Author Topic: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia  (Read 45972 times)

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Offline rossco

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #50 on: 11 Dec 2013 at 09:53 »
After looking at reply 43 the photo appears similar to one I have seen of bikes racing at Deagon horse track on the north side of Brisbane. They did race bikes solo and with sidecars on this track in the 1920s.

Hope this may be of help.

Phil

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #51 on: 11 Dec 2013 at 10:27 »

Thanks Phil - yes they did race at Deagon, and here we have Tommy "Daredevil" O'Dea on his sloping top tube RA being touted as an attraction at a Deagon meet in July 1924. We've seen the O'Dea machine a couple of times in the posts above (carrying ACU number 18), including in reply 30 where he had won the Championship of Queensland earlier in 1924.

I'm not sure how many meets were held at Deagon, but it's possible that the photo in reply 43 was taken at Deagon at the July 1924 meet. That said, I don't see O'Dea's machine no. 18 in the line-up.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #52 on: 12 Dec 2013 at 06:30 »
Robert Stroud, from Goulburn in country NSW, looks particularly fine on his RA Douglas. His bike has both brakes fitted, but the photo is clear enough to see that there is no cable between the handlebar lever and the mechanism on the front fork!

[Edit: Although this photo is captioned as Robert Stroud in "The Racing Boys", the same photo appears in a number of places and seems to be of the famous rider Charlie Datson.]

Leon
« Last Edit: 19 Dec 2013 at 08:42 by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #53 on: 12 Dec 2013 at 21:37 »

Graeme posted this newspaper cutting elsewhere on the forum ( http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=3852.0 ), showing Dick Sulway on his RA. From the date mentioned on the cutting it looks like we're in late 1928 or early 1929, yet Dick's bike is an early-pattern RA much as it appeared in the 1924 and 1925 Douglas catalogues. We can see the sump, the engine-mounted gearbox and the non-adjustable back axle, so the bike is not the RA/28 reintroduced briefly as speedway took of in the UK during 1928. The DT followed soon after.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #54 on: 14 Dec 2013 at 00:20 »

Here's another shot of Ernie Buck on an RA. I'm not sure if it's the same one he's pictured on earlier in the thread - in that photo his racing number looks as if it has been applied free hand with tennis shoe whitener; here he has progressed to a stencil! Also brakes, absent in the earlier photo, are fitted here.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #55 on: 14 Dec 2013 at 20:58 »

Looking at the 50-odd photos in the thread, it's clear that an RA Douglas fitted with full mudguards was a rare beast in Australia in the 1920s. Before dirt track racing became the norm in NSW, there were a few racing events on closed public roads where RAs participated. This photo comes from "The Racing Boys" and was likely taken at one of the events at Goulburn around 1924, perhaps the Australian Grand Prix of that year. The rider is said to be Bill Conoulty, but there were a number of Douglases at these events. The long, broad and deep mudguard - dwarfing the 28 x 2 1/2 beaded edge tyre - is the factory item. The word "alloy" was used to describe the guards: for the TT entries the guards were likely aluminium alloy, but more ordinary machines probably had steel guards. Note also the spidery rear sprocket and the tubular centre stand.

