PAGE UNDER DEVELOPMENT (DR Velo & DR Special Development)

These are library pictures of the bikes I owned/road before starting to race, not the actual bikes.

In 1962 I was looking for a reliable 500cc bike and had narrowed it down to a Norton 88 or a Velocette
Venom.  I read a road test of a second hand 1956 Venom and it gave it a glowing report despite saying
it was an obsolete design.  A few months past and a s/h 1959 model was on sale at King's in Leicester.
I part exchanged the Sunbeam and bought the Venom on HP.  For the next 3 years the Venom was used for
work and recreational use.

The following relates to my Velocette Venom Sport which had the fibreglass engine/gearbox covers and
looked exactly like the photo above. While on the road I slowly began to convert it to clubmans spec,
as well as making some special bits.  I made a copy of the original petrol tank & a redesigned oil
tank in fibreglass to allow an Amal GP2 carb to be fitted.  Fibreglass number plates & rear chain
guard were also made.  I used Dural alloy to make engine plates, rear set footrest plates, rear brake
steady & front mudguard stays. Other mods included , alloy mudguards, fork gaiters, rev counter,
Lucas manual magneto and friction steering damper.


At the end of 1964 I stripped and rebuilt the whole bike with the rest of the clubman parts, clubman
exhaust, alloy rims, 2-way fork dampers, close ratio gears, hc piston, alloy ball ended levers and
clip-on's. I also added some special part, Somerton polydyne cam, 8.75 compression piston and Webco
all alloy pushrods and S&W coil valve springs from the US. The piston, inlet port and valve were
polished. L.Stevens lightened and polished the rocker arms. I borrowed a Goldstar fuel tank and made
a fibreglass copy and incorporated an oil tank and fitted alloy QA fillers. An external version of
the Velo oil filter was fitted to the back down tube. I also made a racing style seat. At this time I
was a member of the Velocette Owners club and in 1965 some of the members were doing the Silverstone
High Speed Trial, so I decided to have a go.  I entered the 500cc class trial and the 5 lap scratch race.
A few weeks before the trial I fitted triangular racing tyres and did some practicing around the
local lanes to get use to them. Drain plugs and other important nuts/bolts were drilled & wired. The
silencer I was using at the time was a Velocette megaphone with a baffle from a fishtail silencer in
it.  I decided I'd have to fit a quieter one to get through scrutineering and bought a Goldstar style
one specifically made for the Venom by J.Dodkin. It was fitted a few days before the Trial(mistake).
The photo below is a few days before the High Speed Trial. 


At the High Speed Trial everything went OK in practice and for the first 5 or 6 laps of the trial, 
then I got a misfire on the back straight(club circuit). This dropped top speed from 110mph to 90mph 
and sometimes it cut out completely.  I found out that if I only used 3/4 throttle when the misfire
happened then it stopped and I could just about coax 100pmh. Later testing showed that the main jet
size was wrong. I had been told to use 330 and testing showed it should have been 270. Anyway I still
got a 1st class award and finished 5th in the scratch race. This was the 1st lesson I learned about
racing, always test any modification before using it in a race.  The picture below was taken the
following day when I rode it to Mallory Park to watch the racing.  A Note to Velocette knockers: 
Notice that despite having been ridden to Silverstone, participating in the High Speed Trial & 5 lap
Scratch Race, ridden home, ridden to Mallory and standing for approx 5 hours, there are no oil leaks
on the engine or the ground underneath. Just flies on the racing plate. 

A friend, Derek Bradford(Sid) who I worked with as a fibreglass moulder and went to watch racing
around the country with had raced his 600 Domi at Wallasey Prom and was going to have a go at the
"hard stuff" the following year. He said if I wanted to "have a go" then if we entered the same
meetings I could go with him in his van. As I hadn't got a car licence or 4 wheels, I agreed. I have
to give a big "thank you" to Sid. Without his initial help I would probably never have had the great
enjoyment and experience of road racing.

Once again the bike was given a complete rebuild over the winter of 1965/66. But the thing which 
improved the bikes performance the most was a book called "Tuning for Speed". I was now a welder 
and working at English Electric and could get all kinds of engineering help from work mates and also
some exotic materials.

The bike was originally entered as a Velocette 500. I was getting some entries accepted and some
rejected so the bike was entered as a DR Velo and I got virtually all entries accepted.
  

