A  History of Classic Racing  50cc Motorcycles



This Enduro was Hosted at the Snetterton Race Circuit in Norfolk

ONE MANS RACE, The Enduro, August the 4th 1962. Well, two men’s really, Michael & David Simmonds who led from start to finish with their new and very beautiful single cylinder, 50cc Tohatsu Special.

Very early in the proceedings a most exciting duel took place between Charlie Mates and Maurice Thomas for second position, the Tohatsu had already taken the lead and was running well, but almost anyone would have said that the result of their battle could only lead to disaster.

 It was, and soon both machines engines cried enough letting the very steady third place Itom Mk VIII of Thomas Woolley/Rodger Cramp into Second place. Brian Brader/Ian Johnson and Beryl/Eddie Swain, both on ITOMs swapped 3rd and 4th places through most of the Enduro and the Winch Maserati, piloted by the Bell brothers was ‘up there’ all the time.

As with the 1961 Enduro, the main stay of the competitors bikes were based on the Itom. There were no new models for the 1962 season and so the Itom line-up was 1961 and before with a lot of hard work from the owner/ rider.  In 1961 10 works prepared racing Itoms were imported into the UK. 

These were 3 speed with a Chromed bore in the cylinder, 3 springs on contact breaker to give quicker return. Cavity in top of petrol tank, slight reverse cone on megaphone to improve performance. A larger carburettor of 16mm or 18mm bore, oil filled H.T. coil. These models arrived with headlamp fitted for endurance races through the night. They were very fast and much more power at lower revs. Picture: This shot is of Beryl Swain riding her 1961 Itom. It was a three speeder, with a chrome barrel and the reverse cone, cow horn exhaust. this was at the 1962 50cc TT and she then went on to ride it with her husband Eddie, in the 1962 Enduro and came in second.

Some people had no luck at all. Geoff Bedford, riding his MasItom was in and out of the pits. The bike was suffering from bad starting and the centre nut on the clutch came loose. When it was under power it was running well. Then 'pitted points' started to cause problems near to the end of its run. The picture is of a page out of his Race Meeting/Machine notes for his various race meetings.

 Where bad luck was concerned, quite a few more suffered from its effects. Charlie Mates, with his hard riding style  “dropped it” – as did, quite un-characteristically our unique “Ray 'Jasper' Smith”.

Ian Ager’s “Water-Cooled Boiler” went well, but misfired. The Thompsett /Campbell, Chisholm-ITOM sounded delightful but its lap times did not live up to the“revs”Picture: Ian's team with the WCB

Well behind the flying Tohatsu of the Simmonds brothers, but a picture of reliability were two relatively unknown machines,. 

The Nicholson/Surridge "AJW Vixen Sport" was built by the factory from the standard Vixen model and was provided to the owner’s individual specification only. 

It was powered by a F.B.M. 48cc engine. It had a sturdy duplex cradle frame, telescopic front forks, dual rate rear suspension and the powerful, heavily finned brakes ensure ease of control under all road conditions. With a two-gallon tank of distinctive design, adjustable footrests and handlebars, deeply valanced mudguards and sleek lines, with a choice of colours, and with other items making an attractive specification, this was a well offered machine. The Vixen Sports was built to individual specification only. The second photograph is the greyhound developed later.

The Newman/ Boiling team's Paloma Flash was a development from the earlier mopeds manufactured by Lavalette of France, from the early 1950s until 1962. They continued to manufacture until 1969.

The Flash is new to this country and it is built in the current continental vogue; which was the reason it has such an uncomfortable riding position, for a roadster. That did not put people off buying them.  With a few alterations to the handlebars and the footrests the model was made comfortable. With its very easy starting, tractability and lightness it made an excellent ride-to-work machine. 

In its modified form it was not long before Palomas were seen on the home race tracks.  SPECIFICATION: Engine: Lavalette fan-cooled 49cc (38.6 x 42mm) two-stroke single. Compression ratio 5.8:1 Fuel: Petroil, ratio 20:1. From 1960 they offered the Flash models equipped with Franco Morini engines from Italy. This engine was in the bike entered for the Enduro.

