Neither of the following paragraphs are of much consequence to the evolution of motor cycling, but they were written by Ixion and make a delightful start to another year.

“I OFTEN GET GLOATING LETTERS from lads who have converted some scaremonger who used to loathe motor cycling, but the palm certainly goes to Jake. He met a sporting spinster of sixty-three summers, and challenged her to sample his Norton and chair. She vas clear-witted enough to realise that she had no right to denounce motor cycles without knowing anything about them, so she accepted, and he now gives her regular rides. So much so that, when the local vicar gave tongue at the monthly church meeting, and ascribed poor church attendance on Sundays to the local lads’ habit of burning up the roads, and eke coaxing local fairies into occupying their carriers, she got up and delivered a short homily on the joys of the road, and the health it bestowed on pale faces earned in long office hours.”

“A READER WAS PROWLING round the native bazaar at Peshawar when he perceived a small English book lying on a native stall. Securing it for two pice, he found it was one of the few surviving copies of the first edition of Hints and Tips for Motor Cyclists, which I wrote some twenty years ago. Very courteously, he forwards it to me. It is extremely gratifying to know that my works enjoy such a cosmopolitan circulation, and that my first editions command such high prices. (You goof, two pice is about 0.00001d—ED.) Times have changed, for the book gives 190-220lb as the weight of a 3½hp single-cylinder, and recommends the lighter weight of the two.”

“A STAGE HAS BEEN REACHED at which really difficult trials hills are virtually impossible to find. Gradients which a few years ago could be guaranteed to stop 50% of an entry are now laughed at by novices…failures through the once-common ‘lack of power’ are now almost un-known. But on really steep gradients engine power is almost entirely dependent on wheel-adhesion, and this is where the competition tyre comes in; it is the combination of special tyre treads and powerful engines that has shorn nearly all the once-feared hills of their terrors. Instead of sending competitors through mud-baths, which often provide little more than a test of the rider’s physical strength and endurance, why should not clubs ban competition tyres, and thus make hills sporting and fair obstacles once again? It may be difficult to define a competition tread exactly, but it should not be impossible.”

“THE 1932 COLMORE TRIAL will be remembered for many a year by all who took part in it. For a few days before the event, which was held last Saturday, an anxious time was spent by intending competitors and officials alike. Snow had fallen, frost had set in, there had been a thaw, and then more frost—result, ice! In the early hours of Friday still more snow fell and, during the day, thawed in sheltered places; but the evening closed hard and cold. Many of the main roads were quite clear and dry, but out on the Cotswolds it was bleak and wild. A thin wind cut like a knife, and powdery snow drifted in a fine spray, filling treacherous ruts and piling itself against the grey stone walls in dazzling white heaps. Well, Saturday morning arrived, and the Unicorn Hotel yard presented the old familiar sight. ‘Ebbie’ was there, ready to go out and time the brake test. 0i1, petrol and rubber merchants were, as usual, in evidence; the scrutineers—Harry Perrey and George Denley—were doing their stuff; the hotel staff were busy handing out assorted beverages designed to keep out the cold; the Press was there, greedily collecting snippets of news; people who hadn’t seen each other for months were exchanging hilarious greetings. In other words, the open-competition season had begun. Of the 105 entrants in the motor cycle class, 101 turned up at the start: They were not all destined to be there at the finish, however; 82 managed to complete the course in time. A snappy little opening ride of about eight miles over hard, dry roads led to the first hill, Lark Stoke. By way of a change, the badly rutted top part was observed, and looked really wicked. A large bonfire was burning brightly for the benefit of the observers, who had a rather dull time, if the performances of the first 20 or so riders were anything to go by. Sammy Jones, last year’s winner, shot up on a spring-frame 346cc New Imperial; AR Foster (246cc New Imperial) manfully, and successfully, corrected bad wobbles; RAJ Bowden (346cc New Imperial) was markedly quiet and steady; and FE Thacker (348cc Ariel) spurned the ruts and rode up the level grass -at the side. A hectic moment by JW Douglas (494cc Douglas) was corrected by footing, but AP Palmer (494cc Douglas) was very clever in negotiating the worst of the ruts. Dropping his usual sober style, T Gibson (493cc Sunbeam) shot up like a rocket—and just as straight; HG Tyrell-Smith (499cc Rudge) was admirable; AA Smith (348cc Cotton) was also good; and then AR Edwards (348cc Velocette) surprised himself, and everybody else, by falling. For the brake test, the hill used had been salted to clear the snow. The gradient was about 1 in 10, and the timed coasting distance between the lines was 75 yards. Sammy Jones was unlucky in falling at the stopping point; his distance over the line was 4ft 5in. Riding a 493cc Calthorpe, GP Baxter was excellent, being only 1ft 5in over the limit; Tim Robbins (493cc New Hudson) made a false start and had a spot of argument with the officials; then he came down again—untimed—and fell! AR Foster stopped only a foot over the line, but was beaten by RAJ Bowden, whose distance was only 5in. In a little over a mile Blockley Hill was

L-R: “Snow, ice and gradient did not worry L Heath (499cc Ariel), who made best performance of the day. Miss Marjorie Cottle (249cc BSA) attacks the snow-clad Lower Guiting Hill. EF Cope (352cc Velocette sc) takes the right-hand bend on Stanway Loop.”

reached, but it was too easy to cause any bother. Then followed a little cross-country going to Ford Hill, where the first stop and restart test was held. This test, and the hill, were very easy, but the first man up, Jones, had the job of clearing the snow away with his spinning rear wheel; he was, consequently, outside the time limit laid down for the test. One or two others were similarly caught—chiefly sidecars and three-wheelers. RT Horton (Morgan) was slow in getting off the mark. GA Norchi (BSA three-wheeler) performed well. A Morgan with WH Atkins at the helm, failed hopelessly; it was not completely prepared for the trial, had unsuitable gear ratios, and was not handled very cleverly. Later in the day its driver unfortunately turned it over…West Down can always be sure of catching a few. On this occasion it was as easy as ever it is likely to be, but there were just one or two who treated it with rather. more contempt than it deserved, and paid the penalty. Quite the most spectacular—and the fastest—was Jack Williams (249cc Rudge). His climb was in marked contrast to that of Miss Marjorie Cottle (249cc BSA), who was just as safe as Williams, but far more sedate. Perhaps the best sidecar was that driven by DK Mansell (490cc Norton sc), while all the Vincent-HRD people—W Clarke, H Spottiswoode and G Franklin—were noticeably good. Jack White (248cc Ariel) had a bit of bad luck and left the model in rather spectacular style; Miss Edyth Foley (147cc Coventry-Eagle) attempted to mount the bank at the side, but fell over into a gorse bush; and P Johnston (346cc Triumph) also tried the bank, but slipped down, and, in trying to mount it again, fell over…Stanway Loop is never really easy, but such is the skill of present-day riders and the perfection of modern machines that even under Saturday’s coating of snow and semi-frozen mud it caused fewer than half a dozen failures. In fact, were it not for a snowball-fight which, springing from small beginnings, became almost universal, proceedings would have been dull and chilly for the lookers-on. Jones (346cc New Imperial) led off with a perfectly judged climb, going wide to

Keeping to the narrow (but not straight) path, GE Rowley (AJS) ascends snow-clad Kineton Hill .

the left on the second of the two humps. Gibson (493cc Sunbeam) was almost as steady, but Tyrell-Smith (499cc Rudge) skidded slightly and shot out a foot. PR Guest (346cc New Imperial), FE Thacker (348cc Ariel), JJ Booker (488cc Royal Enfield), RAJ Bowden (346cc New Imperial) and AR Edwards (348cc Velocette) came up steadily and accurately. AP Palmer (494cc Douglas) was faster, but stopped momentarily well above the control. EN Stretton (348cc Triumph) and AA Smith (348cc Cotton) were steady, while GS Hadfield (345cc Levis) was equally good, though his machine produced some odd rattles. G Littleford (348cc AJS) was fast, and AE Perrigo (349cc BSA was clever as usual…DE Mansell (490cc Norton sc) led the sidecar brigade with great dash, and was followed by GV Scott (348cc Velocette sc), who had wheelspin and not too much in hand. WS Waycott (494cc Douglas sc) was fast, but his engine was missing intermittently. G Stannard (498cc Triumph sc.), RF Turner (499cc New Imperial sc), EF Cope (352cc Velocette sc) and M Gayson (499cc New Imperial sc) all earned good marks. JGD Phillips (494cc Douglas), entered as a sidecar, elected to ride a solo model, and was not too steady, and other solos to appear among the passenger machines were those of SAP Wills (346cc Enfield), who climbed well RR Writer (346cc Zenith), neat and fast, and LJ Foley (348cc Norton), who made a sure climb…Laverton had a rut on each side, but was easy for solo machines, which had a clear path up the centre. Two sidecars failed, one of them the outfit of DK Mansell, who chose the wrong rut. RC Cotterell (248cc OK Supreme) came up much too fast—he said later he had been making up time—and met with the inevitable spill. Best in the Atherstone stop-and-go test was by AR Foster (246 New Imperial), in 4sec; he was closely followed by George Rowley (498cc AJS), in 4.2sec, third fastest time was 4.4sec made by L Heath (499cc Ariel) and F Chambers (348cc Velocette). Of the sidecars, the fastest was C Thyne (499cc Grindlay-Peerless sc), his time being 4.8sec. Another good time was made by WE Hayward (498cc Baughan sc), who, with his sidecar wheel drive, clocked 5.4sec. In another three miles came the finish of a Colmore remarkable for its combination of hard weather and easy hills. Provisional Awards. Colmore Cup (for best performance of the day), L Heath 499cc Ariel); Watson Shield (for best sidecar performance), DK Mansell (490cc Norton sc); Cranmore Trophy (for best solo performance), LG Holdsworth (348cc Norton); Calthorpe Cup (for best 175-250cc performance), Miss M Cottle (249cc BSA); Horton Cup (for best 250-350cc performance), SE Blake (346cc Levis); Hassell Cup (for best 350-500cc performance on a sidecar), EF Cope (352cc Velocette sc); Kershaw Cup (for best 350-500cc performance), W Brandish (499cc Ariel); Bayliss Cup (for best performance on a side-valve machine), FW Stevenson, (980cc Brough Superior sc).

“M Gavson (499cc New Imperial sc) among the deep ruts of West Down Hill.”

“UNIT-CONSTRUCTION AND SHAFT DRIVE must come.’ In scores of articles in the past decade has this or a similar phrase appeared, yet even to-day there is but one shaft-driven unit-construction British motor cycle…Britain is lagging behind so far as the transmission problem is concerned, and if, as its protagonists maintain, shaft drive and unit-construction will obviate once and for all the need for messy, finicky adjustments, then the sooner these features become a standard feature of design the better for us all.”

“THAT MOTOR CYCLES ARE TOO HEAVY and by their very weight restrain many potential motor cyclists from purchasing them, has been the plaint for the past twenty-five years. Even in those long-ago days of 1601b five-hundreds the cry was for lighter machines, yet to day we find that weights have more than doubled—that quite often a motor cycle of 500cc weighs 350lb or more. Small wonder that, with the almost annual increase in weight, modern machines occasionally cannot bear comparison in their liveliness with the products of a decade ago. Few of us, though, would willingly do without the many refinements that have caused the increase, such as tanks of a sensible size, cylinders that neither overheat nor distort, dynamos (which, incidentally, absorb power), batteries, electric horns, instrument panels, larger tyres and rims, proper silencers (more power absorbed!), enclosed chains, supple saddles and powerful brakes. The majority of, if not all, these items are more than worth the weight they add, but have designers studied the weight question with sufficient care? A few, of course, have paid really close attention to it, not so much through a love of light machines as because of the 224lb limit for the 30s tax. With the majority the final weight of their products has been a matte of small moment; they have constantly sought to extract a little more power from their engines and add to the acceleration, yet have neglected too long the all-important question of weight. Happily there are signs of a fresh interest in lighter machines, thanks to the TT and the premium it places upon acceleration, to recent developments in light alloys, and, perhaps not least, to the continuance of weight as the basis of taxation.”

“Muir (Velocette) gets of the mark.”

