Monday 3 May 2010

Brooklands racer

A photo sent by Simon: "Here's one for the pundits to consider: who -and what- is it? Seems to be a 1929 or 1930 model: note the braced Webbs, magneto in front of the engine, re-inforced Brooklands silencer, additional lever on right of bars (perhaps to operate exhaust valve lifter), rather large saddle tank, and Swallow sidecar.... Cheers S".

Roger: "There is not a lot to go on in trying to identify the rider. It does seem to be a 490cc which makes it unusual as the sidecar races were usually for 600cc machines so most riders chose a 588. Simon has already commented on the braced Webbs forks but they are not the usual braced Webbs fitted to sidecar outfits. These were the full length third girder type similar to that on LPD1 but fully brazed whereas the Druid bracing girder is bolted on. The only pictures I have of this type of braced Webbs is on the KTT Velocette from 1929 onwards. I did wonder if it was Bert Bacon who has a Velocette in 1932 but the Brooklands records don't show him as a sidecar racer. However, CW Sewell raced a Velocette in 1930 and a 490 Norton sidecar in 1932/3 so he could be the rider. (It could be anyone as his face is largely hidden!)... Regards, Roger"

On second thought...I am no longer sure that it is a short barrel and therefore could be a 588. I don't think that it makes that much difference apart from opening up the number of potential riders. I am still left with the feeling that it could have been one of the machines that Pat prepared as it does seem to have the angled port ES2 head that Pat favoured. coupled with the absence of race number. This indicates that it was not a normal track day so access to the track would have been limited to those with sheds at the track and Pat's was very close to where that picture was taken at the foot of Test Hill.

Note added: a picture was found on the internet with the following caption: "16th April, 1930, Motorcycle sidecar racer Ron Harris and his partner take a corner at Brooklands race track in Surrey on their Norton bike"