Monday, July 09, 2012


The Brooklands 'Gold Star' winning Grindlay-Peerless 'Bill Lacey Replica'
A pair of well-known and substantially documented ex-Brooklands racers are coming under the hammer at Stafford in October.  Bonhams' motorcycle specialist Ben Walker describes the 1930 Velocette KTT MkI and 1928 Grindlay-Peerless 'Bill Lacey Replica' as having solid gold provenance, of which he's 'particularly excited about'.
The ex-Jeff Clew, ex-HC Lamacraft, ex-AC Perryman Velocette KTT Mk1...whose name will be next on this list of esteemed owners?
The Velo KTT Mk1 is from the estate of late lamented moto-writer Jeff Clew, and once belonged to HC Lamacraft, and AC Perryman, who included many photographs of this machine in action in his excellent book, 'A Clubman at Brooklands'.   The machine was also raced at the Manx Grand Prix.  It's believed Clew purchased the Velo from Les Wise, the husband of Pat Wise (famous as four-time World Sidecar Champion Eric Oliver's 'monkey').
HC Lamacraft on is mkIV Velocette KTT on the Isle of Man
Perryman gives extensive time in 'A Clubman at Brooklands' discussing the Velocette's merits, and the KTT is known to have launched the racing careers of dozens of riders in the late 1920s and 30s, and several featured riders on The Vintagent won their Gold Stars at Brooklands while riding them.  As their swansong before the Veloce factory gave up racing, the factory race dep't won the 350cc World Championship in 1949 and 1950, with Freddie Frith and Bob Foster the respective winners.
CWG 'Bill' Lacey on Aug 1, 1928, after setting a World's Record at 103mph for one hour on his 498cc Grindlay-Peerless JAP
The Grindlay Peerless will be familiar to anyone who's visited the Brooklands Museum, as the bike has been on display there for many years. The 'Bill Lacey Replica' bit requires explanation: in 1928, Motor Cycle magazine offered a prize to the first rider to cover 100 miles in an hour, on British soil. Veteran Brooklands man CWG 'Bill' Lacey, who was tuning (in concert with legend Bert leVack) JAP engines and installing them in immaculate, nickel-plated Grindlay-Peerless chassis at the time, took a crack at the prize and did 103 miles and 532 yard in the hour.  Grindlay-Peerless were wise enough to offer replicas, although they must have been ferociously expensive with all that plating and a specially tuned engine; only a few (6?) were sold.  Edward James 'Boy' Tubb purchased this machine in 1936, but found performance definitely not to Gold Star standards, as he could not better a 90mph lap.  Handing the engine to ECE 'Barry' Baragwanath for tuning (which cost £12.10) gave the proper speed, and Tubb won his Gold Star at 102mph.
Drive side of the ex-Tubb Gold Star winning Grindlay Peerless at the Brooklands Museum
Visiting the family to arrange the sale is a fantastic story, which I'll let Ben Walker relate:
"I had a phone call from a Mr Tubb about a year and half ago telling me about his father’s Grindlay Peerless. As soon as they told me it was the one in the Brooklands Museum I knew the machine immediately. I went down to meet him and his brother at the garage their father (and, I believe, Grandfather) ran. They invited me to see their father’s personal garage - which was largely untouched since he’d passed away. On the shelf were a couple of dusty black binders. Inside the binders were pre-war Brooklands programmes - for the events he’d raced the Grindlay at! Complete with, in some cases, the entrance ticket and paddock pass. Then they handed me the below....can you imagine my reaction??"
A genuine Brooklands 'Gold Star' won on the Grindlay-Peerless by EJ 'Boy' Tubb, for completing a racing lat at Brooklands at over 100mph average speed.  
"After the war the G-P was sprinted (images of EJ Tubb with John Griffiths and Francis Williams and their mounts). At some point it we believe it was detuned to allow the owner to continue parading the machine into his dotage (it’s lost its twin port head for example). I don’t know yet whether it was before his death or after his death that the machine went on display at Brooklands...but you can imagine the guilt I felt removing it. In all fairness the guys at Brooklands (with whom I have a great relationship) were very understanding. Hopefully whoever buys the machine would consider putting it back in the Museum...I would."

1 comment:

OcchioLungo said...

I loved that they de-tuned it so that he could continue to ride it in parade laps and such as an old man. That must have given him a lot of fun to still play with the machine, instead of letting it slowly oxidize on display.