Sunday, April 06, 2008

Contemporary Velocette Sprinters

Dai Gibbison sent these photos in response to the 'Vintage Venom' photographs. All these Velocettes were sprinting at Brooklands in June 2003; this the last event to be run on the old airfield in the center of the racetrack, which has now been torn up and replaced by the Mercedes Benz test track.

Top photo is Dai's own MSS sprinter, which he has been campaigning for some years now; see the video of this bike climbing the Brooklands Test Hill in 2005. Note handy transport arrangements - Landie rack on the back. [Small digression; here in the US we get Buick clone V-8 engines in our Land Rovers, but in the UK they're all diesels. When will they get a clue for the US? I paid $4/gal for gas for you Brits, but double what we paid 2 years ago]
The MSS runs on methanol, and utilizes the standard rolling chassis, with a lot less sheet metal. I've ridden the bike on the street outside Dai's house (!) and it runs beautifully, very tractable, and will lift the front wheel with ease. On a trip up the Test Hill, it was simply too easy to rocket to the brink - Dai caught plenty of air at the top, but I preferred to remain earthbound, and shut the throttle; there are a lot of people standing around at the top of the hill, it just wouldn't do to launch someone else's bike into a crowd of strangers.

Second photo looks like a prewar MAC 350cc, resplendent in an original-looking patina (click on the photo - it has been worked over). I think this machine is more a roadracer than dedicated sprinter (note engine breather with oil catch tank). In fact, most of the Velos here might fall into that category.

Third photo is a Mk1 KSS (not a KTT - no ribs on the crankcases, which is the only way to tell the difference), I would say from between 1928-'32, when they all looked like this! In '33 the KSS got a larger petrol tank and lost the oval oil tank. Prior to '28, they had flat-tanks. Nice. Note 'serious' sprinter immediately behind, with a Rotax (?) engine. Farther behind is a vintage Douglas - seriously fast. Douglas riders often take home FTD at vintage sprints.

Next photo is another prewar MAC 350cc, with a short open pipe, and whopping great carb on the end of a long inlet tract. Custom oil tank, alloy rims, nice looking machine.

But, if I were going sprinting, it would be on this laydown MOV 250cc with special frame and mean attitude. The cardboard sign says:
"250cc Velo MOV. Built + sprinted from about 1968 to 1972 by John Draper from Woking. Frame built by Des Heckle[?]. Believed times for 1/4 mile 15.3 sec. I have just purchased and intend to use in anger!"

That's the spirit. Too bad Avon isn't making their drag slicks anymore - he's had to settle for a sidecar tire for that coveted 'square' profile. Note really small upside-down forks, dinky front brake (heavily drilled for lightness) and microscopic fuel tank.

Next bike is an odd bird; an iron MSS engine, which might have a shortened stroke as the engine looks a bit short, although this could be from the re-placement of this early motor into a 1954-on swingarm frame. The shocks have been removed and solid struts installed. Not sure why they've used this frame, as it is heavier by at least 8lbs than the rigid item, but it does have a longer wheelbase... this bike has an interesting mishmash of Velo parts; LE front wheel, 'Special' rear hub (half width hub disguised as a full-width), etc.

Last bike is a KSS mk2, which could be from 1936-48, and is essentially a stripped standard model, with special fuel and oil tanks, although it looks to have an alloy cylinder barrel, which is a nice touch, as is the Brooklands 'can'. The cylinder head looks faux-downdraught, with a standard 'flat' inlet tract, and a bent manifold! The better to pour methanol into the engine, no doubt.

Anyone got drag bike for sale?

1 comment:

Alex said...

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