Monday, 4 April 2011

Potts Desmo part 4

The consequence of Bob refusing to ride the Razorblade specials was far reaching for the team. The 275lb 500cc frame had been purpose built to house the Potts Desmodromic conversion (that was well underway). With the Razorblade frame no longer being used, there was no frame the Desmo could fit into (it didn’t fit into a standard Featherbed), so development of the Desmo had to be stopped. Joe Potts was now in a rush to find Bob some new standard Manx Nortons to ride for the rest of the season. Joe found two good Nortons belonging to Archie Plenderleith, one of which was the ex 1957 Potts machine. In a complicated deal in exchange for the Manxes, Joe gave Archie Plenderleith the 1956/7 Potts 250cc Manx, the beginnings of Joe’s 1958 250cc Manx engine, the 500cc Razorblade rolling chassis and a Brown and Sharpe universal milling machine.
With Bob now switching to the more standard Manx models, he had a lot of catching up to do in order to match Alastair King’s excellent start to the season. Alastair’s fine form continued on the run up to the TT by taking three victories at the Aintree Red Rose meeting (350cc, 1000cc and handicap event) and also winning the Junior class at the North West 200. Bob could only finish runner up to Alastair in the 350cc and 1000cc class at Aintree and was denied a certain victory in the Senior class at the North West 200 when a dropped valve put him out.
Looking back with hindsight at the first half of the Potts team’s season, it is clearly dominated by the failure of Bob McIntyre’s two Razorblade specials. The failure of these bikes not only caused some below par results early in the season, but also influenced the development of the Potts bikes in the future. With Bob reverting back to Featherbed frames, development on the Potts Desmo was stopped. The extra time spent modifying the Razorblades at the start of the season also prevented Joe from completing a new JP5 250cc Manx and the 350cc Porcupine engine conversion for Bob. The Razorblade frame did have success for the team in the hands on Charlie Bruce on his DOHC Velocette. Charlie went on to become Scottish 250cc champion twice on this machine, which was acknowledged as the fastest British 250cc machine in the country. Over the coming years, Charlie Bruce, Alastair King and Bob McIntyre continued to develop new machines and race for Joe Potts with great success until the team’s racing activities were cut-short due to the death of Bob in 1962.

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