“THE FASTEST MOTOR CYCLE at last Saturday’s inter-varsity speed trials clocked 72.5mph. The fastest car fell short of that figure by 6mph. And after several cars—but not motor cycles—had frolicked amidst the hedges the programme was abandoned on the score of danger! But perhaps that is hardly fair to the car people, for the real trouble was the narrowness of the coarse. Sir James Hill, Bart, had kindly placed the drive of Hexton Manor, near Luton, at the disposal of the Cambridge University AC. As a drive it is most imposing, consisting, as it does, of an avenue of fine old trees, but as a speed sprint course it has its shortcomings. The timed section lay over 600 yards of the drive, which was about ten feet wide, had a reasonably good gravel surface, and ran slightly downhill. The fun began when competitors crossed the finishing line at the end of the 600 yards. Finishing at anything up to 85mph, they had only about seventy more yards before the drive passed through a distinctly narrow gap in a tall hedge, and became a winding path through a .shrubbery…The motor cycles numbered about 20, the Dark Blues being: very poorly represented by only three entries. The paddock—anywhere you liked in a huge, undulating field—was a joyous sight to those with affectionate memories of the ‘straight’ speed trials of bygone days. Everywhere lay equipment—cans of dope, mudguards, silencers, crash-helmets, tools, wire, and every sort of oddment imaginable. Enthusiasts worked away at an assortment—Velocettes heavily predominating—of motor cycles wearing (in most cases) that utterly roguish look that comes of removing the tank and substituting some thing about the else of a cocoa-tin. Their friends wandered round asking where numbers could be obtained. Fierce-looking gentlemen in white overalls played devastating arpeggios on Bugatti throttle-pedals. Officials played with miles of telephone wire, apparently not in the least worried by the fact that it was half an hour past the advertised starting time. Not worrying is a characteristic of these inter-varsity shows. Nobody worries if the affair actually starts an hour and a half late, as this one did. Nobody worries if a competitor performs without a number. (‘Who was that?’ asks the time-keeper. ‘Believe it was old Dogsbody,’ says a looker-on. ‘I expect it was,’ says the timekeeper.) Nobody, in fact, worries about anything. And, after all, in an affair of this kind, why should they? The most interesting aspect of each man’s sprint was his getaway and gear-changing rather than his all-out riding on the short course. A very brief living start was allowed, so that a machine was doing, perhaps, 12mph when it broke the cotton of the electrical timing apparatus. The surface over the first 30 yards or so soon became rather loose (especially after a few hot-stuff cars had spun their rear wheels on it), so getting off the mark called for judicious throttle- and clutch-work. Methods varied. BB Atherton (246cc Ariel-JAP) was on his trials mount, and upheld trials traditions by keeping his feet firmly on the rests while the machine left the mark in a lovely zig-zag. JM Muir, of I0M fame, adopted a different method with his Velocette and Norton. He trailed two precautionary feet—not untidily— until wheelspin was over, then replaced them on the rests with the precision of a guardsman coming to the ‘shun. One or two other people, who shall be nameless, waved legs wildly in all directions—and, funnily enough, they always seemed to be the owners of engines lacked

L-R: “CS Cockerall (Velocette) at speed. At work on a stripped machine. The passenger of JD Gardiner’s Sunbeam studies the treetops. Muir in action on his Norton.”

the power to spin a wheel an inch! Foot changes were more or less de rigeur, but in several cases they lost their users valuable fractions. Nervousness (‘Mustn’t muff this change now, whatever happens!’) was probably the cause in some instances, while in others the fact that the right hand was left free seemed to encourage too much grip-shutting while the changes were made. The find light relief was provided by CH Gilliatt’s 348cc Wobble-Blackburne (1924 ohv Blackburne engine in more-or-less Chater-Lea frame, with Moss gear and Burman clutch, plus oddments to taste), which proceeded up the course making a noise like a fire-bell. Spectators thought the ambulance was coming, but it was only flywhee1-ring! Nothing startling in the way of real speed happened until JH Fell produced his 746cc Douglas. Had the proverbial rocket seen him get away it would have gone back to Mr Brock with tears in its eyes. He roared down the course in 17.6sec—70.9mph from an all-but-standing start, and over little more than a third of a mile! Would it be beaten? Muir managed 18.5sec (66.5mph) on his 490cc Norton, which figure SB Darbishire (490cc Norton) topped with 18.1sec (69mph), while AM Leitch (499cc Rudge) returned 18.6sec. But it was left to Eric Fernihough, on a standard and very new and showroom-looking 498cc single-port Excelsior-JAP, to cap Fell’s figure. He failed by a tenth of a second on his first run, but on his second attempt he pulled the figure right down to 17sec—72.5mph, and best time of the day. Those with an ear for exhaust notes eagerly awaited HLS Sikes’ super-charged Ariel Four, but ultimately it turned out with silencers! It got off the mark most impressively, but could not put up any startling figure; apparently the ‘overcharger’ was not performing. Its rider had fitted a new cylinder-head gasket in the paddock. Mavrogordato turned up late on his famous TT Scott (with Castle-type forks, and tiny, red-painted petrol and oil tanks), and, taking a fistful of twist-grip in one hand and his courage in both, howled off down the course without having inspected its finish. Having left everything turned on as long as possible (because be wasn’t quite sure where the finish lay!), be entered the ‘colonial section’ with considerable urgency, and experienced a crowded three seconds in avoiding two large racing cars which had shortly before decided to nest in a very expensive box hedge. It was when another car shattered the last remains of the head gardener’s life’s work that the meeting was called off. Theoretically, every, competitor should have had three runs. Most had had only two. But it was only an hour until lighting-up time, anyway! Results. 250cc, EC Fernihough (246cc Excelsior-JAP), 19.8sec/62mph; 350cc, JM Muir (348cc Velocette), 19.3sec/64mph; 500cc, EC Fernihough (498cc Excelsior-JAP), 17sec/72.5mph*; Unlimited, JH Fell (746cc Douglas), 17.6sec/70.9mph; Passenger machines, JD Gardiner (493cc Sunbeam sc), 25sec,49mph. *Best time of the day.”

Hexton Manor, with its 773-acre back yard, is currently (April 2023) up for sale so you could stage your own speed trial up the drive if you have £15,000,000.

CHANCELLOR PHILIP SNOWDEN REFUSED to remove roadtax from tiddlers but did cut it by 50% to 15s (75p) for bikes up to 150cc. He also raised the weight limit for the 30s (£1.50) roadtax from 200 to 224lb (100kg). Once again, manufacturers turned to Villiers, whose well-proven 147cc two-stroke was soon powering a variety of lightweight ‘Snowden babies’, though Cotton opted for a 150cc sv JAP. Triumph put its own name on the fourstroke sv XO; Beeza came up with a scaled down version of its ohv 250. Leaders of the 150cc pack were the Royal Enfield Model T and the New Imperial Unit Minor which boosted the company’s sales by 48% in its first year of production. AJS, now under Matchless ownership, beat the 224lb 30s tax limit with a lightened Big Port ohv 350 single, as did Douglas with a 350cc sv flat twin. Matchless went one better with an under-224lb sv 500 complete with electric lights and centre stand.

THE ACU HIT THE ROAD with a five-day ‘travelling Olympia’ designed to introduce the public to the benefits of 15s-tax lightweights. Th convoy started from Birmingham and stopped at Derby, Sheffield, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, Doncaster, Worksop, Mansfield, Nottingham, Leicester, Market Harborough, Northampton, Bedford, Luton, Watford, Sough and Reading. The Blue ‘Un reported: “Reliability, braking, silence, ease of starting, fuel economy and ‘portability’ will all be publicly tested—certain of them on the jury system—and the results recorded on an official certificate.”

“THE latest model to make its début in the 15s-tax category is yet another Excelsior. It is complete in every detail; when a purchaser puts down his cheque for £23 10s—that is all it costs—he has finished spending, except for insurance and licence; there are no extras that can possibly be required. The engine of this new Excelsior is the 148cc two-port Villiers. It is equipped with a Villiers single-lever carburetter attached to a curved, bulbous induction pipe that has a circular flange fixing on to the cylinder. In this engine the cylinder and combustion head are in one piece, and the sparking plug is placed centrally in the head. The exhaust pipes lead in graceful curves to twin expansion chambers with fishtail outlets. The flywheel magneto commonly found on this type of machine is dispensed with, and coil ignition—Lucas—is substituted. The dynamo, which incorporates the contact-breaker, is housed in front of the engine, being clamped securely by a steel strap to the engine plates, which are recessed to receive it. A suitable position has been found for the coil on the saddle tube, and the battery is carried at the side of the same tube. The dynamo, of course, also provides the current for the six-volt lighting set. The large head lamp contains an ammeter and ignition switch, an ignition tell-tale light and the lighting switch. There are dim and bright filaments, and the head light has a dipping control on the handlebar. Transmission is by chains through a Burman three-speed gear box that has a pivot mounting with an accessible adjustment for taking up slackness in the primary chain. The gear change is by a long lever with a tank-mounted gate. The appearance of the whole machine is enhanced by the fitting of a single chain case of a very neat design enclosing both the primary chain and the dynamo drive. A diamond frame of normal construction is used, and the engine is inclined. The saddle tank rests on rubber buffers, and is remarkably well finished in black with a large red panel and suitable lining. Of the adjustable type, the handlebars carry a twist-grip control for the throttle, lever ignition control, exhaust release, clutch, and front brake levers. The pressed-steel forks have a single coil spring. Each wheel has a 5in internal-expanding brake, and the tyres are 25x 2.75in Dunlops. The saddle, too, is a Dunlop, and is of generous size; this saddle, it will be remembered, has a waterproof top. There is a light carrier over the rear guard, and a rear spring-up stand is fitted. The equipment is completed by an electric horn, a licence-holder, a large metal tool box and big legshields that sweep back to the footrests to protect the feet as well as the legs. With this specification the price is, as already stated, £23 lOs. There will be an alternative specification in which the Villiers flywheel magneto is used in conjunction with Lucas dynamo lighting; the price in this case will be £25 17s 6d.”

1932 EXCELSIOR 148
L-R: “The new 148cc Excelsior-Villiers. The very complete primary chain case is extended to shield the dynamo case. How the combined dynamo and ignition contact-breaker are mounted in front of the crank case.”

IXION WAS SINGULARLY UNIMPRESSED by a national newspaper poetry competition on the subject of ‘Spring’. “The two-guinea prize was divided between two fellers who identified as the chief attraction of Spring—what do you think?—Lambs! And not lambs nicely roasted with green peas and new potatoes, but lambs au naturel, capering about on the roads, and getting under our wheels…Here is one view: ‘The nicest and the funniest thing In all the blessed English spring Is the first staggering new-born lamb Sketching a jump before his dam.’ Perhaps he’s right. I should have written something about the first sunny ride, minus leathers, waders, the usual four waistcoats and three mufflers. But a young lamb is certainly funny. Anyhow, I don’t see why all the prize money should have gone to lambs.”

“BRUSSELS NOW HAS A SQUAD of mobile police, of very military appearance, mounted on fast ohv machines.”

“THE WATERLOO &DMC planned a speed trial on the newly completed East Lancashire Road by courtesy of the contractors before the road was officially handed over to the Lancashire County Council. But when the local press reported that the county council was involved with running the trial the council took immediate possession of the road and cancelled the event.

Robert Fulton Jnr rode round the world, almost by accident. At a dinner party in Vienna he told a young lady that he planned to go global; probably as a casual boast to impress her. Fulton didn’t realise he was sitting opposite Kenton Redgrave, owner of Douglas Motorcycles. Redgrave offered him a free bike, with an extra fuel tank, windscreen and easily replaceable car-size tyres to suit the odyssey across Europe, to the Middle East via Turkey, then through what’s now Indonesia to China, Japan and the USA. A .32 revolver was tucked in above the sump plate, just in case. He made it, went on to have many more adventures—and restored and rode his Duggie again in the 1990s. Fulton’s account of the trip, One Man Caravan, is readily available.

“CAUTIOUSLY OPENING THE DOOR of the tool-shed-cum-garage, we entered and looked at the model. After an enforced absence of 19 months (we were qualifying for the Board of Trade second-class certificate for Diesel engineers), we wondered how the old machine would look and act. Not a whinny of recognition, or a bark of welcome, but since we did not expect it we were not disappointed. Perhaps the bus did not recognise us. Nineteen weary months in the Far East do make a difference; but the bike was the same. Same old tank and handlebars. Thanks to Jimmy, it had been kept clean and recently overhauled. Taking a firm grip of the handlebars, we pull it off the stand. Click! Ha, that was good! Haven’t lost the art of kicking up the stand into place. Encouraged by that I throw a leg across, and bob up and down in the saddle. Now for the test. A gallon and a half of petrol; a quart of oil. Good old Jimmy! Compression all right? Gee, that’s great! Now for the run I’ve dreamt about for months. Paddle outside, and back-heel the door. A couple of preliminary jabs at the starter, retard her a little; then, whoosh! Again whoosh! That’s queer. She was always a first-kick starter. Hope we’re not going to have any trouble to-day. Yank out the plug. Spark’s all right. Ha, ha, ha, ha! We didn’t turn on the petrol! Once more: Whoosh! Aha, there she goes! A bit noisy, but I’ve been listening to a Diesel four-stroke for a year and a half, and remain unmoved by noise. Down the drive, right turn, and open up. She’s going well. Snick! Changes as easy as ever. Snick! Now we’re off. This is life as it should be lived. As the cool breeze fans my face I think of the blistering noons and burning nights in the Red Sea…and thank my lucky stars to be in England now. I’m glad, old bike, to be with you again!

“I’m glad, old bike, to be with you again!”

“READERS WHO KNOW PORLOCK HILL may find this interesting. My 1927 long-stroke ‘Beam was under the usual touring handicap, ie, a sizeable blonde on the bracket, three well-filled haversacks, and myself in Arctic regalia, when the screw on which the gear lever pivots decided to slacken, allowing the lever to jump out of the bottom gear notch into neutral, right on the bend of the first hair-pin. Ignoring the AA scout’s well-meant appeal to get off, I opened the throttle, held the lever in bottom and, with a prayer to Ixion, the god of motor cycling, let in the clutch. Believe it or not, she got away without a foot-slog from either Myrtle or myself, Mr Marston! To finish the hill one-handed, with the engine alternately peaking and petering out, is easy if one avoids the deeper ruts and the larger boulders. In case this is read by a lad who has climbed it sitting backwards with Teddy Brown on the pillion, I have three very reliable witnesses, to say nothing of Myrtle on the upper deck.

