CHAIN CHATTER

CHAIN CHATTER

by "CARROZZINO" Tr/71111 the last round of the 1950 Champioriship completed we now know many things about which arguments have raged throughout, the season. With the meeting at Monza not only were the individual and manu facturers championships settled, but a great deal of light was thrown upon a

number of aspects of the road-racing game. Without any doubt. whatsoever the firm of F. B. Mondial are supreme in the 125c.c. class, having not only won all three

championship meetings in this category but at Monza they ran away with the race in a magnificent demonstration of speed and reliability. A lap speed of 84 m.p.h. by a 125-c.c. twin-overhead camshaft four-stroke speaks for itself. One can safely say, without fear of contradiction, that the little Benelli is

the fastest 250-e.e. machine racing at this time. Apart from Dario Amlinisini's riding, which in itself thoroughly deserves the World Championship title. the Benelli is a masterpiece in small engines, basically unchanged from when the late Ted Mellors won the Lightweight T.T. in 1939. All the more credit is due to Renal when the respective sizes of their factory with their chief rival, Moto-Guzzi, are compared. In Fergus Anderson, who finished second on his Guzzi, England has a rider she may well be proud of, and it is a pity t hat. there is no 250-e.e. machine built in this country for hint to ride. In the same way that the 250-e.c. class is an all Italian affair so the 350-c.c. elaSs can be considered an all British affair. Just how Veloeettes mattage always to stay just that little bit ahead of everyone else is something of' a mystery, for the bicyeles never have the appearance of having been changed. It has been very satisfying to see Bob Foster become 350-c.c. World Champion, for he is an extremely popular rider and has not had an easy time this season, having to retire on the first lap of the Ti'., the second lap at Monza, and being mixed up in the crash at the start of the Swiss G.P. However, his wins in the Belgian, Dutch and Ulster races were most convincing nod thoroughly justifyhis World Champion title. While the racing on three ivhcels in the sidecar class is more of it private battle than a battle between manufacturers, there are really only two teams who figure in this category. Our own Erie Oliver, with his 5911-c.c. Norton, which is to all intents and purposes a factory machine, being the best that. Nortons can supply off the racing department's shelf, and the Italian Emote Frigerio with his four-cylinder Gilera, which is a definite factory entry, are way out on their own mainly by reason of superior machines. but no completely. The lead which these two built up at Monza during their battle was quite incredible and the Swiss rider ITans Diadem:um who was running third had no hope Of staying with them along the straights. No one will deny Oliver the World Champion title for the second year itt succession, for to see him. in ;teflon against the best that Italy can produce is proof enough. That the Italian turned I LiS outfit over ill an

attempt to stay with Oliver on one of' the more tricky corners speaks for itself. l'hough Nortons WW1 the manufacturers title in this class it. was not due to having the fast e”0. ntaehine for the bored-out,

four-cylinder, air-cooled Client that Frigerio used was certainly capable of a higher maximum than the single-cylinder NI atoll.

The class of racing which is of the greatest importance and also contains the greatest interest is undoubtedly the 500-e.e. category. The young Italian thitherto Masetti thoroughly deserves his 1Vorld Championship title, for he is a rider of the first (lass, mounted on one of the finest machines the racing game lets ever seen, the air-cooled four-cylinder Gilera ; but the man to whom England should do tumour is G. E. Duke. To beat the Italians on their own doorstep in such a convincing manner is something to be proud of, and we can be proud that Duke is an Englishman who did it. with an English nee:lane accepted throughout the world as one of the premier marques. It is certain that the 500-e.e. Norton is 5 m.p.h. slower than the Gilera, so that Duke's win was a (dear demonstration of Ids riding ability. It was only by the worst possible luck that Geoff did not. win the title of World Champion. for had Ins rear tyre not failed in the Belgian G.P. when eomfortably in the lead two laps front the finish he would have gained the title. However, 150,000 Italians saw quite clearly who is the finest rider of the present day, and when the loudspeakers played God Save the King those saute. people knew whenee that rider had come.

We had two magnificent victories at Monza, right in the heart of the opposition, but we must not rest on our laurels. for we still do not possess the fastest machines. If the Indians find riders who are mom than the equal of our best [lure will be a different tale to tell. Already the M.V. concern have an Irishman mounted on one of their four-cylinder machines, and if other English t or even German riders are (o-opted our men will have a difficult task, while there are one or two young ri(lers in Italy who will be champions in a few years.