The bike on the left is a four-cylinder Henderson.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #56 on: 15 Dec 2013 at 20:02 »
This photo comes from the Brisbane (Queensland) Courier in September 1928, and illustrates that the RA was still the bike to beat on the dirt, here ridden by Harry Mangham. The front brake is present, as is the distinctive RA air box cover and the lug for the gear change lever fitted to the crankcase - the bike seems to be a reasonably standard RA. (Pity the photo is not clear enough to see if the sump is present.) Success for the RA was more-or-less continuous from early 1924 through to 1928 or later, even though the RA did not appear in Douglas catalogues beyond 1925. I think it very unlikely that the sport of dirt track was flourishing in New South Wales based on three-year-old motorcycles. It would be interesting to see the Williams Bros. ledgers for 1926, 1927 and 1928 - were new RAs arriving from the UK during this period? I suspect so.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #57 on: 16 Dec 2013 at 20:36 »
Another of the Hipwell photos from the Melbourne Motordrome. Interesting that Hipwell's bike (No. 16) has the spare spark plugs screwed into the nose of the petrol tank, but many of the other RAs in the photos don't have this feature. It doesn't seem to be age related - Sheard's 1923 TT-winning RA had spare plugs screwed in, as does the Nabiac machine (quite a late bike). The surviving TW tank doesn't have the plug holders.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #58 on: 17 Dec 2013 at 21:35 »
There is a thread on this part of the forum about Henry "Babe" Rennie. The State Library of NSW http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=393523# have a date for this photo of 25 Nov 1925, the day on which Babe was killed on this very RA at age 19. If we can ignore the tragedy, we have a nice photo of a "to catalogue" RA - the centre stand is in place, inlet muffs, no spare spark plugs in the tank top.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #59 on: 17 Dec 2013 at 22:52 »
Remember, don't believe everything you read in the newspaper. These two illustrations appeared in different Sydney papers (the Arrow and the Sunday Times) in April 1925, and show, well, Bill Conoulty, or Gus Clifton, or perhaps someone else, mounted on a pretty standard RA. I like the way that "Conoulty" is at rest (note spokes), whereas "Clifton" is not only at speed, but is slightly airborne! The caption to the Conoulty version refers to setting records in the 350cc as well as 350 - 500cc classes. I'm still not sure about whether a rider would have both a 347cc RW and a 494cc RA at a meeting, or whether there would be just one chassis and two motor/transmission units. Removing/installing a complete motor/transmission unit in an RA chassis is a very simple and fast process.

Note the brace between the back of the gearbox (where the turnbuckle from the seat lug attaches) and the tank rail of the frame - more easily seen in the upper photo. This vertical brace is seen on a number of the machines in photos above, but was not a factory fitting?

Leon
« Last Edit: 17 Dec 2013 at 23:06 by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #60 on: 18 Dec 2013 at 19:48 »
When the first wave of Australian dirt track riders headed off to the UK in 1928 I imagine they took with them the machines they had been racing at "home": 1924-25-pattern RAs. Here's a photo from the Sydney Morning Herald in May 1928 of Australian Billy Galloway on his RA Douglas in the UK. Other than something unidentified running from behind his right knee down towards the back axle (could it be some kind of knee hook, common later?) the bike is pretty standard RA, and certainly not the RA/28 introduced by the factory that year. The oil sump is present, but the front brake disc has been removed.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #61 on: 18 Dec 2013 at 21:26 »
Billy Galloway is another Douglas rider who was susceptible to the call "Show us your sump!" (For information, this call should be ignored by the modern-day RA rider.)

The photo was taken at one for the first UK dirt track meetings, at High Beech, and comes from the National Speedway Museum (UK) website http://www.national-speedway-museum.co.uk/high%20beech%20page%204.html, where the caption reads "Australian Billy Galloway crashes on a bend; this is probably the first photograph taken of a Speedway Crash in the UK"

Nice shot of the back wheel: sprocket upper side, brake disc lower side.

Leon
« Last Edit: 18 Dec 2013 at 21:32 by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #62 on: 19 Dec 2013 at 08:35 »

Two photos here, published together in November 1926.

The top photo of Charlie Datson we've seen before as a photograph from Jack Nelson's collection; it must have been a "stock" photo because it was used precisely a year later when Charlie was riding at the Claremont Speedway in Western Australia. But note that here the caption describes his 4.8 (?) Isle of Man Douglas as "new". If it was indeed new in November 1926, we have some evidence that RAs were still being produced (or were at least still available) late in 1926.

We've also seen the Ernie Buck photo before, but his bike is not described as "new". Interesting caption! Bulls and cows... Can anyone interpret "4.8"?

Other than a handful of sloping top tube RAs - perhaps as few as three, Williams, Hipwell, O'Dea, all c1924 - and Clifton's TW, most of the period photos of RAs in Australia show the standard goose-neck frame with flat tank. "Isle of Man Douglas" or "I.O.M. Douglas" was the standard description used in the press of the day; the terms RA, RW or TW were not used.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #63 on: 20 Dec 2013 at 10:08 »
What a gaggle of riders and hangers-on! We're back at Deagon racecourse in Brisbane, this time in August 1925. Len Brasch and Bill Conoulty (left) are mounted on RAs (brake discs on the left of the front wheel) and probably American Cecil Brown (fifth from left) as well. (Brown travelled to the UK with the Douglas boys in 1928 for the first dirt track events there.) Third from left is an Indian, fourth is a Harley Davidson. Frank Pearce was later a famous Douglas rider, but here he and Walton on the right are on bikes with vertical cylinders.

