The way we were: April

By Richard Rosenthal, 10 March 2014

New Douglas 348cc twins given an outing in 1914 at Brooklands, Royal Enfield announces a new quarter litre model in 1964 and Norton's new twin-rotor Wankel-engined bike is received by the Press...

1914
Teddy Kickham and F G Ball were spotted on the new ohv 348cc Douglas twins with redesigned cams at the BARC (British Automobile Racing Club’s) Easter Monday meeting at Brooklands. Our correspondent also remarked on the number of racers using Senspray carburettors, including Kickham, W A Jacobs (248cc Singer), M Heinzel (267cc NSU) and Victor Horsman (499cc Singer). Two motorcycle races were run during the day, the Short Handicap won by J C Brooke (994cc Indian) with Ball second while JAB Hellaby (994cc Indian) took the Long Motor Cycle Handicap with Ball again second.

The new ‘works’ ohv Douglas twin was debuted at the October 1913 Weston-super-Mare speed trials with Alfie Alexander showing promise during the opening heats but later hitting gearbox problems. Observers commented on the large diameter inlet and exhaust pipes employed on the new models compared with the side valve models ridden by Willie Douglas, H Fry and Kickham.

Following the Weston-super-Mare debut of the new ohv Douglas the factory carried out further development work and has now confirmed Les (SL) Bailey (shown above) and possibly some other works riders will use the model in the IoM Junior TT. Valve gear apart, race fans will note the machine has two complete exhaust systems, one for each cylinder, and the gearbox is in a low position under the rear cylinder. However, the factory is hedging its bets with Kickham entered by the factory on last year’s TT model. Four Douglas riders have entered the Senior race and 13 the Junior event, which Harry (WH) Bashall won in 1912 on a familiar side valve model. The Douglas entries at this 1914’s TT comprise a mix of factory and private entries.

1939
Impossible as it may seem, this year marks the 10th annual Pioneer Run to Brighton for pre 1914 motorcycles organised by the Sunbeam MCC on April 16. Hasn’t a decade passed quickly?

‘A Source’ informs Velocette is currently testing a new twin cylinder engine in readiness for this year’s TT. And the authorities are planning to introduce a new class for ‘production sports models’ during the 1940 Island TT holiday.

1964
Royal Enfield has just announced a new quarter litre model, in effect a Crusader rolling chassis fitted with a Villiers 4T twin cylinder two-stroke engine. The factory state the new model, named the 250 Turbo Twin, combines super smooth power and magnificent braking with first class workmanship.

1989
Norton’s new 85bhp 588cc twin rotor ‘Wankel’ engined machine, priced at £7599, hit 119mph and a standing start quarter-mile of 13.52 seconds with a terminal speed of 117mph during recent tests.

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The Classic MotorCycle Issue 42-01 - Jan 2015

Where legends come to life

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