Thursday, June 19, 2008

Speedway Velocettes...........

Velocette is not a name known for it's speedway exploits, however the factory did make a solo speedway machine, the KDT for limited sale in mid 1929.
Checking the factory KTT records I can find 22 invoiced out from KDT46 (05.04.1929) up to KDT185 (22.01.1930) this last one was sold to New Zealand..
Jeff Clew in his Veloce history "Always in the Picture" claims it was alleged about 50 were made and that not all were sold and of those taken back by Veloce, the engines were removed and converted into 348cc KTTs. Ex Service manager Bob Burgess confirmed this to Bob Currie as former "The Motorcycle" journalist.
The capacity of the KDT was listed as 411cc using an overbored version the 350 cc overhead-camshaft engine. .
The standard Velocette gearbox shell was employed but this had no internals and was used as a single-speed countershaft. No separate oil tank was contained in a compartment of the little fuel tank. KDT149 was delivered to H Clayton of Huddersfield on 29th July 1929.
At one stage Jeff owned KDT149, likely one of the few to survive.
The photo of the KDT and rider is Bert Clayton from Huddersfield who not only competed at the Northern UK speedway tracks in late 1920s, early 1930s, but took part also in hill-climbs and other branches of motorcycle sport.
Three were despatched to Australia, two of these to Adelaide and the other to Sydney.
All others were sold in the UK.
Above is a photo taken at Penrith speedway, on the western outskirts of Sydney in around 1936, with a KDT ridden by Billy Woodman leading and Cec Weatherby , himself a Velocette man, hot in pursuit, but no indication of what he was riding.
Speedway was a curiously Australian "invention" if you could call it that and more perculiar was sidecar speedway, with banked motorcycle and the sidecar wheel also banked.
Usually dominated by 1000cc, then 1300cc Vincent specials ( bad news sidecar was responsible for lots of Vincent engines with their gearboxes cut gears in speedway...) , ocasionally you saw other engines and the iron MSS was a good start for novices. Some were also used in solos rather than JAPs early on.

The iron MSS took to methanol fuel and high compression ratios.
Those illustrated here are likely at the Sydney Showground Speedway. Although the shot of two outfits shows Ray Cudikly and Ern Adlam on the Velocette and is at the Sydney Sportsground speedway 03.03.1950.
The other MSS outfit at speed is Smedley and Moran.

Left click on photos to enlarge.

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