To see many more photos of early Scooter Racing, go to my Dave Tooleys Scooter Racing Photo Pages.
These are a small selection of photos from my early racing days at some of
the many International circuits that I raced at in the early seventies. Many
of my bikes were 'works' Rafferty Newman 'Wildcat' Lambrettas, before switching
to the very much faster Norton
Commando motorcycle sidecar outfit.
Featuring virtually all of the tuning mods normally reserved for multi-cylinder 2 stroke Grand Prix motorcycles, such as Dykes pistons, Reed Valves, and 'X5 multiport induction', they were real brutes to ride, and gave many a motorcyclist a nasty shock in the Fareham area as they came hurtling by.( There weren't too many speed limits then)
The model shown is the 'Wildcat 158cc. Special' developed for the up to 160cc class. When Les Rafferty first designed and built this engine, he miscalculated the compression ratio, and it's first outing was a flop. After 2 more outings, the Works Riders for his shop gave up with it as they thought it would never be competitive. I asked Les if I could borrow it, since the engine I was using had just exploded in a big way. He agreed, but insisted on stripping it down first to investigate the power shortage. He was horrified to find that due to a crankshaft stroke difference, the cylinder had lost a large part of its compression. He never told anyone except me, and rectified the anomaly by machining the barrel. When I first went out on the machine, I could not believe the power it had, and thought he had put the wrong engine back in it. When comparing it to the Works 'Wildcat 225cc' it actually out-accelerated it up to 80 mph. My first race on it at the Mallory Park circuit in Leicestershire put me on the front cover of the International Scooter World magazine. I set by far the fastest lap in my class, blowing the existing British Champion into the weeds and actually lapping him on my 3rd outing of the day, broke the lap record, and went on to repeat this feat and win races at circuits up and down the country. Needless to say, the other established leaders in this class were aghast that a newcomer to the sport could wipe them all off the track. But it was all down to the genius of Les's engine tuning, of which he was the undisputed master of his time.
Links to favourite Scooter Racing websites:
David's Lambretta Page Site (Huge collection of links)
ultimate scooter racing site)
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Copyright © 2000 - 2006 David Tooley. All rights reserved