Conoulty won the race on his RA. At this time he still campaigned his Sports Douglas in Open and Sidecar races.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #64 on: 20 Dec 2013 at 21:26 »

Having just mentioned American Cecil Brown, let me just cheat a little (again) and have a look at some of the "Australian wave" who were involved in the early days of dirt track in the UK, c1928-9. This photo comes again from the National Speedway Museum (UK) website http://www.national-speedway-museum.co.uk/high%20beech%20page%204.html and shows, among other, Cecil Brown on the front bike, Queenslander Vic Huxley on the other (is that Vic sliding his Douglas at the top of each page of the forum?), and Billy Lamont standing between them at High Beech in '28 or '29.

The bikes are of interest, likely coming at the very end of the RA models, but pre-dating the short-lived RA/28. They have RA frames (you can just make out the vertical tube from the footrest area curving inwards to meet up with the saddle lug, and the non-adjustable rear axle position), but no sump (oil is in the tank). The more I look, the more I believe the RA was built continuously from 1923 almost unchanged until the appearance of the RA/28 in (presumably) 1928. No front brakes, but the flange may be there on the hub to carry it. Doug mentioned that he has seen an RA front hub with the brake flanges with spoke holes undrilled - perhaps from a bike like this.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #65 on: 20 Dec 2013 at 23:43 »

Early in the thread is asked about 3-stay frames in the UK. I've looked at many photos, but I've only seen one that show such a machine. It's part of the stilltime collection: http://www.stilltimecollection.co.uk/detail/1508-starbike-tpt-transport-bike-racing-prix-motor-sport-raceway-race-speedway-winners.html

I'm sticking with my theory that the three stay RA frame were an Australian modification, and that this photo likely shows one of the first wave of Australian riders to appear on UK tracks. It would hardly be surprising if some riders at least took their own bikes with them on the boat from Australia to the UK? (That said, the Brown and Huxley machines in the previous post look new - perhaps the latest offering from the Douglas race shop?) Strictly speaking, we might need a new designator for this frame, as it has an extra set of braces to the seat tubes.

Other than the frame, there are other mods too: the RA tank still has the characteristic sump for the inlet to the petrol pipes, but also houses the oil tank. The single vertical brace from the rear of the gearnox to the tank rail of the frame we've seen before. No brakes, but the lugs are on the frame. Motor and gearbox unit seems standard RA. Rear sprocket has drilled out holes, rather than the pretty filigree of the early RA sprockets.

Leon

Offline Doug

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #66 on: 21 Dec 2013 at 02:56 »
This is also a fairly 'late' frame; note the open end to the lower rear lugs of the uprights. This may account for the rear sprocket with lightening holes rather than the typical fretted spokes. Such was becoming the norm in the DT era. Of course it could be a later replacement.

There is also a curious diagonal tubular brace welded into the frame between the uprights and the upper chain stays, just below the saddle. That should make for a positive identification if this frame were to ever turn up. 

The parallel petrol tank with oil compartment is of interest.

The front hub appears to be light colored and possibly plated and the later 'fat' type. The same seems to be the case with the RAs that Cecil Brown and Vic Huxley are mounted on two post previous. On those the front hub is also the 'fat' type, and not the 'skinny' type the RA started out with or depicted in the literature.

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #67 on: 21 Dec 2013 at 10:35 »
What a pity there is no listing of bikes leaving the factory! Such a list exists for Norton, Brough Superior and others - makes it easy to figure out models and individual variations from bike to bike...

If the last couple of posts represent the end of the RA lineage, this photo goes back to somewhere quite close to the beginning of production of the RA/24. It comes from "The Racing Boys" where it is captioned "The Douglas Club from Sydney arrive [in Goulburn] for some serious racing". I can find no reference to a Douglas Club in Sydney, so more likely the Williams Bros Racing Team? No date unfortunately, but I'd guess one of the meetings in 1924. Very carefully posed, the bikes are left to right RA, Sports, RA, Sports, RA. Interesting to compare the layout of the old and new Douglas racers: the RA engine is located mostly lower than the front axle - very much lower than the Sports whose engine was high enough to accommodate the gearbox under the rear cylinder. The RAs to the left and right may have sloping top tubes, but all appear to have sumps visible under the front frame member.

