Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Valves for the Hopper special

I thought I would do a little blog post about the latest work that has been done on the Hopper special’s Lea Francis engine.

It is not often when you get original correspondence from the engine builder about how he built his engine. In this case we were very lucky when it came to the Hopper special valves.

Below is a picture of a standard Lea Francis valve which is suitable for the 1500cc Dirt Track engine.

Std Lea Francis valve

The next couple of photos show a letter and drawing from Ian Hopper about how he wanted to modify the valves for the Hopper special.
Letter from Ian Hopper

Drawing showing modifications to the inlet valve

Given Ian wanted to build his engine this way, it was only right to remove all the valves and machine them as he intended. The photo below shows the newly machined valves to Hopper specification as well as some of Ian’s old valves.
New valves modified to Hopper's specification along with some of the original valves

The final scan is of Ian Hopper in his mk3 Hopper special and is from an advert in this years’ Classic Monte Carlo rally programme.
A picture of Ian Hopper in his mk3 Hopper special at the Rest and be Thankful

Monday, 11 June 2012

Biscuits and Motorcyclist from Glasgow

I know it is a strange sounding title for this blog post, but if we go back to the 1950-60’s to the outskirts of Glasgow, we find a link between the two.

As you may have seen in some of my other Blog posts, Joe Potts ran a very successful motorcycle racing team from Bellshill. Joe’s business interest went further than bikes, as he also ran a successful garage, filling station and funeral parlour. Joe was well liked by all who worked for him and was known for looking after his staff.

One such way Joe looked after his staff was to give each of them a hamper at Christmas. This is where the biscuits link comes in.

Tunnocks which are based round the corner from Bellshill in Uddingston have been a family bakers since 1890. It was in the 1950’s that Tunnocks expanded and started to produce the products they are now famous for, for example the caramel wafer bar, teacakes, snowballs etc.

So when it came to Christmas, Joe made sure that the hampers for his employees were filled with Tunnocks products.

This isn’t where the link ended. During the 1950’s, motorcycling clubs were very important in Scotland, and one of the most famous from the area was the Avon Valley club. At club nights it would be common to have special events. One of the most influential members of the Avon Valley club was Charlie Bruce, who spent much time with the racing team at Bellshill. Charlie had arranged the likes of Bob McIntyre to speak on club nights.

On one occasion the Tunnocks link was again utilised, as a tour of the Tunnocks factory was arranged for the members of the Avon Valley club to go on a tour of the factory.

Tunnocks themselves have been involved in racing. For example, Boyd Tunnock who runs the company competed at the Bo’ness hill climb in 1962.

So when I was in Bellshill this last week I had to take the opportunity to visit the Tunnocks factory - and what a wonderful factory it is! The reception area is beautifully laid out with wonderful paraphernalia relating to the history of Tunnocks.

I am very pleased to say that Tunnocks are very happy with their association with the local business which was run Joe Potts. With this in mind Tunnocks were happy to donate some caramel wafer bars to the Joe Potts collection of racing bikes/cars. These caramel wafer bars will be available to members of the public who visit the Joe Potts stand at the Bo’ness revival hill climb in September. Be warned, they will be given out on a first come first serve basis, and given how tasty they are, I can’t see them lasting long!