessary, although without a pillion passenger the machine is inclined to be rather tail-light; this is particularly noticeable in wet weather, when it is advisable to use the front brake first and have tyre pressures at 20lb front and 25lb rear (32lb rear when a passenger is taken). Replacements to date have totalled £1, and the BSA service is great.” MAM
READERS’ EXPERIENCES, 1929 490CC OHC NORTON. “I bought my 490cc overhead camshaft Norton new at Easter 1929, and since then it has done 12,000 miles. The machine was carefully run in for 1,000 miles (at under 25mph for 500 miles, and under 35mph for the following 500), and after this the engine was given an ordinary decoking and then given all it could take in the way of hard riding. Comfort on long rides, ease of control, and cornering, wet or fine, are all of the best. The engine is an easy starter on the pedal, or, if a push start is made, three yards are quite sufficient. On rough going the front of the cradle frame is rather apt to catch any notable outcrops, but the machine will cruise through a watersplash like a battleship. The machine’s present capabilities are 80mph and 65-70mpg with a large jet, and 70-75mph and 85-90mpg with a small jet. Oil consumption is not too good, as I err on the generous side with my setting. And now, after two years’ running, the only replacements have been a new cone and one set of balls for the front wheel, one inlet valve guide, one primary chain, two tyres, and three sparking plugs.” HW
“BEING A GREAT MOTOR CYCLE enthusiast, and an old-timer among the Wimbledon and district Motor cyclists, I am wondering if the lads at home would be interested to hear of a remarkable achievement just completed out here in Canada. We can claim at least one more world’s record for the British, for Mr. Robert (‘Bobby’) Doig, a.32-year-old Regina (Saskatchewan) speed merchant passed Ottawa, Ontario, ten hours within his hope of creating a world’s record of 79 hours’ running lime from Vancouver, BC, to Montreal, Quebec, approximately 3,000 miles. Doig, who was a Royal Air Force pilot during the war, encountered extreme heat and extreme cold during his dash. At one point he was caught in the smoke of a British Columbian forest fire, and. when he lost his way, he plunged off the narrow trail on to a burnt tree 50 feet below; and later in his journey be was held up by two men and a woman, but managed to make his escape without any loss or injury. Between Sudbury and North Bay (Ontario) he was jammed underneath his machine. for nearly an hour until found by a passing motorist, who conveyed him to a hospital, where it was found that he required six stitches in his leg; but still Bobby kept going. Following his trail through the United States, he traversed the States of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and entered Canada by way of Saulte Ste Marie. Although parts of the route were paved highways, the majority of the going was very rough, but only two breakdowns were suffered, one of them being at Ottawa, where every aid was rendered in order that he could continue his race against time. Bobby Doig declares it is impossible to make the trip in three days, and would not like to make the trip again for some time, for he is black and blue (although he was padded up for protection) and found his nerves were going back on him for the want of sleep.
FREDK WM SARGEANT, Ottawa, Ontario.”
A GERMAN ENGINEER HAS INVENTED what appears to be a good substitute for the normal type of gearbox in the shape of a small hydraulic torque converter, which does away with the necessity for changing gears and is said to confer improved driving comfort, by the extraordinary flexibility and uniformity of power transmission it provides and by its superior acceleration. The, machine shown in the accompanying photograph is a 500cc ohv Horex, which our Berlin correspondent had the opportunity of testing. In this experimental machine the old gearbox was retained, but during the trial top gear was used the whole time. With the engine idling slight clutch drag became noticeable, which had to be counteracted by applying the brake. Normally, of course, one would start the engine with the gear in neutral, so there would be no tendency for the machine to move forward. Upon releasing the brake lever and giving a trifle more throttle the machine moved smoothly ahead and responded very readily to the throttle, accelerating with the same constant smoothness to maximum speed. In the case of a car, with which comparative tests were carried out with the standard gearbox and the converter, the superiority is demonstrated by the following figures. The car reached a speed of 37mph from 6mph, using the gear-box, in 699ft; while with the torque converter the distance required was 558ft, which is a good margin in favour of the converter. Normally, a motor cycle with the torque converter fitted to the crank-shaft would be equipped, in addition, with the usual clutch and a two-speed gearbox. The latter, however, would be required only in very exceptional circumstances. Apart from the decidedly improved riding comfort, the converter removes the need for the rider to take his hand off the handlebars to change gear, or even his foot from the rest.
THE US-BASED EXCELSIOR company, determined to avoid a financial crisis in the wake of the Wall Street Crash, stopped production of the Henderson four and the V-twins it had sold in Britain under the American-X banner to avoid confusion with the British Excelsior (which had just launched the 129cc ohv Bantam, not to be confused with the two-stroke Beeza. And don’t mix up the BSA D7 Bantam with Excelsior’s 247cc ohv D7).
AS THE RECESSION BIT ever deeper Rudge, Scott and even BSA decided to save money by staying away from the show. France and Germany cancelled their national shows, but not Italy. The Green ‘Un warned: “We must watch Italy. She has forged ahead in sport and is forging ahead in manufacture.” Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini held membership card No 1 of the Moto-Club Italia; bikes under 175cc were exempt from road tax. No wonder its show was packed with lightweights, but centre-stage was held by a blown transverse-four Moto Guzzi racer.
AJS LAUNCHED AN IMPRESSIVE 598cc 50º transverse V-twin at the Milan Show but the company had expanded and diversified at just the wrong time and ran into cashflow problems. Designed as a luxury tourer (it cost more than the Ajay 1,000cc V-twin) the transverse twin found few buyers. The Stevens brothjers went into voluntery bankruptcy. Following unsuccessful negotiations with BSA AJS was snapped up by Matchless. the Collier brothers set up Associated Motor Cycles to produced both marques and production moved from Wolverhampton to Woolwich, where Matchless already had the successful Silver Arrow. The transverse twin was discontinued but the design and tooling were sold to Japan, where the engine was used in lightweight commercial vehicles well into the 1950s. AJS’s liquidator was able to pay every creditor in full with enough left over for the Stevens family to keep the famous Retreat Street works. They were quickly back in business with a three-wheel commercial vehicle, followed by proprietary engines. They could not be sold as Ajays so, rather cheekily, the Stevens brothers adopted the name Ajax. Users included AJW.
THE JAPANESE MILITARY TOOK delivery of a 1,200cc flat twin from JAC, joining the growing number of Harleys made under licence by Rikuo.
NEW HUDSON REVIVED A PRE-WW1 design by fitting a kickstart that doubled as a propstand. Despite a stunt in which a 550cc sv outfit was ridden from Brooklands to Lands End and back 20 times without stopping the engine, teething troubles hit sales.
ARIEL SALES MANAGER VICTOR MOLE dreamed up the ‘Sevens’ test to earn the Maudes Trophy. All seven models in the Ariel line-up attempted feats related to the number seven. A 350 cc side-valve lapped Brooklands for seven hours, covering 368 miles at an average of 52.6mph. A 350cc ohv twin-port covered 700 miles on seven bob’s worth of fuel and oil. A factory spannerman set out to decoke a 597cc sidevalve inside seven minutes using spanners from the standard toolkit (he did it in 4min 19sec). A 500cc ohv 4-valve single was set a target of covering 70 miles in an hour—it did more than 80 miles. A 550 cc side—valve sloper was ridden for 70 minutes in each of its four gears on public roads. A 500cc ohv sloper outfit made seven non-stop ascents and descents of each of seven notorious test hills: Porlock, Lynton, Beggar’s Roost, Countisbury, Bwlch y Groes, Dinas Hill, and Alt y Bady. A 600cc Square Four was set a target of covering 700 miles in 700 minutes—it did it in 670 minutes at an average of 62mph. And to demonstrate its ease of starting seven schoolboys (presumably selected at random off the production line by the ACU) each kick-started the Squariel seven times. It started first kick on 48 of 49 kicks.
DESPITE A RESPECTABLE THIRD place in the 1929 Senior, Scott couldn’t afford to enter the TT, or to exhibit at the Earls Court show.
“A MOTOR VAN DRIVER near Wigan offered to give his vehicle to the mobile police officer if he ‘could get 30mph out of it’.”
“‘THE PILLION SEAT CONSISTED of a doormat fastened to the machine by means of a bootlace.’—Police evidence in the Leeds Court.”
“ACCORDING TO A RECENT RETURN of the motor cycles in use in Austria, approximately 51.2% are of Austrial manufacture. Of the imported machines, Great Britain leads with 24.3%, followed by Belgium, 9.3%; Germany, 9.2%); the United States, 3.1%; and all other countries, 2.9%.”
“WORCESTER CORPORATION IS TO experiment with the laying down of a section of iron-plate roadway over Lowesmoor bridge.”
“NEW YORK IS TO SPEND £25,000 on armoured motor cycle outfits, and the radio equipment of police vehicles, to fight the gangster menace.”