Leon

Offline Hutch

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #68 on: 21 Dec 2013 at 23:05 »
Hi Leon,

Fascinating thread you have created and great work!

In the Farmer and Settler Newspaper of Friday 28th May 1926 on pg 13 had the following text;

"......
"Douglas" Club
launched in Sydney

Douglas motorcyclists decided, at
a meeting held in Sydney last week-
end, to form what will be known as
the Douglas Motor Cycle Club. A set
of rules were drafted and these will
be presented to a meeting of mem-
bers at a later date. Further details
or information can be had from Mr
W. Conoulty, Douglas distributor, 33
Flinders-street, Sydney  ...."


I didn't find much else, but will keep looking!


Cheers

Ian

Offline Hutch

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #69 on: 21 Dec 2013 at 23:26 »
Hi Leon,

Searching Trove for "Douglas Motor Cycle Club" or "Douglas M.C.C" revealed a  quite a few articles relating to the club's activities. I also found reference to the club's Newsletter named (appropriately for the fuel they used!?) "Dope" ! These are at the State Library N.S.W.

Title        Dope : the official organ of the Douglas Motor Cycle Club.

Other Creators   Douglas Motor Cycle Club

Published    [Sydney, N.S.W. : Douglas Motor Cycle Club].
Physical Description  v. ; 27 cm.
Subjects  Douglas Motor Cycle Club -- Periodicals.

Notes   Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 6 (Oct. 8, 1932).
        Duplicated typescript.
Language   English
Libraries Australia ID   49912473
Contributed by  Libraries Australia

Cheers,

Ian

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #70 on: 22 Dec 2013 at 23:27 »
Dope. Nice name for a mag, but probably politically incorrect these days!

Thanks for the info on the Douglas Club. Bill Conoulty was a well-known NSW rider and a veteran by 1924. He was employed by Williams Bros (the Douglas distributors in NSW) who advertised that he would test ride EVERY Douglas sold by Williams Bros, so even if you bought a humble TS you could feel special that Conoulty had ridden it! They also had time set aside each week (Friday nights I recall) when you could meet with Conoulty and other Douglas racers (presumably all members of the Douglas "team" supported by Williams Bros) and discuss your Douglas or better still the one you were about to buy. So that Conoulty started the Douglas Club is not surprising - no doubt it was well supported by Williams Bros. I'd guess that the photo above was taken before 1926, but maybe not. In any event, the two Sports Models are possibly those campaigned tirelessly by Conoulty when he wasn't aboard an RA.

Today's photo is the worst quality so far, but as usual there is a reason for posting it. I'd say (and I hope you agree) that the bike shown (a 500 ridden by Clifton if the caption is correct) has a sloping top tube and a flat tank. Note the date of September 1924. Now I've searched fairly hard through the newspapers of 1924 and 1925 looking for photos of RA/RW/TWs. In the 12 months between February 1924 and January 1925 I have found six photos of RA/RW/TWs. All six have sloping frames - either RA/RWs with flat tank and sump, like this one, or TWs with a sloping tank to fill the gap between the frame tubes. None has a goose neck frame.

Most of the 1924-model Isle of Man Douglas racers (RA/24, RW/24, TW/24) that came to Australia had sloping top tube frames. "Ordinary" RA frames were unusual in Australia in 1924.

Leon
« Last Edit: 23 Dec 2013 at 01:53 by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #71 on: 24 Dec 2013 at 01:26 »

Oh dear, I'm running out of pictures. (At last! I hear some of you cry.)

Here's a couple of people we haven't seen before: Les Gough taking the high line against a competitor on the Melbourne Motordrome in December 1924, and R. Lyall who was riding at Newcastle, north of Sydney, in May 1926. Not much detail one the bikes I'm afraid.

I have a number of other photos, but most are very poor quality and add nothing to our RA story. One thing that is clear is that after the 1924 season RAs in Australia took on a look very similar to the catalogue description: in particular the goose neck frame was the dominant design and the sloping top tube frame was seen only rarely. Perhaps the Douglas factory realised there was no particular advantage, or need, for the sloping frame, and that the home product would stand up fine in Australian conditions.

One thing I haven't mentioned is the other Douglas models used for racing in Australia in the 1924-1928 period.

