here and there, September 1927

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HERE AND THERE.

MOTORCYCLING NOTES.

THE INTERNATIONAL SIX DAYS.

The results of the International Six Days Trial which are now announced in full show overwhelming successes for British machines. It was, perhaps, only reasonable to expect that our own riders should do well, since they were playing on the “home ground” ; it is gratifying to note, however, that those foreigners who made the best performances were mounted on British machines. About twenty foreigners competed and I think I am right in saying that not one foreign machine came through without loss of marks, although two foreign riders of British machines did so. There could scarcely be a more conclusive proof of the superiority of British machines.

Britain won the International Trophy with Sweden as the runner-up, whilst the British Ladies’ Team beat Denmark for the International Vase by two marks. This latter was indeed a remarkable performance and should do much to popularize motorcycling amongst women. Only one of the three ladies lost marks, this being Miss Cottle (Raleigh) who failed on the indescribable surface of Blea Tarn on the last day. Miss Cottle’s riding ability is, however, of such a quality that it is safe to assume that her failure was due to bad luck and bad luck alone.

It was not a trial for two-strokes, which, having lower carburetters than four-strokes, were severely handicapped by the absurd water-splashes which had to be negotiated. The organisers naturally did not anticipate the depth to which these would have swollen but nevertheless one cannot help feeling that they were to blame for the large amount of trouble with water-logged engines which was experienced. Francis-Barnetts, Dunelts, Scotts and other two-strokes have shown that they can hold their own with an,y four-strokes in reliability trials and that they should be penalised in so important an event as the International, but the conditions of a “Super Sporting trial,” is distinctly unfair. The Excelsiors, with their Villiers engines were, indeed, about the only two strokes which did not suffer badly in this respect, all three which started winning gold medals.

As regards individual performances, an outstanding one was that of the new four-stroke Levis, which made its debut in Six Days’ Trials in the hands of A. R. Edwards, obtaining a Gold Medal without the loss of a single mark. Poor old” Pa” Applebee, however, on a two-stroke Levis, found the last day too much for him. However, to finish at all in two Six Days’ Trials in one year—the Scottish and the International—is no mean performance for a man of 65.

The makes which got all their starters home with Gold Medals were Ariel, Douglas, Excelsior-Villers, HarleyDavidson, H.R.D., Humber, Raleigh and Triumph. Of these H.R.D. had one entry, Harley-Davidson two and the others three or more. Exceptionally fine performances were also made by the New Imperial, Enfield and Rudge teams. The weather conditions throughout were vile, rain falling practically all the time.

ECONOMICAL TOURING.

Some time ago Mrs. Grenfell, the well-known lady competition rider, rode a little Francis-Barnett motorcycle from London to Edinburgh, under A.C.U. observation, at a total running cost of just over 3s. only. This was undoubtedly a remarkable performance but some sceptical persons considered that it was largely due to expert driving and a specially prepared machine.

The touring costs of other riders of similar machines are therefore interesting and I can quote details of some which have recently been received by the Francis-Barnett people. One rider of a 172 c.c. model—a larger machine than that employed by Mrs. Grenfell—rode from Lancashire to South Devon and back, 277 miles each way, doing the return journey in one day, at nearly full throttle, and yet averaging 138 miles per gallon ! Another has completed a 1,300 mile tour in the mountains of Scotland at a total running cost of 19s. 4d. ; and finally two girls, each on a Francis-Barnett, have enjoyed a full week’s tour in the South of England which, including hotel and meals, a long sea-trip and all garage and running expenses, cost them only E5 a-piece. These performances show, once again, that for an economical holiday there is nothing to beat a tour on a lightweight motorcycle.

O’DONOVAN GETTING BUSY.

Many motorcyclists were interested to hear that O’Donovan, the famous” speed-wizard” had joined the Raleigh Company and expected him immediately to start breaking records. Speed tuning takes time, however, and O’Donovan is not one to rush at things like a bull at a gate. But he has by no means been idle and when I called recently to see him in the Raleigh experimental department, I found him quite satisfied with the way things were going.