At half distance it was still the Tohatsu of the Simmonds brothers leading the Itom of the Cramp/Woolley team. Alas the Brader/Johnson Itom's “Piston Broke” which allowed Beryl Swain to take the third position. Retirements were now cropping up and, some recorded 'holes-in-pistons' which appeared notably in the mounts of Shawn Mooney and Derek Steedman. Picture: Beryl with Eddy Swain filling up the Itom for her next session. Eddie had changed the front mudguard for the 180 degree model in case of bad weather through the day.

Fortunes, for the teams, waxed and waned behind the Tohatsu in first place on the leader board, but until 30 laps had passed no real challenge appeared to the three riders in front. Then George Ashton, Itom and Roy Bacon, BITS appeared on the leader-board after maintaining a most steady race.

The Woolley/Cramp Itom began to misfire (the contact breaker pivot was loose in the back-plate) and it made several pit stops before eventually falling back to 3rd place. Then at around 5 o’clock, the Tohatsu had finished it’s 92 laps ‘250’miles, at an average speed, of only a shade, below 56 mph.

1962 ‘5Occ Enduro’ – Brian Woolley (Brian wrote this for the R50C club magazine)

As all my time at this memorable meeting was taken up in the Timekeepers Box as Chief Lap Scorer, my observations were somewhat limited, and they must of course, quite naturally, go firstly to the fine response the Club received to its urgent appeal on the day of the meeting, for wives and sweethearts (although we gave competitors a solemn undertaking that they would be kept well separated) and who rallied round and. did a truly magnificent job of work in the over-crowded confines of the Timekeepers Box.

As a result I believe the Club was able to put on this important meeting, and to save some £40 on the costs of the job in previous years, and this is I hope an example which will be followed up again with the Clubs future meetings; the lap scorers worked extremely well and the master sheet which they collectively produced will be made available for all to see at the Clubs Annual Dinner.

The Simmonds brothers, David and Michael brought the Tohatsu through the race with, it appeared, never a question of challenge — but having subsequently discussed the race with them, I learned that all was far from well and they both nursed their machine along with fingers crossed, which must have been tiresome whichever hand was used. Apparently some obscure ignition fault plagued them, and examination of the machine after the event disclosed that they only just made it — or so they said. Second place was a magnificent achievement and a very well ridden race by the ever popular Eddie Swain and his charming wife Beryl, surely if BBC Sportsview want to award a sports Family Favourite Trophy, they need look no further than our own Club to provide the participants (no pun intended).

The services of the St. Johns Ambulance Brigade were fortunately not seriously required although it was to my knowledge that two riders were treated for pneumonia after being passed on the Norwich Straight by the Simmonds Bros in the early stages of the race when their machine was going like a rocket.

The Committee have decided that if possible every effort will be made to see that all official finishers in the 1962, 250 mile ‘50cc Enduro’ will receive some small token to commemorate the occasion, and this is something which we feel will be appreciated by all members.

How the Simmonds, 'Tohatsu', engine stripped - by Dave and Mike.

So, we started the race with a sick motor, but as the race progressed it didn’t seem to get any worse, and we were in the lead and holding it with out having to scratch too much. There isn’t much we can say about the actual race; we refuelled at regular intervals, changed riders and counted the laps one by one. Our pit crew were good and had us in and out of the pits at every change without a problem. Picture: The engine displayed here is the basic TOHATSU RUNPET SPORT moped model. this formed the basis for the Simmonds racer.

"We had to pull the engine down that evening in the paddock to try and locate the fault because I, Dave, was due to ride it in the British Championship meeting at Oulton Park the next day. The engine had been running rich, but this was probably mostly due to the misfiring during the race, there was little or no coke deposit at all in the combustion chamber or exhaust port.

"The machine was completely free from oil and was as clean as it was when we started~ of course, the race was run in good weather".
"The front tyre was as good as new, but the rear had “had it”.
"Unfortunately, when we rebuilt the engine, we still had the miss, and it was not until a few weeks later that we eventually traced it to an open circuit H.T. lead, such a simple thing, but so illusive".

The brothers closing phrase was "We are looking forward to the 1963 Enduro in October to try and repeat our 1962 performance, but this time with a 'Tohatsu" twin cylinder machine'. Let the pre-work begin".

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