In the thirties, several manufacturers catalogued a dirt track model suitable for the booming sport of Speedway. Excelsior’s was one of the most successful, being sold until the early Fifties.
Its minimal chassis has no rear suspension and rudimentary springing for the front fork. A tiny fuel tank carries enough ‘dope’ alcohol fuel for brief four-lap races and to suit the sliding, foot-down technique used on anti-clockwise cinder tracks, there is a single footrest and a knee hook on the right side, a small saddle and wide handlebars.
JAP engines had a near monopoly in Fifties’ Speedway. The 500cc MkII unit in this machine has an excellent power-to-weight ratio, weighing 49lb (22kg) and producing close to 40bhp with a 14:1 compression ratio. No gearbox is needed, so drive passes through the clutch to a countershaft, from where it transmits to the rear wheel.
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