Author Topic: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia  (Read 46016 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline cardan

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #100 on: 28 May 2015 at 21:20 »
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 22:51 by cardan »

Offline Doug

  • Global Moderator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 3192
  • Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #101 on: 29 May 2015 at 22:10 »
Leon,

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

-Doug

Offline cardan

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #102 on: 29 May 2015 at 22:30 »

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

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #103 on: 31 May 2015 at 22:12 »

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

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #104 on: 01 Jun 2015 at 21:53 »
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

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #105 on: 02 Jun 2015 at 22:04 »

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

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #106 on: 03 Jun 2015 at 22:18 »
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

  • Global Moderator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 3192
  • Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #107 on: 23 Nov 2016 at 23:29 »
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

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #108 on: 29 Nov 2016 at 20:32 »

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

Offline cardan

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #109 on: 09 Mar 2017 at 04:54 »

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


Offline binbooks

  • Member
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2010
  • Posts: 7
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #110 on: 30 Aug 2017 at 09:52 »
I have been advised that this photo is taken at Deagon on August 15 1925  and is of Billy Conoulty who won the Australsian Five mile championship on that day.

« Last Edit: 30 Aug 2017 at 17:11 by Dave »

Offline cardan

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #111 on: 30 Aug 2017 at 11:11 »

Perhaps the rider is Conoulty, although why one of Australia's fastest men would be mucking around on a  stripped 350 side-valve Douglas roadster would need a bit of explaining.

The attached image is from the Brisbane Courier, 19 August 1925, and shows the competitors in the Five-mile Solo Championship of Australasia the previous Saturday. Conoulty, second from left, won the race. He is clearly mounted on an RA, as is Bundaberg boy Len Branch on the far left.

Cheers

Leon


Offline binbooks

  • Member
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2010
  • Posts: 7
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #112 on: 30 Aug 2017 at 11:23 »
You are correct, the machine on your image is certainly different to the one I have.

Offline Hutch

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Join Date: Nov 2012
  • Posts: 125
  • Location: Queensland, Australia
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #113 on: 31 Aug 2017 at 08:09 »
Looks like Conoulty did some record breaking at Deagon on Monday 24th August 1925 on various capacity Douglii. This was reported in several papers including the Daily Mail Brisbane on Tuesday 25th August. Have not determined yet if the 2 3/4HP record attempt was on the Douglas in the picture....more research to do!

Cheers

Ian

Offline binbooks

  • Member
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2010
  • Posts: 7
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #114 on: 31 Aug 2017 at 08:28 »
I wrote the book on Deagon, a place in speedway history, with the help of the Sandgate historical Society in 2014. They had a number of newspaper cuttings in the filing cabinets in the museum there compiled by  local historian Grace Beecher.. I also found someone at Weslake who had an original programme i scanned it at the time as he would not part with it. the font cover is in the Deagon book. I will have to try and find him again. I do not know how i come by that image of a Douglas at Deagon, I am wondering now if it came from the Sandgate Museum. it would be good to know if that image with no 2 is Conoulty

Offline cardan

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #115 on: 31 Aug 2017 at 09:11 »

As I've noted somewhere (!) above, I believe Conoulty would have set these records on one of the Williams Bros 350 TW/RW racers. Three miles in 2 min 29.2 sec is 72.4 mph, and on the flat a stripped TS is not up to this. (Eddie and I always argue about fast TSs - let me try again: "I don't  know of a TS in Australia that could lap a track at 72 mph"!) Conoulty worked for Williams, and had access to their Douglas racing bikes, so I'm sure he would have used one of them for the record attempts rather than a stripped TS.

Happy to talk about Deagon in the Kingswood Pub.

Leon

Offline binbooks

  • Member
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2010
  • Posts: 7
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #116 on: 31 Aug 2017 at 10:11 »
Take your point Leon.


Offline graeme

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Oct 2004
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Hobart, Australia
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #117 on: 31 Aug 2017 at 23:41 »
I wonder if the picture of Billy Conoulty on the TS is a case of one of the "also rans"machines being photographed with the hero of the day perched on it? It's the sort of thing that happens at race meetings

Offline cardan

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #118 on: 31 Aug 2017 at 23:57 »
Certainly possible. At one point Conoulty rode every Douglas sold by Williams. Testing? More likely so the purchaser could say "Billy Conoulty rode my bike!"

Leon

Offline Hutch

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Join Date: Nov 2012
  • Posts: 125
  • Location: Queensland, Australia
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #119 on: 08 Sep 2017 at 07:05 »
Yes Leon I agree, 70+ MPH on a TS Douglas is quite optimistic - probably 60-65 MPH is more like it?. Anyway Conoulty's use of a IOM 2 3/4 for the 350 class is confirmed in this newspaper clipping from The Telegraph 25th August 1925. To my eyes the picture of Conoulty on the TS is from an earlier time as he looks younger. (assuming it is him?) Also his gaiters are of a different style to those he appears to wear in the pictures of him around 1924/25.

-Ian
« Last Edit: 12 Sep 2017 at 04:39 by Hutch »

Offline cardan

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 783
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
    • Leon's Vintage Motorcycle Page
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #120 on: 08 Sep 2017 at 10:16 »

Thanks Ian. When you get your TS going please do have a few laps of a dirt track of your choice - I'll buy lunch if you can lap at 40+ mph!

I'm much better with bikes than I am with faces, so I'll have to pass on the age/identity of the riders.

Before the 4-horse owners get too excited, it's worth pointing out that Conoulty's "4 hp Douglas" was an S2 - 600cc OHV Sports, with the gearbox below the rear cylinder. This bike was a favourite with Conoulty, and he used it occasionally well into the late 1920s.

The term "Isle of Man Douglas" was used to describe the RA/TW/RW models from 1923, and the later "TT" models. I don't think it was used to describe the earlier S1, which was most famous for Pullin's 100-mph exploits at Brooklands in 1922.

Cheers

Leon


Offline Hutch

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Join Date: Nov 2012
  • Posts: 125
  • Location: Queensland, Australia
Re: Photos of RA, RW and TW Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #121 on: 12 Sep 2017 at 03:23 »
 :) Your lunch money is probably fairly safe Leon, as by the time I get the TS done I'll probably be happy with 40 MPH on flat bitumen!.

(Sorry if I get a little off this threads topic here)

My one and only exploit on a speedway track ended up with me crashing a home made go cart into the wall. It was owned by a friend who raced outfits and I was about 7 years old. later adventures on the dirt on two wheels ended with bent bikes a few bruises and a dented ego!. Later, after I worked out that my dirt riding ability was not up to much, i switched to navigating in car rallies (on gravel roads) instead with a little more success........but if i do get around to seeing if i can get past 40 MPH on the 2 3/4 HP i might need to find out what they did to this one.....



(...back to the thread...)

BTW for those interested in Conoulty's 4HP here is a picture of it;

www.austinsevenfriends.com/Bruce/Conoulty_Article_Wheel_1955.htm

cheers

ian
« Last Edit: 12 Sep 2017 at 05:01 by Hutch »