In Douglas lore the RA was superseded by the TT (both referred to as the "Isle of Man Model" in the period) for 1926, but although there are a few period photos of TT Models in Australia, it's clear that the RA remained the chosen machine for dirt track/speedway use. The use of TT Models in the dirt was very rare. Similarly OBs did take to the track, but if period photos are anything to go by they were about as uncommon as TTs. The large number of surviving OBs (or OB/RA, OB/DT composites) that have survived in Australia more-or-less as they were last raced are probably products of impecunious amateur racers from the 1930s and 40s - the number of OB racers in major events in the 1920s was very small.

I have some more comments that I will add in time, but while I'm getting my thoughts together I'd love to see Australian photos of RA/RW/TW bikes that anyone else can contribute to the thread.

Have a great Christmas.

Leon

Offline graeme

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #72 on: 24 Dec 2013 at 09:34 »
Happy Christmas to you to Leon - and thank you for the long running present!
This has been a fascinating thread and a fabulous resource for enthusiasts both here in Australia and elsewhere. I hope that more pictures and information might still surface as well.
Cheers, Graeme

Offline camchain charlie

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #73 on: 31 Dec 2013 at 09:02 »
Hi All
I don't know wether this has been posted before but i found this copy of the 1923 TT report on the New RA With some interesting illustrations and good write up



 

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #74 on: 02 Jan 2014 at 02:21 »
Thanks - this is one of the articles I was referring to the introduction of the RA before the TT in mid 1923. Note the reference to "first detailed description". At this early stage the bikes were genuine Works machines - not available to the public. The production model RA/24s were very similar, but there were differences: perhaps the shape of the air-box cover (note the abrupt cut-off upper rear of the 1923 bikes) and the rim shape of the flywheel clutch (curved front and back on the 1923 bikes, but usually seen with a flat back).

For those who can't get enough RA photos, here's another of Arthur Wardell winning the famed Golden Gauntlet (not so Wagnerian as the Golden Helmet; perhaps more Michael Jackson-esque?) on his RA in September 1926.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #75 on: 02 Jan 2014 at 20:40 »

Two months in to 1928 and the RA was still the bike to beat on the dirt. The photo comes from Adelaide's News, and was likely taken at the Wayville track, now part of the Show Grounds. The is no fibre disc on the front, but the aluminium ring that supports it is still there, spoked to an extra flange outboard of the wheel flanges, and clipped to the wheel spokes on the inner side. From the gearbox arrangement the bike seems to be the conventional RA, with the box attached to the rear of the crankcase. The riders are J. W. Harris and Vic Huxley; Vic won the Silver Gauntlet, which sounds a poor second to the Golden Gauntlet offered in the eastern states!

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #76 on: 03 Jan 2014 at 09:04 »
I don't know where the Silver Sash fits into the hierarchy of speedway awards, but I reckon it's certainly not as impressive as any of the gold things (winged helmet, gauntlet, etc), and, personally, I'd rather have a Silver Gauntlet.

Again we're in January 1928, the location is South Australia, and the bike that NSW rider Len Jones is astride is an RA, albeit not an entirely ordinary one. Like some other late RAs in the photos above, the bike carries its oil in a tank with the petrol; the hand pump and drip feed can be seen at the front left of the tank. Presumably no sump. I think I can vaguely make out the outer flange on the front hub - perhaps this was undrilled as alluded to above. I suspect that the bike has the standard RA frame, and gearbox mounted on the engine but the photo is not good enough to prove this. The RA/28 and the DT were yet to come.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #77 on: 03 Jan 2014 at 21:01 »

Len Jones in earlier days: 3 September 1926 on a pretty standard-looking RA. Is his bike in the photo above the same bike, modified over 2 1/2 years, or a new one? Did his bikes belong to him, or were they supplied by the Douglas agent? I doubt we'll know for sure; as we recounted above some bikes were supplied to ace riders directly by the agents "free".

The same paper (the Arrow, Sydney based) on the two weeks following the appearance of the Jones photo carried similar photos of A. St. George "an old time track rider" (10 Sept) and Clyde Bower "a rider of promise" (17 Sept), both RA mounted. Unfortunately the electronic copies of the photos are poor, but the bikes are pretty standard RAs.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #78 on: 04 Jan 2014 at 06:04 »

In March 1928 Vic Huxley was photographed with the front brake on the right side of his RA front wheel: unusual, but something we've seen before. There may be no real reason, but perhaps with counter-clock-wise racing in the dirt the brake was less vulnerable to dirt and damage on the right side? Not much detail of the bike from the fork back, but based on others in the same period we'd expect, at least, the usual RA motor, gearbox mounting, and frame.

