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LEF Racing Motorcycles


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#1 brands77

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Posted 18 April 2022 - 15:45

Does anyone know about the LEF bikes from the 1950s?

I know they originate in Watford and that LEF stood for Lewis, Ellis and Foster, which was a motorbike dealership. I think they made both 125 and 250s and Dave Chadwick may have been one of the riders.

I would be interested to find out more about the bikes, what models they made, how many they made and who rode them.

Also, I know Watford, but have no idea where the Lewis, Ellis and Foster dealership might have been.



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#2 tonyed

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Posted 19 April 2022 - 03:14

https://www.bonhams..../19768/lot/375/

 

https://www.bonhams..../19768/lot/374/

 

some info anyway



#3 brands77

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Posted 20 April 2022 - 16:22

Thanks Tonyed there is some good stuff there. It seems that they only made 2 machines, that the 250cc was based on the Triumph 3T engine, but the 125cc seems to have been made by them.

Does anyone know if it did any GPs apart from the IoM?



#4 tonyed

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Posted 21 April 2022 - 07:40

https://daveriley.we...6thjune1954.pdf

 

Page 10 advert for LEF motorcycles of 204 Rickmansworth Road Watford

 

202-204 is now 'Sky Ford'. On google maps the building next to Sky Ford #200 is for let but the word 'YAMAHA' can be faintly seen on the frontage.

 

On page 13 in the program are the 250cc heats with another 'home built' special, the REG ridden by its' creator Bob Geeson. 

 

#12 125 is H L Fruin. (Her)Bert Fruin built several 'specials' of his own in the 60s


Edited by tonyed, 21 April 2022 - 08:13.


#5 brands77

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Posted 21 April 2022 - 09:38

Tonyed that's great - thank you. I never realised there had been a motorbike dealer there and I went to school 200 yards away. It was definitely gone by the mid 70s, it was a car dealership then.

 

The local dealer then was Lloyd Coopers which is still around and run by the sons of the guys who ran it from the 70s. They were a good dealership and I bought most of my bikes from there - road bikes.

 

From the hand written programme results it looks like Bob Geeson won the 250cc heat on his REG as well.



#6 tonyed

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Posted 21 April 2022 - 15:15

'I never realised there had been a motorbike dealer there and I went to school 200 yards away'.

Obviously too intent on your school books, well done :p

#7 brands77

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Posted 21 April 2022 - 16:23

Oh how I wish that were true!!



#8 tonyed

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Posted 23 April 2022 - 18:31

So I am at the Stafford Classic Bike show this weekend showing my 1974 TZ250A. I am staying a the Vine in Stafford and am in the bar having a drink and a meal this Saturday evening. There is a group of others sat there and it turns out from sort of the North London area, Brentwood etc. We get  chatting. Some are from the MV owners club another from the Excelsior club, suddenly in conversation one mentions the LEF. He was totally unaware of this thread. I am astounded as they know the 250 version and the later 125 which apparently was manufactured at night in the Rolls Royce engine factory. I'll find out a bit more tomorrow.

To add to the coincidence in the 1954 Silverstone program mentioned in event 5 is # 43 R Madsen-Mygdal. Who is also staying at the Vine this weekend? Dave Madsen-Mygdal 

It's a small world  :cool:    


Edited by tonyed, 23 April 2022 - 19:04.


#9 brands77

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Posted 24 April 2022 - 10:21

It would be great to get them to post what they know here!

I honestly thought the LEF was some really obscure little machine out of Watford, when I first posted I thought they had only made a 250 and was unaware of the 125.

The Rolls Royce connection makes sense as the factory was at Leavesden (now the film studios and Harry Potter experience), it used to be the helicopter factory in the 70s and 80s and they were a big local employer.



#10 tonyed

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Posted 24 April 2022 - 19:12

Spoke to Mr Madsen-Mygdal (the father of the late Dave) and it was Richard his father who is in the program.

Bob Geeson in the program is the uncle of a friend of mine Trevor Geeson.

Motorcycle racing is quite a small close knit community. The number of ex-racers who I haven't seen for years I meet at Stafford each year is quite amazing and even the 'stars' like Alex George and John Cooper are quite happy sitting and having a natter about racing, it's only when the press get involved that it all gets a precious.  :cool:

I didn't get to speak to the MV club people again as I was too busy signing autographs and beating off adoring fans  :smoking:

You ought to come along, it's one long nostalgia weekend with some real and very knowledgeable enthusiasts as the many Irishmen who attend say 'a bloody good craic' down the bar of an evening.


Edited by tonyed, 24 April 2022 - 19:18.


#11 LittleChris

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Posted 25 April 2022 - 18:51

Surely Dave Madsen- Mygdal is still alive?!? His son Mark lost his life at Billown a few years ago so perhaps that's who you were thinking of.

#12 tonyed

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Posted 26 April 2022 - 04:25

Surely Dave Madsen- Mygdal is still alive?!? His son Mark lost his life at Billown a few years ago so perhaps that's who you were thinking of.

You are of course correct - senior moment there.

According to a friend of mine who is very genned up on this era the 250 LEFs finished up with the Gesson Bros.

More on the LEF to follow.



#13 tonyed

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Posted 12 May 2022 - 02:53

According to Chris Pereiras' book 'British 250cm³ Racing Motorcycles 1946-1959: an Era of Ingenious Innovation' the 125cc LEF which is not addressed in this book as it addresses only 250cc machines the 125 engine was doubled up later into a 250cc twin. However there are no more details on this.

It was though an era of great endeavor by racers and special builders which unfortunately none of which was taken up by any British motorcycle factory.