A  History of Classic Racing  50cc Motorcycles


Des Bone's Story

 (Co-constructor of the 50cc Woolley-Bone ITOM)

Des started his story of the Enduro with the following explanation. "After our modest success in the first Enduro event in 1960, Ian Johnson had continued to compete through the year on my ITOM, as I had come to the conclusion that I was better building the bikes and at making them go rather than riding them, although I could nearly match Ian’s lap times, so at this meeting he was riding the 50cc ITOM, 250 NSU, 500 & 350 Manx Nortons".

We had been able to get a little more speed out of the ITOM as we developed through the year, but the greatest improvement in performance came from reading the regulations, We came to realise that the National /International restrictions on streamlining did not apply to club racing.

Ian had purchased a full dustbin fairing to use on the kneeler sidecar outfit he was building, we decided to use it for the ITOM in the mean time. This meant that we could pull a higher gear ratio and made quite a difference to our top speed.

We arrived at Snetterton for the second Enduro and we were surprised to see the Motom racers. A four stroke machine with torsion bar valve springs (they had bars sticking out from each side of the cylinder head housing the torsion units) they were totally un-faired and very quick. I remember that the team manager was Carlo Ubbiali’s brother Maurizio. 

Anyway the race started and round came Ian in the lead on our ITOM with Peter Inchley’s Motom right up behind him and in Ian’s slipstream, this went on for five laps when Peter came past on his own.

Some time later, Ian pushed the ITOM in and we quickly discovered that the rev-counter coupling had sheared off and gone into the magneto our race was over, but to our amazement Peter was awarded the fastest lap we could not understand this, as he had been slip-streaming us. Any way we put this right a few months later on in August, at the Brands Hatch, Bank Holiday Monday meeting, when Ian broke the lap record setting it at about 56mph.

(From this photograph and the entry list below you may be able to name the riders in the opening start-up.)





"We did compete in one more Enduro some years later", continued Des, "when Garelli asked us to enter a standard bike for them. The race now had a class for standard road machines as well as racing and they were busy with George Ashton & Paul Marlow’s machines in the racing class so we ran a standard Garelli Sports in the road bike class for them. It had all the lights & road silencer etc, any way George won the main event and we also won the class for road bikes. So third time lucky for us!"

This is a photo of us at the first Enduro, 1960, at the Snetterton circuit. Ian Johnson, wife Chris, Me with the co/rider's band on, & me mate/mechanic Malcolm Taylor.

Here's just a little bit about the W-B Itom. 'Chisholms' of Maidstone, Kent were  making  5 speed, 6 speed and I think a 7 speed gear cluster to fit ITOMs - I acquired both the 5 speed and then through Brian Woolley we acquired the 6 speed.  This was fitted into the Woolley-Bone 50cc ITOM special (which we later called "Jambuttie" - being a take off of Nigel Stone's Jamathi.

Nigel had told us in the winter that he was going to buy this world championship winning bike for £1700 or so (at a time when my house was only £2700) and was going to walk all over us - however, much to George Ashton's delight, Nigel ended up finishing second in the Championship to our bike.

The 50cc, Water-cooled Woolley-Bone ITOM  Now in the Barber Museum collection in the USA  (If anyone has information on the bike can they let the webmaster know.

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