Leon

Offline graeme

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #79 on: 04 Jan 2014 at 23:12 »
Seeing those race times, these blokes weren't messing about! I saw the world speedway individual finals at Bradford's Odsal stadium in 1990 on what I presume was a 1/4 mile track and they were doing around 59 secs for the 4 lap race.

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #80 on: 05 Jan 2014 at 02:34 »
Certainly don't ask me to lap a loose dirt track at near-enough 60 mph! Yes the RA Douglas went well, no doubt in part because of its ability to rev to something like 6,000 rpm, combined with the low centre of gravity.

The last photo showed Vic Huxley after he'd beaten Paddy Dean's record. The photo below shows Dick Smythe, RA mounted, the previous week when he had managed to match Dean's record. Paddy Dean did a lot of riding on Douglases - there's a photo of him earlier in the thread on an RA - so I suppose the record was set on an RA, matched by Dick Smythe on an RA, and then beaten by Vic Huxley on an RA. All this in March 1928, with a machine almost unchanged since its introduction at the 1923 IOM TT almost 5 years earlier!

I fancy you can see the primary drive chain drive on Dick's bike; from the position of the gearbox sprocket I'd say with some certainty that his bike was an RA-engined bike with an RA frame.

Leon
« Last Edit: 05 Jan 2014 at 02:41 by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #81 on: 05 Jan 2014 at 21:24 »

Paddy Dean's "world record" (for 1 mile on a three-laps-to-the-mile circuit) was set on January 28, 1928, at the track at Wayville in Adelaide, South Australia. Quite rightly, the track was advertised as being "the fastest in Australia" and in the summer of 1928 all the cracks were racing there. Here's a photo of Paddy Dean setting the "world record", and as suggested above he did indeed ride an RA. The RA brake disc is visible on the left of the front wheel. Of course by this date dirt track speedway had not started in the UK, and in the US dirt tracks were often longer. "World record" could be translated "Australian record".

Leon

Offline Hutch

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #82 on: 07 Jan 2014 at 00:56 »
Hi Leon,
Further to your question earlier in this thread about the family connections of E. (Teddy) Williams I have found the following (with some big help from my sister, who is a lot better at geneological searches than I am!). This info came from multiple sources and as such may not be 100% accurate. If anyone finds out any conflicting information, please let me know.

Edward James Milne Williams
(b 1901 - d 1942 of ilness while serving as N282095  Lt 2 Corp TRG School on 18th April)

brother of

Percy Harold Williams (1893-1969) Served in AFC, sometime director of Williams Bros and P and R Williams
David Reginald Williams (1896-1982) AFC Piloted Blackburn Kangaroo in 1919 London-Sydney Air Race (DNF) and director P and R Williams
Stuart Milne Williams (1904-1976) TT Competitor 1925,30 and 31

Their Father and Mother were Christopher Basset Williams and Susan Milne and all the above brothers appear to be born in Victoria.

Christopher Williams was the brother of William Arthur Williams who with his son's (?? have not confirmed this yet)  Henry James and George Harold Williams) were directors of Canada Cycle and Motor Agency (circa 1905) and in 1913, Williams Bros. Limited.

Looks like Percy and Reg ran the Orange Branch of Williams Bros. in Summer St. up to when they went in the AFC and formed P and R Williams after the air race in 1919. P and R Williams later merged with Williams Bros. Limited.

I have some more info. specific to the Williams Bros. operations and can PM you later if it is of interest to you.

Cheers

Ian


Offline Hutch

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #83 on: 04 Feb 2014 at 01:28 »
Further to your query about Ted Williams and the family connection, Leon,  there is an interesting article by Pat Hobbs in issue 42 of Old Bike Australasia magazine entitled "P&R Williams -  Beginnings" with a lot more information than I was able to find out,  Pat appears to have access to family information and maybe some company records?. Very nice picture of Edward (Ted) Williams aboard a Dougie in 1924 after winning at Golbourn and of Reg Williams in Orange after gaining "highest award" in the 1914-1915 Melbourne Sydney Reliability Trial. Looks like this may be the first part of a series of articles??

cheers

Ian

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #84 on: 04 Feb 2014 at 09:15 »

Thanks Ian. The photo is a ripper, and shows Ted Williams on the RA we've seen at Goulburn in earlier posts. Sloping to tube, early pattern footrests (later were aluminium castings), flat tank, oil sump... all characteristics of the "colonial" RA in 1924.

