A  History of Classic Racing  50cc Motorcycles


50 Racing Club 1961 Snetterton 250 mile Enduro by
Des Bone Co-constructor of the 50cc Woolley-Bone ITOM

After our modest success in the first Enduro event in 1960 , Ian Johnson had continued to compete through the year on my ITOM, as I had come to the conclusion that I was better at making them go than riding them, although I could nearly match Ian’s lap times, so he was riding the 50cc ITOM, 250 NSU, 500 & 350 Manx Nortons.

We had been able to get a little more speed out of the ITOM as we developed through the year, but the greatest improvement in performance came from reading the regulations,We came to realise that the National /international restrictions on streamlining did not apply to club racing, and as Ian had purchased a full dustbin fairing to use on the kneeler sidecar outfit he was building, we decided to use it for the ITOM in the mean time. This meant that we could pull a higher gear ratio and made quite a difference to our top speed.

We arrived at Snetterton for the second Enduro and we were surprised to see the Motom racers. A four stroke machine with torsion bar valve springs (they had bars sticking out from each side of the cylinder head housing the torsion bars) they were totally un-faired and very quick. I remember that the team manager was Carlo Ubbiali’s brother. Anyway the race started and round came Ian in the lead on our ITOM with Peter Inchley’s Motom right up behind him and in Ian’s slipstream, this went on for five laps when Peter came past on his own.

Some time later, Ian pushed the ITOM in and we quickly discovered that the rev-counter coupling had sheared off and gone into the magneto our race was over, but to our amazement Peter was awarded the fastest lap we could not understand this, as he had been slip-streaming us. Any way we put this right a few months later on August Bank Holiday Monday when Ian broke the lap record setting it at about 56mph.

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