“IN A TROPICAL STORM—Another despatch from Farrell and Johnson, the World Tourists: Entering Africa.
There’s another croc! Oh, sorry! Crocs, hippos, and elephants are superimposed upon our subconscious minds these days. Indeed, truth is stranger than the Zoological Gardens. Down on the banks of the Nile, Miss Widnes (our Ariel outfit) and ourselves were simply steeping our three persons in the unexpected study of savage nature. Once we espied a native village where there should not have been a village. One of the huts moved! Intoxicants, except for medicinal purposes, are verboten on this journey. We had both slept pretty comfortably during the previous night. Surely not! Yes—the field-glasses exposed the truth. Elephants, and we were within half a mile of them! Fully fifty of the huge brutes grazed and ambled slowly around. This, coming immediately after the sight of seven hippos snorting in the water and umpteen grey and brown crocodiles asleep along the banks made us realise the distance separating the three of us from Widnes and civilisation. The Shilluk and Dinka tribes territory is now left behind, and we are slowly traversing the Nuer country. For miles around papyrus and reeds ten and twenty feet high rear an almost impassable barrage to land transportation. One well-remembered day a tropical rainstorm swept down on us. Day was changed into night. A deep purple and grey curtain of cloud obliterated the sky. Great stabbing flashes of vivid yellow lightning ripped and gashed the darkness. Then, with a hiss, roar, and terrific shrieking the storm burst. There was no time to seek cover anywhere. The thunder shook the ground; reeds, grasses and even young shrubs were battered down and broken by the fury of the onslaught. In five minutes we were soaked. The din increased; it was useless to try to talk. Patiently we knelt behind the outfit and waited. In twenty minutes it had gone, leaving us bedraggled, saturated, and really awed by the appalling ferocity of the elements. Thank goodness for the primus and cocoa, with the aid of which we cheered ourselves up! I do not know Miss Widnes’s thoughts or emotions as she contemplates the utter nakedness of negro life here, but my companion and myself find it rather embarrassing at times to be confronted, when we desire to revictual the expedition, by a dusky charmer sans anything except beads and tatoo marks! In spite of our gruelling passages our outfit still delivers her full quota of nags, and our tyres, after some 7,000 miles of wear and tear, continue to bite lustily…”
“ONE READS SO MUCH in your Correspondence columns about the performances of the big fellows of the road that one rather wonders why, in these days of Government economies, and increased taxes on petrol, one does not hear any experience from the users of the little brothers—machines of the 98cc and 147cc Snowden I5s tax class. As a rider of many years’ experience of big twins in America, where I have been in business for some time, on coming home and looking for a fresh mount I decided, for reasons of economy, to give one of these babies a trial; and I am surprised indeed at the consistent and reliable running of my little machine. It is a 98cc Dot-Villiers, priced at fifteen guineas, plus 25s for lighting. For the past three months that I have owned this machine I have driven it over consistently hilly country and various conditions of road surface. Here in Cornwall grades are grades, and yet this little bus, weighing approximately 115lb, and myself a heavy rider of 14 stone 5lb, are able to get comfortably up any main road hills around here, the engine very seldom requiring foot assistance on the very steep grades. I have just completed a run from St. Ives, Cornwall, to London and back, a distance, by the route I took, of over 530miles. The whole trip, which I made in two stages each way, took under six gallons of gasoline and three pints of oil; the little machine gave perfectly steady running throughout, and no rattles or any parts to be even tightened after completion of he trip. Surely this speaks well for the stamina and reliability of these ‘little brothers’, and the efforts of our manufactures!
“THE THOROUGH WHACKING which our representative teams received in the International Six Days makes one wonder whether our machines and riders are so far ahead of those of our foreign competitors as they are reckoned to be. The winning Italian Gilera team were, of course, playing in their own backyard, as it were, but how about the Dutch team? I do not suppose that they were any more familiar with the course than our own star riders, but they beat us on our own machines, which goes to prove that on neutral ground, where the advantages are equal, the foreigner can give us all we want, and then some, in the art of handling a machine over a trials course. Now, supposing we give Continental riders a fair chance to do their stuff in the IOM TT races. Our men have an enormous advantage in these events. I suggest that our rivals be given more of a sporting chance by running the race over the same course, but in the re reverse direction. Perhaps we would then see NSUs first, second, and third, or an FN, Husqvarna and Rudge finish in that order…
THE POLICE, PARTICULARLY the Mobile Police, are reaping quite a good harvest in fines for exhaust pipes that ‘leak’ where they enter the silencer. The faintest trace of soot is quite sufficient to qualify for a fine. In such cases we advise splitting the exhaust pipe and fitting a clip. In a case on Clapham Common the ‘cop’ pointed out that the exhaust tappet required adjusting, as excessive clearance made the machine ‘mechanically noisy’—which means another fine if the police feel disposed to complain.
“WE NOTE WITH GREAT INTEREST, in your issue of June 18th, the climb made into the Andes by the readers from Santiago, Chile, and by Mr CS Cannon, of Iquique, Chile, on which rides the respective heights of 13,200f. and 13,400ft were reached. In this connection we would like to inform you of our ride made in the latter part of July from sea level to the height of 14,763ft. The bikes used were a 500cc side-valve Motosacoche, a 350cc ohv Motosacoche and a 350cc ohv Norton. These mounts were run from sea level to the above-mentioned altitude without alteration of carburetter setting or any adjustments being made. The road, to say the least of it, was terrible beyond description, and really hard going all the time. From Lima to the point reached is 125 miles. Of this distance, 30 miles were covered without any appreciable rise in altitude, so that practically all of the climbing was done in 95 miles. The road, being cut out of the side of the mountains, is very dangerous, as one side one has the precipice and the other the blank mountain. To give some idea of the gradients that we had to contend with, when going up, it may be pointed out that, when coming down, a distance of 30.4 consecutive miles was done ‘coasting’ (this, we imagine, is probably a record). Another idea of the gradients can be had from the fact that the average petrol consumption going op was 2¼gal, while coming down only ¾gal was used. While this journey is probably not a record run, we should be very interested to hear of any fellow-reader who has gone from sea level to greater heights.
R LEWIS, JD GALLOWAY, IBA ROKES. Lima Peru.
“SUMMARISED BRIEFLY, THE BSA programme is as follows: The side-valve 249cc type has disappeared in favour of a 349cc model, while the 249cc ohv model remains, and these two, with the 349cc ohv single-port machine, come within the 30s taxation limit. Outside the limit are, first, 349cc ohv and side-valve models, the former having a two-port head and being listed also as a Blue Star (super-sports) model. These three have a new frame with forged backbone, and a four-speed gear box. Secondly, the famous 493cc ohv and 557cc side-valve inclined-engine models are retained, with various considerable improvements…There will be a Blue Star edition of the 493cc ohv machine. Next come two quite new models, side-valve and overhead-valve two-port machines with vertical engines of 499cc; there is also a Blue Star edition of the ohv machine. Only one twin will be listed—the 986cc model, which has been considerably modified in detail [Mods included wide, raised handlebars and a large saddle, which were described as ‘semi-American’. This is the first reference I’ve spotted to the influence of American designs, 40 years before ‘western’ bars became options on so many British vertical twins.] The popular front-wheel-drive three-wheeler remains practically unchanged…the 249cc ohv model in its simple form…is the only machine of this engine size in the range. The 349cc single-port ohv type is new, though it follows similar lines, and the extra power, combined with the low weight, should give it a really good road performance. Replacing the 249cc side-valve is the 349cc side-valve, which has the advantage of a much improved performance at very slightly increased initial and upkeep costs.” Also new were eight-bolt detachable heads for the 499cc, 557cc and 986cc sidevalves which were claimed to boost power by no less than 25%; not one but two models of four-speed gearbox; ‘clean’ handlebars with twistgrips for throttle and spark control; a thumb-operated pawl and ratchet on the front brake lever to act as a handbrake for sidecar work; the slopers’ forged ‘backbone extended to other models; QD rear wheels and an uprated form of primary chain lubrication.
“THE LESSONS OF AN AMAZINGLY SUCCESSFUL racing year are apparent throughout the Norton 1932 range…There are two new models, known as the No 30 International and the No 40 International. The former has a 490cc overhead-camshaft engine, and the latter a 348cc engine of the same type. Except for the engines and the size of the fuel tank—3¾ gallons for the larger machine and 3½ gallons for the smaller—the two are almost identical in specification, and they are substantially the same as this year’s TT models…transmission is through a very special four-speed gear box, developed to suit this particular type of machine…the lubrication system has been modified to incorporate a plunger indicator mounted over the timing chest, and a modified ball valve pressure release which is easily adjustable…It is no secret that Nortons have been testing a new detachable and interchangeable wheel system throughout the year…The system is such that when the wheel is withdrawn the combined sprocket and brake drum remain in situ, so that neither brake nor chain adjustment is disturbed…This special system of quickly detachable wheels applies…throughout the Norton range…As no shock absorber is fitted in the new detachable wheels, an absorber has been arranged on the engine, in addition to a second one on the clutch.
