Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Charlie Bruce DOHC Velocette part 2

Charlie Bruce and his new DOHC Velo made their debut at the 1958 International Trophy meeting at Oulton Park. The 250cc race looked like it would be dominated by the NSU mounted quartet of Fron Purslow, Tommy Robb, L James and W Smith.  However Charlie and his new bike had other ideas and were able to break the NSU monopoly in the race and finish 4th by ousting James.

Charlie Bruce remounted on his DOHC Velo after a crash (see the leathers)
Things didn’t go so well for Charlie at the 1958 Scottish Speed Championships being held at Beveridge Park.  Despite being a favourite for the 250cc class, Charlie crashed at the first corner in wet conditions. Charlie went on to record some good victories over the 1958 season at tracks like Crimond and Errol. Later in the season Charlie was back at Oulton Park for the Cheshire Championship meeting. Charlie finished 2nd in his heat and 4th in the final behind Dickie Dale, L James and K Terretta (all NSU mounted).

Squished cylinder head from the Bruce Velo
Even though the Bruce Velo was going well, Charlie, Joe and the team wanted to make it faster. The engine got the Potts treatment. A new crankshaft was made at Bellshill of 64mm stroke and a 70mm piston was machined from a forging that Joe had used on the Potts 250. The head was squished and the piston mated to suit, many years before Velocette decided to do the same. Charlie spent hours measuring and then replicating the NSU valve timing to use in his engine and acquired the nickname ‘Professor Chambers’ after the 4 figure log tables he used in the calculations required to machine the cams. When Charlie finally got all the cams made, Bob McIntyre presented him with a ‘medallion’ made from welding rods in the form of a Scottish thistle during a tea-break at Joe’s works!
The improved Bruce Velo went on to be even more successful winning the Scottish Championship in both 1959 and 1960 and became acknowledged as one of the fastest British 250cc machines.
Charlie Bruce on his DOHC Velo (taken from BP Racing Success' book)

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