THE ex Bert Denly/Pat Driscoll 1927 RACING NORTON

490 Cc Engine Fitted With Special Con Rod, Cam And Fly Wheel

The Norton was originally part of the Brooklands works team under Nigel Spring and was regularly raced at Brooklands by Bert Denly.  Bert Denly was the first 500cc rider to achieve 100 miles in an hour on a solo motorcycle at Montlhery in June 1927.  One of the publicity pictures taken after the record show a machine that is believed to be the one on display.  On 25th September 1928 this machine also took 18 World Long Distance Sidecar Records ridden by Bert Denly and Pat Driscoll with local rider Jack King as passenger.  It also took place in the 200 miles Motor Cycle and Side Car Races at Brooklands where it won one and came third in another.

Bert Denley on the motorcycle and sidecar Image: Brooklands Museum (click to enlarge)

Bert Denley on the motorcycle and sidecar
Image: Brooklands Museum (click to enlarge)

Pat Driscoll acquired in 1929 the machine when Nigel Spring and Bert Denly moved to AJS.  Pat used it until he was forced to give up racing by the Austin works team who considered it to be too dangerous. Although Driscoll achieved over 200 firsts in nine years of competition his main interest was in Record attempts and long distance racing. He became one of the outstanding tuner-riders of Norton in the 1920s and 30s and was a contracted Norton works rider.  In 1930 he was awarded the British Motor Cycle Racing Club Gold Star for lapping the Track at over 100 miles per hour.

Although Pat Driscoll preferred to use the Webb Heavyweight forks at Brooklands the machine is fitted with Druid ES forks.  He won at least one sidecar race in 1931 using these forks as his sponsor, Bill Lacey, was contracted to use Druids.  Most of the pictures show the original sprint tank but for long distance races the tank developed for the 1926 TT was used.

The Racing Norton in use Image: Brooklands Museum (click to enlarge)

The Racing Norton in use
Image: Brooklands Museum (click to enlarge)

Pat rode the bike between 1927 and 1932 and it remained in his shed at Brooklands until the outbreak of World War II. The bike has been faithfully restored according to Pat Driscolls wishes for it to look used rather than in showroom condition and is still ridden at special events including the Centenary events at Brooklands and Goodwood in 2007.

One Response to Brooklands: 1927 Racing Norton

  1. gareth sloggett says:

    Bert was a real mechanic and knew his way about motors well respected in MG circles but was a motorbiker at heart.

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