REVISIONS TO THE NEW HUDSON range included a reduction of 45lb in the weight of the 493cc ohv and side-valve models; revamped footrests designed to bend rather than break in the event of a fall and a “550cc side-valve de luxe with valenced rear guard, all-weather saddle, legshields, pillion seatwith adjustable pillion footrests, and built-in suitcases”. The luggage gear was also described as “pannier kit bags”.
AMONG MANUFACTURERS TO PUT JAP’s new 148cc side-valve to good news was OK Supreme. The Blue ‘Un noted that “though the machine weights but 172lb, and comes within the 15s taxation limit, it is a complete miniature motor cycle, and includes almost every item of equipment which is to be found on the average full-size production…a Pilgrim oil pump draws its supply from a separate oil tank containing one quart fo oil. This tank is grouped with an all-metal tool case and a six-volt accumulator on the seat post.” Equipment included a three-speed Burman box, Miller dynamo, 4½in drum brakes and as centre stand. “Altogether, the latest addition to the OK Supreme range is a most fascinating little mount which may prove to be the forerunner of a big batch of four-stroke lightweights.”
“THE DOUGLAS CONCERN, WHILE still adhering strongly to its famous opposed twin-cylinder type of engine, always manages to introduce something interest-ing into its programmes. Last year it was a 350cc machine weighing under 2241b, and a 500cc ohv sports machine that attracted attention, and now for 1932 there are no fewer than four new models of even greater interest: Model C, which is a 500cc side-valve machine eligible for the 30s tax; model H, a 750cc side-valve designed as a result of heavy police and passenger service; and models K and M; which are overhead-valve touring machines of 350cc and 500cc respectively. The range is completed by the retention of the popular 350cc ‘light-weight’ model ‘A’, and Colonial model ‘B’; standard and de-luxe editions of the 600cc side-valve machine; and 500cc and 600cc ohv sports and dirt-track models. There are also sidecars suitable for all purposes. Next comes the 750cc side-valve model, which closely follows in design the 600cc model of last year. The engine is carried in a particularly massive frame of the duplex cradle pattern. Lubrication is of the automatic dry-sump type, the oil being contained in a ribbed aluminium sump at the base of the engine. This sump has a capacity of five pints. This machine has 8in brakes, the rear one being toe-operated, and 26×3.50in tyres; footboards or footrests are optional. Detail improvements have been made in the kick-starter mechanism.”
“THE VINCENT-HRD FIRM is to be congratulated on its adherence to spring frame design; it was three years ago that it launched out with what has proved to be a very sound design, albeit the original scheme was a trifle complicated in its tubing. The past year’s design has been so successful that it is to he continued for 1932 with one amendment only, the transfer of the eight-inch rear brake and its pedal to the near side. Apart from the fact that all models, except a grass-track mount, will be of 50Occ, the chief interest lies in a new range of three models incorporating a simple diamond spring frame; the essentials of the frame are almost exactly the same as on the older design, but the long side stays are omitted, and a new arrangement of thee large taper roller bearing, gear-box housing, and rear engine plates, has resulted in a simplified layout without any considerable loss of lateral rigidity. The rear engine plates are extended to form half of the gear box housing, and the other half of this housing is formed in a one-piece malleable casting to accommodate the main bearing of the springing system. The gear box is slung from the top of the plates, with an accessible adjustment below the box. The main bearing, of Timken taper rollers, is 8in wide, and 2¼in in diameter. The unsprung portion of the frame, namely, the rear stay triangle, is mounted on this massive hearing by a fork-ended casting, the apex of the triangle being connected to the pair of enclosed and damped Druid springs placed almost out of sight under the saddle. The unobtrusiveness of this springing system is one of its attributes, and the absence of the side stays undoubtedly assists in the appearance of a very neat mount.”
“ESTABLISHED MANY YEARS AGO, the name of Wolf recently appeared again in the motor cycle world. Specialising in the lightweight line, the Wulfruna Engineering Co returned with a well-laid-out 98cc model, and later deyeloped a 147cc type, both selling at modest prices. While these lines will be retained, three rather larger models have been added to the range, but all are equipped with Villiers two-stroke engines and Albion gear boxes, and all have loop frames. The largest machine, the Silver Wolf, has a 196cc super-sports two-port engine and a very complete and sensible specification. Though the ignition current is supplied by the Villiers flywheel magneto, a Miller six-volt dynamo mounted behind the cylinder is chain-driven from the crankshaft to provide the source of light. Both primary and dynamo chains are protected by a common covering, and the former is lubricated by an adjustable drip-feed from the tank which contains the main oil supply. This tank is mounted behind the seat-post, and the engine is fed through a sight-feed on the Villiers automatic principle. The nose of a Dunlop waterproof saddle is recessed into the end of a. shapely saddle tank, and triangular tool bags are carried pannier-fashion beside the rear mudguard. Both front and rear guards are valanced, a lifting handle is provided, and the stand is placed centrally in such a maner that the machine will remain with either wheel on the ground. Twist grips, brazed-on lever pivots, and inverted levers give the handlebars a clean appearance, and the finish, in black and gold, is most attractive. The price of £34 includes 5in brakes with finger adjustment, 25x3in Avon tyres, knee-grips, draw-bolt adjustment for the primary chain, and shock and steering dampers. With direct lighting and parking light, the model may be obtained for £29 10s.”
“FOUR MODELS WILL COMPRISE the ‘Sun’ range for 1932. There is one newcomer, a machine of attractive appearance and specification. It is a 346cc ohv single-port JAP-engined mount built to come within the 30s tax limit. The engine, which is of the latest type, having enclosed rocker gear and dry-sump lubrication, is mounted at a forward angle, the slope agreeing with that of the front down tube. Behind the cylinder is mounted the chain-driven magneto. A Burman three-speed gear box is employed, and both chains are fitted with guards, the one shielding the primary chain providing complete protection. The very sturdy frame is of the cradle type, in which tubes are carried from the lower extremity of the front down tube to the rear spindle. On the saddle-tube the oil tank and battery are carried, while tools are carried in a pannier bag. The silencing system is neat, and the expansion chamber has a large fishtail. Druid forks are fitted with shock absorbers, each wheel has a large-diameter brake, and the tyres measure 25x3in. There is a Lycett saddle, and the tank, which is chromium-plated and has a green top panel, holds 2½ gallons of petrol. Where lighting is ordered it is of the Lucas-M-L type. Next comes a Villiers-engined machine, in which the long-stroke 346cc power unit is employed. The engine slopes for ward in a type of frame similar to that already mentioned. Villiers automatic lubrication from a separate tank is used, while the Villiers carburetter and fly-wheel magneto are incorporated.”
“REFINEMENT IS THE KEYNOTE of the slight changes that have been made to Scott motor cycles for 1932. Prices remain as in 1931, and a new model, the ‘Sports Flying Squirrel’, has been added to the range. This has been evolved from the well-known Sprint Special model, and, being somewhat lighter than the Replica model, is an attractive proposition for long-distance fast touring as distinct from long-distance racing. The new sports model has the open frame, in which is housed the Powerplus-type engine. Brampton Monarch bottom link-type forks are employed, while the tank is painted in a new colour arrangement of purple on a background of black. Six-inch mudguards are fitted, the rear guard being hinged to facilitate wheel removal. The price is £85 with the 498cc engine and £87 with the 596cc unit. As regards the other models, the Flying Squirrel Tourer remains substantially as in 1932. The tank, of course, is in the new Scott colours and twistgrip throttle control is now standard. The prices are £65 with the 498cc standard engine and £68 with the 596cc standard engine. Several changes have been made to the Flying’ Squirrel De Luxe model, which now has Brampton bottom-link-type forks instead of the Scott fork. Both front and rear mudguards are of 6in. section, and the rear guard is hinged. The centre stand has been discarded, and in its place are two stands—an ordinary-type rear stand and a stand at the forward end of the engine. Twist-grip control is now standard, and the equipment includes a Sorbo pillion seat.”
“THE SUNBEAM MODEL 90 is truly a machine for the enthusiast. It is intended primarily for roadracing and is turned out in full racing trim, though silencers are fitted to render the machine suitable for use on the public highway…The wheels are quickly detachable and interchangeable…A four-speed gear box is employed…and the new rear mudguard is hinged to facilitate wheel removal. The engine has a bore and stroke of 80x98mm. It is tuned for racing, and has enclosed rocker gear and push-rods. Sunbeam double hairpin valve springs are fitted and the valve guides are positively lubricated…A special racing Amal carburetter has twin float chambers and the throttle is controlled by twist-grip…Oil is contained in a tank on the saddle tube and there is an oil pressure gauge mounted in the top of the fuel tank…The standard compression ratio is 7.5 to 1, but there are alternative ratios of 7 to 1 and 9 to 1…Foot operation of the gears is arranged…A kick-starter and hand change are alternative equipment…Mounted on the top of the front forks is a specially large speedometer, registering up to 120mph.”