Modifications that I remember (for 1966 season):

Inlet port welded with a 1-3/8" id dia tube. Inlet port opened, shaped & polished. Inlet valve & seat narrowed and radiused. Inlet valve guide tapered. Rubber mounted 1-3/8" GP2 & remote float. Piston skirt chamfered. Ferodo AM4 front & AM3 rear brake linings. Brake drums skimmed. Valve lifter removed and alloy bung fitted. AJS 7R seat. Front hub large holes on left for cooling. Brake plates drilled for cooling Large bore breather from top of timing case. Clutch thrust rings stellited 20 hole clutch spring holder. Clutch spring holder carrier stellited Swept exhaust & megaphone. Std hairpin springs & lightened pushrods Top valve collar silver soldered & lightened. Tappet screws shortened, drilled & slotted Wheels balanced with solder wire(perfect balance). Venom cam & lightened Thruxton followers Racing manual BTH magneto. Wheel bearings had 2 drops of Castrol R instead of grease to reduce friction. Kick-start removed & alloy blanking plate using a ball bearing instead of bush Gear change linkage removed & replaced with lever direct to camplate striking plate. (see Fig.1, the photos are taken from the internet and not of the original parts used) The gear change mod gives a short lever movement, is extremely light & precise with zero play. Very little is required to make this modification. I used a 1951 rigid frame MAC striking plate and its external lever. The plate has a longer shaft with a spline & thread which protrudes through the back of the modern gearbox. The strikers external lever is welded with a suitable length of steel to extended to where the original change lever was and bent to suit the rider. Because the lever movement is so small & light the angle it moves through is never noticed and I only ever missed one gear in the 2 years I raced the Velo. I never saw anyone else with this modification while I was racing. Like a lot of people I had a little trouble with the clutch when I first acquired the Venom, but after rebuilding it a couple of times it was totally reliable. When it was first tested it still had the steel chain case and a wet clutch. This dragged a little when cold & slipped a little when hot. Bump starting a 500 single on a frosty March morning with cold Castrol R in the engine and gearbox is no fun. So I removed chain case, washed the plates in petrol and tried it dry. I know they say that plates that have been used wet can't be used dry, wrong, mine worked great and lasted for the 2 season I raced the Venom. As with the tappets I don't remember ever having to adjust them, only when doing a rebuild. The main times you need a good clutch is at the start and out of hairpins. After riding bikes like Thruxton Bonnie(2), T100 S/S, Domi 500 & Manx 500 I found my Velo clutch easier to control when slipping under acceleration in bottom gear than any of the others. It was extremely light and never grabbed or slipped more than I wanted it to. I may have been lucky but some of it may also be down to the satellite surfaces I had on the back of the spring carrier & both thrust bearing washers. (I was a stellite hard face welder at that time.) Originally it was impossible to bump start the Velo on hard racing plugs when it was cold, so soft plugs were used to warm up and then swapped to hard for racing. At an Oultan Park club meeting John Hartle was selling racing spares. He advised me to use Lodge platinum plugs, so I bought a couple from him. They worked great, they could be used for warm-up and racing and I never had to buy another plug while racing the Velo. John was a really nice man and spent some time passing on a lot of his racing experience, including the best racing lines. Sadly he was killed @ Oliver's Mount in 1968, a year before I raced there. The DR Velo was 100% reliable in 1966. Starting the DR Velo(in the beginning): Take 6/7 steps, bounce on seat to get the engine to fire then run and continue to push until the engine picked up, slip clutch to get the revs to around 5000 and then you were off. 8/9 steps were required when using higher gearing @ Snetterton and Brands/Oultan full circuits. This usually meant I was mid-field of the line but generally finished 8th and above. By the end of the season I was only taking 5 steps. Calculated top speed at the shorter circuits like Mallory was over 115mph and circuits like Snetterton just short of 130mph. {DR Velo Racing 1966} Mainly Club Racing with a few Ristricted Nationals: @ Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Mallory Park, Oultan Park, Perton, Snettrerton. {DR Velo 1967}

Modifications that I remember for 1967 season:

