A  History of Classic Racing  50cc Motorcycles


Where It All Began

Blandford Leads the way as an NSU Bounds home.
By Richard Rosenthal.

The desire to be the fastest has always driven man to race against each other. On foot, by chariot, on a horse, riding cycles or astride a motorcycle. So why not compete on a fifty-so reasoned Motor Cycling readers and the weekly's European correspondent John Thorpe.

Following WWII many European factories began building under 50cc cyclemotor units, publicising their machines with high profile stunts. The 48cc four-stroke pull rod engine Ducati Cucciolo (Little Pup - picture right) circulated the Monza racetrack at 39.3 mph for 48 hours during 1951.

This was followed by endurance testing at the England's Thruxton circuit in 1953. 

Vincenzo Piatti, Allois Garbardi and Marco Coco rode from Milan to London on 49.9cc Mini-Motors to promote the Piatti designed cyclemotor in 1948. 

The German Victoria factory even went on a record breaking spree with their fully faired 38cc clip on. And on the continent the tiddlers were raced. 

Ten riders lined up for the 50cc event at the 30th May 1955 Whitsun Bank Holiday Monday event at the 3.134 mile Dorset track of Blandford. The first official British fifty race. Jim G Bound riding an 100cc Two-stroke, NSU sleeved down to 49cc set the pace with a race speed of 43.15 mph and a first ever fifty lap record of 43.88 mph. Bill Tinkler and Noel J Dicks both riding 48cc Britax framed Ducati Cucciolo cyclemotors filled second and third spots. (Picture: Jim Bound later in his racing career on an Itom super Sport).

Readers immediately lobbied the motorcycle press supporting fifty racing. The Motor Cycling, again a supporter of 50cc racing published letters and the odd photograph. Fifties were here to stay. (Picture: Noel Dicks on a Britax Hurricane using a Cucciolo engine).



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