JAMES, WHICH WAS BEST known for an exceptionally tidy 500cc twin, reacted to the global recession with a utility two-stroke: “This new power unit is a highly efficient job of 148cc, It has a one-piece cylinder, in which there are two well-splayed exhaust ports. Transfer and inlet ports are divided, and the latter are restricted so that their effective opening is triangular in shape. Moreover, the shaping of the port is such as to impart, turbulence the incoming gas. A cast-iron piston is used. having two pegged rings and floating gudgeon pin retained by circlips…In the centre of the cylinder head is located the sparking plug, and HT current is derived from a Villiers flywheel magneto…Lubrication. is by the petroil system, and silence is ensured by two large expansion chambers fitted with fishtails. A three-speed Albion gear box has hand control, and incorporates a clutch and kick-starter. The sturdy frame is of the complete loop type, and the saddle tank rests on two straight tubes, to which it is welded…Brakes of 4in diameter…Other items are a Terry saddle, ribbed mudguards, central stand, tool-box and tools, and direct electric lighting…A slightly less elaborate edition of this machine has a two-speed gear box.
“THREE PYTHON-ENGINED MODELS will constitute the Grindlay-Peerless range for the home market in 1932. Two have 499cc engines and one a 249cc radial-valve engine…Both the [499cc],types will be familiar to Grindlay-Peerless enthusiasts, but there has been an addition to the range which is entirely new. It is, in effect, a replicas in miniature of the 499cc Special but is engined by a 249cc radial-valved Python with the cylinder inclined forward. In this case the front down tube does not extend below the crank case, but stops at the front engine plates. The four-speed gear box is hand controlled, and behind the cylinder is an M-L ignition and lighting set; ,with this equipment and standard 25x3in tyres, the little machines comes within the 30s taxation limit, in spite of its four-speed gear box, and its appearance is so compact and neat that it is bound to attract much attention. As with the larger models, the tank is finished in chromium plating, with a black top panel…All he machines, including the new light model, are fitted with central stands. The sturdy construction and excellent finish which have characterised the products of this firm for many years past have been retained to the full.”
“THE 1932 RANGE OF P&M Panther machines is an exceptionally interesting one. The model of most arresting interest is the new 248cc ohv Panther, and among clubmen and sporting riders generally it should immediately rank in the highest position…The engine gives from 63-65mph in standard trim, and can be expected to tour all day, well within its power, at 50mph…it will live with any other fast touring machine on club runs or trials, and its owner will not be handicapped by any lack of performance…The frame of the 248cc model is more conventional than that of the big Panthers…A neat saddle tank, chromium plated, is fitted, and both the gear lever fulcrum and the gate are carried on this…Lighting and ignition are provided by an M-L Maglita…Webb forks are fitted.”
“AT LONG LAST THAT DESIRABLE feature, the foot-operated gear change, is coming into its own. Our readers will learn with pleasure that it is to be available on the majority of 1932 motor cycles, either as a standard fitting or at the rider’s option. Its adoption, as we have so constantly urged, is overdue, since not only does it ensure rapid, easy gear changing, but, what is more important from a safety standpoint, it enables the rider to keep both hands upon the handle-bars when changing gear. There is, of course, a right way and a wrong way of fitting a foot gear change. The wrong way is to mount it upon the same side as the brake pedal. This is a fault to be found in several machines, due to the fact that the foot-change mechanism has been adapted to the design instead of being part of it. Obviously the two controls should be on opposite sides; also, the gear control should be an arranged that it can be operated with the minimum alteration in riding position.”
“THE ARRIVAL OF THE 1932 models brings the names of still more strange beasts and birds into the movement, Soon the old type-numbers and letters will be a thing of the past!”
AS PART OF ITS ANNUAL Buyers’ Guide, The Motor Cycle analysed the frequency of various design features. Capacity: 150cc, 9.3%; 250cc, 14.3%; 350cc, 25.1%; 500cc, 26.4%; 600cc, 11.6%; 1,000cc, 10%; over 1,000cc, 3.3%. Type: Four cylinders, 1.6%; twins, 21.0%; singles, 77.4%; total of multi-cylinders, 22.6%. Valve gear, side-valve, 27.3%; ohc, 3.3%; ohv, 49.2%; two-strokes, 19.4%; other, 0.8%. Ignition: Magneto, 68.7%; coil, 10.5%; flywheel magneto, 20.8%. Gear box: Two-speed, 10.5%; three-speed, 27.6%; four-speed, 61.9%. Gear control: Hand, 81.0%; foot, 14.5%; optional, 4.5%. Electrical equipment: Standard, 39.2%; extra, 60.8%.
“THE WHOLE IDEA OF THE ‘hush-hush’ 500cc Guzzi super-charged four is the production of a racing machine with better acceleration and higher maximum speed than are obtainable with a single. Like the standard Guzzi singles, the four-cylinder has unit-construction of the engine and gear, box. The cylinder arrangement is unusual; the four barrels, arranged in a straight line across the frame, are slightly inclined upwards from the horizontal. Thus, the cylinder heads are well exposed to the cooling draught. A short stroke has been adopted, the bore and stroke being 56x50mm. The crankshaft is of the three-bearing type—all roller bearings, incidentally—with ducts in the shaft for the force-feed lubrication. A dry-sump system has been adopted, and a special aluminium oil cooler or radiator is mounted at the front end of the fuel tank. All told, there is almost a gallon of oil in circulation. The pump is of the gear type, mounted on the off side, and driven from the end of one of the two camshafts. Push-rod operation is used for the eight inclined overhead valves. These push-rods, due to the small dimensions of the engine, are, of course, unusually short. The valve springs are of the hairpin variety.”
“THE PROBLEM OF CLOSING inlet and exhaust valves by ‘positive’ mechanical means instead of by springs has fascinated many engineers. In a design which has been submitted by Mr JR Morris, together with a Patent Specification in the name of Mr EE Morris, the cam is enclosed within a pair of vee-shaped rockers. An extension of these rockers, which may he a separate arm moved directly by them, engages between washers on the valve stem. These washers are semi-rigidly located by means of a nut and spring washer, the spring washer being introduced to allow for the varying extension necessary. The peculiarity of this design lies in the fact that the camshaft runs at one-sixth engine speed, and each cam is provided with three lobes set at 120° apart. The lifting side of the rocker may be fitted with a roller, which may be adjustable in order to take up clearance if desired. The closing side has a long wiped area, as the ‘closed’ period is far longer than the ‘open’ one. In proof of the practicability of this design, Mr Morris has fitted it to his ohv Matchless, on which, he states, it has given satisfactory results over a distance of approximately 1,000 miles.”
“AT THE SHIPPING AND ENGINEERING Exhibition, now in progress at Olympia, one may see, among many other things of interest, Diesel engines Of all sizes. There is one engine of this type, however, which is particularly interesting to the motor cyclist. On a small stand in the gallery is displayed an experimental single-cylinder motor cycle engine of 196cc, which has run very successfully on heavy fuel oil. Briefly, it is a two-stroke engine, of normal construction except for a special head and piston. The internal shaping of these parts is somewhat as shown in the diagram, the piston having a truncated cone top with a convex depression in the centre. The explosion takes place in the pear-shaped space above the piston. The cycle of operations is that of a simple compression-ignition engine, the fuel oil being compressed by a pump made by Benes, Ltd, of Holborn, London, on whose stand the engine appears. What approximates to a chain-and-sprocket magneto drive on an ordinary engine drives a single cam, which reciprocates the pump plunger in correct time with the engine…Lubrication follows normal practice, though some amusing experiences occurred in the early running of this experimental engine, when it refused to stop, owing to the fact that the lubricating oil functioned as fuel!… It is said to run up to 3,900rpm, and to accelerate even better than a petrol engine. The compression ratio is 12½ to 1. No attempt has been made, so far, to build it into a frame, but, as it stands, it occupies no more in bulk or weight than the orthodox type of motor cycle engine. Strictly speaking, it has not been built with a view to the motor cycle market, but merely to demonstrate that the Belies pump and injector will function perfectly on the smallest compression-ignition engine yet made. “
“AN INGENIOUS HANDLEBAR MIRROR called the FEW Safety Mirror is…designed for fixing in the centre of the handlebars…in which position it does not cause the ‘unbalanced’ appearance that is the disadvantage of the oridinary type of handlebar mirror…the accessory is so designed (it really consists of two mirrors set at an angle) that the ridercan see rearwards on both sides at once. The fitting is strongly made of cast aluminium, and the mirrors themselves are of highly polished stainless steel, and therefore unbreakable.”