Between the 66/67 I obtained a spare engine. The 66 engine was checked over and rebuild with original parts as there was no sign of ware and it had already been tuned. This didn't take long and gave me time to work on the second standard engine. Some cycle parts were changed: Twin leading shoe brake plate (AM4 linings) Alloy top steering yoke & nuts Hydraulic steering damper Avon racing fairing Magnesium blanking bungs fitted (gearbox & valve lifter) Alloy wheel nuts The idea was to have this second engine ready and tested for the ACU clubman's meeting at Oultan Park. The 66 engine was prepared on the safe side to keep the bike reliable and do as many races as possible. On the second engine things were taken a bit further. Things like the conrod and rockers were lightened more than the 66 engine. Inlet valve and seat contact areas radiused with a very small contact area. A little end bush made from HE30 alloy was fitted. Italian 9 to 1 piston, skirt chamfered/crown edges radiused. Because of the piston crown shaping the cylinder barrel shims were removed to maintain 9 to 1 compression. A set of all nuts & bolt of 5/16 and bigger were lightened ready for when the replacement engine was fitted.(see Fig.2) The Somerton cam I used just before starting racing & standard Venom lightened cam followers and the Webco S&W coil valve springs with alloy top collars & their aircraft quality pushrods.(these were so light they felt like they were made of plastic). I fitted these because I got a spec sheet for them. The standard hairpin springs spec is something like 130 pound on the seat & 180 pound on full lift, the S&W were 90 pound on the seat & 230 pound on full lift. Both the standard Velo setup & the Webco setup were extremely reliable, although I checked tappet clearance, I never had to adjust them other than after winter rebuilds. {DR Velo Testing 1967} The bike was definitely better with the new engine. The ignition didn't need to be retarded once the engine was warm. I could take 5 steps and bounce on the seat with about 1/3 throttle and the engine would fire and shoot up the revs immediately, no more running and waiting for it to pick up. At the 1st Mallory test it was reaching 120mph with a new tight engine. It was also lighter with its fairing than friends 500 Manx without a fairing. We estimated 20/30 lbs. {DR Velo Racing 1967} Club, Ristricted National and Nationals: @ Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Croft, Mallory Park, Oultan Park, Snettrerton, Thruxton. The meeting before the ACU Clubmans at Oultan was also at Oultan. After practice I checked the bike over and while the engine was hot I thought I could detect play on the engine sprocket. As I had the new engine at home completed I decided I'd race anyway(silly). As I accelerated toward Lodge on the second lap the bike started to vibrate. I shut-off and pull the clutch. The outer ring of the main bearing was visible. Luckily it hadn't done any other damage and an insert made from HE30 repaired the case and the engine was rebuilt as a spare. This was the only mechanical failure in 2 years racing. Noted Meetings. Oultan Park National: My 500cc heat was in torrential rain. (I retired with a lap to go as I considered it was to dangerous, but got fastest lap) Cadwell Park National: Fiinshed 5th in 500cc race (Coronation Cup or Conqueror) Brands Hatch National: Finished 7th in Supporting None International Licence 1000cc race. 1st Race on converted Velocette (Mallory) DR Velo final incarnation

DRS(Doug Rae Special)