Interesting that Percy and Reg were nephews of the pre-war Williams Bros Ltd management; both worked there before forming P & R Williams which existed at the same time as Williams Bros Ltd. Still not quite clear if Teddy was the younger brother of Percy and Reg, or a cousin.

Cheers

Leon

Offline Hutch

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #85 on: 04 Feb 2014 at 22:55 »
Hi Leon,
It is my understanding that Percy, Reg and Teddy are brothers
Ian

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #86 on: 26 Feb 2014 at 04:49 »
FF102 is a surviving TW/24 dating from 1924 - perhaps one of the bikes shown above. The only clue to its origins are that it eventually found its way to Dubbo, where a speedway was operating. While the frame and combined petrol/oil tank is certainly TW, the motor in the bike at present is RA (494cc). I'm chasing parts to build a 350cc engine for the bike.

It's in "dry build" at this stage in dirt track trim, but will hopefully be running in road trim for the Australian Douglas Rally at Bathurst in November. By the way, although I haven't weighed it I'd guess it's around 100kg in this trim.

Leon

Offline PeterShannon

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #87 on: 21 Jul 2014 at 15:30 »
I see above that someone believes Goulburn held Australia's first Grand Prix in 1914, well that myth that has been around for about 50 years now, and is not reflected by the facts that recent research has uncovered about the origins of Australia's first Grand Prix, and Douglas features in it. Here is a photo of Frank Delandro's 'Douglas Depot' at the 1914 'Grand Prix of Australia' in the Bathurst district. This was Australia's first Grand Prix and the event at Goulburn in 1924 was the "first Grand Prix held in the Goulburn district". Goulburn did not hold Australia's first Grand Prix. It was Edgar Meller on a 2 3/4 Douglas that won Australia's first Grand Prix in 1914. Delandro was the North Sydney agent for Douglas, with Williams Bros being the sole distributors in 1914.

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #88 on: 22 Jul 2014 at 00:38 »

Hi Peter,

I was expecting to find a new "Photo of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia" in a thread of this name. If you'd like to have a conversation on the topic of "The First Australian Grand Prix" (or whatever), perhaps start a new thread in the Kingswood Pub section of the forum. Be warned however, by using words like "someone believes", "myth that has been around for 50 years now", and did not (you've got to love "did not" in bold!), you should expect some pretty frisky responses!

Cheers

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #89 on: 22 Jul 2014 at 22:51 »
Because Billy Conoulty was so closely linked to Williams Bros. - at one stage they advertised that every machine they sold had been tested personally by him - he appeared on a wide range of machines at race tracks around the country. Here he is in April 1926 on what looks to be a pretty standard RA. Notable is the collection of levers sprouting from the left handlebar, for clutch, valve lifter and ignition advance and retard. Newcastle is Newcastle NSW, rather than Newcastle UK.

Although these newspaper photos are pretty grim, the libraries usually hold the original paper newspapers from which the black-and-white scans were made. Often much more detail is available in the original printed photo, and these days most libraries will allow you to photograph the papers with your digital camera. In most ot the newspaper images above, the format for the file name is yyyy-mm-dd-paper-name, so you should be able to find the originals if necessary. The Arrow was a Sydney paper.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #90 on: 23 Jul 2014 at 12:28 »
Riding at the Speedway Royale in Adelaide on January 7, 1928, Len Jones, of Lithgow, New South Wales, received concussion and other injuries as a result of being forced on to a safety fence and thrown against a post. He considered that the accident was caused through the defective condition of the track, and hence claimed 1000 pounds in damages from the South Australian Motor Sporting Club. Unfortunately Justice Parsons of the Adelaide Court did not agree, and Jones went away empty handed.

Lithgow and Adelaide are some 1200 km apart, and in 1928 there was not too much in between. I assume riders took the train on the somewhat longer journey via Melbourne to the south.

Our photo of Len Jones is probably earlier than 1930; it shows Jones on a mudguard-less but otherwise standard RA, brakes and all.