“PARIS is not holding its motor cycle show this year. for the double reason that the Grand Palais is not available and that manufacturers are not at all convinced that a public display would he advantageous. Doubtless it is because of this (writes our Paris correspondent) that practically no new models have been prepared, and changes, when made, are a matter of detail. The type of machine which shows decidedly increased popularity is the tax-free lightweight known as a velomoteur. With the weight restrictions imposed by the Government authorities, it is no easy matter to show originality in the design of these machines; whatever the factory they come from, they bear a very close resemblance. A few have belt drive, but the great majority make use of a chain from engine to the rear wheel, with a second chain for the pedalling gear. Rovin has departed from this practice by using a single chain, which can also be used for pedalling; a free wheel being interposed, however, the engine cannot drive the pedals. There is another free-wheel between engine and driving wheel, in contrast to most of these lightweights, which have a fixed drive. The cylinder, the crank case and one half of the reduction-gear housing is a single aluminium casting, with a liner for the cylinder. Advanced-design machines are not very much in evidence. Many of those seen at the last show mere produced by small firms which, by reason of the industrial depression, have been unable to put them on the market. Even the 500cc Alcyon shaft-driven model, although produced by one of the biggest and most successful firms in the French industry, is only supplied to order. The Gnome et Rhone flat twin, with shaft drive and pressed steel frame, appears to have met with considerable success, and, as a result of the recent price-cutting campaign, is now selling at approximately £78. The Dresch vertical twin, also with shaft drive and pressed steel frame, is a successful seller, for, in spite of its advanced design, it is in a much lower price class. In addition, to the side-valve type, a Dresch model is now produced with overhead valves. Unit construction is not only holding its own but really making progress, which is proof that it is giving satisfaction to users. Some of the most prominent makers are employing it almost exclusively, among them being Peugeot, Alcyon, and Automoto, to mention only a few. Quickly detachable wheels, improved lighting sets, coil ignition, and chromium plating are among the features to which French makers have paid attention on their 1932 models.”
“BELGIAN MOTOR CYCLISTS were introduced to the lightweight at the 25th annual Brussels Show, held in the Palais du Cinquentenaire last week. With the country’s immense mileage of granite-paved roads Belgian riders have hitherto considered that no machine of less than 250cc could give satisfaction; indeed, the usually accepted size was 350cc. Now, however, influenced by developments in surrounding countries, particularly France and Germany, makers have introduced the lightweight and the pedal-assisted motor cycle. The situation is rather peculiar; two makers, Sarolea and Gillet, who have put new lightweights on the market, believe 150cc to be the smallest size likely to give satisfaction on Belgian roads. At the same time Gillet has brought out a 98cc two-stroke engine and gear box which will be sold only to assemblers. This move has been taken to meet the competition of the German Sachs engine and such French engines as the Chaise and the Aubrier & Dunne. It remains to be seen whether these pedal-assisted motor cycles will be a success in Belgium, for it must not be overlooked that at least 75% of the roads are paved with granite setts. Meanwhile, there have appeared on the market at least a score of makes of lightweights with two-stroke engines of 75-98cc. The lightweight Sarolea, exhibited at the Palais, has an inclined 150cc two-stroke engine, the gear box forming a unit with the engine; it has a flywheel magneto, electric lighting, oil tank under the saddle, pressed-steel forks, and single chain drive. Altogether, it is a very smart, workmanlike job which ought to prove popular, even under the somewhat strenuous conditions prevailing in Belgium. The new Gillet is a very similar type of machine, with an engine of 175cc, unit gear box and single chain drive. It has coil ignition. Another new machine in this class is the Ready, equipped with a Villiers two-stroke engine. There is not much to he said of the pedal-assisted motor cycles, for they are all of the same general design, and all err in having tyres that are too small for pavé roads. Several new and interesting machines were to he found in the Show. The Sarolea concern has produced two new types, a 350cc solo and a 600cc machine intended to take a sidecar. The two models are similar in design, each having an inclined side-valve engine with detachable head, ball-bearing crankshaft and roller-bearing big-end. The oil is contained in the sump and delivered under pressure to the bearings. The gear box is separate, and the transmission is by chain. The new Mondiales are most attractive jobs. In the past this firm has produced a very advanced design of all-weather lightweight with a two-stroke engine and friction drive. One of these was on view, but the main inclination appears to be towards rather more orthodox types with pressed-steel frame and forks and Sturmey-Archer engines. Two outstanding new models were to be found on the Lady stand. One of these is equipped with the Rudge Python four-valve engine and a. most practical type of rear springing with a shock-absorbing device capable of being adjusted while the machine is in motion. The second machine is equipped with a 346cc Villiers engine, with a dustproof casing round the whole of the lower portion of the engine. A small by-pass from the exhaust pipe to the primary chain allows sufficient oil to pass for lubrication purposes. Detail changes have been made by the FN factory, among them the provision of a new design of cylinder with better cooling on the head and round the exhaust port. The capacity of the tank has been increased to nearly 2½ gallons on the 350cc model, battery ignition is used and there is a central coil spring for the forks, with friction shock-absorbers and a damper on the steering-head…British exhibits represented probably 60-65% of the whole, the makes present comprising BSA, Ariel, New Hudson, Matchless, AJS, Norton, Raleigh, Coventry-Eagle, Triumph and Calthorpe; in addition, British components were in strong force. Unlike many other Continental countries, Belgium strongly favours the sidecar. Unusual examples were shown by Belgian Sidecars, one of these models being built on car lines, with a false radiator and bonnet and, behind the seat, a false petrol tank, to be used as a luggage compartment. The Belgian and British motor cycle industries have always been rather closely allied. At the present time only FN, Sarolea and Gillet appear to build machines completely in their own works, the others being dependent on England for many of the components. There is thus a great similarity in the productions of the two countries.”
“NEED FOR HOME-PRODUCED FUEL—Millions of Pounds Expended Abroad Annually in the Purchase of Petrol: The threat of an increase in the cost of petrol, presumably due to the reduced purchasing power of the pound abroad, once again directs attention to the desirability of an alternative home-produced fuel. For years past those dependent upon the motor industry have directed attention to the possibilities of alcohol, benzole, and the extraction of motor fuel from coal by the low-temperature carbonisation process. Experts tell us that it is a practical possibility to produce, at home or within the Empire, all the motor fuel we require, and successive Governments have promised investigations and aid to what would prove a valuable new British industry. During 1930 this country imported motor spirit to the value of £25,930,067, and presumably, as the use of motor vehicles extends, the import value will increase. The present juncture provides a fitting opportunity once again to draw attention to the desirability of developing a home-produced fuel for the use of motor vehicles.”
“AN ELDERLY MAN accused at West Ham Police Court of throwing glass on the road said: ‘I smashed the bottles on the road to stop the motor cycles, and I’ll do it again.’ He was cautioned and discharged.”
“FOLLOWING AN AUSTRALIAN rider’s claim of 22,000 miles (in three years) without a decarbonisation or overhaul, another Australian rider of an American big twin claims 67,000 miles (in two years) without a ‘decoke’.”
“TOUGH EGGS RAID RACEMEET. ‘All in all it was a large evening for the cash customers, not to mention a considerable gathering of local hard guys who tore down sections of the fence and walked in.’—From a report of a speedway meeting in an American contemporary.”
“FOR EFFORTLESS WORK with a sidecar in any kind of country the big twin is unsurpassed, yet, with a few notable exceptions, it has been relatively in the background in this country for some time past…It is probable that this once-fashionable type lost the patronage of many enthusiasts when the high-efficiency ohv single suddenly came into the limelight round about 1925-26; and these enthusiasts became wedded to the more spirited charms of the smaller machine.”
CWG LACEY COVERED 110.80 MILES in an hour at Montlhery on a 490cc cammy Norton, beating the previous record by more than 2mph. He also set world records at 50 miles, 100km and 100 miles.
“RIDING AS BRILLIANTLY as ever, AE Perrigo, on his 349cc BSA, last Saturday made best performance in the West of England Trial, thus winning The Motor Cycle Trophy. Even he, master of the art of negotiating mud and rocks, failed to retain a clean sheet. This year the West of England MC’s course was by far the most difficult that has ever been used for the event; whereas in the past such hills as Manaton and Fingle Bridge have been among the tit-bits of the trial, this time they were just about the easiest. Seventy-two entered for the trial, which more than lived up to its reputation of being one of the most gruelling and well-organised events in the calendar. From Newton Abbot, the starting point, some thirteen miles of easy going provided a sort of hors d’oeuvre. Then followed fourteen separate and distinct ‘courses—real meaty ones, all within a distance of less than seventy miles…”
“‘HE TELLS HOW ONCE he jumped on a motor cycle combination to chase a suspect. Overtaking the man, he wondered what had happened to the sidecar. Then he realised that, travelling at a fast pace, he had closely passed a lorry, which must have torn away the sidecar!’—From a leading newspaper, recounting the adventures of Chief Inspector Bennett, who has just retired from Scotland Yard.”
