Edward Turner, now BSA managing director, scrapped the Beeza scooter project. With shortcomings including too much weight, too little power and poor accessibility, it wasn’t missed. The Dandy stayed in production despite accessibility problems of its own. checking the points, for example, entailed splitting the crankcases.
A more promising project from BSA was a short-stroke version of the Gold Star, designed by development engineer Roland Pearson as a 250/350cc.
Having dabbled with an overbored 550cc version of its vertical twins, AMC upped the ante with revamped 600s (well, 593cc): the AJS Model 30/Matchless G11.
Imports included 25,000 scooters and 23,000 mopeds; Douglas began to make Vespa scooters under licence – Douglas managing director Claude McCormack predicted that petrol rationing following the Suez crisis would boost demand for scooters. But AMC chairman SR Hogg said he had “no faith in the motor scooter as a source of profits”.
After US sports car racer Pete Snell was killed during a race his widow founded the Snell Foundation to evaluate crash helmets. The Californian Highway Patrol adopted the foundation’s recommendations and required all CHIPS riders to wear approved lids.
Piaggio turned out its 1,000,000th Vespa scooter, which was blessed by the Bishop of Pisa. Production was running at 10,000 a month. British workers would have envied conditions at the huge Piaggio plant; facilities included a kindergarten. Vespas were also manufactured in Britain, Germany, France, Belgium and Spain.
The 37th Scottish Six Days Trial was based at Fort William. Overall winner was JR Alexander on an AJS 350, ahead of Vic Brittain (Royal Enfield 350) and G McLaughlan (AJS 350). Class winners were Arthur Lampkin (BSA 500), G Jackson (AJS 350), R Povey (James 201), P Hammond (Greeves 200) and G Draper (BSA 150). AJS won the manufacturer’s award and top club team was the Sunbeam MCC. Top Scot was A McLean (DMW 200); best non-Brit was J Pudil (CZ 150) and top non-Scot was one Sammy Miller (Ariel 500, of course).
Of the top 10 scorers in the Swiss Motocross GP, seven were riding BSA Gold Stars, two rode FNs and one was on a Gilera.
British bikes also dominated the top 10 in the US Catalina races. First three riders over the line were on Goldies, followed by a trio of Triumphs, two more Goldies, a lone Harley, a Matchless, an Ajay and yet another Goldie.
Best veteran in the Vintage MCC rally was a 1914 Sunbeam 500 ahead of a 1912 Singer 500. Best vintage was a 1921 Royal Enfield 225 with a 1925 Levis 250 as runner-up.
The Floreffe road race in Belgian was marred by the death of popular rider Anderson whose Beemer skidded into a telegraph pole. John Surtess won the 500 class – but he did it on an MV, ahead of Bill Lomas’s Guzzi and two Nortons. Following a poor start Anderson had overtaken both works Guzzis and three works Nortons, setting a lap record in the process). Guzzis were 1st and 2nd in the 350 race, ahead of a brace of Nortons. The two fastest 250s were NSUs, chased over the line by two Adlers. And German domination extended to the combos, with a BMW hat trick (Nortons were 1st and 3rd at one point, but British hopes were scuppered by a crash and a breakdown).
Avon produced what looked like a useful fibreglass topbox – but it was actually designed to replace the racks fitted to Triumph twin petrol tanks and was offered in the four standard Triumph colours.
Mechanisation helped the Germans construct autobahns at a rate of four miles per week; one British pundit contrasted that with plans for a one-and-a-quarter-mile Markyate bypass that was expected to take a year to complete.
Planned ammendments to the Road Traffic Bill included a new offence of allowing a dog to run loose on the road and restricting riders under-18s to a maximum of 250cc.
A bitter row broke out at the ACU over calls to relinquish World Championship status for the TT. This was designed as a protest against the FIM’s suspension of some British riders following an incident at the Dutch TT. The suspension would have excluded aces including Reg Armstrong and Geoff Duke from the TT.