Talking of Sunbeams, here’s a roadtest of a 600cc ohv Sunbeam combo…

EVER SINCE THE MAKERS OF Sunbeam motor cycles entered the market they have had a reputation as builders of really high-class machines. They have moved with the times, and their present models incorporate most of the features which, to-day, are recognised as being necessary or desirable. In producing the 600cc version of the well-known Model 9, the aim of the designer has been to provide a high-performance machine which shall be easy to maintain in proper order, and which shall give that standard of reliability demanded by the hard rider who uses his mount throughout the year. Thus the wheels are quickly detachable and interchange-able; the transmission is completely protected in oil-bath cases; and the main oiling system ensures the positive lubrication of all vital parts, including the rocker gear and valve stems. Obviously, a machine such as this, with a big 600cc ohv engine and a four-speed gear box, should be particularly suitable for fast and comfortable sidecar work, and it was in this capacity that the machine was tested. Some hot-stuff overhead-valve engines involve considerable effort in starting; the Sunbeam’s engine, however, was delightfully free, and never became ‘gummed’ with oil after a cold night at rest. The exhaust-valve lifter is on the same side as the throttle twist-grip, a position that is undoubtedly convenient for sidecar work, if a little unusual. When experience had shown the best throttle setting, and with an almost fully retarded spark, it was generally possible to start the engine at the second kick; quite often the first real kick would be effective. Idling was almost phenomenal for this type of power unit, and, with careful setting of the controls, the engine would tick over almost indefinitely at about 300rpm. Naturally, at this speed, its impulses could be definitely felt. From the point of view of mechanical noise, the engine was in some respects rather disappointing. With a fully or nearly fully retarded spark there was almost complete mechanical silence, the merest tapping from the valve gear being the only noticeable noise. With the spark advanced, however, pronounced piston slap set in and remained throughout the speed range, either with a cold or warm engine. The only other mechanical noise was just a slight whine from the third gear ratio. As regards exhaust noise, the twin silencers with their large fishtails did their work very well indeed, and the exhaust note, while distinctly healthy, was deep-toned and rather pleasing. A Sunbeam rider expects smooth transmission, and the machine tested did not disappoint. With a sidecar and passenger the minimum non-snatch speed on top gear was 12mph, which can be looked upon as most

“The Sunbeam and sidecar; the outfit has the typical, superfine Sunbeam finish.”

creditable. In second gear the machine would travel without snatch on a slight up gradient at a speed of less than 3mph. On bottom gear the speedometer refused to register the non-snatch speed! The clutch was unusually light to operate, took up the drive smoothly, and, when fully engaged, transmitted the power positively. No more delightful gear box than the new four-speed could be desired. As already indicated, the one on the machine tested was a little musical on third, but it was a sheer joy to operate the gears. Either going up or down, and no matter what the speed, a sure and absolutely silent change could be made. The rider just snicked the lever from notch to notch, and the tap of the lever on the gate, as it reached the end of its travel, was the only noise that could be heard. This box was certainly in keeping with the traditional Sunbeam excellence, and the ratios were well chosen. Steering was definitely good, and very little damping was necessary. There was no pronounced pull to the left, and long, fast runs could be undertaken without any fatigue whatever. The control of the front fork movement by means of the hand-adjusted shock damper was found convenient when a stretch of bad road was encountered. A point which affects the steering is the method of attachment of the sidecar. There are three connecting points—one below the steering head, one below the saddle and the other from the chain stay. The last-named is by a flexible ball joint, and, since the other two connections are capable of a certain amount of whip, the outfit flexes slightly on corners. At first this was a little disconcerting, and on left-hand bends gave the impression—false, of course—of a lifting sidecar wheel. The system, however, is a sound one, and does. assist comfort by absorbing road-shocks. Two tests of all-out speed were made on a level stretch of road during a period when there was practically no wind. The results of each were identical. One way, a maximum of 59mph was reached and held; in the reverse direction the maximum, which was also held as long as it was safe, was 62mph. These were speedometer readings, and, of course, a passenger was carried in each case. On third gear the machine had the useful maximum of 53mph. During the road test the carburation seemed a trifle faulty, the mixture appearing to be weak. Raising the needle to its highest point made a slight improvement. but, even so, the engine occasionally protested that it was not receiving fuel fast enough. Petrol consumption was fairly low considering the weight of the outfit, and the fact that it was driven fairly fast all the time. During the course of the consumption test the average speed was nearly 37mph, and petrol was being used at the rate of, almost exactly 60mpg. In the course of 540 miles one pint of oil was added to the tank, so it will be seen that the oil consumption was low. The brakes were excellent. Each brake is of seven-inch diameter, and the rear brake would stop the outfit on a gradient of 1 in 7 from a speed of 25mph. The sidecar was the ‘Lion’ model, a very neat polished aluminium design, with hood and screen. Passengers reported that it was unusually comfortable.


1T WAS THERE WHEN I passed in the morning. It was still there on my return in the dusk—an elderly 172cc two-stroke, leaning against a milestone, near a mountain tarn. In the saddle a young snowdrift had started to freeze, while the spokes had grown almost to the thickness of exhaust pipes with encrusted ice. Pieces of wire held various parts of the machine together, aided by string and a multitude of rubber bands. Long since the enamel had faded from the tank, leaving rust, which the snow valiantly did its best to hide. The whole simply shouted ‘neglect’, or possibly ‘utility’. Its market value could not possibly exceed the cost of even a moderately priced bicycle. I tried to picture its cruel and impecunious owner. Perhaps a poorly paid farm hand using it for hack work; maybe a shepherd, gone hunting for his flock in the snow. But no farm was near. Neither could I imagine sheep grazing on the semi-frozen surface of the lake on one side of the road, nor on the sheer face of the cliff that graced the other: I could imagine no path leading anywhere from the deserted milestone. Perhaps it was a case of breakdown, the deserting of the bike, and a dash to catch the next bus at the cross-roads, possibly to keep an appointment? Some time, no doubt, the owner would return to collect it, but not to-night. It was a jolly sight too cold. What if it were stolen? It would serve him right in return for his gross cruelty—cruelty to a steed that had long since qualified for a tranquil retirement. A second glance reassured me. No one could ever steal such a machine. It was a moral impossibility, even for a maniac. Then voices disturbed my thoughts; a cheery laugh as somebody slipped in the snow. Soon two figures loomed up and clambered over the wall; two huge figures, each hinting at a generous thirteen stone. A heavy rucksack rested on each shoulder, while, in addition, one carried a coil of climbing rope. Both had ice axes, and a glance down revealed the presence of two pairs of huge, heavily nailed boots, of a size that would turn a self-respecting bobby green with envy. Of their plus-fours the least said the better—they were simply disastrous. With a cheery ‘How-do?’ they made for the two-stroke, and, horror of horrors! proceeded to embark. While one lit the lamps the other playfully scraped the ice off the saddle with his ice axe. In a jiffy the little engine coughed into life, and before my startled gaze the strange trio departed towards civilisation, with the frame almost visibly bending under the load of humanity, impedimenta, and ice. I leant weakly for support against the milestone, and solemnly took off my hat to the three toughest specimens I have ever met…”

This is ace xylophonist and band leader Teddy Brown.

NOT FOR THE FIRST TIME, let’s settle down for a TT report courtesy of successful competitor and editor of the TT Special, Geoff Davison: “It was obvious that the 1932 races would present Norton-Rudge duels in the Junior and Senior, with Rudges and New Imperials fighting it out in the Lightweight. The Norton camp was in a stronger position than the Rudge, perhaps, for it had four star riders—Guthrie Hunt, Simpson and Woods—in the Junior and Senior, whilst the Rudge riders—Handley, Nott and Walker—were competing in all three events, with Tyrell Smith also in the Junior and Senior. The Rudge camp was a busy one that year! So far as the Junior and Senior were concerned, Nortons and Rudges had equalled each other out in 1930 and 1931. In the former year Rudges had filled all three places in both events. except third in the Junior, which had gone to Simpson (Norton), whilst in the latter year Norton had all three in both races except third in the junior, which had been filled by Nott (Rudge). Clearly, therefore, 1932 was to be the deciding year. In practice Jim Simpson had made fastest lap in both Senior and Junior, with Wal Handley from the other camp second in each case. Whereas, however, Wal’s best Senior lap was only two seconds slower than Jim’s, he was a full three-quarters of a minute slower in the Junior. It looked as if Nortons would have it all their own way in the Junior race, but that there would be a very close finish in the Senior. As it happened, things turned out just the other way round. Stanley Woods, of course, won both races, but in the Junior he was very closely followed by Wal Handley, who ran second to him after Jim Simpson had retired at half distance. In the Senior, however, Nortons scored a 1-2-3 victory, with Rudge

“Prince George shaking hands with Stanley Woods (Norton), the winner, prior to the start of the Senior TT. He chatted to each rider in turn and later, after viewing the race from the stands, watched the cornering at Governor’s Bridge and Craig-ny-Baa.” (Right) Stanley Woods on his way to his Senior TT victory.

fourth, sixth and eighth. Stanley Woods took the lead from Jim Simpson on the third lap and won by over a minute from his team-mate, Jim Guthrie, with Jim Simpson a few seconds behind in third place. Wal Handley had been running third for the first three laps when he crashed near Kirk Michael. He told me in hospital the next day that that crash was one of the most unpleasant he had ever had, for he damaged his spine and lay for some seconds in the road, unable to move and at the mercy of any approaching machine; and furthermore his Rudge was alongside of him, with the engine roaring away and petrol flowing all over the place, so that Walter himself was soaked m it. Paralysed as he was, he was terrified that the pair of them would go up in flames before help could reach them. Yet, even a few hours after. that grins episode, he was as cheerful as ever and in his own inimitable style was describing it as a humorous incident! No wonder we all thought the world of him. The 1932 Lightweight, which as usual was run on the Wednesday between the Junior and Senior, resulted in a surprise win for Leo Davenport on a New Imperial. I say ‘surprise’ because in practice Rudges had made the best times, Ernie Nott being ten seconds faster than Wal Handley with a lap in 31min 40sec,

Jimmy Guthrie was runner up in the Senior, finishing between his Norton team-mates Stanley Woods and Jimmy Simpson. (Right) Tyrell Smith gets airborne en route to third spot in the Junior, behind his Rudge team-mate Wal Handley.

whilst Davenport’s best lap was 32min 46sec. During the practice period, also, Davenport was not considered as the most likely winner of the New Imperial team. I rather fancied New Imp’s chances that year and when I went to see my usual bookie he offered me 8s on Gleave, 10s on Mellors and 25s on Davenport. I invested on Davenport, principally because the odds were so much better; and when the race day came and it was found that both Mellon and Gleave were non-starters, that bookie gave me another of his dirty looks. When Davenport won the bookie’s expression was dirtier than ever and in the years that followed be just closed his books when he saw me approaching. Leo rode brilliantly in a race that was more open and exciting than either the Junior or Senior. He was fifth on the first lap, fourth on the second and third, and third on the fourth. Next lap he went into the lead, with Ernie Nott (Rudge) only 18 seconds behind. Nott overtook him in the sixth lap and led by 22 seconds, only to retire near Ramsey on the last lap. Wal Handley, who had led for more than half distance, made record lap.” Results: Lightweight: 1, Leo H Davenport (New Imperial), 70.48mph; 2, Graham Walker (Rudge); 3, Wal Handley (Rudge); 4, Tommy Spann (New Imperial); 5, Chris Tattersall (CTS); 6, DS Fairweather (Cotton); 7, JG Lind (OK-Supreme); 8, 0H Warburton (Excelsior)—15 riders failed to finish. Junior: 1, Stanley Woods (Norton), 77.16mph; 2, Wal Handley (Rudge); 3, HG Tyrell Smith (Rudge); 4, Charlie Dodson (Excelsior); 5, Graham Walker (Rudge); 6, LJ Archer (Velocette); 7=, Leo Davenport (New Imperial) and Alec Bennett (Velocette) 9, Sid Gleave (New Imperial); 10, CJ Williams (Velocette). Senior: 1, Stanley Woods (Norton); 2, Jimmy Guthrie (Norton); 3, Jimmy Simpson (Norton); 4, Ernie Nott (Rudge); 5, Charlie Dodson (Excelsior); 6, Graham Walker (Rudge); 7, JG Duncan (Cotton); 8, HG Tyrell Smith (Rudge); 9, AE Simcock (Sunbeam); 10, GL Emery (Sunbeam).

GW Patchett, back on The Island for the first time in six years, was part of a three-man Jawa team. He and R Uvira failed to finish, but F Brand rode his Jawa to 14th place. That was Brand’s Island highlight; he went on to ride Jawas in three more TTs and the Manx Grand Prix without finishing a race. (Right) “This is the TT Douglas engine, which, though produced rather hurriedly before the races, showed that it has considerable stamina.”
Two Douglases started the Senior TT; Frank Longman finished in 15th place.; CJ Williams (Right) dropped out in the second lap.

