PAGE UNDER DEVELOPMENT (SIDECAR ROAD RACING)

SIDECAR RACING.

My first experience with a sidecar outfit was before I started racing. Sid put a chair on his road Domi and I had a go on it. I kept mounting the curb with the car wheel and decided I didn't ever want to ride an outfit ever again. A couple of years after my solo racing a friend(Danny) came to show me a road outfit he had bought. It was a Triton with 16 inch alloy wheels, leading link forks and a Steib bullet chair. He wanted me to try it out to see what I thought of it. So we went for a spin round the local country roads with him in the chair. It was totally different to Sid's outfit and I had great fun. At this time I was working with Pedro(passenger to be) and in conversation, he said he had always wanted to race and had tried scrambling but always came last. I think it was Pedro who suggested the idea of us going outfit racing. We came to an agreement that I would supply the cycle parts and he would supply the engine & gearbox. I bought Danny's lowered Triton frame, forks and wheels with the idea of lowering it and modifying it into a kneeler outfit. After cutting and trying to modify the frame and forks I decided it wasn't going to work and I would try to build an outfit from scratch.

DRS mk1.

Initial Design I went to the last meeting of the year at Mallory and late afternoon when the pits were free I took photo's of Chris Vincent's and Norman Hanks outfits from all angles. I then used the photo's to produce scaled up drawings. I then took the averages of the two to determine the steering head rake/trail angles, wheelbase length/width and any other measurement which might effect the outfits handling. The actual tube arrangements were then added to the drawing. My idea was to keep everything as low as possible, coupled with keeping weight down and maintaining stiffness. The tubes were mild steel purchased from Owen Greenwood. All the cutting/bendingt/shaping and welding(nickle bronze) was done by myself. The Triton's 16 inch back wheel and brake was use with an alloy Mini wheel(no brake) in the chair. Front wheel was Velo hub in the Triton's other 16 inch rim with modified Thruxton brake. The passenger platform sloped up from the main frame tubes to the sidecar wheel axle height. This had the advantage of keeping the chair wheel very ridged. And when the passenger laid well inboard he was as low as other passengers but on lefthanders he could hang his whole body out without to much dragging on the ground. Alloy sheet cut/shaped and welded by myself was used for the seat/mudguard, kneeler trays, chair floor, oil and petrol tanks. Fibreglass sidecar mudguard and nose cone.

Testing The first test was a Mallory practice day. I took it easy in second gear down the straight and round Gerards. I let go of the handlebars and it went in a straight line and round Gerards I weaved from side to side, everything seemed great. But when I picked up speed on the back straight I had problems and couldn't stop it from weaving all over the track. After a couple of laps I came in and told Pedro there was a problem and it might be him moving about in the chair. He said he wasn't moving and had though it was me testing the steering by weaving on the back straight, not that I was trying to stop it weaving. We checked everything over and decided to give it another go, to try and find the problem. I decided to go quicker to see if I could drive through the weaving. We went into Gerards fairly fast and everything seemed ok until I tried to keep the outfit down the middle of the back straight. It was all over the place, the more I tried to correct it the more violet the weaving became. I couldn't understand what was happening. Anyway we decided to carry on testing as we were complete novices. It would give us experience and test the riding positions, brakes and cornering. After a few laps the weaving on the straight got less and I realised what the problem was. The steering was very light and sensitive and got lighter the faster we went. I found that if I held the handlebars very lightly or even let go on the straight, the outfit went dead straight. The problem was me, I had no experience of such light and sensitive steering and I was over correcting. For the rest of the afternoon we continued to lap with no problems. We were both chuffed as without any previous experience we had designed and built a racing sidecar outfit from scratch and everything worked.

DRS Mk1. 650 Triumph engined outfit in the process of building - designed & built by myself & Pedro (500 DR Velo behind)

 

DRS Mk1. 650 Triumph engined outfit in the process of building - designed & built by myself & Pedro

 

Me on the DRS Mk1. 650 Triumph engined outfit nearing completion

 

DRS Mk1. 650 Triumph engined outfit racing @ Gaydon

 

DRS Mk1. 650 Triumph engined outfit racing @ Gaydon

 

DRS Mk1. 650 Triumph engined outfit racing @ Keevil (27/08/1972)

 

DRS Mk1. 650 Triumph engined outfit racing @ Keevil (27/08/1972)

 

DRS Mk1. 650 Triumph engined outfit racing @ Snetterton (1972/3?)

DRS mk2.

Over the winter the outfit was modified to take an alloy 10 inch Mini rear wheel. This allowed hydraulic brakes to be fitted to the rear & sidecar wheels. Mini clubman twin leading shoe brakes were used, the sidecar linings were modified to half standardd length which slowed the outfit in a straight line whatever pressure was applied. This modification lowered the rear of the outfit which gave slightly better steering into right handers. We also tested with a Weber DCOE40 Twin Choke Carburetor, which was to be used the following season. With the Amal carbs I pushed for about 4 steps before dropping the clutch and Pedro would continue to push until the engine revs rose then jump in. With the Weber I held the throttle on 3/4 and took 3 steps, the engine always fired and there was instant acceleration with no need to slip the clutch. Pedro had to be onboard before the engine fired or he would be left behind on the road.

DRS Mk2. 650 Triumph engined outfit racing @ Wroughton

 

DRS Mk2. 650 Triumph engined outfit racing @ Wroughton

 

DRS Mk2. 650 Triumph engined outfit racing @ Wroughton

 

DRS mk3. (BSA Rocket 3)

We talked about getting a different engine as the 650 twins were being out performed by Mini, Saab, Koenig, Imp etc engines. The problem was expense. Pedro suggested using the engine from his BSA Rocket 3 and this seemed a good idea as it should give us power without any extra expence. As It turned out I didn't find the Rocket that good as an outfit power plant. Out of slow corners it was too easy to get the back wheel spinning but if you eased the throttle the wheel would grip, drop the engine out of the power band and loose acceleration. The top speed wasn't much faster than the 650. In hindsight we should have used the 650 breathing through the Weber. This was not an option as the 650 had been sold and the chassis had been modified for the Rocket engine. The forks/steering head an top tube had been modified to take the Rocket engine and a 14 inch front wheel/hub/disc from a Viva together with Lockheed Racing calliper & low profile tyre. This improved the steering and there was no more brake fade half way through a race.

DRS Mk3. 750 BSA Rocket engined outfit racing @ Gaydon

 

DRS Mk3. 750 BSA Rocket engined outfit racing @ Cadwell Park

 

DRS Mk3. 750 BSA Rocket engined outfit racing @ Cadwell Park

 

DRS Mk3. 750 BSA Rocket engined outfit @ Home

 

Pedro with his 750 BSA Rocket 3. We used his engine in the mark 3 oufit

 

Curcuits Raced At On Outfit:
Cadwell Park, Gaydon, Keevil, Mallory Park, Snetterton, Wroughton.



(above) Chris Vincent & Mick Casey on URS 1972 @ Mallory Park

(above) Fritz Scheidegger & John Robinson @ Mallory Park

(above) Sid(Derek Bradford) & David Hopkinson @ Gaydon

(above) Ken Vogl & Neil Shelton @ Reverse Brands Hatch