Cycle parts Velocette, Engine pre-unit Triumph 650, Gearbox & Clutch Norton 650 S/S October 1967 through to the early international @ Cadwell Park 1969 Most clubs were running 1000cc races instead of 500cc, so Sid and I decided to up our engine size. This would be easy for Sid, put a Norton 650/750 or make it a Triton with a Triumph 650. Not so easy for me with the Velo. There were no reports of using the Velo frame for a special and the cost of starting from scratch to build a racing Triumph/Norton would require a lot of man hours and money. Added to that the Triumph didn't handle unless it was a new Thruxton(expensive) and personally I liked the handling of the Velo compared with the Norton. As Sid said, "You seem to sit in the Velo rather than on the Norton". So I started to check dimensions and see if a big twin would fit, it would. Second hand Triumph engines were easier and cheaper to obtain as were the spares. Although it might require a little more work I preferred the Norton gearbox to the Triumph. A friend had a surplus 650 Norton S/S gearbox & clutch that I could borrow with the option to buy if the special worked. A sidecar racing friend, Ken Vogl agreed to loan his engine before its rebuild for the following season. The engine was mounted upright as far forward as possible. Soft alloy plate was used to make temporary engine plate templates to get things into position. The part that could have caused problems was the alignment of the rear wheel sprocket. The sprocket is integral with the cast iron brake drum so it had to be removed and another welded on slightly further inboard. The drum and sprocket were heated to cherry red and then nickel bronze welded together. There was no distortion and only a few thou needed to be skimmed out. Everything was now ready to copy the engine plate templates to Dural, but I came down with the flu! At the same time Ken informed me that he had to collect the engine at the weekend as it was booked in for its rebuild the following week. I was in no fit state to hand cut and drill the Dural plates so the soft alloy templates would have to be used. I arranged with Ken and Sid to go to Church Lawford airfield on the Saturday to test the bike and then I would strip Ken's engine out for him to collect on Sunday afternoon. Over the next couple of days I checked and tightened bolts that had been loosely fitted(engine, gearbox, wheels etc), adjusted chains, brakes etc and checked that nothing would come apart or fall off. On the Saturday I still had the flu, with runny nose, a blinding headache and was shaking rather than shivering with the cold weather. All I could do was watch as Sid and Ken tested the prototype. Both Sid and Ken said they could find no problems and it certainly looked stable. I was both sad and happy, I didn't get to test my own creation but at least it all worked as expected. Within a week I was back to normal and began building the DRS in earnest. A few people deserve thanks for helping me. Obviously Ken Vogl for the loan of his engine, Sid for always being willing to help in any way he could, Owen Greenwood for all the time he spent passing on his knowledge of tuning Triumph racing engines. He also supplied the main second hand engine components at very reasonable prices. Roger Winterburn of Motorcycle Accessories(Leicester) for discounted parts, Mick Didko at Albany Motorcycles(Leicester) for parts at below cost price and Steve Priestley who did any lathe work I required. Sid(Domiracer) & Me(DRS) @ Mallory practice day. Ken Vogl on Prototype (DRS its very 1st test) (My 1st ride on the bike) DRS with small bore high level exhaust and the full Avon DR Velo fairing after modifications. DRS{Mk1} design/build/test/racing 1968) Engine: Pre-unit 650cc Triumph T110 crank(3 piece), TR6 Trophy cylinder head, 9 to 1 pistons, E3134 cams, Concentric 1 3/16" carbs. The 9 to 1 pistons had the skirts chamfered and crowns polished. 500cc valve train. Gearbox & Clutch: Norton 650 S/S - std road gears. Girling rear suspension(Manx 8.4" Multi-rate 110 lb springs) The T110 crank was crack-tested, tuffrided, lightened, balanced(75%). The crank was excessively lightened, thinking this would help acceleration. The reason I used the TR6 head instead of the supposedly higher performance T120 with its splayed port was because Percy Tates' works Triumphs had parallel ports and there had to be a reason. So carb flanges were removed and 1 3/16" bore alloy tubes weld on and the ports opened to constant diameter to the valve guide and throat. The normal way is to keep the ports straight, this breaks into the cylinder head bolt holes. The holes are then bored and a thin wall tube fitted to seal the port. This gives an obstruction that narrows the port at this point. On my ports I employed a gentle s-bend which only just broke through the bolt hole. Once the head is bolted down no leaks occur and the ports have no restriction. Valve train: T100 pushrods, followers, follower block and rocker arms buttons instead of 650 type. This is a straight forward swap as the length of the 2 trains is the same. The 500 pushrods only have one steel cup instead of two and although the followers look heavier because there is no hole in the foot, but they are actually lighter as they are hollow(including the shaft). The button is also smaller. Swept back 1 1/2" exhaust pipes were originally fitted but grounding occurred so modified high level 1 1/4" were fitted. I'd always use Castrol R for the Velo but Duckham were supplying free oil to clubman so this was initially tried. Before the end of the 1st Mallory practice the bike was smoking, so the top of the engine was stripped. As no problems were found everything was put back, the oil change and testing resumed. After about six laps it started to smoke again. Someone had some Castrol GTX so the oil was changed again. This time it did about ten laps before smoking. As I'd always used BP Visco Static in the Velo on the road, I gave it a try. The BP oil lasted about 30 laps before is started to break down and smoke. The engine was washed out and Castrol R used, the engine never smoked again. As with the DR Velo, Castrol R oil was only change when it showed signs of discolouration. {DRS Mk1 Racing} The Triumph engine didn't affect the general feel and handling of the Velo. The Triumph/Norton engine gave better bottom end acceleration and the Velo was better at the top end. Top speed was about the same but at Snetterton, Brands/Oultan full circuits the Velo proved quicker. The Triumph engine plus the standard Norton gearing gave exceptional starting. 2 steps, bounce on seat and drop the clutch with throttle half open. It took of like a rocket. No need to slip the clutch, just get your leg over as quick as possible to get into 2nd gear before over revving. Usually 1st of the line no matter what position on the grid. Top end wasn't as good as the Velo. When changing from 3rd to top too many revs were lost and anyone close behind would get by at the end of straights. But because of the starts I usually finish in the 1st 3 at club meetings. The big difference between the Velo and the DRS was in the wet. The Velo was brilliant in the wet, if the backend started to break away it was never violent and just easing the throttle brought it back into line. The DRS on the other hand was either lifting the front or spinning up the back. In the wet on fast corners anything but very gentle acceleration was dangerous. I have been informed I finished 5th in a heat on the 15th of April at an Easter national meeting? {Mk2} Modifications/test/racing 1969 6T thunderbird crank(2 piece) crack-tested,Tufftrided & balanced(85%?) Large bore exhaust pipes siamesed into short double volume tail pipe (see Note below) Front brake air scoop removed & larger one welded on Somerton cams Manx close ratio gears Central 10mm plugs 11 to 1 pistons GP2 1 3/16" carbs HE30 alloy little-ends Larger inlet valves Alloy petrol tank(Triumph) Alloy oil tank(own make) Wheel rebuilt with Dunlop alloy rims Note: This exhaust system came about after reading an article about F1 car exhaust design in a Mag. (by McLaren or Williams?) - The complete engine cc is used for calculations(cc plus combustion space). With the piston at BDC, measure the amount of oil needed to fill the space to the plug hole. The volume of the exhaust should be multiples of the cylinder space. The 1st length needs to take into account the cylinder head exhaust port. (large bore exhausts will be shorter length, small bore exhausts are longer) If the exhausts are siamesed they should be joined with identical volumes of the correct lengths. The same volume is used for the tailpipe. Tailpipe diameter is calculated by using front pipe diameter area times the number of pipes into it. Tailpipe length can be determined by filling it with multiples of the original calculated volume. This design was used on various 650 Triumph engines including a Thruxton using a single silencer, my Triumph 650 engined Velo and our BSA Rocket 3 outfit. It always gave a wider power band, better acceleration, higher top speed and much smoother delivery. {DRS Mk2 Testing} Church Lawford: The old airfeild surface was braking up so only straight line runs were done. This allowed the new GP2 carb setting to be checked out. No problems were found. Mallory Park pre season track day: Very wet. The revs were kept down because the new engine was a little tight. The wet track restricted the exit speed from Gerrards but the revs indicated that the speed at the end of the back straight was approx 125mph, 10 mph higher than the Mk1 in the dry. The engine was much smoother and was easier to control. It felt like the original Velo but with more power. Dispite the high bottom gear(Manx internals), only 3 steps were require for the engine to start. {DRS Mk2 Racing} Scarborough 19690510 Thruxton National. Thruxton 19690413 4th May 1969. Entered as #65 D.G.E.Rae. Rugby 649 Special. May International Senior Race.

