Author Topic: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia  (Read 6026 times)

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Offline cardan

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Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« on: 10 Feb 2014 at 21:31 »
I suspect this thread will be brief - at least in comparison with its companion thread on RA/RW/TW racers. I didn't count the RA photos I dug out, but there were probably about 70 or so. The TT model Douglas appeared in the Douglas catalogues about 1926, nominally replacing the RA. However as I noted in the RA thread, it seems that RAs were produced in 1926, 1927 and 1928 when it was replaced as a dirt track/speedway machine by the DT. The RA was originally designed as a road racer, and won the Isle of Man senior TT at its debut in 1923. While we had a few road races in Australia in the 1920s, by the mid 20s most of our racing was on dirt or on concrete speedways. As the RA evolved into the TT for 1926, the motorcycle racing fraternity in Australia was likely unimpressed - certainly the improved brakes were not likely to be highly valued!

In summary, my search for photos of racy Douglas motorcycles in Australia turned up 70+ RA photos but only 4 TT photos. I wonder if the two models were here in about the same ratio? Most of the TTs here were 500cc, but the motor and (I believe) the frame of a 350cc TT has survived, so there was at least one Junior machine.

The first photo shows Gus Clifton on the TT that he raced at the Deagon track in Queensland in 1928.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #1 on: 11 Feb 2014 at 19:52 »

We saw Bill Conoulty mounted on a range of RAs, which he campaigned after running Sports Models for a number of years. Given the variety of bikes he used, its likely that he was well supported by the trade: Williams Bros in Sydney. Here he is on a TT model, looking anything but catalogue spec. The handlebars are "unusual", the front brake drum appears on the left, and there is an oil tank and drip feed on the right of the frame. Presumably this is in addition to the usual sump and mechanical pump feed - to keep the drive chain lubricated?

We'll see the front drum brake on the left in other photos - any ideas?

The photo comes from the James Flood Book of Motorcycling in Australia.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #2 on: 12 Feb 2014 at 21:41 »
This photo appeared in the thread on Douglas RAs http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=5077.0 . I've cropped off the RA in this version so we can get a better view of the other two bikes, both of which are likely TTs.

Details of the bike on the left are unclear, but we can see enough to suggest TT. The front fork is the side-spring style used by the TT (the RA, OB, OC and DT all used the centre-spring fork), and if there is a front brake it is a drum on the right, again standard TT practice. The handlebar layout is very similar to the Conoulty bike shown in the previous post. Could it be the same bike, with the front drum on the (usual) right side? What is that "object" in front of the rider's left shin?

The bike on the right has the classic lines of the TT. Unlike the RA, the TT had the gearbox mounted on the frame near the seat lug, an arrangement that gives a top chain line which is usually almost horizontal. On the RA the top run of the chain is angled down at the front. Extreme sprocket choices will change things a little...

Date and location unknown.

Leon

Offline Doug

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #3 on: 13 Feb 2014 at 23:49 »
Leon,

The mysterious object seems to be some sort of container. If you look at the machine of the right, it too seems to have some sort of container over the front cylinder. One should be able to see right through the frame to the fella's dark trousers beyond, but there is something of light color and rectangular blocking the view. Exact purpose unknown, but not part of the standard TT fittings.

By the way, the OC front forks were very similar to the TT, and used the same dual extension springs. The other models mentioned used the central compression spring.

In the previous photo of Bill Conoulty, perhaps he reversed the front wheel to even out the wear. Apparently he was not concerned about disabling of the front brakes.

-Doug
« Last Edit: 14 Feb 2014 at 02:33 by Doug »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #4 on: 14 Feb 2014 at 01:54 »

Thanks Doug.

Re containers: I wonder if we haven't a theme developing. Conoulty's chain oiler, the two that you comment on, and , if I'm not mistaken, even the top photo shows a container in the gap between the rear stays - possibly another chain oiler.

Re brakes: Generally over-rated and not of much interest to Australian riders.

Re OC forks: Of course, my mistake. I've even seen an illustration, no doubt from Douglas literature, that shows the "TT/OC engine". Perhaps the two models had more in common than just the fork.

So on to the last TT photo I have come across, and not a very good quality one at that. Luckily it shows Bill Conoulty on what is almost certainly the same bike on which we see him above. I'm not sure what the situation was with brakes at Maroubra. I believe they were not allowed at the Motordrome in Melbourne, but Maroubra was a larger track (taking cars, for example) so maybe brakes were allowed if not used. Perhaps this explains the reversed front wheel, maybe to remind the rider that the brake was not connected?

I have one other photo that may show TTs in Australia, but beyond that I need help. Does anyone have other photos? Based on the small number of photos, few Douglas TT Models made it out here. I wonder how many. I've encountered the remains of three engines (two 500s and a 350)...

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #5 on: 14 Feb 2014 at 23:38 »
OK, I've run out of Australian photos of the TT Model IOM Douglas. But I do have this one, that was published in Exhaust Notes (VMCCV) 30-odd years ago. It's most likely one of the Arthur Forecast photos, copied by Dave Dumble. Sorry I don't have names or location. The bike on the left looks like it could be TT-based (or maybe SW5), but it's hard to make out much detail of the other, beyond its Harley Davison front fork. Any comments welcome.

