Any recollections from old racers ... ?
Posted by Lannis on September 10, 2021, 1:13 pm
Request from a guy .... I know we have some folks here who might know .... |
"Back in 2012 I bought the machine shown in the pictures. It's a one-off racer with an BSA A50 power unit. It was used in the IoM TT and in various guises (e.g. 750 engine) on UK short circuit racing back in the '70s.
I am a bit of a BSA nut (understatement), especially where their twins are concerned. The vendor, a guy in Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK told me it was built as a one-off racer by one Matthew Mason of Gannet Racing in the 1970s, starting off as a 750 and later on becoming a 500. The machine spent most of its life as a racer and was reportedly raced on quite a few UK circuits. It has some IoM history: 1986 MGP newcomers, rider Chris J Smith, 83.89mph; 1988 MGP, same rider, 85.33mph; 1989 MGP, same rider, DNF.
Some details on the bike, it has a hand built double loop frame, a la Manx. Box section swinging arm, modified Armstrong front forks, one off all alloy fuel and oil tanks. Modified TZ front wheel and TZ disc and a modified Rickman rear wheel and disc. The gearbox has a 5 speed Quaife cluster. The engine has end fed crank, rebalanced crank, 32mm inlet ports. The bike came to me with quite a collection of racing spares, such as sprockets, stands etc. Although I am very used to bikes with clip-ons, this machine has the most stretched out riding position I have ever encountered.
When I bought the bike, I met Matthew Mason briefly. He was then clearly an ill man. The person I bought it off had road-registered it and I bought it in good part for possible use in parades etc. Most recently my health has declined very severely and I never realised this ambition.
I have discovered that in their day Gannet raced a succession of bikes, including a B50, and that Mat Mason had a name as a very competent motorcycle engineer, but at about that point my knowledge ends. The Gannet Racing sticker that I have gives their phone number as Didcot 814406.
This bike is a little piece of history.
Can anyone recollect any history on Gannet Racing and this bike? Are there people, possibly close to the team, who are still around and that I could speak with? Is their rider, Chris Smith, still around? Does anyone recognise this bike and can they tell me anything of its history? I should be so pleased to know.
Any snippets of information will be gratefully accepted! "
We live in times when smart people are silenced so that stupid people won't be offended ...