A  History of Classic Racing  50cc Motorcycles


 The 1960 250 Miles Chiltern Enduro

 Vic Dedden

My introduction to 50cc racing was through and with the help of Dick Chalaye of A H Tooley, London who imported the Itom 50cc racers, the late Mr. Geoff Bedford and also the late Brian Woolley. My thanks go to Mr. John Tickell who supplied my 50cc DEMM racing machine.

A race that the motorcycle racing enthusiasts did not think was possible: for tiny 50cc engines to complete 250 miles of hard racing.  Well I remember it as if it were yesterday because I was there 38 years ago and here is my story.

At this time I live at Bush Hill Park, Enfield. The morning was bright and sunny when I pulled away in my Austin A40 Racing Equip van with a nearly new DEMM Dik Dik 50cc racer fixed in the back. We started out for the 90 mile drive to Snetterton: stopped for breakfast at the Red House café on the A11, meeting many more enthusiasts all with their bikes, going to the same place for a good day out.

On arriving at Snetterton, about 10am, the weather was quite warm and it was like going into a hornet's nest with all the 50cc engines buzzing around. A news paper reporter came across to inspect the bike and see if I wanted a hand in getting it out of van. Then came the start of the practice laps. 

Mick Woollett my co-rider and I, if you can remember he was a journalist for the Motor Cycle News, went through our practice with no trouble at all, except maybe it was not the height of comfort. We made some adjustments to the seating arrangements here and there to make things a bit better.

Then the time came for the "Big Off", there were 43 starters on the starting grid; everything was quiet waiting for the flag to drop to send us all into an unknown experience of 250 miles of these small engines being flat out for 5 hours. (Picture: Mick Woollett my co-rider).

The drop of the flag was at 12 noon and we all started by foul means or fair. I was thrilled to be one of the first away. I had never told many of my friends that I was using Molyslip mixed with my fuel but it paid off. Not once did Mick or I feel the engine tighten up and we both rode very hard, keeping it flat out where possible.

We knew from pit signals that there was a challenge for the lead. Ian Johnson & A.D. Bone took the lead from Bill Ivy after the 30th lap - Andrew Bone has the trophy in his cabinet which was given to them as leaders at the 45th lap. On the 59th lap Bill Ivy passed Andrew on the Norwich straight who dropped into his slip stream (which was a silly thing to do as Ian and Andrew had a 5 lap lead on Bill) and it was going to take Bill ages at 3 minutes a lap to pass them in the actual race. 

Anyway their engine seized as Andrew approached the hairpin - locking the back wheel. Andrew managed to start the engine, but it was terribly down on power and he limped slowly back to the pits, expecting to retire. Andrew told Ian Johnson (his co-rider) of the problem and Ian seized the bike from him, run started it and rode away. He did several slow laps and gradually the engine got faster and faster: they finished the race in 4th position. That then put little Bill Ivy and Thomas in the lead with me and Mick second, and they did not relinquish it, but they were found to be guilty of an offence in the paddock and were disqualified. 

This meant that Mick Woollett and I were declared the winners and Ian Johnson and Andy D. Bone were elevated to 3rd, plus the  45th Lap Trophy.

We completed 90 laps in 5hrs 14 min. at an average speed of 47.7 mph.

That was the start of all the 50cc Enduros that ran into the 1970's

Vic Dedden on the DEMM

Waiting to Take the Line in Another Race

A Letter Vic sent to the MCN


Return to Articles from the Sport