“WHEN RY ZEAL, A WELSH dirt-track rider, was in the shop of Handel Davies, the Swansea agent, showing Mr Davies two trophies he had won, a violent explosion occurred on the premises, and the trophies were badly damaged.”
“DURING THE SUMMER A total of 2,209 motor cycles owned by visitors were registered in the Isle of Man. The majority of these were brought to the island by competitors and visitors during the race periods, when motor cycling becomes the most important occupation in Mona’s Isle.”
“WITH a record entry of 128 (an improvement of nine on last year’s event), a gloriously fine day, and perfect organisation, the Streatham & DMCC’s Streatham Trophy Trial, held last- week-end, was as enjoyable as any trial could possibly be. Enthusiasm ran rife. Every section held its large crowd of spectators drawn from the clubs of the South-Eastern Centre. And how they cheered those of their members who were riding! Even the organisation benefited by it. What else could drag the route-marking officials out of bed at 2am? As a result, every corner or bend was marked with small but conspicuous cards before, on, and after; and then, just to make sure, ‘straight on’ cards were placed at intervals along the route. In consequence, not a single competitor reported leaving the course. The start was from Milford, near Godalming, Surrey, and the course, some 74 miles in length, led first through a watersplash and along a sandy lane, known as Palm Beach, to Boulder Alley, a section whose name explains itself. Huge sandstone outcrops caused agonising crashes from forks and crank cases as the competitors let themselves down the descent to a small splash, with a treacherous, begullied bank on its far side…”
“JUST over 163mph. was achieved by JS Wright and his Silver Comet Excelsior-JAP last week-end at Tat in Hungary. So far his attempts on the world’s maximum speed record have been dogged with ill-luck, but the latest news is that, determined to break the record, he is staying on until he succeeds. First of all, trouble with the rear piston set in, and then, last week-end, the supercharger went on strike, and Wright could not cover the course in both directions, as required. A new blower has been sent out to him, and probably he will make a further attempt in the next day or two.”
“A NORTHEN MOTOR CYCLIST who was stated to have ridden at 20mph while standing on the sadle with one leg stretched out behind and his head level with the handlebars told the court: ‘I was just amusing myself.’ He had to pay costs.”
TWENTY DELEGATES FROM THE International Touring Alliance met in London last week to discuss a proposed ‘through road, starting from London and ending at Istambul. The avoidance of frontier delays is one of the chief objects of the scheme.”
SO FEW MOTORISTS ARE using the fine new road from Barnsley to Shefield that notices are to be displayed ‘advertising’ the route.”
“NOVEMBER’S MOTOR CYCLE EXPORT figures amounted to £91,502.While, owing t the state of world trade, the figure is lower than that for the corresponding period of last year, it is still be no means negligible. Imports of foreign machines…fell to almost a nominal figure, amounting to only £500 in value.”
“A PROVISIONAL CERTIFICATE has now been issued by the ACU in respect of the recent Land’s End to John o’ Groats test undertaken by Miss Edyth Foley on the first of the 147cc ‘Silent Superb’ Coventry-Eagles. The petrol consumption over the distance of 867 miles that were covered worked out at 102mpg, and the oil consumption was at the rate of 1,632mpg. Very high winds were encountered on the first and last days, and rain fell continuously during the first day and the latter part of the second day. The work carried out during the test consisted of mending a puncture, fitting a smaller jet, tightening the saddle nuts, cleaning the carburetter, and twice replacing the sparking plug. “
“SUNDAY COMPETITIONS: A DISCUSSION on the line of action to be taken by the ACU in regard to Sunday competitions is to take place at the ACU General Council meeting tomorrow, Friday.”
“RE YOUR ARTICLE ON the need for a home-produced fuel, Is it not about time that the fact that the British Empire can produce all the fuel we need from wood pulp is realised? The absurd amount of duty on alcohol has no doubt caused the lack of interest and experimental work needed to make alcohol fuels suitable for the present-day type of internal-combustion engine; but if only the immense possibilities of the resources of the British Empire were realised, I am sure that alcohol fuel mixture in quantities large enough for public use would soon be forthcoming. It may interest some of your readers to know that United States Army tractors have been very successfully run on bootleg ‘hooch’, or wood alcohol.
ALEC E HODGES, Machine Examiner, International Speedways.”
“THE SOUTH-EASTERN CENTRE dinner and dance, held at Croydon last Thursday, if not quite the success in the matter of the number present that was anticipated, was certainly very enjoyable—after the speeches had concluded. For some reason or other they got a little off the rails. Mr HN Edwards, who proposed the toast of the ACU, while admitting that there must very definitely be a governing body, was not at all sure that he liked the ACU or its methods. And Major Potter, chairman of the ACU, replied with a discourse on the way the ACU is run. If there was anything to be learned from these speeches it is that the atmosphere at the ACU General Council meeting could, with advantage to the sport, be a lot more ‘matey’—after all, the only thing that really matters is the welfare of the sport.”
“AGAIN THE QUESTION OF the fuel to be used for the TT Races has been under debate…it was decided…that the fuel standardised by the organiser of an International road race must contain not less than 50% petrol and not more than 50% benzole and 25% alcohol…this means, presumably, that the fuel for the 1932 TT will, as in the past, consist of 50% petrol and 50% benzole, yet how many wayside garages in Britain either can or will supply a gallon of benzole?”
“UNIT CONSTRUCTION MOST COME! It must, and will, come for three main reasons: freedom from trouble and the need of adjustment, neat appearance, and cleanliness. The roller-chain die-hards may argue that a perfect chain run under ideal conditions is 98% efficient—a figure fractionally higher than might be obtained with a train of gears. The point is, however, that unless a chain is running under ideal conditions, its efficiency begins to fall off rapidly from the word ‘go’, whereas with gear drive, the efficiency will; actually increase as the pinions bed down, and will then remain more or less constant for a very considerable mileage—probably for the whole useful life of the machine. The only way of ensuring ideal conditions for a chain is to place it inside a unit, for while an oil-bath chain case may exclude all foreign matter and ensure adequate lubrication, it will not prevent the whip between the two separate unit, gear box and engine; which takes place will the average motor cycle frame; and whip be it noted, causes malalignment of the sprockets, with a consequent drop in efficiency.”
“MANY motor cyclists of to-day take their mounts so much for granted that they fail to realise what wonderful things the machines really are. This is especially true of the engine itself, which is the heart of the motor cycle. Take the case of the average sports model of 500cc. The engine itself may weigh 75lb. An average man weighs about ten stone, or 140lb—that is, nearly twice the weight of his engine. A sports engine of 500cc is capable of developing 20bhp at some 4,000rpm. An athletic man in good training can develop about one-seventh bhp over short periods under ideal conditions*. Therefore, on a power-weight basis, the motor cycle engine is roughly 140 times as efficient as its rider! Moreover, the engine can keep it up more or less indefinitely, whereas the mere man, when ‘all out’, is exhausted in the matter of minutes, or even seconds. Let us again take this engine, developing its power at 4,000rpm. A man, running a hundred yards in ‘even time’ (10 seconds), strides not less than a yard at each pace, so that at top speed he is doing practically 600 ‘rpm’. He can only keep this up for a few seconds at most, whereas the motor cycle engine can maintain its 4,000rpm for hours if need be….Just to give an idea how hard our motor cycle engine is really working, let us imagine that the rider himself does a little of the work for a change. We will take a single-cylinder 5,000cc engine, having a bore and stroke of 85x88mm. Now imagine (yes, this is an absurdity!) that the motor cyclist has to supply the power by pushing down the piston himself, using his leg for the purpose. It would have to be a very mighty push, and, even though the distance to be pushed is only some 3½ inches each time, it has to be done 2,000 times a minute. Actually, in this particular case the poor chap would have to shove just about 1,170lb, which is nearly nine times his own weight. He has to do this, remember, 2,000 times a minute. During that minute he will have moved that weight of over half a ton 563 feet—almost 200 yards—and at a speed of just about 6½mph. You will admit this is pretty good going, especially with a load of nearly half a ton. Yet our plucky motor cycle does not think overmuch of it, and will not get overheated about it. Oh, yes—just to make sure that our motor cyclist does not cheat over this little job of work, I ought to mention that this 563 feet is to be measured in the strictly perpendicular sense—that is, vertically uphill. AJHE.”
* A reader named Andrew spotted that ‘one-seventh bhp’ figure and commented thus: “”Things have changed since 1931 and now I have a GPS based app. to measure my power output whilst cycling. Over a fifth of a bhp for an hour or so and two thirds bhp for a short burst!” A modern 500cc lump turns out 50hp-plus so it seems we’ve evolved at about the same rate as our bikes.