HAROLD WILLIS RODE THE BLOWN Velo known as Whiffling Clara in the Junior and Senior TTs but dropped out of the Junior with a broken rocker; its Senior outing was ended, frustratingly, by a loose carburettor jet. At least Whiffling Clara was a nice nickname: New Imp’s 250 leaked so much oil that works rider Bob Foster dubbed his Lightweight TT winner the Flying Pig Trough.

“NINETEEN THIRTY-THREE will go down in motor cycling history as the year when Douglas first produced a single; the name so long synonymous with the horizontally opposed twin engine, now comes boldly into the lightweight single-cylinder market, for the new programme—the first under the new management*—includes a 150cc single-cylinder two-stroke model. Let there be no misunderstanding; this does not indicate any lack of faith in the flat-twin type, for the standard Douglas models—350cc, 500cc, 600cc and and 750cc—are retained, though considerably different in engine detail from their predecessors; furthermore, other entirely new models of this type—one with a transverse engine—are already on the stocks. The new programme may be summarised as follows: (1) The new light 150cc Villiers-engined model. (2) The standard twin side-valve models in the four capacities previously mentioned, redesigned in many details. (3) A ‘Powerplus’ model of 1,000cc—a high-speed luxury mount. (4) A 250cc gear- and shaft-driven transverse flat twin, which should be the star feature of the range. At present the first—the lightweight single—is the only model actually in production, but it will be only a few weeks before the standard models are available and at subsequent dates in the ensuing months the Powerplus and Transverse models may be expected. These latter should be available to the public by the New Year. The Douglas Bantam, as it is to be designated, is a genuine lightweight, with a standard Villiers two-port two-stroke engine (53x63mm=148cc) set horizontally in a tubular frame; the engine mountings are rubber-bushed to damp out vibration. In the lower-priced model—there are two varieties—the full Villiers lighting-ignition system will be used, while in the other the flywheel magneto will function for ignition only, and lighting will be by a Lucas dynamo set. The moulding of this engine, with an Albion three-speed gear box and the dynamo, is so arranged that it becomes virtually a semi-unit-construction job. A base-plate, which forms a stage for these three components, is slung in rubber at four points, and the whole can be removed from the frame in one piece, together with the exhaust expansion chamber, which is bolted under the base-plate. The dynamo chain drive is taken from a smaller sprocket on the crankshaft, behind the primary drive. The cradle frame is tubular, of the bolted-up type with only two brazed joints, and forks are of pressed steel with a central spring and no dampers. Complete enclosure of ‘the works’ is arranged with the aid of quickly detachable metal panels, the front being open to expose the cylinder head, while any necessary adjustments can be made through ports in the screens. The wheels are quite massive; the hubs turn on taper roller bearings; 25x3in wired-on Dunlops are to be standard, while unusually large brakes—8in—are fitted. The saddle-tank, mounted at three points, holds three gallons of fuel and a quart of oil; petroil lubrication is used, but the oil tank facilitates conversion to a separate-oiling system if the rider desires it. The riding position is very much lower than that of any existing Douglas, and the low centre of gravity makes for good steering. The lightweight’s performance, if is stated, is above the average for its type; 48-50mph is its top speed, and it is an excellent hill-climber.
*“The Douglas business,” the Blue ‘Un reported, “has been taken over by a new organisation (described by the London Douglas MCC’s excellent marque history as ‘a group of investors’)…Distribution of Douglas machines will be through duly appointed dealers only. There will be a dealer in every town of importance throughout the world. A new aftersales Service Department has been created for the benefit of every Douglas dealer and Owner. Liberal interpretation of the Douglas Guarantee will further aid the Douglas user. Complete re-organisation of the Douglas factory, covering 23 acres, ensures strict laboratory control of all materials and eliminates machining or assembling errors.”

“The enclosure of the engine, and the deep tank and large brakes, give the new 150cc Douglas an extremely pleasing appearance.”

“TWO NEW MODELS HAVE been added to the Sheffield-Dunelt range for 1933, one a sporting ‘one-fifty’, and the other a high-efficiency 250cc mount. The smaller machine has the 148cc long-stroke Villiers engine inclined in the frame, and transmitting power via a pivot-mounted three-speed gear box. Up-swept exhaust pipes are fitted as standard, as is Miller dynamo lighting. This model, known as the V1 Special, costs £25 17s 6d. With Villiers direct lighting, it is priced at £23 17s 6d. The second new model, known as the T Special, has a 250cc four-valve engine in a duplex frame and the four-speed gear box has foot control, while up-swept exhaust pipes are provided. The price is £39 17s 6d. Next in order of capacity comes the V4 Special, with a specially tuned two-port engine, four-speed box with foot change and upswept pipes.”

“HIGH QUALITY, COMBINED WITH high performance, are synonymous with the name of Sunbeam, and the Model 90 is regarded as one of those exceptional machines which is coveted by most sporting riders, even if they cannot raise the £90 which is necessary to obtain possession. This famous model has been modified only so as to make it a replica of the machines which were raced in the Isle of Man this year. It is the only ohv Sunbeam to have a single-port cylinder head, the valves, of course, being returned to their seats by the Sunbeam system of duplex hairpin springs. Foot operation is provided for the close-ratio four-speed gear box, but a kick-starter has been added in order to make the machine more suitable for normal road purposes. Though in general design the frame, with its sturdy single top tube, remains unaltered, it has been lowered to some extent. Other modifications include fuel and oil tanks, incorporating large, quick-acting filler caps, and the use of different sizes of tyres on the two wheels in conformity with modern road-racing practice. The sizes chosen are 26×3.25in for the rear wheel, and 27x3in…Though it has a smaller engine, the 350cc Model 80 holds a somewhat similar position in its own class to its big brother 90. In its 1933 form, however, it becomes the new model, for, though it retains all the salient Sunbeam features, it now has a twin-port cylinder head and several other special features.”

“Model 8, the touring edition of the new Model 80. A two-port 350cc engine is fitted. (Right) A handsome and sturdy side-valve—the 1933 Lion.”

BY REDUCING THE NUMBER of models in the range, and by a careful study of modern requirements, the James Cycle company has been able to add practical refinements to many remaining types without any increase in cost. In future, all James models will be supplied ‘ready for the road’ with electric lighting, licence holder and horn. In the main the new programme consists of light- and medium-weight machines, but the firm remains faithful to the medium-powered (500cc) twin, a type for which the factory has been famous for many years past. For 1933 only the side-valve twin will be listed; at the price of £57 10s this model provides excellent value. The 64×77.5mm cylinders (499cc), are set at a comparatively narrow angle, and the heads are detachable, complete with valves. The valve gear is shielded by aluminium covers, and lubrication is by a double pump system, the supply being drawn from a separate tank and fed to the roller big-ends and front cylinder…At the price of 24 17s 6d there is a James-engined two-stroke model of 196cc. Twin exhaust ports are employed, and, even at this figure, full dynamo lighting with 7in lamp is supplied. The engine is mounted in a sturdy loop frame and transmits its power through a three-speed gear box. Legshields and an under-shield form part of the standard equipment. An almost identical model with the smaller size (148cc) James two-port two-stroke is available at the price of £23 10s. This little engine has already proved to be a great success, and, with the improved equipment and side-tank gear control, the model should find a ready market. For those whose purse is strictly limited a similar engine will be available in a machine having a less ambitious specification. A two-speed gear is used, with tank control, ignition and lighting are both by means of a flywheel magneto, and lubrication is on the petroil system. This machine is by no means a toy, but a very practical runabout at the modest price of £19 19s.”

1932 JAMES TWIN+196
“The James twin is retained in its side-valve form for 1933. (Right) The 196cc James-engined two-stroke is a well-equipped little mount.”
“The rubber mounting of the engine group of the new James 150cc model; the device is also shown in part section. (Right) The detachable base-plate which carries the engine, dynamo and gear box, while the silencer is neatly accommodated beneath it.”

“WITH SO LONG A LIST of successes to their credit it seemed unlikely that Norton Motors would make any drastic changes for the year 1933. Though this expectation is borne out to some extent by the new programme, several important refinements have been ‘introduced and two new models have been added to the range. Both are in the 350cc class, and are identical, except that one has a single-, and the other a twin-port head. The object in the mind of the manufacturer was to offer the public a 350cc machine of high performance at a price rather below that which is possible with the overhead-camshaft design. Typical of Norton design, and almost indistinguishable from their 500cc prototypes, the engines are of 348cc (71x88mm.). Gear-type oil pumps attend to the dry-sump lubrication system, and the magneto, chain-driven from the camshaft, is placed behind the cylinder.

1932 NORTON 350
“The single-port edition of the new three-fifty.”

SOUTHPORT’S CHAMPIONSHIP MEETING does one good service for which alone it is ‘worth the money’. It does settle a lot of argument as to what speeds real and not-so-real racing models will do over the flying kilometre. Granted, weather and sand conditions have some bearing on the matter, but they are more or less the same for everybody, and they are more liable to be detrimental to the meticulous tuner than to the rank and file; for example, on Saturday morning there was a half-gale down the course for the flying kilometre time tests, and some of the ‘nth degree’ merchants made frantic sprocket changes to gear up. No sooner had they done so than the wind changed and held steadily as a half-broadside for the rest of the morning! A couple of cars made a mere 100mph look rather silly, but Jack. Carr and his big Brough Superior restored the pride of the two-wheeled exponents when he topped 110mph. HF Brockbank, on his ‘filleted’ Norton, did 102.61mph solo and 93.99mph with the sidecar (although, as he admitted, ‘it’s not so much a sidecar as an excrescence on the side of the machine’). TL Edmondson, riding. Meageen’s TT Velocette, did more than 95mph, and was easily the fastest three-fifty, with the faster of Parkinson’s two AJS models second at 91.68mph. ‘Brook’s’ Norton was only excelled by the big-twin Brough, but Parkinson and Anderton, both on 495cc AJSs, did 101.68 and 100.76mph respectively, and so collected gold badges. Now, in this matter of speed, there were some quite interesting figures. Propert (596cc Douglas) did 98.98mph, for example, but, eliminating more or less sprint machines, Nortons appeared to like speeds of between 89 and 99mph, Tim Hunt’s doing 97.26, for instance. Rudges were consistent at well above 90mph, with Highley fastest on this make at 96.42mph, a speed exactly equalled by Charlie Dodson on his TT Excelsior-JAP. Three Scotts performed and showed rather wide variations; all were 596cc models, and Jefferies did 91.68, Hatch 87.38, and Allardice 58.62mph. Only two Sunbeams ran, Gilbert Emery being unfortunately an absentee; Lord clocked 90.93mph, but Fletcher only attained 78.77mph. Flying Kilometre. 500cc Sidecars: 1, HF Brockbank (490cc Norton sc), 93.99mph; 2, W Lord (493cc Sunbeam sc), 77.14mph. 750cc and Unlimited Sidecars: 1, HF Brockbank (490cc Norton sc), 93.99mph). 350cc Solo: 1, TL Edmondson (348cc Velocette), 95.20mph; 2, RF Parkinson (348cc AJS); 91.68mph; 3, RF Parkinson (348cc AJS), 89.48mph. 500cc Solo: 1, HF Brockbank (490cc Norton), 102.61mph; 2, RF Parkinson (495cc AJS), 101.68mph; 3, S Anderton (495cc AJS), 100.76mph. 750cc Solo: 1, HF Brockbank (490cc Norton), 102.61mph; 2, WW Propert (596cc Douglas), 98.98mph; 3, P Hunt (490cc Norton), 97.26mph; 1,000cc Solo: 1, JH Carr (998cc Brough Superior), 110.74mph; 2, HF Brockbank (490cc Norton), 102.61mph; 3, P Hunt (490cc Norton), 97.26mph.”

“The start of the 50-Mile Race, in which JH Carr (998cc Brough Superior) was first home.”

BEING AN ACU CENTRE STEWARD has its little excitements. A friend who occupies such a post has been telling me of a spot of bother he recently shared with two fellow stewards. A club in his centre had taken upon itself to organise a grass-track meeting without an official permit. It was duly warned, but without effect. So down went the stewards three, disguised as spectators (presumably wearing bowler hats and a frightened air) and prepared for a ticklish job. They had to warn the affiliated riders that the meeting had been ‘outlawed’. As soon as they approached the paddock they found a bunch of local cavemen waiting for them, like ‘bouncers’ in a Wild West saloon. As soon as the intrepid three started their job of work they were approached, given their money back, and told to beat it. They did so, but very, very slowly, taking nearly ten minutes, while the cavemen loomed behind them, ready for any departure from the path leading to the exit. The whole affair had an element of humour, but it had its serious side, and the club might have been sharply rapped over the knuckles had not explanations been forthcoming. It appears that certain officials had been acting on their own authority.” THE CLUBMAN.

“MANY CLUBS START WITH high ideals in mind, and many succeed in attaining them. The other day I received a note from the secretary of a newly formed club, describing its objects. He pointed out that only those who are certain to show the public how motor cyclists can display courtesy and good sense will be allowed to join. Ideals like these do the sport and movement as a whole an enormous amount of good, and I am most anxious to see this little club attain (and maintain) the splendid standard it has set itself.” THE CLUBMAN.

