Author Topic: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia  (Read 41515 times)

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Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #100 on: 28 May 2015 at 22:20 »
Was the RA a 100+mph motorcycle?

Probably. In September 1926 Harold Woods lapped the concrete saucer at Maroubra, Sydney, on his RA at 99 mph - faster than the cars and a lap record at that time. The bike looks to be one of the early models with the "colonial" sloping top tube. There are later mods, however, like the cast alloy footrests.

Leon

[Edit: Should also point out there is no sump fitted to Woods' bike - presumably oil is in the main tank or concealed elsewhere.]

« Last Edit: 28 May 2015 at 23:51 by cardan »

Offline Doug

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #101 on: 29 May 2015 at 23:10 »
Leon,

What looks to be a 1923 frame, and the early style airbox shape.

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #102 on: 29 May 2015 at 23:30 »

Yes Doug I don't think they threw the old ones away! Not until the DTs were coming in in numbers in 1929-30, anyway. I've mentioned before that the "sloping top frame tube" models appeared here in the first flush of RAs, but were not seen much later.

Time for a bit of sidecar action. This photo appeared in Old Bike Australia in 2011. The person who sent it in knew nothing about it.

 The names on the board in the background - Disney, Finlay, Gough et al. - were well known in Victoria, so the photo was likely taken in Melbourne in the second half of the 1920s. I've had a quick look but can't be positive about the venue, but either the Motordrome or Aspendale. I'm also not sure who the Douglas rider is, but his mount is an RA, looking particularly sporty. Sidecar races were not the main drawcard at events in this period; in some meetings had no event for the sidecar men.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #103 on: 31 May 2015 at 23:12 »

Another atmospheric shot, showing a couple of RAs at speed on the Motordrome in Melbourne, c1925. The likely suspects are Ron Hipwell, Les Gough, Arthur Forecast and the other Douglas "regulars". Visiting riders - like the Americans Davis and Hepburn - were also give rides on the Douglases. Race speeds were in the region of 80-90 mph at the Motordrome. Its steeply banked courners aided speed, but at three laps to the mile it was still a short circuit. At 85 mph the lap time was 14 seconds - dizzying for the spectators!

Leon



Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #104 on: 01 Jun 2015 at 22:53 »
Another Motordrome photo from the Arthur Forecast album. The text on the photo reads:

"Motordrome
Saturday Dec 13th 1924
Scratch Race Final
The camera defeats the human eye.

Johnny Seymour (Indian) and Ralph Hepburn (Douglas) crossing the line almost together is declared a dead heat, but camera shows Johnny Seymour is winner. P. Anderson (Indian) 3rd, J. Davis (Douglas) last."

This was the final of the unlimited scratch race at the third meeting at the circuit, which had opened on November 30. The four riders competing were all American visitors, who had presumably been riding on similar circuits, albeit board tracks, in the USA. Australian Douglas riders Hipwell and Disney had finished third (last) in the three-bike heats.

The newspapers reported the final as a dead heat between Seymour and Hepburn.

Leon


Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #105 on: 02 Jun 2015 at 23:04 »

Ron Hipwell on his early RA, sloping top tube and early air-box cover, with a good view of the sump. Note the centre stand is still in place. Location unknown, but maybe Aspendale.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #106 on: 03 Jun 2015 at 23:18 »
Another photo from the State Library of South Australia collection. We've seen Paddy Dean before, but here he is in action on his RA. Note the handlebar bristling with levers, with a large and medium open lever as well as a magneto advance/retard lever. As delivered there was a matching set on the other side, plus a twist grip for the throttle. No front brake lever needed on Paddy's machine as the Fibrax disc, shoe and linkage has been removed for racing on the dirt track.

Trailing leg was the preferred method of the day, well suited to the incredibly low profile of the RA.

Leon

Offline Doug

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #107 on: 24 Nov 2016 at 00:29 »
Bob McLachlan supplied the photo of his father, Doug Mclachlan circa 1954, at a scramble or hill climb in Templestow, VIC. He had the misfortune to brake his arm during the event.



He is astride a RA model, with the third generation frame that would have been made 1926-28. The foot rests are mounted very high and to the rear, a unusual position. The top edge of the petrol tank has a sharp corner, suggestive that it may be a locally fabricated replacement. If so, it might include a compartment for the oil and explain the lack of a cast aluminum 'sump' under the engine that normally carried the oil. No quadrant and hand change are fitted, nor is there any visible means to change gear. It may be the transmission was locked in top gear or just used as a counter shaft. Many events were run with just one gear. Generally brakes were not required, and were removed, particularly the front. It also looks as if the front hub has been turned around in the forks, and extra struts have been added to improve lateral stiffness.  At the rear a drop center rim has be laced into the wheel.

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #108 on: 29 Nov 2016 at 21:32 »

The Speedster for 28 April 1928 carried this RA on the front cover - a copy of a copy I'm afraid.

Genial, always popular Jack Sweeny they say. Why then was more-or-less the same photo in the Arrow two years earlier captioned as Billy Conoulty? http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=5077.msg19609#msg19609

Leon

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Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #109 on: 09 Mar 2017 at 05:54 »

Les Gough was more-or-less unbeatable at the Melbourne Motordrome in 1927, winning the majority of event he entered. Because of the danger, solo racing in later years was limited to 2 3/4 hp (350cc) machines, and Les had a Douglas of this capacity. He also entered the sidecar class. Early in 1927 he held the Motordrome record at 90.6 mph - extremely fast on a 1/3-mile saucer. 90 mph is 270 laps per hour or 13.3 seconds per lap.

This photo of Les on his RA Douglas comes from David Dumble's book Vintage Motorcycles in Australia. The caption is "Les Gough after setting a new Victorian solo speed record with 93.75 mph on his Douglas in 1927". I've had a quick look and can't verify this, but it sounds too fast for the Motordrome.

Leon