Before leaving the subject of Monza it might pay to reflect a little upon that magnificent " piste de vitesse.Rebuilt front war rubble in a matter of months it is riot only a magnificent tribute to Italian enthusiasm but it, is a valuable asset to Italian manufacturers. Trying your prototypes on a disused aerodrome is one thing and trying them on a properly eonstructeil circuit i8 :mother. A track charge of 3s. 7 d. for a motor-cycle and double I hat for a car to circulate cannot be considered Iinreasonable, while 10s. a night, for ii wood-floorol lock-up garage with light and water included is exactly what is needed hit. conducting extensive experiments. With a 500-e.e.

lap record of 105 mph. the circuit is thoroughly practical proposition for nonrace-day work. With the vast grandstand of ferroconcrete combining a firstclass restaurant on the ground floor, front which the racing can be seen, together with the two-tier concrete pits. Monza presents a very happy state affairs for the Italian enthusiasts. With an attendance of 80,000 at tlw recent Italian G.P. for cars and 150,000 for a motor-cycle meeting, to mention but two meetings in a season, the work and expense involved at the outset in 1947 have no doubt been well justified.

It is a pity that so many good ideas that appear to originate in England are perfected in other countries. Many people claim the A.B.0 of the early 'twenties to be the forerunner of the B.M.W.; maybe it. was, maybe it was not, but which ever way it was, the Germans perfected the design and did so well that to this present day it is considered by many to be the perfect touring nweltine. Similarly, the little Excelsior NVelbike, built for paratroopers in the war, gave birth to that excellent little runabout. the Corgi, produced by Brockhouse, but for perfection in moto-scooters the Italian Vespa, Lambretta or M.V .stand supreme. Admittedly one great factor that led to the success of these scooters is Mutt the Italian government do not hamper the scooter owner in any way whatsoever. You pay your lire for your Vouvretta and ride it away as if it were a pusltbike, as far as formalities are cotwerned. This means, of course, that the little scooters are its popular as pushbikes, but it also means that the accident rate is very high indeed.

When Velocettes introduced the little LE it was greatly admired by all, and anyone who has ridden one will vouch for the superb steering and suspension, but it lacks just that little extra power that one needs for carrying a passenger, while in looks it suffers badly front angularity. When Moto-Guzzi copied the l.E to produce the Galetto they did juSt what the other people have done in the past., they very nearly perfected it. A recent opitortunity to ;Ise a Galetto for just those purposes for which it was designed, to avoid use of trams and taxis for running errands, showed it to be an excellent, little machine, having that. delightful Continental feel :111(1 appearance that can only be described as practibility. For some reason many English manfacturers lack the ability to finish off a really good idea. Perhaps the 87 Sunbeam is the best example of a treteltine having that little something about the finish which puts it above most others, and when one sees one abroad one is proud to know it is English. At the time of writing, the International Six Days Trial is taking place and no doubt English riders on English machines will more than uphold our prestige in this field. The use of the motor-cycle for trials is one that is more popular in this country than anywhere else ; in fact it is so popular that it might almost be called a disease which has gone beyond the point of control. With the racing season now virtually finished, trials come into greater

prominence, for they are essentially a winter pa-stime and a more.enjoy:thle and healthy form of winter exercise is hard to find for the ordinary fellow who has to work all the week.

Making eleet Heal equipinent compulsory in this year's Six Days Trial is 4/In.nt (Iii best ideas yet, for electrical component, on Englishn bicycles are car from satisfactory and tile number of Englisli machines in Continental use fitted with Continental elect rival equipment hears Witness to I his rail,. In local trials in this country the first tiding a rider does is to move all traces of eleetricity from his bie? de. not sit much. late:lose Ile will not need the equipment but lie knows that a day amid (hist. water, and mud will mean tied not Idrug will operate :correctly afterwards, should any of the fitments be still ;01aelicil to the bicycle. Trials may not prove very much, hilt nin• I lung is certain and that is that. any component. not securely attaehed in the origittal ?Iesigla will soon part company with the machine.