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Motorcycle Sprinting 1960/70s


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#1 Terry Homan

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 14:11

I'm new to this Forum, but clearly there are a lot of people on here with a wealth of interests concerning all forms of motorsport.

So, has anyone any pictures, stories, memories for motorcycle sprints from the 1960's and '70's? Courses like Ramsgate, Duxford, Debden, Topcliffe, Elvington, Church Lawford etc. A lot of the machines from this era are still around, some festering in damp garages. I'd love to find them.

I'll put some pics up later, when I'm on the home computer, but any info etc would be great.

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#2 Bernard

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 18:49

Used to have a night at the Ramsey sprint in the IOM during the TT ,saw George Brown and Nero (was his Vincent called) and the late Charlie Rous. Bit hazy now as its over 40 years ago

#3 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 19:32

Bernard

I also saw George Brown a few times at Ramsgate in the 60s. He was a works Vincent road racer before his time with sprinting and there's also a biography about him. His bikes were "Nero" and "Super Nero" and from memory "Nero" was a 998cc unsupercharged bike whilst "Super Nero" was an 1150cc (-ish) supercharged bike. I seem to recall that like Donald Campbell, his attempts on World records (Flying mile, 1/4 mile, kilometre, and so on) often seemed to be in the winter and he edged closer and closer to 200mph. Then Alf Hagon came along and beat him to the record although I heard whispers that the record was not quite 'a true one'. Fred Cooper also had his doubts. George's son Tony sometimes rides "Super Nero" in exhibition events. George and Tony also rode a very quick Ariel Arrow sprinter.

#4 Senor

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 08:01

George Brown was an absolute legend in the world of sprinting. However, his abilities went much further as he was also an accomplished road racer. I was lucky enough to see him in the ’52 TT when he rode a 7R in the Junior TT and a Joe Potts Norton in the 500cc race. He impressed with finishes of 6th and 7th respectively.
The Island races of the following year were marked by Les Graham’s fatal accident at Bray Hill. George was one of the unlucky riders that ploughed into the wreckage that day. I believe that it was this incident that was the catalyst for his decision to quit road racing and concentrate on sprinting.

#5 fuzzi

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 12:22

I have read an excellent book on Sprinting in this period by Colquhoun who built the Vincent Sprinter ridden by Charlie Rous. It is a first hand account by a practical engineer - not a literature graduate - of the preparation of bikes for this exacting and explosive form of Competion.

Sorry, but I can't recall the title and I can't find a specialist motorcycle bookseller with an online catalogue.

Colquhoun came up with the phrase quoted by Jenks when asked how do you get a job done "All you need to find is ten minutes a day. Once you've found that ten minutes the rest of the time follows." ;)

#6 Terry Homan

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 13:05

Well this is the first time I've managed to log back on the the site. Below should be a couple of pics of Mick Hands 250/330 Honda twin. This amazing little bike ran a nest 1/4 mile of 9.06 @ 151mph as a 330cc. The motor ran backwards, 85% nitro and over 65 degrees of ignition advance.





http://www.fourfourz...ype=post&id=141

http://www.fourfourz...ype=post&id=164

#7 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 19:26

Terry

That's an astonishing time for such a small capacity. OK, it's not really fair to compare but during the 60s, 10 seconds was the benchmark and to get that you needed at least 1000cc or more and a supercharger. How times change. I may be wrong but wasn't it Alf Hagon who first officially broke the 10 second barrier here - in the US, they'd got there before us?

When you receive those 60s sprinting photos, perhaps you might care to add a few on here? Fred Cooper, Phil Manzano, Bill Orriss et al?

And who remembers AJ Potter and his V8 engined death-trap?

#8 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 19:34

Posted Image
Photo: Paul Hutchins

AJ Potter's (Michigan Madman) V8-engined drag bike in 1965.

#9 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 18:40

Terry

I've PM'd you. I need your address.

#10 Rupertlt1

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 17:31

AJ Potter's (Michigan Madman) V8-engined drag bike in 1965.

 

E.J. Potter

 

RGDS RLT



#11 46700

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 08:49

Bernard

I also saw George Brown a few times at Ramsgate in the 60s. He was a works Vincent road racer before his time with sprinting and there's also a biography about him. His bikes were "Nero" and "Super Nero" and from memory "Nero" was a 998cc unsupercharged bike whilst "Super Nero" was an 1150cc (-ish) supercharged bike. I seem to recall that like Donald Campbell, his attempts on World records (Flying mile, 1/4 mile, kilometre, and so on) often seemed to be in the winter and he edged closer and closer to 200mph. Then Alf Hagon came along and beat him to the record although I heard whispers that the record was not quite 'a true one'. Fred Cooper also had his doubts. George's son Tony sometimes rides "Super Nero" in exhibition events. George and Tony also rode a very quick Ariel Arrow sprinter.

Does anyone have info as to if the Ariel Arrow"s motor was possibly one of possibly 3 developed/ tuned by Bill Stuart



#12 greg1953

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 19:42

There was a sprint at Hartlepool promenade in the 70s, I went to watch in either 74 or 75 and it was a well attended event, loads of spectators.

The course was a very bumpy slight  "S" bend and the entry was made up of proper sprint bikes, road racers and road bikes, a friend , Brian Tighe rode his CB750 and it was a very rough ride, how the sprint bikes did it I don't know.

The prom is still there on the Headland area of Hartlepool but the event no longer runs...does anyone know anything else about it ?

Greg



#13 fuzzi

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 05:36

Hartlepool lower Promenade was used from 1939 - 1950, usually on August Bank Holiday for motor car events over a quarter-mile course.

 

Great Yarmouth sea front was used for motorcycle sprints in the 1960s.

 

Lowestoft's newly built north Sea Wall was used 1926-1928. Over a mile long, it offered a kilometre course and was used by cars and bikes. It attracted some of the best straight line sprinters of the day and drew crowds of 20,000. ECE Baragwanath set BTD at the first event with 25.8sec on his Brough Superior and Raymond Mays was best car with a Targa Florio Mercedes.

 

(for more see "Motorsport Explorer" published by Haynes 2012 and available cheap at the usual outlets. A blatant plug! :stoned: ) 


Edited by fuzzi, 28 July 2015 - 07:58.


#14 tonyed

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 05:08

Although my main interest was road racing in the 60s before I took to the track I used to go along to Duxford and Bassingbourn (near Royston) to spectate.

 

Everything from 50cc to Super Nero (which has featured at Stafford recently).

 

I am sure at Duxford one day a sidecar rider with poor eyesight, who relied on a tap on the shoulder from the passenger to indicate they had passed the 1/4 mile line ploughed through the hedge at the end of the runway onto the Duxford village road as he was missing his ballast who had fallen out on the start line and thus received no tap on the shoulder. :wave:

 

I can't remember the riders name but he may have been of a Rudge outfit. 

 

The smell of burnt 'R' and methanol is one of the most 'hearty' odors of all time. :smoking:



#15 Revetts

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 07:30

I went to a sprint at Martlesham Heath (near Ipswich) in October 1972. I have some photos of the event including Irene Scargill with her 250 starmaker powered threewheeler. Also have a few more recent from RAF Woodbridge. Martlesham now built over. Not sure if motorcycle sprints are still held at Woodbridge following an "Incident" involving unreported damage to property.



#16 Continental Circus

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 13:02

Hi Terry,

I have some shots I took at Wichford in 6-4-61. I am not into the photo shots and found your fourfourzero,co.uk will not send.

If you contact me on roy.nixonAThotmail.co.uk.

Best wishes,

Roy



#17 GD66

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 04:29

http://www.theaccele...hillips_03.html