by “CAR ROZZINO”
J3winning the Ulster Grand Prix, at 95.18 m.p.h., Geoff Duke is now imbeatable in the 500-ce. World Championship, SO that though there is still ono more event to be run to complete the series, he can be congratulated on his magnificent effort. If it had not been for a last minute tyre failure last year he would have been World Champion 1950, but he has some consolation in his clear-cut victory this year. With wins in the T.T., Belgian, Dutch and Ulster Crawls Prix, he is indeed undisputed master of the 500-c.c. class. It is interesting that both the Norton and A.J.S. teams saw lit to acknowledge the prowess of riders from ” down under ” by including them in the works teams. Ken Kavanagh, from Australia, did full justice to the loan of a ” works ” Norton by bringing it home in second place., behind Duke, while New Zealander Rod Coleman, whose ” private-owner ” riding this season has been outstanding, was well in the running on his A.J.S. twin until forced to retire. Although Duke has now won the World Championship there is little doubt that he will be out to win the last round, at Monza; on the Italians’ own stamping ground, and we can look forward to a really exciting battle in the 500-e.e. class Of the Italian G.P. on September 9th. Whether Nortons will consider it worth while entering their 1952 models remains to be seen, but it is quite likely that they will be tried out in practice, if only to demoralize the opposition.
While thinking about opposition for 1952, the recent meeting at Hockenheim, in Germany, provided much food for thought. For the first time for quite a while Erie Oliver found serious opposition in the sidecar class, from Wiggerl Kraus On the ” works ” unblown o.h.e. 13.M.W., finding not only an outfit with comparative power output., but a rider with equal Stamina and ability to keep racing right to the chequered flag ; an ability lacking in his chief Italian rival, Frigerio. While the solo B.M.W. 500s had no ” works ” opposition, some idea of their potential can be gained from Walter Zeller’s fastest lap of 106 m.p.h., compared with the 50-c.c. car-fastest-lap of 88 m.p.h. put up by Ted Frost with an Emeryson, with double-knocker Norton engine, earlier in the year. Without a doubt the winter’s development work will see the German machines ready to provide serious opposition next year.
While Germany hold the upper band in large-capacity record-breaking, the Italian progress in the smaller classes leaves one breathless. The latest records by Lambretta, with their very streamlined twostroke 125-c.c. scooter, of 124.5 10.101. for the flying kilometre and mile are surely as meritorious as the 185 m.p.h. of the supercharged N.S.U. On October 6th the B.M.C.R.C. are due to hold their annual orgy of speed at. Silverstone for the “I lutchison 100 and the fabulous Milian() Trophy. A programme of 70 events has been arranged, catering for all types of motor-cycles and
three-wheelers and with a list of prizes that. would do credit to a first-class International event. Also. I am pleased to see, very_ generous prizes for the passengers of the Sidecar events ; in fact, the meeting should .gather together a truly wonderful entry.
From September 18th to 23rd the International Six Days’ Trial takes. place in Northern Italy and this is the 26th in the series. The headquarters of the event is at Varese and with the surrounding countryside that is available, together with the Italian organisation, the event should be a pretty tough one. Recently the A.C.U. held tests in Wales to decide on who should be in the various teams entered from this eountry, for, unlike the rating game, the governing body of motor-cycle sport in this country takes a keen interest in the choice of an International team and the manufacturer can do no more than submit riders and machines for the preliminary tests. The outcome of the tests and choice of the selection committee decided that the 1950 team could not. be bettered, so Fred Hist (B.S.A.), Jack Stocker (Royal Enfield), Hugh Viney (A.J.S.), Jim Alves (Triumph) and Bob Ray (Arid) form the team to compete for the main award, the International Trophy. It is interesting that all the members of the team will be mounted on machines fitted with verticaltwin 500-c.c. engines, which gives a clear indication of the ” trend of design ” in the various factories as far as road machines are concerned. A close study of the five team machines, representing ‘five different manufacturers; is heartening, for it shows a marked degree of individuality, telescopic forks being about the only universal fitting. For frame design and rear suspension, as well as general layout and detail work, a wider diversity of ideas would be difficult to gather together. With events such as the I.S.D.T. taken so seriously by manufacturers it is not surprising that this country is at the top of the motor-cycle world, or that motorcycle design moves progressively forward with the years and not sideways as. does a great deal of contemporary motor car design.
The Norton twin, to be ridden by Dick Clayton in one of the Vase Teams, one of the sub-classifications in the event, shows clearly that the McCandless loop frame and swinging arm rear suspension as perfected by the road-racing machines, will be normal production by the time the Motor-cycle Show is due. For anyone who doubts that racing serves a purpose, the development of the latest Nortons shows very clearly that the “racing motorcycle of today is the touring motor-cycle of tomorrow.”
It would be very hard to find a team of bicycles more meticulously prepared, with so much attention paid to detail work, but somehow I feel duplicated controls, easily detachable components, quick-servicing gadgets and the like are development. in the wrong direction if not incorporated on standard modelS.
The regulation’s permit rather special bicycles to get by and the result is a team of machines that look rather like Christmas trees. Admittedly everything is purely functional and has an essential purpose in helping to win the trial, but that such specialised machines are necessary rather indicates that the regulations are not ideal.
I need hardly say how pleased I am to see motor-cycles running at the Brighton Kilometre sprint once again, and I only hope that the entry justifies this return ; while, similarly, Shelsley Walsh is to have motor-cycles back on the programme at the closing meeting on September 22nd ; in both cases entries are restricted to selected B.M.C.R.C. riders.