“I HEAR THAT EVERYTHING has been settled up at Brands Hatch, the grass-track de luxe situated near Kingsdown, Kent. For a while activities had been temporarily suspended owing to a small disagreement between the owner and the clubs [the West Kent, Owls, Bermondsey and Sidcup MCCs, operating as the Brands Hatch Combine], which ran the meetings on a combine basis. Racing will be resumed next year, with an improved track surface.” THE CLUBMAN.

“To absent-minded readers: Is either of these machines yours? If so, you are too late—they were put up for sale last week at Waterloo Station, along with umbrellas, straw hats, marrows, barometers and other oddly-assorted articles left in Southern Railway trains and stations.”
“Sidecar owners foregather. A few of the scores of outfits that were seen at the Watsonian Rally, held recently at Epping. Ten silver cups were awarded.”
“The higher the slower! This competition in the annual slow hill-climb held in the streets of Montmartre, Paris, covered the course, of rather under half a mile, at a speed of threequarters of a mile an hour!”
“The one horse-power model, having gained the inside running, and by dint of superior acceleration, won this novel three-sided contest at Wembley Stadium. The motor cyclist is Wally Kidminster.”
“There is nothing of the frail lady about Miss Violet Porter of Aukland, New Zealand, who has done 30,000 miles of lone touring on her BSA since August 1929.”
“The fleecy-lined waterproof leggings in the accompanying illustration are designed for fair pillion passengers. They have small leather-protected toe-caps, and button over the shoes by press-buttons. An elastic band under the instep keeps the lower parts in place, while the tops, which cover the knees, are elastic. A small strap serves to tighten the legging at the knee. Priced at 4s 6d a pair, these useful wet-weather accessories are sold by James Grose, 379-381, Easton Road, London, NW1.”

“A LONG DISUSED AND NEGLECTED Roman road over Blackstone Edge, Lancashire, is being restored.”

“ONE OF THE LEADING CAR manufacturers is fitting…direction indicators which will show red, amber or green at will. The amber light, like those of traffic signals, indicates ‘caution’.”

“MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING ON A ‘SNOWDEN’: JM Leyden, the South African artist whose humorous drawings have appeared from time to time in The Motor Cycle, recently accomplished a journey from Durban to Maritzburg and back [84 miles] on a 98cc Excelsior. This trip took just over five hours, and entailed a climb from sea level to over 2,000ft.”

“A FARMER SUMMONED recently at Haverfordwest for allowing a rope to be stretched across a road in connection with some farm machinery, with the result that a motor cyclist was pulled from his machine, was fined a pound and ordered to pay costs.”


THE 14TH INTERNATIONAL SIX DAYS TRIAL was back at Merano, Italy—and after two successive Italian victories the Brits were back on top, returning home with both the International Trophy and the Silver Vase having pipped the Italians at the post by winning both speed tests. The Italians, who had won the Trophy in 1930 and 1931, were runners-up in the Trophy and Vase competitions. The British and Italian Trophy teams both finished with no penalty points; the Czechs finished third with 26 points, ahead of the Germans with 66 points. In the Vase league table the British ‘A’ team and Italian ‘B’ team made clear runs. The German ‘A’ team was third with a single penalty point, ahead of Italy ‘A’ (12 points), Switzerland (35), Czechoslovakia A (39), Great Britain B (42), Holland A (421), Austria (429), Holland B (500), Czechoslovakia B (602) and Germany B (1,101). Of 128 starters 70 won gold medals with 11 silver, 14 bronze and four finishers with no award—29 retired. There was worldwide interest in the trial—under the heading GREAT BRITAIN WINS the Brisbane Courier reported: “Great Britain scored a great triumph in the International Trophy and Vase six days’ reliability trials in Italy, winning both events. In the trophy the British and Italian teams had lost no marks, the British team, consisting of NPO Bradley (Sunbeam), AE Perrigo (BSA) and GE Rowley (AJS), winning as the result of the speed test. The vase was captured by the Rudge team, comprising Graham Walker, Jack Williams and Bob MacGregor. During the fourth day of the trial Miss Foley, the British rider, skidded and fractured an arm.” The Glasgow Herald note3d: “General admiration was expressed for the fine riding of the two English girls, Miss E Foley, on a Gilera, and Miss M Cottle, on a BSA.” The Blue ‘Un listed the nationalities of the bikes entered, compared with 1931. Heading the list was Great Britain with 50 bikes in the trial, up from 46 in 1931. Italy was second with 39 (up from 27); Germany, 25 (8); France, 4 (5); Belgium, 0 (3); Czechoslovakia, 5 (3); Switzerland, 3 (0); Netherlands, 2 (1); Austria, 2 (0). There were 40 marques in the ISDT, The Motor Cycle listed all the marques with two or more entered: AJS, 2; Ancora, 3; Ardie, 6; Ariel, 10; Bianchi, 7; BMW, 7; BSA, 6; Dollar-Majestic, 3; Douglas, 3; D-Rad, 2; Eysink, 2; Gilera, 11; Guzzi, 6; James, 2; Jawa, 4; MAS, 9; Matchless, 2; NSU, 4; Puch, 2; Rudge, 6; Sunbeam, 8; Triumph, 5; XX, 2.

“At Merano last Sunday – Len Crisp, ALS Denyer and George Rowley can be recognised in this group of British riders and visitors.”

“SIX DAYS CAREERING over crazy hairpinned mountain passes, six days of constant risk because of the high speed, and then, on the seventh, two nations racing against one another in the rain to decide the destiny of the Trophy. This, in a nutshell. was the 1932 International Six Days Trial, from which Britain emerged supreme, regaining both the International Trophy and Vase. Thousands saw the titanic struggle between Britain and Italy in the culminating high-speed test, which proved a veritable TT. They saw Britain gain the mastery; they witnessed the drama when Perrigo temporarily dropped out; they saw him rejoin the fray and speed up to 80, and even 90—yes, 90, on the wet-tramlined road—to catch the Gileras which, through his plug trouble, had passed him, and they watched Bradley and Rowley in their magnificent response to the signal to quicken. All this was unfolded before their eyes in a ‘high-speed test’ that, for its thrills, equalled any road race ever witnessed. The British team eventually won by 2min 13.8sec. But what they did not see, and can have little conception of, were the difficulties and dangers of the preceding six days. It was my privilege to encounter those difficulties, to ride over the various ‘sticky’ sections of the route, including those which were closed to other traffic, and thereby gain an impression that was denied to every other Pressman. The route was dangerous—that must be agreed. There were literally thousands of blind corners and hundreds of places where it was possible to skid off the road and either drop into space or go rolling down the mountainside; and there were scores of unguarded level crossings and mile upon mile of rutted, loose track that cannot be given the dignity of the term ‘road’. Add to this clouds of dust, ordinary traffic, the high schedule for the ‘over 250s’ of 25 to 30mph (depending upon the conditions), and you have some slight idea of the difficulties faced by the competitors. But, above all, there was the fear of punctures and, for members of the official teams, the worrying anxiety lest they let their countries down. Small wonder that many yearned for the end of the week, and several had frayed tempers. To a large extent, the dangers were what each individual made them. Especially at the beginning of the week many of the riders failed to cultivate a nice balance between taking risks and gaining time in case of punctures. They were arriving at the end of 50-mile sections with 25 and 30 minutes in hand. Their first duty was to themselves—to take the minimum of risk—and their second to gain a reasonable amount of time in case of minor trouble. Early on, machines were thrashed to an extent that was both unnecessary and undesirable. There were exceptions to this—a number of them—particularly among the British contingent. To mention names is perhaps a little invidious, but there was no finer example of sane generalship than that displayed by Peter Bradley, who never hurried and was never flurried. However, to revert to the question of gaining time in hand, the need for this must be laid first at the doors of those who live in the Dolomites, for they wear hob-nailed boots and seem to scatter nails by the hundred. During the week poor Len Crisp mended no fewer than six punctures, while at one check an official picked up a largish handful of assorted iron in the space of minutes. Secondly, the blame must be laid at the factory gates of British manufacturers. To change a tube, even in the case of a man who knows how, is often a 20-minutes’ task. What are needed—how much longer must We drum it in?—are wheels which are quickly detachable and interchangeable. There is no excuse for having to fiddle with the brake anchorage and with the rear chain, or even for the use of spanners, and none at all for the task of removing the wheel from between the frame members, mudguard and stand being a Chinese puzzle. Tyre trouble probably lost Italy the Vase, for one of the Guzzis punctured in the high-speed test; it put the British ‘B’ Vase team out of the running, and it was the major factor causing crashes, for its possibility—or rather probability—made competitors take risks. Nearly all competitors had nail-catchers, many used locally obtained tyre filling—some with success—and a number of the foreign riders carried small compressed air cylinders, capable of inflating about five tyres, instead of stupidly small inflators. Incidentally, why should not similar cylinders of compressed air be available for tourists at home? They would be a boon. One feature of the competing machines which, on first thoughts, appeared surprising, was the small-sized tyres used. The speedy Guzzis, for instance. employed 27×2.75in. Large ones might have been anticipated; they would have saved both

“The Italian defenders of the Trophy (left to right) Miro Maffeis, Luigi Gilera and Rosolino Grana. They are all riding side-valve 500cc Gileras.”

machines and riders on the loose, bumpy roads, judging from my own experience, and probably they would have helped to overcome the puncture bogy. There was, however, the speed test at the finish to be considered—most entrants did consider it—and for this large tyres would have been a grave handicap. What was really strange was the number of 500 and over 500cc solos in the national teams. Two-fifties would probably have been a wiser choice, for they had a lower schedule on both the road and the speed circuit. Moreover, being lighter, they would have been easier to handle on the rough going, and especially on the thousands of corners. Riding a normal 500 at the speeds required was real hard work. As to condition of machines at the finish, it was truly amazing. This year, by way of contrast with last year, brakes were little short of perfect, and in certain cases were never adjusted throughout the week, while the machines as a whole finished in such excellent condition that the majority could be expected to emerge from a further 1,300 miles of a similar nature with flying colours. Compared with that of many of the foreign riders, the British riders’ garb was far from spick and span. The German team wore smart, tailor-made white suits—clean ones each day—with an eagle crest on the pocket, provided by the ADAC; the Italian Bianchi men had light blue boiler suits; and so on. Why should not our body, the ACU, turn out our men equally smartly? It may seem a small thing, but the result would be an excellent advertisement for Britain. That the scenery was magnificent will have been gathered from the photographs of the trial…The beauties of the Dolomites were lost on most of the solo men. Except when stationary at checks and on the few easy sections, their eyes had to be fastened upon the road, which more often than not had a big hump running down the middle, lesser humps along the sides and only two rideable hard tracks—the twin ruts. On corners and bends one used the humps as banking, riding to inches to avoid the loose. During the trial there were many examples of sporting actions on the part of competitors. Two of these give an inkling of the friendliness between the actual riders of the many nations. First, there is the action of Rebuglio, an Italian competitor, who, when Shepherd screamed into a check with no time to spare, grabbed his time card and planked it in front of the timekeeper. Then there is that of Stelzer, of the German Trophy team, who kept behind Graham Walker instead of in front of him, because the latter had no air filter and the dust was appalling. The officials, too, must be given many marks. Their organisation as a whole was magnificent, and their route-marking, in particular, superb. If there was a direction in which the arrangements fell short, it was that of collecting those who became disabled—an almost impossible task in view of the wild country traversed. Poor Saunders, for example, after his crash, spent a night without proper medical attention. Someone should have cared for him, whether the organisers or the ACU. As it was, one of the kindliest people in the world, Mrs Panzer, wife of the proprietor of the Park Hotel, where the British contingent stayed, searched him out and brought him in on her own car. Now a personal word. My own trip was adventurous. Almost at the last moment I decided to take a Rudge, and learned that a spare International machine was available should I care to have it. Time was short, as I say, and by some mistake a much-used spare was turned over to me without being checked over. In the few hours available I fitted that very essential item for mountain roads, an electric horn, fixed up a kilometre speedometer, cleaned out the oil filter, replaced the saddle with one which did not bottom, and generally ran over the machine. All went well on the 830-mile run through France, Germany, and Austria. But I was unlucky in the trial. At the farthest point of the course, miles from anywhere—it would be!—the gear box became immovable. Eleven hours later, with the aid of free-wheeling, pushing, a car and three trains, I was back in Merano. There was a spare 500cc Jawa in Merano, which was quickly made available for me. Like the Rudge, it handled superbly in the loose, and on I went, providing a puzzle for the populace, who, time and again, came up and spoke to use in some language I could not understand, thinking I was a Czech. However, more about this interesting machine anon; the immediate question is, where will the next International be held? Britain, by virtue of her win, has the right to organise it. One suggestion, however, is that she should forgo her right, and that the event should be held in Germany. This would be popular with all who have toured in Germany and know her people. Another proposal is that the trial should be run in Scotland. This, too, seems good, particularly as the idea of organising the trial in England appears out of the question for two reasons: first, that Continental riders are accustomed to charging through towns and villages at 40, 50, and even more miles an hour, and, secondly, the difficulty of finding a course which is fair. Whatever the decision, it should be made with the least possible delay. Now a last word about the men who have brought back the spoils. They deserved to do so, and all honour to Perrigo, Bradley and Rowley, of the Trophy team, and Williams, MacGregor and Walker, of the ‘A’ Vase team. They have done everything that was expected of them, and more; they and the other British riders upheld British supremacy in a manner of which one and all of us cannot help but feel proud.—The Editor.”