“TERRIBLE AS IS THE REPUTATION of the Darlington Club’s ‘Swaledale Grand National’, the 1931 version took even the most hardened rough-riders by surprise. In fairness to Chief Torturer Eddie Williamson it must be admitted that he was forced into playing one trump card against his will; for a farmer refused permission at the last moment, and there was no alternative but to send the lads round by what must be one of the worst obstacles riders have ever had to face. Leading to the foot of Arthur’s Folly, near Langthwaite, this section consisted of a steep, grassy hillside, which had to be crossed, not climbed. Machines would do anything but point in the right direction, and rider after rider slid gradually downwards into a welcoming forest of bracken at the foot. Everyone stopped to rescue everyone else, and only a few eventually struggled on to complete one circuit about two hours late. These had to face further horrors almost as deadly; and only GA Zissler (348cc Sunbeam) seemed to have much fighting spirit left in him. Stelvio Edge, an appalling series of boggy hairpins, was deleted, as even the observers could scarcely stagger up it; and, with the ground in such sodden condition, no one could do much orthodox motor cycling even on the level. Strong men wept at the thought of a second application of the same circuit (three had been intended!), so the trial was wisely terminated after only eighteen miles had been covered. With the improvised finish in sight, the handful of persevering die-hards had to tackle Orgate watersplash, in which water played quite a secondary part to rocks. Everyone was too exhausted even to fall properly; they just paddled feebly in, stuck, and were promptly hauled ashore.”
“THE GRIP TWISTERS’ WARNING. Below please find our first and, we hope, last venture into the realm of poetry (?); but we excuse ourselves on the grounds that the sad story related is true, and has no doubt affected us.
On Sabbath morn in days of yore,
Three three-fifties to the fore,
Beeza, Matchless, and AJS,
Two hundred miles or more or less,
Far North or West, through country lanes did. speed,
Untrammelled by fair sex (’twas their creed).
Alas, this comradeship of endless miles
Is broken by a woman’s wiles;
The staunchest of the pack, the BSA,
Keen as any man, until that day,
Has fallen under Cupid’s spell.
And now (to us) has gone to ——— well!
The crisis came one day of late,
When fresh and new from padded crate,
Meant, it seemed, for woman fair,
Bedecked with ribbons green—A CHAIR!
Ponder well all men of solo bliss,
Less ye should also fall to depths as low as this.
A PAIR OF GRIP-TWISTERS, Newcastle-on-Tyne.”
“I WAS RATHER AMUSED by the poem entitled ‘A Dirge’ which I appeared in your excellent journal under the heading ‘The Grip Twister’s Warning’. Possibly it was inspired by envy of their wayward comrade; in which event I would recommend them to peruse a certain fable concerning a fox and some grapes [This fable dates back to ancient Greece: Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on a vine but was unable to, reach them. As he went away the fox sneered, ‘Oh, you aren’t even ripe yet! I don’t need any sour grapes.’] It may interest your correspondents to learn that I, too, after years of hard-and-fast solo riding, have fallen from grace and acquired a ‘chair’—a gleaming affair of aluminium (mottled) and shining cellulose, but without, as yet, green ribbons. The addition of this despised means of conveyance has greatly enhanced the appearance of the model and added to the driving comfort, and if, perhaps, I can no longer put up those incredibly high averages which sometimes appear in your Correspondence columns, or twist the grip around until the engine screams its protest and the speedometer needle flickers around the 75 mark— well, then, a look over my left shoulder provides me with ample compensation, and am content to jog along at a steady 45 and amuse myself by showing my rear number plate to seven-horse saloons and other small fry.
499 ENFIELD, Plymouth.”
“ALL CHANGE FOR WOOLWICH! The transfer of the AJS business to Woolwich is being undertaken by the LMS, and will take several weeks to accomplish. Some 750 tons of material, including thousands of cylinders snd petrol tanks, has to be moved.”
“THE FIRST COLOURED CONCRETE road to be laid in Scotland has just been completed at Grangemouth, Stirlingshire…Experiments are being made in Czecho-Slovakia with roads composed of cement and powdered glass.”
“THE FROZEN-LAKE-RACING SEASON is now in full swing in Sweden and other cold spots. Solo speed-work on ice surface calls for real riding skill!”
“GREAT STUFF, THIS ALL-WEATHER RIDING! The kind of game that makes the cheEks glow and the eyes sparkle. Cobwebs and cares all washed away. Wet? Not under the top layer. Hungry? Appetite enormous; digestion like a horse…Afterwards note with what relish he enjoys a smoke and relaxation in an easy chair before the fire…Being wet and cold…is, nevertheless, a state to be avoided…There is a great deal of fun and enjoyment to be derived from bad-weather riding provided one can keep warm and dry…For all long-distance riding I believe in a good pair of waders…they are comfortable and absolutely windproof and waterproof…we can attend to the body or, as your gym instructor would have it, the trunk…there is the alternative of having two layers on top of the ordinary clothing (the first layer to keep one warm, and the topmost layer to keep one dry) or one of the special many-layered storm-coats. For the waterproof top layer in the former case I know of nothing to beat either a poncho or a rubber competition coat. Both articles are sufficiently widely known to need no description here, but in either case the
garment should be long and thoroughly roomy. For the second or warmth layer, my favourite is a well-lined double-breasted leather coat, also of sufficient length to cover the knees when one is in the saddle. A good coat of this type will stand up to years and years of hard wear, and except in cases of prolonged rain, can be worn without any top covering. Once a leather coat does get really soaked, however, it takes about three days to dry out. An excellent garment for keeping one really warm on a long run is a lined Sidcot flying suit, worn under waders and rubber coat, of course. It is absolutely draught-proof and does much in the direction of keeping the ankles, legs, arms, and wrists warm. The rider is advised not to carry spanners in the knee pockets, however, particularly if his gear box is fitted with foot change mechanism. The above may well be regarded as luxuries in these hard times, and there is no doubt that an ordinary over-coat will do much in the direction of keeping one warm. Many riders prefer the second alternative method of combining warmth and weatherproofness in one garment. For these many
of the multiple-layer storm-coats available meet the case most admirably; with their stout twill, oiled silk, and warm linings they will keep the wearer hone-dry for hours on end. When purchasing, how-ever, it is as well to make sure that the garment is plenty large enough, as any tightness in movement will place an undue strain on the seams of the oiled silk. When preparing for a long ride in cold weather it is a good plan also to expend some thought on that apparel which will lie under one’s ordinary suiting. Perhaps for once mother’s advice to wear wool next to the skin may be taken as sound. A woollen pullover, too, will be found to be warmer than a waistcoat, and if the rider’s wardrobe includes such luxuries as a suede golf jerkin he will find it very comforting. Two vulnerable points have still to receive attention—the fork and the neck. There are several ways of overcoming the difficulty of water running off a saddle tank between one’s legs. A pair of waterproof shorts can be worn. Olympia revealed a type of saddle having a special water-deflecting flap at the front; one of these could be fitted. Or the tank itself may be fitted with a device which will check the water-chute, and direct it groundwards; a roll of American cloth or other waterproof fabric wrapped round the rear end of the tank will do the trick. It is not so difficult to prevent water from entering at the neck as might be imagined, provided the rider can purloin a bath towel without making himself unpopular with the folk at home. The procedure is as follows: First wind the bath towel round the neck.
Then put on the warmth layer, buttoned right up to the collar, but with the collar turned down, provided it comes well up under the chin and covers the towel. Next wind a long scarf round the bulge where you know your neck to be, covering half the face as well if the weather is very cold. Finally, get into the top-most waterproof coat and turn the big collar right up over the scarf, strapping it in front in the vicinity of the nose if a strap is provided. It isn’t really so complicated as it sounds! If it is intensely cold, a leather helmet and a pair of mask goggles will complete the process. Personally I do not favour helmets, for they make it difficult to hear the engine and, because of their complete protection from the wind, are inclined to send one to sleep on a long night run. An ordinary cap or a ski-ing cap with a good big peal to prevent glare and keep the rain of one’s goggles is, I consider, excellent head-wear. I met a man recently whose headgear I coveted. It was a cap of conventional shape, but made of leather; unfortunately, his hatter lives in Australia. If an extra peak is required the green-tinted tennis type is the best, and this is excellent for use with a beret. Goggles are an essential to everyone who values good eyesight. The mask type have the advantage of keeping a large portion of the face warm, but, on the other hand, for sheer range of vision,
give me the celluloid article—either the one-piece type or the eighteenpenny folding article which stows away in a scratch-proof case smaller and thinner than the palm of your hand. Driving rain will often find its way under the best-designed peaks. Thus, in wet weather, it is a good plan to smear the goggles with one of hie proprietary rain-dispersing preparations sold for the purpose. If such is not available, cut an apple or a potato in half and rub the raw part over the goggles before a run. This treatment will cause the rain to spread instead of settling in beads. The effect is much the same as that of a wind-screen wiper on a car. Another tip is to sew on to the back of one’s gloves a square of chamois leather, so that the goggles can be wiped with the back of the hand, so to speak, white riding. In thick mist or fog, of course, the goggles are best removed. While still on the subject of the rider’s comfort, I may add that an outside pocket in the topmost garment worn is invaluable for carrying fuel-money, cigarettes, matches, etc., and, if no such pocket is provided, one can easily be made from waterproof material, and, in the case of a rubber coat, stuck on with rubber solution. Another useful article is a sixpenny oilskin tobacco poach of the roll-up type, in which cigarettes and matches may be rolled up and kept dry. Those who indulge in winter night riding would also be wise to include a small electric torch.
