Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Jones mechanical Tachometer...one of the last maximum hand tachometers still around.....all the service and calibration info from the factory....part 1.

As some of you will have realised, perusing my weblog, The Velobanjogent was in the automotive, more specifically the motorcycle instrument business for over 30 years and during this time worked on just about all the various speedometers and tachometers that were used on vehicles.
I've done numerous posts on them from my personal memory and large archive of literature and photographs of automotive instruments....
I can't take them with me "when I leave this mortal coil" so I get great pleasure in sharing as much as I can....
What have I this time...?
The Jones Instrument Corporation in Stamford, Connecticut,USA were making speedometers from the start of the 20th century....
Pretty poor condition 1910 Jones speedometer....
Advert from the English "The Motorcycle" magazine, November 1908...

In 1986 I made a visit to Jones Corpn. in Stamford, CT after struggling with the repair and calibration of the racing tachometers I occasionally had pass through my instrument shop....so I was unsure what to expect when I went there, flying across the Pacific and the USA to visit them...they were more than helpful, no speedometer parts left and not prepared to sell parts for the maximum hand racing tachometers they still made, but quite happy to provide me with catalogues and the service/calibration sheets for these tachos....
Lets look for a start at a some catalogues from around the late 1960s
and 1980s....
Because of the number of pages in the repair/calibration manual I'll feature it in my next blog which as I'm off to Europe for 18days from the 21st March on another Velocette historical/archival foray will be mid April.....
The Velobanjogent is meeting up with some Velo friends in Germany and Holland and Dai Gibbison in the UK....
Pictured is myself with the guys with Gert Boll's rare mk.6 KTT Velocette in August 2013...
Gert, Carl,DQ,Heinz.....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Alan Burt,a motorcyclist all his life...never married, some said he was wed to Velocette and AJS..... A racers racer was an apt description....passed away in January 2009. I found a small box with some more of his racing photos from the IOM and Europe....likely 1955

I'd like to share some more of Alan Burt's life with you... with some words and with some of his photographs....I've done several posts on him previously and a search using his name on my site will bring them up.
He was a motorcyclist all his life...never married, some said he was wed to Velocette and AJS.....
A racers racer was an apt description....

Recently I came across a small box of photos with his stuff that somehow I'd overlooked.
I feel they were taken in either 1955 or 1956, perhaps 1956 as he crashed badly in the IOM at TT practice with leg breaks that saw him hospitalised there and in rehabilitation until February 1956 when his great mate Bob Brown collected him and on crutches he was Bob's mechanic for the 1956 racing season.
The photos are unlabeled so I'll post them as they are, with a valid comment if I know it...
There are photos of various locations around the IOM TT course and I guess it was on a learning lap of the circuit...thanks to Bill Snelling of Foto Finders in the IOM for assistance in identifying the corners...
poss 1955, Balacraine Hotel, IOM TT course
 poss 1955, Douglas Rd corner, Kirk Michael, IOM TT course
 poss 1955, Glen Helen Hotel, IOM TT course
 poss 1955, Original Halfway House Hotel, IOM TT course
 The "MotorCycling" sign on the circuit overbridge indicates its a UK race meeting.
Loading bike transporters and their "caravans"....
L to R...Bob Brown, unsure, unsure, Eric Hinton
Bob and Alan outside the NSU works near Stuttgart...
Looks like "road-side repairs" somewhere in Europe...Bob into the engine...
More repairs by Bob.....
Unsure where...picket fence...IOM TT?..Keith and Gwen Bryen and Bob Brown..unsure of the other chap.
Easier transport in the UK...Bob Brown with car and trailer and AMC raceware...

More photos in a future post......

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas 2014....The Velobanjogent is off playing banjo for a week at the 69th Australian Jazz Convention...

This time of the year, between Christmas and the New Year sees the Australian Jazz Convention held in a different city/town across Australia...this is the 69th, having started just after WW2 in 1946 in Melbourne Victoria....
Its in Swan Hill on the Murray River, the border of NSW and Victoria....
I'm taking several 4 string plectrum type banjos, Vegavoxes and an unusual 4 string plectrum guitar utilising a Vegavox banjo neck....
With eleven bands to play in I'll be busy...
 All plectrum banjos....DQ...The Velobanjogent, centre with Peter Allen, left both on Vegavoxes and Paul Baker, right on a D'Oole vox style resonator banjo.
So...thanks for stopping by to look at my site throughout the past year, a Merry Christmas to yourself and family and a Happy New Year for 2015 when I hope to have you drop by to see some of my motorcycle, especially Velocette, offerings.....
                               DQ on a Velocette/Vincent Rally in NSW, 2013....

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Velocette Venom Thruxton...a photographic history of my old Velocette Thruxton, engine number VMT458, bought new in Feb.1967......