“This might be a scene from one of the big spectacular theatrical plays. Actually it is a view of the Costalunga check in the International Six Days.”

…AND OF COURSE IXION had his say: “Hats are flung high in honour of the six stout fellows who have brought home both the International Vase and the International Trophy. Honesty compels me to admit that such a double-barrelled success is something of a lottery—we all know that a single puncture at an awkward moment can torpedo the hopes of the best team in the world. But this year we had chosen splendid teams, splendidly mounted, and left no stone unturned to command success, so far as mortals may command it. And it was our turn, for we have not had the best of luck for some years past. The riders themselves would not claim to be better men or better mounted than their rivals, who for once strove without profit. But another win for us is only poetic justice, for lumping one thing with another, output against output, racing against racing, and so forth, the British motor cycle industry is still easily the best in the world. Therefore it deserves its due share of such competition awards as may be going; and of late years, if we have almost monopolised racing honours, we have been unlucky in the big road event.”

The ISDT was decided by the high-speed test on the two-mile circuit at Merano. L-R: Two sides of the triangular circuit; one of the course’s three apices.

“THE ‘HAUNTED’ BARN—An International Competitors Eerie Experience: It was somewhere in Austria, after dark, and raining like blazes. En route to the International Six Days, we were proceeding down a pass at a fair speed, when my friend, whom I was keeping just in the rays of my lamp, hit something with his sidecar wheel; out shot his right leg, and he saved himself. In the meantime I had arrived at the same spot, and hit the obstacle fair and square. Bump! went my forks, and pulled out all my headlamp wires from the switch. I felt round very gingerly with my feet and found that the road, which was being repaired, was about one foot higher on one side than on the other. It was pretty hopeless to try to do anything in the rain and without any better light than a. match, so I crawled on in the dark until I came to a village which I could see in the valley. A weird place it was, with not a soul about and only a few electric lights on the top of poles. However, it was a real haven at the time. I had lit a Player and started to tinker with my head-lamp, when from a barn behind me came a most eerie noise just like someone in clogs running up and down on loose boards. Gee, my hair stood on end! I swung round like lightning, but everything immediately became quiet, so I got the largest spanner I had in the sidecar, put it on saddle, and turned round so that I worked facing the barn Shortly afterwards the extraordinary clatter broke out again. I had just succeeded in getting a dim light, and ye gods! how I chucked everything in the sidecar, kicked the engine into life, and left that place behind. My light was not a lot of:good, and I was mighty glad to catch up my friend at the Customs. After nearly wiping off a steam-roller or two and a few unlighted stuck in the middle of the road we arrived safely at that haven, the Parc Hotel at Merano.
WHH, Birmingham.”

“HOUP-LA! This clever Alsation, owned by Miss Vesta Kelly, a BBC typist, can jump 24 feet. His companion looks quite at home in the super-sports sidecar.”

“THE VERTICAL-CAMSHAFT OK SUPREME of the most interesting machines it has been my good fortune to test. Like every other motor cycle, it has its faults—the standard (£48.10s) model tried had, perhaps, its full share—but it is essentially a machine to arouse the rider to enthusiasm. Every one of those 248 cubic centimetres does its work, and, owing to the way the OK handles, every atom of its power can be used. Traffic work and a day out formed the main portion of the test. In crowd-infested streets the OK prefers a rider who will use his gear box and ride rather than drive. That is not to say that she demands skilful tap-twiddling, but the engine, with its 7.4 to 1 compression ratio, is designed to rev rather than slog. About 25mph was the minimum non-snatch speed on the top gear of 5.9 to 1. The only excuse for not using the gears was that the second ratio of the three-speed box was unduly and unusually noisy. As with all Burman clutches, the clutch was sweet in take-up and finger-fight in operation, while the gear change itself was equally light, quick, and, once the rider had got the hang of the simple gate, absolutely foolproof. With the one exception, there was every reason to slide from one ratio to another, since the gears of 59, 75 and 13.4 to 1 are admirably chosen for all ordinary road work and the revs of the engine practically unlimited. Quite early on I had grave doubts as to the accuracy of.the speedometer. Its sixty-fives seemed too sixtyish, so a simple check was made with a stop-watch to find that for 40mph one should read roughly 37mph. All the same, the figures obtained on the three ratios were impressive enough, especially considering the lighting set: 51mph on the 13.4 to 1, 59-60 on the 7-5 to 1 and 68-70 on the top gear of 5.9 to 1. Assuming the speedometer error to be proportional, we have actual maxima of approximately 47, 55 and 64mph. The first of these figures spells the amazing engine speed of roughly 8,000rpm, yet the machine was reasonably smooth. The unit was not vibrationless, although well up to average in this respect. It will be realised from these speeds that the 0K is capable of putting up an unusually good average. This, as a matter of fact, is where it scores so heavily over lesser machines. The acceleration is useful, too. In bottom it picks up from 20 to 45mph in 6.4sec, and in second in 9.7 sec, which means that the man who will use his gears is rapidly back at his cruising speed. And that cruising speed, to judge from my experience, can, if desired, be the machine’s maximum. On two occasions the twist-grip was kept against its stop for distances of approximately five miles, with, at the most, a couple of cases of throttle-shyness caused by traffic conditions, and in neither instance was there a sign of the engine flagging. Once I thought there was. I decided that it was about to dry up and was on the point of endeavouring to catch it when my dull senses caught the rattle and clatter of something astern. Obviously some gentleman on a fast but elderly side-valve was cutting me down. I was wrong. All that had happened was the fixing of the rear-chain guard had snapped and the guard was flapping against thy chain! On fast bends, and at speed, the steering was all it should be; at low speeds there was a slight tendency towards a roll as if one of the steering-head races were pitted. Actually, the cause, I think, was not the head races, although the machine was by no means brand new, but slight malalignment of the fixed steering damper plate. Whatever it was, the trait was only annoying at very low speeds. On fast work the steering, as I say, was perfect, and there was no sudden swinging of the bars if a pot-hole were hit with the machine flat out. Ruts and slime proved that the OK was particularly stable. The only real tail-wag experienced was on wood-paving covered with hoar frost, and even then there was no trouble in straightening up. Nothing spectacular was tackled in the way of hills, the day out consisting of a cruise around Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and the Chilterns. Given the

1932 OK 250 RT
“…a lively two-fifty that will never tire… (Right) Restarting on the 1 in 4½ gradient at Dinah’s Hill, near Chequers. It was once a trials hill!”

necessary speed at the foot the OK will romp up almost anything. At the top of the new Dashwood Hill, on the Oxford side of High Wycombe, the speedometer was showing 51mph—the minimum for the climb—which, with the necessary correction, spells about 47mph. Tests on Kop and other hills showed that, for ordinary use, as opposed to trials work the machine has ample power on its bottom ratio of 13.75 to I. Starting was merely a matter of one good, swinging kick—usually the very first kick. As to the fuel consumption, this was slightly over 70mpg with a type of riding such that this figure can be taken as rather unfair, being just about the worst that could be obtained. While No 1 petrol could be used, more suitable fuels were found to be ethylised petrol or a fifty-fifty mixture of petrol and benzole. The oil consumption was so low that, probably, an owner would find that there was some left to drain out when his 1,500 to 2,000 miles was up. Riding comfort Riding comfort is well up to scratch. The bars are of a good shape, the riding position good, and the saddle, with its wide nose, excellent. Both brakes are spongily progressive and good, but could do with a little more iron. They will stop the machine from 20mph on a 1-in-4 descent; but, like the brakes on the majority of other motor cycles, they would, I think, be better with additional leverage. A peculiarity of the OK tested was a slight shudder transmitted to the rider via the footrests and saddle as the machine gathered way; it was as if the rear chain were snatching, although the speed was well above that at which snatch set in. Perhaps, erroneously, I put it down to an engine period that caught the frame on the raw. In this article I have gone out of my way to be critical and pick the machine to pieces; it is a mount that will stand criticism, for its many good points completely outweigh its faults. It is a motor cycle to delight the heart of an enthusiast, and therefore my recommendation to enthusiasts who are looking for a lively two-fifty that will rev yet never tire, and which handles in true TT style, is to consider most carefully the vertical-camshaft OK Supreme.”

“Puzzle—find the wireless! This wireless-equipped solo machine is being used by the Culver City (California) police. The scheme has been very neatly carried out: the batteries are in the pannier bag, the set is under the saddle, a loudspeaker is on the bars, just behind the heal lamp, and the aerial runs along the last foot of the exhaust pipe.”

“‘THE SENIOR MANX GRAND PRIX, run last Thursday under atrocious weather conditions, resulted in a victory at 67.32mph for N Gledhill (Norton), with HL Daniell (Norton) second and BW Swabey (Rudge) third. Swabey also made the fastest lap, at 69mph. If the weather had been somewhat unkind on the Tuesday it was as nothing compared with the conditions that greeted the Senior competitors on Thursday. All the previous night it had poured in torrents and, although there was a ‘bright interval’ early in the morning, the clouds again closed down and it was raining hard as the riders paraded to the start. As the Governor of the Island arrived at the stands the strains of the National Anthem rang out, and then, in a few moments, a muffled roar heralded the arrival of the machines at the pits. Weather reports were given on the loud-speaker, at first they were not too bad, for it was not raining at several points along the course. The last-minute reports, however, gave the depressing information that the weather everywhere was shocking. Actually, even this is an understatement; it is fairly safe to say that never in the whole history of rang in the isle of Man has such dreadful weather been encountered. Throughout the whole race the rain poured from the low-lying clouds, and at times sheets of water descended, turning the roads into rivers. Even before the riders were due to depart they were practically wet through, and it is a wonderful tribute to their pluck and powers of endurance that so many of them struggled through to the finish. There were 44 starters out of an original field of 48, and 21 completed the course; of these 11 gained replicas—a very fine show on such a day. One by one they got away and it was clear that each and every man intended to play for safety, throttles being used with the utmost discretion. On the whole, the machines started well, but one or two had some had moments. Attempting to mount his machine, SC Vince (Norton) slipped on the treacherous road and failed to hold the model before it had taken him through an advertisement banner stretched below the score board. JS Ward (Sunbeam) had some difficulty in persuading his engine to fire, and F Williams, also on a Sunbeam, executed a wild skid, fell, rose, and then stopped his engine. Almost immediately came news of the retirement at Ballacraine of ME Crossland (348cc Norton), with ignition trouble, a fault not to be wondered at in the circumstances. At Quarter Bridge, R Rogerson (348cc Norton) turned up the road back to Douglas to make adjustments, afterwards proceeding round the course. A fall was suffered by W Radley (Excelsior) but he continued, while J Buckley (Sunbeam) had come off at the Gooseneck. Yet another retirement was reported; this time it was TS Warburton (Enfield) who seized his engine at Union Mills. He was not alone, however, for CD Reich (Excelsior) went out at Governor’s Bridge, and A Ashley (Rudge) filled his magneto with water at Crosby, thus putting an end to his trip for the day. It was noticed that R Stobart (Excelsior) was moving very slowly, and then it became known that he had punctured a tyre. He completed a lap in easy stages, and then retired. Some form of plug trouble was holding up H Trevor-Battye (Scott), but at the pits he located the fault and screamed away. In the meantime, H Levings (Norton) was moving well, keeping nicely ahead of Gledhill, and SB Darbishire on a similar machine was also doing his best to cheat the pitiless rain. A fine scrap, destined to last throughout the entire race, was going on between FL Frith (348cc Norton) and J Fletcher (Sun-beam). At the end of the race there were only 41 seconds separating these two and, as Fletcher started half a minute behind Frith, his ultimate lead was only one of a few hundred yards on the smaller machine. With so little between them, all eyes were on Levings and Gledhill, and it came as a great disappointment to hear that what promised to be a fine duel was cut short at Kirkmichael by the retirement of Levings with gear box trouble. Riding under the existing conditions was quite trying enough in itself, but MN Mavrogordato (Scott) added to his difficulties by having the misfortune to fall at Quarter Bridge and lose a footrest. Couple to this the fact that he also had to stop during the race several times to change plugs, and one is left with the impression that to finish fourteenth, as he eventually did, was a particularly fine performance. Frith and Fletcher, continuing their dogfight, got as far as Quarter Bridge on the second lap when Frith unknowingly scored over his rival by running through a pool of water and shooting it all over him. DJ Pirie (Excelsior) was out of luck; he oiled two plugs, and also reported water in the magneto. Once again, Dame Fortune was too much for WN Jordan (Excelsior)

L-R: “‘May as well keep my head down as up—can’t see anyway,’ Mavrogordato is probably thinking as his Scott leaps clear of the streaming road near Quarter Bridge. In the words of the sing, ‘It don’t do nothin’ but rain.’ Here are Swanston (Norton) and Buckley (Sunbeam) at Quarter Bridge.”