(DRS{mk2} re-build/testing/racing 1969) No pictures  
October 1968 through to early international @ Cadwell Park 1969



I thought this was the end of racing..... BUT I was wrong. See Racing Outfit.

The final DR Velo engine had KTT double-row roller main bearings, fixed ignition timing, Webco pushrods,
std followers, S&W valve spring.

My final DR Velo 

Trophy's (Solo & Sidecar Road Racing, Silverstone High Speed Trial & VOC Timed Road Trial)

Phil's Velocette

I think this is my DRS Velo without racing fairing and a few additions to make it street legal
ie: megaphone silencer, mudguards, number plates, side stand, speedometer etc

Phil then rebuilt, sprayed it and fitted a new Avon fairing. I modified a fishtail silencer to give improved ground clearance.

A few days after completion Phil crashed as the picture below shows.
Besides the impact damaged to Phil and the bike, the petrol tank split, the magneto end was ripped of and ignited the fuel and Phil and the bike set fire.
The Velo was a write off, even the crankshaft was bent. Phil was also nearly written off, with horrific burns and some amputations.
I won't go into more detail as it would take a book to tell the whole story of his time in hospital and long recovery over many, many years.

 Pedro's Velocette (Casper's)

 Lamby's Velocette (smoothest engine ever)

Info to be added
Crashes - Solo:
	Esses @ Mallory Park - Pre season wet track day. Braked to late. Slide on in deep mud. No damage to me or bike.
	Deers Leap @ Oultan Park - Guy called Hall missed a gear as I slip streamed onto start in the wet. 
	Hairpin @ Outan Park - 1st lap. Passed group of riders up inside. Guy tried to follow me but came off, rammed me over the bank. 
	Riches @ Snetterton - Track was dry. While at the other side of curcuit it rained at Riches. 
                              Braked as normal, laid it over and saw the wet track as front slide away.
Crash - Outfit:
	Sear @ Snetterton - New rear brake hydraulic cylinder seized. Straight off into crash barrier. Passenger almost lost his thumb.  

Mechanical failers.
Solo: 
	Oultan - DR Velo - Main bearing pushed out 1/8 inch
	Croft - DR Velo - front brake plate anchor casting snapped
	Cadwell - DRS seized rocker bent a pushrod (650 Triumph engine)

Outfit: 
	Cadwell - DRS 650 Outfit - broken gear linkage - used welding kit at Barn Corner farm
	Gaydon - DRS 650 Outfit - cracked downtube - returned home, repaired and returned to race in the afternoon
	Snetterton - DRS 750 Outfit - new rear brake hydraulic master cylinder sized