The up-coming Australian Douglas Rally - early November 2014 in Bathurst NSW - has a racy theme. Perhaps we should assume "team clobber": Douglas rugby tops and leather jodhpurs. Those of us with class aspirations could go for a neck tie, presumably in Douglas tartan!! I wonder what colour the tops were? The Sydney-based Douglas Club was discussed in the RA thread.

Leon

[Looking closer, is that an RA brake lug on the left front fork leg? I suppose they could be RA based... Hard to say.]
« Last Edit: 14 Feb 2014 at 23:46 by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #6 on: 08 Jun 2015 at 03:44 »

With drum brakes front and rear, a gently sloping petrol tank, and a frame-mounted gearbox, I'm relaxed about identifying Fred Kirkpatrick's bike as a TT Douglas. Presumably Fred haled from Western Australia, and since the isolation of West from East was pretty profound at the time the bike was likely a "WA local". Any other photos of it Rob?

The year was 1928.

Leon

Offline Doug

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #7 on: 08 Jun 2015 at 04:10 »
Leon,

Regarding the 'team clobber' post above, there is indeed a vestigial lug for the front brake on the left-hand machine. Yet I cannot make out a third spoke flange on the hub to indicate RA origins. However the newsprint image is not high-resolution. Likely it is an RA, with possibly a OB or DT hub. The arguments against it being a 1926 onward I.o.M. model is the brake anchorage would be on the other side and the brake drum was laced into the wheel, making it difficult to dispense with. So the forks and wheel would have had to be exchanged to convert a '26 TT.

Alternately it could be an OB model that has gone racing. Not enough of the petrol tank visible to be positive, but there is a hint on the one-piece rocker oiler above the front cylinder head, as used on the OB and earlier models.

One might also say the same for an OC, but like the '26 they had the front brake on the right-hand side.

-Doug 
« Last Edit: 08 Jun 2015 at 04:17 by Doug »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #8 on: 08 Jun 2015 at 04:56 »

I can do better now. Carry on...

Offline Doug

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #9 on: 08 Jun 2015 at 13:45 »
Leon,

Yes, that is better. I am thinking more and more the machine on the left is RA, but the wheel has been replaced by some other make. The spokes are laced to the rim well out towards the bead, compared to what you see on Dougie rims. An airbox can be seen, and it has the rounded shape of the RA. A TT would be vertical on the forward face. Also there looks to be a flip-top filler cap visible in the appropriate location, though this could be part of the riding apparel sitting on top of the petrol tank. On the '26 TT this filler would be a little further forward.

The machine on the right has the spare spark plugs stored at the forward edge of the petrol tank, making it either an RA or 1926-28 TT. The front wheel is no help, as it and the forks are from another make. In this instance it is hard to say, but I am going to place a bet on RA again. The front of the tank does not look high enough to be the '26 TT petrol tank. 

-Doug
« Last Edit: 08 Jun 2015 at 13:53 by Doug »

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #10 on: 08 Jun 2015 at 14:13 »

"The front wheel is no help, as it and the forks are from another make."

Come on Doug! Name it: Harley Davidson. Most people in your neck of the woods would recognise the forks and front wheel, but not the bike.

Yes I agree that they are likely both RA based; more highly modified than in any of our other photos. Indeed the oiling box for the front rockers on the bike on the right is the "vertical fins all round" style that is more S1/S2 than RA.

Leon

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #11 on: 08 Jun 2015 at 14:27 »
Leon,

'Harley-Davidson', what are those?   :)

Actually I figured it might be a trick question, since several makes used the Castle type front forks. Just my luck to miss the shape of a grease nipple that would declare them off a Brough-Superior, and be pounced upon. No thanks, I will stick to Dougies!

The rocker oiling reservoirs are very similar between the S1/S2 and the RA; possibly identical to that on the early RA. There was a transition to a larger diameter rocker spindle at some point during the RA development that might prevent them from being fully interchangeable, but I do not think there would be a externally visible difference that would enable one to determine which was which. Indeed the entire cylinder head was very similar from the S1/S2 to the RA, but if you have a side view a subtle difference in the shape of the rocker perch will allow positive identification.

From the front quarter, the bifurcated front down tubes of the S1/S2 frame usually allows it to be eliminated from the later, full duplex frames.

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #12 on: 09 Jun 2015 at 22:27 »
Over the last couple of years, I've done a lot of research on racing Douglas motorcycles in Australia during the 1920s, and Rudge (boo, hiss) road racers of the early 1930s. One thing has become very clear: in the late 1920s in Australia there was very little motorcycle racing on road, or road-like, circuits. Dirt track was the game, and even the banked tracks at the Motordrome in Melbourne and Maroubra in Sydney couldn't compete. It wasn't until 1931 that road racing became a well organised and well supported activity, with the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Tourist Trophy alternating between Phillip Island in Victoria and Bathurst in New South Wales. By then, Douglas had no competitive machinery for road racing. The RA and TT Douglases were 1920s motorcycles.

With no road racing around, some of the small number of TT models out here took to the dirt. Here we see Reg Applebee on his "dirt-track-ised" TT at the Speedway Royal in Adelaide in the late 1920s. Large drum brake on the right, sump gone, front brake gone, unknown external-link front fork, smaller tank...

Photo from the State Library of South Australia.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Photos of TT Douglas racers in Australia
« Reply #13 on: 26 Jul 2015 at 23:48 »

No info on this one, which came from an unknown source as a single photocopy sheet on which is written "Paddy Dean 1926-6 IOM Douglas".

Leon


 

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