Monday, February 17, 2014

A visit to "Fellside Cottage", the home of Ivan Rhodes...Mr Velocette to so many people worldwide...part 2

Well I'm back from a nice "pub lunch" at Ivan Rhodes local and back to "Fellside Cottage" in Bob Higgs wonderful creation, the Vulcan 1000cc V-Twin Velocette with Steib 501 sidecar....
A great experience...
For those who wish to know more, short of speaking with Bob at a Velocette function, search for a copy of "Classic Bike Guide", August 1993, No.28...pages 46-50 give a good account with photos of its creation.
So join me for part 2 of my time in Derby in September 2013 with Ivan Rhodes for a photographic glimpse of what many Velocette enthusiasts today call "Hall Green"....
We had much to discuss and I'd brought across with me for Ivan copies of the note books of the late Frank Panes who was a works Velocette race mechanic...much KTT and works engine test information in them...
Like a peak...?


And so it goes on.....perhaps more for a post on another day.....
Back at Ivan's he decided that as Dennis Frost had come up from London with his ex. BJG mk.1 KTT, that we'd go for a ride in the nearby countryside through the lanes he knew....
Firstly he wheeled out the ex Alec Bennett 1928 IOM 350 TT winning Velocette....
And below, the bike with Alec Bennett aboard after winning the Junior TT with Percy Goodman, managing director of Veloce at the time, congratulating him.
 As I mentioned earlier, Dennis Frost got his mk.1 KTT out of the van...




Then out came the Model O...the 1939 experimental 600cc  pushrod
twin road bike designed by Phil Irving with rear suspension....
So off we went for a 15 mile ride , DQ started on the Alec Bennett KTT and what a responsive and light handling bike it proved to be...but then, as you would expect of a, then, TT winning machine.
Often beside me I could hear the throb of the exhaust from Dennis Frost's nice Mk.1 KTT.....
After some 8 miles we stopped and Ivan swapped onto it with me on the "O"....
Idling, I put my hand on the petrol tank top, the handlebars, but little in the way of vibration could be felt...
Taking off I have to admit I stalled it, but one prod had the engine idling again nicely and snicking into first I was off after Ivan.
Accelerating away after Ivan showed it a nice smooth twin, but the RH sweeper coming up posed a little surprise as after the Bennett KTT the steering was quite heavy and took a little effort on this initial corner... suitably prepared the bike cornered nicely thereafter.
Difficult to comment on the rear suspension as the roads were smooth and the bike braked nicely and I had no need to try the brakes in anger...

 Veloce and Phil Irving patented their rear suspension efforts as was used on the Model O and an experimental MSS with rear suspension.

All too soon we turned into "Fellside Cottage" and my special ride on two historic machines was over...
 Tony Ainley and a friend, another racer, whose name regrettably I can't recall, called around with the friends racer on a trailer and the hope that we could shed some light on what they felt was a special front brake, perhaps even a works one. However neither Ivan nor I could recognise it and after a chat on Tony's efforts in the Classis 500 TT in the IOM this year during the MGP time...and Tony overcame his bogey and cracked the 90mph lap average...well it was in the 92 region all good stuff.... they left us to our devices..



Bidding goodbye to Bob Higgs a little earlier and Dennis Frost, off on his 3 hour trip down to London, I spent another hour or two in Ivan's workshop between my scanner and digital camera....
Ivan insisted I sign his visitors book...duly done...

Glancing around the wall I spied a pic with Les Archer on "Wiffling Clara..." at Brooklands in 1933.
The real Wiffling Clara lurked nearby.....


In need of a pee I was surprised to see the wooden cistern chamber with lead lining in it....

One of the projects now taking Ivan's time following his almost 9 year effort to restore the burnt racing Velocettes from the National Motorcycle Museum at Coventry was, after failing all efforts to acquire one of the three 1936 IOM TT DOHC Velocette cylinder heads and camboxs...all three have been in Australia since WW2.... he had the tooling made to reproduce a replica of one of these engines.....
We spent time examining the machined camboxes and cylinder heads and the cam train, which incidentally the gears in the cambox are on the same centres as the post war DOHC setups, of which Ivan has several. Well rather the postwar set are the same as the 1936 set!
Lets have a look at the original setup from 1936 from a factory photograph of the time...
Now to Ivan's efforts and Bob Higg's was heavily involved with this project and continues to be so....
So following a rather full day, Velocette wise, I retired to my hotel to review the day, run over my notes and added to a list of some items we felt we needed to discuss.
Ivan arranged to collect me the next morning for a Sunday session at "Fellside Cottage"....
Care to join us...?
See you on the next post.....

1 comment:

occhiolungo said...

I think that the Alec Bennett 1928 bike was the same one that Ivan brought to the Banbury Run this summer. Dai and I only had a few minutes to chat with Ivan though, as he had a short day. Wasn't that the very first Velo OHC motor to feature the ribbed crankcases?