who, after a very slow first lap, retired at Ramsey with trouble in the gear box, while another Excelsior, in the hands of SH Goddard, passed out of the race at Ramsey with a broken fork spring. Trouble robbed F Harvey (Norton) of ten minutes at Quarter Bridge, but he eventually proceeded, and J Buckley, struggling round on only two gears, took another toss at Glen Helen. All this time ‘Q Ack’, on his 350 Velocette, was riding a great race and was lying fourth; Darbishire had dropped hack to fifth place and Fletcher had become next to Gledhill, while Daniell had moved up a couple of places. During this lap, BW Swabey (Rudge) put himself just on the edge of the leader board as a prelude to better things. Another of the stars who ceased to shine on this lap was Pirie. This rider, be it remembered, damaged his hand on the Tuesday, and the doctor only gave him permission to ride two minutes before Thursday’s race started. Pirie’s pluck is proverbial in Manx Grand Prix circles, and he carried on doggedly until forced out of the running due to water in the magneto. Gledhill raised a cheer when he came in for replenishment at the end of his third lap, but he had to push quite a long way before his engine would restart. One who can scarcely have been having an enjoyable ride was J. Pattison (Norton) who was reported to have only third gear left, and to have taken a toss at the Bungalow. Then came news that W Radley (Excelsior) had crashed on the mountain. WA Rowell stopped to see how he was and later stopped again at the Bungalow to report Radley’s plight to the marshal. A fall at Keppel Gate robbed JS Ward (Sunbeam) of one of his footrests, and broke his brake pedal, and GA McLeslie (349cc Rudge) retired at the end of the third lap, a course also followed by JH Lafone (Norton), who pushed in from Governor’s Bridge with a magneto full of water. In the fourth lap Fletcher nearly spoiled his chances by hitting the wall at Quarter Bridge; he did no damage, however, and proceeded. Not quite so lucky, J Blyth (Velocette) was forced to retire from causes not stated. After doing so splendidly, and just as he was getting on the heels of the leaders, who were riding bigger machines, the mystery man’ of the race, ‘Q Ack’, struck a patch of engine trouble which caused his withdrawal. In this lap, too, a game struggle against misfortune was ended when J Pattison gave up the chase at Governor’s Bridge. At about this time Darbishire rode back into the picture, beating Fletcher and Frith, while the three leaders still held their positions, with Swabe doing all he knew to catch Daniell and Gledhill. By now the race had strung itself out rather, and was completely devoid of any excitement, though it is perhaps unfair to make such a remark when riders were battling so manfully with the appalling conditions. That in itself was quite exciting enough for them, but so regularly were they lapping the Island course that they made it seem easy. Never can riders have been more sorely tempted to seize on any excuse for retirement, but, to a man, they held on even when the luck as well as the weather was against them. To complete the course was a formidable task, so one must not forget such people as C Redfearn (Norton) celebrating his first visit to the Isle of Man; likewise J Buckley, who, although he retired in this, the fourth lap, did well to get so far on a four-year-old machine. F Williams, too, was going well, having apparently decided that his firework display at the start, while perhaps entertaining to watch, was hardly the sort of thing that would help him to finish the race. The race did not go on quite without incident, for there was a crop of trouble involving several rulers. Nothing, however, happened to the three leaders. This time Gledhill received the ‘slow down’ signal from his pit, no that he knew he had merely to hold his position and had plenty in hand. Such a message most have been a great comfort to him, and he availed himself of it with a nice judgment, reducing his speed just sufficiently to guarantee a win. Daniells’ last lap was his fastest and came within three seconds of Swabey’s best time. It is a pity, from Daniell’s point of view, that his first two laps were not a little better; had they been as quick as his later laps Gledhill would have been given an entirely different job. With a good finishing position well within his grasp, poor Darbishire made the discovery on the very last lap that all his work had been done for nothing. Something happened to the ‘works’ at Union Mills and caused his retirement. All this time H Trevor-Battye had been fighting a very game battle against heavy odds. His times had been slow, but he persisted in fighting it out until the last lap, when he was forced to admit defeat, being beaten by persistent ignition trouble. During this lap JS Ward (Sunbeam) attempted to take liberties with the wall on Sulby Bridge, but discovered that a stone parapet can do quite considerable damage to a motor cycle, even when hit while travelling slowly! Yet another retirement took place at this late stage, H Hartley (Norton) being the rider concerned. This also happened at Sulby, but Hartley was not pursuing offensive tactics against the bridge wall. Due to the retirement of Darbishire, Fletcher, Frith and Harris moved up a point each, and this was the only alteration in the positions. Gledhill rode a very fine race under conditions that defy description, and really deserved his victory, While the highest praise is, indeed, due to every single starter. FINAL RESULT. 1, N Gledhill (Norton), Kirkburton, 67.32mph; 2, HL Daniell (Norton), Grantham, 66.97mph; 3, BW Swabey (Rudge), Grantham. Fastest lap, BW Swabey (Rudge), 69mph; Club Team Prize, Grantham ‘D’—FL Frith (Norton), JM Sugg (Norton) and SC Vince (Norton). Club awards, Crewe MCC, Watford MC, Manx MCC and Peveril MCC.”

“How would you like to streak down Bray Hill at 80 or 90mph under such conditions? This photograph of Gledhill (Norton), the ultimate winner, is one of the most striking ever taken at this famous vantage point.”

“THE WINNERS’ IMPRESSIONS. Norman Gledhill never has much to say—he does things instead. Questioned by The Motor Cycle, however, he admitted that he could say quite a lot on this occasion—about the weather! Being honest, he did not attempt to mislead people into believing that he enjoyed it as enjoyment is usually recognised, though he said, quite sincerely, that it ‘was all right when you had got used to it’. Daniell was questioned at the prise-giving in the evening after he had had time to forget much of his discomfort. He said much the same as Gledhill, and declared that ‘it really was quite a bit of fun—now that it’s all over!’ Swabey admitted at once that it had been ‘horrible’. He did not like it one little bit, but could think of nothing else to do but try and obey the callous demands of his pit attendant for more and yet more speed. Viewed in retrospect he said it ‘had all been very magnificent’!”

“EXISTING METHODS OF TAXATION have emphasised the importance of losing unnecessary weight…metallurgical science is constantly evolving new materials…one thinks at once of such substances as stainless steels, chromium plate, and even of aluminium itself (for it is a comparatively ‘modern’ metal)…there is an alloy in commercial production which is 40% lighter than aluminium…Elektron…can be supplied in various compositions, but, speaking broadly, it consists of about 85% magnesium to 10% aluminium, and has small percentages of such substances as zinc, silicon and manganese…I have been lucky enough to find a manufacturer who is in the process of changing over from one material to the other…it appears that the crank case and gear box of his 350cc engine, cast in a normal aluminium alloy, weighed 14lb 3oz, whereas, in Elektron, the weight is only 8lb 5oz…Elektron, by the way, is easy to machine, and produces very little scrap, while the risk of fire during machining…is almost negligible if suitable precautions are taken…If we take a normal, commercially produced steel as a basis for comparison, Duralumin…will weigh about one-third, bulk for bulk, and about one-half strength for strength…A pressed-steel fork suitable for a 350cc machine weighs about 14lb, and, allowing for such parts as cannot be replaced by the alloy, it should be possible to save about 6lb with the aid of Duralumin, and possibly another pound or two in parts of the hub and rim…even if we leave the frame out of the question (except for a passing reminder that there is a French motor cycle with a cast-aluminium alloy—Alpax—frame and a German motor cycle with a forged Duralumin frame) it should be possible to save over 20lb elsewhere by the use of light alloys…On the whole, I am inclined to stress the importance of weight saving in the front fork group…if light alloys were employed to their best advantage in forks, rims, hubs and brakes, our machines might steer and hold the road even better than they do now. All the same, Mr Manufacturer, please don’t forget the rest of the machine; my 300lb 350cc bus takes quite a lot of hauling on to its stand.”

“Duralumin Frame of the German Ardie. (Right) Frame and tank of the French MGC are largely of Alpax.”

“AMONG THE ENTRIES for the Sunbeam Club’s Pioneer Run on March 13th is one from a Southsea enthusiast who is nearly seventy years of age. “

“J GILL, THE BRADFORD WORLD TOURIST, has set out on another lap of the globe, which he hopes to complete in nine months. He is driving a P&M. sidecar outfit.” On his previous global trip, in 1929, Gill had been chased by Bedouin tribesman. Forewarned is forearmed; his luggage this time included a revolver and a shotgun.

“2XAF—OR JUST DIRTY PLUG POINTS? ‘It has been noticed that the sparking plugs in motor cars cause interference with those listening to short-wave radio stations.’—Philips Radio. Idea for plug-testing—rev up your engine and listen on the headphones!”

“‘FOREIGN COUNTRIES HAVE CONTRIBUTED little or nothing to the development of the motor- cycle…The motor cycle in its form of to-day was designed and built by America.’—From a hook of popular ‘knowledge’ recently published in the States.”

“This new sidecar is marketed by the makers of the Matchless machine, and is specially suitable for their C, C/S, X/3 and XR/3 models. There is a luggage locker at the rear, and the finish is in black fabric with a white top band. The price is £17 7s 6d, while a special spring-frame model for the Silver Hawk or Silver Arrow machines costs £3 extra. An aluminium finish is an optional extra at £1 5s.

“OF THE 3,370 MOTOR CYCLES in use in Ceylon at the end of last year, no fewer than 3,036 were British.”

“FOLLOWING COMPLAINTS OF DELAY at a level-crossing, the RAC observed the gates from 9am to 8pm and found that during this period they were closed for a total of 5¾ hours and open for only a little over 5 hours. Traffic was sometimes kept waiting for a quarter of an hour. “

“ACCORDING TO THE LATEST taxation returns there are now 93,098 motor cycles in use in Italy.”

“THOSE MAGNETIC BRAKES! A number of London trams are now equipped with ‘Stop’ signals. And they need them!”

“WE TAKE WITH A PINCH of Salt the tale of the rider with a burst inner tube, who reached home last week by stuffing his outer cover with snow.”

“TOO EARLY! A MOTOR cyclist summoned at Ealing for riding with an out-of-date insurance policy had his case dismissed. It was found that the police had stopped him three-quarters of an hour before his policy expired!”

Here are some letters that appeared under the heading “A Ride I Shall Not Forget”…

“RACING THRILLS—Before the Day’s Work Begins: Dawn, on a raw misty morning last May. I push my old side-valver into life and am soon chugging Dublin’s deserted streets to watch the riders practising for the Leinster ‘200’. The city is soon left behind. In the country a white frost covers field and hedge. The sun is low, the air keen, bracing as a tonic. Riding is sheer joy on a morning like this. We are on the course now, watching a fast S-head. crackle. A crackle and a rider approaches, lying right down: he banks left, then right, he’s gone. ‘Stanley Woods!’ yells the crowd. What marvellous riding! Another machine: a rider well back on the mudguard; a throbbing roar; another left and right sweep ands he shoots past. This is real life! They come thicker now, banking in perfect unison. What men! What machines! Thrilled, I look on, while mingled envy and ambition rise within me. All too soon the official car tours past opening the roads. Excited still, I chug homewards. Houses, offices rise up; we’re home again; back to the realities of the realities of the world with the morning’s ride only a memory—but what a pleasant memory!
CG, Dublin.”

“THE TURNING-POINT—A 336-mile Ride and a Change of Fortune. I had been out of work about six months, and was nearly reduced to selling my Panther, when one Friday morning came a letter. Would I, on the following day, go to a certain town in Somerset for an interview? At that time I was living in Nottingham, and it meant a 336-mile trip. Thank goodness I hadn’t sold the bike. At 4.30am on the following day I was ‘kicking-up’ in the rain; then on through Leicester, Coventry, Stratford, starving hungry and wet through to the skin; on through Evesham, Gloucester and Bath, concentrating hard on the job in hand. I was offered the job, and with the acceptance acquired a new outlook on life. Wet through as I was, neither the prospect nor the experience of the ensuing 168 miles of rain had the least dampening effect on my spirits.
CASSO, Leicestershire.”

“THE PILLION RIDE—A Memory of a March Gale. It was on one of those cold, windy days in March, when the sky is alternately bright and overcast, that I set out (reluctantly, I must admit) on the pillion of Arthur’s Ariel. But my reluctance was short-lived, for, as we sped northward into the teeth of the gale, the rushing wind, the boom of the exhaust, the sight of the clouds scudding ever the Cheviots in the west, and the grey, distant North Sea to the east, gave me a sense of freedom and exhilaration. We slipped quietly through Morpeth, battled along the Great North Road to Alnwick, then turned seaward, and soon we stood on the breakwater at Seahouses. The gul1s wheeled and screamed on the gale over the tumbling, white-capped rollers of the North Sea, steel-grey under the leaden sky. Then, suddenly, the scene was transformed as the sun broke through in the south-west. The sullen greyness of the sky gave way to a cold, brilliant blue, and soon the distant Farne Islands stood out sharply in a sea of translucent green—truly a piece of Nature’s magic, which I should have missed had I followed my inclination to stay at home. (Miss) GMM, Co Durham.”