Leon

Offline Dirt Track

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #91 on: 11 Aug 2014 at 09:41 »
G'day all.
Great thread Leon....keep it up!
Here is one I found in a book titled "My Picture Book of Motors" (no date but my guess would be late 1920's).
No other details given for the photo.
BTW...I believe there will be an article on Les Bailey in the next "Old Bike Australasia"...comes out Thursday.
I have given a little bit of info I found out on Les....some juicy stuff!
Howard.

Offline Dirt Track

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #92 on: 12 Aug 2014 at 00:23 »
G'day all.
Best I include the photo......this site would not accept the type of file I had it scanned to!
I love the little auxiliary petrol tank on top of the sidecar.
Howard.

Offline Dirt Track

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #93 on: 14 Aug 2014 at 12:26 »
G'day all.
Sorry chaps...that article in OLD BIKE AUSTRALASIA must be in the next issue!!
Howard.

Offline Dirt Track

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #94 on: 09 Oct 2014 at 00:18 »
G'day all.
Here is a photo turned up on Facebook.
Shows an RA over on the right.
Howard.

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #95 on: 21 May 2015 at 09:42 »

The photo on the cover of The South Australian Speedster for 20 December 1928 is of Irvine Jones, who had won the Triangular Match Race at the Speedway Royal, Adelaide, the previous weekend. However the photo was not taken in South Australia, but instead in the UK when Irvine was riding in England.

Note that Irvine's RA is still carrying brakes front and rear. The rear brake pedal is clearly visible adjacent to the exhaust pipe.

Irvine assured The Speedster that he recovered from the slide, caused by the roughness of English tracks, without a tumble.

Leon


Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #96 on: 25 May 2015 at 22:19 »

The State Library of South Australia has a good collection of photos from the Speedway Royal, which was at its peak in the late 1920s and early 1930s at the Wayville Showgrounds in Adelaide.

Most are pretty low resolution - and look like they wouldn't gain much even if scanned in more detail. One of the short-comings of night-time photography in that era.

This photo, detail of http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+40517, shows Vic Huxley's RA around 1928. The bike is a genuine RA, as the primary drive (adjacent to Vic's left knee) is short and clearly shows that the gearbox is mounted on the engine. The aluminium ring for the front brake and the fork lug for the brake shoe remain, but all other braking equipment is gone. The frame has the bracing strut to the back axle lug, the tank is larger than standard (and almost certainly contains the oil tanks, although the pump must be on the right side) and the flywheel seems larger in diameter and thinner than standard, so perhaps the original flywheel and clutch has been discarded. Rolling starts in this era, so no real need for the clutch.

Leon


Offline Doug

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #97 on: 26 May 2015 at 19:06 »
Leon,

To which add a non-standard exhaust; as it appears to pass the flywheel at a higher level than 'normal'. It looks as it does not drop from the level of the exhaust port at all. As a replacement, this would make it easier to fabricate, being a simple versus a compound bend.

While hard to tell, it does look like the sump is still present under the engine. So perhaps no oil compartment within the petrol tank. Though the need for a larger petrol tank remains a mystery.

-Doug

[Add comment about fabricating replacement exhaust pipe. -Doug, 26May15]
« Last Edit: 26 May 2015 at 22:13 by Doug »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #98 on: 26 May 2015 at 21:56 »

Thanks Doug - you're probably right on both counts. If I look at, say, the bike ridden by Huxley the spec changes quite a lot with time. I assume the exhaust pipe change, for example, either came with the change in flywheel or following a tumble. Spectacular crashes were frequent on the dirt track.

The technical spec of Huxley's bike is best studied in static photos like the one above. However there's an atmosphere in the action shots that is very special. Here's Vic in action at the Speedway Royal; photo from the State Library of South Australia collection.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #99 on: 27 May 2015 at 22:16 »

Here's another SLSA photo of Vic Huxley with his RA Douglas, surrounded by a group of official-looking people.

There is a clue in the photo as to what is going on. Usually a bike rider would take his gauntlet off to shake hands? Yes, but not if it's a Silver Gauntlet! A bit of sniffing through the papers and we have the same photos with the names of the people involved. I draw your attention to the people on the left: J. H. Gilbert, Percy Lewis, and Alfred Moyle. All were involved with motorcycling before WW1, and all have a part in the story of Vivian Lewis and his motorcycles built in Adelaide. They went on to be heavily involved in the MCC (of South Australia), founded in 1911. Our photo comes from February 1928, and the RA is still top of the tree in dirt track.

Leon


 

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