The Velocette Venom Thuxton...when announced in the motorcycle press in late 1964 and introduced in the 1965 season I was interested. Then when with two friends we rode to the Kangaroo Rally held in Burrumbeet Park, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in early 1966 I first viewed two of these new model from Velocette...a naked and a faired model.

I owned a 1961 Venom at the time and later in the year sold it to finance a new VMT, with a A$360 deposit to a Sydney motorcycle business, Burling and Simmons in Auburn...known as "Burglar and Simmons"....
Due in mid January 1967, it was 23rd February 1967, a Friday from memory when I went to "burglars" to collect it..arriving early, no one had ridden it and so I rode it to the nearby Dept. of Motor Transport and it  became street legal... The total cost was A$990 plus the registration.
Norm "Burglar Norm" Simmons came over and suggested I pay them an addition A$50 for the tachometer which was "an extra"....I produced a catalogue and without a word he turned on his heel and strode off....
Nice try.....
In my rear yard at 28 Astoria Circuit....
October 1967 in the Snowy Mountains area of NSW at our regular motorcycle meeting at Dalgety...

Sometime in 1968 having been invited to a friends wedding in New Zealand, we shipped VMT458 to Wellington and flew in, my then girlfriend, later wife, Judy and I with friend Jim Day and his 1956 MSS.
Pictured in the south Island of NZ at the start of the Homer Tunnel.
 Large handlebars and saddle bags were fitted in anticipation of the dirt/loose metal roads in NZ.......
 
Early in January 1969 Jim and I decided to ride across Australia to Perth and back for our annual Holidays....
Strange as the attraction to Western Australia has seen VMT458 "settle there" from sometime in the later 1980s and it is still there having passed through several owners...
 There was some 1400 km of earth/gravel/clay road in the 4500 km to get there at that time and in a tropical downpour on the clay section progress forward became impossible and I had to remove the front mudguard....
 The "sharp eyes" amongst you will note no Amal GP carb. and this is because I fitted a cylinder head from my MSS with Amal monobloc and aircleaner to make life easier for the engine...I had the GP on it in NZ and the gravel roads and the ingestion of dust wore our the cylinder bore over the 4000 miles we did at the time.....I was forced to used a really hot heat range spark plug a KLG FE30 from memory instead of the FE100 we started with...to counter the oily bore and combustion chamber...
Come 1970, Willoughby DMCC introduced the Castrol 6 Hour Race for production motorcycles and in 1971 I decided to enter VMT458 in the 500cc class....
During the several days practice period before the race....
At the start....
 #34 still on the line. The noise was tremendous and it was hard to know if the engine had started...of course later I thought "why didn't I look at the tachometer"...
 I rode the first 2 hours and we were mid field in the 500 class when I handed over to Dennis Fry....
Dennis Fry had ridden for 4 years in the IOM TT on Manx Nortons and his lap times came quickly down and he was lapping a second a lap faster than me..I had hopes for a higher finishing position....
Then in the 4th hour Dennis crashed out and the bike was wrecked, end over ending several times, collapsing the back wheel and silencer and we subsequently found a bent frame...Dennis was carted off to hospital...
For some reason I have no photos of this time and on until having straightened the frame, enamelled most items but not assembled it I succombed to an offer of A$2000 from Tony Keene.
I only have the bent silencer as a reminder....
 Tony completed the restoration/repair and it appeared at the 1982 Australian Velocette OC National Rally at Bundanoon, NSW where I was re-united with it and went for a ride....
Tony at the 1986 Australian Velocette OC National Rally on VMT458...
Shortly after it was sold on to Perth Western Australia, possible Sid East buying it or at least he was an owner soon after...
Pictured in Perth with the bike that came in the crate with it to Burlo's...VMT457, shown in the foreground, which has been owned by John Jennings from the mid 1970's...
 VMT458 was in WA until 2012 when it came across to Bundanoon for the Australian Velocette OC Annual Rally, the 30th rally held since the first..."the back to Bundanoon Rally".. with current owner Richard Blackman.....
During one evening we had a re acquaintance of VMT458 with myself and Dennis Fry in an interview with John Jennings before all the Rally entrants...
As well four of the five owners of VMT458 were present....
 At Easter 2014 at the Motorcycling Australia circuit at Broadford in Victoria the theme was the Castrol 6 Hour Race...
Unfortunately VMT458 wasn't available to be at the event, so speaking with John Jennings he agreed to make up his partner VMT...VMT457 to look somewhat like VMT458 in its race guise....
John Jennings did the honours on the circuit , myself having long ago "hung up my leathers"....photo credit SD pics website

 And finally in October 2014 at the Australian Velocette OC National Rally in Wirrina Cove, South Australia, Richard Blackman again brought VMT458 to the Rally...currently it has 54567 miles on the speedometer...from memory I sold it to Tony Keene with some 30000 odd miles on the clock...