“IN FAST COMPANY—A ‘Four’ and a Two-stroke on an Autumn Run. A wet, windy day in early autumn, and many miles to cover. My brother starts his peppy Ariel Four. Sixty is his normal cruising speed; we are scheduled to average forty. That will be about my maximum in the teeth of this wind, for, since my own hot-stuff motor is on the bench, I am using my ancient baby two-stroke. I know this baby well—and he needs knowing! We have tried to ‘hot him up’ with a new piston. Very special alloy; some of it is still there; the rest has been peeled off the cylinder walls with a penknife. Long, deserted, rain-washed straights. The Ariel fades into the distance. Mile after mile, flat down at thirty-eight. My head, hanging out over the front wheel, receives a perpetual shower-bath. A shade more throttle, and the piston begins to tighten. I ‘blip’ the engine; he carries on. No risks, but we must save all we ran on corners. Towns and villages are a relief, hills a nightmare. But we get there, if not quite to schedule. Tiring work, pushing an aged lightweight against adverse conditions, especially when there’s a sticky piston to nurse. Tiring work, but rather fascinating.
RLA, London SW.

“Not the latest anti-gangster squad in America, but a Japanese motor cycle machine gun section looking for trouble in Manchuria.”

“I REGARD WITH AMUSEMENT the battle raging between the ohv, sv and two-stroke enthusiasts. Clearly it is bias, and not facts, which determine their opinions. As a matter of fact, the overhead-valve engine can be designed to develop the highest thermal efficiency obtainable, not excluding the steam turbine, which gains by lack of friction, etc. Respective thermal efficiencies may be realised when it is stated that a turbine uses approximately 8.6% of heat input in work and an ohv CI engine 42.5%. The Diesel-type engine loses approximately 35.0% in exhaust gas and 22.5% in cooling. The engine with the highest efficiency applied at present to the automobile industry is the twin-overhead-camshaft multi, which also eliminates much of the intermittent contacts of the push-rod operated ohv engine. The side-valve engine is no doubt good for touring work, but, apart from combustion-chamber design, the valve chest causes tightening and distortion of the bore when warmed up, while the two-stroke is undoubtedly thermally inefficient, but attracts its users by its better torque. Let the Sunbeam ‘Lions’ try a Model 9 or 90, and the 16Hs a Model 18 or a ‘camshaft’, and find the error of their suppositions in their own clan. The Scottites are incurable, unless they take to bee-farming.

“I HAVE FOLLOWED the side-valve vs overhead-valve argument with immense interest, and feel that I must needs give tongue at last. The whole point is this: Nine-tenths of present-day riders know next to nothing about engines. They read about ohv jobs being used exclusively for racing, and at once jump to the conclusion that side valves cannot be fast. Let me fell them here and now that this is sheer bunkum. Obviously, if a side-valve 500 can be made to do 80, and an ohv 500 100mph or so, the racing man will use the latter. Now, a mere 80 compared with 100 sounds very slow, but how many of these mass-production ohvs will do 80, and how many of those who ride them have done a genuine 80? Think twice before an answer is made. I agree that the average present-day ohv is faster than its side-valve brother, but it annoys me to hear the uninitiated, who have probably never heard of a BRS Norton, say that no side valve is as fast as the present-day ohv…Do not forget that class will tell, always, and do not forget that if you fellows who ride mass-produced ohvs start playing with fire, in the shape of nifty 16Hs or ‘long-strokes’, you will one of these days get burnt Very badly indeed. So don’t say you haven’t been warned! As the poet said: ‘A lad with an ohv Chromium Was scrapping a Flying Harmonium, In the midst of their game They were both put to shame By the roar of a side-valve Nortonium.’

“IN YOUR GREAT LITTLE MAGAZINE the pros and cons of a massed start at the TT held my attention; seems that it’s a. great point of argument. Well, here goes my angle on the set-up of a massed start: To begin with, who are the riders riding for? Not to please one another, nor exactly any certain factory; who, then, but the public? I can readily see any American race starting one at a time; the crowd would be gone before the second lap was over. At the famous Muroc Dry Lakes here in California they often stage a 250-mile race, and the starters usually number 60 to 70. They have a massed start; by so doing one knows who’s who, and why; also there is always a race for some position, be it first or second or 30th or 31st. I agree with Graham Walker on the subject of starting positions; over here we have qualifying laps, fastest time getting the pole position, the next fastest second place, and so on down the line. In order to encourage a real time in the qualifying trials the fastest man is awarded a prize or cash award. Then, in the longer races, small fast laps get cash prizes or merchandise awards—tins, tubes, plugs, gloves, or what have you. By this idea, if a man holds the lead for two laps, he gets a new tyre, or something like that, as a reward. Regarding the danger at the start, from all I’ve read about the IOM TT they don’t have flop merchants wheeling those mounts around that course; they know what it’s all about. Therefore the danger would be only for the first lap; by that time they would be more or less spread out, so that a real jam would not occur. Best of luck, and continued success for the greatest motor cycle magazine in the world.
JOHN Q MACDONALD, California Highway Patrol, Court House, El Centro, California.
[Our correspondent, who organises speedway meetings in his off-duty hours, encloses some interesting snapshots of racing at a local track; in several of these pictures—which, unfortunately are unsuitable for publication—British machines can be seen.—ED.]”

“John Q Macdonald, of the California Highway Patrol, on his all-white Henderson.”

“IN RESPONSE TO REQUESTS which have appeared in your columns for the formation of a club for owners of antique motor cycles, the Veteran Car Club has decided to cater for anyone so interested by making membership open to such persons. As a member of the committee, the VCC has asked me to organise this side of the club, and I should be very glad to hear from prospective members. Motor cycles must conform to the classification of cars belonging to members of this club—that is, they should have been manufactured prior to December 31st, 1904.
CS BURNEY, Brooklands Aerodrome, Byfleet.”

“THERE MUST BE QUITE a number of famous bikes in everyday use. ECE Baragwanath, for instance, hacks around on a most disreputable-outfit which no one would suspect of housing the first engine to lap Brooklands at a hundred an hour—one of the late Bert Le Vack’s jobs. A friend was chatting with Harold Taylor (the winner of the recent Southern Experts’ Trial) the other day, and Taylor divulged that his ‘boy’ is converting the big-twin Coventry-Eagle with which they have obtained many sidecar records in the past for use as a solo roadster. The idea is to make the job look as ‘innocent’ as possible, so that it will be a snare and a delusion to the local lads. There seems little doubt about its fitness for the purpose, for it should have a road speed in excess of 100mph! I hereby apologise to whoever is to ride this Eagle in goose’s plumage if I’ve given the game away; and I hope that his first challenger doesn’t turn out to be a speed-cop in mufti!”

“HOW MANY OF THE undermentioned makes of motor cycle are familiar to you? All of them have been on the British market—some for a very short period, I admit—during the past ten years: Witall, Norbeck, New Era, Beaumont, Akkens, AEL, Consul, Venus, JNU, Defy-all, Supremoco, Mountaineer, W&G, Morris-Warne, Dalton, Pax, Vulcan, Dreadnought, CC, Vasco, MPH, Rockson, Hoskinson. How we forget names! But I should not be in the least surprised to hear that odd examples of most of these makes are still in existence. I chose the names at random while glancing through The Motor Cycle Index, which is reviewed elsewhere in this issue.”

“DURING THE FIRST NATIONAL Motor Cycle Congress, held recently in Rome, a young leader of the Giovani Fascisti said that everything possible was being done to make the 700,000 members of the movement motor-cycle-minded. The president of the Moto Club d’Italia, Baron Ricci, promised that the Club would give its aid towards this end.”

RUDGE WERE ONE OF few manufacturers to publish the top, as well as bottom, speeds of which their bikes were capable. Quoted minimum non-snatch and maximum speeds in 4th gear were: 250cc, 10/60mph, 250cc TT Replica, 12/78mph; 350cc, 12/70mph; 350cc TT Replica, 14/87mph; 500cc Special, 12/75mph; 500cc Ulster, 12/80mph; 500cc TT Replica, 14/95mph.

“ALL MATTERS CONCERNING AJS spares and service from now onward are being dealt with by AJS Motorcycles at Plumstead Road, Woolwich, London, SE18 instead of at Wolverhampton.” Matchless was working on the cammy 350 and 500cc Ajays. Also included in the AJS deal was a cammy 990cc V-twin that the Stevens boys had designed as a world speed record contender. It was being evaluated at Brooklands when news came that Ernst Henne had been to Hungary with the blown 750cc BMW to set a new record of 151.86mph.

“SINGE, SIR? THEY HAD ONE at Birmingham. Many owners of machines fitted with Burman gear boxes will be surprised to hear that the makers also manufacture barbers’ clippers. It was this department of the company’s Ryland Road, Birmingham works that was damaged by fire last week. No damage, happily, occurred to the machine shops or other parts of the factory concerned with gear box manufacture.”

Feeling smug as I own a set of Burman clippers and, on my M100 Panther, a Burman BAP gearbox.

“NO SURER WAY OF DEGRADING speedway racing in the estimation of the general public could be found than the introduction of betting, which was proposed last week in connection with a London track. Metaphorically, and almost literally, if betting is allowed speedway racing will go to the dogs, and, what is more unpleasant, it will tend to debase the sport of motor cycling. The speedways, even under the conditions obtaining in past seasons, have provided all too many examples of questionable riding tactics, and it needs little imagination on the part of anyone versed in motor cycling to appreciate the depths to which this form of racing may fall if the present project is brought to fruition. Fortunately, there appears little chance of this, for the National Speedway Association, backed by the ACU, immediately demanded an assurance that the particular track will conform with the rules, which categorically prohibit all forms of public betting. What the outcome will be is uncertain at the time of going to press, but it may safely be said that, even if this one track introduces betting, the vast majority will stand firm, knowing that nothing is more calculated to bring speedway racing into disrepute, and, therefore, irretrievably to harm their own interests.”

BSA LAUNCHED THE SPORTY 350/500cc ohv Blue Star, based on the works trials and scrambles models campaigned so successfully by Bert Perrigo, who received a halfpenny royalty for every one sold. The Stars—Blue, Empire, Silver and ultimately Gold—would shine brightly for years to come.

The Blue Star was the first of an illustrious line of Beeza ‘Stars’.
From Moto Guzzi came a 500cc ohv triple, with its unit-construction lump mounted horizontally in a sprung frame. The ‘Tipo Tre Cilindri’ was a ‘gran turismo’ roadster. Its 120° crank layout would be seen again in MV’s 1960s world-beating racers. But the triple’s time had not yet come; it was only in production for a few months.
For his traditional show stealer George Brough squeezed a modified 750cc Austin 7 in-line four into a bike frame with two rear wheels…
…and in 2016 a barn-find example sold for a record-breaking £331,900.
BMW went into the light CV sector with the F76 Dreirad-Lieferwagen (tricycle van). It featured a 200cc/6hp engine and shaft drive; about 250 were built and production ceased after a few months.

REX ACME, ONE OF THE great names of the early British industry, merged with sidecar pioneer Mills & Fullford but within a few months the partnership went bust. Other marques to disappear at this time included AKD Chater-Lea, Grindlay-Peerless, Ivy, LGC, New Comet, NUT (with its noble V-twins), P&P, Radco and Rex-Acme.

SHOW ATTENDANCE FELL to 68,000 as motorcycle sales slumped by 50% and more.

THE UK EXPORTED 16,299 motor cycles, valued at £629,553. Some exporters were desperate enough to accept payment in kind, leaving them trying to sell everything from cocoa beans to carpets on a depressed British market.

HAVING PIONEERED A positive-stop foot gear-change Velocette came up with a throttle-controlled pumped lubrication system on its two-stroke GTP. Many years later Japan would reinvent this technology (but the vast majority of British two-strokes soldiered on with the traditional petroil mix so let’s not get too cocky).

HIGH-LEVEL EXHAUSTS, which were introduced for practical reasons on trials bikes, became popular fashion accessories. Twin-port heads also had more to do with form than function.

THE MOTOR CYCLE TEAMED UP with the British Motor Cycle Owners Club to establish the annual Clubman’s Day at Brooklands. With a mixture of races for amateurs and factory star riders it was soon established as one of the highlights of the season. The offbeat finale was a two-leg challenge between 350cc ohv Velos and 1,500cc Lea-Francis cars. One race was won by the cars, the other by the bikes.

FROM A US BIKE MAGAZINE: “…England, where motor cycling is such a widespread sport, and they have more or less set the mark for the rest of the motor cycling world to aim at…”

THE AMATEUR MOTOR CYCLE Association was set up in the West Midlands to promote off-road sport. It is still very much in business, with more than 200 affiliated clubs throughout the UK and issues permits for some 900 moto cross events every year.


IN GERMANY DKW, which was the world’s biggest motor cycle manufacturer, merged with Wanderer and car makers Horsch and Audi Auto Union to form Auto Union.

ILLUMINATED GLASS SIGNPOSTS were erected in Liverpool; the first pedestrian-operated traffic lights were installed on the Brighton Road, Croydon.

As usual, a selection of contemporary ads for your delectation.

1932 HD AD
1932 WOLF AD
“Read what Motor Cycling said about what the Red Hunter can do—’…it was 50-50 benzole mixture…The timing was done with two watches…Times: 9.8sec one way, 10.1 the other. In mph 91.8 and 89.1. Mean speed, 89.9mph. Any complaints? I’ll say not.”