” Don ” has not yet produced any startling designs— I do not even know if he intends to—but he has been engaged in hotting-up the standard O.H.V. Raleigh. This is really far more satisfactory than the production of a freak racing machine, for the benefit of his work is felt by the public, and the O.H.V. Raleigh has now proved felt by the public, and the O.H.V. Raleigh has now proved that it can do a solid 80 m.p.h. on a petrolbenzole mixture. It has been winning many hill-climbs recently and perhaps, next year, we shall see it in the bigger events. “Don” tells me, incidentally, that he has achieved 90 m.p.h. at Brooldands with a high-compression engine of the standard type—no mean speed for a 350 c.c. machine !

AN ” ALL-WEATHER ” LEVIS.

A new note in motorcycle design has been struck by Butterfields Ltd., who are now placing on the market an ” All-Weather ” Levis. The new machine is known as the ” All-Weather” Model M de Luxe and whilst it retains all the good features of the well-known Model M., it is equipped so that a cap, coat and gloves are all that the rider requires in any weather.

ECHOES OF THE SHELL TRIALS.

The official Certificate of Performance of the recent Shell Trial has now been issued by the Auto Cycle Union. It will be remembered that this was an endurance test of 12 standard motorcycles, over 2,000 miles on road and track being covered with Shell petrol and oil being used. The machines chosen were two A.J.S.’s, B.S.A.’s, Nortons and Royal Enfields and one Coventry Eagle, 0.E.C., Raleigh and Zenith. The certificate now published confirms that, despite the arduous nature of the trip and the high speeds which were attained, the machines all finished in excellent condition. The report states :—

” The only fuel and engine lubricating oil supplied for the twelve motorcycles under test was ” Shell” petrol and ” Shell ” motor cycle oil respectively, purchased by A.C.U. officials from retailers to the public.

There were no failures to ascend any of the test hills without stopping with the exception of the Wrekin on which two drivers stopped owing to wheel spin, and Box Hill on which one driver stopped to ask the way.

Various adjustments to and replacements of parts of the machines were made during the test and officially `noted, but in no case did the necessity for any of these appear to have been due to the quality of either the fuel or the lubricating oil.

When not being driven the motorcycles were in the custody of THE UNION and, at the conclusion of the Test, engine cylinders were removed under observation and an examination made of the deposit found on the cylinder heads and piston tops. In every case the deposit was not so much as to require removal for efficient running, was black in colour, oily and of such a consistency that it could be removed without difficulty with a scraper of hard wood.”

In an appendix the thicknesses of the carbon deposit found on the cylinder heads and piston tops at the conclusion of the trial are given. In no case did the thickness exceed 5/100 in., the average being 2/100 to 3/100 only. This report is exceedingly satisfactory and it is one of which the Shell Mex company may well be proud, in that it proves beyond dispute that Shell oil and petrol give extremely satisfactory results with any class of

motorcycle engine. Incidentally the Raleigh machine which was used later successfully completed 250 ascents of the Brooklands test hill without stopping its engine. One of the A. J .S.’ s, also, still using Shell oil and spirit was taken out on the track where it was officially timed to do 500 miles at an average of 54.07 m.p.h. At the end of this run it did four laps” all-out,” the speed being 68.69 m.p.h.

BRITISH MACHINES FOR “SPEED COPS.”

We have all seen pictures of motor-cycling “Speed Cops” in America and elsewhere tearing after some unfortunate fugitive. In almost every case these ” Cops ” have been mounted on American machines and it is therefore refreshing to learn that Great Britain is entering this class of market, for the Police Authorities at Wellington, New Zealand have placed an order for an S.S. 100 Brough-Superior and sports side-car. This is undoubtedly . the hottest thing on wheels, so New Zealand criminals .will in the future be brought most speedily to justice !