Speedway enthusiast Colin Knight has a prize-winning collection of cinder-shifters, so was rather pleased to be offered a rare five-valve Weslake engine. Around 30 years ago, the engine had a brief, but glorious track-racing career until outlawed by regulations...
Weslake motorcycle engines were largely the work of Ron Valentine and his son Brian and the single overhead cam unit engine that Colin purchased turned out to be a combination of a Weslake bottom end and BVR top half. BVR is Brian Valentine Racing – an engine development company set up by Brian. Colin's initial plan was to install the engine in a suitable grass-track bike and use it in demonstration events.
However, when the engine was on static display at a recent show it was identified as a rather special prototype engine used by Brooklands Motorcycles in the early eighties. That project aimed to create a modern road-going Norton single by using a Weslake engine in replica Featherbed cycle parts. The Brooklands failed when Weslake, and gearbox suppliers Triumph, folded within days of each other.
With some original spare parts and the loan of the original drawings, Colin is setting out to use the engine as the basis of a replica Brooklands, as close as possible to the original design.
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