Sunday, 18 December 2011

Another Yorkshire Special – The Myers

Coming from Hull, the Myers family were responsible for the making of a number of ‘special’ frames which were used by some of the top riders in the area.

Bert Myers was a driver for L.V. Brooksbank at Hedon and was a self-taught engineer. Around the racing paddocks Bert was known as “Dad Myers”, and was a popular figure due to his willingness to help any rider out with his welding skills.

Bert had two sons, Roger and Tony. Tony Myers went on to become one of the top runners in racing in the late 60’s and 1970’s. In July 1966 Tony purchased a 1959 AJS 7R for £250 off Bob Peck of Batley. With the progress made by Aermacchis in the 350cc racing class, by the summer of 1968 Tony realised that they would have to improve their old AJS. They realised that a lighter and stiffer chassis was needed for the 7R.

Tony’s brother, Roger worked in the drawing offices at Blackburn General Aircraft of Brough. He started drawing out some possible frame designs for the machine. The chief designer at Blackburn caught Roger sketching the frame and enquired what he was doing. Roger went on to explain that he was trying to come up with an improved design for a racing motorcycle frame. The chief engineer’s response was that “it is bloody obvious lad”. He then proceeded to point two lines across the drawing with the end of his pipe, which a brownish stain from the steering head to the swinging arm. The design of the Myers frame was thus conceived!
The mk1 Myers with 7R engine under construction

 Norton steering head geometry was utilised on the machine. Bert made a very heavy jig consisting of two massive sections of channel welded to a base in order to construct the frame. During fabrication, the jig held the frame in an upside down position. T45 tubing was used in the construction of the frame, the tubes being packed with sand and heated during the bending process, before they were bronze welded.

The Myers 7R sat on 18” rims front and rear and was about 1” lower than a standard chassis. A 210mm Fontana front brake was used and a drilled and lightened 7R hub retained at the rear. A purpose made fibreglass petrol tank was made around a wooden former.
The Myers 7R

The first test of the Myers 7R was in April 1969 at a Cadwell Park Thursday test day. At the Cadwell National in April the top of the carburettor unscrewed, however, by the end of April the Myers 7R took its first victory at a racing 50 club event at Cadwell. It was apparent that from these first few rides that Bert and Roger had got the balance and centre of gravity of the machine just right. Tony found the Myers 7R a confidence inspiring motorcycle which was a joy to ride. More club wins were to come and also some top 6 finishes at National events. Roger also raced the machine at Croft on a couple of occasions when Tony was injured.

Tony continued to race the Myers 7R throughout 1970 and into early 1971. In late 1970 Bert Myers started work on a second frame for Wally Dawson, this time to house a 500cc Manx engine. Measurements for this were taken from Wally’s 350cc Manx Norton and caused some head-scratching when the taller 500cc engine was offered up for the first time. Flats had to be cut on the inside of the main diagonal tubes to clear the cylinder head. The fork yokes were also fabricated using steel sheet, ala Ray Petty. A Campagnolo double disc and hub was fitted at the front end and a single Campagnolo disc at the rear, both these being mechanically operated. At Silloth in April 1971 Tony raced the Myers Manx to 6th place in the final.  Later that year Wally raced it at Castle Combe and practiced with it at the TT, but found it unsuitable for the race.

The Manx Norton engined mk2 Myers with Wally Dawson 

 As Tony had injured his hand racing the Myers 7R, this was sold to Dick Cassidy who is now a TT marshal, and the Myers Manx project abandoned and parts sold. Alan Coultas bought the mk2 Myers Manx frame in 1972 and set about converting it to use with his racing Velocette Venom engine.

During the winter of 1973 Bert started work on his third and last frame, this time to house a Yamaha TZ350 engine. Tony had raced an ex-Mick Grant TR3 that season, but sold the rolling chassis to pay for the parts to convert the engine to water cooling. This was fitted to Bert’s frame after two additional front tubes were added to support the engine. The fork yokes on the mk3 frame were machined from solid aluminium. Tony went back to club racing in 1974. The bike was not a complete success however, as it had the tendency to “fall over” in bends, making it hard to control and resulting in a loss of rider confidence.
The mk2 (then with Velocette engine) and mk3 (Yamaha) Myers machines together

Alan Coultas ran his Velocette using the mk2 Myers Manx frame for 4 seasons. Alan also converted the Campagnolo disc brakes to hydraulic operation after altering the rim off-set and spoke angle to suit. Due to to cracks developing from the flats on the main tubes of the mk2 frame, Alan then bought the third Myers Yamaha frame. Once again he modified this to fit his 500cc Velocette, adding two short cross-tubes to the rear of the engine. A five speed Quaife gearbox and Norton clutch were also fitted, the engine having to be off-set in the frame to ensure the correct primary chain line.  This bike was raced and developed for many years and achieved considerable success at national level. Riders included: John Beney, Wally Dawson, Alec Swallow and of course Tony Myers who almost lapped the entire field at Cadwell Park to win the E.A. Lavington Trophy in May 1983.

During 1988/89 Tony started collecting all the components he would need to build the Myers 7R for a second time and commissioned Roger Titchmarsh to make the frame. This was to the original drawings done by Roger Myers all those years ago, complete with tobacco stained line!  The bike ran for the first time in 1990 and Tony raced it later that year at the MGP. He also had wins at Mallory and Brands Hatch and finished 2nd in the 1991 350cc Kennings Championship.


  1. Hey there - today is the first time I've take a proper look at your blog and read through some of the posts - all I have to say is..... MAGNIFICENT! ... I will be spending a lot more time here over the Christmas holidays, this is the stuff I love to read about and devour, behind the scenes stuff ans lots of unseen photos... tell me, have you got any programmes or photos from the Silloth race track?

  2. Thanks for the very kind words - it is much appreciated. Silloth is an interesting place, and I have heard some good stories about the Northern lads who were top there. The Croft on a Sat and Silloth on a Sunday were a great combination of Northern races. Why do you have a special interest in Silloth - are you local? I'll see if my Dad has got any pictures from Silloth.

  3. I live near Whitehaven, about 15 miles south of Silloth... it just fascinates me that there have been two instances of motorcycle racing on the old airfield there. I've seen a few photos and it looks mad... racing between hangers, around road cones and over potholes and broken concrete!!