Classic Camera: Dicing on the cheap, July 1964


Dixon explained: “I rode 280 miles to Holyhead, crossed to Dublin to compete in the Skerries 100, then rode it back to London. Total mileage was almost 900 miles, and I carried all my gear – leathers, tools, clothes – on the bike.”

It was an attempt to prove that racing 1930s style –when many riders rode to events – could still be undertaken The Velo was the one Dixon had shared with Tom Thorp in the Thruxton 500 and the handicappers weren’t kind. Dixon said: “They spiked my guns, setting me to average 80mph compared with 84.5mph for the scratchmen.”

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It was explained how Irish races consisted of riders on ‘all sorts of mounts, some very elderly… speed differentials vary enormously.’

In practice, the Venom proved “badly undergeared” and Dixon was having to throttle back going uphill… and he couldn’t get hold of a different sprocket. So, he was not optimistic for the race, in which he started alongside Jimmy Jones* (499cc Norton), an “Irish soccer international.”

Though Dixon went okay initially, the ‘continuous hard-revving had hammered the light-alloy exhaust pushrod, until the ends splayed, the rod shortened, and the steel end-cap popped out.’ That was job done.

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With a pushrod unobtainable in Ireland, a BSA one was substituted and the Venom – and David – made it home. And that’s not the prop stand down – it’s an oil breather, apparently.  bike

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