“UNDER THE HEADING ‘MOTOR Cycles Wanted’, in your issue of November 12th, an advertiser enumerates in alphabetical order 162 different makes of machine, many a them extinct for nearly twenty years. The advertisement is good, inasmuch as it is unique, and it is obvious that its writer has searched his memory, and probably his records, to mention practically every make that has ever been on the market. I rode my first motor cycle in 1908, and although I have no records by me, I can remember several other once well-known machines not mentioned in the advertisement, and probably some of your readers can remember others. I recollect the ASL (Air Springs Ltd), NLG (North London Garage), Vindec, Green (fitted with a water-cooled Precision engine), and the old front-wheel-drive Werner. What memories some of these recall! The ASL had front forks and a pillion-type seat on the carrier in place of a saddle. Both forks and seat had to be inflated with air, and the beast steered like a crab when the forks were leaking, as frequently happened. The best part was the White and Poppe engine. Then there was the Arno, a really good job, with direct belt drive, a 500cc engine, weighing, fully equipped, only 155lb. This machine, on account of its high power-to-weight ratio, had splendid acceleration, and, incidentally, the complete engine, carburetter, and magneto could be removed from the frame, by undoing three bolts in as many minutes. Going through the list indeed calls up many memories…the old 1¾hp Motosacoche with inclined engine, held in the frame by butterfly nuts, and having a twisted belt drive and jockey pulley…but I must not encroach on your space. I am well past forty years of age, but still a keen motor cyclist, and have been a reader of The Motor Cycle for twenty-five years.
“SINCE ITS APPEARANCE LAST MAY the ‘Light 500’ Matchless has caused an immense amount of interest. To quote the advertisement theme of a well-known oil firm, ‘They said it couldn’t he done’, for it is one of the very few 500cc machines which come into the 30s tax category. In spite of this, the Matchless is a solid job, well equipped, and offering a really sporting performance. After a gruelling test, extending to over 600 miles, it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that it has been ‘done’, and very definitely at that. The machine tested was in competition form and had one or two alterations from standard, such as an upswept exhaust pipe (a 10s ‘extra’), a positive foot change (12s 6d), a competition rear tyre, and a speedometer (£2). The addition of the speedometer (which is not included in the ‘tools and loose equipment’ that may be omitted when the machine is weighed for taxation purposes) actually brought the weight to over 224lb, but this was fitted for the purposes of the test. Although its appearance would lead one to believe that the machine tested was purely a trials mount, it proved in actual practice to be a most excellent high-speed touring machine as well. as tested, Even with entirely unsuitable tyres it was a most dutiful hack-bus. For mile after mile a steady cruising speed of 50mph could be maintained without unduly stressing the side-valve engine. But the real charm of the ‘Light 500’ was its surge of power from 20mph onwards. It was quite unlike the average single-cylinder machine, for the throttle could be opened fully and the engine would pick up without any trace of knock or snatch. This silkiness, combined with an extremely quiet exhaust, gave an impression of ‘woolliness’ that had absolutely no existence in fact, for on acceleration the Matchless, due in part to its unusually light weight, could hold its own up to its maximum speed with the average overhead-valve five-hundred. Under suitable conditions a speed of 62mph was reached, while 48mph and 30mph were the respective maxima in second and bottom gears. At speeds over 55mph a pronounced vibration period set in, while 15mph was about the minimum non-snatch speed in top gear. On the machine tested, a positive heel-toe foot gear control was fitted on the same side as the brake pedal. This arrangement was inconvenient when a rapid change was necessary on approaching a corner—it was liable to result in a missed gear and a hurried stamp on the brake pedal, with a locked back wheel as a consequence. On one occasion a nut securing the selector mechanism
slackened off and caused the control pedal to jam the brake pedal in a moment of emergency. The brakes, both back and front, were at all times excellent, although a little harsh to begin with; mud and water did not appear to affect them, except towards the end of the test, when the front brake because a little noisy in operation. Provided the decompressor lever was tuned through only half of its travel, the engine would invariably start first kick, even when cold, but owing to lack of leverage, in the crank, a particularly heavy and vicious kick was always required. When idling, the engine was almost phenomenally quiet, and even at high speeds no mechanical sounds of any sort could be heard. No doubt due in a large degree to the complete and praiseworthy absence of oil leaks, the amount of oil consumed was negligible, working out at approximately 4,800mpg, while the petrol consumption was 56.4mpg at a maintained speed of 30mph. The fuel figure did not fall below 55.4mpg, even when averaged over 600 miles of really hard riding—a rather strange fact. In traffic care had to be used to avoid stalling the engine, which was inclined to back-fire suddenly on slowing up; when this occurred it was always necessary to stop and use the kick-starter, as, owing to the absence of an exhaust lifter, the back wheel would invariably lock on engaging the clutch in an endeavour to restart the engine before rolling to a standstill. The ignition suffered a set-back after 300 miles in the shape of a parting of the magneto chain, which had been fouling the crank-case release. The central prop stand was very easy to operate, and enabled both wheels to he spun quite easily, a fact which considerably lightens the task of cleaning. Apart from the trouble with the magneto, the only adjustments carried out were to the chains and tappets. Tightening the rear chain was a. simple operation, as the adjusters are of the push-and-pull type. The primary, however, was not quite so simple, owing to the proximity of the oil pipes and foot change to the gear box bolts. Altogether, the ‘Light 500’ shows how well liveliness, simplicity and low weight can be combined.”
“WHEN THE REYNOLDS SCOTT SPECIAL was produced by AE Reynolds, of Liverpool, in the early part of the year it was designed to appeal to those Scott enthusiasts who are prepared to pay ‘that little extra which means so much’ in order to realise some of their ideals. In the 1932 edition of the Reynolds Scott Special several new features are introduced, including an important item which will make an instant appeal to the connoisseurs—a spring frame. This has been made possible by the use of the Master spring-frame device, which, however, is not utilised as an attachment but is built into the machine. The ends of the rear-fork tubes terminate in castings carrying the spring-boxes of the Master fitting, which looks neat and adds to the pleasing appearance of the machine. The device is a standard fitting on the de luxe Special, which is priced at £110. The standard Special costs £100. The basis of both models is the Scott Flying Squirrel Sports, a specially picked Power Plus engine (498cc or 596cc, according to choice). The Scott three-speed gear box is suitably altered for the adoption of Velocette positive foot control. An addition to the engine is a ⁵⁄₁₆in. copper pipe led round the rear of the engine, connecting the two drain plugs with the object of equalising the oil supply in each crank case. A most interesting point is a new radiator, designed and manufactured by AE Reynolds, and replacing the normal Scott radiator. Although the Reynolds radiator holds an extra quart of water, it is not so deep as the Scott pattern; it is wider, and the honeycomb cells are arranged horizontally. The petrol tank, too, is of Reynolds design, and has a capacity of over three gallons of spirit and half a gallon of oil. It is much wider than the Scott tank and, of course, carries no gear-change quadrant. At the front end of the tank, on a raised boss, is the lighting switch, flanked on each side with a chromium-plated quick-snap filler cap. Brampton bottom-link type forks are used, a special bracket carrying the twin chromium-plated head lamps and a centrally disposed Smith-Jaeger 100mph speedometer. Located in the middle position between the two head lamps is a Bosch horn with chromium-plated front. A Magdyno is used for lighting, with a five-cell Nife battery. Amal ‘clean’ handlebars are a feature of the machine. There is one extra lever, controlling the auxiliary oil supply to the cylinder walls, as on the Scott TT replica models. A Terry Dominion saddle is fitted. Goodyear 26×3.50in. tyres are used, and the wheels have chromium-plated rims. A unique feature of the machine is the large-section mudguards. They are 7in wide and, as well as being fully valanced, the end of the rear guard is splayed to protect the number-plate. With a Noxal Launch sidecar body on a Swallow spring-wheel-chassis, the outfit costs £160. An unusual feature is the use of Wilmot-Breeden bumpers fore and aft, carried at the extremities of tubes attached to the sidecar chassis. “
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